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Thy God Reigneth PDF Print E-mail
Written by John R. Respess   


The Gospel Mesenger-March 1894

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of hint that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!  Isa 52:2

This is a day somewhat like it was with God’s people under the reign of Saul. His reign was a long one, and Israel was confused and distressed under it, as she always is under a fleshly rule. David, the anointed of God—the true ruler—was in hiding, nor could he reign until Saul’s reign ended by his own hand. But there were many thousands under Saul with the spirit of David in their hearts, waiting and longing for the day of David to come, so that when Saul’s end came, a great host of armed men that could keep rank (disciplined men) fell to David out of all Israel, and came to Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul to David, according to the word of the Lord. In all these years of distress under Saul, God was preparing his people out of their sight, for the righteous reign of David, so that when the time came for the renovation of the kingdom, it was renovated almost before they knew it. And so God is working now; a great host of armed and trained men—armed with the word of God—are being, even now, gathered together. They may not know it, but nevertheless they are being got together, or made one by these trials, and are, like the men aboard the ship in the storm, being made willing to cast the wheat and other treasures overboard into the sea, and even to cast themselves into the sea to save their lives, and thus to turn the kingdom over to David. God reigns in the storm as well as in the calm.

God’s people have often been reduced to a few in number; and have had dissensions and internal strife; and have been persecuted, and had “trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, of bonds and imprisonment; and been stoned; and been tempted; and been slain with the sword, and have wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves, destitute, tormented and afflicted.”—Heb. xi. They have endured what no other people could or would endure; because they had faith that the world did not have, and could therefore do and endure what the world could not; and what if the unregenerate world, though religious, should undertake to do, they would be destroyed as the men were that .cast the Hebrews into the fiery furnace; for while the Hebrews endured by faith the intense heat of the furnace, the, men that cast them in could not endure a blast from it; and as the Egyptians attempting to pass through the sea as the Hebrews did, and did it by faith, the only way it could be done, the Egyptians essaying to do it without faith, were all drowned.

God’s people, therefore, should not yield to the temptation, however strong, and reasonable, and necessary it should be made to appear, to depart from him under these trials; to modify the doctrine of God our Saviour to please the world or the order of God’s house; or to resort to worldly and unscriptural expedients to build the church up; they had better die out than to do it, for to do it is to die out.
Elimelech, in a time of trial, forsook God for Moab —the religious world—and he died, and so shall all die who forsake the Lord and thus live after the flesh.
At one time there were only seven thousand of God’s people that had not bowed the knee to Baal; and the world was full of people—so full that General Xerxes could march against Greece with a million of men.

At another time there were only three hundred men out of all Israel, that were strong enough to attack the vast host of Midian; but these three hundred overcame them by faith. God reigns.

At another time Sennacherib, the great king of Assyria, sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem, unto King Hezekiah, with a great army, to seduce him from God by a proffer of worldly help. Rabshakeh preached to them the doctrine of distrust—the essence of Arminianism—and sought to discourage them and make them cast away their trust and confidence in the Lord: he told them that God was against them, as he always tells God’s people when they are in trouble, and that it was vain to trust in Him; and warned them not to be deceived by Hezekiah’s persuasions that God would deliver them, for he would not do it; why, he said, you are not able, if my master should trust you with two thousand horses, to set riders upon them, and yet you say that God is for you; and if you are too weak and poor to furnish riders for two thousand horses, how do you expect to stand out against my master—against all the wealth, learning, numbers, and combined efforts of the world? Why, you are not able to turn away even the least captain of my master. Give it up; give up this foolish rebellion against the powers of the world and “make an agreement, and come out to me, and eat ye every one of his fig tree and drink ye every one of the waters of his own cistern.”—Jsa. xxxvi.

Now, all this looked to the natural mind, like truth; it looked like sense and it was hard to resist; so hard that it could only be resisted by faith. And that is why they couldn’t give up their trust in God; and that is why the twelve could not turn back and away from Christ with the multitude of letter disciples. There was hope of salvation in no other; all the learning, power and wealth of the world could not afford them one spark of hope.

And it may be that the clouds are even now gathering heavier and heavier over the church, and that the storm will break forth in greater fury and the floods descend in greater violence than they have in a hundred years; but if they do, God reigns in Zion and will reign forever. The church will not fall, for it is founded upon the Rock; the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. That the hosts of antichrist are gathering together against God’s truth there can be no doubt. They are seeking government aid to establish their religion by force. That was the pretext for overturning the government of the Hawaiian Islands.

“It is claimed that the provisional government (the one recently established) is one composed of Christians and the representatives of advanced civilization; that the United States, being a Christian nation, should sympathize with and render material aid in sustaining that government.”

The same as to say that this government should aid in overthrowing other governments in order to establish a so-called Christianity. Can Primitive Baptists believe in any such Christianity as that?—a religion established and upheld by civil power?

A writer in the American Sentinel says truthfully that—“A religion that does not come from God and does not have him to support it, must necessarily derive its power from the state; and the very fact that a religion asks and receives the protection of the state, shows that the state is above it, for the greater never seeks protection from the less. That which is protected is weaker than that which protects. This obvious fact also shows that when men ask for state protection of Christianity, they have lost sight of its divine origin. For the state to offer its protection to Christianity, or for ministers to ask for it, or even to consent to receive such protection in behalf of Christianity, is an insult to its founder.”

Hezekiah couldn’t receive it, Christ did not receive it, and God’s people have never received it and will never receive it. The word of God forbids it, and their own experience forbids it. Christ’s people are obliged to hold to him; “other refuge have they none.” And if their Saviour does not reign over sin and over all their enemies without and within, then they know of a certainty that there is no hope for them. Therefore, it is good tidings to say to Zion, Thy God reigneth it brings peace to them. It was proclaimed of old and will be proclaimed to the end. The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice! The Lord reigneth, let the people tremble! The Lord shall reign forever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations; praise ye the Lord.—Ps. 97, 99, 146.—R

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.