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Written by Sylvester Hassell   

 

The Gospel Messenger--July 1903

CEASE YE FROM MAN, WHOSE BREATH IS IN HIS NOSTRILS (Isa. ii. 22)

All men are by nature disposed to trust in themselves, or in other men—in their knowledge, power, favor, wealth, and righteousness. They are inclined to this trust in man not only for natural and temporal, but also for spiritual and eternal blessings. All heathen religions teach this fundamental delusion; and so do all the false systems of Christianity. In order to eternal salvation they point to something that man has done or can do; and they carefully ignore the one thing needful—that is, what God has done and can do for man. They really make man his own saviour; and represent that all that God has ever done or can do will avail nothing for man’s salvation unless man himself cooperates with God and thus helps and enables God to save him. The eternal love and purpose of God arc nothing; the death and resurrection of Christ are nothing; and the regeneration and sanctification of the Holy Spirit are nothing—unless man bends his will to the divine will, responds to the overtures of mercy, complies with the terms of the gospel, and obeys the commandments of God. The popular re­ligionists of the world thus studiously suppress the great basal teaching of the Scriptures, that all men by nature are in a state of spiritual death and condemna­tion; that they must be almightily raised from that state by the Son of God; that they must be enlightened by His Spirit to see their own utter sinfulness and ruin and the perfect and unchangeable holiness of God; that they must he led of that Spirit to cry out, from the depths of their souls, “God, be merciful to me a sinner! Lord, save, or I perish!“ that, when thus dead to all hope of salvation in themselves, they must be guided by the same Divine Spirit to behold, by an eye of faith, Christ as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, to repent of their sins that slew Him, to believe in Him as their Sa­viour, and to love Him and desire to follow Him and be like Him and to glorify Him, their Divine, suffering, dying, risen, and ascended Saviour in both their bodies and their spirits which are His by creation, preserva­tion, and redemption—His entirely and His forever.

The Spirit of God teaches those who are thus born and led of Him to “cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils”—from weak, frail, dying man, whose breath of life may be gone in a moment, who can not save himself or any other man from temporal, much less from eternal death, who, “at his best estate is nothing and less than nothing and vanity,” who is of no account in the great matter of salvation from sin and hell. “Thus saith the Lord, cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and mak­eth flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord; while blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jer. xvii. 5-8). Trust not in your own or in any man’s wisdom, power, or right­eousness, but “trust alone in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (Isa. xxvi. 4); “none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate” (Psalm xxxiv. 22). When we most need help, men will forsake us; but God will never leave or forsake His af­flicted, poor, and trusting people—in the deep waters, in the fiery furnace, He will be with them (Isa. xlii. 16; xliii. 2); in the valley of the shadow of death His protecting rod and supporting staff will comfort them (Psalm xxiii. 4); and He will be their strength and portion forever (Psalm lxxiii. 26).
 
S. H.

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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.