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Hell is no Hospice
HELL! No it is not my present intention to discuss this as to its characteristics, but more its aptitudes as recipient, the way there in terms of the love of the devil.
He is not of course at all lovely. He is the least lovable of all, in my book, and his destination as in Revelation 20 more than slightly suggests the divine estimate! Deceiver, fraud, liar... the list from the Bible is not grand, for him.
How then is there so much seeming stupor relative to this proud and haughty spirit!
Once you realise the complete imposture which organic evolution provides (cf. Joyful Jottings 2, and 5, and references there), the complete waste of time which this delirious day-dreaming up of all that it constitutes, the evocative nothings and pride-stimulating somethings which it not only incorporates for the poor misled, human race, but drives into racing in destruction and intolerance: then some real thought is needed.
Past the Primary School follies of the actual theory, one of many to delude which lie around like so much heroin, marijuana and crack, there comes the realisation: WHILE this time is being wasted on froth substituted for thought, and WHILE this terrestrial wonder called earth is being turned into blood, WHAT is the real action ? Where is the real drive, and what is the real drift ? Past the smoke, where is the infantry actually MOVING ? What is RIDING MAN ? and what else may move him ? What is the equestrian performance in the arena of life ?
A rather fine old doctor once told my mother: A disease is never standing still; it is getting worse or better. There is action of some sort, there is balance of dynamics which is yet moving, there is trend, even if only the re-disposition of fighting forces. So here: the disease that allows the mind to sup on this sort of philosophic vomit on mouldy straw (actually that is the idea I have of beer, to my mind the worst smelling concoction I can remember), what is its effect on the race ?
SINCE in fact, the intelligence and contrivance and wisdom and imagination and initiative and executive ability, the finesse and the thought in this universe is personally contrived, with at least the mould of personal power that we find in our derivative version for its interplay and composition creatively, and actually much more; THEREFORE we must ask this question.
What then is this force, power - and how aptly it relates to the Star War morbidity, "The Force be with you!" - pleasantly mindless, so that men with minds can mind their ways without ... interference from ... above!
What is it, this spiritual pathogen, this delirium creating dynamic that destroys understanding and shuns relief ? It is not material; it is not merely mental, for its power is to deceive, delude, scarcely a testimony to logical prowess, however much chicanery is involved. It is spiritual, dealing with ends, values, objectives, aspirations, and in a word, WITH DESIRED GLORY. It is a power which has some, wants more and deals in this as banks used to in money, and now do in credit instruments. And THIS dealing is not at all creditable! nor is the credit redeemable by man (cf. Psalm 49:7).
The backdrop, destination and dynamic, it is all in one mould, under the sovereign hand of the God who tests man: and we can name it - it is quite simply the devil. (Cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, pp. 590ff.)
Does this however mean that we HATE those so afflicted, the rollicking, roitering, the confused - like a misanthropist ? that we disrelish the race, the human race ? that we become cynics and spew our hate on the moulding mental remnants which alas are found not merely in some psychiatric hospitals, their powers of mind corrupted, disoriented and deluded, but behind many a desk of commercial and political, not to say academic power! Not at all. Does a doctor hate his patient because he has 'flu ?
On the contrary, his love for patient (and we all prefer that attitude when in trouble, don't we!), if he is not in some measure an impostor, is now STIRRED INTO ACTION. He desires to COUNTER THE THREAT, or make provision for the patient to be helped to do so IF HE SO DESIRES! But doctors, at least in this land, whatever has been the practice in Russia and may be that in China in some parts, DO NOT FORCE PATIENTS. There is no armed guard to conduct them to hospital (however deplorable may be some cases in the mental patient arena, even in this country!).
No, hatred is quite simply inept, blinding and backward: unless it be the hatred of evil, which is another matter. Does a doctor love influenza ? No, but it is a bug, and not a human matter. The "perfect hatred" of which David speaks is directed towards the dire dynamics of evil duress which can possess a man, as in the case, ultimately, of those afflicted with evil spirits and helped out of this bondage, by Jesus Christ in instances too numerous to compute!
It is not guns, not arms, not soldiers, not prisons which
figure here: it is spiritual reality. In this unredeemed and ruined state,
many linger, loiter and pass their mental time in appropriate nursery rhymes
of unreason, like organic evolution, existentialist mists, New Age musts
and irrational relativities, which are asserted to be in all things, and
known to be so by an absolute truth, which nevertheless, on that basis,
does not have the joy to exist. SO they contradict themselves, their creation
and their Creator.
(Cf. Repent or Perish 5, 7; Barbs, Arrows and Balms, Item 30 and Appendices 1,4, The Biblical Workman Chs. 7, 2.)
The point is this here: they do so not in any mere free-wheeling career to the grave without grace, but in a warping gravity of a spiritual kind, that of the devil. It is not that this ruined being is some sort of king, though he assuredly was of a grand original created mould (cf. Ezekiel 28-29, Isaiah 14, Revelation 12:7ff); it is just that he has a vested and virulent interest in ruin, which besots so many, beguiles more and destroys beauty, as if HE had something to offer, as if in his ruin of many in the REAL and only creation, that of God at the constitutive level, he should make his own puny efforts more attractive.
This desolating spirit is seen sometimes in what could almost literally be called 'poor devils'. The other day I heard a lady in a bus go over her life problems so many times, and in words so nearly a paradigm repeated, that it was an amazing performance, perhaps suitable for a play, and were it less lugubrious, it would constitue an arresting tour de force.
Here was the groan, the moan, the complaint about her employer, her 'screaming at her' and her daughter - that is the one of the employer - evidently quite as well equipped in the screaming department; and she did not know ... no, she DID NOT KNOW. The second mouthing of this non-knowledge datum was in a sort of groaning moan, a long, drawled disenchantment like a fever in words. She did not know where she was going, really. This was her own repeated announcement to her lady companion on the bus.
Forced to overhear, one could not fail to discern that
she was in bondage, mental, psychological, emotional and almost certainly
spiritual. She was lost, but moving. She was dead, but dying. How ?
The spirit can be dead while the apparatus of the created mind-psychic-emotional structure continues in some sense to be active in a way which could be CALLED living, but which is as dead as someone whose heart has stopped beating for half-an-hour, physically. Not only this: she seemed over-shadowed by defeat, its realisation, its continuation, its colour, its flair. Her companion said: Oh, when you work (as distinct from collapsing into - in this case - voluntary unemployment as a visible option, not yet taken), you get a little money and then you can buy things and make yourself happy! What a prescription to end mental loathing!
The evocative delusions of the devil, however, are not always those of what perhaps be called the 'poor devil' ; for the syndromes include the 'clever devil', the 'daring devil', the 'impudent devil' and many others. This is not just a verbal joust which some may make of others; it is in some cases a pathological reality. We can recall the extreme reluctance of some of the devils with whom Christ dealt, to be removed from the (relatively) pleasant abodes in the hearts of members of our human race. No wonder! There is a certain tepid pleasantness for them, perhaps, in being the more powerful, the more dominant, the more directive, instead of mere rubbish, amongst rubbish, dead, defeated and FINALLY LOST, in their own final and decidedly unpicturesque end. it is not just a judgment; it is the nature of the case. As the Lord indicates at one point,
JOY! What is the man talking about! someone may say. I thought this was a joyful jotting. Ah but wait! Patience my friend.
The JOY is THIS: that all this is absolutely unnecessary.
It is a disease for which cure is available, apt and powerful, free and
lovingly applied. Why add your name to the population of the cynic, the
sour when there is at hand, the sweetness of divine love and power
(which created you, so that you can feel for it and appreciate it, quite
naturally, when sin is no longer dominant as well as prominent)!
Reason does not capitulate because those made and created to use it, mentally do so! They may capitulate. IT continues.
One of the aspects of the word of God is REASON, CAUSE: these are some of the translations of the Hebrew term which can also mean word. It frequently does mean 'word', being what the Lord 'speaks'; but this underlying rationality is within it. God has a mind and expects us to use our own, not hide (cf. Romans 1:18-20), worshipping the creation instead of the Creator who put the thing in place at the first (Romans 1:21-23).
But what is this "turning" of which Proverbs speaks ? It is to the wisdom of God which is available not merely as INSTRUCTION, yes and divine at that for it is written and conveyed personally by Him (cf. I John 2:26-27), but as RANSOM (Proverbs 13:8, 8:11,18; Isaiah 53:1-6, Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3:1-13, I Cor. 1:30-31, II Cor. 5:19-21).
It is CHRIST who is made to us, who believe, wisdom and righteousness and ... REDEMPTION. The price is high; it is the difference between heaven and hell; between peace and turmoil; between what is natural, though it has been distorted by sin, and what is unnatural. The supreme and superb phase is this: the SUPERNATURAL God who invented us, makes the unnatural, the distorted or deluded, to become natural, by CORRECTING it, like an inspired panel-beater, who goes one further, and reconstructs altogether not the body but the heart (cf. Ezekiel 11:19). It is a price, therefore, which He has paid for those with whom He does business in this way. Small wonder Peter speaks of "joy unspeakable and full of glory" in I Peter 1 (read it all ? yes, so you do not need the verse here, reading will find it for you, and find much more!).
It IS glory with which you deal in Jesus the Christ; for HIS IS GLORY, and if it were possible, it is magnified by being evidenced in a voluntary humility, which pointedly was His.
(How we all love that! and should seek to emulate it; for though our lot be so small, it is not altogether insignificant! and in the love of God, it is given much meaning, for such is the charity of His love)!It is this which makes its shining the more lustrous, its beauty the more penetrating! Read Philippians 2 and rejoice. Come clean with the Lord (Isaiah 1:18, Jeremiah 13:27), by receiving His cleansing ransom, life for life, godliness for ungodliness, the just for the unjust to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18)! Joy ! It almost needs a new name when THIS joy is yours.
The devil ? A seedy substitute which does not even last. Joy ? Eternity is its home. Imagine being in His home for ever ? Joy needs an exuberant grandeur to catch up with such things. "Joy unspeakable", then, and "full of glory" ? PRECISELY. May this be yours; and if it is already in Christ, may it grow as you do, in the Lord. For after all,
"the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you!"
(I Peter 4:14). Such is His wonderful pastoral skill, His integrity and reality!