Back to 2020 Church Weekly List

Vol. XVII No. 34
24 May 2020

THIS IS THE FINGER OF GOD! (II)

Bishop J C Ryle

II. Let us consider, in the second place, WHY has the cattle plague come upon us?

I answer that question without hesitation. It has come upon us because of our national sins. God has a controversy with England, because of many things among us which are displeasing in His sight. He would gladly awaken us to a sense of our iniquities. This cattle plague is a message from Heaven.

The sins of individual men and women are often not reckoned for while they live; but this is because there is a judgement day yet to come. In that day, “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). For nations there can be no future judgement day. The sins of nations are reckoned for in time. Special sins and corruptions in a nation, call for special chastisements. I believe that this cattle plague is a special national chastisement on England, because of our special national sins.

The teaching of the Bible on this point is to my mind plain, distinct and unmistakable. Let anyone who doubts it read what God says about Babylon, Tyre, Egypt, Damascus, Moab, Edom, Ammon and Nineveh (Isaiah 13:1; 15:1; 17:1; 19:1; Jeremiah 46:2; 48:1; 49:1–7 ;50:1; Nahum 3:1). Let him read such texts as these:

“The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful nation, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth” (Amos 9:8). “He makesnations great—and destroys them. He enlarges nations—and disperses them.” (Job 12:23).

Let them study such chapters as Daniel 4 and 5. Surely, if a man believes the Bible, these passages should set him thinking. The God of the Bible is still the same. He never changes.

Does anyone ask what the special national sins of England are? I will mention some which appear to my eyes to stand out prominently in this country at the present time. I may be quite wrong. I only give my judgment as one who looks on attentively, and marks the signs of the times.

(1) The first national sin I will name is covetousness. The excessive love of money, and the desire to be rich in this world, are what I mean. Never, surely, was there such a race for riches as at the present day. To make money and die rich, seems to be thought the highest virtue, and the greatest wisdom. Yet God has said “Covetousness is idolatry!” (Colossians 3:5) and “The love of money is the root of all evil!” (1 Timothy 6:10).

(2) The second national sin I will name is luxury and love of pleasure. Never, surely, was there a time when people ran so greedily after excitement, amusement and gratification of their senses. The many are “lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4).

(3) The third national sin I will name is neglect of the Lord’s Day. That blessed day is rapidly becoming in many quarters the day for visiting and pleasure, and not the day of God. Yet Sabbath desecration was specially one of the sins which brought down God’s judgments on the Jews: “They have greatly polluted My Sabbaths” (Ezekiel 20:13; Nehemiah 13:18).

(4) The fourth national sin I will name is drunkenness. The quantity of intoxicating drink consumed every year in England is something frightful. The number of ale-houses, gin-palaces and beer shops, in our large towns, is a standing proof that we are an intemperate people. There are more people, every Sunday night, in gin shops than there are in churches and chapels. We are worse in this respect than either France or Italy. Yet God has said, “No drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:10).

(5) The fifth national sin I will name is immorality: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). In town and in country among rich and among poor, the tone of feeling about purity among the young, is at the lowest ebb. Yet God has said, “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God!” (Ephesians 5:6).

(6) The sixth national sin I will name is a growing tendency to look favorably on the Roman Catholic Church. The very Church which burned our martyrs three hundred years ago, withheld the Bible from our people, trampled on our liberties, and to this very day puts the Virgin Mary practically in the place of Christ—is favored and trifled with by thousands! A judicial blindness seems to be coming over us. The line between toleration and favor appears clean blotted out. The great desire of many is to “go back to Egypt!”

(7) The last national sin I will name is the growing disposition to scepticism and infidelity. Little by little, men in high places are ceasing to honor God. Year after year the Bible is more openly impugned, and its authority impaired. To believe the Bible, was once a mark of a Christian. In the present day an English minister dares to call himself a Christian, and yet boasts that he thinks much of the Bible is not true. Nothing, I am thoroughly persuaded, is so offensive to God as to dishonor His written Word.

I believe firmly that these things are crying to God against England. They are an offence against the King of kings, for which He is punishing us at this very day. And the rod He is using is the cattle plague! The finger of God, I believe, is pointing at our seven great national sins.

To say that we are not so bad as some nations, and that the sins I have named are far more abundant in other countries than in England, is no argument at all. We have had more privileges than other countries, and therefore God may justly expect more at our hands. “For unto whoever much is given, of them shall much be required” (Luke 12:48). “You only have I known of all the inhabitants of the earth, therefore will I punish you for your iniquities” (Amos 3:2).

I might easily enlarge on the points that I have mentioned. I purposely abstain from doing so. I am anxious to make this booklet as short as possible. To effect this, I content myself with supplying little more than seeds of thought, which I hope may spring up and bear fruit in many minds. It only remains to offer a few practical conclusions.

MISSIONS NEWS

Word of Life BPC

Dear Dr. Khoo

My family and I are doing well by the grace of God. We are very thankful to God for His protection and His provision for my family.

During this time, we are having family worship and are praying very hard to complete home church building as soon as possible.

Here are some photos of home church building in Kampot. Please continue to pray for Word of Life B-P Church in Kampot (home church).

God bless you and FEBC.

Tann Heng
Kampot, Cambodia, 29 April 2020

New Life Student Centre

Dear Pastor Jeffrey,

Greetings to you in the blessed name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. By the grace of God and your prayers and love gift supports, we at NLSC are fine and doing well till today. Praise God.

We are very happy and really thankful to God for His goodness and mercy upon us. Recently in Myanmar, many people got Covid-19 and died every day. But by the grace of God and your prayers, we at NLSC are safe till this day. We are staying at home as the government wants everyone to stay at home. We read Psalm 23 and 91.

We are staying at home and we are praying for you and for True Life BPC members always. Thank God, we have a good time to teach the Bible to the children and also teaching English grammar and speech and their school lessons in advance before school reopens. Thank God for a good time to help the children in their physical and spiritual education.

Again, we are very happy and thankful to God and to you for your prayers and love gifts. I am also very happy serving the Lord in NLSC for His glory. Thank God all the children are growing up day by day physically, spiritually, educationally by reading the Bible and praying to God every day through RPG. To God be the glory.

We at NLSC pray for you and for True Life BPC and FEBC always, and also for Mrs Khoo for her good health. We always pray for True Life members to protect them from Covid-19.

Yours in Christ,
Bro Thangno

For good old traditional hymns, go to Christopher Tan’s Hymnpod (http://hymnpod.com/)

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