The Rebel Prince: Lessons from the Tragic Life and Death of Absalom

I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on manipulation, deception, and pride.  Romans 3 is coming to life as I read The Rebel Prince by William Blackburn.  Consider these excerpts from chapter 3, The Sinner’s Victory:

“Such coolness and self-complacency, such readiness for iniquity and boldness in it, such bravery against the fear of justice, and such deliberate violation of the law of God,  were not born in Absalom, nor in any one now who has reached the point where history and justice began with him.  They were acquired.  They cost many a struggle, and much fighting against conscience, truth, and God.”  

“There is an onward march in sin as well as in grace.  There is a victory for the sinner over the good, the true, and the holy, as well as a triumph for the Christian over the evil, the false, and the tempting.”

What is the sinner’s victory?

“First.  He conquers much in himself”
“…he overcomes the better tendencies which God has given to restrain and direct him.  Once he felt the power of conscience, of fear, and of love.  They caused his blood to bound through all his being when he thought of committing a known sin.  His heart beat in fear, conscience burned in his breast, his mind was restless, and his cheek flushed as he sought for courage to perform the evil deed.”
“It was a struggle against all his better convictions, and against everything that represented God in his soul.  And after occasional sins became habits, he tried not to feel any convictions of conscience, but still the arrows of the Almighty went shivering through his soul.  Thus the battle went on, until at length the baser passions of his nature rose to help him in the struggle.  They stifled his conscience.  They put down his self-respect.  They drowned the memories of truth.  They drove out the fear of God.”
“And now he can sin boldly, coolly, deliberately.  He has hardened himself to iniquity.  If conscience reprove, he knows how to sear it until it shall trouble him no more. If fear arise, he can lull them to sleep.  If shame burn in his heart, he can quench its fire.  This is one victory.”
“Secondly. He overcomes the influences of the truth, and the effect of church ordinances.”
“Many a one now hardens himself to resist the appeals and persuasions that fell from the lips of the Son of God, and that still are urged by the ministers of truth.  He triumphs over them.  He castles himself in cold indifference, and fortifies his soul with excuses, or doubts, or delusions.  He bars the door against the entrance to that word that giveth light.  He sets his shield against the  arrow drawn from the gospel quiver, and smiles to see it fall shattered at his feet.  He boasts that preaching which arouses others does not affect him.  Men wonder at his coolness, but he admires their astonishment.  No exhortation disturbs his composure, no entreaty softens his heart.  Not even does the word judgement, or eternity, stir a ripple on the smooth surface of his thoughts.  This is another victory, gained by the power of his resistance.”
“Thirdly.  He conquers the influence of parents, friends, and godly associates.”
“Fourthly.  He overcomes the impressions made upon his soul by the providences of God.”
“Once every unusual mercy or event affected him, but now the blessings of heaven come and go, and he scarcely recognizes them.  The goodness of God does not lead him to repentance. Judgements may be abroad, but he does not learn righteousness.”
“Fifthly. He succeeds in resisting the Spirit of God.”
“Often has the heavenly Dove descended upon him, but he has grieved him away.  Often has the Spirit’s flame been kindled, but he has quenched it.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit no longer strives with him, and he is left to follow the way that he has chosen.”
“It is a fearful thing to reach that point in character when truth, holy ordinances, Christian friendships, and the Holy Ghost seem to make no impression upon the soul.”
By Josh C. Posted in Uncategorized

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