posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The Following excerpt is from a short article titled "Not a Doubt of It!"published in the February 1884 edition ofThe Sword and the Trowel, in honor of Dr. William Graham, whose dying words provided the title for the article.rofessional preaching, ex-officio creed-repeating,this is the devil's most effectual method of propagating falsehood and defeating truth.
Full assurance of the certainty of what we preach in the name of the Most High God is absolutely necessary to making full proof of our ministry; in fact, it is questionable whether it is ministry for God at all if it is not the ministry of faith. If whatsoever is not of faith is sin, and men are forbidden to do that about which they have any scruple; much more, in sacred things, must a preaching that is not of faith be sin; and how can sin promote the righteousness of God? If Jesus the Son of God be not really and truly God to any man; if that man shall dare to assert the doctrine of the Redeemer's Deity, he will but do the truth dishonor. We may not forbid his preaching, but if the Master were here he would as surely silence him as he did the devils when they loudly attested that he was the Son of God.
If the Bible be not believed to be a supernatural book, infallibly teaching the things which make for our eternal salvation, he who, with deliberate falsehood of unbelief, yet uses it as his text-book, and refers to it as his authority, is a trifler with truth, and a mocker of sacred things. If a man believes that there is no such thing as regeneration, or that men do not need it, his attempt to preach concerning the new birth will only scatter among the multitudes doubts as to its reality.
Whatever is held forth in the palsied hand of unbelief is itself made to quiver. Skepticism is a smoking lamp, which, while it gives no light, loads the atmosphere with a thick darkness, if not with a stench. If we are ever to see men brought down under the power of the law to a condition of true repentance, if we are ever to see them converted by the Holy Ghost through the gospel of Christ Jesus, if we are ever to see the converted ones sanctified, and marching forth to the Master's battles as an army with banners, we must preach the truth boldly, as we ought to preach it, and we must say of every jot and tittle of it, "Not a doubt of it! Not a doubt of it:"
It seems to be assumed by many men that there is no sin in doubting God's Word; indeed, they count it one of the highest attainments of their intellect that they dare coolly give the lie to the glorious Jehovah. To us it seems that there is no impiety greater than to quibble and question with our Creator. To fancy the Holy Spirit to be ignorant, or mistaken, or a false witness, must very nearly verge upon the sin which is unto death.
Everywhere throughout the Scriptures faith is magnified as the chief root of virtue, and unbelief is stamped with infamy as a soul-destroying evil. Error in doctrine is as truly a crime as adultery or theft. Who is he that has set man's intellect free from the dominion of the Most High? Men of old said, "Our tongues are our own"; and now they say, "Our minds are our own": the spirit of rebellion dictates both defiant speeches. The first and great commandment bids us love the Lord our God, not only with all our heart. but also with all our mind. The intellect is a part of the creature, and is therefore bound to be subservient to the Creator. In a redeemed man his intellect is not his own, for it is bought with a price; he counts it an essential of his discipleship that he should receive Christ's word as a little child.
Pride reviews the acts of God, and censures his utterances, criticizes infinite wisdom, picks and chooses, and commends or censures the teachings of the Lord. This daring presumption makes human reason the last Arbiter, and sets man upon the throne as though he were the god of God. To all this the apostle Paul deigns no reply but this "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?"
Quitting this chaos of doubt, flying from this Stygian bog of skepticism, we pray the Lord to maintain our sure confidence in eternal verities, and to enable the minds of his people to get so firm a grip of what he has revealed that they may all cry, "Let God be true, and every man a liar." Then shall we feel in our own hearts the power of truth, then shall we see in the consciences and minds of others the same power working supernaturally to their conversion and sanctification: but not till then.
Incredulity is absurdity where God is concerned; nay, worse, it is constructive blasphemy. Doubt of revealed truth is death to communion with him who has revealed it. How can a man commune with another man till he has given him his fullest confidence? We can have no fellowship with those whom we distrust; the unbeliever can have no fellowship with God. "Without faith it is impossible to please God;" therefore the spirit of doubt which is now abroad must be greatly displeasing to him; and if God be displeased how is the church to prosper?