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Showing posts from April, 2016

5 Ways to Know if You are Backsliding

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Posted at Reformation Scotland : Many think of backsliding as falling into open sin, a life of unrepentant wordliness or virtually departing from the faith. It may be that such, however, are only backsliding from a false profession and making this more apparent. Backsliding also includes falling back from certain truths, principles and standards. But we must be concerned about spiritual backsliding or backsliding in heart (Proverbs 14:14). It is dangerous because it is far more subtle. Failure to go forward and to grow spiritually means to slide back, because there is no standing still. George Hutcheson gives practical teaching as to how we can identify spiritual backsliding. We need to test whether we are backslidden from what we have had, or might have had in the past or else from what others have attained. The following are some clear tests: 1. Lack of Growth. Are you growing in grace? You must “beware lest…being led away with the error of the wicked” you “fall from your own st

Murdoch Campbell

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By Zach Dotson - Posted at Purely Presbyterian : Introduction and a Brief Bio: Murdoch Campbell was arguably the greatest Scottish Devotional writer of the the 20th Century. His books simple style have comforted many of the Lord’s People. I must admit that Memories of a Wayfaring Man is probably one of the most cherished and beneficial books I have ever read. Murdoch Campbell was also deeply aware of the history of Christ cause in the Highlands and there are numerous memories of it in his auto-biography as well as the book he devoted to the subject ( Gleanings of Highland Harvest ) shows a deep appreciation for the cause of Christ and a desire to preserve the memories of God’s work in the Highlands for the generations to come. It is his profound love for Christ and His Church coupled with his tender devotional style that has led me to publish this blog. I want others to glean from the spiritual depth and Highland religion of Murdoch Campbell. Rev. Murdoch Campbell was born in

It Becomes Mutual

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By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook/ Sermon Audio : "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" — 2 Corinthians 6:16 Here is a mutual interest. Each belongs to each. God is the portion of His people, and the chosen people are the portion of their God. The saints find in God their chief possession, and He reckons them to be His peculiar treasure. What a mine of comfort lies in this fact for each believer! This happy condition of mutual interest leads to mutual consideration. God will always think of His own people, and they will always think of Him. This day my God will perform all things for me; what can I do for Him? My thoughts ought to run toward Him, for He thinketh upon me. Let me make sure that it is so and not be content with merely admitting that so it ought to be.This, again, leads to mutual fellowship. God dwells in us, and we dwell in Him; He walks with us, and we walk with God. Happy communion thi

Scotland's Protestant Martyrs: Thomas Forret

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By Aaaron Denlinger - Posted at Reformation 21 : The persecution of Protestants in Scotland, at least if measured in martyrdoms, peaked in 1539, shortly after Cardinal David Beaton, a zealous opponent of reform, was appointed primate of the country. Glasgow witnessed the execution of two individuals that year: Jerome Russell, a Dominican friar whose preaching revealed Protestant sympathies, and Alexander Kennedy, a teenager whose talent for writing poetry caused him trouble when he turned it to criticizing the clergy. An anonymous man was executed in the town of Cupar, near St. Andrews, around the same time. And on the First of March, Scotland's capital saw no less than five persons "wirried and brint" -- that is, hanged and burned -- for heresy: William Keillour, John Beveridge, Duncan Simpson, Robert Forster, and Thomas Forret. Of the five "heresiarchs" executed in Edinburgh, none had quite so fascinating a tale as Thomas Forret, an Augustinian monk turne

What The Spirit Is Doing Or What We Are Saying? Distinguishing Reformed And Pentecostal Piety

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - The Heidelblog : Introduction William Miller (February 15, 1782 – December 20, 1849) was an American Baptist preacher who is credited with beginning the mid-19th century North American religious movement known as the Millerites . ( Wikipedia ) Since the early 19th century American Christianity has been largely dominated by a revival of the original Anabaptist theology, piety, and practice. One can transpose much of what took place in the 19th century over the first generation Anabaptists (1520s) and it matches up quite well. The original Anabaptists would have understood completely the Millerite eschatological fervor of the 1820s–40s. They would understand completely the claims of continuing revelation made by Joseph Smith and the Mormons in the same period. At least some of the original Anabaptists would have understood the bald Pelagianism of Charles Finney (1792–1875). The Cane Ridge Revival (1801) would have made perfect sense to the original A

“He loved them to the last” by J.C. Ryle

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Posted at  Tolle Lege : J.C. Ryle “We learn from these verses what patient and continuing love there is in Christ’s heart towards His people. It is written that ‘having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.’ Knowing perfectly well that they were about to forsake Him shamefully in a very few hours, in full view of their approaching display of weakness and infirmity, our blessed Master did not cease to have loving thoughts of His disciples. He was not weary of them: He loved them to the last. The love of Christ to sinners is the very essence and marrow of the Gospel. That He should love us at all, and care for our souls,—that He should love us before we love Him, or even know anything about Him,—that He should love us so much as to come into the world to save us, take our nature on Him, bear our sins, and die for us on the cross,—all this is wonderful indeed! Read more...

Of Thankfulness

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. 32. Lord's Day Q. 86. Since then we are delivered from our misery, merely of grace, through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we still do good works?  A. Because Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit, after his own image; that so we may testify, by the whole of our conduct, our gratitude to God for his blessings, (a) and that he may be praised by us; (b) also, that every one may be assured in himself of his faith, (c) by the fruits thereof; and that, by our godly conversation others may be gained to Christ. (d)  (a) Rom

Why We Have No Appetite for Fasting

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Posted at Reformation Scotland : These days it seems that when people are serious about losing weight and being healthy they are even willing to try intermittent fasting diets. Whether or not that is a good thing, there are clear reasons why they do. It is simple and they believe it is necessary and will benefit their health. So why do some Christians never engage in fasting and prayer when it is equally simple? In part, this may be because they do not strongly believe it to be necessary or beneficial. In fairness, it is probably also because fasting by its nature is not routine or part of the ordinary means of grace. This means that we must be persuaded enough to be proactive in identifying the appropriate time for it. Because we do not know that we should fast? As has been observed frequently, Christ says twice in the same chapter not “if” but “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16, 18). “Religious fasting” is one of the duties of worship required by the second commandment (Westminster

Recommended Sermon: How to provide a Godly Heritage

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By Rev. Andrew Quigley - Posted at Sermon Audio : Scripture: Genesis 48 Link: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=170793122

The Liberating Power of the Spirit

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By T.M. Moore - Posted at The Fellowship of Ailbe : More power is available - more than we've ever known. Plants in the Garden of the Lord (4) Awake, O north wind, And come, O south! Blow upon my garden, That its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden And eat its pleasant fruits. Song of Solomon 4.16 Free in the Spirit The Apostle Paul wrote, in 2 Corinthians 3.17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is , there is liberty.” How could it be otherwise? The Spirit of God is not bound by sin or the finite limitations of human thought or flesh. The Holy Spirit is not constrained by any inability to know the future, access the wisdom of God, or to exercise His power in accomplishing His purposes. It makes sense that, wherever the Spirit of God is full, overflowing, and exerting His cultivating presence, liberty and fruitfulness would be the order of the day, and the Bride of Christ would be liberated from every hindrance and constraint tha

Unconditional Election, Mercy, and Assurance (Knox)

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Posted at  The Reformed Reader : In 1591 a London publisher released this book: An Answer to a Great Number of Blasphemous Cavailations Written by an Anabaptist, an Adversary to God’s Eternal Predestination . The author of this book was Scottish pastor-theologian, John Knox (d. 1572); the book is found in the fifth volume of Knox’sWorks . This treatise on unconditional election might be called one of Knox’s best works; it is extremely biblical, pastoral, and informative. Right at the outset Knox noted that election is an essential teaching of Christianity because, as found in Scripture, it humbles the sinner and magnifies the free grace of our loving God. In other words, it is practical: “For first, there is no way more proper to build and establish faith, than when we hear and undoubtedly do believe that our Election (which the Spirit of God doth seal in our hearts) consisteth not in ourselves, but in the eternal and immutable good pleasure of God. And that in such firmne

God's Ambassadors: The Westminster Assembly and the Reform of the English Pulpit, 1643-1653

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By Chad Van Dixhoorn - Posted at Reformation 21 : The Westminster Assembly The assembly of divines that authored a famous confession of faith, catechisms, and much more, met in Westminster, now a suburb of London, in the middle of a bloody civil war that tore apart, England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The English parliament, for a variety of reasons, raised an army to try to reign in the power of the king and to gain reforms in taxation, religion, and political process. The English parliament was called the Long Parliament because it met for a long time (1642-1653). Of all the tasks assigned to the assembly of divines meeting in Westminster abbey, only one persisted from 1643 to 1653: the examination of preachers. Every other endeavour of the assembly was either abandoned or completed as the years dragged on. But from its first month to its final days, apprehensive preachers waited weekly in the antechamber next to the Jerusalem Chamber for their turn to be interviewed and as

To the Evangelical Nicodemites

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark: Over the last few years there have been a few laments about “Reformed rocks stars.” Carl Trueman has rightly warned against the cult of personality. Now I would like to turn the tables. If we should be concerned about rock stars and personalities in evangelicalism and Reformed-dom then we should also be concerned about about another party to all this: those who attend those conferences and those who do not. First, there are lots of Christians who attend congregations which, shall we say, are part of the problem more than they are part of the solution, where the gospel is not preached purely, where the sacraments are not administered purely, and where discipline is not practiced. These folk also attend Reformed conferences. They attend because they are “fed” there, because they can fellowship with like-minded folk there, because, in some cases, it’s a relief from their congregation. Still they stay in their congregations. I know this happens because I hav

What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. 31. Lord's Day  Q. 83. What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven?  A. The preaching of the holy gospel, and christian discipline, or excommunication out of the christian church; by these two, the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers, and shut against unbelievers.  Q. 84. How is the kingdom of heaven opened and shut by the preaching of the holy gospel?  A. Thus: when according to the command of Christ, it is declared and publicly testified to all and every believer, that, whenever they receive the promise of the gospel by a true faith, all their sins are really for

Sanctification Is… (Watson)

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Westminster Bookstore Link Posted at The Reformed Reader : “Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness.” (WSC Q/A 35). This definition of sanctification is a good summary of Scripture’s teaching (Ezek. 36:37, Phil. 2:13, 2 Thes. 2:13, Eph 4>23-24, Rom 6:4-14, etc.). Thomas Watson does a nice job giving some more detail: Sanctification is a supernatural thing. It is divinely infused. We are naturally polluted, and to cleanse, God takes it to be his gracious prerogative. “I am the Lord which sanctify you” (Lev. 21:8). Sanctification is a flower of the Spirit’s planting, therefore it is called, ‘The sanctification of the Spirit’ (1 Pet. 1:2). Sanctification is an intrinsic thing. It lies chiefly in the heart. It is called “the adorning the hidden man of the heart” (1 Pet. 3:4). The dew wets the leaf, the sap is hid in the roo

The Future Conversion of the Jews (1)

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By Seni Adeyemi - Posted at PurelyPresbyterian : Screenshot from PurelyPresbyterian The following is an excerpt from volume 4 of The Christian’s Reasonable Service by Wilhelmus à Brakel ( hardcopy ). Question: Will the Jewish nation always be a rejected nation, or will the entire nation yet come to repentance, believing and confessing that the Messiah has already come, and that Jesus is the Christ? Answer: When speaking of the conversion of the Jews, we understand this to refer to the entire nation, and not only to Judah and Benjamin who had returned from Babylon and lived in Canaan until the destruction of Jerusalem. Rather, it also refers to the ten tribes. These tribes neither remained together nor are they hidden in an unknown corner of the world, as the Jews fabricate. Instead, they partially intermingled with the eastern nations, forsaking the Jewish religion. Another part, having dispersed themselves among the nations of the earth, continued to adhere to their religi

My Choice Is His Choice

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By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook / Sermon Audio : "He shall choose our inheritance for us" — Psalm 47:4 Our enemies would allot us a very dreary portion, but we are not left in their hands. The LORD will cause us to stand in our lot, and our place is appointed by His infinite wisdom. A wiser mind than our own arranges our destiny. The ordaining of all things is with God, and we are glad to have it so; we choose that God should choose for us. If we might have our own way we would wish to let all things go in God's way. Being conscious of our own folly, we would not desire to rule our own destinies. We feel safer and more at ease when the LORD steers our vessel than we could possibly be if we could direct it according to our own judgment. Joyfully we leave the painful present and the unknown future with our Father, our Savior, our Comforter. O my soul, this day lay down thy wishes at Jesus' feet! If thou hast of late been somewhat wayward and willfu

What is Beautiful Worship?

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Posted at Reformation Scotland : Beautiful worship creates different mental images for different people. Some will see the finest vestments, artwork and candles and a profusion of colour and goldleaf. They will hear the finest music and perhaps smell wafting incense. Others are thinking of elegant “contemporary” style. It too involves the “right” clothes, music and imagery. Still others are attracted to something in between that borrows from both. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The standard of beauty is subjective not objective. Yet what standard of beauty does God have when it comes to worship? It is easy to take our preferred standard of beauty and then consecrate that for the purposes of worship. Yet this leaves us with the holiness of beauty rather than the beauty of holiness. What is it to “worship Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2)? David Dickson comments that the public worship of God was beautiful in the temple “not for timber or stones so much, as becau

The Advantages of Persecution (Brooks)

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Amazon Link Posted at The Reformed Reader : I’ve not faced any serious persecution. I have been made fun of a few times for being a Christian and there have been times when I was treated poorly because of my faith. But I haven’t faced jail time, extreme injustice, or physical torture for following Christ. I’m guessing quite a few of our readers have had similar experiences as I have had. However, perhaps some of our readers have experienced serious persecution from their family, friends, neighbors, or authority figures. There certainly are Christians today who suffer at the hands of evil and brutal persecution simply because they believe in Jesus. Thankfully the Lord knows the suffering of his people, hears their cries, and does not leave them when they are persecuted. In fact, because he is sovereign, our Father can even use persecution for his glory and for the good of his church. In one section of his 1662 publication, The Crown and Glory of Christianity , Thomas Broo

Reformation Scotland: The Best Way to Make Mature Disciples

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http://www.reformationscotland.org/ Currently, “discipleship” is one of those buzz words that evangelicals have begun to use all the time, everywhere. It is only a belated reaction against the modern trend to separate “mission” and “evangelism” from “discipleship”. Some have realised that simply being “missional” (another buzz word) is not enough. Predictably, this has prompted various attempts at discipleship manuals and courses. Historically, the Church has always been engaged in making disciples. It has also been clear about the best way to engage in this. It was well defined by Christ in His Commission to the Apostles. Making disciples involves teaching them to observe “all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Those who are Christ’s disciples learn from Him (Matthew 11:29) and continue in His Word (John 8:31). Their life must also be governed by His commandments (Matthew 10:25; John 15:8). There are things to be believed and things to be done. The B

What difference is there between the Lord's supper and the popish mass?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. 30. Lord's Day  Q. 80. What difference is there between the Lord's supper and the popish mass?  A. The Lord's supper testifies to us, that we have a full pardon of all sin by the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which he himself has once accomplished on the cross; (a) and, that we by the Holy Ghost are ingrafted into Christ, (b) who, according to his human nature is now not on earth, but in heaven, at the right hand of God his Father, (c) and will there be worshipped by us. (d) But the mass teaches, that the living and dead have not the pardon of sins through the suffer

The Bible's Supreme Place

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By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Sermon Audio/ Daily Checkbook : "Great peace have they which love Thy Law: and nothing shall offend them" — Psalm 119:165 Yes, a true love for the great Book will bring us great peace from the great God and be a great protection to us. Let us live constantly in the society of the law of the LORD, and it will breed in our hearts a restfulness such as nothing else can. The Holy Spirit acts as a Comforter through the Word and sheds abroad those benign influences which calm the tempests of the soul. Nothing is a stumbling block to the man who has the Word of God dwelling in him richly. He takes up his daily cross, and it becomes a delight. For the fiery trial he is prepared and counts it not strange, so as to be utterly cast down by it. He is neither stumbled by prosperity -- as so many are -- nor crushed by adversity -- as others have been -- for he lives beyond the changing circumstances of external life. When his LORD puts before him some

Our Ineffectual Prayers

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Robert Lewis Dabney - Wikipedia Posted at Regeneration, Repentance and Reformation : Preached by, Robert Lewis Dabney Preached to, the 44th Va. Regiment, near Mossy Creek, Augusta, Virginia. May, 1862. [This is perhaps the most remarkable discourse on our ineffectual prayers, I have ever read. –MWP] [Author’s, note: After the battle of McDowell and the pursuit of Milroy and Schenk, Gen. Jackson returned by forced marches to effect his junction with Gen. Ewell, and to pay his respects to Banks. The point to which his march first tended was Harrisonburg. The Sabbath found him near the village of Mt. Solon, on Mossy Creek and there, although most eager to husband every moment, he paused, amidst the luxuriant fields and majestic groves of that beautiful region, to give the troops their day of sacred rest. The Sabbath proved to be one of unrivalled mildness and beauty. The author, then chief of Gen. Jackson’s staff, accompanied by him, went in the forenoon to preach in the camp o

Heidelcast 101: Presbytopia

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Dr. Clark interviews Ken Golden, author of   Presbytopia: What It Means To Be Presbyterian   and pastor of  Sovereign Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Davenport IA. "What’s the big deal about being Presbyterian or Reformed? After all, isn’t it enough to love Jesus? Honestly, no. Of course you should love Jesus but then what? If someone else personally paid for all your legal offenses out of his own pocket, at the cost of his own life, and also gave you a million dollars that you didn’t earn. You would say, “now what?” That’s a really important question and how you answer it will shape your life to come. ..." Read more... Listen here...  (Approximately 30 minutes)

Cowardice, Courage, and the Death of Cranmer

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By Nathan Busenitz - Posted at The Master's Seminary : A brief sketch from the pages of Reformation history. Four hundred sixty years ago, on March 21, 1556, a crowd of curious spectators packed University Church in Oxford, England. They were there to witness the public recantation of one of the most well-known English Reformers, a man named Thomas Cranmer. Cranmer had been arrested by Roman Catholic authorities nearly three years earlier. At first, his resolve was strong. But after many months in prison, under daily pressure from his captors and the imminent threat of being burned at the stake, the Reformer’s faith faltered. His enemies eventually coerced him to sign several documents renouncing his Protestant faith. In a moment of weakness, in order to prolong his life, Cranmer denied the truths he had defended throughout his ministry, the very principles upon which the Reformation itself was based. Read more...

Man's Totally Helpless Condition

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By Loraine Boettner - Posted at Monergism : As we read the works of various Arminian writers, it seems that their first and perhaps most serious error is that they do not give sufficient importance to the sinful rebellion and spiritual separation of the human race from God that occurred in the fall of Adam. Some neglect it altogether, while for others it seems to be a far away event that has little influence in the lives of people today. But unless we insist on the reality of that spiritual separation from God, and the totally disastrous effect that it had on the entire human race, we shall never be able properly to appreciate our real condition or our desperate need of a Redeemer. Perhaps it will help us to realize more clearly what fallen man's condition really is if we compare it with that of the fallen angels. Angels were created before man, and each angel was placed on test as an individual, personal, moral being. This apparently was a pure test of obedience, as was that

The Imperative of Repentance

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By T. M. Moore - Posted at  The Fellowship of Ailbe : Begin Here, Remain Here (1) “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and thento the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” Acts 26.19, 20 The deepest need Many Christians today believe that saving faith – full faith – consists of hearing, responding to, and continuing in the hope of the Good News of Jesus Christ. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,” they explain. Just believe, and keep believing in the hope of forgiveness and eternal life. From this perspective, all we have to do in trying to reach others for Christ is put Jesus before them in a way that scratches their itch – whatever that might be – and some of them will come to Him and find a home in our midst. Are they lonely? Jesus is a friend and comforter. Do they lack a pur

Do then the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?

Heidelberg Catechism (extended) The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools (with the Scripture references written out) Note. This Catechism is fully based on the Scriptures. The references to Scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts (a) placed after the answer. 29 Lord's Day  Q. 78. Do then the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?  A. Not at all: (a) but as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, neither is the washing away of sin itself, being only the sign and confirmation thereof appointed of God; (b) so the bread in the Lord's supper is not changed into the very body of Christ; (c) though agreeably to the nature and properties of sacraments, (d) it is called the body of Christ Jesus.  (a) Matt.26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, un

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT

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Archibald Alexander - Wikipedia By Archibald Alexander - Posted at Grace Gems : That a just God will render to every man according to his character and works, is a dictate of reason. Conscience also intimates to every man, when he sins, that he deserves to be punished. When we see or hear of great crimes committed by others, such as murders, perjuries, robbery, or treachery—we feel something within us demanding that such should receive deserved punishment. But we see that the wicked are not always punished in this world, according to their evil deeds. It seems reasonable , therefore, to expect that there will be a judgment after death. We are not left, however, to the mere dictates of reason on this subject. God, in his word, has revealed in the clearest manner that there will be a day of reckoning at the end of the world. This day is appointed, and will certainly come. It is not so certain that we shall ever see the sun rise again, as it is that we shall see the day of judgment.

Presence of Mind

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By C.H. Spurgeon - Posted at Daily Checkbook/Sermon Audio : "Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken" — Proverbs 3:25-26 When God is abroad in judgments, He would not have His people alarmed. He has not come forth to harm but to defend the righteous. He would have them manifest courage. We who enjoy the presence of God ought to display presence of mind. Since the LORD Himself may suddenly come, we ought not to be surprised at anything sudden. Serenity under the rush and roar of unexpected evils is a precious gift of divine love. The LORD would have His chosen display discrimination so that they may see that the desolation of the wicked is not a real calamity to the universe. Sin alone is evil; the punishment which follows thereupon is as a preserving salt to keep society from putrefying. We should be far more shocked at the sin which deserves he