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      Chiristianity is Not Synonymous with Compromise.
      (J. Gresham Machen and John MacArthur)

      Wednesday, January 16, 2008

      Recently, Jim from Oldtruth.com posted an article about a "pastor" named Tim Stevens who decided he will add words to the Bible to make it more "relevant" to the unbelief of the day. What happens when the Scriptures aren't our authority, but instead, we become the authority of the Scriptures? Well, unbelief ensues. There is so much compromise prevalent today largely because of the sin of idolatry. There are those who profess to be "pastors" who are concerned about public opinion rather than the people of God (Paul, Peter, John, etc.). It's blatant idolatry and compromise.

      Today, I came across this letter by the late John Gresham Machen of Princeton and later of the Westminster Seminary. Even though this was written nearly 100 years ago, like all the other writings of his I've read, it speaks directly to the issue at hand and is just as relative today as it was at the time he wrote it. This letter in particular addresses the issue of placing ourselves over the authority of Scripture. Nothing but chaos ensues when a person does so, hence modern "evangelicalism". It's bad enough when an individual decides to do this, but it's even worse when these same people are encouraging others who are a bit naive to do so, as well. Here's the part of the letter I choose to emphasize:


      THE PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL REVIEW, Vol. 13, 1915, Page 351

      ...The Bible is not a ladder; it is a foundation. It is buttressed, indeed, by experience; if you have the present Christ, then you know that the Bible account is true. But if the Bible were false, your faith would go. You cannot, therefore, be indifferent to Bible criticism. Let us not deceive ourselves. The Bible is at the foundation of the Church. Undermine that foundation, and the Church will fall. It will fall, and great will be the fall of it.

      Two conceptions of Christianity are struggling for the ascendancy today; the question that we have been discussing is part of a still larger problem. The Bible against the modern preacher! Is Christianity a means to an end, or an end in itself, an improvement of the world, or the creation of a new world? Is sin a necessary stage in the development of humanity, or a yawning chasm in the very structure of the universe? Is the world's good sufficient to overcome the world's evil, or is this world lost in sin? Is communion with God a help toward the betterment of humanity, or itself the one great ultimate goal of human life? Is God identified with the world, or separated from it by the infinite abyss of sin? Modern culture is here in conflict with the Bible. The Church is in perplexity. She is trying to compromise. She is saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace. And rapidly she is losing her power. The time has come when she must choose. God grant she may choose aright! God grant she may decide for the Bible! The Bible is despised—to the Jews a stumbling block, to the Greeks foolishnes—but the Bible is right. God is not a name for the totality of things, but an awful, mysterious, holy Person, not a "present God", in the modern sense, not a God who is with us by necessity, and has nothing to offer us but what we have already, but a God who from the heaven of His awful holiness has of His own free grace had pity on our bondage, and sent His Son to deliver us from the present evil world and receive us into the glorious freedom of communion with Himself.

      Princeton.

      J. Gresham Machen



      Compromise is certainly an issue now just as it has been since the Church began. Look to the warning Paul gives throughout Scripture of false teachings, "those who will rise up from among you speaking perverse things", and so forth if you need to see examples of this being a true statement. Compromise is not synonymous with Christianity. The number of people who may have insinuated to you that it is in your youth VBS or Sunday School is irrelevant to the issue. Christianity is not a religion of compromise. Again, if you need proof this statement being true, read about five chapters of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and your doubts should be at rest.


      John MacArthur is another who recognizes the problem of compromise as he has dealt with the issue for decades now. His ministry, Grace to You, recently released a series he did on The Uncompromising Life. You can download these podcasts in the archive at Travis Carden's site:



      END OF POST.

      5 comments:

      Anonymous said...

      Lane,
      Would you please explain Hebrew 6:4-9. I find so many different interpretations and some are disturbing? Thanks.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      A.W. Pink wrote:

      Now as we have shown in our last article, James 1:17 tells us "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above" etc. Two distinct "gifts" are here referred to. Scripture draws a clear line of distinction between that which God calls "good", and that which He designates "perfect". The main difference between them being that, usually, "good" is applied to something which is temporal, "perfect" to that which is spiritual. The operations of the Spirit upon the non-elect produces that which is "good", that which accomplishes a useful purpose in time, that which is serviceable to God’s elect. But His operations upon the children of God produces that which is "perfect", i.e. spiritual, supernatural, eternal. The difference between these two classes and their relation to God in time, was clearly foreshadowed in the Old Testament. The commonwealth of Israel was the type of Christendom as a whole; the "remnant according to the election of grace" in Israel (Rom. 11:5), represented the regenerated people of God now. Hence in both the Tabernacle and the Temple there were two distinct grades of worshippers; so there are today.

      Those who are merely nominal Christians are the outer-court worshippers; the regenerated
      Christians, who have been made "kings and priests unto God" (Rev. 1:6), worship in the holy
      place (Heb. 10:19). Both classes are contemplated in Hebrews 6.
      In the short passage which is to be before us on this present occasion, the apostle sums up and
      makes a searching application of all that he has been writing about in the preceding verses, and
      this in the form of a parable or similitude. In the context two different classes of people are
      viewed, though at first it is by no means easy to distinguish between them, the reason for this
      being that they have so much in common. They had both enjoyed the same external privileges,
      had been enlightened under the same Gospel ministry, had alike been made "partakers of the
      Holy Spirit", and had all made a good profession. Yet, of the second class it had to be said, as
      Christ said to the young ruler, "One thing thou lackest", namely, the shedding abroad of God’s
      love in their hearts, evidenced by leaving all and following Christ.

      The first class is addressed in the opening verses of our chapter, where the apostle bids the truly regenerated people of God "Go on unto perfection", i.e. having left the temporal shadows,
      seek to apprehend that for which they had been apprehended—live in the power and enjoyment of the spiritual, supernatural, and eternal. This, the apostle had said, "will we do, if God permit" (verse 3). Divine enablement was needed if they were to "possess their possessions" (Obad.
      1:17), for the regenerate are just as dependent upon God as are the unregenerate. The second
      class are before us in verses 4-6, where we have described the principal effects which the
      common operations of the Spirit produce upon the natural faculties of the human soul. Though those faculties be wound up to their highest pitch, yet the music which they produce is earthly not heavenly, human not Divine, fleshly not spiritual, temporal not eternal. Consequently, they are still liable to apostatize, and even though they should not, they are certain to perish eternally.

      The apostle’s design in this 6th chapter was to exhort the Hebrews to progress in the Christian
      course (verses 1-3), and to persevere therein (verses 12-20). The first exhortation is presented in verse 1 and qualified in verse 3. The motive to obedience is drawn from the danger of apostacy:
      (verses 4-6, note the opening "for"). His purpose in referring to this second class (of unregenerate professors, who apostatize) was, to warn against the outcome of a continuance in a state of
      slothfulness. Here in the similitude found in verses 6,7, he continues and completes the same solemn line of thought, showing what is the certain and fearful doom of all upon whom a
      regenerating work of grace is not wrought. First, however, he describes the blessedness of the
      true people of God.

      You can read the rest of what Pink wrote here.


      I realize this will be a lot to read, butJohn Owen also wrote the following:(You can go to the link and look to the corresponding page numbers in any of the formats (pdf, txt, etc.) to read it more clearly)

      That this passage in our apostle s discourse hath been looked upon
      as accompanied with great difficulties is known to all ; and many
      have the differences been about its interpretation. For, both doc-
      trinally and practically, sundry have here stumbled and miscarried.
      It is almost generally agreed upon, that from these words, and the
      colourable but indeed perverse interpretation and application made
      of them by some in the primitive times, occasioned by the then pre
      sent circumstances of things, to be mentioned afterwards, the Latin
      church was so backward in receiving the epistle itself, that it had
      not absolutely prevailed therein in the days of Jerome, as we have
      elsewhere declared. Wherefore it is necessary that we should a
      little inquire into the occasion of the great contests which have been
      in the church, almost in all ages, about the sense of this place.

      It is known that the primitive church, according to its duty, was
      carefully watchful about the holiness and upright walking of all
      that were admitted into the society and fellowship of it. Hence,
      upon every known and visible failing, they required an open repent
      ance from the offenders before they would admit them unto a
      participation of the sacred mysteries. But upon flagitious and
      scandalous crimes, such as murder, adultery, or idolatry, in many
      churches they would never admit those who had been guilty of
      them into their communion any more. Their greatest and most
      signal trial was with respect unto them who, through fear of death,
      complied with the Gentiles in their idolatrous worship in the time
      of persecution. For they had fixed no certain general rules whereby
      they should unanimously proceed, but every church exercised seve-

      of the saints; for they would thus imply not merely that a saint may fall away, but,
      what no Arminian holds, or at least can hold consistently, that, once falling
      away, he cannot be renewed. Doddridge appears to lean to the exegesis of Owen,
      expounding the privileges and attainments mentioned as not implying a state of
      grace. Stuart differs from .them, and admits that true believers are intended by
      the apostle, but meets the difficulty thus: "Whatever may be true in the divine
      purposes, as to the final salvation of all those who are once truly regenerated,
      and this doctrine I feel constrained to admit, yet nothing can be plainer than
      that the sacred writers have everywhere addressed saints in the same manner as
      they would address those whom they considered as constantly exposed to fall away

      and to perish for ever God treats Christians as free agents, as rational

      beings; he guards them against defection, not by mere physical power, but by
      moral means adapted to their nature as free and rational agents." ED.



      VER 4-6.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 69

      rity or lenity, according as they saw cause, upon the circumstances
      of particular instances. Hence Cyprian, in his banishment, would
      not positively determine concerning those of the church in Carthage
      who had so sinned and fallen, but deferred his thoughts until his
      return; when he resolved to advise with the whole church, and
      settle all things according to the counsel that should be agreed on
      amongst them. Yea, many of his epistles are on this subject pe
      culiarly; and in them all, if compared together, it is evident that
      there was no rule agreed upon herein; nor was he himself resolved
      in his own mind, though strictly on all occasions opposing Nova-
      tianus; wherein it had been well if his arguments had answered his
      zeal. Before this, the church of Rome was esteemed in particular
      more remiss in their discipline, and more free than other churches in
      their re-admission unto communion of notorious offenders. Hence
      Tertullian, in his book de Poenitentia, reflects on Zephyrinus, the
      bishop of Rome, that he had admitted adulterers unto repent
      ance, and thereby unto the communion of the church. But that
      church proceeding in her lenity, and every day enlarging her
      charity, Novatus and Novatianus taking offence thereat, advanced
      an opinion on the contrary extreme. For they denied all hope of
      church pardon, or of a return unto ecclesiastical communion, unto
      them who had fallen into open sin after baptism; and, in especial,
      peremptorily excluded all persons whatsoever who had outwardly
      complied with idolatrous worship in time of persecution, without
      respect unto any distinguishing circumstances. Yea, they seem to
      have excluded them from all expectation of forgiveness from God
      himself. But their followers, terrified with the uncharitableness and
      horror of this persuasion, tempered it so far as that, leaving all persons
      absolutely to the mercy of God upon their repentance, they only
      denied such as we mentioned before a re-admission into church com
      munion, as Acesius speaks expressly in Socrates, lib. i. cap. vii.
      Now this opinion they endeavoured to confirm, as from the nature
      and use of baptism, which was not to be reiterated, whereon they
      judged that no pardon was to be granted unto them who fell into
      those sins which they lived in before, and were cleansed from at
      their baptism ; so principally from this place of our apostle, wherein
      they thought their whole opinion was taught and confirmed. And
      so usually doth it fall out, very unhappily, with men who think they
      see some peculiar opinion or persuasion in some singular text of
      Scripture, 1 and will not bring their interpretations of it unto the
      analogy of faith, whereby they might see how contrary it is to the
      whole design and current of the word in other places. But the
      church of Rome, on the other side, though judging rightly, from other
      directions given in the Scripture, that the Novatians transgressed the

      1 See quotations from Tertullian, and others, in works, vol. vii. n. 1 4 ED.



      70 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. VI.

      rule of charity and gospel discipline in their severities, yet, as it
      should seem, and is very probable, knew not how to answer the
      objection from this place of our apostle: therefore did they rather
      choose for a season to suspend their assent unto the authority of the
      whole epistle, than to prejudice the church by its admission. And
      well was it that some learned men afterward, by their sober inter
      pretations of the words, plainly evinced that no countenance was
      given in them unto the errors of the Novatians; for without this it is
      much to be feared that some would have preferred their interest in
      their present controversy before the authority of it: which would, in
      the issue, have proved ruinous to the truth itself ; for the epistle,
      being designed of God unto the common edification of the church,
      would at length have prevailed, whatever sense men, through their
      prejudices and ignorance, should put upon any passages of it.
      But this controversy is long since buried; the generality of the
      churches in the world being sufficiently remote from that which
      was truly the mistake of the Novatians, yea, the most of them do
      bear peaceably in their communion, without the least exercise of
      gospel discipline towards them, such persons as concerning whom
      the dispute was of old whether they should ever in this world be
      admitted into the communion of the church, although upon their
      open and professed repentance. We shall not, therefore, at present
      need to labour in this controversy.

      But the sense of these words hath been the subject of great con
      tests on other occasions also. For some do suppose and contend
      that they are real and true believers who are deciphered by the
      apostle, and that their character is given us in and by sundry in
      separable adjuncts and properties of such persons. Hence they
      conclude that such believers may totally and finally fall from grace,
      and perish eternally. Yea, it is evident that this hypothesis, of the
      final apostasy of true believers, is that which influenceth their minds
      and judgments to suppose that such are here intended. Where
      fore others, who will not admit that, according to the tenor of the
      covenant of grace in Christ Jesus, true believers can perish everlast
      ingly, do say, that either they are not here intended, or if they are,
      the words are only comminatory, wherein although the consequence
      in them in a way of arguing be true, namely, that on the supposi
      tion laid down, the inference is certain, yet the supposition is not
      asserted in order unto a certain consequent, whence it should follow
      that true believers might so really fall away and absolutely perish.
      And these things have been the matter of many contests among
      learned men.

      Again; there have been sundry mistakes in the practical appli
      cation of the intention of these words unto the consciences of men,
      mostly made by themselves who are concerned. For whereas, by
      reason of sin, they have been surprised with terrors and troubles of



      VER. 4-6.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 71

      conscience, they have withal, in their darkness and distress, sup
      posed themselves to be fallen into the condition here described by
      our apostle, and consequently to be irrecoverably lost. And these
      apprehensions usually befall men on two occasions. For some having
      been overtaken with some great actual sin against the second table,
      after they have made a profession of the gospel, and having their
      consciences harassed with a sense of their guilt (as it will fall out
      where men are not greatly hardened through the deceitfulness of sin),
      they judge that they are fallen under the sentence denounced in
      this scripture against such sinners as they suppose themselves to be,
      whereby their state is irrecoverable. Others do make the same
      judgment of themselves, because they have fallen from that con
      stant compliance with their convictions which formerly led them
      unto a strict performance of duties, and this in some course of long
      continuance.

      Now, whereas it is certain that the apostle in this discourse gives
      no countenance unto the severity of the Novatians, w hereby they
      excluded offenders everlastingly from the peace and communion of
      the church; nor to the final apostasy of true believers, which he
      testifieth against in this very chapter, in compliance with innumer
      able other testimonies of Scripture to the same purpose; nor doth he
      teach any thing whereby the conscience of any sinner who desires
      to return to God, and to find acceptance with him, should be dis
      couraged or disheartened; we must attend unto the expcsition of the
      words in the first place, so as not to break in upon the boundaries
      of other truths, nor transgress against the analogy of faith. And we
      shall find that this whole discourse, compared with other scriptures,
      and freed from the prejudices that men have brought unto it, is
      both remote from administering any just occasion to the mistakes
      before-mentioned, and is a needful, wholesome commination, duly to
      be considered by all professors of the gospel.

      In the words we consider, 1. The connection of them unto those
      foregoing, intimating the occasion of the introduction of this whole
      discourse. 2. The subject described in them, or the persons spoken
      of, under sundry qualifications, which may be inquired into jointly
      and severally. 3. What is supposed concerning them. 4. What is
      affirmed of them on that supposition.

      FIRST, The connection of the words is included in the causal con
      junction, yap, " for." It respects the introduction of a
      reason for what had been before discoursed, as also of
      the limitation which the apostle added expressly unto his purpose
      of making a progress in their further instruction, " If God permit."
      And he doth not herein express his judgment that they to whom
      he wrote were such as he describes, for he afterwards declares that
      he "hoped better things concerning them;" only it was necessary to
      give them this caution, that they might take due care not to b



      72 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. VI.

      such. And whereas he had manifested that they were slow as to
      the making of a progress in knowledge and a suitable practice, he
      lets them here know the danger that there was in continuing in
      that slothful condition. For not to proceed in the ways of the
      gospel, and obedience thereunto, is an untoward entrance into a total
      relinquishment of the one and the other. That therefore they might
      be acquainted with the danger hereof, and be stirred up to avoid
      that danger, he gives them an account of those who, after a pro
      fession of the gospel, beginning at a non-proficiency under it, do
      end in apostasy from it. And we may see, that the severest corn-
      minations are not only useful in the preaching of the gospel, but
      exceeding necessary towards persons that are observed to be slothful
      in their profession.

      SECONDLY, The description of the persons that are the subject
      spoken of is given in five instances of the evangelical privileges
      whereof they were made partakers; notwithstanding all which, and
      against their obliging efficacy to the contrary, it is supposed that
      they may wholly desert the gospel itself. And some things we may
      observe concerning this description of them in general ; as, 1.
      The apostle, designing to express the fearful state and judgment of
      these persons, describes them by such things as may fully evidence
      it to be, as unavoidable, so righteous and equal. Those things
      must be some evident privileges and advantages, whereof they were
      made partakers by the gospel. These being despised in their apos
      tasy, do proclaim their destruction from God to be rightly deserved.
      2. That all these privileges do consist in certain especial operations
      of the Holy Ghost, which were peculiar unto the dispensation of the
      gospel, such as they neither were nor could be made partakers of in
      their Judaism. For " the Spirit," in this sense, was not " received
      by the works of the law, but by the hearing of faith," Gal. iii. 2;
      and this was a testimony unto them that they were delivered from
      the bondage of the law, namely, by a participation of that Spirit
      which was the great privilege of the gospel. 3. Here is no express
      mention of any covenant grace or mercy in them or towards them,
      nor of any duty of faith or obedience which they had performed.
      Nothing of justification, sanctification, or adoption, is expressly as
      signed unto them. Afterwards, when he comes to declare his hope
      and persuasion concerning these Hebrews, that they were not such
      as those whom he had before described, nor such as would so fall
      away unto perdition, he doth it upon three grounds, whereon they
      were differenced from them: as, (1.) That they had such things
      as did " accompany salvation " that is, such as salvation is insepa
      rable from. None of these things, therefore, had he ascribed unto
      those whom he describeth in this place ; for if he had so done, they
      would not have been unto him an argument and evidence of a con-



      VER. 4-6.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 73

      trary end, that these should not fall away and perish as well as those.
      Wherefore he ascribes nothing to these here in the text that doth
      peculiarly "accompany salvation/ verse 9. (2.) He describes them by
      their duties of obedience and fruits of faith. This was their " work
      and labour of love" towards the name of God, verse 10. And
      hereby, also, doth he difference them from these in the text, con
      cerning whom he supposeth that they may perish eternally, which
      these fruits of saving faith and sincere love cannot do. (3.) He
      adds, that in the preservation of those there mentioned the faith
      fulness of God was concerned : " God is not unrighteous to forget."
      For they were such he intended as, were interested in the covenant
      of grace, with respect whereunto alone there is any engagement
      on the faithfulness or righteousness of God to preserve men from
      apostasy and ruin ; and there is so with an equal respect unto all who
      are so taken into the covenant. But of these in the text he sup
      poseth no such thing; and thereupon doth not intimate that either
      the righteousness or faithfulness of God was any way engaged for
      their preservation, but rather the contrary. The whole description,
      therefore, refers unto some especial gospel privileges, which professors
      in those days were promiscuously made partakers of ; and what they
      were in particular we must in the next place inquire :

      1. The first thing in the description is, that they were 3,Ka% <puritf-
      S svres, " once enlightened;" saith the Syriac translation,
      as we observed, " once baptized/ It is very certain ^^ <?*"-
      that, early in the church, baptism was called purisftos,
      " illumination ;" and <p urifyiv, " to enlighten," was used for " to bap
      tize." And the set times wherein they solemnly administered that
      ordinance were called tip spai ruv <puruv, " the days of light." Here
      unto the Syriac interpreter seems to have had respect. And the
      word a-rag, " once," may give countenance hereunto. Baptism was
      once only to be celebrated, according to the constant faith of the
      churches in all ages. And they called baptism "illumination," because
      it being one ordinance of the initiation of persons into a participa
      tion of all the mysteries of the church, they were thereby translated
      out of the kingdom of darkness into that of grace and light. And
      it seems to give further countenance hereunto, in that baptism really
      was the beginning and foundation of a participation of all the other
      spiritual privileges that are mentioned afterwards. For it was usual
      in those times, that upon the baptizing of persons, the Holy Ghost
      came upon them, and endowed them with extraordinary gifts, pecu
      liar to the days of the gospel, as we have showed in our consideration
      of the order between " baptism" and " imposition of hands." And this
      opinion hath so much of probability in it, having nothing therewithal
      unsuited to the analogy of faith or design of the place, that I should
      embrace it, if the word itself, as here used, did not require another



      74 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. VI.

      interpretation. For it was a good while after the writing of this
      epistle, and all other parts of the New Testament, at least an age or
      two, if not more, before this word was used mystically to express
      baptism. In the whole Scripture it hath another sense, denoting an
      inward operation of the Spirit, and not the outward administration
      of an ordinance. And it is too much boldness, to take a word in a
      peculiar sense in one single place, diverse from its proper significa
      tion and constant use, if there be no circumstances in the text forcing
      us thereunto, as here are not. And for the word aVag, " once/
      it is not to be restrained unto this particular, but refers equally unto
      all the instances that follow, signifying no more but that those men
      tioned were really and truly partakers of them.

      Gurifypai is "to give light or knowledge by teaching ;" the same
      with i" 1 ^ " 1 , which, therefore, is so translated ofttimes by the Greeks;
      as by Aquila, Exod.iv. 12; Ps. cxix. S3; Prov. iv. 4; Isa. xxvii. 11,
      as Drusius observes. And it is so by the LXX., Judges xiii. 8;
      2 Kings xii. 2, xvii. 27. Our apostle useth it for " to make mani
      fest;" that is, "bring to light," 1 Cor. iv. 5, 2 Tim. i. 10. And the
      meaning of it, John i. 9, where we render it " lighteth," is to teach.
      And (purtfpoi; is " knowledge upon instruction :" 2 Cor. iv. 4, E<$ rb
      p,Yl avydffai avroTg rr/v <puriff/j,bv rou evtx yyi kiov, " That the light of the
      gospel should not shine into them;" that is, the knowledge of it. So
      verse 6, Upog tpune^v rr,s yvuattos, " The light of the knowledge."
      Wherefore to be " enlightened," in this place, is to be instructed in
      the doctrine of the gospel, so as to have a spiritual apprehension
      thereof. And this is so termed on a double account:

      (1.) Of the object, or the things known and apprehended. For
      " life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel," 2 Tim. i.
      10. Hence it is called "light;" "the inheritance of the saints in
      light." And the state which men are thereby brought into is so called
      in opposition to the darkness that is in the world without it, 1 Pet. ii.
      9. The world without the gospel is the kingdom of Satan : O x&V-
      po$ 0X05 sv rSi vovripp xs/rai, 1 John v. 1.9. The whole of the world,
      and all that belongs unto it, in distinction and opposition unto the
      new creation, is under the power of the wicked one, the prince of the
      power of darkness, and so is full of darkness. It is r<to-o$ ai^cMj^oj,
      2 Pet. i. 19; "a dark place," wherein ignorance, folly, error, and su
      perstition do dwell and reign. By the power and efficacy of this dark
      ness are men kept at a distance from God, and know not whither
      they go. This is called " walking in darkness," 1 John i. 6 ; where-
      unto " walking in the light," that is, the knowledge of God in Christ
      by the gospel, is opposed, verse 7. On this" account is our instruc
      tion in the knowledge of the gospel called " illumination," because
      itself is light.

      (2.) On the account of the subject, or the mind itself, whereby



      VER. 4-6.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 75

      the gospel is apprehended. For the knowledge which is received
      thereby expels that darkness, ignorance, and confusion, which the
      mind before was filled and possessed withal. The knowledge, I say,
      of the doctrine of the gospel, concerning the person of Christ, of
      God s being in him reconciling the world unto himself, of his offices,
      work, and mediation, and the like heads of divine revelation, doth
      set up a spiritual light in the minds of men, enabling them to dis
      cern what before was utterly hid from them, whilst " alienated from
      the life of God through their ignorance." Of this light and know
      ledge there are several degrees, according to the means of instruction
      which they do enjoy, the capacity they have to receive it, and the
      diligence they use to that purpose. But a competent measure of
      the knowledge of the fundamental and most material principles or
      doctrines of the gospel is required unto all that may thence be said
      to be illuminated; that is, freed from the darkness and ignorance
      they once lived in, 2 Pet. i. 19-21.

      This is the first property whereby the persons intended are de
      scribed; they are such as were "illuminated" by the instruction
      they had received in the doctrine of the gospel, and the impression
      made thereby on their minds by the Holy Ghost; for this is a
      common work of his, and is here so reckoned. And the apostle
      would have us know that,

      Obs. I. It is a great mercy, a great privilege, to be enlightened
      with the doctrine of the gospel, by the effectual working of the. Holy
      Ghost, But,

      Obs. II. It is such a privilege as may be lost, and end in the
      aggravation of the sin, and condemnation of those who were made
      partakers of it. And,

      Obs. III. Where there is a total neglect of the due improvement
      of this privilege and mercy, the condition of such persons is hazard
      ous, as inclining towards apostasy.

      Thus much lies open and manifest in the text. But that we may
      more particularly discover the nature of this first part of the char
      acter of apostates, for their sakes who may look after their own con
      cernment therein, we may yet a little more distinctly express the
      nature of that illumination and knowledge which is ascribed unto
      them ; and how it is lost in apostasy will afterwards appear. And,

      (1.) There is a knowledge of spiritual things that is purely na
      tural and disciplinary, attainable and attained without any espe
      cial aid or assistance of the Holy Ghost. As this is evident in
      common experience, so especially among such as, casting themselves
      on the study of spiritual things, are yet utter strangers unto all spi
      ritual gifts. Some knowledge of the Scripture, and the things con
      tained in it, is attainable at the same rate of pains and study with
      that of any other art or science.



      76 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. VI.

      (2.) The illumination intended, being a gift of the Holy Ghost,
      differs from, and is exalted above this knowledge that is purely
      natural; for it makes nearer approaches unto the light of spiritual
      things in their own nature than the other doth. Notwithstanding
      the utmost improvement of scientifical notions that are purely na
      tural, the things of the gospel, in their own nature, are not only
      unsuited to the wills and affections of persons endued with them,
      but are really foolishness unto their minds. And as unto that good
      ness and excellency which give desirableness unto spiritual things,
      this knowledge discovers so little of them, that most men hate the
      things which they profess to believe. But this spiritual illumination
      gives the mind some satisfaction, with Delight and joy, in the things
      that are known. By that beam whereby it shines into darkness,
      although it be not fully comprehended, yet it represents the way of
      the gospel as a way of righteousness, 2 Pet. ii. 21, which reflects a
      peculiar regard of it on the mind.

      Moreover, the knowledge that is merely natural hath little or no
      power upon the soul, either to keep it from sin or to constrain it
      unto obedience. There is not a more secure and profligate genera
      tion of sinners in the world than those who are under the sole con
      duct of it. But the illumination here intended is attended with
      efficacy, and doth effectually press in the conscience and whole soul
      unto an abstinence from sin, and the performance of all known
      duties. Hence persons under the power of it and its convictions do
      ofttiines walk blamelessly and uprightly in the world, so as not with
      the other to contribute unto the contempt of Christianity. Besides,
      there is such an alliance between spiritual gifts, that where any one
      of them, doth reside, it hath assuredly others accompanying of it, or one way or other belonging unto its train, as is manifest in this place. Even a single talent is made up of many pounds. But the light and knowledge which is of a mere natural acquirement is soli
      tary, destitute of the society and countenance of any spiritual gift whatever. And these things are exemplified unto common obser
      vation every day.


      I hope this helps. Let me know if you would like any more resources.

      Lane Chaplin said...

      (Obviously, I copied and pasted this. I didn't realize it would break it apart so much. If you go to the links, you'll be able to read it better.)

      Anonymous said...

      Thanks Lane I will run copies and study it.
      I was brought up in a church who preached that Jesus was the only way , (and He is), and that if you made a decision to ask Him into your heart you would be saved. I'm now 60 yrs. old and finally realize I needed to cry out to God to grant me repentance. The thing is, I know that I am not unique. How many are out there thinking they are saved because they said a prayer. And now we have "seeker" churches who make it even easier?? Oh may God have mercy because I can't think of anything worse than standing before the Lord thinking you are saved and hearing Him say "depart from Me"!
      Anyway thank you for blogging the "truth".

      Lane Chaplin said...

      It truly is a sad state as to what "evangelicalism" has become engrossed in. The idolatry of the numbers takes the place of the fear of the Lord as their works prove. I will keep you in my prayers. I knew there wasn't something quite right growing up (understatement, I know), but after listening to much sound preaching like Spurgeon and Washer, it gave me much confidence knowing that I wasn't the only person who thought these things. I blogged recently about the "But I Asked Jesus Into My Heart When I Was Ten" philosophy. The first video has vulgarities in it, but it truly shows how bankrupt the whole system is. You can view that post here. Take care. As I said, you're in my prayers. Let me know if you have any more questions. I'm pretty aware of many resources on the net, and I may be able to direct you to one where you could study further.

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