The Sword and the Trowel
Two learned doctors are angrily discussing the nature of food, and allowing their meal to lie un-tasted, while a simple countryman is eating as heartily as he can of that which is set before him. The religious world is full of quibblers, critics, and skeptics who, like the doctors, fight over Christianity without profit either to themselves or others. Those are far happier who imitate the farmer and feed upon the Word of God, which is the true food of the soul.
Luther’s prayer was, “From nice questions the Lord deliver us.” Questioning with honesty and candor is not to be condemned when the object is to “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good;” but to treat revelation as if it were a football to be kicked from man to man is irreverence, if not worse. Seek the true faith, by all manner of means, but do not spend a whole life in finding it, lest you be like a workman who wastes the whole day in looking for his tools. Hear the true Word of God; lay hold upon it and spend your days not in raising hard questions, but in feasting upon precious truth.
It is, no doubt, very important to settle the point of General or Particular Redemption; but for unconverted men, the chief matter is to look to the Redeemer on the cross with the eye of faith. Election is a doctrine about which there is much discussion, but he who has made his election sure finds it a very sweet morsel. Final perseverance has been fought about in all time; but he who by grace continues to rest in Jesus to the end knows the true enjoyment of it.
Reader, argue if you please but remember that believing in the Lord Jesus gives infinitely more enjoyment than disputing can ever afford you. If you are unsaved, your only business is with the great command, “Believe!” and even if you have passed from death unto life, it is better to commune with Jesus than to discuss doubtful questions. When Melancthon’s mother asked him what she must believe amidst so many disputes, he, knowing her to be trusting to Jesus in a simple-hearted manner, replied, “Go on, mother, to believe and pray as you have done, and do not trouble yourself about controversy.” So say we to all troubled souls: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.”