Sin Has a Thousand Treach’rous Arts

Sin has a thousand treach’rous arts
To practise on the mind;
With flatt’ring looks she tempts our hearts,
But leaves a sting behind.

With names of virtue she deceives
The aged and the young;
And while the heedless wretch believes,
She makes his fetters strong.

She pleads for all the joys she brings,
And gives a fair pretence;
But cheats the soul of heav’nly things,
And chains it down to sense.

So on a tree divinely fair
Grew the forbidden food;
Our mother took the poison there,
And tainted all her blood.

–Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

An Effective Pastorate

I am so thankful that I had the privilege of an excellent college and seminary education. I cannot imagine serving the Lord and His church as a pastor without such training.

Facility in the original languages (Hebrew and Greek), a knowledge of the content of Scripture, understanding the flow of church history, indoctrination in the primacy of the local church, the necessity and correctness of the militant separatist position, and a correlated understanding of the Bible’s truths (systematic theology) from a presuppositionalist and traditional dispensational viewpoint have been invaluable to me.

And yet, such does not make one a faithful, effective pastor. Something else is needed.

Cornelius Stam (1908-2003) and I definitely would not be on the same page in some matters of dispensationalism and ecclesiology, but this article today was excellent–

The humblest pastor, one who has had little opportunity for formal training and may have few natural endowments, may take heart in the knowledge that ultimately the key to true effectiveness in the pastorate is spirituality. And the greatest pastor, well educated and liberally endowed with natural talents, had better remember this, for a large and “successful” ministry is not necessarily blessed and honored of God, while a seemingly insignificant one may be richly blessed.

Remember, the Apostle Paul referred to himself as “unknown, and yet well known,” as “poor, yet making many rich” (II Cor. 6:9,10). He could boast no great organizational backing, yet even his co-workers were called “these who have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). The truly spiritual pastor may know little about worldly matters, but he will give much time to the study of the Word of God and will be earnest and instant in prayer. He will not be self-satisfied, or high-minded, but will walk humbly, begging God every day to make him the pastor he ought to be.

The truly spiritual pastor will be “crucified unto the world” and will “flee [from] youthful lusts.” He will truly love lost souls and the congregation God has entrusted to him and will toil unremittingly for their good. He will conduct himself as a servant of God and will trust God to use him for His glory.

How can such a pastor be a total failure? The key to a truly effective pastorate, then, is not intellectual endowment, or scholastic attainment, or a well-rounded education, or a thorough training, much less wealth or fame or personal magnetism; it is spirituality, with its desire to please God and to know and obey His Word, rightly divided.

The Self-Existence of God

O self-existent One in Three,
Jehovah, God alone,
In glory wrapt, invisible,
By revelation known!

Incomprehensible Thou art,
And all research is vain;
Nor even can the wise in heart
The mystery explain.

Yet does thy holy word declare,
That we may learn thy name—
That they who worship Thee in truth
Thy praises shall proclaim.

Then teach us, Lord, thy name of love,
By revelation known;
Hail, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord,
Jehovah, God alone.

–Anonymous

The Holiness of God

“And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts:
the whole earth is full of his glory,” Isaiah 6:3

Holy and reverend is the name
Of our eternal King;
Thrice holy Lord! the angels cry,
Thrice holy, let us sing.

Heaven’s brightest lamps with him compared
How mean thy look and dim!
The fairest angels have their spots
When once compared with him.

Holy is he in all his works,
And truth is his delight;
But sinners and their wicked ways
Shall perish from his sight.

The deepest reverence of the mind,
Pay, O my soul to God;
Lift with thy hands a holy heart
To his sublime abode.

With sacred awe pronounce his name,
Whom words nor thoughts can reach;
A broken heart shall please him more
Than the best forms of speech.

Thou, holy God, preserve my soul
From all pollution free;
The pure in heart are thy delight,
And they thy face shall see.

John Needham (1686-1786)

The Mercy of God

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, Psalm 89:1

Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart, and the boast of my tongue;
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections and bound my soul fast.

Without thy free mercy I could not live here,
Sin soon would reduce me to utter despair;
But, through thy free goodness, my spirits revive,
And he that first made me, still keeps me alive.

Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart;
Dissolved by thy goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I found.

The door of thy mercy stands open all day,
To the needy and poor, who knock by the way;
No sinner shall ever be empty sent back,
Who comes seeking mercy for Jesus’ dear sake.

Thy mercy in Jesus exempts me from hell;
Its glories I’ll sing, and its wonders I’ll tell:
‘Twas Jesus the friend when he hung on the tree,
That opened the channel of mercy for me.

Great Father of mercies, thy goodness I own,
And covenant love of thy crucified Son:
All praise to the Spirit, whose action divine,
Seals mercy and pardon and righteousness mine.

–John Stocker

The Loving-Kindness of the Redeemer

“I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has granted them according to His compassion and according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses” Isaiah 63:7

Awake, my soul, to joyful lays,
And sing thy great Redeemer’s praise;
He justly claims a song from me,
His loving-kindness O how free!

He saw me ruined in the fall,
Yet loved me, notwithstanding all;
He saved me from my lost estate;
His loving-kindness O how great!

Though numerous hosts of mighty foes,
Though earth and hell my way oppose,
He safely leads my soul along,
His loving-kindness O how strong!

When trouble, like a gloomy cloud,
Has gathered thick, and thundered loud,
He near my soul has always stood,
His loving-kindness O how good!

Often I feel my sinful heart
Prone from my Jesus to depart;
But though I have him oft forgot,
His loving-kindness changes not.

Soon shall I pass the gloomy vale,
Soon all my mortal powers must fail;
O! may my last expiring breath
His loving-kindness sing in death.

Then let me mount and soar away,
To the bright world of endless day,
And sing with rapture and surprise,
His loving-kindness in the skies.

Samuel Medley (1738-1799)

The Unsearchable Wisdom of God

Wait, O my soul, thy maker’s will,
Tumultuous passions all be still!
Nor let a murmuring thought arise,
His ways are just, his counsels wise.

He in the thickest darkness dwells,
Performs his work, the cause conceals;
But though his methods are unknown,
Judgment and truth support his throne.

In heaven, and earth, and air, and seas,
He executes his firm decrees;
And by his saints it stands confessed,
That what he does is ever best.

Wait then, my soul, submissive wait,
Prostrate before his awful seat;
And ‘midst the terrors of his rod,
Trust in a wise and gracious God.

–Benjamin Beddome (1717-1795)

God’s Dominion and Decrees

This hymn might be hard for some to swallow as God’s absolute sovereignty is explicitly set forth. Many believe that God has imposed upon Himself limited sovereignty (a misnomer if there ever was one) so that finite and sinful man can exercise his own will. Such will therefore express considerable angst at the truths of this hymn.

I would urge such to consider the fourth paragraph of Orwell Bible Church’s doctrinal statement on God. Also, the hymnal I read this hymn from owed it’s origin to the “happy revival of religion in many towns in New England” in the late 17th century. These hymns that I have been posting were compiled for the benefit of such believers. I pray that our great God would graciously help believers to have a right view of Him.

Keep silence all created things,
And wait your Maker’s nod:
My soul stands trembling, while she sings
The honors of her God.

Life, death, and hell, and worlds unknown,
Hang on his firm decree:
He sits on no precarious throne,
Nor borrows leave to be.

Chained to his throne, a volume lies,
With all the fates of men,
With every angel’s form and size,
Drawn by th’ eternal pen.

His providence unfolds the book,
And makes his counsels shine;
Each opening leaf, and every stroke,
Fulfills some deep design.

Here, he exalts neglected worms
To scepters and a crown;
And there, the following page he turns,
And treads the monarch down.

Not Gabriel asks the reason why,
Nor God, the reason gives;
Nor dares the favorite angel pry
Between the folded leaves.

My God, I would not long to see
My fate with curious eyes,
What gloomy lines are writ for me,
Or what bright scenes may rise.

In thy fair book of life and grace
O may I find my name,
Recorded in some humble place
Beneath my Lord the lamb!

–Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

The Omnipresence and Omniscience of God

Lord, thou with an unerring beam
Surveyest all my powers;
My rising steps are watched by thee,
By thee, my resting hours.

My thoughts, scarce struggling into birth,
Great God, are known to thee;
Abroad, at home, still I’m enclosed
With thine immensity.

To thee the labyrinths of life
In open view appear;
Nor steals a whisper from my lips
Without thy listening ear.

Behind I glance, and thou art there;
Before me shines thy name;
And ’tis thy strong almighty hand
Sustains my tender frame,

Such knowledge mocks the vain essays
O my astonished mind;
Nor can my reason’s soaring eye
Its towering summit find.

Where from thy Spirit shall I stretch
The pinions of my flight?
Or where, thro’ nature’s spacious range,
Shall I elude thy sight?

Thither thine hand, all-present God,
Must guide the wondrous way,
And thine omnipotence support
The fabric of my clay.

The beams of noon, the midnight hour
Are both alike to thee:
O may I ne’er provoke that power,
From which I cannot flee!

–Thomas Blacklock (1721-1791)

The Infinite God

Thy names, how infinite they be!
Great Everlasting one!
Boundless thy might and majesty,
And unconfined thy throne.

Thy glories shine of wondrous size,
And wondrous large thy grace:
Immortal day breaks from thine eyes,
And Gabriel veils his face.

Thine essence is a vast abyss,
Which angels cannot sound,
An ocean of infinites,
Where all our thoughts are drowned.

Thy mysteries of creation lie
Beneath enlightened minds;
Thoughts can ascend above the sky,
And fly before the winds.

Reason may grasp the massy hills,
And stretch from pole to pole,
But half thy name our spirit fills,
And overloads our soul.

In vain our haughty reason swells,
For nothing’s found in thee
But boundless inconceivables,
And vast eternity.

–Isaac Watts (1674-1748)