Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands, he shall
destroy them, and not build them up. --Psalm 28:5
What a heritage to leave behind! Shortly before Timothy McVey was executed for
bombing the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, he distributed a copy of Invictus, a
poem by a minor American author, William Ernest Henley. It is short, but packed with
arrogance and blasphemy.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 1875
The poem, wicked though it is, pretty much captures the thinking of a great many
Americans. It is often commended in school literature classes as the work of a liberated
soul. Instead, it is a work of a soul in bondage to sin. How do teachers live with
themselves, when their students follow the logical consequences of their teaching?
Why not blow up a bunch of day care students to make a political point.
As an atheist twitted recently, "Why not kill babies. We have a lot of unskilled labor
that can make many more of them?"
Henley knew about Christ’s teaching regarding the “strait gate,” and he knew that the
Bible [the scroll] was charged with warnings against the wicked. But he chose to defy
all of these in terms of his “unconquerable soul.” Neither he nor McVey conquered
death, however. [See Romans 5:14]
It is impossible to be neutral. This must be so if God is the Creator and Sustainer of all
things. The fault here is a simple one: the wicked do not regard “the works of the Lord,
nor the operation of His hands.” The penalty is severe and spiritual, because God is a
Spirit, and His most severe punishments are spiritual ones.
Men resist the idea of a God who rules all things because they want to leave some
wiggle room for themselves. They are willing to debase God in order to exalt
themselves, and they reserve their worst invective against those who point out the lie.
They do not want to deal with such a God, for such a concept requires that salvation be
of grace and man wants to believe the fiction that he is “master of his fate.”
I wonder how the "unconquerable souls" of Henley and McVey are doing now. How
is their philosophy working for them? Eh?
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