Thursday, June 16, 2011

“then do we join Teraphim, when we rest not upon Scripture alone"

It is a very great and fearful evil for men in searching to know any thing of Gods mind, not to keep themselves to God's ways of knowledge, to God's own ordinances. It concerneth us much now this day. We are about inquiring the mind of God, that we may know it about matters concerning the Common-wealth, but more especially about Religion. I suppose there is none of us but will acknowledge that way that God hath appointed for the revealing of his will is the Scripture, that we must look into the Scripture, and seek to know God's mind there; that is good, but let us not join Teraphim with it; then do we join Teraphim, when we rest not upon Scripture alone, but search after rules of mans devising, and what will stand with our own carnal ends. The Lord may justly meet with us in wrath, if we presume to join our Teraphim with his Ephod. Pray that at this day where there is so much searching after God's mind, that those who are employed in it, may keep themselves to the Ephod, to the Scriptures, to that which is God's ordinance for the revealing of his mind, that they may not join the Teraphim, their own fancies and inventions of men with the Scriptures; so long as we keep to that rule, we may hope to do well enough; but if the Teraphim be joined with the Ephod, if any thing be joined with the Scriptures, though it may seem to be never so rational, we have cause to fear God will leave us.

We find this word Teraphim used sometime in Scripture for the image of any man: as 1 Sam. 19:13 when Michal took an image, and laid it to the bed instead of David, the word in the Hebrew is Teraphim: so when Rachel stole away her fathers images, the word is, she stole away her father's Teraphim, and some think they were her fathers Divining images, and that she did rather steal those then any others, because she would not have her father divine which way they were gone. Zachar. 10:2 it is said the idols have spoken vanity; the word is the Teraphim. By which we may see they were wont to ask of their idols about their successes. And sometime we find in Scripture that Idolatry is called by this name, as 1 Sam. 15:23 Stubborness is as idolatry, the word is, is as Teraphim.
—Jeremiah Burroughs, An exposition of the prophesie of Hosea

Monday, June 6, 2011

Beyond the Symbols By A.W. Tozer

Beyond the Symbols
By A.W. Tozer

I have noticed lately among so-called evangelicals a renewed interest in the religious gadgets that our Protestant fathers once threw away to make room for the Holy Spirit.

It is becoming more common now to see in our churches (and in some Alliance churches, I regret to say) huge pictures of Christ, crosses on the altar, candles and other symbolic objects.

This is the sure way back to formalism and death. In proportion as the Presence of Christ is felt in a congregation these things will be unnecessary, even offensive. And as the Presence lifts and withdraws, these symbols are brought in as poor substitutes.

The human heart must have something to love and fear. If it misses the true God it will make a god of its own. A crowd of persons who pray to a false god is not a church in any sense of the word, even if the word "Christian" or "church" appears on the front of the building.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Affections Fixed Upon an Unseen Saviour

If I was to describe him [a Believer] from the Scripture-character, I should say, he is one whose heart is athirst for God, for his glory, his image, his presence: his affections are fixed upon an unseen Saviour; his treasures, and consequently his thoughts, are on high, beyond the bounds of sense. Having experienced much forgiveness, he is full of bowels of mercy to all around; and having been often deceived by his own heart, he dares trust it no more, but lives by faith in the Son of God, for wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, and derives from him grace for grace; sensible that without him he has not sufficiency even to think a good thought. In short— He is dead to the world, to sin, to self, but alive to God, and lively in his service. Prayer is his breath, the word of God his food, and the ordinances more precious to him than the light of the sun. Such is a believer—in his judgment and prevailing desires.
—John Newton

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Hymn on 1 Peter 1:8

"Whom having not seen ye love." 1 Pet. i. 8.

WE have not seen the Saviour yet:

Nor shall we until life shall end;

But yet we love him for his grace:

We love an unseen absent friend.

The glorious work he wrought, endears

The Saviour to his people's hearts:

In hope they wait till he appears;

And hope a present joy imparts.

They hope to see their Lord that day,

Descend with all the hosts of heav'n;

The Lord, who bore their sins away:

The Lord, through whom they stand forgiv'n.

They hope, that what they now believe,

They then with joyful eyes shall see:

No more to doubt, no more to grieve;

But with their Lord himself to be.

'Till that bright day we'll think of him;

And may our love with fervour glow:

An unseen Lord be all our theme,

'Till with him hence to Heav'n we go.

Thomas Kelly (1769-1855)