Six Easy Steps for Removing Your Lampstand

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Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Picking up Flavel's little work, The Righteous Man's Refuge, again this evening and I came across this (Works, III, p. 340f.) I've edited and shortened some of the text, particularly under those points 1-6.

“Proposition: That God usually forewarns the world, especially His own people, of His judgments before they befal them.

“God first warns, and then smites, he delights not to surprise men; when indignation was coming, He tells His people of it in the text, and admonishes them to hide themselves. “Surely the Lord will do nothing, but He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7).

“And as there were extraordinary premonitions of approaching judgments, by revelations to the prophets of old, and signs from heaven, so there are still standing and ordinary rules by which the world may be admonished of God's judgments before they come upon them.

“The general rule, by which men may discern the indignation of God before it comes, is this:

“When the same provocations and evils are found in one nation which have brought down the wrath of God upon another nation; this is an evident sign of God's judgment at the door. For God is unchangeably holy and just, and will not favor that in one people, which He has punished in another; nor bless that in one age which He has cursed in another. And therefore that which has been a sign of judgment to one, must be so to all.

“Here it is that the carcasses of those sinners whose sins had cast them away, are, as it were, cast upon the Scripture shore, for a warning to all others that they steer not the same ill course they did (1 Cor. 10:9). The Israelites are made examples to us, plainly intimating, that if we tread the same path, we must expect the same punishment. Let us therefore consider what were the evils that provoked God's judgments against his ancient people, whom he was so loathe to give up (Hosea 9:8), and so long ere he did give up (Jer. 15:9), and we shall find, by the concurrent accounts that the prophets give,

1. UNBIBLICAL WORSHIP
“That God's worship among men was generally mixed and corrupted with their own inventions.
(Ps. 106:40).”

2. STIFF NECKS, REFUSAL TO DISCIPLINE OR BE DISCIPLINED
“Incorrigible obstinacy under gentler correction (Amos 4:6-12).”

3. SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS—INABILITY TO SEE GOD'S HAND AT WORK
“Stupidity and senselessness of God's hand was a sad omen, and cause of the people's ruin; so Isa. 26:10-11; 42:24-25; Hosea 7:9.”

4. PERSECUTION OF THE FAITHFUL
“Persecution of God's faithful ministers and people, was another forerunning sign of their ruin (2 Chron. 36:16).”

5. LACK OF PIETY AND HOLINESS, PREVAILING WORLDLINESS
“The decay of the life and power of godliness among them plainly foreshowed their ruin at hand (Hosea 4:18). Their drink is sour: where, under the metaphor of dead and sour drink, which has lost its spirit, and is become flat, their formal, heartless, and perfunctory duties (i.e., worship, etc.) are severely taxed and condemned.

6. INTERNAL FEUDING
“To conclude, the mutual animosities and feuds among that professing people, evidently showed judgment to be at the door. (Hosea 9:7) This spirit of enmity sowed by the devil among them hastened their calamity.” (Hosea 9:7)

And Flavel concludes,

“It is indeed below faith to expect evil days with despondency and distraction; but surely it is a noble exercise of faith, so to expect them, as to make due preparation for them.”
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What strikes me is that Flavel's analysis, brought forward to the New Testament era, has to do with the Church, not the geopolitical nation. None of Flavel's six warning signs have to do with outward, societal or culture persecution or failing. At point #4, he is speaking of internal persecution, not of outward persecution. The Church can withstand outward persecution, but internal persecution will bring her low. Thus, these warning signs have to do with the coming judgment of God, not upon the nation, but upon the Church—with the removal of the lampstand from a given region.

Your thoughts?
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
It reminds me of Christ's words in Matthew 5: 'Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.'
 
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