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Sunday, April 09, 2017

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 43

In a previous excerpt, Knapp stated that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. His discussion of "Impressions from Above" continues:
Marriage. Usefulness and happiness for life may depend upon the rightful settlement of this question. How can people be sure their union is of God? Shall fancy, feeling or infatuation decide the matter, or shall it be submitted to reason, right and God? Let us apply the tests. Two persons are drawn towards each other, and feel that perhaps they should be one.

5. First of all they ask: "Would our union be Scriptural?" They find on general principles that marriage is commended in the Word. God instituted it. He declares that "It is not good for man to be alone," and that "Marriage is honorable to all."

They apply the principles of Scripture to their own peculiar cases. If one proves to be an unconverted person, then the explicit Scripture command: "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers," makes further testing needless. Many rush blindly over this mandate to regret it when it is too late.

It may be that both are believers, but that one of them is divorced from a former companion for other than the one cause for which Scripture allows divorce, and that, therefore, it would be an adulterous union.

A member of a church, of which I was pastor, once called for me to perform his marriage ceremony. He was a noble Christian man.

I asked him a few questions, and soon learned that his proposed wife had a husband living, and while divorced by the law of the land, he was not sure that the sin on the part of her husband set her free by the law of Christ. I read to him Matt. 5:32 and parallel passages, and explained to him that on account of these Bible truths I was not free to perform the ceremony. "Then," said he, "I am not free to have it performed." He continued, "She is the only woman I ever loved, but I should have thought of this before. I dread to break the news to her, but I must be true to Christ."

He was all broken down, but remained loyal to his Convictions.

It may also be found that one of the persons is breaking sacred betrothal vows. Then the Scriptural rule of "doing as one would be done by" and honesty in paying sacred vows, prohibits the fondling for a moment of a new affection.

When the hearts of a man and woman have been united, and they have acknowledged it to each other, and promised to be one for life, they should hold their union as sacred as if the public ceremony had already been said. They are united in God's sight, and before Him have no more right to allow alienation than if the public seal had been already set. He who tramples upon betrothal vows plays with chain lightning, and will suffer for it.

Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

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