You may have occasion to be the recipient of criticism or correction from a brother or sister in Christ. The natural problem arises that such a message rendered, no matter how serious or trivial, is bound to make you feel humiliated. This problem of your feelings should be the key criterion for shaping your retaliation response.

Under no circumstances should you ever pause and consider whether the criticism could be true! This weak behavior of self-examination will only lead to further humiliation. In fact, it is wise to ALWAYS ASSUME that the assailant is wrong, misinformed, and/or generally inferior to you. Remember to focus on your goal: to preserve your dignity and your carefully crafted good reputation.

It is far better to insist on your innocence than to apologize for some offense taken by the approacher. It is unthinkable that you should ever apologize for something you are certain that you are not guilty of–even if your protests of innocence land on deaf ears. The fact that your critic is unwilling to listen to reason is reason enough to dismiss the whole thing; how dare they upset your inner peace with their uninformed and rash judgments? How dare they talk as if they see into your heart and know your motives?

All in all, the byword is deny, deny, deny. You must never take what the person says, or, for that matter, how they feel, seriously.

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Step 1. Dislike. Make a mental note and mark the person for whom you feel a simple, general and undefined dislike, such as anyone who just ‘bugs’ you. In this initial stage, remember you don’t yet have a real case against them. You may want to group several “types” in this initial stage, with irritants falling into various categories such as “women,” “elders,” “men,” “teens,” “blondes,” “redheads,” etc. Then it’s easier to assign faults in a more general way (ex: “that guy bugs me; all or most men disrespect me.”).

Step 2. Distance. At this early stage the next step is crucial. DO NOT try to get to know that irritating person better, in an open-minded, benefit-of-the-doubt kind of way! Rather, stay a safe distance away and maintain a sideways glance at all times. A basic suspicion of the irritating person goes a long way. The fleshly human behavior of avoiding people you just don’t care for is the easy, convenient way to go. This distancing yourself works wonders in cultivating your ‘discernment’ skills.

Step 3. Discuss. Spend all your time and energy talking only to yourself or to trusted comrades about this person’s possible flaws. WARNING: DO NOT FEED ON GOD’s WORD AND DO NOT SINCERELY PRAY to God to help you love this person!

Step 4. Develop. From this distance, watch for any opportunity that may arise for you to pin a specific offense on that person, so that you might have an opportunity to ‘correct’ them in some sin you perceive they are committing. If a chance presents itself, DO NOT consider any Bible passages and what God’s Word teaches, and DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ask yourself if you could be mistaken in your discernment of the offense! Do not examine yourself! Never hope that you are mistaken! The aim is to carelessly and without humility build up your case for their guilt and your own innocence. ADDED BONUS: You will acquire in this process a keen insight not only into the sin this person is guilty of, but also into the VERY MOTIVES that lie hidden in the offending person’s heart, an amazing insight that YOU must later use to straighten out this person!

Step 5. Defend. At this stage always bear in mind the ultimate goal in ‘making peace’ between you and they: YOU ARE RIGHT AND THEY ARE WRONG AND THEY NEED TO AGREE WITH YOU, PERIOD! This is really what it means to make things right–make it clear that ONLY YOU are right. Once again, do not consult the Word of God to see whether you have a valid grievance against them and whether they are in fact entrapped in a sin – the greater factor is, after all, that this person is simply irritating as heck. They do not give you the respect you deserve, they do not take you seriously, and it is your duty to correct this in them! If you don’t, who will? And who expects you to just take it, anyway?

Step 6. Dive in. Take a crouching stance and be ready to pounce. Once you have satisfactorily cultivated the case against the offender, and you are thoroughly convinced of your own righteousness–indeed, maybe even of your own victimization in this scenario–take the first chance you have to ambush the person. Never first pray with the brother or sister. If you quietly and “patiently” present your feelings and opinions as God-given insights and the person hesitates, feigns ignorance, expresses confusion, or worst of all, says something stupid like, “I’m sorry you feel that way – I didn’t mean to—-” or if they flat out disagree or plead that there is a simple misunderstanding, you must FLY INTO A RAGE! (Note: If you have a talent for ranting, now is the time to use it! ) Don’t allow them to have the floor; cut them off in mid-sentence, or better yet, wait for them to take a breath and then begin a rant simultaneously with their first word – that way it looks less like you are cutting them off and more like they are cutting YOU off. Do not tolerate anything short of a complete, remorseful and groveling APOLOGY, with full admission of guilt. (If they have any sense at all, they will go on to praise you for your abundant wisdom and insight and will thank you for crushing them with your angry attack). Don’t worry about being gentle or meek; just worry about them seeing that you are absolutely and unquestionably right in your judgments.

Step 7. Delay and decay. If this thorn of a person stubbornly refuses to repent and see things your way as described above, if they fail to give you the respect you deserve, DO NOT seek intervention and clarity via another brother or sister to mediate this issue. Never recognize that you and they are in The Body of Christ, for Christ’s sake! Instead, let the whole issue stew for as long as possible so that its potency and volatility will ultimately bubble up into a churning cauldron of resentment that knows no rest. Over time, as you repeat the above steps and then in turn harbor each of these hurtful experiences, you will find you have a virtual buried treasure of (tarnishing) silver, stored away in your heart. You will also in effect increasingly isolate yourself and grow to be more and more independent of others. You can assure yourself that though you have fought long and hard to make things right with various offensive people, you alone must maintain your gift of discernment, and you alone must keep fighting that fight.

Psalm 119

May 5, 2012

א Aleph

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,     who walk   according to the law of the Lord. 2 Blessed   are those who keep his statutes     and seek him   with all their heart— 3 they do no wrong     but follow his ways. 4 You have laid down precepts     that are to be fully obeyed. 5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast     in obeying your decrees! 6 Then I would not be put to shame     when I consider all your commands. 7 I will praise you with an upright heart     as I learn your righteous laws. 8 I will obey your decrees;     do not utterly forsake me.

ב Beth

9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?     By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart;     do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart     that I might not sin   against you. 12 Praise be   to you, Lord;     teach me   your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount     all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes     as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts     and consider your ways. 16 I delight  in your decrees;     I will not neglect your word.

ג Gimel

17 Be good to your servant   while I live,     that I may obey your word. 18 Open my eyes that I may see     wonderful things in your law. 19 I am a stranger on earth;     do not hide your commands from me. 20 My soul is consumed   with longing     for your laws   at all times. 21 You rebuke the arrogant,   who are accursed,     those who stray   from your commands. 22 Remove from me their scorn   and contempt,     for I keep your statutes. 23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,     your servant will meditate on your decrees. 24 Your statutes are my delight;     they are my counselors.

ד Daleth

25 I am laid low in the dust;     preserve my life   according to your word. 26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;     teach me your decrees. 27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,     that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. 28 My soul is weary with sorrow;     strengthen me   according to your word. 29 Keep me from deceitful ways;     be gracious to me   and teach me your law. 30 I have chosen   the way of faithfulness;     I have set my heart   on your laws. 31 I hold fast   to your statutes, Lord;     do not let me be put to shame. 32 I run in the path of your commands,     for you have broadened my understanding.

ה He

33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,     that I may follow it to the end.[b] 34 Give me understanding,   so that I may keep your law     and obey it with all my heart. 35 Direct me   in the path of your commands,     for there I find delight. 36 Turn my heart   toward your statutes     and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;     preserve my life   according to your word.[c] 38 Fulfill your promise   to your servant,     so that you may be feared. 39 Take away the disgrace   I dread,     for your laws are good. 40 How I long  for your precepts!     In your righteousness preserve my life.

ו Waw

41 May your unfailing love   come to me, Lord,     your salvation, according to your promise; 42 then I can answer   anyone who taunts me,     for I trust in your word. 43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,     for I have put my hope   in your laws. 44 I will always obey your law,     for ever and ever. 45 I will walk about in freedom,     for I have sought out your precepts. 46 I will speak of your statutes before kings     and will not be put to shame, 47 for I delight   in your commands     because I love them. 48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,     that I may meditate  on your decrees.

ז Zayin

49 Remember your word   to your servant,     for you have given me hope. 50 My comfort in my suffering is this:     Your promise preserves my life. 51 The arrogant mock me   unmercifully,     but I do not turn   from your law. 52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws,     and I find comfort in them. 53 Indignation grips me   because of the wicked,     who have forsaken your law. 54 Your decrees are the theme of my song     wherever I lodge. 55 In the night, Lord, I remember   your name,     that I may keep your law. 56 This has been my practice:     I obey your precepts.

ח Heth

57 You are my portion, Lord;     I have promised to obey your words. 58 I have sought   your face with all my heart;     be gracious to me   according to your promise. 59 I have considered my ways     and have turned my steps to your statutes. 60 I will hasten and not delay     to obey your commands. 61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,     I will not forget   your law. 62 At midnight   I rise to give you thanks     for your righteous laws. 63 I am a friend to all who fear you,     to all who follow your precepts. 64 The earth is filled with your love,Lord;     teach me your decrees.

ט Teth

65 Do good   to your servant     according to your word, Lord. 66 Teach me knowledge   and good judgment,     for I trust your commands. 67 Before I was afflicted   I went astray,     but now I obey your word. 68 You are good,   and what you do is good;     teach me your decrees. 69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,     I keep your precepts with all my heart. 70 Their hearts are callous   and unfeeling,     but I delight in your law. 71 It was good for me to be afflicted     so that I might learn your decrees. 72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me     than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

י Yodh

73 Your hands made me   and formed me;     give me understanding to learn your commands. 74 May those who fear you rejoice   when they see me,     for I have put my hope in your word. 75 I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous,     and that in faithfulness   you have afflicted me. 76 May your unfailing love   be my comfort,     according to your promise   to your servant. 77 Let your compassion   come to me that I may live,     for your law is my delight. 78 May the arrogant   be put to shame for wronging me without cause;     but I will meditate on your precepts. 79 May those who fear you turn to me,     those who understand your statutes. 80 May I wholeheartedly follow  your decrees,     that I may not be put to shame.

כ Kaph

81 My soul faints   with longing for your salvation,     but I have put my hope   in your word. 82 My eyes fail,   looking for your promise;     I say, “When will you comfort me?” 83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,     I do not forget   your decrees. 84 How long   must your servant wait?     When will you punish my persecutors? 85 The arrogant   dig pits   to trap me,     contrary to your law. 86 All your commands are trustworthy;     help me,   for I am being persecuted   without cause. 87 They almost wiped me from the earth,     but I have not forsaken   your precepts. 88 In your unfailing love  preserve my life,     that I may obey the statutes  of your mouth.

ל Lamedh

89 Your word, Lord, is eternal;     it stands firm in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness   continues through all generations;     you established the earth, and it endures. 91 Your laws endure   to this day,     for all things serve you. 92 If your law had not been my delight,     I would have perished in my affliction. 93 I will never forget   your precepts,     for by them you have preserved my life. 94 Save me,   for I am yours;     I have sought out your precepts. 95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me,     but I will ponder your statutes. 96 To all perfection I see a limit,     but your commands are boundless.

מ Mem

97 Oh, how I love your law!     I meditate   on it all day long. 98 Your commands are always with me     and make me wiser   than my enemies. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers,     for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders,     for I obey your precepts. 101 I have kept my feet   from every evil path     so that I might obey your word. 102 I have not departed from your laws,     for you yourself have taught   me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste,     sweeter than honey   to my mouth! 104 I gain understanding  from your precepts;     therefore I hate every wrong path.

נ Nun

105 Your word is a lamp   for my feet,     a light   on my path. 106 I have taken an oath   and confirmed it,     that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much;     preserve my life, Lord, according to your word. 108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,     and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,     I will not forget   your law. 110 The wicked have set a snare   for me,     but I have not strayed   from your precepts. 111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;     they are the joy of my heart. 112 My heart is set   on keeping your decrees     to the very end.[d]

ס Samekh

113 I hate double-minded people,     but I love your law. 114 You are my refuge and my shield;     I have put my hope   in your word. 115 Away from me,   you evildoers,     that I may keep the commands of my God! 116 Sustain me,   my God, according to your promise,   and I will live;     do not let my hopes be dashed. 117 Uphold me,   and I will be delivered;     I will always have regard for your decrees. 118 You reject all who stray   from your decrees,     for their delusions come to nothing. 119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross;     therefore I love your statutes. 120 My flesh trembles  in fear of you;     I stand in awe  of your laws.

ע Ayin

121 I have done what is righteous and just;     do not leave me to my oppressors. 122 Ensure your servant’s well-being;     do not let the arrogant oppress me. 123 My eyes fail,   looking for your salvation,     looking for your righteous promise. 124 Deal with your servant according to your love     and teach me your decrees. 125 I am your servant;   give me discernment     that I may understand your statutes. 126 It is time for you to act, Lord;     your law is being broken. 127 Because I love your commands     more than gold,   more than pure gold, 128 and because I consider all your precepts right,     I hate every wrong path.

פ Pe

129 Your statutes are wonderful;     therefore I obey them. 130 The unfolding of your words gives light;     it gives understanding to the simple. 131 I open my mouth and pant,     longing for your commands. 132 Turn to me   and have mercy   on me,     as you always do to those who love your name. 133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;     let no sin rule   over me. 134 Redeem me from human oppression,     that I may obey your precepts. 135 Make your face shine   on your servant     and teach me your decrees. 136 Streams of tears  flow from my eyes,     for your law is not obeyed.

צ Tsadhe

137 You are righteous, Lord,     and your laws are right. 138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous;     they are fully trustworthy. 139 My zeal wears me out,     for my enemies ignore your words. 140 Your promises   have been thoroughly tested,     and your servant loves them. 141 Though I am lowly and despised,     I do not forget your precepts. 142 Your righteousness is everlasting     and your law is true. 143 Trouble and distress have come upon me,     but your commands give me delight. 144 Your statutes are always righteous;     give me understanding  that I may live.

ק Qoph

145 I call with all my heart;   answer me, Lord,     and I will obey your decrees. 146 I call out to you; save me     and I will keep your statutes. 147 I rise before dawn   and cry for help;     I have put my hope in your word. 148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,     that I may meditate on your promises. 149 Hear my voice   in accordance with your love;     preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws. 150 Those who devise wicked schemes   are near,     but they are far from your law. 151 Yet you are near, Lord,     and all your commands are true. 152 Long ago I learned from your statutes     that you established them to last forever.

ר Resh

153 Look on my suffering   and deliver me,     for I have not forgotten   your law. 154 Defend my cause   and redeem me;     preserve my life   according to your promise. 155 Salvation is far from the wicked,     for they do not seek out   your decrees. 156 Your compassion, Lord, is great;     preserve my life   according to your laws. 157 Many are the foes who persecute me,     but I have not turned   from your statutes. 158 I look on the faithless with loathing,     for they do not obey your word. 159 See how I love your precepts;     preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love. 160 All your words are true;     all your righteous laws are eternal.

ש Sin and Shin

161 Rulers persecute me   without cause,     but my heart trembles   at your word. 162 I rejoice   in your promise     like one who finds great spoil. 163 I hate and detest   falsehood     but I love your law. 164 Seven times a day I praise you     for your righteous laws. 165 Great peace   have those who love your law,     and nothing can make them stumble. 166 I wait for your salvation, Lord,     and I follow your commands. 167 I obey your statutes,     for I love them   greatly. 168 I obey your precepts  and your statutes,     for all my ways are known  to you.

169 May my cry come before you, Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord,
and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.

Kaddish

April 14, 2012

May the great Name of God be exalted and sanctified, throughout the world, which he has created according to his will. May his Kingship be established in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the entire household of Israel, swiftly and in the near future; and say, Amen. May his great name be blessed, forever and ever. Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored elevated and lauded be the Name of the holy one, Blessed is he- above and beyond any blessings and hymns, Praises and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say Amen.May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life, upon us and upon all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who makes peace in his high holy places, may he bring peace upon us, and upon all Israel; and say Amen.

Painting by Jillian Goldberg    http://fineartamerica.com/featured/pink-kaddish-jillian-goldberg.html

A Thought

April 3, 2012

Jesus calls His disciples His friends. Wonder of wonders!

…But what do disciples of Jesus call Him?

They call Him “LORD.”

On being exposed.

March 31, 2012

Sometimes when reading the Bible one is struck by amazing ties and connections, often where one would never had made them before. Then as one begins to meditate on such verses, more and more ties are seen, to the point that it can be rather overwhelming (in a good way).

For a while now, a passage from the Gospel of John has been ‘haunting’ me:

And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.” John 3:19,20

I think I was first looking at this verse particularly because of the phrase, “because their deeds were evil”.  I had been wondering what the Bible says are the reasons why people don’t place their faith in Jesus and walk with Him. It occurred to me that this serves as at least one explanation for why people do not come to the light and why they love darkness rather than light – because of their sin, “because their deeds were evil”. Sin keeps us in a state of darkness, because we do not want to be exposed for being sinners. So to follow this analogy of light and darkness, part of what happens when Jesus comes into the world is that, He, being Light, exposes the darkness in us.

Nowadays, particularly with seeker-sensitive type Christian movements like the so-called ‘Emergent’ mindset, this truth about Jesus (or the Holy Spirit) exposing our sin is ignored or suppressed. Rarely is sin discussed or ackknowledged, and in fact the definition of sin, that we are all destined for eternal punishment because of our sin, is not even believed. No one before regeneration wants to admit that to approach Jesus is to find out that we are sinners and we need a Savior (“lest his deeds be exposed”).  Hubris, pride, not wanting to be a creature but rather like God, a god. …Yes, wonderful, loving, gentle, forgiving Jesus is the One who points out our dire need of Him, and that’s why the woman at the well could openly proclaim,”He told me all I ever did.” (John 4:39b).

With these things in mind as outlined in the above verses, I have been reading the gospels in a fresh way:  those who do not want to have their sin exposed, (which in the narrative is primarily the religious leaders) do not really embrace who Jesus really is and they therefore “hate the light” and do “not come to the light”. Others, who are in some way aware and who come to terms with the fact that they are sinners (and one could argue their evil deeds are not so hidden either to themselves or even to others), are the only ones who can love the light and come to the light.

I wonder if this coming to the light, allowing exposure, is what is meant when John says “he who does what is true comes to the light” – I used to think ‘doing what is true’ was about not sinning, and I could never understand the logic of these verses – but now I see that he ‘who does what is true’ is he who humbles himself and comes to the light, allowing himself to be exposed – this is another way of  describing repentance. And I wonder if the last sentence there, “that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God,”speaks to the fact that even our repentance is God’s work of shining light into our darkness.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:His truth is marching on.

(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
“As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.”
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on.
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
Our God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

Psalm 51

March 19, 2012

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,    according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion    blot out my transgressions. 2Wash away all my iniquity    and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,    and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned    and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict    and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth,    sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness;    let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9Hide your face from my sins    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,    and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence    or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12Restore to me the joy of your salvation    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,    so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,    you who are God my Savior,    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord,    and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b]a broken spirit;    a broken and contrite heart    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,    to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,    in burnt offerings offered whole;    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 51:1 In Hebrew texts 51:1-19 is numbered 51:3-21.
  2. Psalm 51:17 Or The sacrifices of God are

From Charles Spurgeon

March 13, 2012

We need nothing more than God has seen fit to reveal. Certain errant spirits are never at home till they are abroad: they crave for a something which I think they will never find, either in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth, so long as they are in their present mind. They never rest, for they will have nothing to do with an infallible revelation; and hence they are doomed to wander throughout time and eternity, and find no abiding city. For the moment they glory as if they were satisfied with their last new toy; but in a few months it is sport to them to break in pieces all the notions which they formerly prepared with care, and paraded with delight. They go up a hill only to come down again. Indeed, they say that the pursuit of truth is better than truth itself. They like fishing better than the fish; which may very well be true, since their fish are very small, and very full of bones. These men are as great at destroying their own theories as certain paupers are at tearing up their clothes. They begin again de novo, times without number: their house is always having its foundation digged out. They should be good at beginnings; for they have always been beginning since we have known them. They are as the rolling thing before the whirlwind, or “like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” Although their cloud is not that cloud which betokened the divine presence, yet it is always moving before them, and their tents are scarcely pitched before it is time for the stakes to be pulled up again. These men are not even seeking certainty; their heaven lies in shunning all fixed truth, and following every will-o’-the-wisp of speculation: they are ever learning, but they never come to the knowledge of the truth. As for us, we cast anchor in the haven of the Word of God. Here is our peace, our strength, our life, our motive, our hope, our happiness. God’s Word is our ultimatum. Here we have it. Our understanding cries, “I have found it”; our conscience asserts that here is the truth; and our heart finds here a support to which all her affections can cling; and hence we rest content. If the revelation of God were not enough for our faith, what could we add to it? Who can answer this question? What would any man propose to add to the sacred Word? A moment’s thought would lead us to scout with derision the most attractive words of men, if it were proposed to add them to the Word of God. The fabric would not be of a piece. Would you add rags to a royal vestment? Would you pile the filth of the streets in a king’s treasury? Would you join the pebbles of the sea-shore to the diamonds of Golconda? Anything more than the Word of God sets before us, for us to believe and to preach as the life of men, seems utterly absurd to us; yet we confront a generation of men who are always wanting to discover a new motive power, and a new gospel for their churches. The coverlet of their bed does not seem to be long enough, and they would fain borrow a yard or two of linsey-woolsey from the Unitarian, the Agnostic, or even the Atheist. Well; if there be any spiritual force or heavenward power to be found beyond that reported of in this Book, I think we can do without it: indeed, it must be such a sham that we are better without it. The Scriptures in their own sphere are like God in the universe—All-sufficient. In them is revealed all the light and power the mind of man can need in spiritual things. We hear of other motive power beyond that which lies in the Scriptures, but we believe such a force to be a pretentious nothing. A train is off the lines, or otherwise unable to proceed, and a break-down gang has arrived. Engines are brought to move the great impediment. At first there seems to be no stir: the engine power is not enough. Harken! A small boy has it. He cries, “Father, if they have not power enough, I will lend them my rocking-horse to help them.” We have had the offer of a considerable number of rocking-horses of late. They have not accomplished much that I can see, but they promised fair. I fear their effect has been for evil rather than good: they have moved the people to derision, and have driven them out of the places of worship which once they were glad to crowd. The new toys have been exhibited, and the people, after seeing them for a little, have moved on to other toy-shops. These fine new nothings have done no good, and they never will do any good while the world standeth. The Word of God is quite sufficient to interest and bless the souls of men throughout all time; but novelties soon fail. “Surely,” cries one, “we must add our own thoughts thereto.” My brother, think by all means; but the thoughts of God are better than yours. You may shed fine thoughts, as trees in autumn cast their leaves; but there is One who knows more about your thoughts than you do, and he thinks little of them. Is it not written, “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity”? To liken our thoughts to the great thoughts of God, would be a gross absurdity. Would you bring your candle to show the sun? Your nothingness to replenish the eternal all? It is better to be silent before the Lord, than to dream of supplementing what he has spoken. The Word of the Lord is to the conceptions of men as a garden to a wilderness. Keep within the covers of the sacred book, and you are in the land which floweth with milk and honey; why seek to add to it the desert sands?