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154. What are the characters and destination of false teachers?
For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.- Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets ; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain : they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgetten my name for Baal.- For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. Jer. 6. 13, 14. and 23. 15-17, 25--27. 2 Cor. 11. 13. || Ez. 13. 10–16, 22, 23. and 34. 4. Rom. 16. 17, 18. 2 Pet. 2. 1–3.
Should it not be decisive against any professed teacher of religion, if his instructions tend to comfort the sinner in love with his sins ? Ought you not fervently to pray that God would by his grace rescue false teachers and their followers from the ruin before them.
155. To what test should we bring professed teachers of religion, articles of failh, and rules of practice?
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not accordmg to this word, it is because there is no light in them.- For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, GoD shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Is. 8. 20. Rev. 22. 18, 19. || Jude 3, 4. Mat. 24. 11. 1 Cor. 11. 19. 1 John 4. 1-6.
Since the Scriptures are the only infallible test. with what eagerness should the young store their minds with inspired truth? Can you be too much engaged in this business?
156. What are some important duties toward ministers?
For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.- And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you ; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.- Let him that is taught in the word, communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.- Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple, and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.- Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief : for that is unprofitable for you. Mal. 2. 7. 1. Thes. 5. 12, 13. Gal. 6. 6. 1 Cor. 9. 13, 14. Heb. 13. 17. || and 13. 7. Deut. 17. 9–11.1 Cor. 16. 16. Phil. 2. 29, 30. Mal. 3. 8—10.
Have you rendered that love, support and obedience to your spiritual guide which the Gospel enjoins? Has it been because he was an ambassador of Christ ?
157. Are we required to pray for ministers of the Gospel ?
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.- Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that
ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.And FOR ME, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.- Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you; And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men : for all men have not faith. Mat. 9. 38. Rom. 15. 30. Eph. 6. 19. 2 Thes, 3. 1, 2. || 2 Cor. 1. 10, 11. Phil. 1. 19. Acts 12. 5–7. 1 Thes. 5. 25. Heb. 13. 18, 19.
In closet, in family, and in public worship have your hearts been often lifted to Gop in prayer for those who watch for your souls? Would not fervent prayer for ministers bring blessings on their ministry to those who offer them ?
158. Are consequences of infinite importance to immortal souls connected with a preached Gospel ?
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved How then shall they call on him in whom they have
not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they, hear without a preacher ? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is writ. ten, How beautiful are the feet of them that, preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.- For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness ; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world ? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that' believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom : But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness ; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. Rom. 10. 13-15. 1 Cor. 1. 18--25. || 1 Thes. 1. 5. 2 Cor. 2. 15, 16. and 5. 20. Eph. 4. 11-13.
Ought you not ever to feel that the preached Gospel is to you either the savour of life unto life, or of death unto death? Would not this awaken the deepest interest ?
159. What are the consequences of contemning, or even neglecting the instructions of faithful ministers ?
But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hcar. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his Spirit by the former prophets; therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear ; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts. And whosoever shall not
eceive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house, or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. Zech. 7. 11-13. Mat. 10. 14, 15. || Deut. 17. 12. Ez. 33. 30-33. 2 Chron. 36. 15, 16. 2 Tim. 4. 3, 4. .
Have you never neglected the instruction of faithful ministers? Are you sufficiently humbled before God on this account?
160. How should the written and dispensed word of God be treated?
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal
life: And they are they which testify of me.- In whom ye also. trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation : in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.- As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.- Wherefore lay apart all filthiness, and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass : For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. John 5. 39. Eph. 1. 13. 1 Pet. 2. 2, Jam. 1. 21-24. || 1 Cor. 1. 21. and 15. 1, 2. Acts 17. 11, 12. Heb. 4. 1, 2.
Have you read and heard the word of God with diligence, interest, prayerfulness, and self-application ? Have you felt that God addresses you in his word ?
161. What are the advantages of rightly attending to the written or dispensed word?
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all : And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest ; and so falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.- To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.- For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Neh. 8. 8. 1 Cor. 14. 24, 25. Ps. 19. 8. Acts 26. 18. Rom. 15. 4. || and 10. 13—17. 2 Tim. 3. 15–17.
Have you found the word of God enlightening, purifying, and comforting to your hearts? Have you derived from it all the spiritual blessings which you might have done?
162. Are we required to love all mankind ?
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.- Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not
suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. John 13. 34, 35. Lev. 19. 17, 18, 33, 34. || 1 John 3. 11, 15, 18. Luke 10. 25-37.
Are your hearts filled with benevolent affections towards all mankind, and with complacent love towards the pious ?
163. Does the benign Godlike spirit of Christianity require us to exercise love and kindness towards our very enemies.?
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy : But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.- Therelore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.- Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. Mat. 5. 43–45. Rom. 12. 20, 21. 1 Pet. 3. 9. || Luke 6. 35. Prov. 25. 21, 22. Ex. 23. 4, 5. Ps. 35. 12-14.
Do not these precepts respecting love to enemies prove christianity to be from God? Have you a heart to obey these precepts ?
164. What is the sentence of God's law against MURDER ?
Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed : for in the image of God made he man.- Thou shalt not kill.Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Moreover, ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land : and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed there. in, but by the blood of him that shed it. Gen. 9. 6. Ex. 20. 13. Num. 35. 30, 31, 33. || Deut. 19. 10, 13. Lev. 24. 17. 1 Kin. 2. 5, 6, 29-34. 1 John 3. 15. Rev. 21. 8.