Archive for the ‘William Gurnall’ Category

Question: What is it to pray in the Spirit?

Answer: Interpreters generally comprehend in this phrase both [as] the spirit of the person praying, and the Spirit of God, by which our spirits are fitted for and acted in prayer. [It] is a prayer in the spirit, which, by the help of the Holy Spirit, is performed with our soul and spirit.  These two indeed go ever together.  We cannot act [with] our spirit without the Holy Spirit.   Alas—this is like a lump of clay in our bosoms till he quickens it; and we cannot but pray with our heart and spirit when the Holy Spirit moves upon it.  The Spirit’s breath is vital.  The Holy Ghost doth not breathe in us as one through a trunk or trumpet, which is a mere passive instrument; but stirs up our hearts, and actuates our affections in the duty.

Prayer is called “a pouring out of the soul to God.”  The soul is the well from which the water of prayer is poured; but the Spirit is the spring that feeds this well, and the hand that helps to pour it forth.  The well would have no water without the spring, neither could it deliver itself of it without one to draw it.  Thus the Spirit of God must fill the heart with praying affections, and enable them also to pour themselves forth.  From the words thus sensed, we shall a while dwell upon these two pro­positions.  First, He who will pray acceptably must pray in his heart and spirit. Second, He that would pray in his own spirit, must pray in the Spirit of God.

Praying in the Spirit is opposed to lip-labor – “they draw near to me with their lips, but their heart is removed far from me;” like an adulteress, whose heart and spirit is as far from her husband.  It is no prayer in which the heart of the person bears no part.   “My spirit prayeth,” says the apostle, I Cor. 14:14-15, “I will pray with the spirit,” and “sing with the spirit.”  The melodious sound which comes from a musical instrument, such as viol or lute, is formed within the belly of the instrument, and the deeper the belly of the instrument the sweeter is its music; the same strings on a flat board, touched by the same hand, would make no music.  The melodiousness of prayer comes from within the man.  “We are the circum­cision which worship God in the spirit,” and the deeper the groans are that come from thence, still the sweeter the melody.  There may be outward worship and in­ward atheism.

Now in handling of this, I must first show what it is to pray in our spirit, and then, why we are to pray thus.  We pray in our spirit when these three are found in the duty: (1) when we pray with knowledge; (2) when we pray in fervency; and (3) when we pray in sincerity.  These three exercise the three powers of the soul and the spirit.  By knowledge, the understanding is set to work; by fervency, the affections; and by sincerity, the will.  All of these are required in conjunction to “praying in the spirit.”  There may be knowledge without fervency, and this, like the light of the moon, is cold and quickens not.  There may be heat without knowledge, and this is like mettle in a blind horse.  There may be knowledge and fervency, and this is like a chariot with swift horses and a skillful driver in the box, who, being without knowledge, carries it the wrong direction.  Neither of these, nor both of these together, avails, because sincerity is lacking to make them stand to the right point, which is the glory of God.  He will have little thanks for his zeal who is fervent in spirit, but serving himself with it, and not the Lord.

First—To pray acceptably, or in the spirit, it is required that we pray with knowledge and understanding.

A blind sacrifice was rejected in the law (Mal. 1:8), much more are blind devotions under the gospel.  [Praying with understanding is essential because] …

1.   The saint’s eye is enlightened to see the majesty and glorious holiness of God, and then it reveres him, and mourns before him in the sense of his own vileness: “Now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I abhor myself; and re­pent in dust and ashes,” Job 42:6.

2.   Again, by an eye of faith, he be­holds the goodness and love of God to poor sinners in Christ, and in particular to him, and this eye affects his heart to love and rely on him, which it is impossible for the ignorant soul to do.

Question. But you will say, why is it necessary for the praying soul to know?

Answer. There is required a knowledge that he to whom he directs his prayer is the true God.  Religious worship is an incommunicable flower in the crown of the deity, and that both inward and outward.  We are religi­ously to worship him only, who, by reason of his infinite perfections, de­serves our supreme love, honor, and trust He must have the crown that owes the kingdom.  “The kingdom and power” are God’s.  Therefore ‘the glory’ of religious worship belongs to him alone.

Answer Second. There is required a knowledge of this true God, what his nature is.  “He that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him,” Hebrews 11:6.  The want of understanding his omniscience and infinite mercy is the cause of vain babbling, and a conceit to prevail by long prayers.

Answer Third.  We must understand the matter of our prayers, what we are asking for.  Without this, we cannot in faith say amen to our own prayers.

Second—To pray in the spirit, we must have fervency.

We pray in the spirit when we pray in fervency.  The soul keeps the body warm while it is in it.  When there is much of our soul and spirit in a duty, there is much heat and fervency.  If the prayer be cold, we may certainly conclude the heart is idle and bears no part in the duty.  In petition, we have fervency when the heart is drawn out with vehement desires of the grace it prays for, not so lazy wouldlings or wishings, but passionate breathings and breakings of the heart.

Question. But why must we pray thus in the spirit fervently?

Answer First.  We must pray in the spirit fervently from the command.  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might, and these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart,” Deut. 6:5-6.  The external part of the duty is but the cup.  Thy love, faith, and joy are the wine he desires to taste of.  Without these, you give him but an empty cup to drink in.

Answer Second.  We must pray in the spirit to comport with the name of God.  The common description of prayer is calling on the name of God.  Now, in prayer, when we call upon the name of God, it must be with a heart of worship suitable to his name.

Answer Third.  We must pray in the spirit because the promise is only to fervent prayer.  Fervency is to prayer what fire was to the spices in the censer—without this, the smoke cannot ascend as incense before God.  There is a qualification to the act of prayer as necessary to the person praying:  “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Feeble desires, like weak pangs, go over and bring not a mercy to the birth.  As the full time grows nearer, so the spirit of prayer grows stronger.  “Shall he not avenge his own elect that cry day and night unto him?  I tell you, he shall avenge them speedily,” Luke 18:7.

Question. How may we get this fervency of spirit in prayer?

Answer First. You must be certain that you are a believer.  There must be life in the soul before there can be life in the prayer.  All the rugs in the upholsterer’s shop will not bring a dead man to warmth; nor will any arguments, though taken from the most moving topics in the Scripture, make you pray fervently while your soul lies in a dead state.  Go first to Christ that you may have life, and having life, there is some hope to chafe you into some heat.

Answer Second.  If you are a believer, it calls for your utmost care to get and keep your soul in a kindly heat.  The saints have the spark of heavenly fire in their bosom, but this needs the bellows of their care and diligence to keep it hot.  Therefore, it is necessary that you be much acquainted with your own state so as to know what is the great clog in this duty.

Look narrowly at where your cooling comes.  Perhaps you heart is too much let out in the world and, at night, your spirits are spent when you should come before the Lord.  Wood that has the sap in it will not easily burn; neither will your heart readily take fire in holy duties when it comes so sopped in the world to them.  Drain your heart, therefore, your heart of these eager affections, if you mean to have them warm and lovely in prayer.  Now there is no better way for this than to set your soul under the frequent meditation of Christ’s love to you, your relation to him, with the great and glorious things you expect from him in another world.

Do you desire to pray fervently for others?  First, pierce your heart through with their sorrows, and, by a spirit of sympathy, bring yourself to feel their miseries as if you were in their case.  Then will your heart be warm in prayer for them when it flows from a heart melted in compassion to them.

Third—To pray in the spirit, we must have sincerity.

We pray in the spirit when we pray in sincerity.  There may be much fervor where there is little or not sincerity.  Now the sincerity of heart in prayer appears when a person is real in his prayers, and that from pure principles to pure ends.  First, a person is sincere when his prayers are real according to his real desires.  Second, a person is sincere when he prays from a pure principle to a pure end.  Now he that would pray acceptably must pray thus in his spirit, that is, with the sincerity of his spirit.  “The prayer of the upright is his delight.”  “The fervent prayer … avails much.”  It can do much, but it must be of a righteous man, and such the sincere man only is.  And no wonder that God stands so much upon the sincerity in prayer, seeing the lip of truth is so prized even among men.

Let us put upon the trial whether we thus pray in the spirit—whether you can find sincerity stamped upon your fervency.  If the prayer be not fervent, it cannot be sincere, but it may have fervor without this.

How may we get this sincerity in prayer?

(1)     Get your heart united by faith to Christ.  It is faith that purifies the heart from its false principles and ends in duty.

(2)     Make hypocrisy in prayer appear as odious to thee as possibly you can.  Consider how grievous a sin and how great a folly it is.  A lie spoken by one man to another is a sin capable of high aggravations; what then is that lie which is uttered in prayer to God?  Consider also what a folly it is.  Who but a fool can think to blind the eyes of the Almighty?

(3)     Crucify your affections to the world.  Hypocrisy in religion springs from the bitter root of some carnal affection unmortified.   So long as your prey lies below, your eye will be to the earth, even when you seem like an eagle to mount in your prayers to heaven.  “I am God Almighty, walk before me and be thou perfect,” said God to Abraham, Genesis 17:1.

To pray in the Spirit is to pray in or with the Spirit of God (Jude 20).

Prayer is the creature’s act, but the Spirit’s gift.  There is a concurrence both of the Spirit of God and the soul or spirit of the Christian to the performance of it.  Hence we find both the Holy Spirit is said to pray in us (Romans 8:26), and we said to pray in him (Jude 20).  By the first is meant his inspiration, whereby he excites and assists the creature to and in the work; by the latter, the concurrence of the saint’s faculties.

First, to pray rightly, it is necessary that we pray in the spirit. This is clear from Ephesians 2:18: “Through him, we both have an access by one Spirit unto the Father.”  Mark those words, ‘by one Spirit.’  As there is but one Mediator to appear and pray for us in heaven, so but one Spirit that can pray in us, and we by him, on earth.  We may as well venture to come to the Father through another Mediator that his Son, as pray by another Spirit than by the Holy Ghost.  To plead Christ’s merits in prayer, and not by the Spirit, is to bring right incense but strange fire, and so our prayers are but smoke, offensive to his pure eyes, and not incense, a sweet savor to his nostrils.

Second, what is praying by the Spirit? It is to receive the assistance of the Spirit in our praying (Romans 8:26).

(1)     The Spirit puts forth to stir up the affections.  Never was any formal prayer of the Holy Spirit’s making.  When the Spirit comes, it is a time of life.  The apostle tells us the groans and sighs which the Spirit helps the saint to are such as “cannot be uttered,” Romans 8:26; no, not by the saint himself, who, being unable to translate the inward grief he conceives into words, is fain sometimes to send it with this inarticu­late voice to heaven, yet it is a voice that is well understood there and more musical in God’s ear than the most ravishing music can be to ours.  In a word, he stirs up affections suitable to every part of prayer, enabling the gra­cious soul to confess sin with an aching heart, as if he felt so many swords rak­ing in it; to supplicate mercy and grace, as with inward feeling of his wants, so with vehement desires to have them satisfied; and to praise God with a heart enlarged and carried on high upon the wings of love and joy.  Parts may art it in the phrase and composure of the words—as a statuary may carve a goodly image, with all the outward lineaments and beautiful proportions in every part—but still it is but the coun­terfeit and, image of a true prayer, for want of that something within, which should give life and energy to it.  This the Spirit of God alone can effect.

(2)     As the Spirit of God does excite the Christian’s affections in prayer, so he regulates and directs them. Who indeed but the Spirit of God can guide and rein these fiery steeds?  He is said in this respect to “help our infirmities, for we know not what to pray for as we ought,” Romans 8:26.  We, alas, are prone to over-bend the bow in some petitions, and want strength to bend it enough in some other.  One while we overshoot the butt, praying absolutely for that which we should ask conditionally; another time we shoot beside the mark, either by praying for what God hath not promised, or too selfishly that which is promised.  Now the Spirit helps the Christian’s infirmity in this respect, for he “makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God,” Rom. 8:27, that is, he so holds the reins of their affec­tions and directs them, that they keep their right way and due order, not fly­ing out into unwarrantable heats and inordinate desires.  He, by his secret whispers, instructs them when to let out their affections full speed, and when to take them up again.  He teaches them the law of prayer, that striving lawfully they may not lose the prize.  Just as the Spirit was in the ‘living creatures’ to direct their motion, of whom it is said, “They went every one straightfor­ward: whither the Spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went,” Ezekiel 1:12; so the Spirit, acting his saints in prayer, keeps them that they lash out neither on this hand nor on that, but go straightforward, and draw their requests by his rule.

(3)     He fills the Christian with a holy confidence and humble boldness in prayer. Sin makes the face of God dreadful to the sinner.  Guilty Adam shuns his presence, and tells the reason, “I heard thy voice, and was afraid.”  If the patriarchs were terrified at his presence; how much more con­founded must the sinner be to draw near to the great God, when he remem­bers the horrid sins he hath perpetrated against him?  Now the Spirit eases the Christian’s heart of this fear, assur­ing him that God’s heart meditates no revenge upon him, but freely forgives what wrong he has done him.  Even more, he takes him for his dear child; and, that the Christian may not stand in doubt thereof, he seals it with a kiss of love upon his heart, leav­ing there the impression of God’s fatherly love fairly stamped, whereby the Chris­tian comes to have amiable thoughts of God, is able to call God Father, and ex­pect the kind welcome of a child at his hands.  This is the Spirit of adoption of which the apostle speaks (Romans 8:15) that casts away all servile fear and dread of God from the soul: “Ye have not re­ceived again the spirit of bondage to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”  And, (Galatians 4:6)“because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

Exhortation to Those Who Want the Spirit of Prayer

  1. O labor to get this heavenly guest to come and dwell in your hearts.  Prayer, you see, is not a work of nature, but a gift of grace; not a matter of will and parts got by human skill and art, but taught and inspired by the Holy Ghost.  How may one obtain the Spirit?  First, be deeply sensible of your deplorable state while without the Spirit.  The Spirit is often in Scripture compared to water, rain, and dew.  Now as the earth is barren and can bring forth no fruit without these, so is the heart of man without the Spirit of God.  Second, plant yourself under the word preached.  This is the vehiculum Spiritus—the Spirit’s chariot in which he rides.  They that cast off hearing the word to meet with the Spirit do as if a man should turn his back off the aim that it may shine on his face.  The poor do not stay at home for the rich to bring their alms to their house, but go to their door and there wait for relief.  It becomes thee, poor creature, to wait at the posts of wisdom, and not expect that the Spirit should come after thee apart from the Word.
  2. I beseech you not to grieve or quench the Holy Spirit in your bosoms. Now three ways the Spirit of God may be distasted by a saint, so as to cause him to deny his wonted assistance in prayer.

First, by some sin secretly harbored in the heart.  “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me,” Psalm 66:18.  Now when God refuses to hear, we may be sure the Spirit refuses to assist, for God never rejects a prayer that his Spirit incites and his Son pre­sents.  Sin is so offensive to the Holy Spirit, that wherever it is bid welcome he will show his distaste.  If you would have this pure dove stay with you, be sure you keep his lodging clean.  Hast thou deified thyself with any known sin, think not to have him help thee in prayer till he has helped thee to repent of it.  He will carry thee to the layer before he will go with thee to the altar.  The musician wipes his instrument that hath fallen into the dirt before he will set it to his mouth.  If thou wouldst have the Spirit of God breathe in thy soul at prayer, present it not to him besmeared with any sin unrepented of.

Second, by frequently resisting or putting off his motions.  As the Spirit helps in prayer, so he stirs up to prayer; he is the saint’s remembrancer and monitor.  Thy God waits for thy company, and expects thy attendance; now is a fit time for thy withdrawing thyself to hold communion with him, and pay thy homage to him. Now, when the Christian shall shift off these motions and not take the hint he gives, but from time to time neglect his coun­sel, and discontinue his acquaintance with God, notwithstanding these his mementos, he is exceedingly distasted, and, taking himself to be slighted, he gives over calling upon him, and leaves the soul for a time, till his absence, and the sad consequences of it, bring him to see his folly, and prepare him to enter­tain his motions more kindly for the future.  Thus Christ leaves the spouse in her bed, when she would not rise at his knock, and makes her trot after him many a weary step before he will be seen of her.

Third, by priding ourselves in and with the assistances he gives. Pride is a sin that God resists wherever he meets it; for indeed it is a sin that justles with God himself for the wall.  It is time for the Spirit to be gone when his house is let over his head.  He takes it as a giv­ing him warning to be gone, when the soul lifts up itself into his seat; if he may not have the honor of the work, he will have no hand in it.  Now the proud man makes the Spirit an underling to himself, he uses his gifts to set up him­self with them.  Instead of blessing God for assisting, he applauds himself and hath a high opinion of his own abilities, pleasing himself with what ex­pressions and enlargements of affection he had in the duty.  “I live,” says Paul, “yet not I” (Galatians 2:20).  “I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me,” (1 Cor. 15:10).  Thus should you, Christian, say, “I prayed, yet not I; I labored and wrestled, yet not I, but the Spirit of God that was with me.”

Fourth, when we go to duty in confidence of the gifts and grace we have already received, and do not acknowledge our dependence on the Spirit, by casting ourselves after all our preparations upon him for present assistance.  You know how Samson was served when he thought to go out as he used to do.  Alas, poor man, the case was altered, he was weak as water; the Spirit was gone and had carried away his strength with him.  God will have thee, O Christian, know the key to thy heart hangs at his girdle, and not thy own, that you should be able to open and enlarge it at your plea­sure.  Acknowledge God, and his Spirit shall help you; but “lean to you own understanding,” and you are sure to catch a fall.  When pride is in the saddle, shame is in the crupper; if pride be at the beginning of the duty, shame will be the end of it.

From, The Christian in Complete Armor.

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The State of the Soul

When the Spirit begins His work of grace in the soul of man, he finds the creature ins such a state as it neither can nor will contribute to the least help in the work of salvation. As the prince of this world, when he came to tempt Christ, “found nothing in him” to befriend and further his tempting design, so, when the Spirit of Christ comes, he finds little encouragement from the sinner. No party within the castle of the soul to side with him when He comes first to set down before it and to lay siege to it, but all the powers of the whole man in arms against Him! Never was there any garrison more resolved to stand out against both the treaties and batteries of an assailing enemy, than the carnal heart is against the means that God uses to reduce it to obedience.

The Convicting Work of the Spirit

Now the Spirit’s address is suited to the several faculties of the soul, the principal of which are these three—understanding, conscience, and will. These are like three forts, one within the other, which must all be reduced before the town is taken—the sinner, I mean, subdued to the obedience of faith.

  1. The Spirit makes his approach to the understanding, and on it, he puts forth an act of illumination. The Spirit will not work in a dark shop; the first thing he does, in order to faith, is to beat out a window in the soul and let some light from heaven into it. Hence believers are said to be “renewed in the spirit of their minds” (Ephesians 4:23). By nature, we know little of God and nothing of Christ or the way of salvation by him. The eye of the creature therefore must be opened to see the way of life before he can by faith get into it.
  2. Then the Spirit makes his address to the conscience, and the act that passes upon it is an act of conviction. Now this conviction is nothing but a reflection of the light that is in the understanding upon the conscience, whereby the creature feels the weight and force of the truths he knows so as to be brought into a deep sense of them. Most under the gospel know that unbelief is a damning sin, and that there is “no name” to be saved by but the name of Christ. Yet how few of those know this convincingly, so as to apply it to their own consciences and to be affected with their own deplored state.
  3. The Spirit puts forth an act of renovation, whereby he does sweetly, but powerfully, incline the will which before was rebellious and refractory, to accept Christ and make a free and deliberate choice of him for his Lord and Savior. I say a “deliberate” choice, wherein the soul well weighs the terms Christ is offered on and, when it has considered all seriously, likes them and closes with them.

Evidences of this Convicting Work

  1. A sinner truly convinced is not only convinced of this sin or that sin, but of the evil of all sin. A parboiled conscience is not right, soft in one part and hard in another. The Spirit of God is uniform in its work.
  2. The convinced sinner is not only convinced of acts of sin, but of the whole state of sin also. He is not only affected by what he has done—this law broken, and that mercy abused by him—but with what his state and condition is. Many will confess they do not think by any means so ill of themselves that their state is a state of sin and death. Whereas the convinced soul freely puts himself under this sentence of death, owns his condition, and dissembles not his pedigree.
  3. The convinced sinner does not only condemn himself for what he has done and is, but he despairs of himself as to anything he can do to save himself. Many, though they go so far as to confess they are vile wretches, and have lived wickedly, and for this deserve to die; yet when they have put a rope about their neck by a self-condemning act, they are so far from being convinced of their own impotency that they hope to cut the rope with their repentance, reformation, and a bundle of good works which they think shall redeem their credit with God and recover his favor. And this comes to pass because the plow of conviction did not go deep enough to tear up those secret roots of self-confidence with which the heart of every sinner is woefully tainted.
  4. The convicted sinner is not only convinced of sin, so as to condemn himself and despair himself, but he is convinced of a full provision laid up in Christ for self-condemned and self-despairing ones. Without this, the soul convinced of sin is more likely to go to the gallows with Judas, or to fall on the sword of the law than to think of coming to Christ.

Copyright Jim Ehrhard, 1999. You are permitted to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author; (2) any modifications are clearly marked; (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction; and (4) you do not make more than 100 copies without permission. If you would like to post this material to your web site or make any use other than as defined above, please contact Teaching Resources International

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The soldier so summoned to a life of active duty, and so is the Christian. The very nature of the calling precludes life of ease. If you had thought to be a summer soldier, consider your commission carefully. Your spiritual orders a rigorous. Like the apostle, I would not have you be ignorant on this point and will, therefore, list a few of your directives.

Those sins which have lain nearest your heart must now trampled under your feet. And what courage and resolution this requires! You think Abraham was tested to the limit when called upon to take Isaac, “thine only son . . . whom thou lovest” (Genesis 22:2), and offer him up with his own hands. Yet what was that to this: “Soul, take the lust which is the child dearest to your heart, your Isaac, the sin from which you intend to gain the greatest pleasure. Lay hands on it and offer it up; pour out its blood before Me; run the sacrificing knife into the very heart of it—and do it joyfully!” This is more than the human spirit can bear to hear. Our lust will not lie so patiently on the altar as Isaac, nor as Lamb brought dumb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7). Our will roar and shriek, rending the heart with its hideous cries. Indeed, who can express the conflict, the wrestlings, the convulsions of spirit we endure before we can put our heart into such a command? Or who can fully recount the cleverness with which such a lust will plead for itself?

When the Spirit convicts you of sin, Satan will try to convince you, “It is such a little one—spare it.” Or he will bribe the soul with a vow of secrecy: “You can keep me and good reputation, too. I will not be seen in your company to shame you among your neighbors. You may shut me up in attic of your heart, out of sight, if only you will let me now and then have the wild embraces of your thoughts and affections in secret.”

The current formatting and editing is copyrighted by Jim Ehrhard, 1999. You are permitted to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author; (2) any modifications are clearly marked; (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction; and (4) you do not make more than 100 copies without permission. If you would like to post this material to your web site or make any use other than as defined above, please contact Teaching Resources International

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Search The Scriptures

Christian, if you can once and for all break your engagement to the flesh and become a free man in Christ, truth will be your steadfast friend.

Study God’s Word faithfully as well. Satan has a habit of stopping the ears from hearing sound doctrine before he opens them to listen to corrupt. He will, as often as he can, pull a saint away from God’s Word and talk him into rejecting some point of truth. But he who rejects the truth of one doctrine, loses the blessing of them all. Paul predicted how this would happen: “They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Do not pretend you want to be led into truth if you will not bother to study the whole word of God. You are no different from a child who says he wants to learn, yet plays the truant. Such a child must be disciplines. Because your heavenly Father loves you, He will bring you back to the Word with shame and sorrow, rather than leave you trapped in Satan’s lies.

As you study and grow, be wary of new doctrine. Do not hastily accept everything you hear, even from the pulpit. Now I admit that to reject a doctrine simply because we have never heard it before is foolish. But we have every right to wait and inquire before embracing it. When you hear a new notion about the truth, go to God in prayer and seek His counsel. Search the Scriptures. Discuss it with your pastor and with other Christians whose wisdom and maturity you trust.

The truth will stand up under scrutiny. It is a fruit that never bruises or spoils from handling. But error, like fish, begins to stink after a few days. Therefore, let new ideas sit before you make a meal of them. You do not want to poison your soul with rotting mackerel when you could be feasting on manna from heaven!

From William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour.

The current formatting and editing is copyrighted by Jim Ehrhard, 1999. You are permitted to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author; (2) any modifications are clearly marked; (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction; and (4) you do not make more than 100 copies without permission. If you would like to post this material to your web site or make any use other than as defined above, please contact Teaching Resources International

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