Attacks on Biblical Truths

by J. C. Philpot

There is scarcely a truth of divine revelation which has not been at some time disputed, and against which a whole army of arguments has not been from some quarter arrayed. Some of these disputants have denied the very existence of God himself; though one would think that they had but to cast their eyes upward, and look at the glorious array of heavenly orbs above, or to view the earth spread as a landscape at their feet beneath, to convince them that all they beheld, as well as the very power of vision by which they saw them, must have been created, and must still be maintained by a divine hand.

Others have denied the necessity and truth of a divine revelation of the mind and will of God, and have framed a thousand arguments to disprove the necessity or deny the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, though it is self-evident that God being in heaven and we on earth, he must manifest himself in some way to our minds that we may see, know, and worship him acceptably.

Others have denied the Deity and eternal Sonship of the Lord of life and glory, and have found or forged the strongest levers that the subtlety of human reason could devise to uptear the very foundation of the faith, hope, and love of the church of God. To degrade the Son of God from his eternal birthright, and to spoil the members of his mystical body of all that they have and are by virtue of their union with him has been with some as much a labor of enmity as to exalt and magnify him is with others a labor of love.

Others have fought almost with the malice of demons against those eternal transactions of covenant love whereby the elect were blessed with all spiritual blessings in their glorious Head, and have sought to snatch the reins of the government of the world, out of the hands of the King of kings and the Lord of lords, that they might commit them to the blind, three-headed idol, Luck, Chance, and Fortune, and thus reduce all events to that chaos of confusion, that wild and desolate region of uncertainties in which their own dark minds wander in endless mazes lost.

In all these daring attacks, these vigorous and unceasing onslaughts upon truth, one circumstance would be almost amusing, were it not a spectacle too sad to create a smile—and that is the pleasing self-satisfaction which the various assailants enjoy in their own breasts of the triumphant nature of their attacks. Half a century ago, thousands of people in France were taught to believe that the battle of Trafalgar was, on the part of the French navy, a glorious victory; and hundreds of thousands now believe that the invasion and conquest of England might be achieved in a single day and by a single battle. But England still sits as Queen of the Isles, in spite of foreign boastings, and will, we trust, with God's blessing, long so sit, in spite of foreign attacks.

So TRUTH is not to be beaten down by books and pamphlets. She may be invaded, assaulted, attacked, and self-applauding writers may persuade themselves that they have given her the finishing stroke; but she lives, and ever will live, for he who is himself "the Truth," as well as "the Way and the Life," maintains her by his own almighty power, and sustains her by his own invincible grace.

The ordinances of God's house we do not put on the same exalted level with those truths relating to the eternal Sonship of Jesus which we have been lately defending in our pages. The salvation of the church is not wrapped up in its ordinances, nor are they what the Church of England, adopting a Romish name as well as a Romish doctrine, calls "sacraments generally necessary for salvation." Baptism and the Lord's Supper are not saving ordinances, and therefore do not stand in the same commanding position as the Person of the Son of God, his atoning blood, justifying obedience, and finished work. None interested in the atoning blood and finished work of the Lord the Lamb can perish; but a man may be baptized, as was Simon Magus, and perish in the "gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity;" or may not be baptized in water, like the dying thief, and yet be with Jesus in paradise.

Nor do we put on the same level those who deny or dispute the nature or mode of baptism with those who deny or dispute the grand foundation truths of our most holy faith. Good men and great men too—men eminently taught of God and abundantly blessed to the church of Christ, such as Toplady, Romaine, and Hawker, in the Establishment—and Huntington, Brooke, and Jenkins, out of it, did not see, much less practice, baptism as we see and hold it. But though we cannot follow them where we believe they did not follow the Lord, and think they were on this point erroneous or deficient, we do not the less esteem or love them for the grace of God manifested in them.

Still we cannot and must not part with any portion of revealed truth because great and good men did not hold it; nor because we see with them eye to eye, and feel heart to heart upon nine-tenths of divine truth, must we sacrifice or relinquish the remaining tenth, because upon that point we are compelled to differ. It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful; and if baptism, as we see and practice it, has been manifested to our conscience as an ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be unfaithful to him and unfaithful to our own conscience, if we did not, when necessary, defend as well as observe it.