Gauging Inward Impulses

The Holy Bible“The wayward child and the self-willed youth is guided by his own unsanctified and unsubdued spirit. The man of the world is controlled by “the spirit of the world.” The wicked are governed by Satan “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). But the Christian is to yield himself unto “the still small voice” of the Holy Spirit. Yet a word of caution is needed at this point, for in our day there are many fanatics and impious people who do that which is grossly dishonoring to God under the plea that they were “prompted by the Spirit” so to act. To be “led by the Spirit of God” does not mean being influenced by unaccountable suggestions and uncontrollable impulses which result in conduct displeasing to God, and often injurious to ourselves and others. No, indeed: not so does the Spirit of God “lead” anyone.

There is a safe and sure criterion by which the Christian may gauge his inward impulses, and ascertain whether they proceed from his own restless spirit, an evil spirit, or the Spirit of God. That criterion is the written Word of God, and by it all must be measured. The Holy Spirit never prompts anyone to act contrary to the Scriptures. How could He, when He is the Author of them! His promptings are always unto obedience to the precepts of Holy Writ. Therefore, when a man who has not been distinctly called, separated, and qualified by God to be a minister of His Word, undertakes to “preach,” no matter how strong the impulse, it proceeds not from the Holy Spirit. When a woman “feels led” to pray in public where men are present, she is moved by “another spirit” (2 Corinthians 11:4), or if one claimed “guidance” in assuming an unequal yoke by marrying an unbeliever, 2 Corinthians 6:14 would prove conclusively that it was not the “guidance” of the Holy Spirit.”

~ A. W. Pink


No Angels, No Apostles

No image availableThis is very interesting to me.  I inquired about images of angels, etc. when I first became Reformed and was told it wasn’t a problem.  Now I am revisiting the issue find that others say it is a ninth commandment violation.  I’m sure there are many images on this blog that others would find offensive, but I do not have the time to scrub them all at the moment.  What are your thoughts on images of angels, etc.?

“From this ground also it would seem, that painting of angels might be condemned, as a thing impossible, they being spirits, which no corporeal thing can represent, beside that the representing of them has some hazard with it: and for those cherubims that were made by God’s direction under the Old Testament, they were rather some emblem of the nature and service of angels, as being full of zeal, and always (as it were) upon wing ready to obey God’s will, than any likeness of themselves. And it is hardly possible to fancy representations of spirits, good or evil, but thereby men will wrong themselves in the right description of them; though we grant angels being but finite spirits, there is another kind of danger and impossibility of representing God, who is an infinite Spirit. Also some say, That these cherubims mentioned did not represent the nature of angels, but angels appearing under such visible shape; and we find, Ezek. 1. there are divers shapes by which they are pointed out, but it is as to their fitness and readiness for service, and not as to their nature.”

-James Durham, The Law Unsealed, Exposition of the Ten Commandments

“We declare, on the contrary, that the making of images of the Trinity is absolutely forbidden. We neither know the spiritual nature of the angels nor the true physical appearance of Christ and the apostles. Thus, the images made of them are without resemblance, and it is vanity to make an image and say: That is Christ, that is Mary, that is Peter, etc. … In the first place, one may make no images of God whatsoever; that is, of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

– Wilhelmus a Brakel

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No Symbols

Frans Hogenberg Bildersturm 1566

Via Mint, Anise, and the Cumin:

“All representing of the persons as distinct, as to set out the Father (personally considered) by the image of an old man, as if he were a creature, the Son under the image of a lamb or young man, the Holy Ghost under the image of a dove, all which wrongeth the Godhead exceedingly; and although the Son was and is man, having taken on him that nature, and united it to his Godhead, yet he is not a mere man; therefore that image, which only holdeth forth one nature, and looketh like any man in the world, cannot be the representation of that person which is God and man.”

-James Durham, The Law Unsealed

“Puritan Thomas Watson wrote in his commentary on the Ten Commandments that all portraitures, shapes and ideas are forbidden in the Second Commandment with regards to the any person of the Godhead or the Triune God as a whole. Diagrams, Triangles, Triquetra etc are not only ideas but also shapes that are expressively forbidden when made for a religious use and for representing God either symbolically or literally.”

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No Crosses

Carolinum Zürich - Stadelhofen - Reformationschronik von 1605 Heinrich Bullinger 2015-11-06 17-09-52

Mint, Anise, and the Cumin:

We are forbidden to ever make an image nor even a symbol for veneration and how many people revere the symbol of the cross.

‘The cross has been also abused to superstition and idolatry, to drive away devils, to expel diseases, to break the force of witchcraft, &c. It is one of the images to which the papists give religious adoration. The water in the baptism has no spiritual virtue in it without the cross, nor is any one rightly baptized (according to the papists) without it.’ Lincolnshire ministers apology, December 1, 1604, Taken from Daniel Neal, “History of the Puritans” (Vol. 1, pp. 245-246)

And finally, If and I stretch it to be a BIG if, if at some point the Cross was okay to be symbolized, once it became abused towards idolatry (i.e. Roman Catholics), it is to be destroyed and never ever to be taken up again, as Westminster divine George Gillespie write about the Brazen Serpent in the OT…

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Contingencies Keep To No Rules

Rahab and the Emissaries of Joshua

John Flavel, The Work of Providence for the Saints:

If there is not an over-ruling Providence ordering all things for the good of God’s people, how comes it to pass that the good and evil which is done to them in this world is accordingly repaid into the bosoms of them that are instrumental therein?

How clear is it to every man’s observation, that the kindnesses and benefits any have done to the Lord’s people have been rewarded with full measure into their bosoms. The Egyptian midwives refused to obey Pharaoh’s inhuman command, and saved the male children of Israel; for this ‘the Lord dealt well with them and built them houses!’ (Exod. 1.21). The Shunammite was hospitable and careful for Elisha, and God recompensed it with the desirable enjoyment of a son (2 Kings 4. 9,17). Rahab hid the spies, and was exempted from the destruction of Jericho (Heb. 11. 31). Publius, the chief man of the island of Melita, courteously received and lodged Paul after his shipwreck, the Lord speedily repaid him for that kindness, and healed his father, who lay sick at that time of a bloody flux and fever (Acts 28.7,8).

In like manner, we find the evils done to God’s people have been repaid by a just retribution to their enemies. Pharaoh and the Egyptians were cruel enemies to God’s Israel, and designed the ruin of their poor innocent babes, and God repaid it in smiting all the first-born of Egypt in one night (Exod. 12.29). Haman erected a gallows fifty cubits high for good Mordecai, and God so ordered it that he himself and his ten sons were hanged on it. And indeed it was but meet that he should eat the fruit of that tree which he himself had planted (Esther 7.10). Ahithophel plots against David, and gives counsel like an oracle how to procure his fall; and that very counsel, like an overcharged gun, recoils upon himself, and procures his ruin. Seeing his good counsel rejected (good politically, not morally), it was now easy for him to guess the outcome, and so his own fate (2 Sam. I7.23).

Charles IX most inhumanly made the very canals of Paris flow with Protestant blood, and soon after he died miserably, his blood flowing from all parts of his body. Stephen Gardiner, who burnt so many of God’s dear servants to ashes, was himself so scorched up by a terrible inflammation that his very tongue was black and hung out of his mouth, and in dreadful torments he ended his wretched days. Maximinus, that cruel emperor, who set forth his proclamation engraven in brass for the utter abolishing of the Christian religion, was speedily smitten like Herod with a dreadful judgment, swarms of lice preying upon his entrails, and causing such a stench that his physicians could not endure to come near him, and for refusing to do so were slain. Hundreds of like instances might easily be produced to confirm this observation. And who can but see by these things that ‘verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth!’

Yea, so exact have been the retributions of Providence to the enemies of the Church, that not only the same persons, but the same members, that have been the instruments of mischief, have been made the subjects of wrath. The same arm which Jeroboam stretched out to smite the prophet, God smites. The emperor Aurelian, when he was ready to subscribe the edict for the persecution of the Christians, was suddenly cramped in his knuckles that he could not write. Greenhill, in his exposition upon Ezekiel 11.13, tells his hearers that there was one then present in the congregation who was an eye-witness of a woman scoffing at another for purity and holy walking, who had her tongue stricken immediately with the palsy, and died of it within two days. Henry II of France, in a great rage against a Protestant counsellor, committed him to the hands of one of his nobles to be imprisoned, and that with these words, that ‘he would see him burned with his own eyes.’ But, mark the righteous providence of God, within a few days after, the same nobleman, with a lance put into his hands by the king, did at a tilting match run the said king into one of his eyes, from which he died.

Yea, Providence has made the very place of sinning the place of punishment: “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood (1 Kings 21.19); and it was exactly fulfilled (2 Kings 9.26). Thus Tophet is made a burying- place for the Jews, till there was no room to bury, and that was the place where they had offered up their sons to Moloch (Jer. 7.31,32). The story of Nightingale is generally known, which Foxe relates, how he fell out of the pulpit and broke his neck, while he was abusing that Scripture (1 John 1.10). And thus the Scriptures are made good by Providence. ‘Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein; and he that rolleth a stone, it shall return upon him’ (Prov. 26.27), and ‘with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again’ (Matt. 7.2).

We find a multitude of providences so timed to a minute, that had they occurred just a little sooner or later, they had mattered little in comparison with what now they do. Certainly, it cannot be chance, but counsel, that so exactly works in time. Contingencies keep to no rules.

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In Matters of Worship…

Erhard Schön - Complaint of the Poor Persecuted Idols - WGA21052

Quod Scriptura Non Iubet Vetat

(What Scripture does not command, it forbids)

A Divine and Special Providence Overruling These Matters

John Flavel, The Work of Providence for the Saints:

Tallinna raekoja kellThis the Psalmist foresaw by the Spirit of prophecy when he said: ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, to still the enemy and the avenger’ (Ps. 8.2). At the sound of rams’ homs Jericho is delivered into the hands of Israel (Josh. 6.20). By three hundred men, with their pitchers and lamps, the huge host of Midian is discomfited (Judges 6.19). The Protestants besieged in Beziers in France are delivered by a drunken drummer who, going to his quarters at midnight, rang the alarm-bell of the town, not knowing what he did, and just then their enemies were making their assault. And as weak and improbable means have been blessed with success to the Church in general, so to the preservation of its particular members also. A spider, by weaving her web over the mouth of an oven, shall hide a servant of Christ, Du Moulin, from his enemies, who took refuge there in that bloody Parisian massacre. A hen shall sustain another many days at the same time by lodging her egg every day in the place where he had hid himself from the cut-throats. Examples might be easily multiplied, but the truth is too plain and obvious to the observation of all ages to need them. And can we but acknowledge a divine and special Providence overruling these matters, when we see the most apt and potent means for the Church’s ruin frustrated, and the most silly and contemptible means granted success and prospered for its good?

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