“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Samuel 28:3-19
Spirit that hath returned from another world, tell me, how are men judged? Why are they condemned? Why are they saved? I hear him say, “Men are condemned because of sin. Read the ten commandments of Moses, and you will find the ten great condemnations whereby men are for ever cut off.” I knew that before, bright Spirit; thou hast told me nothing! “No,” says he, “and nothing can I tell.” “Because I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was sick, and ye visited me not; I was in prison, and ye came not unto me; therefore, inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not to me. Depart, ye cursed!” “Why, Spirit, was that the word of the king?” “It was” says he. “I have read that too; thou hast told me no more.”
If you do not know the difference between right and wrong from reading the Scripture, you would not know it if a spirit should tell you; if you do not know the road to hell and the road to heaven from the Bible itself, you would never know it at all. No book could be more clear, no revelation more distinct, no testimony more plain. And since without the agency of the Spirit, these testimonies are insufficient for salvation, it follows that no further declaration would avail. Salvation is ascribed wholly to God, and man’s ruin only to man. What more could a spirit tell us, than a distinct declaration of these two great truths.—“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help found!” Beloved, we do solemnly say again, that Holy Scripture is so perfect, so complete, that it cannot want the supplement of any declaration concerning a future state. All that you ought to know concerning the future you may know from Holy Scripture.
For meditation: The rich man in the account (not called a parable) given by Jesus was full of false doctrine—praying to a saint, seeking some kind of second chance after death, rejecting the sufficiency of Scripture (Luke 16:24,30). Note the place from which these doctrines come (1 Timothy 4:1; James 3:15).
Sermon no. 143
26 July (1857)