Atheist Hitchens Praises King James Bible

Not that the King James Bible needs extra praise, I just thought this was interesting and kind of nice…
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Atheist Christopher Hitchens paid tribute to the King James Bible, offering rare praises to a book containing the Word of God.

Hitchens is the second atheist, after Richard Dawkins, to laud the KJB in honor of the 400th anniversary of the translation.

The prominent atheists recognized and expressed appreciation for its contribution to English literature.

“Though I am sometimes reluctant to admit it, there really is something ‘timeless’ in the Tyndale/King James synthesis,” said Hitchens in his commentary featured in Vanity Fair. “For generations, it provided a common stock of references and allusions, rivaled only by Shakespeare in this respect.

“It resounded in the minds and memories of literate people, as well as of those who acquired it only by listening.”

The 61-year-old English-American author is a staunch atheist who often debates Christians on the existence of God. He made the argument that “religion poisons everything” in his book God Is Not Great and has repeatedly stated that he would not convert, even on his deathbed. Hitchens is currently battling stage 4 esophageal cancer.

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Atheist Hitchens Praises King James Bible

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For Whom Did Christ Die? – C.H. Spurgeon

A Sermon (No. 1191)
Delivered on Lord’s-Day Morning, September 6th, 1874, by C. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

Jesus' Crucifixion

Jesus' Crucifixion

“…Christ died for the ungodly.”—Romans 5:6.

In this verse the human race is described as a sick man, whose disease is so far advanced that he is altogether without strength: no power remains in his system to throw off his mortal malady, nor does he desire to do so; he could not save himself from his disease if he would, and would not if he could. I have no doubt that the apostle had in his eye the description of the helpless infant given by the prophet Ezekiel; it was an infant—an infant newly born—an infant deserted by its mother before the necessary offices of tenderness had been performed; left unwashed, unclothed, unfed, a prey to certain death under the most painful circumstances, forlorn, abandoned, hopeless. Our race is like the nation of Israel, its whole head is sick, and its whole heart faint. Such, unconverted men, are you! Only there is this darker shade in your picture, that your condition is not only your calamity, but your fault. In other diseases men are grieved at their sickness, but this is the worst feature in your case, that you love the evil which is destroying you. In addition to the pity which your case demands, no little blame must be measured out to you: you are without will for that which is good, your “cannot” means “will not,” your inability is not physical but moral, not that of the blind who cannot see for want of eyes, but of the willingly ignorant who refuse to look.

While man is in this condition Jesus interposes for his salvation. “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly”; “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” according to “his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins.” The pith of my sermon will be an endeavour to declare that the reason of Christ’s dying for us did not lie in our excellence; but where sin abounded grace did much more abound, for the persons for whom Jesus died were viewed by him as the reverse of good, and he came into the world to save those who are guilty before God, or, in the words of our text, “Christ died for the ungodly.”
Now to our business. We shall dwell first upon the fact—”Christ died for the ungodly”; then we shall consider the fair inferences therefrom; and, thirdly, proceed to think and speak of the proclamation of this simple but wondrous truth.

First, here is THE FACT—”Christ died for the ungodly.” Never did the human ear listen to a more astounding and yet cheering truth. Angels desire to look into it, and if men were wise they would ponder it night and day. Jesus, the Son of God, himself God over all, the infinitely glorious One, Creator of heaven and earth, out of love to me stooped to become a man and die. Christ, the thrice holy God, the pure-hearted man, in whom there was no sin and could be none, espoused the cause of the wicked. Jesus, whose doctrine makes deadly war on sin, whose Spirit is the destroyer of evil, whose whole self abhors iniquity, whose second advent will prove his indignation against transgression, yet undertook the cause of the impious, and even unto death pursued their salvation. The Christ of God, though he had no part or lot in the fall and the sin which has arisen out of it, has died to redeem us from its penalty, and, like the psalmist, he can cry, “Then I restored that which I took not away.” Let all holy beings judge whether this is not the miracle of miracles!

Christ, the name given to our Lord, is an expressive word; it means “Anointed One,” and indicates that he was sent upon a divine errand, commissioned by supreme authority. The Lord Jehovah said of old, “I have laid help upon one that is mighty, I have exalted one chosen out of the people”; and again, “I have given him as a covenant to the people, a leader and commander to the people.” Jesus was both set apart to this work, and qualified for it by the anointing of the Holy Ghost. He is no unauthorised saviour, no amateur deliverer, but an ambassador clothed with unbounded power from the great King, a Redeemer with full credentials from the Father. It is this ordained and appointed Saviour who has “died for the ungodly.” Remember this, ye ungodly! Consider well who it was that came to lay down his life for such as you are.

The text says Christ died. He did a great deal besides dying, but the crowning act of his career of love for the ungodly, and that which rendered all the rest available to them, was his death for them. He actually gave up the ghost, not in fiction, but in fact. He laid down his life for us, breathing out his soul, even as other men do when they expire. That it might be indisputably clear that he was really dead, his heart was pierced with the soldier’s spear, and forthwith came there out blood and water. The Roman governor would not have allowed the body to be removed from the cross had he not been duly certified that Jesus was indeed dead. His relatives and friends who wrapped him in linen and laid him in Joseph’s tomb, were sorrowfully sure that all that lay before them was a corpse. The Christ really died, and in saying that, we mean that he suffered all the pangs incident to death; only he endured much more and worse, for his was a death of peculiar pain and shame, and was not only attended by the forsaking of man, but by the departure of his God. That cry, “My God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me?” was the innermost blackness of the thick darkness of death.

Our Lord’s death was penal, inflicted upon him by divine justice; and rightly so, for on him lay our iniquities, and therefore on him must lay the suffering. “It pleased the Father to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” He died under circumstances which made his death most terrible. Condemned to a felon’s gibbet, he was crucified amid a mob of jesters, with few sympathising eyes to gaze upon him; he bore the gaze of malice and the glance of scorn; he was hooted and jeered by a ribald throng, who were cruelly inventive in their taunts and blasphemies. There he hung, bleeding from many wounds, exposed to the sun, burning with fever, and devoured with thirst, under every circumstance of contumely, pain, and utter wretchedness; his death was of all deaths the most deadly death, and emphatically “Christ died.”

But the pith of the text comes here, that “Christ died for the ungodly”; not for the righteous, not for the reverent and devout, but for the ungodly. Look at the original word, and you will find that it has the meaning of “impious, irreligious, and wicked.” Our translation is by no means too strong, but scarcely expressive enough. To be ungodly, or godless, is to be in a dreadful state, but as use has softened the expression, perhaps you will see the sense more clearly if I read it, “Christ died for the impious,” for those who have no reverence for God. Christ died for the godless, who, having cast off God, cast off with him all love for that which is right. I do not know a word that could more fitly describe the most irreligious of mankind than the original word in this place, and I believe it is used on purpose by the Spirit of God to convey to us the truth, which we are always slow to receive, that Christ did not die because men were good, or would be good, but died for them as ungodly—or, in other words, “he came to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Observe, then, that when the Son of God determined to die for men, he viewed them as ungodly, and far from God by wicked works. In casting his eye over our race he did not say, “Here and there I see spirits of nobler mould, pure, truthful, truth-seeking, brave, disinterested, and just; and therefore, because of these choice ones, I will die for this fallen race.” No; but looking on them all, he whose judgment is infallible returned this verdict, “They are all gone out of the way; they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Putting them down at that estimate, and nothing better, Christ died for them. He did not please himself with some rosy dream of a superior race yet to come, when the age of iron should give place to the age of gold,—some halcyon period of human development, in which civilisation would banish crime, and wisdom would conduct man back to God. Full well he knew that, left to itself, the world would grow worse and worse, and that by its very wisdom it would darken its own eyes. It was not because a golden age would come by natural progress, but just because such a thing was impossible, unless he died to procure it, that Jesus died for a race which, apart from him, could only develop into deeper damnation. Jesus viewed us as we really were, not as our pride fancies us to be; he saw us to be without God, enemies of our own Creator, dead in trespasses and sins, corrupt, and set on mischief, and even in our occasional cry for good, searching for it with blinded judgment and prejudiced heart, so that we put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. He saw that in us was no good thing, but every possible evil, so that we were lost,—utterly, helplessly, hopelessly lost apart from him: yet viewing us as in that graceless and Godless plight and condition, he died for us.

I would have you remember that the view under which Jesus beheld us was not only the true one, but, for us, the kindly one; because had it been written that Christ died for the better sort, then each troubled spirit would have inferred “he died not for me.” Had the merit of his death been the perquisite of honesty, where would have been the dying thief? If of chastity, where the woman that loved much? If of courageous fidelity, how would it have fared with the apostles, for they all forsook him and fled? There are times when the bravest man trembles lest he should be found a coward, the most disinterested frets about the selfishness of his heart, and the most pure is staggered by his own impurity; where, then, would have been hope for one of us, if the gospel had been only another form of law, and the benefits of the cross had been reserved as the rewards of virtue? The gospel does not come to us as a premium for virtue, but it presents us with forgiveness for sin. It is not a reward for health, but a medicine for sickness. Therefore, to meet all cases, it puts us down at our worst, and, like the good Samaritan with the wounded traveller, it comes to us where we are. “Christ died for the impious” is a great net which takes in even the leviathan sinner; and of all the creeping sinners innumerable which swarm the sea of sin, there is not one kind which this great net does not encompass.

Let us note well that in this condition lay the need of our race that Christ should die. I do not see how it could have been written “Christ died for the good.” To what end for the good? Why need they his death? If men are perfect, does God need to be reconciled to them? Was he ever opposed to holy beings? Impossible! On the other hand, were the good ever the enemies of God? If such there be are they not of necessity his friends? If man be by nature just with God, to what end should the Saviour die? “The just for the unjust” I can understand; but the “just dying for the just” were a double injustice—an injustice that the just should be punished at all, and another injustice that the just should be punished for them. Oh no! If Christ died, it must be because there was a penalty to be paid for sin committed, hence he must have died for those who had committed the sin. If Christ died, it must have been because “a fountain filled with blood” was necessary for the cleansing away of heinous stains; hence, it must have been for those who are defiled. Suppose there should be found anywhere in this world an unfallen man—perfectly innocent of all actual sin, and free from any tendency to it, there would be a superfluity of cruelty in the crucifixion of the innocent Christ for such an individual. What need has he that Christ should die for him, when he has in his own innocence the right to live? If there be found beneath the copes of heaven an individual who, notwithstanding some former slips and flaws, can yet, by future diligence, completely justify himself before God, then it is clear that there is no need for Christ to die for him. I would not insult him by telling him that Christ died for him, for he would reply to me, “Why should he? Cannot I make myself just without him?” In the very nature of things it must be so, that if Christ Jesus dies he must die for the ungodly. Such agonies as his would not have been endured had there not been a cause, and what cause could there have been but sin?

Some have said that Jesus died as our example; but that is not altogether true. Christ’s death is not absolutely an example for men, it was a march into a region of which he said, “Ye cannot follow me now.” His life was our example, but not his death in all respects, for we are by no means bound to surrender ourselves voluntarily to our enemies as he did, but when persecuted in one city we are bidden to flee to another. To be willing to die for the truth is a most Christly thing, and in that Jesus is our example; but into the winepress which he trod it is not ours to enter, the voluntary element which was peculiar to his death renders it inimitable. He said, “I lay down my life of myself; no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” One word of his would have delivered him from his foes; he had but to say “Begone!” and the Roman guards must have fled like chaff before the wind. He died because he willed to do so; of his own accord he yielded up his spirit to the Father. It must have been as an atonement for the guilty; it could not have been as an example, for no man is bound voluntarily to die. Both the dictates of nature, and the command of the law, require us to preserve our lives. “Thou shalt not kill” means “Thou shalt not voluntarily give up thine own life any more than take the life of another.” Jesus stood in a special position, and therefore he died; but his example would have been complete enough without his death, had it not been for the peculiar office which he had undertaken. We may fairly conclude that Christ died for men who needed such a death; and, as the good did not need it for an example—and in fact it is not an example to them—he must have died for the ungodly.

The sum of our text is this—all the benefits resulting from the Redeemer’s passion, and from all the works that followed upon it, are for those who by nature are ungodly. His gospel is that sinners believing in him are saved. His sacrifice has put away sin from all who trust him, and, therefore, it was offered for those who had sin upon them before. “He rose again for our justification,” but certainly not for the justification of those who can be justified by their own works. He ascended on high, and we are told that he “received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also.” He lives to intercede, and Isaiah tells us that “He made intercession for the transgressors.” The aim of his death, resurrection, ascension, and eternal life, is towards the sinful sons of men. His death has brought pardon, but it cannot be pardon for those who have no sin—pardon is only for the guilty. He is exalted on high “to give repentance,” but surely not to give repentance to those who have never sinned, and have nothing to repent of. Repentance and remission both imply previous guilt in those who receive them: unless, then, these gifts of the exalted Saviour are mere shams and superfluities, they must be meant for the really guilty. From his side there flowed out water as well as blood—the water is intended to cleanse polluted nature, then certainly not the nature of the sinless, but the nature of the impure; and so both blood and water flowed for sinners who need the double purification. To-day the Holy Spirit regenerates men as the result of the Redeemer’s death; and who can be regenerated but those who need a new heart and a right spirit? To regenerate the already pure and innocent were ridiculous; regeneration is a work which creates life where there was formerly death, gives a heart of flesh to those whose hearts were originally stone, and implants the love of holiness where sin once had sole dominion. Conversion is also another gift, which comes through his death, but does he turn those whose faces are already in the right direction? It cannot be. He converts the sinner from the error of his ways, he turns the disobedient into the right way, he leads back the stray sheep to the fold. Adoption is another gift which comes to us by the cross. Does the Lord adopt those who are already his sons by nature? If children already, what room is there for adoption? No; but the grand act of divine love is that which takes those who are “children of wrath even as others,” and by sovereign grace puts them among the children, and makes them “heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ.”

To-day I see the Good Shepherd in all the energy of his mighty love, going forth into the dreadful wilderness. For whom is he gone forth? For the ninety and nine who feed at home? No, but into the desert his love sends him, over hill and dale, to seek the one lost sheep which has gone astray. Behold, I see him arousing his church, like a good housewife, to cleanse her house. With the besom of the law she sweeps, and with the candle of the word she searches, and what for? For those bright new coined pieces fresh from the mint, which glitter safely in her purse? Assuredly not, but for that lost piece which has rolled away into the dust, and lies hidden in the dark corner. And lo! grandest of all visions! I see the Eternal Father, himself, in the infinity of his love, going forth in haste to meet a returning child. And whom does he go to meet? The elder brother returning from the field, bringing his sheaves with him? An Esau, who has brought him savoury meat such as his soul loveth? A Joseph whose godly life has made him lord over all Egypt? Nay, the Father leaves his home to meet a returning prodigal, who has companied with harlots, and grovelled among swine, who comes back to him in disgraceful rags, and disgusting filthiness! It is on a sinner’s neck that the Father weeps; it is on a guilty cheek that he sets his kisses; it is for an unworthy one that the fatted calf is killed, and the best robe is worn, and the house is made merry with music and with dancing. Yes, tell it, and let it ring round earth and heaven, Christ died for the ungodly. Mercy seeks the guilty, grace has to do with the impious, the irreligious and the wicked. The physician has not come to heal the healthy, but to heal the sick. The great philanthropist has not come to bless the rich and the great, but the captive and the prisoner. He puts down the mighty from their seats, for he is a stern leveller, but he has come to lift the beggar from the dunghill, and to set him among princes, even the princes of his people. Sing ye, then, with the holy Virgin, and let your song be loud and sweet,—”He hath filled the hungry with good things, but the rich he hath sent empty away.” “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” “He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” O ye guilty ones, believe in him and live.

II. Let us now consider THE PLAIN INFERENCES FROM THIS FACT. Let me have your hearts as well as your ears, especially those of you who are not yet saved, for I desire you to be blessed by the truths uttered; and oh, may the Spirit of God cause it to be so. It is clear that those of you who are ungodly—and if you are unconverted you are that—are in great danger. Jesus would not interpose his life and bear the bloody sweat and crown of thorns, and nails, and spear, and scorn unmitigated, and death itself, if there were not solemn need and imminent peril. There is danger, solemn danger, for you. You are under the wrath of God already, and you will soon die, and then, as surely as you live, you will be lost, and lost forever; as certain as the righteous will enter into everlasting life, you will be driven into everlasting punishment. The cross is the danger signal to you, it warns you that if God spared not his only Son, he will not spare you. It is the lighthouse set on the rocks of sin to warn you that swift and sure destruction awaits you if you continue to rebel against the Lord. Hell is an awful place, or Jesus had not needed to suffer such infinite agonies to save us from it.

It is also fairly to be inferred that out of this danger only Christ can deliver the ungodly, and he only through his death. If a less price than that of the life of the Son of God could have redeemed men, he would have been spared. When a country is at war, and you see a mother give up her only boy to fight her country’s battles—her only well-beloved, blameless son—you know that the battle must be raging very fiercely, and that the country is in stern danger: for, if she could find a substitute for him, though she gave all her wealth, she would lavish it freely to spare her darling. If she were certain that in his heart a bullet would find its target, she must have strong love for her country, and her country must be in dire necessity ere she would bid him go. If, then, “God spared not his Son, but freely delivered him up for us all,” there must have been a dread necessity for it. It must have stood thus: die he, or the sinner must, or justice must; and since justice could not, and the Father desired that the sinner should not, then Christ must; and so he did. Oh, miracle of love! I tell you, sinners, you cannot help yourselves, nor can all the priests of Rome or Oxford help you, let them perform their antics as they may; Jesus alone can save, and that only by his death. There on the bloody tree hangs all man’s hope; if you enter heaven it must be by force of the incarnate God’s bleeding out his life for you. You are in such peril that only the pierced hand can lift you out of it. Look to him, at once, I pray you, ere the proud waters go over your soul.

Then let it be noticed—and this is the point I want constantly to keep before your view—that Jesus died out of pure pity. He must have died out of the most gratuitous benevolence to the undeserving, because the character of those for whom he died could not have attracted him, but must have been repulsive to his holy soul. The impious, the godless—can Christ love these for their character? No, he loved them notwithstanding their offences, loved them as creatures fallen and miserable, loved them according to the multitude of his loving-kindnesses and tender mercies, from pity, and not from admiration. Viewing them as ungodly, yet he loved them. This is extraordinary love! I do not wonder that some persons are loved by others, for they wear a potent charm in their countenances, their ways are winsome, and their characters charm you into affection; “but God commendeth his love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” He looked at us, and there was not a solitary beauty spot upon us: we were covered with “wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores,” distortions, defilements, and pollutions; and yet, for all that, Jesus loved us. He loved us because he would love us; because his heart was full of pity, and he could not let us perish. Pity moved him to seek the most needy objects that his love might display its utmost ability in lifting men from the lowest degradation, and putting them in the highest position of holiness and honour.

Observe another inference. If Christ died for the ungodly, this fact leaves the ungodly no excuse if they do not come to him, and believe in him unto salvation. Had it been otherwise they might have pleaded, “We are not fit to come.” But you are ungodly, and Christ died for the ungodly, why not for you? I hear the reply, “But I have been so very vile.” Yes, you have been impious, but your sin is not worse than this word ungodly will compass. Christ died for those who were wicked, thoroughly wicked. The Greek word is so expressive that it must take in your case, however wrongly you have acted. “But I cannot believe that Christ died for such as I am,” says one. Then, sir, mark! I hold you to your words, and charge you with contradicting the Eternal God to his teeth, and making him a liar. Your statement gives God the lie. The Lord declares that “Christ died for the ungodly,” and you say he did not, what is that but to make God a liar? How can you expect mercy if you persist in such proud unbelief? Believe the divine revelation. Close in at once with the gospel. Forsake your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall surely live. The fact that Christ died for the ungodly renders self-righteousness a folly. Why need a man pretend that he is good if “Christ died for the ungodly?” We have an orphanage, and the qualification for our orphanage is that the child for whom admission is sought shall be utterly destitute. I will suppose a widow trying to show to me and my fellow trustees that her boy is a fitting object for the charity; will she tell us that her child has a rich uncle? Will she enlarge upon her own capacities for earning a living? Why, this would be to argue against herself, and she is much too wise for that, I warrant you, for she knows that any such statements would damage rather than serve her cause. So, sinner, do not pretend to be righteous, do not dream that you are better than others, for that is to argue against yourself. Prove that you are not by nature ungodly, and you prove yourself to be one for whom Jesus did not die. Jesus comes to make the ungodly godly, and the sinful holy, but the raw material upon which he works is described in the text not by its goodness but by its badness; it is for the ungodly that Jesus died. “Oh, but if I felt!” Felt what? Felt something which would make you better? Then you would not so clearly come under the description here given. If you are destitute of good feelings, and thoughts, and hopes, and emotions, you are ungodly, and “Christ died for the ungodly.” Believe in him and you shall be saved from that ungodliness.

“Well,” cries out some Pharisaic moralist, “this is dangerous doctrine.” How so? Would it be dangerous doctrine to say that physicians exercise their skill to cure sick people and not healthy ones? Would that encourage sickness? Would that discourage health? You know better; you know that to inform the sick of a physician who can heal them is one of the best means for promoting their cure. If ungodly and impious men would take heart and run to the Saviour, and by him become cured of impiety and ungodliness, would not that be a good thing? Jesus has come to make the ungodly godly, the impious pious, the wicked obedient, and the dishonest upright. He has not come to save them in their sins, but from their sins; and this is the best of news for those who are diseased with sin. Self-righteousness is a folly, and despair is a crime, since Christ died for the ungodly. None are excluded hence but those who do themselves exclude; this great gate is set so wide open that the very worst of men may enter, and you, dear hearer, may enter now.
I think it is also very evident from our text that when they are saved, the converted find no ground of boasting; for when their hearts are renewed and made to love God they cannot say, “See how good I am,” because they were not so by nature; they were ungodly, and, as such, Christ died for them. Whatever goodness there may be in them after conversion they ascribe it to the grace of God, since by nature they were alienated from God, and far removed from righteousness. If the truth of natural depravity be but known and felt, free grace must be believed in, and then all glorying is at an end.

This will also keep the saved ones from thinking lightly of sin. If God had forgiven sinners without an atonement they might have thought little of transgression, but now that pardon comes to them through the bitter griefs of their Redeemer they cannot but see it to be an exceeding great evil. When we look to Jesus dying on the cross we end our dalliance with sin, and utterly abhor the cause of so great suffering to so dear a Saviour. Every wound of Jesus is an argument against sin. We never know the full evil of our iniquities till we see what it cost the Redeemer to put them away.
Salvation by the death of Christ is the strongest conceivable promoter of all the things which are pure, honest, lovely, and of good report. It makes sin so loathsome that the saved one cannot take up even its name without dread. “I will take away the name of Baalim out of thy mouth.” He looks upon it as we should regard a knife rusted with gore, wherewith some villain had killed our mother, our wife, or child. Could we play with it? Could we bear it about our persons or endure it in our sight? No, accursed thing! stained with the heart’s blood of my beloved, I would fain fling thee into the bottomless abyss! Sin is that dagger which stabbed the Saviour’s heart, and henceforth it must be the abomination of every man who has been redeemed by the atoning sacrifice.

To close this point. Christ’s death for the ungodly is the grandest argument to make the ungodly love him when they are saved. To love Christ is the mainspring of obedience in men—how shall men be led to love him? If you would grow love, you must sow love. Go, then; and let men know the love of Christ to sinners, and they will, by grace, be moved to love him in return. No doubt all of us require to know the threatenings of the wrath of God; but that which soonest touches my heart is Christ’s free love to an unworthy one like myself. When my sins seem blackest to me, and yet I know that through Christ’s death I am forgiven, this blest assurance melts me down.

“If thou hadst bid thy thunders roll,
And lightnings flash, to blast my soul.
I still had stubborn been;
But mercy has my heart subdued,
A bleeding Saviour I have view’d,
And now I hate my sin.”

I have heard of a soldier who had been put in prison for drunkenness and insubordination several times and he had been also flogged, but nothing improved him. At last he was taken in the commission of another offence, and brought before the commanding officer, who said to him, “My man, I have tried everything in the martial code with you, except shooting you; you have been imprisoned and whipped, but nothing has changed you. I am determined to try something else with you. You have caused us a great deal of trouble and anxiety, and you seem resolved to do so still; I shall, therefore, change my plans with you, and I shall neither fine you, flog you, nor imprison you; I will see what kindness will do, and therefore I fully and freely forgive you.” The man burst into tears, for he reckoned on a round number of lashes, and had steeled himself to bear them, but when he found he was to be forgiven, and set free, he said, “Sir, you shall not have to find fault with me again.” Mercy won his heart. Now, sinner, in that fashion God is dealing with you. Great sinners! Ungodly sinners! God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways. I have threatened you, and you hardened your hearts against me. Therefore, come now, and let us reason together: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” “Well,” says one, “I am afraid if you talk to sinners so they will go and sin more and more.” Yes, there are brutes everywhere, who can be so unnatural as to sin because grace abounds, but I bless God there is such a thing as the influence of love, and I am rejoiced that many feel the force of it, and yield to the conquering arms of amazing grace. The Spirit of God wins the day by such arguments as these; love is the great battering-ram which opens gates of brass. When the Lord says, “I have blotted out thy transgressions like a cloud, and like a thick cloud thine iniquities,” then the man is moved to repentance.

I can tell you hundreds and thousands of cases in which this infinite love has done all the good that morality itself could ask to have done; it has changed the heart and turned the entire current of the man’s nature from sin to righteousness. The sinner has believed, repented, turned from his evil ways, and become zealous for holiness. Looking to Jesus he has felt his sin forgiven, and he has started up a new man, to lead a new life. God grant it may be so this morning, and he shall have all the glory of it.

III. So now we must close—and this is the last point—THE PROCLAMATION OF THIS FACT, that “Christ died for the ungodly.” I would not mind if I were condemned to live fifty years more, and never to be allowed to speak but these five words, if I might be allowed to utter them in the ear of every man, and woman, and child who lives. “CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY” is the best message that even angels could bring to men. In the proclamation of this the whole church ought to take its share. Those of us who can address thousands should be diligent to cry aloud—”Christ died for the ungodly”; but those of you who can speak to one, or write a letter to one, must keep on at this—”Christ died for the ungodly.” Shout it out, or whisper it out; print it in capitals, or write it in a lady’s hand—”Christ died for the ungodly.” Speak it solemnly, it is not a thing for jest. Speak it joyfully; it is not a theme for sorrow, but for joy. Speak it firmly; it is indisputable fact. Facts of science, as they call them, are always questioned: this is unquestionable. Speak it earnestly; for if there be any truth which ought to arouse all a man’s soul it is this: “Christ died for the ungodly.” Speak it where the ungodly live, and that is at your own house. Speak it also down in the dark corners of the city, in the haunts of debauchery, in the home of the thief, in the den to the depraved. Tell it in the gaol; and sit down at the dying bed and read in a tender whisper—”Christ died for the ungodly.” When you pass the harlot in the street, do not give a toss with that proud head of yours, but remember that “Christ died for the ungodly”; and when you recollect those that injured you, say no bitter word, but hold your tongue, and remember “Christ died for the ungodly.” Make this henceforth the message of your life—”Christ died for the ungodly.”

And, oh, dear friends, you that are not saved, take care that you receive this message. Believe it. Go to God with this on your tongue—”Lord save me, for Christ died for the ungodly, and I am of them.” Fling yourself right on to this as a man commits himself to his lifebelt amid the surging billows. “But I do not feel,” says one. Trust not your feelings if you do; but with no feelings and no hopes of your own, cling desperately to this, “Christ died for the ungodly.” The transforming, elevating, spiritualising, moralising, sanctifying power of this great fact you shall soon know and be no more ungodly; but first, as ungodly, rest you on this, “Christ died for the ungodly.” Accept this truth, my dear hearer, and you are saved. I do not mean merely that you will be pardoned, I do not mean that you will enter heaven, I mean much more; I mean that you will have a new heart; you will be saved from the love of sin, saved from drunkenness, saved from uncleanness, saved from blasphemy, saved from dishonesty. “Christ died for the ungodly”—if that be really known and trusted in, it will open in your soul new springs of living water which will cleanse the Augean stable of your nature, and make a temple of God of that which was before a den of thieves. Trust in the mercy of God through the death of Jesus Christ, and a new era in your life’s history will at once commence.

Having put this as plainly as I know how, and having guarded my speech to prevent there being anything like a flowery sentence in it, having tried to put this as clearly as daylight itself,—that “Christ died for the ungodly,” if your ears refuse the precious boons that come through the dying Christ, your blood be on your own heads, for there is no other way of salvation for any one among you. Whether you reject or accept this, I am clear. But oh! do not reject it, for it is your life. If the Son of God dies for sinners, and sinners reject his blood, they have committed the most heinous offence possible. I will not venture to affirm, but I do suggest that the devils in hell are not capable of so great a stretch of criminality as is involved in the rejection of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Here lies the highest love. The incarnate God bleeds to death to save men, and men hate God so much that they will not even have him as he dies to save them. They will not be reconciled to their Creator, though he stoops from his loftiness to the depths of woe in the person of his Son on their behalf. This is depravity indeed, and desperateness of rebellion. God grant you may not be guilty of it. There can be no fiercer flame of wrath than that which will break forth from love that has been trampled upon, when men have put from them eternal life, and done despite to the Lamb of God. “Oh,” says one, “would God I could believe!” “Sir, what difficulty is there in it? Is it hard to believe the truth? Darest thou belie thy God? Art thou steeling thy heart to such desperateness that thou wilt call thy God a liar?” “No; I believe Christ died for the ungodly,” says one, “but I want to know how to get the merit of that death applied to my own soul.” Thou mayest, then, for here it is—”He that believeth in him,” that is, he that trusts in him, “is not condemned.” Here is the gospel and the whole of it—”He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: he that believeth not shall be damned.”

I am a poor weak man like yourselves, but my gospel is not weak; and it would be no stronger if one of “the mailed cherubim, or sworded seraphim” could take the platform and stand here instead of me. He could tell to you no better news. God, in condescension to your weakness, has chosen one of your fellow mortals to bear to you this message of infinite affection. Do not reject it! By your souls’ value, by their immortality, by the hope of heaven and by the dread of hell, lay hold upon eternal life; and by the fear that this may be your last day on earth, yea, and this evening your last hour, I do beseech you now, “steal away to Jesus.” There is life in a look at the crucified one; there is life at this moment for you. Look to him now and live. Amen.

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Romans 5:1-11 (English Standard Version)

Peace with God Through Faith

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

(English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

The Day After the Elections – A Biblical Perspective

The cultural shift toward Darwinian humanism was displayed in its fullest form yet in the elections of 2008 in the US. Here is one theologian’s perspective that I HOPE will be the normal reaction from professing Christians to this year’s presidential election.

Since you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ, in God. Colossians 3:1-3

Discerning Ideologies in Political Positions – Reagan and “Spreading the Wealth”

How do you tell the difference between Democratic and Republican principles and those of the socialist and communist caste? What’s the difference between a private organization giving grants to individuals or other organizations and the government doing it? What is the role of government in people’s lives? Who are the government servants suppose to serve – themselves or the people?

This video is a brief but outstanding examination of the current competing ideologies at war for the right of entrance into the White House. Take some time to educate yourself on them. Compare them to your Constitution… how do they measure up?

“MAN IS NOT FREE UNLESS GOVERNMENT IS LIMITED.” Ronald Reagan in his farewell address to the nation.

Governmental Acknowledgment of The Divine: Do you know the Preamble for your state?

Do you know the Preamble for your state? . . .

Alabama
1901, Preamble
We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution..

Alaska
1956, Preamble
We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.

Arizona
1911, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Arizona , grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution…

Arkansas
1874, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Arkansas , grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government…

California
1879, Preamble
We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom…

Colorado
1876, Preamble
We, the people of Colorado , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe…

Connecticut
1818, Preamble.
The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.

Delaware
1897, Preamble
Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshiping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.

Florida
1885, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Florida , grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution…

Georgia
1777, Preamble
We, the people of Georgia , relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution…

Hawaii
1959, Preamble
We , the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance … Establish this Constitution.

Idaho
1889, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.

Illinois
1870, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil , political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

Indiana
1851, Preamble
We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.

Iowa
1857, Preamble
We, the People of the St ate of Iowa , grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution.

Kansas
1859, Preamble
We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.

Kentucky
1891, Preamble.
We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties…

Louisiana
1921, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.

Maine
1820, Preamble
We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity .. And imploring His aid and direction.

Maryland
1776, Preamble
We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty…

Massachusetts
1780, Preamble
We…the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction.

Michigan
1908, Preamble.
We, the people of the State of Michigan , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, establish this Constitution.

Minnesota
1857, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:

Mississippi
1890, Preamble
We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Al mighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

Missouri
1845, Preamble
We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness . Establish this Constitution…

Montana
1889, Preamble.
We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution ..

Nebraska
1875, Preamble
We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom . Establish this Constitution.

Nevada
1864, Preamble
We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, establish this Constitution…

New Hampshire
1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

New Jersey
1844, Preamble
We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

New Mexico
1911, Preamble
We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty..

New York
1846, Preamble
We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.

North Carolina
1868, Preamble
We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those…

North Dakota
1889, Preamble
We , the people of North Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain…

Ohio
1852, Preamble
We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common.

Oklahoma
1907, Preamble
Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty, establish this

Oregon
1857, Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences

Pennsylvania
1776, Preamble
We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance….

Rhode Island
1842, Preamble.
We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing…

South Carolina
1778, Preamble
We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

South Dakota
1889, Preamble
We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties .

Tennessee
1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience…

Texas
1845, Preamble
We the People of the Republic of Texas , acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.

Utah
1896, Preamble
Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.

Vermont
1777, Preamble
Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man .

Virginia
1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other

Washington
1889, Preamble
We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution

West Virginia
1872, Preamble
Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God …

Wisconsin
1848, Preamble
We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility…

Wyoming
1890, Preamble
We, the people of the State of Wyoming , grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties, establish this Constitution…

The Sword of the Spirit

I came across this great sermon by one of my favorite historic figures, and I wanted to post it here for your perusal and meditation.

The Sword of the Spirit

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
(1834-1892)
Preached on April 19th, 1891

“Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”—Ephesians 6:17.

To be a Christian is to be a warrior. The good soldier of Jesus Christ must not expect to find ease in this world: it is a battle-field. Neither must he reckon upon the friendship of the world; for that would be enmity against God. His occupation is war. As he puts on piece by piece of the panoply provided for him, he may wisely say to himself, “This warns me of danger; this prepares me for warfare; this prophesies opposition.”

Difficulties meet us even in standing our ground; for the apostle, two or three times, bids us—”Stand.” In the rush of the fight, men are apt to be carried off their legs. If they can keep their footing, they will be victorious; but if they are borne down by the rush of their adversaries, everything is lost. You are to put on the heavenly armor in order that you may stand; and you will need it to maintain the position in which your Captain has placed you. If even to stand requires all this care, judge ye what the warfare must be! The apostle also speaks of withstanding as well as standing. We are not merely to defend, but also to assail. It is not enough that you are not conquered; you have to conquer: and hence we find, that we are to take, not only a helmet to protect the head, but also a sword, with which to annoy the foe. Ours, therefore, is a stern conflict, standing and withstanding; and we shall want all the armor from the divine magazine, all the strength from the mighty God of Jacob.

It is clear from our text that our defense and our conquest must be obtained by sheer fighting. Many try compromise; but if you are a true Christian, you can never do this business well. The language of deceit fits not a holy tongue. The adversary is the father of lies, and those that are with him understand the art of equivocation; but saints abhor it. If we discuss terms of peace, and attempt to gain something by policy, we have entered upon a course from which we shall return in disgrace. We have no order from our Captain to patch up a truce, and get as good terms as we can. We are not sent out to offer concessions. It is said that if we yield a little, perhaps the world will yield a little also, and good may come of it. If we are not too strict and narrow, perhaps sin will kindly consent to be more decent. Our association with it will prevent its being so barefaced and atrocious. If we are not narrow-minded, our broad doctrine will go down with the world, and those on the other side will not be so greedy of error as they now are. No such thing. Assuredly this is not the order which our Captain has issued. When peace is to be made, he will make it himself, or he will tell us how to behave to that end; but at present our orders are very different.

Neither may we hope to gain by being neutral, or granting an occasional truce. We are not to cease from conflict, and try to be as agreeable as we can with our Lord’s foes, frequenting their assemblies, and tasting their dainties. No such orders are written here. You are to grasp your weapon, and go forth to fight.

Neither may you so much as dream of winning the battle by accident. No man was ever holy by a happy chance. Infinite damage may be done by carelessness; but no man ever won life’s battle by it. To let things go on as they please, is to let them bear us down to hell. We have no orders to be quiet, and take matters easily. No; we are to pray always, and watch constantly. The one note that rings out from the text is this:—TAKE THE SWORD! TAKE THE SWORD! No longer is it, talk and debate! No longer is it, parley and compromise! The word of thunder is—Take the sword. The Captain’s voice is clear as a trumpet—Take the sword! No Christian man here will have been obedient to our text unless with clear, sharp, and decisive firmness, courage, and resolve, he takes the sword. We must go to heaven sword in hand, all the way. “TAKE THE SWORD.” On this command I would enlarge. May the Holy Spirit help me!

It is noteworthy that there is only one weapon of offense provided, although there are several pieces of armor. The Roman soldier usually carried a spear as well as a sword. We have seen frequent representations of the legionary standing upon guard as sentry, and he almost always stands with a spear in his right hand, while his sword hangs at his side. But Paul, for excellent reasons, concentrates our offensive weapon in one, because it answers for all. We are to use the sword, and that only. Therefore, if you are going to this fight, see well to your only weapon. If you are to have no other, take care that you have this always in your hand. Let the Captain’s voice ring in your ear, “Take the sword! Take the sword!”, and so go forth to the field.

Notice, first, the sword you are to take is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. That is our first head; and the second is equally upon the surface of the text: This sword is to be ours. We are ordered to take the sword of the Spirit, and so make it our own sword.

I. First, the Word of God which is to be our one weapon is of noble origin; for IT IS “THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT.” It has the properties of a sword, and those were given it by the Spirit of God.

Here we note that the Holy Spirit has a sword. He is quiet as the dew, tender as the anointing oil, soft as the zephyr of eventide, and peaceful as a dove; and yet, under another aspect, he wields a deadly weapon. He is the Spirit of judgment and the Spirit of burning, and he beareth not the sword in vain. Of him it may be said, “The Lord is a man of war: Jehovah is his name.”

The Word of God in the hand of the Spirit wounds very terribly, and makes the heart of man to bleed. Do you not remember, some of you, when you used to be gashed with this sword Sunday after Sunday? Were you not cut to the heart by it, so as to be angry with it? You almost made up your mind to turn away from hearing the gospel again. That sword pursued you, and pierced you in the secrets of your soul, and made you bleed in a thousand places. At last you were “pricked in the heart”, which is a far better thing than being “cut to the heart”; and then execution was done, indeed. That wound was deadly, and none but he that killed could make you alive. Do you recollect how, after this, your sins were slain one after another? Their necks were laid on the block, and the Spirit acted as an executioner with his sword. After that, blessed be God, your fears, and doubts, and despair, and unbelief, were also hacked to pieces by this same sword. The Word gave you life; but it was at the first a great killer. Your soul was like a battle-field after a great fight, under the first operations of the divine Spirit, whose sword returneth not empty from the conflict.

Beloved, the Spirit of God has war with the Amalek of evil and error from generation to generation. He will spare none of the evils which now pollute the nations; his sword will never be quiet till all these Canaanites are destroyed. The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ not only by what he reveals, but also by what he overturns. The strife may be weary, but it will be carried on from age to age, till the Lord Jesus shall appear; for ever shall the Spirit of God espouse the cause of love against hate, of truth against error, of holiness against sin, of Christ against Satan. He will win the day, and those who are with him shall in his might be more than conquerors. The Holy Spirit has proclaimed war, and wields a two-edged sword.

The Holy Spirit wields no sword but the Word of God. This wonderful Book, which contains the utterances of God’s mouth, is the one weapon which the Holy Ghost elects to use for his warlike purposes. It is a spiritual weapon, and so is suitable to the Holy Spirit. The weapons of his warfare are not carnal: he never uses either persecution or patronage, force or bribery, glitter of grandeur, or terror of power. He works upon men by the Word, which is suitable to his own spiritual nature, and to the spiritual work which is to be accomplished. While it is spiritual, this weapon is “mighty through God.” A cut from the Word of God will cleave a man’s spirit from head to foot; so sharp is this sword. Though by long practice in sin a man may have coated himself as with mail impenetrable, yet the Word of the Lord will divide the northern iron and the steel. The Holy Ghost can make a man feel the divine power of the sacred Word in the very center of his being. For battling with the spirits of man, or with spirits of an infernal kind, there is no weapon so keen, so piercing, so able to divide between the joints and marrow, so penetrating as to the thoughts and intents of the heart. The Word, in the Spirit’s hand, gives no dash-wound, but cuts into the man’s heart, and so wounds him that there is no healing save by supernatural power. The wounded conscience will bleed; its pains will be upon it day and night; and though it seek out a thousand medicines, no salve but one can cure a gash which this terrible sword has made. This weapon is two-edged; indeed, it is all edge; and whichever way it strikes, it wounds and kills. There is no such a thing as the flat of the sword of the Spirit: it has a razor edge every way. Beware how you handle it, you critics; it may wound even you: it will cut you to your destruction, one of these days, except ye be converted. He that uses the Word in the Lord’s battles may use it upon carnal hopes, and then strike back upon unbelieving fears; he may smite with one edge the love of sin, and then with the other the pride of self-righteousness. It is a conquering weapon in all ways, this wondrous sword of the Spirit of God.

The Word, we say, is the only sword which the Spirit uses. I know the Holy Ghost uses gracious sermons; but it is only in proportion as they have the Word of God in them. I know the Holy Ghost uses religious books; but only so far as they are the Word of God told out in other language. Conviction, conversion, and consolation still are wrought, and only by the Word of God. Learn, then, the wisdom of using the Word of God for holy purposes. The Spirit has abundant ability to speak of his own self, apart from the written Word. The Holy Ghost is God, and therefore he is the greatest spirit in the universe. All wisdom dwells in him. He thought out the laws which govern nature and direct providence. The Holy Spirit is the great teacher of human spirits: he taught Bezaleel and the artificers in the wilderness how to make the fine linen, and the gold and carved work for the tabernacle. All arts and sciences are perfectly known to him, and infinitely more than men can ever discover. Yet he will not use these things in this holy controversy. In the quarrel of his covenant he neither uses philosophy, nor science, nor rhetoric. In contending against the powers of darkness, “The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.” “It is written” is his master-stroke. Words which God has spoken by holy men of old, and has caused to be recorded on the sacred page—these are the battle-axe and weapons of war of his Spirit. This Book contains the Word of God, and is the Word of God; and this it is which the Holy Ghost judges to be so effectual a weapon against evil that he uses this, and this only, as his sword in the great conflict with the powers of darkness.

The Word is the sword of the Spirit because it is of his own making. He will not use a weapon of human workmanship, lest the sword boast itself against the hand that wields it. The Holy Ghost revealed the mind of God to the minds of holy men; he spake the word into their hearts, and thus he made them think as he would have them think and to write what he willed them to write: so that what they spoke and wrote was spoken and written as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Blessed be the Holy Spirit for deigning to use so many writers, and yet himself to remain the veritable Author of this collection of holy books. We are grateful for Moses, for David, for Isaiah, for Paul, for Peter, for John, but most of all for that superintending Editor, that innermost Author of the whole sacred volume—even the Holy Ghost. A warrior may well be careful as to the make of his sword. If a man had made his own sword, had tempered the metal, had himself passed the blade through many fires, and wrought it to perfection, then, if he were a skillful workman, he would feel confidence in his sword. When work is done nowadays, it is, as a rule, badly done. Work done by contract is usually scamped in some part or another; but when a man does a work for himself he is likely to do it thoroughly, and produce an article which he can depend upon. The Holy Ghost has made this Book himself: every portion of it bears his initial and impress; and thus he has a sword worthy of his own hand, a true Jerusalem blade of heavenly fabric. He delights to use a weapon so divinely made, and he does use it right gloriously.

The Word of God is also the sword of the Spirit because he puts the edge upon it. It is because he is in it that it is so keen and cutting. I believe in the inspiration of Holy Scripture, not only in the day when it was written, but onward, and even to this day. It is still inspired; still doth the Holy Ghost breathe through the chosen words. I told you the sword was all edge; but I would add that the Holy Spirit makes it so. It would have no edge at all if it were not for his presence within it, and his perpetual working by it. How many people read their Bibles, and yet derive no more benefit therefrom than if they had read an old almanack! In fact, they would more easily keep awake over an ancient Bradshaw than over a chapter of Scripture. The ministers of the gospel may preach God’s Word in all sincerity and purity, and yet, if the Spirit of God be not present, we might as well have preached mere moral essays, for no good can come of our testimony. The Holy Ghost rides in the chariot of Scripture, and not in the waggon of modern thought. Scripture is that ark of the covenant which contains the golden pot of manna, and also bears above it the divine light of God’s shining. The Spirit of God worketh in, by, and through, and with the Word; and if we keep to that Word, we may rest assured that the Holy Ghost will keep with us, and make our testimony to be a thing of power. Let us pray the blessed Spirit to put an edge on our preaching, lest we say much and accomplish little. Hear us in this thing, O blessed One!

It is “the sword of the Spirit” because he alone can instruct us in the use of it. You think, young man, that you can pick up your Bible, and go and preach from it at once, properly and successfully. You have made a presumptuous mistake. A sword is a weapon which may do hurt to the man who flourishes with it in mere wanton pride. No one can handle the sword of the Spirit aright save the chosen man whom God hath ordained from before the foundation of the world, and trained in feats of arms. By this the elect of God are known—that they love the Word of God, and they have a reverence for it, and discern between it and the words of man. Notice the lambs in the field, just now; and there may be a thousand ewes and lambs; but every lamb finds out its own mother. So does a true-born child of God know where to go for the milk which is to nourish his soul. The sheep of Christ know the Shepherd’s voice in the Word, and a stranger will they not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers. God’s own people have discernment to discover and relish God’s own Word. They will not be misled by the cunning craftiness of human devices. Saints know the Scriptures by inward instinct. The holy life, which God has infused into believers by his Spirit, loves the Scriptures, and learns how to use them for holy purposes. Young soldier, you must go to the training-ground of the Holy Spirit to be made a proficient swordsman. You will go in vain to the metaphysician or to the logician; for neither of these knows how to handle a spiritual weapon. In other arts they may be masters; but in the sacred use of diving theology they are mere fools. In the things of the Word we are dunces till we enter the school of the Holy Ghost. He must take of the things of Christ, and show them unto us. He must teach us how to grip this sword by faith, and how to hold it by watchfulness, so as to parry the adversary’s thrust, and carry the war into the foeman’s territory. He is well taught who can swing this great two-handed sword to and fro, and mow a lane through the midst of his opponents, and come out a conqueror at the end. It may take a long time to learn this art; but we have a right skillful Teacher. Those of us who have been in this warfare thirty or forty years feel that we have not yet reached the full use of this sword; nay, I know for one, that I need daily to be taught how to use this mysterious weapon, which is capable of so much more than I have yet supposed. It is the sword of the Spirit, adapted for the use of an Almighty arm, and therefore equal to the doing of far more than we think. Holy Spirit, teach us now feats of arms by this thy sword!

But, chiefly, it is the sword of the Spirit, because he is the great Master in the use of it. Oh, that he would come and show us this morning how he can thrust and cleave with it! In this house of prayer we have often seen him at his work. Here the slain of the Lord have been many. We have seen this sword take off the head of many a Goliath doubt, and slay a horde of cares and unbeliefs. We have seen the Spirit pile up heaps on heaps of the slain when the Word of conviction has gone forth, and men have seen sin to be sin, and fallen down as dead before the Lord and his law. We also know what the use of the sword by the Spirit of God means, for within our own being he has left marks of his prowess. He has killed our doubts and fears, and left no more mistrusts to worry us. There was a man of God who was frequently subject to doubts, even doubts upon the fundamentals of religion. He hated this state of mind; but still he could not get rid of the habit of evil questioning. In answer to prayer, the Spirit came, and convinced him of the pride of his intellect, and of the wickedness of setting up his judgment against the Word of the Lord; and from that day forward he was never the subject of another fit of unbelief. He saw things clearly in the light of the Holy Spirit; and that is to see them indeed. The great giant of doubt is sorely wounded by the sword of the Spirit—yea, he is slain outright; for the Spirit works in the believer such a conviction of the truth that assurance banishes suspicion. When the Holy Spirit deals with the lusts of the flesh, and the lusts of the eye and the pride of life, these also lie at his feet, trophies to the power of his mighty weapon, even the Word of God! The Holy Spirit is glorious in the use of this sword. He finds that this weapon suits his hand, and he seeks no other. Let us use it also, and be glad to do so. Though it is the sword of the Spirit, yet our feebler hand may grasp it; yea, and find in the grasping that somewhat of the divine power comes unto our arm.

Dear brethren, is it not a very high honor put upon you, as soldiers of the cross, that you should be allowed, nay, commanded to take the sword of the Spirit? The raw recruit is not trusted with the general’s sword; but here are you armed with the weapon of God the Holy Ghost, and called upon to bear that sacred sword which is so gloriously wielded by the Lord God himself. This we are to bear, and no other. Does the timid heart enquire, “Wherewithal, my Master, shall I meet my adversaries”? “Here,” saith the Holy Ghost, “take this! This is my own sword; I have done great marvels with it; take it, and nothing shall stand against you.” When you remember the potency of this sword, when the Spirit tests it upon yourself, you may take it with confidence, and use it in your holy war with full assurance. That Word of God which could convert you, can convert anybody; if it could kill your despair, it can remove another man’s despondency; if it has conquered your pride and self-will, it can subdue the like in your children and your neighbors. Having done what it has certainly done for you, you may have a full persuasion that, before its power, no case is hopeless. Wherefore, see to it, that you use from this day forth no other weapon than the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

II. This fairly lands me in the second portion of my discourse. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit; but IT IS ALSO TO BE OUR SWORD.

Here I must begin again, and go over much the same ground. We shall need a sword. Our warfare is not child’s play: we mean business. We have to deal with fierce foes, who are only to be met with keen weapons. Buffets will not suffice in this contest; we must come to sword-cuts. You may be of a very quiet spirit, but your adversaries are not so. If you attempt to play at Christian warfare, they will not. To meet the powers of darkness is no sham battle. They mean mischief. Nothing but your eternal damnation will satisfy the fiendish hearts of Satan and his crew. You must take not so much a flag to unfurl, or a drum to beat, as a sword to use, and a specially sharp sword too. In this combat you will have to use a sword such as even evil spirits can feel, capable of dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow. If you are to live through this fight, and come off victorious, no form of conflict will suffice less sharp and cutting than sword-work. Depend upon it that in this struggle you will be forced to come to close quarters. The foe aims at your heart, and pushes home. A spear will not do, nor bow and arrow; the enemy is too near for anything but hand-to-hand fighting. Brethren, our foes are not only of our house, but of our heart. I find an enemy within which is always near, and I cannot get away from him. I find that my antagonist will get his hand on my throat if he can. If our foes were far away, and we could play upon them with artillery which would kill at six or seven miles’ distance, we might lead a pretty easy life. But no; they are here! At our doors! Yea, within us; nearer than hands and feet. Now for the short sword: the claymore of Holy Scripture, to stab and cut, near and now. No sling and stone will avail us here, but we must take the sword. You have to slay your foe, or your foe will slay you. It is with us Christians as it was with the Highlanders in battle, when their leader called out to them, “Lads, there they are! If you dinna kill them they will kill you.” There is no room for peace: it is war to the knife, not only now, but to life’s end.

The use of the sword is needful for attack. I have reminded you several times already that it will not suffice for the Christian to guard against sin, and ward off temptation from himself; he has to assail the powers of evil. In our case, the best method of defense is an attack. I have heard of one who would bring an action in law to gain his ends, for he thought this better than being the defendant. That may be matter of question; but in war it is often safer to assail than defend. Carry the warfare into the enemy’s territory. Be trying to win from the adversary, and he will not win so much from you. Do not merely be sober yourselves, but attack drunkenness. Do not be content with being from superstition yourself, but expose it wherever it appears. Do not merely be devout when you feel obliged to be so, but pray for the growth of the kingdom; pray always. Do not merely say, “I will keep Satan out of my family by bringing up my children aright”, but go to the Sunday-school, and teach other children, and so carry the war over the border. God forbid that we should ever go to war as a nation! But if we were at war with some nation on the Continent, I should certainly say, “Let the continentals have the battles on their own ground: we do not want a campaign over here.” It is wise to keep the war in the enemy’s own regions. If we had fought the devil more in the world, he might never have been able to invade the church so terribly as he has done. Attack with the sword, for it is your calling, and thus will you best defend yourself.

We need the sword for real fighting. Do you think that you can dream yourselves into heaven? or ride there in the chariot of ease? Or fly on the wings of brass music? You make a great mistake if you so imagine. A real war is raging, your opponents are in deadly earnest, and you must take your sword.

And, further, we need this sword: this sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. We say with David, “There is none like that; give it me.” It has wrought such wonders that we prefer it to all others. No other will match the enemy’s weapon. If we fight the devil with human reason, the first time our wooden sword comes in contact with a Satanic temptation it will be cut in pieces. If you do not wield a true Jerusalem blade you are in grave peril; your weapon will break off at the hilt, and where will you be? Standing defenceless, with nothing but the handle of a broken sword in your hand, you will be the object of your adversary’s ridicule. You must have this sword, for no other will penetrate the foe, and no other will last out the battle. After twenty years, what has become of the pious resolutions of your youth? What is the staying power of your consecration made in the hour of enthusiasm? Alas, how little trust can be placed in it! What would become of us after thirty years of fighting, if we had not the Word of God to rely upon? The Word of the Lord endureth for ever; but nothing else does. We may do well in early days, but we shall fail in old age if we have not eternal verities to fall back upon.

I can commend this sword to you all, my brethren, although you are so varied in character. This sword suits every hand. Youth or age may alike use this weapon. These dear girls from the Orphanage, and yonder lads from the Bible-class, may fight the battle of their youth with the Word of God; for Holy Scripture may impress and guide our freshest life. You that have grown grey, you that have passed seventy or eighty, you will value the Bible more than ever, and you will find that this sword is the best for veteran warriors. Young men and young women, here is a sword suited for all of you, and well does it become the hand of the feeblest and the gentlest. The Holy Ghost has in the sacred Word prepared an implement of warfare suited for great minds and small, for the cultured and the uneducated. A wonderful sword this is, which, in the hand of faith, reveals an adaptation marvellous to the last degree.

Whatever others may say, it is sufficient for us that this is the regulation sword. A soldier is not left to choose his own equipment; he must carry such arms as his sovereign appoints. This is the regulation sword in Christ’s army. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is what you are bidden to take; and if you in wilfulness resolve to exchange it for another, you commit an act of rebellion, and you make the change at your own risk and peril. Come, then, let us each one take the Word of God, and carry it nearer our hearts than ever; for such is the word of command, “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Now, see what we are told to do. We need a sword; we need this sword; we are to take this sword. Note that we are not told that we may lay it down: the demand to take the sword is continuous, and there is no hint of its being suspended. There is a time, of course, when the soldier of her Majesty may remove his sword from his side, and put off his regimentals; there is never such a time with a Christian. One might have thought, from what we have seen of late, that orders had come from headquarters that the soldiers were to lay down the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and take to lighter weapons. Entertainments, amusements, farces, and sing-song are now used to do what the gospel has failed to achieve! Is it not sadly so? Well, if any will try these silly toys, I can only say that they have no command from their Lord to warrant them in their proceedings. Take all these things, and see what they will do; but you make the trial at your own risk, and on your own heads the result of failure will fall.

The standing-orders are to take the sword of the Spirit, and no new regulation has ever been issued by the great Captain of salvation. From the days of Paul till now, the word stands, “Take the sword of the Spirit.” All other things will surely fail, and hence the one sole abiding command is, “Take the sword of the Spirit.” We are not told to hang up this sword for exhibition. Certain people have a handsomely-bound Bible to lie upon the table of the best room; and a fine ornament it is. A Family Bible is a treasure. But I pray you do not let your love of the Bible end there. With a soldier in war, a sword is not meant to be hung up in the tent, nor even to be flourished in the air; but it is issued to be used. Nor are we to push this sword into a sheath, as many do who take the Bible, and add so much of criticism, or of their own opinion to it, that its edge is not felt. Many men use their low opinion of inspiration as a scabbard into which they push the Bible down. Their vast knowledge makes a beautiful scabbard, and they push down the sword, saying, “Keep still there! O sword of the Lord, rest and he quiet!” After we have preached our heart out, and men have felt the power of it, they make a desperate effort to imprison the Word in their unbelieving theory, or in their worldliness. They hold down the Word all the week with a firm hand, for fear its edge or point should wound them. It is the scabbard of culture, or philosophy, or of progress, and in this they shut up the living Word of God as in a coffin.

We are not to bury the Word under other matters; but we are to take it as a sword: which means, as I understand it, first, believe it. Believe every portion of it; believe it with a true and real faith, not with a mere credal faith, which says, “This is the orthodox thing.” Believe it as a matter of fact for every day, affecting your life. Believe it. And when you have believed it, then study it. Oh, for a closer study of the Word of God! Are there not some of you who have never even heard or read all that the Lord has said? Are there not passages of the Bible which have never been read by you? It is a melancholy fact that there should be even a line of the sacred Scriptures which has never once come under your eye. Do read the Bible right through, from beginning to end. Begin tomorrow: nay, begin to-day, and go steadily through the whole of the sacred books, with prayer and meditation. Never let it be suspected by you that God has recorded truths in his Word which you have never even once read. Study the Word, and work out its meaning. Go deep into the spirit of inspiration. He gets most gold who digs the deepest in this mine. They used to say of certain mines in Cornwall that the deeper you went the richer was the ore; assuredly is it so with the mines of inspired Scripture. The deeper you go under the Spirit’s guidance the larger is the reward for your toil. Take the sword with the grip of sincere faith; hold it fast by a fuller knowledge, and then exercise yourself daily in its use. The sword is to be taken for earnest fight. You will not be long before occasion arises in such a world as this. You will have to parry with it, to pierce with it, to cut with it, and to kill with it. “Where shall I begin?” says one. Begin at home, and, for many a day, you will have your hands full. When you have slain all the rebels at home, and long before that, you may take a turn at those around you in the world, and in the professing church. Inside your own heart you will find a band of bandits which should be exterminated. There will always be need to keep the sword going within your own territory. End this civil war before you go into foreign parts. When the war within the city of Mansoul has been victoriously carried through, besiege the heart of your friend, your child, your neighbor. Behold, the world lieth in the wicked one! Errors abound, and colossal systems of falsehood still stand aloft. Men are still dragged down by the arch-deceiver. Surely, we feel our swords flying out of their sheaths when we think of the millions who are being ruined by sin and error. Oh, for a mighty onslaught upon the powers of darkness!

Once more, we are to take this sword with a purpose. We are to use it that we may be able to stand and to withstand. If you want to stand, draw the sword, and smite your doubts. How fiercely unbelief assails! Here comes a doubt as to your election. Pierce it through with the Word. Anon comes a doubt as to the precious blood. Cleave it from head to foot with the assurance of the Word that the blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all sin. Here comes another doubt, and yet another. As quick as arm can move, drive texts of Scripture through every new fallacy, every new denial of truth, and spit the whole of them upon the rapier of the Word. It will be for your good to kill these doubts outright. Do not play with them, but fight them in real earnest. You will find that temptations also will come in hordes. Meet them with the precepts of sacred Writ, and slay even the desire of evil by the Spirit’s application of the Holy Word. The washing of water by the Word is a glorious cleanser. Discouragements will arise like mists of the morning. Oh, that God’s Word may shine them away with the beams of the promises! Your afflictions multiply, and you will never be able to overcome impatience and distrust except by the infallible Word of God. You can bear trial, and bear it patiently, if you use this weapon to kill anxiety. You will “stand fast in the evil day”, and having done all, you will still stand, if this sword be in your hand.

You have not only to stand fast yourselves, but you have to win souls for Christ. Do not try to conquer sin in others, or capture a heart for Jesus, except with the sword of the Spirit. How the devil laughs when we try to make converts apart from Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit! He laughs, I say; for he derides our folly. What can you do, you children, playing with your little wooden swords—what can you do against men covered from head to foot with the steel mail of the habit of sin? Sunday-school teachers, teach your children more and more the pure Word of God; and preachers, do not try to be original, but be content to take of the things of Christ, and show them to the people; for that is what the Holy Ghost himself does; and you will be wise to use his method and his sword. No sinner around you will be saved except by the knowledge of the great truths contained in the Word of God. No man will ever be brought to repentance, to faith, and to life in Christ, apart from the constant application of the truth through the Spirit. I hear great shouting, great noises everywhere, about great things that are going to be done: let us see them. The whole world is going to be embraced within the church; so they say. I fear the world will not be much the better for inclusion in such a church. Big boasters should heed the word of the wise man, “Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.” If the champion goeth forth with any other sword than the Word of God, he had better not boast at all; for he will come back with his sword broken, his shield cast away, and himself grimy with dishonor. Defeat awaits that man who forsakes the Word of the Lord.

I have done when I have asked you to remember that the text is in the present tense: Take unto you the sword of the Spirit even now. What varieties of people there are here this morning! Believers have come hither in all sorts of perils; let them each one take the sword of the Spirit, and they will overcome every foe. Here, too, are seekers who wish to be Christians; but they cannot compass it. What is the matter this morning? “Oh,” says one, “I have been in the habit of sinning, and the habit is very strong upon me.” Fight with sinful habits with the Word of God, as the sword of the Spirit: so only will you conquer your evil self. Find a text of Scripture that will cleave your sin down to the chine, or stab it to the heart. “Alas! Satan tempts me horribly,” cries one; “I have been lately assailed in many ways.” Have you? You are not the first. Our divine Lord in the wilderness was tempted of the devil. He might have fought Satan with a thousand weapons; but he chose to defeat him with this one only. He said, “It is written; it is written; it is written.” He pricked the foeman so sorely with this sharp point, that the arch-adversary thought to try the same sword; and he also began to say, “It is written.” But he cut himself with this sword, for he did not quote the passages correctly, nor give the whole of them; and the Master soon found the way to knock aside his sword, and wound him still more. Follow your Lord’s example. “Oh, but,” says one,” I am so low in spirits.” Very well; fight lowness of spirits with the Word of God. “The doctor recommended me,” says one, “to take a little spirits to raise my spirits.” Those doctors are always having this sin laid to their charge. I am not so sure that they are not often maligned. You like the dose, and that is why you take it. Try the Word of God for lowness of spirits, and you will have found a sure remedy. I find, if I can lay a promise under my tongue, like a sweet lozenge, and keep it in my mouth or mind all the day long, I am happy enough. If I cannot find a Scripture to comfort me, then my inward troubles are multiplied. Fight despondency and despair with the sword of the Spirit. I cannot tell what your particular difficulty may be at this moment; but I give you this direction for all holy warfare—”Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” You must overcome every enemy; and this weapon is all you need. If you, my hearer, would overcome sin and conquer unbelief, take such a word as this, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;” and as you look you shall be saved, and doubt shall die, and sin be slain. God grant you his Spirit’s aid, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

A Little Political History – Dismantling the Slave Trade in America – Great Black Patriots – Wallbuilders

(Posted by Administrator)

Peter after his recovery from a severe whipping. April 2, 1863, photo from National Archives and Records Administration

Peter, who was whipped by an overseer, took two months to recover from his wounds. The overseer was subsequently fired. (April 2, 1863 – photo from National Archives and Records Administration)

Were the Founding Fathers racist? What about the 3/5ths clause? Did the Constitution promote slavery or did it work against slavery? How did the two present-day major political parties form and why? What was the position of the political parties regarding slavery and whether it should remain an institution supported by the government? What happened between Sumner and Brooks on the Senate floor while Sumner was pointing the finger at the slave owners in the Senate (all democrats)? Who were the first blacks in congress and what party did they join?

Hear David Barton from Wallbuilders explain how each of the major political parties were formed, the history behind many aspects of the Constitution, with information including the infamous Dred Scott decision and how it affected anti-slavery efforts and promoted further discrimination, and the systematic political dismantling of the slave trade by Republicans (yes, Republicans.) – Historically accurate information that many people never learn in American public schools.

THESE ARE THE FULL LENGTH VIDEOS by Wallbuilders – Not you tube clips! Each video is approximately 1 hour in length. Lucky you…

VIDEO: “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT – PART 1”

VIDEO: “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT – PART 2

Check out the Wallbuilders African-American history store page for great gifts or historical examinations of this much misunderstood part of this nation’s history, such as the book
Setting the Record Straight – American History in Black and White

and it’s 2 & 1/2 hour companion DVD, a great resource for anybody’s educational and DVD library.

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Be sure to visit the Reformed Faith Weblog Home Page for devotionals, news and commentary.

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