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Chapter 4






Ignorance is never bliss,

But Judgment is more than this



Ignorance is no excuse, for the very light of nature and reason indicates God, the treatment of His equipment and the respect due to His other creatures. Thus is it made clear in Romans 1:17ff..


On the other hand, sin against the categorical light of God in the Gospel, in Christ, is even permanently fatal, except there be repentance in that manifest realm where the rejection occurred (John 3:19,36, 15:21-23). Thus the very scriptures which give hope to those ignorant (cf. Colossians 1:19ff. in
Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Grace Chs.   7 and   9, and the profundity of the love in Ch. 8), though not excuse (Romans 1-2), when they do not know the Gospel (Romans 3,5), are the more summary in execution for those who are not ignorant, but reject the light which came into the world (John 3:19, 15:21-23).


In II Corinthians 5:10 we see the necessity to appear before the judgment seat of Christ, even apostles ( “we” ), in accord with the teaching in Revelation 20:11ff., where both the Book of Life and the Book of judgment appear, and what is written is definitive (John 6:65): so that not only is it true that no one can come to Christ except the Father draw that person (John 6:44), but unless it is GRANTED to the Saviour to receive that one. Indeed, as in John 6:37, “ALL that the Father GIVES Me WILL COME TO ME.” There is nothing captious, but there is much capacious in the love of God; there is nothing obliterative through circumstances, for all is orderly, sovereign and sure, just as it is impassioned in its outset and effectual in its onset.


Thus this delicious certainty is wholly apposite in the beautiful companionship of the equally authoritative but impelling passion and the consequences of its willful rejection as attested in Colossians 1:19 and II Timothy 2, with II Peter 3:9 and Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff., John 3:16-19, Luke 19:42ff., Isaiah 30:15, Matthew 23:37 – SMR Appendix B, II Chronicles 36:15, Luke 15, Hosea 7:1 with 7:14-16, Deuteronomy 28:62-63, Matthew 21:28-32, Jeremiah 13:17, Zechariah 7:11-13, Ezekiel 3:27). (cf. SMR Appendix B, Great Execrations Ch. 9 where indicated). As to these assured results and primary causes, with this comprehensive love moving to signaled certainties, they match better than any tartan, are more beautiful than any landscape, more compelling than any tenderness of dawn, more impelling than any affection. They surpass it, contain it and are pure.


Thus there is that vast swath of love in Colossians 1, for ALL, as note in the last reference above, and there is NO HOPE of being lost forever because of any limitation in it; for it is not limited; yet it does not abuse itself into mere cajoling or manipulation.


Thus ALL will come to the judgment seat of Christ to receive what they have done in the body; and the consciences of ALL the Gentiles will accuse or excuse themselves as that Day of Reckoning arises! (Romans 2 with II Corinthians 5). But as Paul shows in Romans 1-3, ALL men are judgeable, none is exempt, all have fallen short; and as Paul continues, WE must all appear before that judgment. There are simply no exemptions.


None, that is, except in the pardon of Christ, the procurer of pardon and Prince of peace. Thus the question before one as all these universals, of love and judgment, appear, is this: WHAT HAPPENS for the soul brought to such a judgment. Clearly, then there is an INTERPOSITION, for there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8, Micah 7:19ff., Romans 5:1-11).


Thus when we read in I Peter 3:21ff. of Christ in the scope of His saving carriage and sweep, come to earth, next designated as proceeding to preach to those lost in the flood, the souls of the departed, the spirits in prison, a term never used of the flesh in the Bible, and most expressive in terms of Jude and II Peter’s delineations of judgment; and when we read in I Peter 4 of the Gospel being preached to the dead (in this case possibly indeed to those formerly on earth and hearing it, but there is no limitation imposable), together with the confrontation with conscience active in Romans 2, we discern a most significant feature.


While as in Romans 10, we must ask this, HOW shall they hear without a preacher ? yet as in the scope of the love of God, WHO shall say that God will systematically exclude those, being ignorant of the Gospel of His grace, whom He may have predestined in His foreknowledge ? Will man dictate to God ? Will man limit the Holy One of Israel ? (Psalm 78:40-41). It is true that the Westminster Confession of faith does note that those denied the ordinary means of grace God may in His own wisdom by the Gospel save (as shown in Chapter 4 above in loc.). This is true. He may: man is not sovereign but God.


The interposition between appearing before the face of the Judge and that impending and just Judgment which could be imparted to all,  is for ALL in Christ, in terms of II Corinthians 5. Who then can add or subtract ? It is in the Lamb’s book of life, and not in the mind of man, who is to be there and delivered. ALL who believe are there, and whether this work of salvation is wrought in this stratum of time or another way in Christ,  only presumption can declare. As Day of Judgment occurs following the general resurrection in Revelation, Christ’s people at that time will already, having been at the marriage feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:8), be covered in the robes of investiture (cf. Matthew 22 where one man presumptuously was NOT! with terrible consequences), and be at rest. Indeed, they are so now, who already know Him, but then perfectly (Hebrews 4, Matthew 11:29-30). HE does not offer rest in order to deny it! That is the empirical fact. This rest however cannot be wrested from Him, but must be freely received, by faith.


Thus does He save  by His own hand in His own Saviour, whom He will. On the other hand, one cannot declare categorically that it is the case that any who do not hear the Gospel on earth WILL and MUST CERTAINLY be saved by that Gospel in the work of God from predestination; for the Lord COULD have ensured that His elect would be those whom He exposed to this Gospel while on earth. For reasons to be noted, it does not appear that this is the case, but it cannot utterly be excluded.


It is therefore in no way detrimental to the passion for souls to pronounce this fact against presumption, one way or the other. It is the business of God Himself, the Lord. For Apologetics however it is entirely relevant to note that there is NO CASE for the view that if someone being lazy,  for example, does not bear the Gospel to some dying soul in time, then that soul, who might have believed, will be damned for the special additive sin of the failing ministry of someone else! If anything is contrary to scripture, to Colossians 1, I John 4:7ff., I Timothy 2, that is!


MAN will never be exalted; and there is no way in which some man in doing or not doing his duty will bring a soul to hell! God seeks WITH PASSION for all, and man is no limit, but he IS an avenue; and when you read in Luke 12:35ff, you perceive the extraordinary and contemptible horror of those “servants” who knowing their duty, do not do it! On the other hand, those who are less informed, but still His servants, though less culpable, do not at all escape. Love is nothing whatever to do with formality. It is functional, by faith, through the power of God resident in the believer and His compassion seizing his members, his functions, his capacities, and using them! That is resultant to be sure; but it is an outcome in the end.


But what are the indications of what the Lord does want in this field ? In Matthew 12, we read of the case of the people of Tyre who, if Christ had given to them the words and works poured out in Christ on the Jewish people in His own day on this earth, would have repented IN SACKCLOTH AND ASHES. While two interpretations of this are possible, and are both traced in Predestination and Freewill at the appropriate place (cf. Predestination and Freewill  Section 3   ), the more natural would appear to be this, that the Jews were privileged, had access, and if such lavish opportunities as were most lavishly given Israel, had been given to  people of ill repute, like those famously condemned in Tyre, a very different result would there have occurred. Certainly, it might have included even a large contingent or consignment of merely superficially affected people (as in Matthew 13’s parable of the wheat being sown); but for all that, the force of the passage does seem to be this, to make an enormous and even prodigious and quite startling contrast.


If THEY had had what YOU, Israel, now have, it seems is the major thrust, then THEY, unlike you, would not only have repented, but have done so in sackcloth and ashes, many being crucially affected.


If so, then this is attestation that SOME MAY not receive the Gospel, being in ignorance of it, whom God in His predestinative certainties and foreknowledge may have elected. In view of Colossians 1, for  example, if mere circumstance could win any, it will be; if any historical placement could reach them, it will be: OR something equally effective. HE is on record as to the uttermost passion of His desire, and the uttermost sovereignty He has over history, so that should this be the case, then the election of such would be sure.


It is after all, HIS and not our predestination; His by His life, not ours by our presumption. Again as noted, in I Peter 3:21ff., attested and expounded*1 in Ch. 4 above, there is prima facie thrust and evidence that Christ preached to those awaiting unrelieved judgment, parallel to the attestation in I Peter 4, but far more declarative than that. With such consideration of Tyre and the scope of Christ’s love, with this also, we are unable to do more than to state categorically (just as we do to the pseudo-scientific pre-occupation with KNOWING the age of the earth, in ludicrous transgression of the actual scientific evidence), that WE DO NOT KNOW.


That is authoritative! It is both vain and futile to know what God has not declared categorically: all we know categorically in this field is this, that if there is a way for love to find them, they are sure to be found. That is the crucial feature and it is more certain than anything in this world.  


v                   God has left enough in what He has declared, to create a certainty that only prejudice or extrapolation will allow the declaration that none can or will be found outside the normal means of grace, as the Confession so rightly declares, though it be but a subordinate document of man: though of course NOT in the least outside the Gospel! Nor may it determine that some certainly will, though the texts in view make it extraordinarily difficult to resist such a case.


Thus there is doubly, no problem. First the love of God is sufficient and passionate and all availing, without ceasing to be love; and so stops where it wishes. Secondly, the word of God allows and seems to impel to the view that some may indeed be found like those of Tyre, who were not in history, but yet were known  by the same Gospel, and that in terms of the same predestinative love which knowing all things before anything happened, and being far beyond mere history, KNOWS HIS OWN! It is, as in Romans 8:29, this KNOWLEDGE of God, and not some ‘if’, or marauding ‘sovereignty’ as if it had forgotten HIS declarations on the nature of His love: it is this foreknowledge which is the criterion. It is neither of these. The sovereignty is that of love and the love is that of the Sovereign. He does as He will in the terms He has enunciated; and it is well for man not to add to this (Proverbs 30:6). It is well for man that the sovereign in His love is a loving sovereign, and is love.


Whose foreknowledge then is it ? Is it that of some tyrant ? of some impelling personality without understanding ? Man tends to forget, just as He seems vulnerable to omission of God’s solicitude in the days of the Roman Inquisition and tyranny, that while love is no excuse for licence, and while the Gospel is a transforming reality, yet back of it all is GOD HIMSELF. How love could fail to love is to be left to the jackals! It is disjointed food …How transformation could not transform could be left to the jesuitically inclined. If we follow the word of God and the impact of its power however, we find that love will lose nothing, is back of all election, and knows before all time (Ephesians 1:4) who belongs, on the exclusive merits of Christ, and not in some mystery of mysteries which is supposedly to explain some lapse in love, or some indolence in its impact, when the salvation has occurred.


Let us then leave to the furies of man, the joint frustrations of leaving the Bible in either direction, for it neither tolerates any limit to the love of God, any intrusion into His sovereignty; any trifling with His heart or with His power. In such a sovereign, those who being His, love, do not cease to seek for the lost. This love impels, and nothing is sure without His hand, His word and His arrest; but the Gospel is His and He has wrought the work to make it available freely. It is neither to be truncated in terms of some contra-biblical plan, nor exalted to equate with some slack effrontery, as if its words lacked power. What is GIVEN to the Son for salvation in particular souls, this is given by that triune God who never changes, and as He was seen in Christ, so He is; and as He pled, so in any mode or movement, form or time, so is His mind towards His people. His years are the same, and He changes not.





Excursion into Elements of the Epistles of Peter

And the Scope of the Territory of the Extraordinary Excursion of Christ

*1 This passage, referred to in the text above, has been slightly revised and considerably extended below, in order that far more helpfulness to the reader may be achieved.

Another index which prima facie holds the suggestion that some who have been ignorant of Christ in this world, in this sphere of operations, may yet be found, by sovereign and predestinate determination, after life just as they were foreknown before it, is found in I Peter 3:17-19. Here we read in a sequence of historical steps, of Christ visiting the spirits in prison.

In earthly prison, as servants of sin, sinners are without the Lordship of Christ exercised on them. "Spirits in prison" however is a phrase not found, to my knowledge, in the Bible anywhere, OR SUGGESTED, of those alive on this earth and clad still in the flesh.

The figure Christ employed in John 8 for example, as seen likewise in Isaiah 61 in Messianic prophecy,  is other. It is one of being enslaved by sin and prisoners in the flesh, by virtue of its pseudo-autonomous powers, its wiles, the ways of this world and of its prince; and so enslaved, perhaps glorying in their lusts as did His opponents described in John 8, seemingly taking pleasure in them. It was and is for such today,  as if lust, spiritual, mental or physical, or any combination of these,  carried them on the winds. Prisoners they are to sin; but they are not expressed as  spirits in prison. That figure gives the awareness of objective restraint, objective circumstances that deny them their liberty, though they might wish it; not subjective ones which allow them to seize their own ways in majestic pretension like that of the Pharisees (Matthew 23), just as they might wish!

Not only so, but the dichotomy is made clearer in Jude’s emphasis.

Here we find first (Jude 4), that certain people crept in unnoticed . That, it is now an epidemic in some falling churches as in II Thess. 2:3, I Peter 2:1, relevant in this our own day on this sphere, the earth in its wanton woes augmenting continuously cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8). Such was to be, and it is; but even then it had its preliminaries!

What then is to become of those who unrepentant, pursue wantonly such unspiritual paths, in spiritual fields ? These, for the future, for the judgment, for the outcome, are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). That is “spirits in prison”, arraigned, under arrest, are in here in EXEMPLARY ways, devoted to one thing, the judgment.  Like Sodom and Gomorrah, in their unnatural SPIRITUAL actions this time (with whatever additions), we learn from Jude’s revelation, they are “set forth as an example”. To be so “set forth” you need to be in a position where your judgment IS exemplary and clear.  For that, you do not disport yourself in nice cars with large salaries and waiting people guru-ising you, as happens to so many of these in our generation. No, it is quite clear that this is the objective condition, this is the time in waiting for the full fire of divine wrath, reserved indeed as declared, for judgment. Examples under arrest, they await. That is the sense of spirits in prison.

What then ? Christ is shown in I Peter 3:18ff. as SUFFERING for sins, being PUT TO DEATH in the FLESH, and THEN, having done this to bring US to God, Himself made alive through the Spirit (Romans 1:4), “by Whom He also went and preached to the spirits in prison”. The process moves, the practice surges with life, with continuity, with assiduity.

There is the divine sequence: the coming in flesh, the suffering in the same, the being made alive through the Spirit, and by Him going to preach in this entire diversified but planned tour of salvation, to the spirits in prison. These, the product of an earlier unbelief and immorality pandemic of the day, in their entire region, famed examples, stand out as suitable exemplification of the love of God, the thoroughness of Christ and the scope of His salvation as in Colossians 1.

Nothing is left undone. His mandate is clear to all. Just as people in Tyre WOULD have repented had He there done the works done in Israel in His own day on earth (Matthew 12), so now is this classic example seen, and confrontation duly and sequentially occurs with those who NOW see Him not merely doing such works, but resurrected and bearing the signals of it upon His person! Thus the Apostle’s Creed proceeds following the resurrection, to note that “He descended into hell”, and this not without scriptural ground. The final judgment as in Revelation 20, follows the general resurrection there given prior notation.

NOTHING is outside His scope; NO technical hitch, historical circumstance is permitted to impinge on that universality of His love which is so often and so dramatically attested in the Bible, in laments, in protestations, in inspirations, in figures, in sacrifices, in longings, in yearnings in the prophets, in Christ’s lament. This descending then to those spirits in prison, this is what allows the historical sequence together with the doctrinal thrust of dying, the just for the unjust, to be fully unleashed.

Sad as the misconception of universal redemption is, and wholly unscriptural as it has repeatedly on this site been shown to be, disruptive of biblical theology (see Index), it nevertheless is an orphan of what is the correct and sound fact, that it is the LOVE of God, not the redemption, which is universal in its outgoing spring and suffusion that Colossians 1 so amply and so vividly attests. There are results; but this is the outset.

In predestination, all is wrought out; and is it so fearful a thing that in eventuation God has His own ways of attesting the realities, that every mouth be shut, and all eyes might see!

As to the statement that Christ went by the Spirit, then, to preach to the spirits in prison, it is worth noting this: the Bible is indeed entirely devoid of Platonic philosophy. This sort of statement would not appear to be in the perspective portrayed Biblically, if it means He went to people living on earth. This point too is pregnantly and discordantly suggestive, just as the alien nature of such terminology must be so.

What then ? The 'spirit' may here be described as being in prison, but it is the person who on this earth is the servant of sin. We are not disembodied, and although certain forms of speech are conceivable, they are not biblically not found or exemplified as pattern.

Spirits in chains awaiting judgment we find in Jude; but these are not on this earth. They are angels who left their first estate. Jude is talking of spirits as spirits. The language of spirits in prison specifically is then employed in I Peter 3:1:18ff. and its uncontorted and clear message is one concerning the preaching of Christ, the resurrection following His suffering now past, in an historically traced tour of triumph to all domains.

Of course, it could be claimed that this preaching which Peter notes in this passage,  was not to men at all; but this is also excluded by the almost identical phrasing in Jude, in a context intensively parallel to the relevant section of II Peter 2, which makes the whole thrust of the reference to angels, one to provide a COMPARISON, with the word “likewise” (Jude 8), between the fallen angels and the fallen religionists of this earth. 

Indeed, in Jude, there is a most disastrous and intimate parallel drawn, between such angels fallen and men doubly fallen, fallen first into sin, and then into parading themselves with a spurious salvation, so that while being bound, they bind others, as with so many of the sects. It is in that passage that the Bible speaks incontrovertibly of spirits in chains, in prison; and they are not in this world, and not in the realm where the light is still present! They are a prior angelic remnant, dispersed, finished, disposed to coming judgment, sitting in a darkness that has already reserved them. For them, the case is past; it is history; their present condition is resultant of their famed, finished and infamous conduct.

In summary then, what do we find ? This. From a verbal point of view, then, this language is that of the after-life in the Bible.

Releasing the captives in Isaiah 61, is people on earth, not spirits in prison. There are times and places of being captive, and the Biblical mode of referring to the one and to the other is distinctive and apt. From the point of view of sequence, naturalness of progress in I Peter 3:17-19, we move from Christ suffering for sins, to bring us to God, being put to death, quickened by the Spirit: and from there we launch into the excursion noted in vv. 19-20.

Do we then move back a few thousand years in time in a sort of time jump? Or are we pursuing the point to the environs of judgment to which He wished to relate? Are we finding the other vast judgment which covered the earth so that almost all people were physically extinguished one earth; and here seeing Christ visit those arrested as a result, in a giant illustration and indication of the Colossians 1:19-23 scope and grandeur of His magnificent love and outreach and desire to "reconcile all things to Himself? The match is a marvel*1B.

And with what power and force does Paul speak of this reconciling passion on the part of the Almighty? This: "and having made peace by the blood of the Cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself: by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven", in just collaboration with I Timothy 2 and John 3:17-19.



Must we learn the lesson of Jonah again! God is intensely merciful, and does not concede to some 'system' the souls of men, but would have them all to be saved, and so does whatever seems good to that end. CERTAIN it is that no one will be lost for some technical hitch, problem or omission, who MIGHT have been saved. This is NOT to consider the will of man, as operative in salvation to determine or even to sway it: it IS to notice that man being in the image of God is treated accordingly, but BY God, who alone knows His own.

There is neither first nor second “chance” for chance has no bearing in that elegant and eloquent predestination which is wrought before our time began (Ephesians 1:4) by the Lord, who foreknowing with His heart, our own, knows who are come to Him and who are forever alienated. What there is, is this, a passionate, prevailing, loving, one that is unimpeded, but yet for all that, beautifully restrained. It is a movement of the divine love to mankind, which misses nothing, lacks nothing, but refuses to prostitute itself into mere manipulation or to pass the bounds of liberty, to make new bondages by mere dictation. He is Lord, but a loving Lord and His ways are His own.

What then do we find ? Peter in I Peter 3, under divine inspiration having in terms of sequence seemingly gone from Calvary to the condemned in the same sort of scope as Colossians indicates, follows the work of Christ, then applies it back to us again, relating the ark of those times which led to such mass extinction to its use as a figure of baptism now - but not the sacrament, rather the salvation which it connotes (I Peter 3:21). In this way is symbol and reality combined, and so is the thrust and its meaning collocated.

The intense meaning and depth of the passage is thus preserved, rather than what at least would appear a somewhat jolting movement about, here and there, without a clear time line, aborting the thrust of his words, if it were taken as being some sort of atomic, particle by particle ambulation! Such an approach seems to do neither justice to the theme nor its beauty and dignity.

The thrust of this principle and the contextual study of the thrust and sequence of the Biblical passage before us is illustrative then of an option which, not to secure but to express predestination, God may employ at His pleasure.(Cf. The Kingdom of Heaven 2, pp. 30ff., at Being 'Natural' or in the Kingdom of Heaven.) We do not know with any degree of certainty, the mode chosen in predestination, though it might for the purposes of Christian Apologetics be envisaged; but we do know that it is by divine foreknowledge not of mere history but of persons (because of Romans 9:16 with 8:28ff. etc.). This is of small concern, since we also know the stated, blessed and assured principles of divine operation and the charges laid by God against man (John 3:19), despite these principles, in bringing about his own damnation in so many sad cases.

For his own part, this author does not value the wonderful knowledge of those who assert awareness of a terrible sovereignty, asserting ‘mystery’ not love, and effectually dallying with alien concepts, whereas the mystery is this, the intensity of the wonder and the glorious form of God, the way in which deity Himself actually applies His own STATED principles before time, and that He should love with such passion and such sacrifice as He does: not in partiality but in consummate grace.

These things constitute no logical problem, but instead a marvel of harmony with an intense focus of reasonableness. They attest a magnificence that is God’s very own, like mountains or waterfalls sublime, arresting in their intensity, and so far from being strange in mystery as to constitute a blaze of beauty of which a border of massed floral display is a botanical symbol. Here is a divine display of wonder where and where alone, in original integrity, do beauty, truth and love provide an aura in unison, does peace a depth and goodwill a benediction of engulfing grace. It is this which sin in its folly finds insufferable. Yet this, God in His wisdom has granted to all who believe in His Son,  through vicarious suffering a sufficient, manifest and effectual offering where it is in faith received. Thus is the sublimity of divinity approached, and His friendship for ever, to be found.



How one is impelled to praise the Lord for the sheer splendour of His revelation, a relish to reason and a joy to the heart; for who has proposed words, but God has foreclosed; and who has sought to understand, but the Lord has declared; and in His declaration there is balm to thought and grace to wisdom, which without Him merely wallows.

It is in His word, the Bible, and in no other writing, that one finds treasures and riches of clarity, a fullness and composition to which all else is alien among the words of man. Here not only is there escape from contradiction, but a commanding presence, a consistent Person whose Spirit secures the words, opens the eyes of His servants the prophets, while in Christ, the living word of God, there is more than words and more than striving with the hearts of man. Here is the King! It is He who, as Isaiah predicted and disclosed, is a witness to the peoples, to the world, a commander to them and here, it is here that is to be found their leader.

Not in the confused sentiments of partisan politics, in the torrid turmoil of conflicting psychologies or in the exalted pretensions of puffed personalities is to be found the truth, the leadership, the command and the meaning for man: personality is not invented for floundering without faith, but for delight in its source who Himself, personal can and does speak; but if His word is ignored, and human leaders, often with murder on their hands, or adultery, or convenience placed above truth in their hearts, attempt to sway the populace and appeal to a falling world, it merely falls the faster.

Now it is fallen to the point where it will accept “Peace! peace!” at almost any price, so long as it can eat and live and carry on with its carnalities and frivolities, cultural patterns and preferences. That is part of the current cry for peace! It was not so  strong when Hitler ruled Europe!

Now many are the hearts that weary of it all, and as in II Thessalonians 2, have believed the lie, and stand ready to cry, “Peace and safety!” as in I Thessalonians 5:3, a specific prediction for the onset of the End, which for the Christian is a most merciful approach to the Beginning of Bliss in the body redeemed (Romans 8:23), when this Leader, this Messiah, this Jesus, this Christ returns for HIS people and collects them as a miser collects His monies (cf. Malachi 3:17), or a King makes up his jewels in a pageant of beauty. Yet this is no miser, for HE has paid for His people, and the beauty is His, for it is at His own creation, the new creation (II Corinthians 5:17ff.).

¨   And what of those who reject Him ? These receive no payment, despising His riches and so are not healed, as those whose griefs HE has borne are all healed !
(Isaiah 53:3-6).

¨   As He is the truth, it follows that what is left is abandoned to the lie, to the command of men, not the governance of God. But by whom are they to be so abandoned
(Matthew 24:45) ?

¨   It is first by their own hearts which have chosen this world, and not its Maker, whether by religious subterfuge: following desire not truth, lust not the Lord, will not wisdom, cultural gods not the Creator, even high gods, but they are all idols (Psalm 96); for yes, every one of them and all their followers fail even at the bar of reason; and if there, what will be the devastation when they come with their creators to the bar of divine judgment at the last!

¨   What will be their recompense when they lie, headless idols, the work of idle imagination!

¨   Is it then for this, and the composition of the minds of men, not even in the created light of reason, far less the uncreated brilliance of revelation, but in ignorance and ignominy, that men are to live without Christ, without hope, without God (Ephesians 2:12), on groundless grounds, erected in the imagination, more fanciful than clouds, in an atmosphere which will bring no rain!

¨   Let them if they will: for it is nothing but delusion that draws them (II Thess. 2:10-12), the pale face of terror their address, as will works havoc with the heart of man, in place of the peace wrought in holiness (Isaiah 26:1-3, Ephesians 2:17-18). It is this which comes as the gift of grace, and by grace (Romans 5:15, 3:23ff.), through that cross of Christ which alone towers over the slums of servility to sin (Galatians 6:14), to make atonement for man, covering as many as received Him, calling to all.