Sunday, May 6, 2012

J. C. Philpot on "The Sins Of The Old Time Saints"

Albie's Note:  I love the old 19th century Baptist Preacher John Charles Philpot [1802-1869].  He was part of a strongly Calvinist group in England called the "Strict Baptists,"  and while I have my issues with that kind of extreme theology I have no trouble with the writings of Old Philpot himself.  In fact, at times I find him a real source of encouragement, as such sermons as "The Balm In Gilead" and "Through Baca's Vale" have been a great comfort to me here on this mortal coil.  Also he was an important early defender of the Textus Receptus against the rising Textual Criticism Movement of his time.  Check out this classic excerpt from an 1843 sermon:

"The Sins Of The Old Time Saints"

It is a great mercy for God’s people that the account which the Holy Spirit has given of the saints in the Scripture is very different from the opinions which men form of them by nature.

If we attend to the conceptions that the human heart naturally forms of saints, we would believe them to be a kind of intermediate being between us and angels, far removed from all the frailties, sins and imperfections of humanity, never overtaken by slips and falls, but continually walking in the “beauty of holiness”.

But God has not recorded such imaginary saints in the Scriptures; and to beat down these foolish ideas, he has given us accounts of:

the drunkenness of Noah,
the incest of Lot,
the unbelief of Abraham,
the peevishness of Moses,
the adultery of David,
the idolatry of Solomon,
the pride of Hezekiah,
the cowardice of Mark,
and the cursing and swearing of Peter.

But why has the Holy Spirit left on record these sins and slips of the saints?

I believe chiefly for three reasons.

First, that it might teach us that they were saved by grace as poor, lost, and ruined sinners, in the same way as we hope to be saved.

Secondly, that their slips and falls might be so many beacons and warnings, to guard the people of God against being overtaken by the same sins, as the Apostle speaks,  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition [I Cor. 10:11.]

And Thirdly, that the People of God, should they be overtaken by sin, might not be cast into despair; but that from seeing recorded in the Scripture the slips and failings of the saints of old, they might be lifted up from their despondency, and brought once more to hope in the Lord.

From "A Study Of Jonah 2:4," Preached at Zoar Chapel, London,
on July 16, 1843, by J. C. Philpot



Oscar said...

Goes to show that sinners can make great contributions and that the Prophets were human, too.

Albie The Good said...

Amen, Oscar!

Thanks for commenting, friend :)