The Reformation in Holland and Its Fruits

There’s a fearful question which rings through the ages . . . and that question is this: “Why do the Nations rage and the people imagine a vain thing?”

The Kings of the Earth set themselves against God and His anointed saying, “Let us break their bands asunder and cast their chords from us”. But He that is in the heavens shall laugh. The Lord shall hold them in His derision, and the answer to that question is that He has declared the decree for He has set His King over Zion, and it is only in this light that we can see this reformation, and go into this reformation, and have its fruits.

Holland, then, in the time of the Re­formation, was known as the Seventeen Belgic Provinces of which King Charles V of Spain was Emperor. This Monarch ruled Holland with an iron hand, and for thirty long years Holland was under the domination of this King. It was by his decree that the first martyrs, Ess and Vos, were hung at the stake. But this Monarch didn’t like Holland very well. He didn’t like the weather, neither did he like its people, and he compared the weather with the people. As gloomy as the weather, so gloomy were the Holland­ers. Therefore, he decided to go back to Spain; and it was on this occasion as he went back to Spain, that a storm arose in the Bay of Bisque.  He lost many of his ships and many of his men, he made a vow that if God would save him, he would persecute the heretics even unto death.

It was not long afterwards that he abdicated in favor of his son, Philip II, and he caused Philip, his son, to vow that he would finish the work his father had begun. It was by the decree of Philip II that Alva entered into Holland with 20,000 Spanish troops. The histor­ian writes that the highways, the by­ways, and the wheels and trees were literally hung with the bodies of the dead. The air that was made for the breath of the living was filled with the stench of death.

Oh, they too, the Nations, worked in this Reformation according to the eter­nal counsel of His will, but they do not go into this Reformation. But for them, this Reformation is the terrible judg­ment of God upon them. And the church in the time of the Reformation . . . that church that was once a branch of the glorious Pentecostal church wherein they had everything in common . . . wherein they believed in salvation as it was purely unconditional, by Grace alone, through Faith . . . wherein they pleaded upon the work . . . and that justification which is found solely through Faith in Christ Jesus.

That church took on powers that did not belong to itself, and started to lord it over the heritage of the Lord. It said this . . . if Rome, as a world power, could rule all the Nations round about her, why should not the church of Rome also have that power. And she estab­lished herself a Pope.

In those long, dreary ages wherein she persecuted the true children of God in the midst of the church, she establish­ed doctrine upon doctrine of man-made philosophy, till at last the Scriptures lay, as it were, under the debris of Roman Catholicism . . . till at last her cup of iniquity was filled, when she sold salvation at a price.

When her Cardinals and Bishops stood on the pulpits and told the people that for the price of money they could get their children out of purgatory . . . etc.

Oh, they too worked in this Reforma­tion according to the eternal counsel of His will . . . but also they do not go into this Reformation. But for them, this Reformation also is the judgment of God upon them. And it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than it will be for them. Oh, if you would look through the dark glasses of the common grace theology of our day, you might find a lot of good yet in this church and in the Nations. But don’t ever sing Psalm 2, for then, when the question is asked, “Why do the Nations rage and the people imagine a vain thing” . . . you must say this, that they do not say: Let us cast their chords from us, and He that is in the heavens, shall not laugh for He has not set His King over Zion . . . but He has made everything com­mon with His common grace.

In the midst of this miserable, damn­able church is a remnant and that, ac­cording to the election of Grace. For God had loved Jacob and He hated Esau, and because He had loved Jacob, there­fore were the Jacobs not consumed. Oh, it was not that they were any better than the Esaus, but because He main­tains His covenant and because He took reasons, out of Himself, to love them. He draws near unto them in the spirit of the Resurrected Lord, causing them to be weary and heavy laden, saying unto them, “Oh, ye that are weary and heavy laden, come and I will give you rest”.

Oh, ye Jacobs, though your sins be as scarlet . . . and they are . . . and though they be red as crimson, I will make them whiter than snow It is the all-powerful voice of God, in Christ Jesus. For Reformation is that fruit of re­generation, and they come.

Don’t you hear their voices in the midst of sin and death? If Thou would go into judgment, oh, God, who could stand . . . but we thank Thee that there has been forgiveness always with Thee. And He sets them unto liberty of the children of God, causing them to say Abba Father. The groaning of that spirit in them is heard far above all the turmoil of the world. It is heard far above all the common grace theologists, and those that hold to conditional salvation. It is as the trumpets sound before Him. For in it He sees His own glorious work.

He gives them an inheritance which is incorruptible and undefilable . . . giv­ing them to see something of that glor­ious inheritance wherein they shall see Him everlastingly, face to face.

Oh, if that happens, let persecution come . . . Let it be true what the his­torian writes . . . that the highways, the byways, the wheels and trees are literally hung with the bodies of the dead. Let it be true what the historian writes . . . that the air that was made for the breath of the living is filled with the stench of death.

For the death of the martyrs is the seed of the Church and their blood, their suffering and their tears are pleasing in His eye.

And we, standing on the footsteps of the faith of the fathers, which faith reaches in Christ, in God, we take upon our lips the Psalm of Reformation.