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Re: on the matter off being booted

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  • raging_calvinist <raging.calvinist@veriz
    You were never kicked out, and the membership activity records show that you didn t rejoin before posting this (you were already a member). You must be
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 31, 2003
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      You were never kicked out, and the membership activity records show
      that you didn't rejoin before posting this (you were already a
      member).

      You must be confused.

      gmw.

      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Henry
      <thenextjohncalvin@y...>" <thenextjohncalvin@y...> wrote:
      > I ment to say I was upset I dont want to say much just wondering
      why?
      > I hope to see you soom brother in Christ
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > -- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Henry
      > <thenextjohncalvin@y...>" <thenextjohncalvin@y...> wrote:
      > > HEllo~
      > >
      > > I am very insulted
    • thebishopsdoom
      Welcome back Raging. It looks like you ve not posted in a while as I haven t seen your name appear as much. I suppose some may wonder where I ve been hiding
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 31, 2003
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        Welcome back Raging.
        It looks like you've not posted in a while as I haven't seen your
        name appear as much.
        I suppose some may wonder where I've been hiding myself the past
        couple months or so. Basically I have taken some time off of regular
        examination of the forums I've tended to keep up with. Mainly because
        I needed time away from debate about the truth, and time to spend
        more thoughts upon He who is the Truth. Sometimes life can allow one
        to get so caught in theology, that we miss that closeness of that
        countenance of love from He who is the Truth. I don't suspect I'll be
        as regular a lurker, but from time to time I know I'll be curious to
        check up on things.
        Anyway, there are things that I've learned, maybe not so much new,
        but afresh, in my time away.
        I have shared this with a few people, and thought I might share it a
        little more broadly, in hopes that perhaps it might be something that
        may help to edify someone or other on this group. Forgive me if it
        ends up sounding too elementary and obvious.
        I have spent most of my young Christian life in presbyterian circles
        (I am absenting the years growing up in a somewhat liberal church in
        a generally liberal denomination). There are things that I have grown
        much in - not least of which of course is some handle of theological
        truth. This of course is not the only blessing I have gotten among
        presbyterians. However, too often, that truth is not mingled to a
        balanced degree as it ought to be, with devotion. Often the truth is
        studied as a matter of pride - for debate - I'm the one whose right!
        No me! No me! I have experienced those for whom the study of theology
        was almost an experiment in practical gnosticism - all knowledge,
        nothing else, and an almost desire that they be able to always retain
        a level of knowledge above everyone else so they can almost look
        smarter than others. Pride puffeth up. Love edifieth. I have in my
        experiences seen those for whom, having a form of godliness, deny the
        power thereof, and losing what may have at once seemed to be their
        first love, apostasized from the faith, or perverted it and refused
        to unite it with love. Whose god was their own belly, as it were.
        Always learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
        There were others who did not fit that description precisely, but who
        to some degree or other modelled such in putting so much trust in
        their intellect and learning, while giving comparatively little care
        for their souls or those of others. These may have been Christians,
        but in the midst of the Lord's mercies in bringing them to such
        knowledge about Him and about grace, that they fall short of much of
        the fullness of the joy of His gracious countenance which is pushed
        back andbut viewed by such individuals from afar, until God
        mercifully stir up their souls. In the midst of this, I have also
        seen those who were looking for real nourishment, and languished
        under whatever crumbs they could get from their surroundings, while
        never quite getting that nourishment that might the more drive them
        to a feeding of their souls with Christ. Sadly, it becomes all too
        easy to conform to those surroundings, especially for a new
        Christian, and this can aid in stinting one's real growth in grace
        from what it might otherwise be. Leaving less spiritual maturity to
        share with others to aid them in their walk as well. In fact, it
        seems true to me that even those who have the more advanced need to
        take care that they effect their surroundings more positiovely than
        they allow their surroundings to bring themselves down. That they are
        part of the solution rather than allowing laxness to conform them to
        the pitfalls and problems to some degree or other of that dreaded
        menace known as "dead orthodoxy," and that they attempt to be a
        counterbalance to such in the lives of others as opportunity affords
        in appropriate contexts.
        The perfect balance between devotion to God and a desire to preserve
        pure and entire the truth as it is in Jesus, to keep the ground and
        pillar of the truth from crumbling away bit by bit, grain by grain,
        from the Lord's Temple. How seldom do we see that perfect balance?
        (Or perhaps I should say, something approximating such a perfection
        of balance.) Perhaps because many who get deeply into theology do so
        for motivations of pride or curiosity more than out of a striving
        that comes from a devotion to better understand God because of one's
        own love and devotion. I liken it to a criminologist trying to get to
        know the mind of a criminal, versus a spouse trying to get to know
        the mind of their lover. Both may come to a knowledge of how things
        fit together in the respective lives of who they are studying, but
        the criminologist is nevertheless not drawn closer to his subject
        just because he has learned of him. The spouses on the other hand,
        are drawn deeper into their mutual love for each as their lover, and
        how they might better serve the one they love.
        a Kempis speaks in his The Imitation of Christ thuswise:

        "Some walk not sincerely in my sight, but led by a certain curiosity
        and arrogance wish to know my secrets, and to understand the deep
        things of God, neglecting themselves and their own salvation. These
        oftentimes, when I resist them for their pride and curiosity, fall
        into great temptations and sins."

        And I would add, this is not only true of unbelievers, but how to
        some degree can this be true for those who have experienced God's
        grace, but can for a time get so wrapped up in their own studies, or
        in debates, that they lose sight of things, lose some sense of God's
        countenance, and even find ourselves the more easily stumbling into
        temptation and coldness, starying too far for too long from the
        warmth of the fires of God's love?

        "Fear the judgments of God; dread the wrath of the Almighty. Do not,
        however, discuss the works of the Most High, but search diligently
        your own iniquities, in how many great things you have offended, and
        how many good things you have neglected."

        Now, if we understand as a complete prohibition, studying into the
        works of God, I suppose we can refer that as too anti-theological and
        a lack of desire for the truth. Sometimes a Kempis does speak down
        too much on inquiries into the truth, which are not in themselves
        wrong or vain, but ought to be means of striving towards the same
        goal as our piety and devotion - to know and love God and to serve
        Him and share Him with others, and preserve the things of His. But if
        we understand what he says in a comparative manner, be more concerned
        about your own walk than making sure that somehow you master the
        highest of the divine mysteries, then we approach perhaps a better
        balance. But to go on, a Kempis continues:

        "Some carry their devotion only in books, some in pictures, some in
        outward signs and figures. Some have Me often in their mouths; but
        little of Me in their hearts. Others there are who, being illuminated
        in their understandings, and purged in their affection, always long
        after things eternal, are unwilling to hear of earthly things, and
        serve the necessities of nature with grief. And these perceive what
        the Spirit of truth speaks in them, for He teaches them to despise
        earthly and to love heavenly things; to neglect the world and to
        desire Heaven day and night."

        Again, perhaps unbalanced to some degree if not qualified. We don't
        need to run off into monasteries, there are legitimate functions God
        has put us here for, and there are legitimate enjoyments to be had in
        this life. But whereas some take such as the substance of life, with
        religion being part of the helpful appendages thereof, it is our
        devotion to God that is to be the substance it seems to me, and all
        else but the appendages whereby we experiecne certain joys as His
        gifts to us, we learn love through His providences and our
        interactions with the people He has made, and learn how to see God in
        all things, even when His presence is not manifestly seen to the
        world. All the while doing what we do with an eye to His glory and to
        serving Him. So that as Rutherfurd points out, even those acts of
        ours which are not properly "worship" in the strict and formal sense
        of tendering (or intending that there be tendered as such) an
        immediate honour to God in the intrinsical nature of the thing, other
        works yet may and ought to redound, as far as it lies in us and the
        nature of the work itself, to the honour and glory of God. We
        ought to do all things with an eye the glory of God. To eat with
        thankful hearts, to enjoy art and music with an eye to the one who by
        His mere grace has granted us the means to appreciate beauty and
        richness, to show ourselves good examples at work and at play so that
        God be magnified by others for the evidence of His work in us, and
        even in more menial things we may find ways in which we
        can find something to reflect in them that could draw us closer
        towards God. And yet how miserably we fail. And why? Perhaps the more
        to struggle with it, to see what we miss by missing God's countenance
        and to long it the more. Perhaps to come to a realization of our own
        pride and that we are not only not yet where we ought to be in this
        life ever, yet we can never hope to make it on our own, by seeing how
        miserably we fail when God but withdraws for a moment in order to
        show us what we are in ourselves. And this should drive us the more
        to His mercies, and to drown in the depths of unfathomable love. But
        all too often, it does not. My prayer is that I grow deeper in my
        relationship with God through my Saviour Jesus Christ.
        A friend recently emailed me and in the course of the letter spoke of
        wishing to be moulded into a man like James Renwick. Not of course
        that Renwick was perfect as Jesus was, but for the matter of godly
        examples of saints that have gone on before, he saw a passion for
        Christ and love for Him in his letters and correspondences that
        matched his so brilliant a mind and fervent devotion to the truth.
        (He recommends a read of Renwick's Letters for those who don't have
        them, and states they were very encouraging for him.) Such ought to
        be examples to us, of that great cloud of witnesses that have gone on
        before us as examples to encourage us and inspire us to be like them
        in seeking Christ over all. Renwick was martyred. He was hunted down.
        He was eventually caught and hanged because he would not bend. Lot's
        of people refuse to bend on their principles, even unto death. But
        why for Renwick? Because of a love for abstract theological
        principles? Was it not out of a compassioned love for Christ? It is a
        difficult thing to be martyred. Much easier said than done. For most
        of us, we would require great grace from God to endure such trial as
        our forefathers had. But what love! What vision of Christ's beauty in
        grace must they have had? (And not to forget so many others who for
        Christ rode off to heaven through the fire and through the flood?)
        And what love of a Saviour, to have humbled Himself from His divine
        throne, and experience a life of such love, so often refused and
        unreturned by the people, and to be flogged, and beaten, and
        crucified to death on behalf of sinners such as ourselves! Oh
        matchless love. May that love shine and pour out on us and through us!
        My friend mentioned in passing another point that is to be treasured,
        with which I will close. That though we find clouds sometimes
        obscuring the warmth and light of His countenance, like the sun, His
        countenance and love are shining on us still from behind those clouds.
        -thebishopsdoom
      • raging_calvinist <raging.calvinist@veriz
        Thank you BD. Looks like you ve been absent for very profitable reasons. I, on the other hand, have been absent because I feel like I am slowly dying, being
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 31, 2003
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          Thank you BD.

          Looks like you've been absent for very profitable reasons. I, on the
          other hand, have been absent because I feel like I am slowly dying,
          being crushed under affliction, being ground into powder, drowning in
          sorrow, wallowing in anger and anguish.

          I'm having a hard time caring about other things.

          gmw.
        • thebishopsdoom
          GMW, I know this is long. If you read nothing else, at least read the first few paragraphs. If you re down enough that you re simply not ready to read
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 1, 2003
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            GMW,
            I know this is long. If you read nothing else, at least read the
            first few paragraphs. If you're down enough that you're simply not
            ready to read anything, save it somewhere for a while until you think
            you are ready.

            From: THE TRIAL & TRIUMPH OF FAITH: OR An Exposition of the History
            of Christ's dispossessing of the daughter of the woman of Canaan.

            ...So was the servant of God, in a spiritual kind of praying, in
            uttering Psalm 77, when he saith, verse 4, "Thou holdest mine eyes
            waking; I am so troubled, that I cannot speak." Yea, groaning goeth
            for praying to God: "The Lord looked down from heaven, to hear the
            groaning of the prisoner." (Psalm 102:20.) "The Spirit intercedeth
            for us with sighs that none can speak." (Rom. 7:26.) Faith doth sigh
            prayers to heaven; Christ receiveth sighs in his censer, for prayer.
            Words are but the body, the garment, the outside of prayer; sighs are
            nearer the heart-work. A dumb beggar getteth an alms at Christ's
            gates, even by making signs, when his tongue cannot plead for him;
            and the rather, because he is dumb.
            Objection 2. I have not so much as a voice to utter to God; and
            Christ saith, "Cause me hear thy voice." (Cant. 2:14.) Answer. Yea,
            but some other thing hath a voice beside the tongue: "The Lord has
            heard the voice of my weeping." (Psalm 6:8.) Tears have a tongue, and
            grammar, and language, that our Father knoweth. Babes have no prayers
            for the breast, but weeping; the mother can read hunger in weeping.
            Objection 3. But I am often so, as I cannot weep: weeping is peculiar
            to a man as laughing is, and spiritual weeping is peculiar to the
            renewed man. Answer. Vehemency of affection doth often move weeping,
            so as it is but sprit weeping that we can attain: hence, Hezekiah can
            but "chatter as a crane, and a swallow, and moan as a dove," (Isa.
            38:14). Sorrow keepeth not always the road-way; weeping is but the
            scabbard of sorrow, and there is often more sorrow where there is
            little or no weeping; there is most of fire, where there is least
            smoke.
            Objection 4. But I have neither weeping one way or other, ordinary
            nor marred. Answer. Looking up to heaven, lifting up of the eyes,
            goeth for prayer also in God's books. "My prayer will I direct to
            thee, and I will look up." (Psalm 5:3.) "Mine eyes fail with looking
            upward," (Psalm 69:3). Because, 1st, Prayer is a pouring out of the
            soul to God, and faith will come out at the eye, in lieu of another
            door: often affections break out at the window, when the door is
            closed; as smoke venteth at the window, when the chimney refuseth
            passage. Stephen looked up to heaven, (Acts 7:55). He sent a post; a
            greedy, pitiful, and hungry look up to Christ, out at the window, at
            the nearest passage, to tell that a poor friend was coming up to him.
            2nd, I would wish no more, if I were in hell, but to send a long look
            up to heaven. There be many love-looks of the saints, lying up before
            the throne, in the bosom of Christ. The twinkling of thy eyes in
            prayer, are not lost to Christ; else Stephen's look, David's look
            should not be registered so many hundred years in Christ's written
            Testament.
            Objection 5. Alas! I have no eyes to look up. The publican, (Luke
            18,) looked down to the earth. And what senses spiritual have I to
            send after Christ? Answer. There is life going in and out at thy
            nostrils. Breathing is praying, and is taken of our hand, as crying
            in prayer. "Thou hast heard my voice; hide not thy ear at my
            breathing, at my cry." (Lam. 3:56.)
            Objection 6. I have but a hard heart to offer to God in prayer; and
            what can I say then, wanting all praying disposition? Answer. 1st,
            Therefore pray, that you may pray. 2nd, The very aspect, and naked
            presence of a dead spirit, when there is a little vocal praying, is
            acceptable to God; or, if an overwhelmed heart refuseth to come, it
            is best to go and tell Christ, and request him to come, and fetch the
            heart himself. 3rd, Little of day-light cometh before the sun; the
            best half of it is under ground. "We ourselves groan within
            ourselves." (Rom. 8:23.) All is here transacted in our own heart. The
            soul crieth, Oh! when will my father come, and fetch his children?
            When shall the spouse lie in her husband's bosom? 4th, If Christ's
            eye but look on a hard heart, it will melt it. 5th, I show here the
            smallest of prayer in which the life and essence of prayer may
            breathe and live. Now, prayer being a pouring out of the soul to God,
            much of the affections of love, desire, longing, joy, faith, sorrow,
            fear, boldness, comes along with prayer out to God, and the heart is
            put in Christ's bosom. And it is neither up nor down to the essence
            of sincere praying, whether the soul come out in words, in groans, or
            in long looks, or in sighing, or in pouring out tears to God, (Job
            16:20,) or in breathing...
            Every part of a supplication to a prince, is not a supplication; a
            poor man out of fear may speak nonsense, and broken words that cannot
            be understood by the prince; but nonsense in prayer, when sorrow,
            blackness, and a dark overwhelmed spirit dictateth words, are well
            known in, and have a good sense to God. Therefore, to speak morally,
            prayer being God's fire, as every part of fire is fire; so here,
            every broken parcel of prayer is prayer. So the forlorn son forgot
            the half of his prayers; he resolved to say, "Make me as one of thy
            hired servants;" (Luke 15:19,) but (verse 21,) he prayeth no such
            thing; and yet, "his father fell on his neck, and kissed him." A
            plant is a tree in the potency; an infant, a man; seeds of saving
            grace are saving grace; prayer is often in the bowels and womb of a
            sigh; though it come not out, yet God heareth it as a prayer. "And he
            that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,
            because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will
            of God." (Rom. 8:27.) "Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the
            humble." (Psalm 10:17.) Desires have no sound with men, so as they
            come to the ear; but with God, they have a sound, as prayers have.
            Then when others cannot know what a groan meaneth, God knoweth what
            is under the lap of a sigh, because his Spirit made the sigh: he
            first made the prayer, as an intercessor, and then, as God he heareth
            it; he is within praying, and without hearing.
            ...Christ washeth sinners in his blood, but he washeth not sin: he
            advocateth for the man that prayeth to have him accepted, but not for
            the upstarts and boilings of corruption and the flesh that are mixed
            with our prayer, to have them made white. Christ rejecteth these
            things in prayer that are essentially ill; but he washeth the prayer,
            and causeth the Father accept it. There be so many other things that
            are a-pouring out of the soul in prayer; as groaning, sighing,
            looking up to heaven, breathing, weeping; that it cannot be imagined,
            how far short printed and read prayers come of vehement praying: for
            you cannot put sighs, groans, tears, breathing, and such heart-
            messengers down in a printed book; nor can paper and ink lay your
            heart, in all its sweet affections, out before God. The service-book
            then must be toothless and spiritless talk.


            [Sermon 15]
            "Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me."—VERSE 25
            CHRIST had denied her to be his, but she will not deny but Christ is
            hers: see how a believer is to carry himself towards Christ
            deserting, frowning. Christ, (1.) Answered her not one word. (2.) He
            gave an answer but to the disciples, not to the woman. Oh dreadful!
            Christ refuseth to give her one word that may go between her, and
            hell and despair. (3.) The answer that he giveth is sadder and
            heavier than no answer; it is as much as, Woman, I have nothing to do
            with thee; I quit my part of thee. Yet, (1.) She is patient. (2.) She
            believeth. (3.) She waiteth on a better answer. (4.) She continueth
            in praying. (5.) Her love is not abated; she cometh and adoreth. (6.)
            Acknowledgeth her own misery; "Lord, help me," and putteth Christ as
            God in his own room to be adored. (7.) She taketh Christ aright up,
            and seeth the temptation to be a temptation. (8.) She runneth to
            Christ; she came nearer to him, and runneth not from him; she
            clingeth to Christ, though Christ had cast her off.

            1. Patient submission to God under desertion, is sweet. What though I
            saw no reason why I cry and shout, and God answereth not? (1.) His
            comforts and his answers are his own free graces; he may do with his
            own what he thinks good, and grace is no debt. "Hear, O Lord, for thy
            own sake." (Dan. 9:19.) (2.) Infinite sovereignty may lay silence
            upon all hearts: good Hezekiah, "What shall I say? He hath spoken
            unto me, and himself hath done it." (Isa. 38:15.) It is an act of
            Heaven; I bear it with silence.

            2. She believeth. There is a high and noble commandment laid upon the
            sad spirit: "He that walketh in darkness, and seeth no light, let him
            trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." (Isa. 50:10.)
            (2.) Fill the field with faith, double or frequent acts of faith: "My
            God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1). Two faiths are
            a double breastwork against the forts of hell. (Eph. 6:16; 1 Thes.
            5:8.) (3.) In the greatest extremity believe, even as David in the
            borders of hell: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow
            of death, I will fear no evil." (Psalm 23:4.) It is a litote; I will
            believe good. It is a cold and a dark shadow to walk at death's right
            side, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." (Job 13:15.) See
            Stephen dying and believing both at once: Christ's very dead corpse
            and his grave in a sort believing: "My flesh also shall rest in
            hope." (Psalm 16:9.) How sweet to take faith's back band, subscribed
            by God's own hand, into the cold grave with thee, as Christ
            did; "Thou wilt not leave my soul in the grave." (verse 10.) (4.)
            Faith saith, sense is a liar: fancy, sense, the flesh will say, "His
            archers compassed me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and
            doth not spare, and poureth out my gall on the ground:" (Job 16:13:)
            but faith saith, "I have a friend in heaven; also, now, my witness is
            in heaven." (verse 19.) Sense maketh a lie of God; "He hath also
            kindled his wrath against me, and taketh me for his enemy." (Job
            19:11.) No, Job, thou art the friend of God: see how his faith cometh
            above the water, "I know that my friend by blood, or my Redeemer
            liveth." (verse 25.)

            3. She waits in hope, and took not the first nor second answer: hope
            is long breathed, and at midnight prophesieth good of God: "Though I
            fall, I shall rise again:" (Mic. 7:9). "Then I said, I am cast out of
            thy sight, yet I will look toward thy holy temple." (Jonah 2:4.)
            There is a seed of heaven in hope. When God did hide his face from
            Job, (Job 13:24;) yet, "He also shall be my salvation:" (verse 16).
            There is a negative, and over-clouded hope in the soul at the saddest
            time; the believer dares not say, Christ will never come again: if he
            say it, it is in hot blood, and in haste, and he will take his word
            again. (Isa. 8:17.)

            4. She continueth in praying: she cried, "Lord, Son of David, have
            mercy upon me;" she has no answer; she crieth again, till the
            disciples are troubled with her shouts: she getteth a worse answer
            than no answer, yet she cometh and prayeth. We know the holy
            willfulness of Jacob, "I will not let thee go till thou bless me."
            (Gen. 32:26.) Rain calmeth the stormy wind: to vent out words in a
            sad time, is the way of God's children: "Thy wrath lieth hard upon
            me: My eye mourneth by reason of mine affliction." (Psalm 88:7,9.)
            And what then? "Lord, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched
            out my hands to thee." (Psalm 22:2.) Christ in the borders of hell,
            prayed, and prayed again, and died praying.

            5. She hath still love to Christ, and is not put from the duty of
            adoring. "Whom having not seen, yet ye love." (1 Pet. 1:8.) The
            deserted soul seeth little: there must be love to Christ, where there
            is, (1.) Faith in the dark; faith is with child of love. (2.) Where
            the believer is willing that his pain and his hell may be matter of
            praising God: "Who is so great a god as our God?" (Psalm 77:13). The
            church was then deserted, as the psalm cleareth.

            6. She putteth Christ in his chair of state, and adoreth him: the
            deserted soul saith, Be I what I will, He is Jehovah the Lord.
            Confession is good in saddest desertion, "I have sinned; what shall I
            do to thee, O preserver of man?" (Job 7:20). The seed of Jacob is in
            a hard case before God, (Lam. 1:17,) and under wrath, (verses 12-14).
            Yet, "The Lord is righteous, for I have sinned:" (verse 16:) this
            maketh the soul charitable of God, how sad soever the dispensation
            be.

            7. She seeth it is a trial, as is clear by her instant pursuing after
            Christ, after many repulses. It is great mercy, that God cometh not
            behind backs, and striketh not in the dark. "And I said, this is my
            infirmity:" (Psalm 77:10:) he gathereth his scattered thoughts, and
            taketh himself in the temptation. It is mercy, (1.) To see the
            temptation in the face. Some lie under a dumb and a deaf temptation
            that wanteth all the five senses; Cain is murdered in the dark at
            midnight, with the temptation, and he knoweth not what it meaneth.
            (2.) God's immediate hand is more to be looked at, than all other
            temptation. (3.) Hence the conscience is timorous, and traverseth its
            ways under the trial. When a night traveler dare not trust the ground
            he walketh on, he is in a sad condition; he is under two evils, and
            hath neither comfort nor confidence. "He that walketh in darkness,
            and hath no light," (but some glimmering of star-light, or half moon
            under the earth, and knoweth not the ground he walketh on,) "let him
            trust in the name of the Lord." (Isa. 50:10.)

            8. She runneth not away from Christ under desertion; but (1.) She
            cometh to him. It is a question what deserted souls shall do in that
            case. See, (2,) that you run not from Christ. It was a desertion that
            Saul was under, and a sad one we read of; but he maketh confession of
            his condition to the devil; a sad word; "I am sore distressed:" (1
            Sam. 28:15,) there is a heavy and lamentable reason given why; "the
            Philistines make war against me." Why, that is not much; they make
            war always against the people of God: Nay, but here is the marrow and
            the soul of all vengeance, "God is departed from me." Why, foolish
            man, what availeth it thee to tell the devil, God is departed from
            thee? Judas was under a total desertion; he went not to Christ, but
            to the murderers of Christ, to open his wound. "I have sinned:" fool!
            say that to the Saviour of sinners. The Church deserted, betaketh
            herself to Christ, and searcheth him out: "Saw ye Him whom my soul
            loveth?" (Cant. 1:5). It is a bad token, when men, conceiving
            themselves to be in calamity, make lies and policy their refuge.

            Objection. But it is a greater sin to go to Christ, being in a state
            of sin: What have I to do, to go to him whom I have offended so
            highly? Answer. (1.) To run from Christ under desertion, is two
            deaths. [1.] Desertion is one, and if real, the saddest hell out of
            hell. [2.] To flee from Christ and life, is another death; now to
            come to him, though he should kill thee for thy presumption, is but
            one death, and a little one in comparison of the other; and one
            little death is rather to be chosen, than two great deaths. (2.)
            Consider how living a death it is, to be killed doing a duty, and
            aiming to flee into Christ: better die by Christ's own hand (if so it
            must be) as by another; and better be buried and lie dead at his
            feet, as to run away from him in a heavy desertion: if the believer
            must die, it is better his grave to be made under the throne, and
            under the feet of Jesus Christ, as to die in a state of strangeness
            and alienation from Christ, not daring to come nigh him. All the
            deserted ones that we read of, did flee in to himself. (Psalm 34; 39;
            88; Job 13:15; Isa. 38.) (3.) It is good to claim him as thy God,
            though he should deny thee; and creep unto him though he should throw
            thee out of his sight: better kiss the sword that killeth thee, and
            be slain with his own hand, as cast away thy confidence.

            "But she came and worshipped." An heavier temptation cannot befall a
            soul tender of Christ's love, than to cry to God and not be answered;
            and to cry, and receive a flat and downright renouncing of the poor
            supplicant. Yet this doth not thrust her from a duty; she cometh, and
            worshippeth, and prayeth. It is a blessed mark, when a temptation
            thrusteth not off a soul from a duty. And (1.) When the danger and
            sad trial is seen, it is good to go on. Christ knew before, he should
            suffer; and when they would apprehend him, yet he went to the garden
            to spend a piece of the night in prayer. It was told Paul by Agabus,
            if he went to Jerusalem, the Jews should bind him, and deliver him to
            the Gentiles: it was his duty to go, thither he professeth he will
            go: "What mean ye to weep and break my heart? I am ready not only to
            be bound, but to die for the name of Jesus." (Acts 21:13.) Dying
            could not thrust him from a duty. Esther ran the hazard of death to
            go in to the king; yet conscience of a duty calling, she goeth on in
            faith; "If I perish, I perish." (2.) In the act of suffering: Christ
            on the cross prayeth and converteth the thief; Paul, with an iron
            chain upon his body, preacheth Christ before Agrippa and his enemies,
            and preaching Christ was the crime: Paul and Silas, with bloody
            shoulders, must sing psalms in the stocks. (3.) Indefinitely. After
            the trial, and when the temptation is on, yet the saints go on: "All
            this is come on us," (Psalm 44:17,) there is the temptation: the
            duty, "Yet we have not forgotten thee, neither dealt falsely in thy
            covenant." "Princes did speak against me," there is a temptation: yet
            here is a duty: "But thy servant did meditate on thy statutes."
            (Psalm 119:23.) "My soul fainteth for thy salvation, but I hope in
            thy word." (verse 81.) "The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I
            erred not from thy precepts." (verse 110.) "Many are my persecutors
            and mine enemies, yet do I not decline from thy testimonies." (verse
            157.) "They fought against me without a cause:" (Psalm 109:3.) "For
            my love they were my adversaries, but I gave myself to prayer."
            (verse 4.)

            (1.) It is a sign of a sweet humbled servant, who can take a buffet,
            and yet go about his master's service; and when a soul can pass
            through fire and water to be at a duty; for then, the conscience of
            the duty hath more prevailing power to act obedience, than the salt
            and bitterness of the temptation hath force to subdue and vanquish
            the spirit: it is likely grace hath the day, and better of
            corruption. (2.) It argueth a soul well watched, and kept from the
            incursion of a house-sin, and a home-bred corruption; for the
            temptation setteth on the nearest corruption, as fire kindleth the
            nearest powder and dry timber, and so goeth along. "They prevented me
            in the day of my calamity;" (Psalm 18:18). "I was upright before him,
            and I kept myself from mine iniquity." (verse 23.) The devil hath a
            friend within us: now there be degrees of friends, some nearer of
            blood than other some; the man's own predominant is the dearer friend
            to Satan, than any other sin; if pride be the predominant, it is so
            Satan's first-born, he agents his business by pride. (3.) So it may
            argue that the soul steeled and fortified with grace, taketh occasion
            from the sinfulness of the temptation, and the edge of it, to be more
            zealous and active in duties. David scoffed at by Michal, said, "I
            will be more vile yet." So, "All that see me laugh me to scorn, they
            shoot out the lip, they shake the head," (Psalm 22:7). "He trusted in
            the Lord," (verse 8). See here a heavy temptation; but his faith
            diggeth deeper, to the first experience of God's goodness; "But thou
            art he that took me out of the womb," (verse 9). As the church mocked
            with this, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion," (Psalm 137,) raiseth
            an higher esteem of Zion, because Zion's songs are scoffed at: Let
            them mock Zion as they list, "But if I forget Zion," (verse 5,) then
            I pray God, "my tongue may cleave to the roof of my mouth." (verse
            6.) So the thief, hearing Christ blasphemed and railed on by his
            fellow, doth take more boldness to extol him as a king; "Lord,
            remember me when thou comest to thy kingdom:" Grace appeareth the
            more gracious and active, that it hath an adversary; contraries in
            nature, as fire and water, put forth their greatest strength when
            they actually conflict together.

            USE 1. Antinomians turn grace into a temptation, and then cast off
            all duties; as, "Christ has pardoned all sin; his righteousness
            imputed, is mine: What do you speak to me of law-duties?" The way
            that crieth down duties and sanctification, is not the way of grace;
            grace is an innocent thing, and will not take men off from duties;
            grace destroyeth not obedience: Christ hath made faith a friend to
            the law; the death of Christ destroyeth not grace's activity in
            duties. It is true, grace trusted in, becomes ourself, not grace; and
            self cannot storm heaven, and take Christ by violence: grace, though
            near of kindred to Christ, as it is received in us, is but a
            creature, and so may be made an idol, when we trust in it, and seek
            not Christ first, and before created grace: But believing and doing
            are blood-friends. (John 11:26).

            USE 2. This would be heeded, that in difficulties and straits, we
            keep from wicked ways; and being tempted, that we strive to come near
            the fore-runner's way. It was peculiar to Christ, to be angry, and
            not to sin; to be like us, "in all points tempted like as we are, yet
            without sin," (Heb. 4:15,) with this difference, Christ was tempted,
            but cannot sin; the saints are tempted, but dare not sin. The law of
            God, honeyed with the love of Christ, hath a majesty and power to
            keep from sin. So Christ, made under the law for us, (Isa.
            53:7,) "was oppressed, he was afflicted," (oppression will make a
            sinful man mad,) but it could not work upon Christ: "He was
            oppressed, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to
            the slaughter." So all Christ's followers did: they are tempted, but
            grace putteth a power of tenderness on them. Joseph tempted,
            saith, "How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?"
            (Gen. 39:9). David is reproached by Shimei, but he dares not avenge
            himself. Job, heavily as any man tempted, yet "In all this, Job
            sinned not, nor charged God foolishly?" (Job 1:22). I deny not, but
            the temptation doth sometimes obtain half a consent: Nabal tempted
            David, so that he resolved to be avenged. (2.) It will leave a black
            and a crook behind it in some, for their whole life. Peter shall be
            all his life known to be one that once forsware his Lord. But this is
            fearful, when men both create temptations, by defending a bad cause,
            (as holy men may have an unholy cause) and then, can find no way to
            carry it out, but by crooked policy and calumnies. We are now pursued
            by malignants with an unjust war. To embrace peace upon any
            dishonourable terms to Christ, is to desert a duty for fear of a
            temptation: on the other side, to refuse an offer of peace, because
            many innocent persons have been killed, is also a yielding to a
            temptation; for by war, we kill many more innocent ones, and it is
            against the Lord's counsel, "Seek peace," (Psalm 34:14), that is, as
            much as we are not to be patients only, but agents, even when we are
            wronged, in seeking peace. But what if peace flee from me? I confess
            that this is a temptation; then saith the Lord 'follow after it;'
            (the word Darash is diokein. Heb. 12:14); the Syro-Chaldee is, 'run
            after peace,' compel peace and force it, as men follow an enemy: 'Let
            us pursue after things of peace,' (Rom. 14:19, diokomen).

            USE 3. See the sweet use of faith under a sad temptation; faith
            trafficketh with Christ and Heaven in the dark, upon plain trust and
            credit, without seeing any surety or pawn; "Blessed are they that
            have not seen, and yet have believed," (John 20:29). And the reason
            is, because faith is sinewed and boned with spiritual courage; so as
            to keep a barred city against hell, yea, and to stand under
            impossibilities; and here is a weak woman, though not as a woman, yet
            as a believer, standing out against him, who is "The mighty God, the
            Father of ages, the prince of peace," (Isa. 9:6). Faith only standeth
            out, and overcometh the sword, the world, and all afflictions, (1
            John 5:4). This is our victory, whereby one man overcometh the great
            and vast world.

            ..."And she said Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that
            fall from the master's table."—VERSE 27.

            OBSERVE, 1. The woman's witty answer. By retortion in great
            quickness, by concession of the conclusion, and granting she was a
            dog, she borroweth the argument, and taketh it from Christ's mouth to
            prove her question. She argueth from the temptation: Let me be a dog,
            so I be a dog under Christ's feet at his table.

            ...To wait in patience for God all the day long, is an argument of
            great faith: "He that believeth shall not make haste; (Isa. 28:16);
            he shall not be confounded with shame, (so the Seventy translate it,
            and Paul after them, Rom. 9:33); as those that flee from the enemy
            out of hastiness, procured by base fear, which is a shame. It proveth
            believing, and a valorous keeping the field without flying, and so,
            continued waiting on God, to be of kin to believing; and the longer
            the thread of hope be, though it were seventy years long, (as Hab.
            2:1,2,) or though it were as long as a cable going between the earth
            and the heaven, "up within the veil," (Heb. 6:19,) the stronger the
            faith must be. Unbelief not being chained to Christ, leapeth
            overboard at first, as the wicked king said in the haste of
            unbelief, "What should I wait any longer on the Lord?" (2 Kings
            6:33.) Faith is a grace for winter, to give God leisure to bring
            summer in his own season. The reasons of our weakness be two: (1.) We
            see Israel and their dough on their shoulders wearied and tired,
            lately come out of the brick furnace, wandering without one foot of
            heritage, forty years in the wilderness, and four hundred years in
            Egypt; (Acts 7:6;) this looketh like poverty: to believe the other
            mystery in the other side or page of providence, the glory of
            dividing the Red sea, and of giving seven mighty nations to his
            people, and their buildings, lands, vineyards, gardens; is a strong
            faith. (2.) The furnace is a thing void of reason and art, and so
            knoweth little that by it the goldsmith maketh an excellent and
            comely vessel of gold. It is great faith to believe, that God, by
            crooked instruments, and fire and sword, shall refine a church and
            erect a glorious building, and these malignant instruments are as
            ignorant of the art of divine providence, as coals and fuel are of
            the art and intention of the goldsmith, (Mic. 4:12; Isa. 10:5-7).

            ...All Christ's answers and words to this woman, till now, were but
            interpretations and proclamations of wrath, and rejecting of her, as
            not one of the lost sheep of the house of Israel; a dog under the
            table, not a child of the house. Love came never above ground till
            now; yet did Christ's affection and love yearn upon her all the time.
            -thebishopsdoom
          • Leah Dohms
            Well said, bishopsdoom! That was a very edifying read! Thank you! In Christ, Leah
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 2, 2003
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              Well said, bishopsdoom! That was a very edifying read! Thank you!


              In Christ,
              Leah
            • nocost2great <nocost2great@yahoo.com>
              ... the ... in ... Jer, FWIW, I have been praying for you. My heart aches to read of your agonies. I could quote you some encouraging scriptures but then I am
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 5, 2003
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                --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "raging_calvinist
                <raging.calvinist@v...>" <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
                > Thank you BD.
                >
                > Looks like you've been absent for very profitable reasons. I, on
                the
                > other hand, have been absent because I feel like I am slowly dying,
                > being crushed under affliction, being ground into powder, drowning
                in
                > sorrow, wallowing in anger and anguish.
                >
                > I'm having a hard time caring about other things.
                >

                Jer,
                FWIW, I have been praying for you. My heart aches to read of your
                agonies. I could quote you some encouraging scriptures but then I am
                sure the ones I have in mind are familiar. I remember when we had to
                bury our 4 1/2 week old son 4 years ago. You describe how I felt
                then... It was a miserable dark time but God by his grace drew me
                closer to Himself during that time. My prayer for you is that He
                would do the same in your situation.

                Dee Dee
              • raging_calvinist <raging.calvinist@veriz
                Thank you, sister. Sounds like you know the kind of pain I m going through. I ve been listening to the blues alot lately. I used to listen to the blues and
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 7, 2003
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                  Thank you, sister. Sounds like you know the kind of pain I'm going
                  through.

                  I've been listening to the blues alot lately. I used to listen to
                  the blues and go, "yeah, that would really stink if that happened."
                  Now I listen to them and go, "That's right, brother... that's how I
                  feel." The same way with the Psalms (88 and 55 especially).

                  Like Ringo sang, "You've got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the
                  blues, and you know it don't come easy."

                  Yeah, it sure don't come easy.

                  gmw.

                  --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "nocost2great
                  <nocost2great@y...>" <nocost2great@y...> wrote:
                  > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "raging_calvinist
                  > <raging.calvinist@v...>" <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
                  > > Thank you BD.
                  > >
                  > > Looks like you've been absent for very profitable reasons. I, on
                  > the
                  > > other hand, have been absent because I feel like I am slowly
                  dying,
                  > > being crushed under affliction, being ground into powder,
                  drowning
                  > in
                  > > sorrow, wallowing in anger and anguish.
                  > >
                  > > I'm having a hard time caring about other things.
                  > >
                  >
                  > Jer,
                  > FWIW, I have been praying for you. My heart aches to read of your
                  > agonies. I could quote you some encouraging scriptures but then I
                  am
                  > sure the ones I have in mind are familiar. I remember when we had
                  to
                  > bury our 4 1/2 week old son 4 years ago. You describe how I felt
                  > then... It was a miserable dark time but God by his grace drew me
                  > closer to Himself during that time. My prayer for you is that He
                  > would do the same in your situation.
                  >
                  > Dee Dee
                • nocost2great <nocost2great@yahoo.com>
                  ... Jer, I don t know your specific pain, but I know you described mine! I would joke through my tears that I was going to have to throw out my pillow because
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 8, 2003
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                    --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "raging_calvinist
                    <raging.calvinist@v...>" <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
                    > Thank you, sister. Sounds like you know the kind of pain I'm going
                    > through.
                    >
                    Jer,
                    I don't know your specific pain, but I know you described mine! I
                    would joke through my tears that I was going to have to throw out my
                    pillow because it was going to mildew. (I did have to throw it out
                    too!) It was an effort to face the day each morning, but the long,
                    dark nights were worse when the wheels that Satan kept spinning in my
                    head would turn endlessly. I spent many, many hours reading the
                    Psalms & the Prophets. Lamentations 3 was my best friend. In fact
                    3:31 is on Joshua's headstone.
                    The thing about blues music is that there is no hope in their
                    message. God's message on the other hand is filled with hope... and
                    compassion. No matter what we suffer in this life we have eternity to
                    look forward to and that is the knot on the end of the rope for us to
                    hold onto. I can remember feeling as if my chest was going to
                    explode. The physical pain was sometimes more than I could bear. It
                    was as if I had hundreds of pounds of pressure crushing me. I cried
                    out to the Lord begging Him to just relive me of the pain I was
                    suffering and take me home. I understood what Paul felt when he said,
                    to live is to die, and to die is gain (though I know that his agonies
                    were different.) Each day I had to face my unworthiness as a parent,
                    as a wife, as a child of the most high King.
                    God's grace is sufficient Jer. Hang in there, and if you want to sing
                    the blues... sing David's blues cuz that is where you will find hope.

                    May God grant you peace and grace to endure the refining fire.
                    Have a blessed Lord's day brother!

                    With Tears in My Eyes,

                    Dee Dee
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