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Archive for August, 2010

John Bunyan’s book “Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ” is an exposition of Jesus’ words in John 6:37 “All that the father gives to me shall come”. Bunyan believes in the Doctrines of Grace and in this chapter he lists and answers objections from someone who wonders how they might come to Christ given their natural state.

Objection 1. But they are dead, dead in trespasses and sins. How shall they then come?

The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that her shall live.

Objection 2. But they are Satan’s captives; he takes them captive at his will, and he is stronger than they. How then they then come?

Bunyan mentions the examples of the daughter of Abraham that had been bound by Satan, Mary Magdalene who had been oppressed by seven devils and the man possessed by legion. He also makes mention of Jesus binding the strong man.

Objection 3. Bunyan then raises the objection as to how they will come when they are bound by a will that will not.

The absolute promise of God, comes to be fulfilled upon them, then they come; because by that promise a cure is provided against the rebellion of their wills. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”. … The obstinacy and plague that is in the will of that people shall be taken away; and they shall be made willing to come.

Objection 4. They come, say you; but how if they be blind and see not the way ? For some are kept off from Christ, not only by the obstinacy of their will, but by the blindness of their mind: Now, if they be blind, how shall they come ?

I will bring the blind by a way that they know not. I will lead them in paths that they know not. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight; these things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

Objection 5. But how, if they have exceeded many in sin, and so made themselves far more abominable ?

In those days, and at that time, saith the Lord,  the iniquities of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found. Not that they had none, for they abounded in transgression ; but God would pardon, cover, hide, and put them away, by virtue of his absolute promise, by which they are given to Christ to save them.

Objection 6. But how if they have not faith and repentance ? How shall they come then ?

He that hath said they shall come, if faith and repentance be the way to come, as indeed they are, then faith and repentance shall be given to them

Objection 7. But how shall they escape all those dangerous and damnable opinions, that like rocks and quicksands are in the way in which they are going.

Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

source: John Bunyan, “Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ – Chapter 3 ‘Coming to Christ’

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(Job 1:6-7) Angels (good and bad) are accountable to God. Satan must appear before God to give an account. God is sovereign over all.

(Job 1:12) God is sovereign over what evil spirits may and may not do.

(Job 1:13-19) Is the cause of Job’s suffering raiders-lightning-wind or Satan or God? God is ultimately sovereign over all.

(Job 1:20-22) Job correctly attributes his suffering to God’s action.

(Job 2:5; 1:11) Satan refers to the suffering of Job as God stretching out his hand against Job not to Satan’s autonomous action.

(Job 2:5-7; 1:11-12) God allows Satan to stretch out his hand against Job but limits his actions. Satan appears but an instrument of God.

(Job 2:10) Again Job correctly attributes his suffering to the act of God.

(Job 3) Job is a righteous man who suffers under the hand of God as does Christ. The darkness Job describes actually happens at the cross.

(Job 4) As Eliphaz attributes Job’s suffering to his sin and God-forsakenness, so do the religious leaders to Jesus’ suffering at the cross.

(Job 5) Eliphaz is right – God saves the needy, wounds & heals, preserves the righteous, feet not hurt by stones – but wrong in Job’s case.

(Job 6:2-4) Christ, like Job, is a righteous sufferer under God’s hand.

(Job 8:21-22) Bildad is correct that God will again cause a suffering man to have joy. Incorrect to assume this depends on Job’s repentance.

(Job 8:21-22) Christ was given joy and saved from his enemies but not due to his repentance of sin but God’s response to his righteousness.

(Job 9:5-10) Job correctly highlights God’s sovereignty in ordering the sun’s movements, control of waves , constellations & suffering.

(Job 9:24) Total sovereignty! The earth is given into hand of wicked; God covers the faces of its judges– if it is not he, who then is it?

(Job 10:1) The depth of Job’s suffering described as bitterness of soul c.f. the suffering of Christ on the cross.

(Job 10:10-12) God’s sovereignty in a person’s creation – clothed with skin & flesh, knit together with bones & sinews. Given life & spirit.

(Job 10:10-12) God is sovereign in the detail – Did you not pour me out like milk (ejaculation) and curdle me like cheese (in the womb)?

(Job 10:21-22) Judgment as going to land of thick darkness & deep shadow without any order, land of gloom where light is as thick darkness.

(Job 11:6) Zophar is right that God exacts of us less than our guilt deserves but Job’s suffering is not caused by sin.

(Job 11:7-8) Only Christ knows the wisdom and secret things of God from the heavens to the depths of Sheol.

(Job 11) Zophar is right that repentance brings forgiveness, restoration and blessing but God is not responding to Job’s sin in this case.

(Job 12) Job says that God is sovereign over all things, does all things and holds the breath of all people in his hand.

(Job 13:15) Though he slay me, I will hope in him.

(Job 14) Job highlights the hopelessness of death. Christ is the answer to Job’s desire as he give life to the dead.

(Job 14:14-17) The renewal Job looks for is found in Christ & his work that causes sin to not be watched, sealed in a bag and covered over.

(Job 15:15-16) Eliphaz is right that man is totally depraved … much less one who is abominable & corrupt, drinks injustice like water.

(Job 15) Eliphaz and his friends are not right that bad things only happen to bad people and good things to good people.

(Job 12) Job says that God is sovereign over all things, does all things and holds the breath of all people in his hand.

(Job 13:15) Though he slay me, I will hope in him.

(Job 14) Job highlights the hopelessness of death. Christ is the answer to Job’s desire as he give life to the dead.

(Job 14:14-17) The renewal Job looks for is found in Christ & his work that causes sin to not be watched, sealed in a bag and covered over.

(Job 15:15-16) Eliphaz is right that man is totally depraved … much less one who is abominable & corrupt, drinks injustice like water.

(Job 15) Eliphaz and his friends are not right that bad things only happen to bad people and good things to good people.

(Job 16:5) Christ strengthens with his mouth and from his lips comes solace for those who suffer in pain.

(Job 16:9-17) Job’s description of his suffering as a righteous man could also be placed on Christ’s lips.

(Job 16:18-21) Christ is Job’s witness in heaven who intercedes as a paraclete for his people in God’s presence.

(Job 18) Bildad is right to say that God judges the wicked but wrong to attribute this to be the case with Job.

(Job 18) Bildad’s words whereby he assumes Job to be wicked and under God’s curse is how people regarded Christ on the cross.

(Job 19) Job’s accurate description of his suffering as coming from God’s hand and abandonment by God and associates is also true of Christ.

(Job 19:23-27) Christ is Job’s kinsman-redeemer who lives. He will stand as judge, raise the dead and enable his to see God face to face.

(Job 20) Zophar is correct – God curses wicked. He is wrong to say this is always how God acts. Job’s & Christ’s suffering not due to sin.

(Job 21) God exercising of his sovereignty is complex and mysterious as in how he allows the wicked to prosper and the righteous to suffer.

(Job 22) Eliphaz is to Job as the false witnesses were to Christ – an accuser of a righteous man.

(Job 22:21-30) Eliphaz is right that repentance and seeking after God brings blessing but Job is not suffering for sin.

(Job 22:21-30) If Job repented for his supposed sin then he would be agreeing with his friends that God acts in certain ways all the time…

(Job 22:21-30) … and this would be to speak inaccurately of God i.e. idolatry. Job is an angry sufferer but speaks correct re: sovereignty

(Job 22:30) Christ is the man with clean hands whose righteousness delivers even the one who is not innocent.

(Job 23:10-16) Job is determined to be righteous but the way God completes what he appoints for him is terrifying to him.

(Job 24) Job acknowledges that the sovereign God judges wicked but also acknowledges that first the righteous may suffer & wicked prosper.

(Job 25) Bildad is right no man is righteous before God. and man is but a maggot or a worm. Wrong to apply this to God punishing Job’s sin.

(Job 26) Job rightly describes God’s sovereign upholding of the the heavens and earth as a basis for arguing God’s complexity of actions.

(Job 28) Interlude. The preciousness and hiddeness of wisdom. Wisdom is found in the fear of the LORD. Christ is the wisdom of God.

(Job 29:7-11) Christ, like Job, spoke gracious words in public places in the presence of the people of the land.

(Job 29:12-13) Christ, like Job, delivered poor who cried for help, saved those who were perishing and made the widow’ heart sing for joy.

(Job 29:14) Christ, like Job, put on righteousness as clothing and justice like a robe and a turban.

(Job 29:15-17) Christ was eyes to the blind, feet to the lame and defender of the poor more so than Job. Christ, the righteousness of God.

(Job 30:9-15) The righteous Christ, like Job, suffered the scorn and mocking of men, abhorred by the people, abandoned and spat upon.

(Job 30:16-23) Christ, afflicted, soul poured out to death, mire, dust & ashes, the house of death, experienced the judgment of God.

(Job 30:26-31) Christ suffered – evil, darkness, internal organs in turmoil, outcast, decomposing skin & burning bones, mourning & weeping.

(Job 31) Christ, like Job, did not lie, commit adultery, oppress the poor, commit idolatry or act in unrighteousness.

(Job 33:14-18) God speaks to a man in his sleep, terrifying him with warnings so he turns from his evil and his life saved from the pit.

(Job 33:19-22) God may sovereignly cause a man suffering in order to turn him from his sin.

(Job 33:23-28) Chirst is the angel/mediator who is merciful, provides a ransom, delivers from the pit, redeems, restores the body.

(Job 33:29-30) God is sovereign in using means on multiple occasions to keep a man in the light of life.

(Job 34:14-15) People continue to breathe through their lungs because of the sovereign grace of God’s Spirit.

(Job 35:7-8) God is holy and in that sense neither human wickedness nor human righteousness has any effect upon who he is or his happiness.

(Job 36-37) Elihu correctly describes God’s sovereign presence in terms of the approaching storm, a classic description of a theophany.

(Job 38:1-11) Christ, unlike Job, is the righteous man who was present and active as a master-builder of creation.

(Job 38:11) Christ sovereignly commands the rebellious waves of chaos assigning them their tidal limits.

(Job 38:12) Christ the sustainer of the universe command the dawn by the power of his word.

(Job 38:16-17) Christ has walked the deep recesses of the earth including the gates of death and Sheol.

(Job 38:22-38) Christ commands the heavens – lights, rains, stars, clouds and lightnings. He leads out and guides the heavenly lights.

(Job 38:39-39:8) Christ knows all creation because he is the one who sustains all created life and so Christ is to be seen as wise.

(Job 39:9-12) Christ’s strength is such that he can cause the wild ox to submit to him, as well the waves, the nations, Satan etc.

(Job 39:13-30) Christ gives power and wisdom to his creatures as he chooses thereby revealing himself as all wise.

(Job 40:1-5) Righteous Job correctly saw good/evil as workings of God’s sovereignty. However he was unwise to God’s purposes in workings.

(Job 40:6-14) Job is righteous & correct in his theology but he lacks both wisdom in Gods purposes and also power to enact those purposes.

(Job 40:6-14) Christ is not only righteous and correct in theology but he is also both the wisdom and power of God.

(Job 40:15-24) Job’s powerlessness is highlighted in an imagined encounter with Behemoth. Christ subdues Behemoth and all he represents.

(Job 41) Christ subdues both Leviathan of the created order and the serpent.

(Job 42:1-7) Job spoke correctly of God’s sovereignty in a way that Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar did not. Christ knows God’s sovereign ways.

(Job 42:8-9) Christ, like Job, makes intercession for idolaters that they might be forgiven.

(Job 42:11) The narrator correctly tells us that the evil that came upon Job was from the LORD’s hand c.f. Job 1:11,13-19,20-22 2:5-7, 2:10.

(Job 42:12,16) As Job’s blessing are doubled so too Christ’s righteous suffering brings double blessing.

(Job 42:13-15) Why is there such an unusual emphasis on Job’s daughters? Why?

(Job 42) Names suggest their beauty. Jemimah = turtledove; Keziah = an aromatic plant as in cinnamon; Keren-Happuch = a jar of eye paint.

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Introduction

May he guide us in the ways of faith and obedience, enable us to serve Him while we live, smile upon us when we die, and after death take us to himself. AMEN

Freedom

Christ freed us from the wrath of God, from the devil’s power, by purchase. By a strong hand He delivers us from Satan, just as He delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt by a strong hand.

We are freed from sin, by which I mean the guilt, the defilement and the dominion of sin. … It would not be righteous of God to require payment from Christ, nay, to receive the full satisfaction of Christ, and to require anything from you. AMEN (Both eternal and temporal judgments are removed by the cross although God may still afflict those he pardons but in fatherly discipline not in divine wrath.)

Christ has also freed the believer from the dominion of sin … that dominion was a voluntary, a willing, a free subjection and resignation of ourselves to the motions and services of sin. Then we went down stream, wind, and tide. There was both the power of lust, and lustful inclinations, to carry us: this was the tide, the other was the wind.

We still have the presence of sin, nay, the stirrings and workings of corruptions. These make us to have many a sad heart and wet eye. AMEN Yet Christ has thus far freed us from sin; it shall not have dominion. There may be the turbulence, but not the prevalence of sin.

The Law

Comment: Samuel Bolton argues that obedience to the Law cannot be viewed as part of our bondage. Our bondage was not to obedience and conformity to the Law but rather to the covenant accusations and curses. In fact the Law is part of our freedom and glory and therefore cannot be part of our bondage.

(The Papists) preach obedience as a means to justification; we preach justification as a means to obedience.

The law is subservient to the Gospel. Its purpose is to convince and humble us, and the Gospel is to enable us to fulfil the obedience of the law. The law sends us to the Gospel for our justification; the Gospel sends us to the law to frame our way of life. Our obedience to the law is nothing else but the expression of our thankfulness to God who has freely justified us, that ‘being redeemed, we might serve Him without fear’ (Luke 1.74).

The ends (of the Law) before were for justification and life; now they are for other ends – to glorify God, to dignify the Gospel, to declare our sincerity, to express our thankfulness.

Chastisement of Believers

That which the believer suffers for sin is not penal, arising from vindictive justice, but medicinal, arising from a fatherly love. It is his medicine, not his punishment; his chastisement, not his sentence; his correction, not his condemnation.

God chastises (his people) to make them partakers of his holiness here and of his glory hereafter; and, indeed, to sweeten heaven and glory to them. AMEN

Performance of Duty

But for the godly, God says he will write his laws on the tables of the heart; he will transplant them into the soul; they become the believer’s nature. And then obedience becomes a natural thing, arising from a law within the heart, the godly man’s very nature. From this source springs that abundance of delight in the law which we see throughout Psalm 119. Delight in obedience to God in his law becomes the nature of the man, and so far as that new nature acts, it acts with delight. AMEN AND AMEN

source: Samuel Bolton (c.1645), The True Bounds of Christian Freedom.

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(Est 1:19,21) The royal decree that Vashti’s position goes to another is ultimately of God c.f. Pro 21:1.

(Est 2:1-4) The king’s remembering and the search for beautiful girls another is ultimately of God c.f. Pro 21:1.

(Est 2:7) Esther is an orphan for a reason – looked like a bad providence.

(Est 2:8) No coincidence that Esther is among the girls taken – looked like a bad providence.

(Est 2:9) No coincidence that Esther is seen as pleasing and Hegai favors her c.f. Gen 39:4,25; Dan 1:9; Neh 2:5.

(Est 2:10) For whatever reason Mordecai has Esther keep her people a secret this is of God.

(Est 2:15) No coincidence that Esther is favoured by all who see her c.f. Est 2:9; Gen 39:4,25; Dan 1:9; Neh 2:5.

(Est 2:17) The king’s loving Esther, her winning grace & favour and becoming queen is of the LORD c.f. Pro 21:1; Est 2:15. God raises lowly.

(Est 2:21-23) Mordecai’s overhearing of the plot to kill the king and the recording in the annals is providential.

(Est 3:7) The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD (Pro 16:33).

(Est 4:14) Deliverance shall arise … for such a time as this … God’s sovereign providence is beginning to be seen.

(Est 5:2) Esther wins king’s favor by God’s providence c.f. Est 2:9,15,17 and Gen 39:4,25; Dan 1:9; Neh 2:5.

(Est 5:9-14) God’s providence that Haman sees Mordecai not bowing and gallows are built.

(Est 6:1) God’s providence that the king could not sleep that night and they read certain portion of the book of memorable deeds re Mordecai

(Est 6:4-5) God’s providence that Haman should enter the court at just that moment and thus end up honoring Mordecai the Jew.

(Est 7:8) God’s providence that the king should enter room at the moment that Haman falls onto Esther’s couch increasing his anger Pro 21:1.

(Est 7:9-10) God’s providence Haman should be hung on gallows built for Mordecai who circumstantially described as having ‘saved the king’.

(Est 6:13; 7:8) Ironic that Haman is said to bow before Mordecai & Esther c.f. Est 3:2,5; 5:9.

(Est 8:4-5) Esther wins king’s favor by God’s providence c.f. Est 2:9,15,17;5:2 and Gen 39:4,25; Dan 1:9; Neh 2:5.

(Est 8:11) God’s people to be attacked by the nations but will in fact conquer the nations that gather against them c.f. Har Maggedon.

(Est 8:16) Salvation as light and gladness and joy and honor.

(Est 9:1) A reversal of purposes achieved by the sovereign God.

(Est 9:22) Salvation as relief from enemies and sorrow & mourning being turned to joy & gladness. c.f. 2Th 1:7.

(Est 9:22; 10:28) The celebration of Purim in terms of giving of gifts of food and its annual remembrance is similar to the Passover.

(Est 9:27; 8:17) Intriguing reference to Gentiles being joined into Israel.

(Est 9:30; 10:3) Esther ends with words of peace and truth.

(Est 1-10) God was not mentioned once in this book but his fingerprints are all over it.

(Est 1-10) The same sovereign providence working God worked in Christ to effect salvation from all the enemies of God’s people.

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Joseph Alleine’s Sinner’s Prayer is printed below. The prayer is not a simple quick response to a simple quick gospel presentation. Alleine ensures the unbeliever understands the conversion process. Notice his advice to how the unbeliever should prepare him or herself before the prayer is paryed.

Set apart some time, more than once, to be spent in secret before the Lord – in seeking earnestly His special assistance and gracious acceptance of you – in searching your heart, whether you are sincerely willing to forsake all your sins, and to resign yourself, body and soul, unto God and His service; to serve Him in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life.

Compose your spirit into the most serious frame possible, suitable to a transaction of so high importance. Lay hold on the covenant of God, and rely on His promise of giving grace and strength, by which you may be enabled to perform your promise. Do not trust to your own strength, to the strength of your own resolutions; but take hold on His strength.

Being thus prepared, on some convenient time set apart for the purpose, enter upon the work, and solemnly, as in the presence of the Lord, fall down on your knees and spreading forth your hands towards heaven open your heart to the Lord in these, or the like words:

O most holy God, for the passion of Your Son, I beseech You accept Your poor prodigal now prostrating himself at Your door. I have fallen from You by mine iniquity, and am by nature a son of death, and a thousandfold more the child of hell by wicked practice. But of Your infinite grace You have promised mercy to me in Christ, if I will but turn to You with all my heart. Therefore upon the call of Your gospel, I am now come in, and throwing down my weapons, submit myself to Your mercy. And because You requirest, as the condition of my peace with You, that I should put away my idols, and be at defiance with all Your enemies, which I acknowledge I have wickedly sided with against You, I here from the bottom of my heart renounce them all, firmly covenanting with You, not to allow myself in any known sin, but conscientiously to use all the means that I know You have prescribed for the death and utter destruction of all my corruptions. And whereas formerly I have inordinately and idolatrously set my affections upon the world, I do here resign my heart to You who madest it, humbly declaring before Your glorious Majesty, that it is the firm resolution of my heart, and that I do unfeignedly desire grace from You, that when You shall call me hereunto, I may practise this my resolution through Your assistance, to forsake all that is dear unto me in this world, rather than to turn from You to the ways of sin; and that I will watch against all its temptations, whether of prosperity or adversity, lest they should withdraw my heart from You. I beseech You also to help me against the temptations of Satan, to whose wicked suggestions I resolve by Your grace never to yield myself a servant. And because my own righteousness is but as filthy rags, I renounce all my confidence therein, and acknowledge that I am of myself a hopeless, helpless, undone creature, without righteousness or strength.

And forasmuch as You have of Your bottomless mercy offered most graciously to me, a wretched sinner, to be again my God through Christ, if I would accept You; I call upon heaven and earth to record this day, that I do here solemnly avouch You for the Lord my God, and with all possible veneration, bowing the neck of my soul under the feet of Your most sacred Majesty, I do here take You the Lord Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for my portion and chief good, and do give myself, body and soul, to be Your servant, promising and vowing to serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life.

And since You have appointed the Lord Jesus Christ the only means of coming unto You, I do here solemnly join myself in a marriage covenant to Him.

O Blessed Jesus, I come to You hungry and thirsty, poor and wretched, miserable, blind and naked, a most loathsome polluted wretch, a guilty condemned malefactor, unworthy to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord, much more to be solemnly married to the King of Glory. But such is Your un­paralleled love, I do here with all my power accept You, and do take You for my Head and Husband, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, for all times and conditions, to love, honour and obey You before all others, and this to the death. I embrace You in all Your offices. I renounce my own worYouss, and do here avow You to be the Lord my Righteousness. I renounce my own wisdom, and do here take You for my only Guide. I re­nounce my own will, and take Your will for my law.

And since You have told me that I must suffer if I will reign, I do here covenant with You to take my lot, as it falls, with You, and by Your grace assisting to run all hazards with You, verily supposing that neither life nor death shall part between You and me.

And because You have been pleased to give me Your holy laws, as the rule of my life, and the way in which I should walk to Your kingdom, I do here willingly put my neck under Your yoke, and set my shoulder to Your burden; and subscribing to all Your laws as holy, just, and good, I solemnly take them as the rule of my words, thoughts, and actions; promising that though my flesh contradict and rebel, yet I will endeavour to order and govern my whole life to Your direction, and will not allow myself to neglect anything that I know to be my duty.

Only because through the frailty of my flesh, I am subject to many failings, I am bold humbly to request, that unintentional shortcomings, contrary to the settled bent and resolution of my heart, shall not make void this covenant, for so You have said.

Now, Almighty God, Searcher of hearts, You knowest that I make this covenant with You this day, without any known guile or reservation, beseeching You, that if You espiest any flaw or falsehood therein, You wouldst reveal it to me, and help me to do it aright.

And now, O God the Father, whom I shall be bold from this day forward to look upon as my God and Father, glory be to You for finding out such a way for the recovery of undone sinners. Glory be to You, O God the Son, who have loved me and washed me from my sins in Your own blood, and art now become my Saviour and Redeemer. Glory be to You, O God the Holy Ghost, who by the finger of Your almighty power have turned about my heart from sin to God.

O high and holy Jehovah, the Lord God Omnipotent, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, You art now become my covenant Friend, and I through Your infinite grace am become Your covenant servant. Amen, so be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

Source: ‘The Nature of Conversion’ in Joseph Alleine’s Alarm to the Unconverted. Joseph Alleine (8 April 1634 – 17 November 1668) was a nonconformist Puritan pastor.

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Joseph Alleine discusses his difficulty in trying to convert a person. His solution is to speak the gospel but because he believes in total depravity and effectual calling he also prays a certain way.

… this is yet the more perplexing difficulty, that I am to speak to them that are without spiritual sense. Alas! this is not the least part of man’s misery, that he is dead, dead in trespasses and sins.

Could I bring paradise into view, or represent the kingdom of heaven to as much advantage as the tempter did the kingdoms of the world, and the glory thereof, to our Saviour; or could I un­cover the face of the deep and devouring gulf of Tophet in all its terrors, and open the gates of the infernal furnace; alas, he has no eyes to see it. Could I paint the beauties of holiness or the glory of the Gospel; or could I expose to view the more than diabolical deformity and ugliness of sin; he can no more judge of the loveliness and beauty of the one, and the filthy and hatefulness of the other, than a blind man of colours. He is alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in him because of the blindness of his heart (Eph 6:18). He neither knows nor can know the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14). His eyes cannot be savingly opened but by con­verting grace (Acts 26:18). He is a child of darkness, and walks in darkness. Yea, the light in him is darkness .

Shall I ring his knell, or read his sentence, or sound in his ear the terrible trump of God’s judgments, that one would think should make both his ears tingle, and strike him into Belshazzar’s fit, even to change his countenance, loose his joints, and make his knees smite one against another? Alas, he perceives me not; he has no ears to hear. Or shall I call up the daughters of music, and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb? Yet he will not be stirred. Shall I allure him with the joyful sound, and lovely song, and glad tidings of the Gospel; with the most sweet and inviting calls, comforts, and cordials of the divine promises so exceedingly great and precious? It will not affect him savingly unless I could find him ears as well as tell him the news.

What then shall I do? Shall I show him the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; or shall I open the box of spikenard, very precious, that fills the whole house of the universe with its perfume, and hope that the savour of Christ’s ointments and the smell of His garments will attract him? Alas! dead sinners are like the dumb idols; they have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they smell not; they have hands, but they handle not; feet have they, but they walk not; neither speak they through their throat. They are destitute of spiritual sense and motion.

O Thou all-powerful Jehovah, who workest, and none can hinder Thee, who has the keys of death and hell, pity Thou the dead souls that lie here entombed, and roll away the grave-stone, and say as to the dead body of Lazarus, Come forth. Lighten Thou this darkness, O inaccessible Light, and let the day-spring from on high visit the dark regions of the dead, to whom I speak; for Thou canst open the eye that death itself hash closed. Thou that formedst the ear, canst restore the hearing; say Thou to these ears, Ephphatha, and they shall be opened. Give Thou eyes to see Thy excel­lencies, a taste that may relish Thy sweetness, a scent that may savour Thy ointment, a feeling that may discern the privilege of Thy favour, the burden of Thy wrath, the intolerable weight of unpardoned sin; and give Thy servant order to prophesy to dry bones, and let the effects of this prophecy be as of Thy prophet when he prophesied the valley of dry bones into a living army exceeding great.’

Source: ‘The Nature of Conversion’ in Joseph Alleine’s Alarm to the Unconverted. Joseph Alleine (8 April 1634 – 17 November 1668) was a nonconformist Puritan pastor.

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The author of conversion is the Spirit of God.

If you have no more than you had by your first birth, a good nature, a meek and chaste temper etc., you are a stranger to true conversion. This is a supernatural work.

The efficient cause of conversion is both internal and external.

The internal cause is free grace alone.

God finds nothing in man to turn his heart, but enough to turn his stomach; he finds enough to provoke his loathing, but nothing to excite his love. … What but free grace could move God to love you?

The external cause is the merit and intercession of the blessed Jesus.

He has obtained gifts for the rebellious, and through him it is that God worketh in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight.

The instrument of conversion is personal and real.

The personal instrument is the ministry (of God ordained persons).

The real instrument is the Word.

You that are unconverted, read the Word with diligence; flock to where it is powerfully preached. Pray for the coming of the Spirit in the Word. Come from your knees to the sermon, and come from the sermon to your knees. The sermon does not prosper because it is not watered by prayers and tears, nor covered by meditation.

The final cause or end of conversion is man’s salvation and God’s glory.

The subject of conversion is the elect sinner

And that in all his parts and powers, members and mind. Whom God predestinates, them only he calls (Rom 8:30). None are drawn to Christ by their calling, nor come to him by believing, but his sheep, those whom the Father has given him (Joh 6:37,44). Effectual calling runs parallel with eternal election (2Pe 1:10).

The Mind

Conversion turns the balance of the judgment, so that God and his glory outweigh all carnal and worldly interests. It opens the eyes …

Conversion turns the bias of the will. The intentions of the will are altered. Now the man has new ends and designs. … He does not take holiness as the stomach does loathed medicine, which a man will take rather than die, but as a hungry man does his beloved food. No time passes so sweetly with him, when he is himself, as that which he spends in the exercises of holiness.

Conversion turns the bent of the affections. These all run in a new channel. … The first of his desires is not after gold, but grace. … His joys are changed. … His cares are quite altered.

The Members

These that before were instruments of sin, are now become the holy utensils of Christ’s living temple. He that before dishonoured his body, now possesses his vessel in sanctification …

The eye, that was once a wandering eye, a wanton eye, a haughty, a covetous eye, is now employed, as Mary’s, in weeping over its sins, in beholding God in his works, in reading his Word, or in looking for objects of mercy and opportunities for his service.

The ear …

The head, that was full of worldly designs, is now filled with other matters, and set on the study of God’s will, and the man employs his head, not so much about his gain as about his duty. The thoughts and cares that fill his head are, principally, how he may please God and flee sin.

His heart, that was a sty of filthy lusts, is now become an altar of incense, where the fire of divine love is ever kept burning, and from which the daily sacrifice of prayer and praise, and the sweet incense of holy desires, ejaculations and prayers, are continually ascending.

The mouth …

The objects from which we turn in conversion are sin, Satan, the world, and our own righteousness.

The object to which we turn in conversion is, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Every man’s vote is for salvation from suffering, but they do not desire to be saved from sinning. They would have their lives saved, but still would have their lusts. Indeed, many divide here again; they would be content to have some of their sins destroyed, but they cannot leave the lap of Delilah, or divorce the beloved Herodias. They cannot be cruel to the right eye or right hand. O be infinitely careful here; your soul depends upon it. The sound convert takes a whole Christ, and takes Him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without reserve. He is willing to have Christ upon any terms; he is willing to have the dominion of Christ as well as deliverance by Christ. He says with Paul, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ Anything, Lord. He sends the blank for Christ to set down His own conditions.

Source: ‘The Nature of Conversion’ in Joseph Alleine’s Alarm to the Unconverted. Joseph Alleine (8 April 1634 – 17 November 1668) was a nonconformist Puritan pastor.

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(Dan 1:2) God is sovereign over the nations. He is the one who gives his people and temple vessels into the hands of the Babylonians.

(Dan 1:9) God is sovereign over hearts. God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.

(Dan 1:17) God gives learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel understanding in all visions and dreams.

(Dan 2:2) Contest between idols and the living God – between the magicians, enchanters & sorcerers and Daniel.

(Dan 2:21,27-28) The living God alone changes times & seasons, removes & sets up kings, gives wisdom and mysteries. He is sovereign.

(Dan 2:32-35) The kingdoms of man shall be destroyed & broken by the kingdom of God which shall fill the whole earth and last forever.

(Dan 2:44) The kingdom of God shall come in the days of the Roman empire and the multiple kingdoms that come from that empire. Christ came!

(Dan 2:45,35) Christ is the stone, uncut by human hands, who becomes a great mountain that fills the whole earth.

(Dan 3) Another contest between dead idolatry and the living God who is able to save.

(Dan 3) Nebuchadnezzar’s setting up an idol in his image is a type of the actions of the Beast in Revelation 13.

(Dan 3) Nebuchadnezzar’s persecution of the saints who refuse to worship the image is a type of the Beast’s persecution in Rev 13:15.

(Dan 4:7) Another contest between idols and the living God – between magicians, enchanters & sorcerers who cannot tell mysteries and Daniel.

(Dan 4:32-37) The Most High King of Heaven rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he pleases. The living God is sovereign.

(Dan 5:23) God is again contrasted with the idols. He alone can see, hear and know. The wise men are like their idols – blind and unknowing.

(Dan 5:23) God is the one who holds a man’s breath in his hand. Sovereign.

(Dan 5:24-28) God alone numbers the days of kingdoms, weighs their rulers, divides kingdoms giving them to whom he pleases. God is sovereign

(Dan 6) Like Daniel, Christ is handed to over to death, buried in a pit with a large stone and sealed, and raised from grave in the morning.

(Dan 7:9-10) Judgment Day before the throne of God, the Ancient of Days – took his seat, court that sits and servants who stand before him.

(Dan 7:13-14) Christ approached God on the clouds of heaven and received an eternal kingdom over all nations c.f. Acts 1:9.

(Dan 7:20) The little horn with eyes of lust and mouth of blasphemy is the Antichrist.

(Dan 7:21) Antichrist to make war against God’s people and prevail over them for a time in the final tribulation. c.f. the Beast in Rev 13.

(Dan 7:22) God will come and save his people at the second coming of Christ and give them the kingdom over the earth forever.

(Dan 8:9-14,23-25) Passage describes Antiochus Epiphanies 167 B.C. who arose from kingdom of Greece. He is a type of the future Antichrist.

(Dan 9:24) Exile prolonged 7 x 70 c.f. Lev 26:18,21,24,28. Seventy weeks = ten jubilees until the ultimate restoration of God’s people.

(Dan 9:25) From Cyrus’ word to restore Jerusalem shall be 7 weeks = 1 Jubilee i.e. a period of initial restoration. Cyrus to Nehemiah.

(Dan 9:25) Between the 7 weeks and the final week is a troubled time i.e inter-testamental period – wars, invasions, oppressions.

(Dan 9:26-27) Christ is the anointed one who is cut off at the cross. In doing so he confirms the covenant of God with many people.

(Dan 9:26) The Romans destroy the city and the temple in 70 A.D. Its end came like a flood. Wars until the End.

(Dan 9:27) For half a seven, before the End, there will be an abomination that will bring desolation and persecution of God’s people.

(Dan 9) Andrew’s thinking so far http://andrewgroves.s3.amazonaws.com/Daniel/Daniel 9.pdf

(Dan 10:5-6) Description of Christ in Rev 1:13-15 – gold band around waist, eyes of flaming fire, legs of burnished bronze, roaring voice.

(Dan 10:9) Both Daniel’s response to the one like a man and John’s response to Christ are the same – both fall prostrate c.f. Rev 1:17.

(Dan 10:10-12,16-19) Daniel and John are strengthen by the action of a hand being laid upon them & given strength by a word c.f. Rev 1:19.

(Dan 11) http://andrewgroves.s3.amazonaws.com/Daniel/Daniel 11.pdf.pdf

(Dan 11:25-35) Events surrounding Antiochus Epiphanes and Jews foreshadow the final rebellion and tribulation of Antichrist & God’s people.

(Dan 11:36-45) From Antiochus IV Epiphanies a jump is made to final Antichrist i.e. the two are of the same character/essence thus linked.

(Dan 11:45) The Antichrist shall pitch his tents to attack God’s glorious holy mountain but he will be helpless as Christ determines his end

(Dan 12:1) http://andrewgroves.s3.amazonaws.com/Thessalonians/Thessalonians – Michael as the restrainer.pdf

(Dan 12:1) When Michael who restrains stands to desist wrestling with the evil angelic prince there will be a time of great tribulation.

(Dan 12:1) God’s people will be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. c.f. Rev 20:15.

(Dan 12:2) Following the great tribulation is the resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked as a single event.

(Dan 12:3) The wise shall shine like brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

(Dan 12:7) Is the angel above the waters Christ? Raises hands to heaven and declares tribulation as times, time & half a time.

(Dan 12:7) When the shattering of the power of holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. c.f. Dan 7:21-22; Rev 11:2,7.

(Dan 12:10) Many who are wise shall become purified, white and refined c.f. saints in Revelation. The wicked will not understand.

(Dan 12:11-12) Those who persevere are called Blessed c.f. Rev 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7; 22:14.

(Dan 12:13) Restrainer desists, then great tribulation, then resurrection of all, then judgment then inheritances allotted i.e. new earth.

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The purchase of all those mercies which Providence conveys to us, is by His own blood; for not only spiritual and eternal mercies but even all our temporal ones are the acquisition of His blood. As sin forfeited all, so Christ restored all these mercies again to us by His death. Sin had so shut up the womb of mercy that had not Christ made an atonement by death it could never have brought forth one mercy to all eternity for us. It is with Him that God freely gives us all things (Romans 8:32): heaven itself, and all things needful to bring us thither, among which is principally included the tutelage and aid of divine Providence. So that whatever good we receive from the hand of Providence, we must put it upon the score of Christ’s blood; and when we receive it, we may say, it is the price of blood; it is a mercy rising up out of the death of Christ; it cost Him dear though it come to me freely; it is sweet in the possession but costly in the acquisition. Now this is a most endearing consideration. Did Christ die that these mercies might live? Did He pay His invaluable blood to purchase these comforts that I possess? O what transcendent, matchless love was the love of Christ! … If the life of Christ had not been so painful and sad to Him, ours could not have been so sweet and comfortable to us. It is through His poverty we are enriched (2 Corinthians 8:9). These sweet mercies that are born of Providence every day are the fruits of ‘the travail of his soul’ (Isaiah 53:11).

The sanctification of all those mercies which Providence conveys to us is by our union with Christ. It is by virtue of our union with His person that we enjoy the sanctified gifts and blessings of Providence. All these are mercies additional to that great mercy, Christ (Matthew 6:33). They are given with Him (Romans 8:32). This is the tenure by which we hold them (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). What we lost in Adam is restored again with advantage in Christ. Immediately upon the fall, that curse (Genesis 2:17) seized upon all the miserable posterity of Adam and upon all their comforts, outward as well as inward; and this still lies heavy upon them. All that Providence does for them that are Christless is but to feed so many poor condemned wretches till the sentence they are under is executed upon them. It is indeed bountiful and openhanded to many of them and fills them with earthly comforts; but not one special sanctified mercy is to be found among all their enjoyments. These gifts of Providence do but deceive, defile and destroy them through their own corruptions, and for want of union with Christ. ‘The prosperity of fools shall destroy them’ (Proverbs 1:32). But when a man is once in Christ, then all providences are sanctified and sweet. ‘Unto the pure, all things are pure’ (Titus 1:15). ‘A little that a righteous man hath is better than the treasures of many wicked’ (Psalm 37:16). Now Christ becomes a head of influence as well as of dominion; and in all things He consults the good of His own members (Ephesians 1:22).

source: John Flavel, ‘The Providence of God’ Chapter 10 – The Advantages of Meditating on Providence.

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How may a Christian discern when a providence is sanctified, and comes from the love of God to him?

To some all providences are overruled and ordered for good, according to that blessed promise (Romans 8:28); not only things that are good in themselves, as ordinances, graces, duties and mercies, but things that are evil in themselves, as temptations, afflictions, and even their sins and corruptions, shall turn in the issue to their advantage and benefit. For though sin is so intrinsically and formally evil in its own nature, that in itself it is not capable of sanctification, yet out of this worst of evils God can work good to His people. And though He never makes sin the instrument of good, yet His providence may make it the occasion of good to His people, so that spiritual benefits may, by the wise overruling of Providence, be occasioned by it.

For the understanding of [whether a providence is sanctified for good] I shall premise two necessary considerations:

First, let it be considered that we cannot know from the matter of the things before us, whether they are sanctified or unsanctified to us … We cannot understand the mind and heart of God by the things He dispenses with His hand. If prosperous providences befall us, we cannot say, This is a sure sign that God loves me … and from adverse afflictive providences we cannot know His hatred.

Secondly, though the providences of God materially considered afford no evidence of God’s love to us, yet the manner in which they befall us, and the effects and fruits they produce in us, do distinguish them very manifestly; and by them we may discern whether they are sanctified providences and fruits of the love of God, or not. Yet these effects and fruits of providences by which we discern their nature do not always appear immediately; but time must be allowed for the soul’s exercise under them.

The benefit of a providence is discerned as that of a medicine is. For the present it gripes, and makes the stomach sick and loathing, but afterwards we find the benefit of it in our recovery of health and cheerfulness. Now the providences of God are some of them comfortable, and others sad and grievous to nature, and the way to discern the sanctification and blessing of them is by the manner in which they come, and their operations upon our spirits.

For sad and afflictive providences, in whatever kind or degree they befall us, we may warrantably conclude they are blessings to us, and come from the love of God, when they come in a proper season, when we have need of them, either to prevent some sin we are falling into, or recover us out of a remiss, supine, and careless frame of spirit into which we are already fallen. … Certainly, it is a good sign that God designs your good by those troubles which are so fitted and wisely ordered to meet the need. … When our troubles are fitted both for quality and degree to work properly upon our most predominant corruptions, then they look like sanctified strokes.

[note: Flavel argues that both sad/afflictive providences as well as comfortable/pleasant providences can be understood as issuing from God’s love or hatred by (1) the fruit they produce in a person’s spirit in relation to God (2) by the way in which God administers them (type, timing, degree etc.)].

If Christians in reading the Scriptures would judiciously collect and record the providences they shall meet with there, and add those that have fallen out in their own time and experience, O what a precious treasure would these make! What an antidote would it be to their souls against the spreading atheism of these days, and satisfy them beyond what many other arguments can do, that ‘The LORD he is the God; the LORD he is the God’.

source: John Flavel, ‘The Providence of God’.

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