Category Archives: Tactical Inspiration

Day of Rest 12-2-12

Matthew 10:38

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

William Penn (1644-1718), the founder of Pennsylvania, at age 22 converted to the Christian truths of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, who at that time were greatly scorned and ridiculed.  He suffered imprisonment over three times for his faith.  Once he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for eight months, during which time he wrote his classic book, No Cross, No Crown:

” No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown….

Christ’s cross is Christ’s way to Christ’s crown.  This is the subject of the following discourse, first written during my confinement in the Tower of London in the year of 1668, now reprinted with great enlargement of matter and testimonies, that thou mayest be won to Christ, or if won already, brought nearer to Him.  It is a path which God in his everlasting kindness guided my feet into, in the flower of my youth, when about two and twenty years of age.

He took me by the hand and led me out of the pleasures, vanities and hopes of the world. I have tasted the Christ’s  judgements, and of his mercies, and of the world’s frowns and reproaches.  I rejoice in my experience, and dedicate it to thy service in Christ….

The unmortified Christian and the heathen are of the same religion, and the deity they truly worship is the god of this world.  What shall we eat? What shall we drink?  What shall we wear? And how shall we pass away our time? Which way may we gather and perpetuate our names and families in the earth? It is a mournful reflection, but a truth which will not be denied, that these worldly lusts fill up a great part of the study, care and conversation of Christendom.

The false notion that they may be children of God while in a state of disobedience to his holy commandments, and disciples of Jesus though they revolt from his cross, and members of his true church, which is without spot or wrinkle, not withstanding their lives are full of spots and wrinkles, is of all other deceptions upon themselves the most pernicious to the eternal condition they are at peace in sin and under a security in their transgression.”

Matthew 16:24

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself,andtake up hiscross and follow Me.”

Article of Interest:

Ten Commandments in America by Kerby Anderson

Day of Rest 11-25-12

Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States of America, said:

“The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America… our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal…”

Deuteronomy 30:1-20

“So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call {them} to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD you God has scattered you.

“If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back.The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

“The LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.”For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.

“It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’

“Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’
“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.

“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity;
in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.
“But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them,
I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong {your} days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,
by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Day of Rest 11-4-12

king_james_bible7The Bible — Yet It Lives

by Willard L. Johnson

Generations follow generations — yet it lives.
Nations rise and fall — yet it lives.
Kings, dictators, presidents come and go — yet it lives.
Torn, condemned, burned — yet it lives.
Hated, despised, cursed — yet it lives.
Doubted, suspected, criticized — yet it lives.
Damned by atheists — yet it lives.
Scoffed at by scorners — yet it lives.
Misconstrued and misstated — yet it lives.
Ranted and raved about — yet it lives.
Its inspiration denied — yet it lives.

Yet it lives — as a lamp to our feet.
Yet it lives — as a light to our path.
Yet it lives — as a guidebook for Heaven.
Yet it lives — as a standard for childhood.
Yet it lives — as a guide for youth.
Yet it lives — as a comfort for the aged.
Yet it lives — as food for the hungry.
Yet it lives — as water for the thirsty.
Yet it lives — as rest for the weary.
Yet it lives — as light for the heathen.
Yet it lives — as salvation for the sinner.
Yet it lives — as grace for the Christian.

To know it is to love it.
To love it is to accept it.
To accept its Christ means Life Eternal.

Day of Rest 10-28-12

CSA-2006-09-28-122016

The War of Truth

A Sermon 
(No. 112) 
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 11, 1857, by the 
REV. C.H. SPURGEON 
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

“And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men and go out, fight with Amalek; to-morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.”— Exd 17:9

THE CHILDREN of Israel were led out of Egypt with a strong hand and an out-stretched arm. They were conducted into the vast howling wilderness, where there were few, if any, permanent abodes of men. For some time they pursued their march in solitude, discovering wells and other traces of a nomadic population, but not meeting with any to disturb their loneliness. But it appears that then, as now, there were wandering tribes who, like the Bedouin Arabs, wandered to and fro through that very country which the people of Israel were now treading with their feet. These people, excited by the hope of spoil, fell suddenly upon the rear of the children of Israel, smote the hindmost of them in a most cowardly manner, took their spoil, and then swiftly decamped. Gathering strength and courage from this successful foray, they then dared to attack the whole host of Israel, which at that time must have amounted to two or three millions of souls, who had been brought out of Egypt and fed by miracle in the wilderness. This time Israel was not to be surprised; for Moses had said unto Joshua—”Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to-morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand;” pleading with God, in order that every blow struck with the sword might be made doubly powerful by the mighty assistance of God. We are told that a great victory was achieved; the Amalekites were put to the rout, and because of their unprovoked attack upon the children of Israel, they were condemned to extermination; for we find it written thus:—”Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi. For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Now, beloved, this scene of warfare is not recorded in Scripture as in interesting circumstance to amuse the lover of history, but it is written for our edification; for we remember the text which says—”Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our profit.” There is some profit to be derived from this—and we believe a peculiar profit, too, since God was pleased to make this the first writing commanded by Divine authority as a record for generations to come. We think that the journeys of the children of Israel furnish us with many emblems of the journey of God’s church through the world; and we believe, that this fight with Amalek is a metaphor and an emblem of that constant and daily fight which all God’s people must carry on with sins without and sins within. This morning I shall more particularly confine myself to sin without; I shall speak of the great battle which at the present moment is being waged for God and for his truth, against the enemies of the Cross of Christ. I shall endeavour, first, to make a few remarks upon the war itself, then to reviewthe authorised method of warfare, which is twofold—hard blows and hard prayers, and then I shall finish by stirring up God’s church to great and earnest diligence in the warfare for God and for his truth.

I. First, then, we shall make some remarks upon THE GREAT WARFARE which we think is typified by the content between the children of Israel and Amalek.

First of all, note that this crusade, this sacred, holy war of which I speak, is not with men, but with Satan and with error. “We wrestle not with flesh and blood.” Christian men are not at war with any man that walks the earth. We are at war with infidelity, but the persons of infidels we love and pray for; we are at warfare with any heresy, but we have no enmity against heretics; we are opposed to, and cry war to the knife with everything that opposes God and his truth: but towards every man we would still endeavour to carry out the holy maxim, “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.” The Christian soldier hath no gun and no sword, for he fighteth not with men. It is with “spiritual wickedness in high places” that he fights, and with other principalities and powers than with those that sit on thrones and hold sceptres in their hands. I have marked, however, that some Christian men—and it is a feeling to which all of us are prone—are very apt to make Christ’s war a war of flesh and blood, instead of a war with wrong and spiritual wickedness. Have you never noticed in religious controversies how men will fall foul of each other, and make personal remarks and abuse each other? What is that but forgetting what Christ’s war is? We are not fighting against men; we are fighting for men rather than against them. We are fighting for God and his truth against error and against sin; but not against men. Woe, woe, to the Christian who forgets this sacred canon of warfare. Touch not the persons of men, but smite their sin with a stout heart and with strong arm. Slay both the little ones and the great; let nothing be spared that is against God and his truth; but we have no war with the persons of poor mistaken men. Rome we hate even as we abhor hell, yet for her votaries we ever pray. Idolatry and infidelity we fiercely denounce, but the men who debase themselves by either of them are the objects not of wrath, but pity. We fight not against the men, but against the things which we consider in God’s sight to be wrong. Let us always make that distinction, otherwise the conflict with Christ’s church will be degraded into a mere battle of brute force and garments rolled in blood; and so the world will again be an Aceldama—a field of blood. It is this mistake which has nailed martyrs to the stake and cast confessors into prison, because their opponents could not distinguish between the imaginary error and the man. While they spoke stoutly against the seeming error; in their ignorant bigotry they felt that they must also persecute the man, which they need not and ought not to have done. I will never be afraid to speak out my mind with all the Saxon words I can get together, and I am not afraid of saying hard things against the devil, and against what the devil teaches; but with every man in the wide world I am friends, nor is there one living with whom I am at enmity for a moment any more than with the babe that has just been brought into the world. We must hate error, we must abhor falsehood; but we must not hate men, for God’s warfare is against sin. May God help us always to make that distinction.

But now let us observe that the warfare which the Christian carries on, may be said for his encouragement, to be a most righteous warfare. In every other conflict in which men have engaged, there have been two opinions, some have said the war was right, and some have said it was wrong; but in regard to the sacred war in which all believers have been engaged, there has been only one opinion among right-minded men. When the ancient priest stirred up the Crusaders to the fight, he made them shout Deus vult—God wills it. And we may far more truly say the same. A war against falsehood, a war against sin, is God’s war; it is a war which commends itself to every Christian man, seeing he is quite certain that he has the seal of God’s approval when he goes to wage war against God’s enemies. Beloved, we have no doubt whatever, when we lift up our voices like a trumpet against sin, that our warfare is justified by the eternal laws of justice. Would to God that every war had so just and true an excuse as the war which God wages with Amalek—with sin in the world!

Let us recollect again, that it is a war of the greatest importance. In other wars it is sometimes said—”Britons! fight for your hearths and your homes, for your wives and for your children—fight and repel the foe!” But in this war it is not merely for our hearths and for our homes, for our wives and for our children, but it is for something more than this. It is not against them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; but it is a fight for souls, for eternity, against those who would plunge man into eternal perdition, a fight for God, for the deliverance of men’s souls from wrath to come. It is a war which ought, indeed, to be commenced, to be followed up, and carried out in spirit, by the whole army of God’s elect, seeing that no war can be more important. The instrumental salvation of men is above all things the highest object to which we can attain, and the routing of the foes of truth is a victory beyond all things to be desired. Religion must be the foundation of every blessing which society can hope to enjoy. Little as men think it, religion has much to do with our liberty, our happiness, and our comfort. England would not have been what it now is, if it had not been for her religion; and in that hour when she shall forsake her God, her glory shall have fallen, and “Ichabod” shall be written upon her banners.

In that day when the Gospel shall be silenced, when our ministers shall cease to preach; when the Bible shall be chained; in that day—God forbid it should ever come to pass—in that day, England may write herself among the dead, for she hath fallen, since God hath forsaken her, seeing she hath cast off her allegiance to him. Christian men, in this fight for right, ye are fighting for your nation, for your liberties, your happiness and your peace; for unless religion, the religion of heaven be maintained, these will most certainly be destroyed.

Let us reflect, in the next place, that we are fighting with insidious and very powerful foes, in this great warfare for God and Christ. Let me again make the remark, that whilst speaking of certain characters, I am not speaking of the men, but of their errors. At this time we have peculiar difficulties in the great content for truth—peculiar, because very few appreciate them. We have enemies of all classes, and all of them far wider awake than we are. The infidel hath his eyes wide open, he is spreading his doctrines everywhere; and while we think—good easy men—that full surely our greatness is ripening, that frost is nipping many of our fair shoots, and unless we awaken, God help us! In almost every place infidelity seems to have a great away; not the bold bragging infidelity of Tom Payne, but a more polite and moderate infidelity; not that which slayeth religion with a bludgeon, but that which seeks to poison it with a small dose of poison, and goeth its way, and saith still it hath not hurt public morals. Everywhere this is increasing; I fear that the great mass of our population are imbued with an infidel spirit. Then we have more to fear than some of us suppose from Rome; not from Rome openly; from that we have little to fear; God hath given to the people of England such a bold Protestant spirit, that any open innovation from the Pope of Rome would be instantly repelled; but I mean the Romanism that has crept into the Church of England under the name of Puseyism. Everywhere that has increased; they are beginning to light candles on the altar, which is only a prelude to those greater lights with which they would consume our Protestantism. Oh! that there were men who would unmask them! We have much to fear from them; but I would not care one whit for that if it were not for something which is even worse. We have to deal with a spirit, I know not how to denominate it, unless I call it a spirit of moderatism in the pulpits of protestant churches. Men have begun to rub off the rough edges of truth, to give up the doctrines of Luther and Zwingle, and Calvin, and to endeavour to accommodate them to polished tastes. You might go into a Roman Catholic chapel now-a-days, and hear as good a sermon from a Popish priest as you hear in many cases from a Protestant minister, because he does not touch disputed points, or bring out the angular parts of our Protestant religion. Mark, too, in the great majority of our books what a dislike there is to sound doctrine! the writers seem to fancy that truth is of no more value than error; that as for the doctrines we preach, it cannot matter what they are; still holding that

“He can’t be wrong whose life is in the right.”

There is creeping into the pulpits of Baptists and every other denomination, a lethargy and coldness, and with that a sort of nullification of all truth. While they for the most part preach but little notable error, yet the truthitself is uttered in so minute a form that no one detects it, and in so ambiguous a style, that no one is struck with it. So far as man can do it, God’s arrows are blunted, and the edge of his sword is turned in the day of battle. Men do not hear the truth as they used to. The velvet mouth is succeeding to the velvet cushion, and the organ is the only thing in the building which giveth forth acertain sound. From all such things, “good Lord deliver us!” May heaven put an end to all this moderatism; we want out-and-out truth in these perilous days; we want a man just now to speak as God tells him, and care for nobody. Oh! if we had some of the old Scotch preachers! Those Scotch preachers made kings tremble; they were no men’s servants; they were very lords, wherever they went, because each of them said, “God has given me a message; my brow is like adamant against men; I will speak what God bids me.” Like Micah, they said, “As the Lord my God liveth, whatsoever my God saith unto me, that will I speak.” Heroes of the truth, soldiers of Christ awake! Even now there are enemies. Think not that the fight is over; the great warfare of truth waxes more hot and fierce than ever. Oh! soldiers of Christ! take your swords from your scabbards! stand up for God and for his truth again, lest a free grace gospel should be forgotten.

Let me just say, once more, concerning this war, that it is one that is to be of perpetual duration. Let us recollect, my beloved, that this war between right and wrong must be continued, and never must cease until truth has the victory. If you suppose that our forefathers did enough for truth and for God, and that you may be idle, you have made a great mistake. Until that day when the might with the right, and the right with the might shall be, we must never sheathe our swords; until that happy hour when Christ shall reign, when he shall be Master of all lands, when “swords shall be beaten into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks,” and men shall not learn way any more; until that day the conflict is to be kept up. Let no man think we are in such a position that we have no need for watchfulness: terrible as the war has been before, it is as terrible now, though in another manner. We have not now to resist unto blood, striving against sin, but we have need of as stern a power of resistance as ever was possessed by martyrs and confessors in days gone by. Brethren, we must awake; the army must be aroused, the soldiers of the Lord must be quickened to a consciousness of their position. Now, now, we blow the trumpet; rush to the fight ye slumbering soldiers! Up, up, up! Let your banners wave, and let your swords be taken from your scabbards; it is a day of fight—a day of war and contention.

I cannot, however, conclude this section of my discourse without remarking that it is not merely error in religion with which we have to fight, but error in practice. Oh! beloved this world is a wicked world still, and London is an abominable city still. We have a fine gloss everywhere—a fair exterior, but, alas, within the hidden parts sin is still dominant. This is the great city of pretence, the gaudy house of sham, the foul home of pollution. Our streets are lined with fair houses; but what have we behind them? what have we there, in the very vitals of our city? This city is a colossal culprit, it is a behemoth sinner, and everywhere there are those who live in the vilest of vices, and yet go unchecked and unreproved, for it is unfashionable to tell men of their sins and there are few who have the spirit to speak out plainly of men’s sins. When we consider the mass of female profligacy which numbers it votaries by tens of thousands, are we not driven to conclude that the same sin must be rife enough with men. And ah! that there should be need to utter it. Are not the men who ensnare and seduce the poor unfortunates, allowed to enter society as respectable and moral. What is this but abominable hypocrisy. We are greater sinners in London than many suppose. Everything is painted over. But think not that you can deceive God in this way? Sin is stalking through the land at a horrid pace; iniquity still runs down our streets, covered up, it is true, not open sin, but still offensive alike to God and to good men. Oh! my brethren, the world is not good yet; it is filmed over, but all the while the loathsome disease lurks within. Up, again, I say, soldiers of Christ; the war against sin is not finished, it is scarce begun.

II. But now, secondly, we have to notice, briefly the APPOINTED MEANS OF WARFARE. When Amalek came out against Israel, God appointed two means of combating them. If he had chosen, he could have sent a wind and driven them away, or have cut off their hosts by the blast of the pestilence; but it did not so please him; for he would put honor upon human effort, and, therefore, he said to Joshua, “Choose out your men, and go fight with Amalek.” It is true Joshua might, by God’s strength, have overcome the foe; but says God, “While I honor human effort, I will still make men see that God doeth all. Moses! go up to yonder hill; stand there in prayer, hold up thy rod, and whilst the soldiers of Joshua rush into the fight, Moses shall plead, and you shall be unitedly successful. Your prayer, O Moses, without the sword of Joshua, shall not prosper; and the sword of Joshua, without the rod of Moses, shall not be effectual.” The two ways of fighting sin are these—hard blows and hard prayers.

First, the church must employ hard blows and hard fighting against sin. It is of no use for you to shut yourselves up in your houses, and pray to God to stay sin, unless you go and do something yourselves. If you pray away till you are dumb, you shall never have a blessing unless you exert yourselves. Let the farmer pray for a harvest; will he ever have it, unless he ploughs the field and then sows his seed? Let the warrior pray for victory, and let his soldiers stand peacefully to be shot at, will he gain a triumph? No, there must be an active exercise of the power given by God, or else prayer without it will be of no avail. Let us, then, brethren and sisters, each in our spheres, deal hard blows at the enemy. This is a fight in which all can do something who are the Lord’s people. Those who halt upon there crutches can use them for weapons of war, as well as the mighty men can wield their swords! We have each an allotted work to do, if we are the Lord’s elect; let us take care that we do it. You are a tract distributor; go on with your work, do it earnestly. You are a Sunday-school teacher; go on, do not stay in that blessed work, do it as unto God, and not as unto man. You are a preacher; preach as God giveth you ability, remembering that he requireth of no man more than he hath given to him; therefore, be not discouraged if you have little success, still go on. Are you like Zebulon, one that can handle the pen? Handle it wisely; and you shall smite through the loins of kings therewith. And if you can do but little, at least furnish the shot for others, that so you may help them in their works of faith and their labours of love. But let us all do something for Christ. I will never believe there is a Christian in the world who cannot do something. There is not a spider hanging on the king’s wall but hath its errand; there is not a nettle that groweth in the corner of the churchyard but hath its purpose; there is not a single insect fluttering in the breeze but accomplisheth some divine decree; and I will never have it that God created any man, especially any Christian man, to be a blank, and to be a nothing. He made you for an end. Find out what that end is; find our your niche, and fill it. If it be ever so little, if it is only to be a hewer of wood and drawer of water, do something in this great battle for God and truth. Joshua must go out and take his men. I think I see him; he appears to have been a man of war from his youth; but what a motley host he had to choose from! Why, they were a set of slaves; they had never seen a sword in their lives, except in the hands of the Egyptians; they were poor, miserable creatures; they were cowards when they saw their old enemies at the Red Sea, and now their weapons were those which were washed up from the Red Sea, and their regimentals were of all descriptions upon earth. Joshua, however, chooses out the strongest of them, and says, “Come with me.” It was indeed, as one called it, a “ragged regiment” with which he went to fight: and yet the ragged regiment was the victorious one. Joshua won the day against the Amalekites, who had been trained to a predatory life. So, ye children of God, ye may know little of the tactics of warfare, your enemies may overthrow you in arguments, and annihilate you in logic; but, if you are God’s children, they that are with you are more than a match for your foes; you shall live to see them yet dead upon the field; only fight on with faith in God, and you shall be victorious.

But this is not all. Joshua might have fought; but he would have been routed, had it not been for Moses on the brow of the hill. They were both necessary. Do you not see the battle! It is not on a very large scale, but it is still worthy of your earnest attention. There is Amalek, rushing to the war with discordant cries; see, Israel is repulsing them, and Amalek flees! But what is it that I notice? Now Israel turns back and flees; now again they rally and Amalek is put to the flight! Lo! they are cut to pieces by the sword of Joshua, and mighty Amalek wavers like the corn beneath the mower’s scythe. The crowd of Amalek are dropping. But again! again the battle wavers; Joshua flees; but once again he rallies his troops! And have you not observed the wonderous phenomenon? There, on the brow of the hill stands Moses. You will notice that when his hands were outstretched, Israel routed Amalek; but the moment when from weariness he dropped his hands, then Amalek had a temporary victory; and when again he held up his rod, Israel routed the foe. Each time the hand of prayer fell down, victory wavered between the combatants. Do you see the venerable intercessor? Moses, being an aged man, becomes weary from standing so many hours, they seat him upon a stone; still, arms are not iron, and the hands are drooping; but see! his eyes are flashing fire, and his hands are lifted up to heaven; tears are beginning to flow down his cheeks and his ejaculatory prayers are going to heaven like so many darts, which shall find their target in the ear of God. Do you see him, He is the hinge of victory; as he falters Amalek prevails; and as he is strong the chosen people gain the victory. See! Aaron is holding his hand for a moment; and anon Hur is supporting it, and the good old man changes his hands, for the battle lasts all day long, and in the hot sun it is wearisome work to hold them in one position. But see how manfully he holds them; stiff, as though they were cut out of stone; weary and worn, still his hands are out-stretched, as if he were a statue, and his friends assist his zeal. And see now, the ranks of Amalek are broken like thin clouds before a Biscay gale. They fly! they fly! Still his hands are motionless; still they fight; still the Amalekites fly; still Joshua prevails, until at last all the foes lie dead on the plain, and Joshua returns with the shout of joy.

Now this teaches that there must be prayer as well as effort. Minister! preach on; you shall have no success unless you pray. If you do not know how to wrestle with God on your knees, you will find it hard work to wrestle with men on your feet in the pulpit. You may make efforts to do so, but you shall not be successful, unless you back up your efforts with prayer. You are not so likely to fail in your efforts as in your prayers. We never read that Joshua’s hand was weary with wielding the sword, but Moses’ hand was weary with holding the rod. The more spiritual the duty, the more apt we are to tire of it. We could stand and preach all day, but we could not be in our closets all day one-half so easily. To spend a night with God in prayer would be far more difficult than to spend a night with men in preaching. Oh! take care, take care, church of Christ, that thou dost not cease thy prayers! Above all, I speak to my own much loved church, my own people. You have loved me, and I have loved you, and God has given us great success, and blessed us. But, mark, I trace all of it to your prayers. You have assembled together in multitudes, perfectly unparalleled, to pray for me on each Monday evening, and I know I am mentioned at your family altars, as one who is very dear to your hearts; but I am afraid lest you should cease your prayers. Let the world say, “Down with him;” I will stand against them all, if you will pray for me; but if you cease your prayers it is all up with me and all over with you. Your prayers make us mighty; the praying legion is the thundering legion. If I might compare myself to a military commander, I should say, that when I see my men rise to pray in such large numbers, I feel like Napoleon, when he sent out his old guards. The battle had wavered; “There,” said he, “they go; now the victory is sure.” Or, like our own guards, the black caps, who, wherever they went carried victory with them. The praying legion is a thundering legion everywhere. Men can stand against anything but prayer. We would pray the very gates of hell off their hinges, if we could pray as some men have done. Oh! that we had might in prayer. Do not, I beseech you, I entreat you, do not cease to pray; cease what you please, but do not give up that; down on your knees, wrestle with God, and verily the Lord our God will bless us, “and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.”

III. And now I am to close up with just a few remarks, in the third place, TO STIR YOU UP TO THE WARFARE. Remember, O children of God, that there are many things that should make you valiant for God and for his truth. The first thing I will bring to your remembrance is the fact, that this warfare in which you are engaged is an hereditary warfare; it is not one which you began, but it is one which has been handed to you from the moment when the blood of Abel cried aloud for vengeance. Each martyr that has died has passed the blood-red flag to the next, and he in his turn has passed it on to another. Every confessor who has been nailed to the stake to burn, has lit his candle, and handed it to another, and said, “Take care of that!” And now here is the old “sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” Remember what hands have handled the hilt; remember what arms have wielded it; remember how often it has “pierced to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow.” Will you disgrace it. Will you disgrace it? There is the great banner: it has waved in many a breeze; long ere the flag of this our land was made, this flag of Christ was born aloft, Will you stain it? Will you stain it? Will you not hand it to your children, still unsullied, and say, “Go on, go on; we leave you the heritage of war; go on, go on, and conquer. What your fathers did, do you again; still keep up the war, till time shall end.” I love my Bible because it is a Bible baptized with blood; I love it all the better, because it has the blood of Tyndal on it; I love it, because it has on it the blood of John Bradford, and Rowland Taylor, and Hooper; I love it, because it is stained with blood. I sometimes think I like the baptismal pool because that has been stained with blood, and is now upon the continent, forbidden by law. I love it, because I see in it the blood of men and of women who had been martyred, because they loved the truth. Will you not, then, stand by the banner of truth, after such an illustrious pedigree of warriors have held it in their hands?

I would that I could have addressed you as I desired, but my voice fails me; I cannot, therefore, urge you, except by one consideration, and that is, the prospect of ultimate victory. It is certain that ere long we shall triumph; therefore let us not give up the fight. I have been much gratified of late to hear that there is a revival in the ranks of Christ’s church; here and there I hear of great evangelists who are starting up. Some have said to me, when they have mentioned their names, “What say you to them?” My answer is, “Would God that all the Lord’s servants were prophets!” Oh! that God might send thousands and thousands of men, who would gather multitudes together to hear his word. I would that the day were come, when every church and every chapel in England were as full of souls as this, and as large as this. I do think the churches are reviving; but if they are not, still victory is certain—God will still get the victory; Jehovah will triumph. Satan may dream he will, but he will not. Therefore, men and brethren, on to victory; let the crown that is before you, nerve you to the fight; to victory; to victory; and on, on, on! for God is with you. Remember the great intercessor; Christ is on the hill, and whilst you are in the valley he pleads, and must prevail, therefore, go on, and conquer, for Christ’s sake!

I can no longer address you, but must finish up by repeating the words with which I always like to conclude my sermons: “He that believeth on the Lord Jesus and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned!” Oh! that ye would believe in Christ; oh! that God would give you faith to put your trust in him; this is the only way of salvation. “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.”

Day of Rest 10-21-12

The Proof of the Living God as Found in the Prayer Life of George Muller, of Bristol

By Rev. Arthur T. Pierson, D.D.

In Psalm 68:4, we are bidden to “extol Him who rideth upon the heavens by His name, JAH, and to rejoice before Him;” and in the next verse, He is declared to be “a father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, in His holy habitation.”

The name, “Jah,” here only found, is not simply an abbreviation of “Jehovah;” but the present tense of the Hebrew verb to be; and expresses the idea that this Jehovah is the Living, Present God; and, as the heavens are always over our heads, He is always a present Helper, especially to those who, like the widow and the orphan, lack other providers and protectors.

George Müller, of Bristol, undertook to demonstrate to the unbelieving world that God is such a living, present God, and that He proves it by answering prayer; and that the test of this fact might be definite and conclusive, he undertook to gather, feed, house, clothe, and also to teach and train, all available orphans, who were legitimate children, but deprived of both parents by death and destitute.

Sixty-Five Years of Proof

This work, which he began in 1833, in a very small and humble way, by giving to a few children, gathered out of the streets, a bit of bread for breakfast, and then teaching them for about an hour and a half to read the Scriptures, he carried on for sixty-five years, with growing numbers until there were under his care, and in the orphan houses which he built, twenty two hundred orphans with their helpers; and yet, during all that time, Mr. Müller’s sole dependence was Jah, the Living, Present God. He appealed to no man for help; and did not even allow any need to be known before it had been supplied, even his intimate co-workers being forbidden to mention any existing want, outside the walls of the institution. His aim and purpose were to effectually apply the test of prayer to the unseen God, in such a way as to leave no doubt that, in these very days in which we live it is perfectly safe to cut loose from every human dependence and cast ourselves in faith upon the promises of a faithful Jehovah. To make the demonstration more absolutely convincing, for some years he withheld even the annual report of the work from the public, although it covered only work already done, lest some should think such a report an indirect appeal for future aid.

A human life thus filled with the presence and power of God is one of God’s choicest gifts to His church and to the world.

Demonstration and Illustration

Things unseen and eternal are, to the average man, distant and indistinct, while what is seen and temporal is vivid and real. Practically, any object in nature that can be seen or felt is thus more actual to most men than the Living God. Every man who walks with God, and finds Him a present Help in every time of need, who puts His promises to the practical proof and verifies them in actual experience; every believer, who, with the key of faith, unlocks God’s mysteries and with the key of prayer unlocks God’s treasuries, thus furnishes to the race demonstration and illustration of the fact that “He is, and is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

George Müller was such an argument and example—a man of like passions, and tempted in all points, as we are, but who believed God and was established by believing; who prayed earnestly that he might live a life and do a work, which should be a convincing proof that God hears prayer, and that it is safe to trust Him at all times; and who furnished just such a witness as he desired. Like Enoch, he truly walked with God, and had abundant testimony borne to him that he pleased God. And, when on the tenth day of March, 1898, it was told us of George Müller, that “he was not,” we knew that “God had taken him”: it seemed more like a translation than like death.

The Man Himself

To those familiar with his long life story, or who intimately knew him and felt the power of personal contact, he was one of God’s ripest saints, and himself a living proof that a life of faith is possible; that God may be known, communed with, found, and become a conscious companion in the daily life. He proved for himself and for all others who will receive his witness, that to those who are willing to take God at His word and to yield self to His will, He is “the same yesterday and today and forever;” that the days of divine intervention and deliverance are past only so far as the days of faith and obedience are past; that believing prayer works still the wonders of which our fathers told in the days of old.

All we can do in the limited space now at our disposal, is to present a brief summary of George Müller’s work, the details of which are spread through the five volumes of his carefully written “Journal,” and the facts of which have never been denied or doubted, being embodied in five massive stone buildings on Ashley Down, and incarnated in thousands of living orphans who have been, or still are, the beneficiaries upon the bounty of the Lord, as administered by this great intercessor.

His Life Purpose

One sentence from Mr. Müller’s pen marks the purpose which was the very pivot of his whole being: “I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith.” This prepared both for the development of the character of him who had such singleness of aim and for the development of the work in which that aim found action. Mr. Müller’s oldest friend, Robert C. Chapman, of Barnstaple, beautifully says that “when a man’s chief business is to serve and please the Lord, all his circumstances becomes his servants;” a maxim verified in Mr. Müller’s life work.

No Visible Support

Mr. James Wright, Mr. Müller’s son-in-law and successor, said, in reviewing the sixty-five years of work, “It is written (Job 26:7) ‘He hangeth the earth upon nothing’—that is, no visible support. And so we exult in the fact that ‘The Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad’ hangs, as it has ever hung, since its commencement, ‘upon nothing,’ that is, upon no visible support. It hangs upon no human patron, upon no endowment or funded property, but solely upon the good pleasure of the blessed God.”

Blessed lesson to learn: that to depend upon the invisible God is not to hang “upon nothing,” though it be upon nothing visible. The power and permanence of the invisible forces that hold up the earth after sixty centuries of human history are sufficiently shown by the fact that this great globe still swings securely in space and is whirled through its vast orbit, and without variation of a second still moves with divine exactness in its appointed path. Mr. Müller therefore trusted the same invisible God to sustain with His unseen power all the work which faith suspended upon His truth and love and unfailing word of promise, though to the natural eye all these may seem as nothing.

Summary of Work Done

In the comprehensive summary contained in the fifty-ninth report, remarkable growth is apparent during the sixty-four years since the outset of the work in 1834.

During the year ending May 26, 1898, the number of day schools was seven and of pupils 354; the number of children in attendance from the beginning 81,501. The number of home Sunday Schools, twelve, and of children in them 1,341; but, from the beginning, 32,944.

The number of Sunday Schools aided in England and Wales, twenty-five. The amount expended in connection with home schools, 1736. 13s. 10d.; from the outset, £109,992. 19s. 10d.

The Bibles and parts thereof circulated, 15,411; from the beginning 1,989,266. Money expended for this purpose the past year £439; from the first, £41,090. 13s. 3d.

Missionary laborers aided, 115. Money expended £2,082. 9s. 6d.; from the outset, £261,859. 7s. 4d.

Circulation of books and tracts, 3,101,338; money spent £1,100. 1s. 3d.; and from the first, £47,188. 11s. 10d.

The number of orphans on Ashley Down 1,620, and from the first 10,024.

Money spent that year, £22,523. 13s. 1d., and from the beginning £988,829.

To carry conviction into action sometimes requires a costly sacrifice; but, whatever Mr. Müller’s fidelity to conviction cost in one way, he had stupendous results of his life work to contemplate even while he lived.

Giving with Praying

Let any one look at these figures and facts, and remember that one poor man who had been solely dependent on the help of God and only in answer to prayer, could look back, over more than three score years and see how he had built five large orphan houses, and taken under his care over ten thousand orphans, expending for them within twelve thousand pounds of a round million! This same man had given aid to day schools and Sunday Schools, in Britain and other lands where nearly one hundred and fifty thousand children have been taught, at a cost of over one hundred and ten thousand pounds more. He had also circulated nearly two million Bibles and parts thereof, at cost of over forty thousand pounds; and over three million books and tracts, at a cost of nearly fifty thousand pounds more. Besides all this, he had spent over two hundred and sixty thousand pounds to aid missionary laborers in various lands. The sum total of the money thus expended during sixty years thus reached very nearly the astonishing aggregate of one and a half million of pounds sterling ($7,500,000). Mr. Müller’s own gifts to the service of the Lord found, only after his death, full record and recognition. In the annual reports, an entry recurring with strange frequency, suggested a giver that must have reached a very ripe age: “from a servant of the Lord Jesus, who, constrained by the love of Christ, seeks to lay up treasure in heaven.” If that entry be carefully followed throughout and there be added the personal gifts made by Mr. Müller to various benevolent objects, the aggregate sum from this “servant” reaches, up to March 1, 1898, a total of eighty-one thousand, four hundred and ninety British pounds, eighteen shillings and eight pence. After his death, it first became known that this “servant of the Lord Jesus” was no other than George Müller himself who thus donated, from money given to him or left to him for his own use by legacies, an amount equal to more than one-fifteenth of the entire sum expended from the beginning upon all five departments of the work (1,448,959 British pounds). This is a record of personal giving to which we know no parallel.

His Investments

Mr. Müller had received increasingly large sums from the Lord which he invested well and most profitably, so that for over sixty years he never lost a penny through a bad speculation! But his investments were not in lands, or banks, or railways, but in the work of God. He made “friends of the mammon of unrighteousness,” and, when he failed, they received him into everlasting habitations. He continued year after year to make provision for himself, his beloved wife and daughter only by laying up treasure in heaven. Such a giver had a right to exhort others to systematic beneficence. He gave as not one in a million gives—not a tithe, not any fixed proportion of annual income, but all that was left after the simplest and most necessary supply of actual wants. While most disciples regard themselves as doing their duty if, after they have given a portion to the Lord, they spend all the rest on themselves, God led George Müller to reverse this rule and reserve only the most frugal sum for personal needs that the entire remainder might be given to him that needeth. An utter revolution in our habits of giving would be necessary were such a rule adopted. Mr. Müller’s own words are: “My aim never was, how much I could obtain, but rather how much I could give.” Yet this was not done in the spirit of an ascetic, for he had no such spirit.

His Stewardship

He kept continually before him his stewardship of God’s property; and sought to make the most of the one brief life on earth and to use for the best and largest good the property held by him in trust. The things of God were deep realities, and, projecting every action and decision and motive into the light of the judgment seat of Christ, he asked himself how it would appear to him in the light of that tribunal. Thus he sought prayerfully and conscientiously so to live and labor, so to deny himself, and, by love; serve his Master, and his fellowmen that he should not be “ashamed before Him at His coming.” But not in a spirit of fear; for if any man of his generation knew the perfect love that casts out fear it was he. He felt that God is love and love is of God. lie saw that love manifested in the greatest of gifts His only begotten Son; at Calvary he knew and believed the love that God hath to us; he received it into his own heart; it became an abiding presence manifested in obedience and benevolence; and, subduing him more and more, it became perfected so as to expel all tormenting fear and impart a holy confidence and delight in God.

Favorite Texts

Among the texts which strongly impressed and moulded Mr. Müller’s habits of giving was Luke 6:38: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.” He believed this promise and he verified it. His testimony is, “I had given, and God had caused to be given to me again, and bountifully.” Again he read, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” He says that he believed what he found in the word of God and by His grace sought to act accordingly, and thus again records that he was blessed abundantly and his peace and joy in the Holy Spirit increased more and more.

It will not be a surprise, therefore, that, as has been already noted, Mr. Müller’s entire personal estate at his death, as sworn to, when the will was admitted to probate, was only 169 British pounds, 9 shillings, 4 pence, of which books, household furniture, etc., were reckoned at over 100 pounds, the only money in his possession being a trifle over sixty pounds, and even this only awaiting disbursement as God’s steward.

The Secret of It All

To summarize Mr. Müller’s service we must understand his great secret. Such a life and such a work are the result of one habit more than all else daily and frequent communion with God. He was unwearied in supplications and intercessions. In every new need and crisis, the one resort was the prayer of faith. He first satisfied himself that he was in the way of duty, then he fixed his mind on the unchanging word of promise; then, in the boldness of a suppliant who comes to a throne of grace in the name of Jesus Christ, and pleads the assurance of the immutable Promiser, he presented every petition. He was an unwearied intercessor. No delay discouraged him. This is seen particularly in the case of individuals for whose conversion or special guidance into the paths of full obedience he prayed. On his prayer list were the names of some for whom he had besought God daily by name, for from one to ten years before the answer was given. There were two parties, for whose reconciliation to God he prayed, day by day, for over sixty years, and who had not at the time of his death, turned unto God; but he said, “I have not a doubt that I shall meet them both in heaven; for my Heavenly Father would not lay upon my heart a burden of prayer for them for over three score years, if He had not concerning them purposes of mercy.”

This is a sufficient example of his almost unparalleled perseverance and importunity in intercession. However long the delay, he held on, as with both hands clasping the very horns of the altar; and his childlike spirit reasoned simply but confidently that the very fact of his own spirit being so long drawn out in prayer for one object, and of the Lord’s enabling him so to continue patiently and believingly to wait on Him for the blessing, was a promise and prophecy of the answer; and so he waited on, so assured of the ultimate result that he praised God in advance, as having already received that for which he asked.

One of the parties for whom for so many years he had unceasingly prayed, shortly after his departure, died in faith, having received the promises and embraced them and confessed Jesus as his Lord.

The Privilege of All

Mr. Müller frequently in his Journal and reports warned his fellow disciples not to regard him as a miracle worker, or his experience as so exceptional as to have little application to the ordinary spheres of life and service. With patient repetition he affirms that, in all essentials, such an experience is the privilege of all believers. God calls disciples to various forms of work, but all alike to the same faith. To say, therefore, “I am not called to build orphan houses, etc., and have no right to expect answers to my prayers as Mr. Müller did,” is wrong and unbelieving. Every child of God is first to get into the sphere appointed of God, and therein to exercise full trust, and live by faith upon God’s sure word of promise.

Throughout all the thousands of pages written by his pen, he teaches that this experience of God’s faithfulness is both the reward of past faith and prayer and the preparation of the servant of God for larger Work, more efficient service, and more convincing witness to his Lord.

Supernatural Power

No one can understand this work who does not see in it the supernatural power of God; without that, it is an enigma, defying solution; with that, all the mystery is an open mystery. He himself felt, from first to last, that this supernatural factor was the whole key to the work, and without that it would have been to himself a problem inexplicable. How pathetically he often compared himself and his work for God to the “burning bush in the wilderness,” which always aflame and always threatened with apparent destruction, was not consumed, so that not a few turned aside, wondering to see this great sight. And why was it not burnt? Because Jehovah of Hosts who was in the bush dwelt in the man and in his work; or, as Wesley said with almost his last breath, “Best of all God is with us.”

This simile of the burning bush is the more apt, when we consider the rapid growth of the work. At first so very small as to seem almost insignificant, and conducted in one small rented house, accommodating thirty orphans; then enlarged until other rented premises became necessary; then one, two, three, four and even five immense structures being built until three hundred, seven hundred, eleven hundred and fifty, and finally two thousand and fifty inmates could find shelter within them; seldom has the world seen any such vast and rapid enlargement. Then look at the outlay! At first a trifling expenditure of perhaps four hundred pounds for the first year of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution, and of five hundred pounds for the first twelve months of the orphan work, and in the last year of Mr. Müller’s life a grand total of over twenty-six thousand pounds for all the purposes of the work.

The cost of the houses built on Ashley Down might have staggered even a man of large capital, but this poor man only cried and the Lord helped him. The first house cost fifteen thousand pounds, the second over twenty-one thousand, the third over twenty-three thousand, and the fourth and fifth from fifty thousand to sixty thousand more so that the total cost reached about one hundred and fifteen thousand pounds. Besides all this there was a yearly expenditure which rose as high as twenty-five thousand for the orphans alone, irrespective of those occasional outlays made needful for emergencies, such as improved sanitary precautions.

Here is a burning bush indeed, always in seeming danger of being consumed, yet still standing on Ashley Down, and still preserved because the same presence of Jehovah burns in it. Not a branch of this many sided work has utterly perished, while the whole work still challenges unbelievers to turn aside and see the great sight, and take off their shoes from their feet; for is not all ground holy where God abides and manifests Himself?

Abundant in Labors

In attempting a survey of this great life work we must not forget how much of it was wholly outside of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution; namely, all that service which Mr. Müller was permitted to render to the church of Christ and the world at large, as preacher, pastor, witness for truth and author of books and tracts.

His preaching period covered the whole time from 1826 to 1898, the year of his departure—over seventy years; and with an average through the whole period of probably three sermons a week, or over ten thousand for his lifetime, which is probably a low estimate, for, during his missionary tours, which covered over two hundred thousand miles and were spread through seventeen years, he spoke on an average once a day, even at his already advanced age.

Probably those brought to the knowledge of Christ by his preaching would reach into the thousands, exclusive of orphans converted at Ashley Down. Then When we take into account the vast numbers addressed and impressed by his addresses given in all parts of the United Kingdom, on the Continent of Europe, and in America, Asia and Australia, and the still vaster numbers who have read his narrative, his books and tracts, or who have in Various other ways felt the quickening power of his example and life, we shall get some inadequate conception of the range and scope of the influence wielded by his tongue and pen, his labors and his life. Much of the best influence defies all tabulated statistics and evades all mathematical estimate—it is like the fragrance of the alabaster flask which fills all the house, but escapes our grosser senses of sight, hearing and touch. This part of George Müller’s work belongs to a realm where we cannot penetrate. But God sees, knows and rewards it.

A Doubter’s Doubts

Yet there are those who doubt or deny the sufficiency of even this proof, though so full and convincing. In a prominent daily newspaper, a correspondent, discussing the efficacy of prayer, thus referred to the experience of George Müller:

“I resided in that country during most of the seventies, when he was often described as the best-advertised man in the Three Kingdoms. By a large number of religious people he was more spoken of than were Gladstone and Disraeli, and accordingly it is not miraculous that, although he said he had never once solicited aid on behalf of his charitable enterprise, money in a continuous stream flowed into his treasury. Even to non-religious persons in Great Britain his name was quite as familiar as that of Moody.”

“Doubtless Müller was quite sincere in his convictions, but, by the very peculiarity of his method, his wants were advertised throughout the world most conspicuously, thus receiving the benefit of a far larger publicity than would otherwise have obtained, and it being known that he was praying for money, money, of course, came in to him.”

“But were Müller’s prayers answered invariably? According to a memoir by a personal friend, which has lately been published, this was far from having been the case, and he often felt aggrieved at what he considered a slight on the part of the Almighty, one of whose ‘pets’ (to quote Mr. Savage) he evidently imagined himself to be. For example, he prayed for two of his ‘unconverted’ friends for nearly fifty years without avail. There was absolutely nothing in his career which could not be accounted for as the result of purely natural causes.”

“If it was possible to admit that what he looked upon as answers to his prayers were due to special interventions of Providence in his behalf (in other Words, to favoritism), the question would inevitably arise, Why have the prayers of thousands of other Christian people, whose faith is quite as strong as Müller’s, been disregarded? What are we to think of the little band of enthusiasts who left this country for Jerusalem a few months ago to see Christ ‘appear in the clouds,’ and who, at last accounts, were reported to be starving, with no immediate prospect of a return to their homes?”

“LECTOR.”

“Lector” takes an easy way to evade the force of Mr. Müller’s life witness. He contends that “the peculiarity” of his method, and the great “publicity” thus obtained, made him the “best advertised man in the Three Kingdoms,” and so money poured in upon him from all quarters. Thus the most conspicuous testimony to a prayer-hearing God, furnished by any one individual in the century, is dismissed with one sweep of the pen, affirming that “there was absolutely nothing in his career which could not be accounted for as the result of purely natural causes.”

The Doubter Answered

In answer I beg to submit twelve facts, all abundantly attested:

1. For sixty years and more he carried on a work for God, involving at times an average annual expenditure of $125,000, and never once, privately or publicly, made any direct appeal for money.

2. Of all his large staff of helpers no one is ever allowed to mention to an outside party any want of the work, however pressing the emergency.

3. Thousands of times correspondents inquired as to the existing wants, but in no case did they receive information, even though at a crisis of need, the object being to prove that it is safe to trust in God alone.

4. Reports of the work, annually published, have no doubt largely prompted gifts; but even these cannot account for the remarkable way in which the work has been supported. In order to show that dependence was not placed on these reports, they were not issued in one case, for over two years, yet there was no cessation of supplies.

5. The coincidences between the need and the supply can be accounted for on no law of chance or awakened public interest. In thousands of cases the exact sum or supply required has been received at the exact time needed, and when donors could have had no knowledge of the facts.

6. The facts spread over too long a time and too broad a field of details to be accounted a wide advertising system. Mr. Müller recorded thousands of cases of prayer for definite blessings, with equally definite answers.

7. Many interpositions and deliverances were independent of any human gifts or aid, as when a break in the heating apparatus necessitated a new boiler. No sooner had the repairs begun than a cold north wind set in which risked the health and even the lives of over four hundred orphans living in the house, which there was no other mode of heating. Mr. Müller carried the case to the Father of the fatherless, and the wind shifted to the south and blew soft and warm till the repairs were complete.

8. Hundreds of cases occurred, in course of sixty-five years, when there was not food for the next meal, yet God only was appealed to, and never but twice was it needful to postpone a meal, and then only for half an hour! Even direct and systematic appeals to the public could not have brought supplies for hundreds of orphans and helpers with such regularity for all those years.

9. Again, the supplies always kept pace with growing wants. Mr. Müller began on a very small scale, and the orphan work was only the last of five departments of the work of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution. Can it be accounted for on any purely natural basis that the popular heart and purse, without even full information of the progress of the five-fold enterprise, responded regularly to its claims?

10. Again, many a crisis, absolutely unknown to contributors, was met successfully by adequate supplies, without which, at that very time, the work must have ceased. Once, when a single penny was lacking after all available funds were gathered, that one penny was found in the contribution box, and it was all there was.

11. Again, Mr. Müller found that his relations with God always determined the measure of his help from man; unless his fellowship with his Heavenly Father was closely maintained, all else went wrong. The more absolute his dependence on God, his separation unto Him and his faith in Him, the more abundant and manifest His deliverances, so that, as he became more independent of man, he received the more from God through man.

12. Since his death in 1898, the work has been carried on by his successors and helpers on the same principles and with the same results. Though his strong personality is removed, the same God honors the same mode of doing His work, independent of the human instruments.

Mr. Müller’s life purpose was to furnish to the world and the Church a simple example of the fact that a man can not only live, but work on a large scale, by faith in the living God; that he has only to trust and pray and obey and God will prove his own faithfulness. The reports were published with sole reference to the work already done, and because donors were entitled to such knowledge of the way in which their money was expended. He never used his reports as appeals for help in work yet to be begun or carried on. Nor was his personal presence or influence necessary, for he traveled for eighteen years in forty-two countries, mentioning his work only at urgent request; and during all this time the work went on just as when at home.

A Challenge to Unbelief

One thing is obvious—there is a wide field still open for experiment. Let those who honestly believe that so great a life work may be entirely accounted for on a natural basis give us a practical proof. Let an institution be founded in some of our great cities similar to that in Bristol. Let there be no direct appeal made to anyone beyond the circulation of annual reports; or let there be the widest advertising of the fact that such a work is carried on, and that dependence is on public aid without direct solicitation. Of course, there must be no prayer, and no acknowledgment of God, lest someone think it to be religious and unscientific, and pious people should be moved to respond! Unbelievers outnumber Christian disciples five to one and the constituency is therefore very large. Let us have the experiment conducted, not on the faith basis, but in strictly scientific method! When we see an infidel carrying on such a work, building five great orphan houses and sustaining over 2,000 orphans from day to day without any direct appeal to human help, yet finding all supplies coming in without even a failure in sixty years, we shall be ready to reconsider our present conviction that it was because the living God heard and helped George Müller, that he who began with a capital of one shilling, took care of more than ten thousand orphans, aided hundreds of missionaries, scattered millions of Bibles and tracts, and in the course of his long life expended about $7,500,000 for God and humanity; and then died with all his possessions valued at less than eight hundred dollars.

Day of Rest 10-14-12

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

Thomas Paine (1737-1809), was the American Revolutionary author who wrote a famous 16 pamphlet series entitled, The American Crisis, which he signed “Common Sense.”  Greatly fanning the flames of colonial independence, his first essay issued December 23,1776, was read aloud to the Colonial Army at Valley Forge by order of General Washington. In it, Paine wrote:

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; ’tis dearness only that gives everything its value.  Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be placed on the divine law, the Word of God; let a crown be placed thereon.

The Almighty implanted in us these inextinguishable feelings for good and wise purposes.  They are guardians of His image in our heart.  They distinguish us from the heard of common animals.”

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Day of Rest 9-2-12

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Daniel Webster (1782-1852), was a famous American politician and diplomat. He is considered one of the greatest orators in American history. He served as a US Congressman, a US senator and the Secretary of State for three different presidents.  Webster stated:

“if religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. Its truth be not diffused, error will be;

if God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupting licentious literature will;

If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breath of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.

if we work on marble, it will perish; if on brass, time will efface it; if we rear up temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon immortal minds and embue them with  principles, with the just fear of God and to love our fellow men, we engraved those tablets something that will brighten to all eternity.

The Lord’s Day is a day on which the Gospel is preached… And although we live in a reading age and in a reading community, that the preaching of the Gospel is the human agency which has been and still is most  efficaciously employed for the spiritual good of men. That the poor had the gospel preached to them was an evidence of His mission which the Author of Christianity Himself proclaimed.

I believe that the Bible is to be understood and received in the plane and obvious meaning of its passages; for I cannot persuade myself that a book intended for the instruction conversion of the whole world should cover its true meaning in any such mystery and out that no one but critics and philosophers can discover it.

I shall stand by the Union, and by all who stand by it. I shall do justice to the whole country… And all I say, an act for the good of the whole country and all it do. I mean to stand upon the Constitution. I need no other platform. I shall know but one country. The ends I am that shall be my countries, my Gods, and Truths. I was born an American, a living American; I shall die as an American; and tend to perform the duties incumbent upon me in that character to the end of my career.”

In the discussion as he sat in a drawing room, Daniel Webster laid his hand on a copy of the Holy Scriptures and proclaimed:

“This is the Book. I’ve read the Bible through many times, and I’ll make it a practice to read it through once a year. — It is a book of all others for lawyers, as well as the divines; and I pity the man who cannot find in it a rich supply of thought and of rules for conduct. It fits a man’s life — it prepares them for death.

My brother knew the importance of Bible truths. The Bible led him to prayer, and prayer with his communion with God. On the day he died he was engaged in an important cause in the courts than in session. But this cause, important as it was, did not keep him from his duty to God. He found time for prayer; for on his desk which he had just left was found a prayer written by him on the day, which for fervent piety, a devotedness to his heavenly Master, and for expressions of humility I think was never excelled.”

In stating his convictions, Daniel Webster declared:

“The Gospel is either true history, or it is consummate fraud; it is either a reality or an imposition. Christ was what He professed to be, or He was an impostor. There is no other alternative. His spotless life in His earnest enforcement of the truth — His suffering in its defense forbid us to suppose that He was suffering an illusion of a heated brain. Every act of His purer and holy life shows that He was the author of truth, the advocate of truth, the earnest the founder of truth, and the  uncompromising sufferer for truth.

Now, considering the purity of His doctrines, the simplicity of His life, and the sublimity of His death, is it possible that he would have died for an illusion?  In all His preaching the Save your made no popular appeals; His discourses were always directed to the individual. Christ and His apostles sought to impress upon every man the conviction that he must stand or fall alone — he must live former self, and die for himself, and give up his account to the omniscient God as though he were the only dependent creature in the universe.

The Gospel leaves the individual sinner alone with himself and his God. To his own  Master he stands or falls. He has nothing to hope from the aid and sympathy of Associates. The deluded advocates of new doctrines do not so preach. Christ and His apostles, had they been deceivers, were not so have preached. If clergymen in our days would return to simplicity of the Gospel, and preach more to the individuals and less to the crowd. There would not be  so much complaint of the decline of true religion.

many of the ministers of the present day take the text from St. Paul, and preach from the newspapers. When they do so, I prefer to enjoy my own thoughts rather than to listen. I want my Pastor to come to me in the spirit of the Gospel, saying: “You are mortal! Your probation is brief; your work must be done speedily; your immortal, too. You’re hastening to the bar of God; the Judge stands at the door.” When I am thus admonished, I have no disposition to muse or to sleep.”

Day of Rest 8-5-12

The Image of God and Creativity

By Dr. Glenn Sunshine

In God’s image

Although the term “image of a god” in the ancient near east conveyed the idea of being a representative or steward of a god, the Biblical phrase also points to those things in human beings that make us similar to God and thus enable us to carry out our charge as His regents in the world. In this and the next several articles, we will explore aspects of our nature that reflect God’s own attributes, and look at some of their implications for our work as God’s stewards. We begin with creativity.

Creativity and human life

Christians don’t talk much about creativity as a crucial aspect of what it means to be human, and few formal theologians address it in connection with the image of God. Part of the reason for this is history: originally, theologians argued that only God could “create” (Latin creare), which for them meant producing something out of nothing (Latin ex nihilo); human beings could only “make” (Latin facere) things out of already existing material.

And yet, as Dorothy Sayers pointed out, “It is observable that in the passage leading up to the statement … [that man is made in the image of God], he has given no detailed information about God. Looking at man, he sees in him something essentially divine, but when we turn back to see what he says about the original upon which the ‘image’ of God was modelled, we find only the single assertion, ‘God created’. The characteristic common to God and man is apparently that: the desire and the ability to make things.”[1]

Similarly, J.R.R. Tolkien, another great English writer who travelled in the same circles as Sayers, emphasized the idea of “sub-creation” in producing his fantasy works, striving to create a coherent, consistent secondary world. He saw this process of sub-creation “as a form of worship, a way for creatures to express the divine image in them by becoming creators.”[2]

So what exactly is creativity? The term is curiously difficult to define, though obviously it has something to do with the ability to create—“the desire and the ability to make things,” as Sayers put it. Not surprisingly, the early chapters of Genesis and the mandate to “have dominion” over the world outline some of the big picture elements of creativity.

In the beginning

God gave Adam two jobs, a topic to which we will return in later articles. First, Adam was “to work and keep” the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15). The Garden is specifically described not just as a place where food grew, but as a place of beauty and delight (Gen. 2:9); we may thus infer that working and keeping the Garden involved not simply food production, but cultivating beauty as well. In other words, the arts have been part of God’s mandate to humanity from the very beginning.

There can be no question that God loves beauty. Consider the earth and stars as celebrated in the Psalms, or the specifications of the Tabernacle and its furnishings, as well as the priests’ garments, in Ex. 26-28 and 30, or the Temple in 1 Kg. 6-7, or the throne room of Heaven in Is. 6 and Rev. 4, or the New Jerusalem in Rev. 21. Both God’s works and His worship are bathed in beauty.

Even more remarkably, God told Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all I have commanded you….” (Ex. 31:2-6) So the craftsmanship and skill that went into the making the Tabernacle, as well as the ability “to devise artistic designs,” were the products of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and therefore reflect something of God’s own nature.

The artist, in using the materials God has placed at hand and the skills which God has given, is thus a sub-creator, to use Tolkien’s word, exercising the image of God by fulfilling the mandate to work and keep the Garden.

Adam’s second task was naming the animals (Gen. 2:19-20). This also was a creative act, though of a different type. In Hebrew, a being’s name was thought to reflect its nature, and thus to name the animals appropriately required studying and understanding them, and then coming up with the appropriate word to encapsulate their nature. We will return to this in a later article when we consider the sciences. For now, we need to note that the act of naming is an intellectual and creative activity, and as a result a full biblical understanding of human creativity includes not just the visual arts to the verbal arts as well.[3]

Language is, of course, a characteristic of God Himself. He spoke the universe into existence, and Jesus is described in John 1 as the word of God. Human use of language is thus another reflection of the image of God, particularly when we use words to create.

Creativity in language

The nature of Scripture itself affirms the importance of creativity in language. God did not reveal Himself through a list of essential doctrines or a schematic outline of theology. Instead, He chose to reveal Himself through the writings of a variety of authors over many hundreds of years in just about every type of literature then known to humanity. There are historical narratives, laws, poems and songs, proverbs, prophetic oracles, parables, letters, apocalyptic literature, even genealogies. In producing our own literature, we are following the example of God who gave us a rich literary heritage in His word.

This is precisely the kind of creativity both Dorothy Sayers and J.R.R. Tolkien had in mind when they talked about “making things” or “sub-creation,” though of course they would not have limited creative activity to literature. At the same time, however, both saw writing as a very high level creative act since it involves bringing imagination to life using words as God Himself did at the Creation. Of course, God’s words produced physical results, whereas the main fruit of writing is not the physical book but the ideas it conveys.

Creativity in music

Another area of creative activity found in Scripture is music. God is surrounded by music in Heaven (Is. 6; Rev. 4, 5, 11, 15, etc.). God’s actions in history were celebrated in song (e.g. Ex. 15:1-21), and music was central to the worship in Jerusalem (e.g. 1 Chron. 15:16-24). Jesus and the Apostles sang hymns (Matt. 26:30), as did Paul and Silas even when they were locked in the deepest part of a Roman prison (Acts 16:25).

Psalms, the longest book in the Bible, is a collection of songs, and it celebrates not only singing but instrumental music (e.g. Ps. 150) as a means of praising God. The Psalms include songs of praise, laments, pleas for help, introspection, prayers of repentance …. In any and every circumstance, it gives us examples of how to sing our heart’s cries to God.

The Apostle Paul even tells us that music is a sign of being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18-20). Singing thus joins Bezalel’s visual arts as a work of the Holy Spirit and therefore as an aspect of the image of God.

Creativity in all of life

Creativity extends well beyond just these few examples here. In every area of life, at our home, in our work, and in our recreation, creativity plays a major role. The reason is simple: part of our nature as image bearers of God the Creator is to be sub-creators, and so to carry out our original mandate which God gave us in the Garden, to create culture as a function of our stewardship of the world.

[1] The Mind of the Maker, http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/dlsayers/mindofmaker/mind.02.htm.This book is the most thorough treatment of creativity as central to what it means to be human and to the image of God that I have seen. It is no accident that Sayers was a novelist, playwright, poet and translator—in other words, a person engaged in “creative writing”—rather than a formal theologian.

[2] David C. Downing, “Sub-Creation or Smuggled Theology: Tolkien contra Lewis on Christian Fantasy,”http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/cslewis/downing_theology.htm. This idea is also reflected in the story, “Of Aulë and Yavanna,” chapter 2 of The Silmarillion.

[3] There is common ground between visual and verbal arts. Bezalel had intelligence and knowledge, which empowered his craftsmanship; Adam needed the same qualities in naming animals, though he applied them using a different vehicle than the physical objects Bezazel produced. It thus seems fair to say that some type of intellectual ability is a prerequisite for creative work.

For additional insight to this topic, get the book, The Active Life: A

Spirituality of Work, Creativity, and Caring, by Parker Palmer, from The Colson Center online

store. Or read the article, “To Compose from Fragments,” by T. M. Moore.

Day of Rest 7-29-12

The Image of God and Spirituality

By Dr. Glenn Sunshine|Published Date: July 14, 2010

In God’s image

In the first articles of this series, we observed that the image of God means that we are created to be God’s representatives, regents, and stewards on earth; that this position is the foundation for human dignity and rights; that it applies equally to men and women; and that it is expressed most directly in the family, as the fundamental unit in society and therefore the place where our dominion over creation is first exercised.

The tools God has given humanity to carry out this work of stewardship—creativity, reason, the ability to make choices, the will, emotions, morality—all of these share one important characteristic: they are all expressions of the non-physical side of human nature – that is, the fact that in addition to having physical bodies, we are spiritual beings as well.[1]

Challenges to spirituality

Contemporary culture poses several challenges to the Biblical idea of spirituality. First, one common worldview, known as materialism or naturalism, says that the physical world of matter and energy is all that exists, and thus that people have no non-physical side. This view is most common within the scientific community, particularly among those who believe that the natural sciences provide the only reliable approach to knowledge about any and everything, an idea known as scientism.

To believe this, however, runs counter to our own experience of life. First, it argues that our consciousness is nothing more than a result of chemistry in our brains; free will is an illusion, since everything we do is the result of physics and chemistry; love, hate, self-consciousness, our awareness of ourselves, all are just chemical reactions. Good and evil and right and wrong do not exist since they are neither matter nor energy; you cannot even call them cultural preferences since a preference is neither matter nor energy either.

In fact, even the thoughts you are having right now as you read this aren’t thoughts in the way you think they are—they’re just neurons firing as a result of electrical impulses from your optic nerves. And if you want to argue with these conclusions, you can no more help yourself from doing that or from holding your views than the moon can stop orbiting the earth. You are nothing more than a kind of robot carrying out the necessary and inevitable results of physics, chemistry, and biology.

While some people argue this, it is extremely doubtful that they really believe it deep down. And it is certain that they do not and cannot live as if it were true.

A second problem revolves around the word “spiritual” itself. People frequently describe themselves as“spiritual, but not religious” or talk about someone being “very spiritual.” The problem is, if you ask what they mean by the word, “spiritual,” they typically cannot define it. It seems to mean something like an interest in metaphysical issues, or a sense of connection to some kind of non-physical “higher being” or “beings.”

Even though a “spiritual” person’s spiritual practices (i.e. exercises done to get in touch with the higher beings or to attain metaphysical experiences or knowledge) may be done as part of a group, spirituality israrely seen in corporate terms—it tends to be highly individual, which is in part what separates it in people’s minds from religion. This emphasis on intuition and experience makes it very close to the ancient heresy of Gnosticism, which believed that salvation is attained through acquiring secret knowledge (or discovering it within you).

While this idea of spirituality has some positive elements, particularly its recognition of the existence of the non-physical dimensions of reality, it rarely reflects the Biblical concept of what it means that human beings are spiritual creatures. It often leans toward a form of dualism, another element of ancient Gnosticism. Gnostics believed that the spiritual world was far superior to the physical world, so much so that the physical is irrelevant at best or completely evil at worst. This idea shows up in Christian Science, many Eastern religions, and New Age systems, and ironically in some of the more extreme forms of Christian fundamentalism.

Yet Scripture tells us that God pronounced the physical world that He created very good—including our bodies. In fact, our bodies are essential for us to carry out our mandate to be God’s stewards over the physical world: we have to be in it to take care of it. How, then, can the body be evil?

Even humanity’s fall into sin doesn’t change the essential goodness of the body, especially since sin comes from our inner, non-physical being, not our bodies (Mark 7:14-23).[2] We will return to the effects of Fall in a later article.

An integrated whole

Instead of dividing body and spirit, the Bible teaches that the human being is an integrated whole, simultaneously physical and spiritual, with both created good. This unity is reflected in the word for “spirit” in both Hebrew (ruah) and Greek (pneuma), which refers not just to spirit, but to breath. While it is possible to take this too far, the connection of spirit and breath points to the fact that it is the union of spirit and body that gives us life (e.g. Gen. 2:7).

To put it differently, we cannot separate our understanding of what it means for us to be spiritual creatures from our bodies. Neither the materialist who ignores the reality of the spirit, nor the Gnostic who rejects the significance of the body, are correct. The spirit and the body are united in us, and must be understood together.

Of course, even animals have “the breath of life” (Gen. 7:21-22). The human spirit goes well beyond simply giving us biological life. As medieval theologians and Renaissance thinkers pointed out, humanity is unique as a microcosm of the creation: we are both physical and spiritual creatures; we are both sensual and rational; we participate in both time and eternity. What creature is thus in a better position to act as God’s regent (or, in ancient near eastern terms, His image) on earth?

Biblical spirituality

So what is the Biblical concept of spirituality? Jesus tells us that “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (Jn. 4:24 ESV) Our ability to worship God, to connect with Him, even to have a personal relationship with Him, hinges on the fact that we have within us a spirit that is in some measure a reflection, an image, of God’s Spirit. Without the ability of our spirit to connect with God as spirit, worship cannot happen.

This is the nature of true spirituality: worshipping God who is Spirit. Even this, however, cannot be separated from our bodies. Rom. 12:1 tells us that true worship occurs as we present our bodies as living sacrifices to God. The Greek word translated as “body” is soma, which points to the person as an integrated whole – bodies, minds, emotions and will. This echoes Jesus’ restatement of the shema, the foundation of Judaism, which tells us that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength—the whole being (Mark 12:29).[3]

All we think, say, and do is thus to be done for the love of God, as part of presenting our whole selves as living sacrifices to Him, which is true worship and true spirituality. This is another way of expressing our calling as God’s stewards on earth: all that we do here, we are to do in His name, for His sake, to express our love for Him and to glorify Him.

For more insight to this topic, get the book, True Spirituality, by Francis Schaeffer, from our online store. Or read the article, “Spirituality, Religion and Christian Faith,” by S. M. Hutchens.

[1] Scripture divides humans up in a variety of ways: body, soul and spirit; body and soul; heart, soul, mind and strength; etc. For our purposes here, we are not looking at a precise distinction between the different aspects of human nature, but simply using “spirit” to describe all of humanity’s non-physical traits.

[2] Paul’s use of the term “flesh” as the opposite of “spirit” (e.g. Rom. 8:5) does not refer to the physical body. In context, it refers to an attitude of rebellion against the Holy Spirit’s leading of our lives in obedience to God.

[3] One implication of this is that taking proper care of our bodies is an aspect of true spirituality. While we do not worship the body, we must take care of it and develop it just as we do our minds and our “spiritual life” as part of our stewardship of ourselves before God.

Day of Rest 7-22-12

Noah’s Webster’s 1828 edition of the American Dictionary contained a profuse amount of Holy Scripture, as he would use verses from the Old and New Testaments to clarify the context in which a word was to be used.  For example,, the definition of the word Faith includes the following sentences:

Being justified by faith. Rom. V.

Without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb. xi

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2Cor.v.

With the heart man believeth to righteousness. Rom.x.

Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. Rom.i.

Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Rom.xiv.

Children in whom is no faith. Deut.xxxii.