Archive for the ‘spiritual blindness’ Category

I really do not see the signal

January 12, 2010

Nelson famously raised his telescope to his right eye and said, “I really do not see the signal.”

It wasn’t that he couldn’t, but wouldn’t see. Man’s blindness too is real but wilful. The context of the battle at Copenhagen

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You know, Wilberforce, I have not the slightest idea what that man has been talking about

October 29, 2009

There is a well-known story which seems to me to supply a perfect illustration of this point. It concerns two great men, William Wilberforce the leader in the movement for the abolition of slavery, and William Pitt the Younger, one time Prime Minister of Britain. They were both brilliant men, they were both politicians, and they were very great friends. But William Wilberforce was converted and became a Christian, while William Pitt, like so many others, was but a formal Christian. William Wilberforce was very much concerned about his friend. He loved him as a man and was greatly concerned about his soul. He was most anxious therefore that Pitt should go with him to listen to a certain preacher, a London clergyman of the Church of England named Richard Cecil. Cecil was a great evangelical preacher, and Wilberforce delighted in his ministry, so he was ever trying to persuade Pitt to go with him to listen to Cecil. At long last Pitt agreed to do so. Wilberforce was delighted and they went together to a service. Richard Cecil was at his best, preaching in his most spiritual and elevated and exalted manner. Wilberforce was enjoying himself, and feeling lifted up into the very heavens. He could not imagine anything better, anything more enjoyable, anything more wonderful; and he was wondering what was happening to his friend William Pitt, the Prime Minister. Well, he was not left long in a state of uncertainty as to what had been happening, because, before they were even out of the building Pitt turned to Wilberforce and said, `You know, Wilberforce, I have not the slightest idea what that man has been talking about’. And he hadn’t, of course. As a man can be tone deaf to music, all who are not Christians are tone deaf to the spiritual. That which was ravishing the mind and the heart of Wilberforce conveyed nothing to Pitt. He was bored, he could not follow it, he could not understand it, he did not know what it was about. A man of great brilliance, a man of great culture, a man of great intellectual ability, but all that does not help l `The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (I Corinthians 2: 14). Richard Cecil might as well have been preaching to a dead man. The dead cannot appreciate these things, neither could William Pitt. He himself confessed it. It is not what Wilberforce says about him; it is what he said about himself.

Martin Lloyd-Jones, Romans 8:5-17, p.10

I could only adore the sovereign grace of God, which distinguished me from him, though every thing was alike in us. We have been intimate from our infancy ; and have had the same plans and pursuits, and nearly the same condition : but the one is taken and the other is left

September 28, 2009

Just prior to leaving England forever, Henry Martyn urged his acquaintances to turn to Christ. He spoke of one, named M.

M_____ rode with me part of the way, but kept the conversation on general subjects. If I brought him by force to religion, he spoke with the most astonishing apathy on the subject. His cold, deliberate superiority to every thing but argument, convinced me not merely that he was not only fully convinced, as he said, but that he was rooted in infidelity. Nothing remained for me but to pray for him. Though he parted from me probably to see me no more, he said nothing that could betray the existence of any passions in him. O cursed infidelity, that freezes the heart’s blood here, as well as destroys the soul hereafter ! I could only adore the sovereign grace of God, which distinguished me from him, though every thing was alike in us. We have been intimate from our infancy ; and have had the same plans and pursuits, and nearly the same condition : but the one is taken and the other is left. I, through mercy, find my only joy and delight in the knowledge of Christ ; and he in denying the truth of religion altogether.

Henry Martyn, missionary, translator of the Bible into Hindi and New Testament into Persian. His memoir is highly recommended to inspire spiritual devotion

From, John Sargent, The Life and Letters of Henry Martin, Banner of Truth, 1985, p.65-66

There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student in America believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative

September 26, 2009

The relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it. (Students) have all been equipped with this framework early on, and it is the modern replacement for the inalienable natural rights that used to be the traditional American grounds for a free society. That it is a moral issue for students is revealed by the character of their responses when challenged — a combination of disbelief and indignation: “Are you an absolutist?” the only alternative they know, uttered in the same tone as “Are you a monarchist?” or “Do you really believe in witches?” . . . the danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than 50 years has dedicated itself to inculcating. Openness – and the relativism that makes it the only plausible stance in the face of the various claims to truth and the various ways of life and kinds of human beings — is the great insight of our times. The true believer is the real danger. The study of history and culture teaches us that all the world was mad in the past, people always thought that they were right and that led to wars, persecution, slavery, xenophobia, racism and chauvinism. The point is not to correct the mistakes and be right, rather it is not to think that you are right at all.

There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student in America believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as if they were calling into question 2+2=4. These are things you don’t think about.

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

Blindness

July 30, 2009

Someone once asid to Helen Keller, “What a pity you have no sight!”

“Yes, but what a pity so many have sight but cannot see.”

Blindness

July 30, 2009

There was a country where most of the inhabitants were blind, including the philosophers. But there were a few simple people whose eyes were not sealed, and they spoke of the joy of seeing the sun. ‘But,’ said the philosophers, ‘you must not talk in that excited metaphorical strain. There is a diffuse warmth, as we all know, but your talk about a visible luminous body is an antiquated objectivism. There is no sun.’ Yet the simple people asserted all the more that they saw the sun, and a psychological committee was appointed to investigate the matter. They made many experiments and in the course of time they discovered that whenever those whose eyes were not sealed said they saw the sun, they had opened their eyes. The blind psychologists felt over the seeing faces and they made sure that there was a precise correlation between the openings of their eyes and the visions of the sun. ‘Dear friends,’ they said, ‘you are suffering from an illusion; the image of the sun that you speak of somewhat unintelligibly is produced by this trick of opening your eyes. Be honest now and tell us if you ever behold the image of the sun except when you open your eyes.’ The simple seers said ‘No’ and the committee was well pleased with them and hoped that they would recover from their sight. But the simple seers smiled to themselves, and went away saying, ‘We see the sun.’

Cornelius Van Til, Eternal Life: The Full-Orbed Life, in Foundations of Christian Education, P&R, p.117, ed. Dennis E. Johnson

Satan blinds the unbelieving

November 10, 2008

All His ATTRIBUTES are against you (the unconverted). His JUSTICE is like a flaming sword unsheathed against you. “As surely as I live, when I sharpen My flashing sword and begin to carry out justice, I will bring vengeance on My enemies and repay those who hate Me!” (Deut 32:41-42). So exact is justice that it will by no means clear the guilty. God will not discharge you, He will not hold you guiltless-but will require the whole debt in person from you, unless you can make a Scripture claim to Christ and His satisfaction. When the enlightened sinner looks on justice, and sees the balance in which he must be weighed and the sword by which he must be executed, he feels an earthquake in his bosom; but Satan keeps this out of sight and persuades the soul, while he can, that the Lord is all made up of mercy, and so lulls it asleep in sin. Divine justice is exact; it must have satisfaction to the utmost farthing. It denounces ‘indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish to every soul that does evil’ (Rom 2:8-9). It ‘curses every one that continues not in all things written in the book of the law to do them’ (Gal 3:10).

Alarm to the Unconverted
Joseph Alleine, 1671