Tag Archives: Church Quotes

Put On The Whole Armour Of God

Power Armour

¬†ūüďĖ Verse 4 2day¬†~ Ephesians 6:10-18

 The Armour of God 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

My Thoughts ūüí≠¬†
Each morning I like to pray the armour of God prayer to ask God to equip me for the day. When not in prayer, and when I hear the words armour of God my mind shoots back to the image above, which is Power Armour) from the Playstation 3 game Fallout 3. 

I¬†know that video games get a lot of negative abuse, but¬†I¬†would just like to share this with you. No i’m not losing sight of reality, please bear with me. ūüėÄ

My point……¬†

¬†For us to stand any chance of¬†surviving¬†against the devil’s schemes,¬†powers¬†of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, we MUST choose to put on the spiritual armour. Unlike the game we know the location of this armour is in prayer.¬†

Ready…..Aim..…Pray!

 I urge you to pray on the Armour of God Ephesians 6 (as listed above). Take a moment and carefully consider the power, purpose and reality of each piece as you put it on.

ūüôŹ Prayer 4 2day!¬†

“Lord, please help me this day put on the Full Armour of God.

Help me put the Helmet of Salvation on my head that I might always remember I am saved, and who I belong to, that my mind is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the mind of Christ and that I may think the thoughts of Christ and reject all others.

Help me put the Breastplate of Righteousness on so that I may walk about in Righteousness and others may see your Righteousness in me, and that my heart is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the desires of Christ and reject all others.

Help me keep the Belt of Truth securely buckled on my waist, that I may always be secure in the knowledge of the Truth and always speak the Truth in Love.

Help me fit my Feet with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace, that I may stand firm in the Gospel, and spread the Gospel of Peace wherever I go.

Help hold the Shield of Faith with which to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one, strengthen my arm and help me hold it high, that I may use it to protect myself, my family, my household and those under my care, and help me use the Shield of Faith to press ahead and push forward for the kingdom of God.

And Lord, help me take up the Sword of The Spirit which is the Word of God, and use it every day, help me use it to protect myself and others from the evil one through the power and authority of Your Word, and to strike the hearts and minds of those who do not know You calling them towards repentance and salvation, help me use Your Word – the Sword of the Spirit – to cause those who know you but are backslidden to repentance, obedience and service, and to help awaken those who know you, but are asleep so they may obey and serve you, and please help me use your Word to bring, encouragement, strength and wisdom to the Remnant of God through your Word.

Help me serve you this and every day. Please use me Lord. These things I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ.

Amen‚ÄĚ.

The panacea for all the ills of life!

Grace logoThe panacea for all the ills of life!

(James Smith, “The Spirit’s Work in the Believer” 1861)

“The mind of sinful man is death, but¬†the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

Spirituality flows from the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit in the soul, who . . .
  kindles spiritual love, 
  awakens spiritual desires, and 
  produces spiritual devotion. 

The Spirit’s work in the believer¬†consists:

1. In convincing us of sin, when we go astray from the right ways of the Lord.

2. In working repentance within us, and leading us to confess and mourn over our sins before God.

3. In opening up, and applying the Word of God, so that it . . .
  meets our case,
  feeds our faith,
  fires our love, and
  deepens our humility.

4. In exciting and drawing forth the soul in¬†prayer, praise, and adoration at the throne of God–so that we sometimes . . .
  melt in contrition,
  are crumbled down in humiliation,
  and are almost dissolved in love.

5. In giving us soul-refreshing glimpses . . .
  of the glorious person of Jesus,
  of the everlasting covenant,
  and of eternal glory.

6. In melting us down in sincere gratitude before God, under a sense of His undeserved favor.

7. In removing all legal fears, and causing holy peace to flow through the soul like a river.

8. In melting us in meekness, and producing sweet submission to the sovereign will of God.

9. In sweetly soothing and consoling under trials and bereavements; and enabling us to look heavenward with hope and joy.

10. In giving us sweet intimations of the love of God to us, by holy discoveries of His grace.

11. In witnessing to our¬†adoption, awakening the cry of¬†“Abba, Father!”¬†in our hearts, and enabling us to claim a filial relationship to God.

12. In drawing forth our souls in¬†love to God–under an overcoming sense of His free and unparalleled love to us.

13. In enabling us to¬†mount upward¬†as on the wings of an eagle, and to¬†run¬†with pleasure and delight in God’s holy ways.

15. In quickening us to rejoice in the Lord, when all things around are calculated to fill us with despondency and gloom.

16. In producing¬†perseverance¬†in our souls, and enabling us to look away from the things which are seen and temporal–and to look to unseen and eternal realities.

The Spirit works within the Christian, teaching him daily to make use of Christ as the panacea for all the ills of life!

In all these things, and many more–the work of the Spirit in the experience of the believer appears.

Reader, do you know anything of these things in your own experience? 
Is the Spirit daily working in your heart, and do you pay attention to . . .
  the lessons He teaches,
  the impressions He makes, and
  the direction in which He points?

O for more of the Spirit’s work within us–that we may live to the praise and glory of Him who loved us, and died to redeem us from sin, death and Hell!

Holy Spirit, work in us more and more–teaching us Your truth, and conforming us to Christ! O for more of Your power, love, and holiness!

We Drift…

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‚ÄúPeople do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.‚ÄĚ ‚Äē D.A. Carson


Busy yourselves about toys and trifles!


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Busy yourselves about toys and trifles!


(“Christ’s Famous Titles!”¬†
William Dyer, 1632-1696)

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life.” John 6:27

Labor more for inward purity–than for outward felicity.¬†

That man who is a laboring bee for earthly prosperity, will be but an idle drone for heavenly felicity. 
Gold in your bags will make you greater–but it is grace in your heart that will make you holier.¬†
He is a rich man who lives upon his wealth–but he is a righteous man who lives upon his faith!¬†
A heavenly conversation, is better than any earthly possession.
It is a great mercy to have a portion in the world–but to have the world for a portion, is a great misery.¬†

Our affections were made for things that are above us, and not for things that are below us. “If you have been raised to new life with Christ,” What then? “Set your¬†hearts¬†on things above! Set your¬†minds¬†on things above, not on earthly things!” Colossians 3:1-2

But, alas! some men are so in love with their golden bags, that they will ride with all possible haste to Hell–if they are but paid well for their pains! They look upon¬†gain¬†as the highest good, and not upon¬†godliness¬†as the highest gain!¬†
They mind the¬†present¬†world so much–as if it would never have an ending!¬†
They mind the world¬†to come¬†so little–as if it would never have a beginning!¬†
The perishing things of this world–are all the happiness of the men of this world!¬†
Oh, what wretched worldlings!
 

They are diligent about what is temporal–but negligent about what is eternal!¬†
They are careful about fleeting vanities–but slothful about durable excellencies!¬†
They feast their bodies–but starve their souls!¬†
They lay up treasures on earth–but none in Heaven!¬†

“Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy?” Isaiah 55:2. He who knocks at the¬†creature’s door¬†for true happiness–will find but an empty house kept there.¬†

Oh, beloved, what is gold, compared to grace? What is earth, compared to Heaven? that you thus neglect the great things, the weighty things, the eternal things–and¬†busy yourselves about toys and trifles!¬†You have a¬†crown¬†to look after, a¬†Heaven¬†to look after, a¬†kingdom¬†to look after!

I beseech you, beloved, labor more for inward holiness–than for outward happiness!¬†
Labor more for the seed of grace–than for the bag of gold!
Labor more for inward piety–than for outward plenty!
Labor more for a heavenly kingdom–than for an earthly possession!¬†
The earth is a saint’s¬†passage–but Heaven is a saint’s¬†portion!

They are preaching up the devil’s old, favorite doctrine!

Grace logoThey are preaching up the devil’s old, favorite doctrine!

(J.C. Ryle)

There is such a place as Hell. Let no one deceive you with vain words. What people do not¬†like–they try hard not to¬†believe. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to judge the world, He will punish all who are not His disciples with a fearful punishment!

All who are found unrepentant and unbelieving; 
all who have clung to sin;
all who have set their affections on worldly things; 
all who are without a saving relationship to Christ–
all such shall come to a dreadful end! “Anyone whose name was not found recorded in the¬†Book of Life, was thrown into the¬†Lake of Fire!”¬†Revelation 20:15

1) I know that some people do not believe that there is¬†any¬†Hell at all.¬†They think it impossible that there can be such a place. They call it inconsistent with the¬†mercy¬†of God. They say that it is too awful an idea to be really true. The devil of course, rejoices in the views of such people. They help his kingdom mightily.¬†They are preaching up the devil’s old, favorite doctrine,¬†“You shall not surely die!”¬†Genesis 3:4

2) I know furthermore, that some do not believe that¬†Hell is¬†eternal!¬†They tell us that it is incredible that a compassionate God will punish people forever. They imagine that He will surely open the¬†prison doors of Hell¬†at last. This also is a mighty help to the devil’s cause.

3) I know also that some believe that there is a Hell, but never allow that anybody is going there! They imagine that . . .
  all people are good,
  all are sincere, 
  all mean well, and 
  all, they hope, will go to Heaven when they die!
Alas! what a common delusion is this!

If I never spoke of Hell–I would think I had kept back something that was profitable, and would look on myself as¬†an accomplice of the devil.

Reader, I beseech you, in all tender affection–beware of¬†false¬†views of the subject on which I have been dwelling. Beware of¬†new¬†and¬†strange¬†doctrines about¬†Hell¬†and the¬†eternity of punishment. Beware of manufacturing a¬†god¬†of your own:¬†
¬† a god who is all mercy–but not just;¬†
¬† a god who is all love–but not holy;¬†
¬† a god who has a Heaven for everyone–but a Hell for none;
  a god who will make no distinction between the godly and the ungodly in eternity. 

Such a god is an idol of your own imagination! It is as truly an idol, as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple! The hands of your own¬†imagination¬†and¬†sentimentality¬†have made it! It is not the God of the Bible–and beside the God of the Bible, there is no God at all.

Why do we love Jesus?

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Why do we love Jesus? 

“We love Him, because He first loved us!” 1 John 4:19¬†

We love Him, because He “gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own!”¬†Titus 2:14¬†

We love Him, because we have life through His death, and forgiveness through His blood. 

We love Him, because¬†“though He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, so that we through His poverty might become rich!” 2 Corinthians 8:9¬†

We love Him, because of the excellency of His person. We are filled with . . .
 a sense of His beauty,
 an admiration of His charms,
 a consciousness of His infinite perfections! 

We love Him, because¬†His greatness, goodness, and loveliness, in one resplendent ray–combine to enchant our soul until it is so ravished that it exclaims,¬†“Yes, He is altogether lovely!”¬†

We love Him, because His love binds our hearts with chains more soft than silk, and yet stronger than iron! 

“To you who believe, He is precious!”¬†1 Peter 2:7¬†

It is not a loss to die!

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It is not a loss to die!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“The day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth!”¬†Ecclesiastes 7:1¬†

“I do not want to live forever.”¬†Job 7:16¬†


It is the very joy of this earthly life, to think that it will come to an end.


The best moment of a Christian’s life is his last one, for then he is nearest Heaven.¬†


The only people for whom I have felt any envy have been dying Christians.

 
It is not a loss to die–it is a lasting, perpetual gain.


“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21¬†


“My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better!” Philippians 1:23¬†

A sermon that will make the devils in Hell laugh, and the angels of God weep!

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A sermon that will make the devils in Hell laugh, and the angels of God weep!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2¬†

The best sermons are the sermons which are most full of Christ. 
A sermon without Christ it is a horrible thing! It is . . .
  an empty well; 
  a cloud without rain; 
  a tree twice dead, plucked by the roots. 

It is abominable to give men stones for bread, and scorpions for eggs–and yet they do so who preach not Jesus.¬†

A sermon without Christ! As well talk of a loaf of bread without any flour in it. How can it feed the soul? Men die and perish because Christ is not there, and yet His glorious gospel is the¬†easiest¬†thing to preach, and the¬†sweetest¬†thing to preach–there is most¬†variety¬†in it, there is more¬†attractiveness¬†in it than in all the world besides!

The sermon which does not lead to Christ, or of which Jesus Christ is not the top and the bottom–is a sort of¬†sermon that will make the devils in Hell laugh, and the angels of God weep!

The mark of true Gospel preaching is where Christ is everything, and the creature is nothing; where salvation is all of grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit applying to the soul the precious blood of Jesus.

“We preach Christ crucified!” 1 Corinthians 1:23¬†

The sin before us is a very old one!

Grace logoThe sin before us is a very old one!

(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858)

“Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them.” Luke 22:24¬†

We see in¬†this passage how firmly¬†pride¬†and¬†love of preeminence¬†can stick to the hearts of Christian men. The strife was one which had been rebuked by our Lord on a former occasion. The Lord’s Supper which the disciples had just been receiving, and the circumstances under which they were assembled–made the strife particularly inappropriate.¬†

And yet at this very season, the last quiet time they could spend with their Master before His death–this little flock begins to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest!¬†

Such is the heart of man–ever weak, ever prideful, ever ready, even at its best times, to turn aside to what is evil!

The sin before us is a very old one. Ambition, self-esteem, and self-conceit–lie deep at the bottom of all men’s hearts, and often in the hearts where they are least suspected! Thousands imagine that they are humble, who cannot bear to see an equal more honored and favored than themselves. Few indeed can be found who rejoice heartily in another’s promotion over themselves.

If we make any profession of serving Christ, then let us live on our guard against this great evil. The harm that it has done to the Church of Christ, is far beyond calculation. Let us learn to take pleasure in the prosperity of others, and to be content with the lowest place for ourselves. The rule given to the Philippians should be often before our eyes, “In lowliness of mind–let each esteem others better than themselves.” The example of John the Baptist is a bright instance of the spirit at which we should aim. He said of our Lord, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”¬†

Christian, think about this!

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Christian, think about this! 

(Richard Baxter)

“Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us!”¬†Ephesians 5:2¬†

Is it a small thing in your eyes to be loved by God–to be the son, the spouse, the beloved, the delight of the King of glory?

Christian, think about this!¬†You will be eternally embraced in the arms of the love which was from everlasting, and will extend to everlasting–of the love which brought the Son of God’s love . . .¬†
  from Heaven to earth,
  from earth to the cross,
  from the cross to the grave,
¬† from the grave to glory–
that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned, scourged, buffeted, spat upon, crucified, pierced–which fasted, prayed, healed, wept, sweated, bled, died.¬†That love will eternally embrace you!

“May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is! May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully!”¬†Ephesians 3:18-19

It is your duty to assure him that he is not saved

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It is your duty to assure him that he is not saved

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Not everyone who¬†says¬†to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’¬†will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only he who¬†does the will¬†of My Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 7:21¬†

“I will tell them plainly: I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:23¬†

If a professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows the Lord’s will, but does not mean to¬†obey¬†it–then you are not to pamper his presumption, but¬†it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved.¬†

Do not suppose that the Gospel is magnified or God glorified, by going to religious worldlings and telling them that they are saved–while they are still wedded to their idols, and their hearts are still in love with sin. If I do so, I . . .
  tell them a lie,
  pervert the Gospel,
  insult Christ, and
  turn the grace of God into a license for sin!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Some benefits of sickness and affliction

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Some benefits of sickness and affliction

(J.C. Ryle)

Sickness helps . . .
  to remind men of death,
  to make men think seriously of God, and their souls, and the world to come,
¬† to soften men’s hearts, and teach them wisdom,¬†
  to abase and humble us, 
¬† to try men’s religion, of what sort it is.

The¬†storms of winter¬†often bring out the defects in a man’s dwelling. In the same way, sickness often exposes the gracelessness of a man’s soul. Surely anything that makes us find out the real character of our faith, is a good thing.

Sicknesses, losses, crosses, anxieties and disappointments–seem absolutely needful to keep us humble, watchful and spiritual-minded. They are as needful as the pruning knife to the vine; and the refiner’s furnace to the gold.

There is no commentary that opens up the Bible, so much as sickness and sorrow!

There are no lessons so useful–as those learned in the¬†school of affliction.¬†

By affliction, God . . .
  shows us our emptiness and weakness, 
  draws us to the throne of grace, 
  purifies our affections, 
  weans us from the world, 
  and makes us long for Heaven!

He is a bad preacher!

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He is a bad preacher!

(Charles Spurgeon) 

“Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” Joel 1:3¬†

In this simple way, by God’s grace, a living testimony for truth is always to be kept alive in the land. The beloved of the Lord are to hand down their witness for the gospel to their heirs, and these again to their next descendants.¬†

This is our¬†first¬†duty–we are to begin at the¬†family hearth.¬†He is a bad preacher, who does not commence his ministry¬†at home. The heathen are to be sought by all means, and the highways and hedges are to be searched–but¬†home¬†has a prior claim, and woe unto those who reverse the order of the Lord’s arrangements.¬†

To teach our children is a¬†personal¬†duty. We cannot delegate it to Sunday School Teachers, or to the church. These can¬†assist¬†us–but cannot¬†relieve¬†us from the sacred obligation. Mothers and fathers must, like Abraham, command their households in the fear of God, and talk with their offspring concerning the wondrous works of the Most High God.¬†

Parental teaching is a¬†natural¬†duty. Who is so fit to look to after child’s well-being, as those who are the authors of his actual being? To neglect the instruction of our offspring is worse than brutish!¬†

Family instruction is necessary for the nation, for the family itself, and for the church of God. By a thousand plots, atheism is covertly advancing in our land, and one of the most effectual means for resisting its inroads is left almost neglected, namely, the instruction of children in the faith. Would that parents would awaken to a sense of the importance of this matter. 

It is a¬†pleasant¬†duty to talk of Jesus to our sons and daughters, and the more so because it has often proved to be an¬†accepted¬†work, for God has often saved the children through the parents’ prayers and admonitions.¬†

May every house into which this counsel shall come, honor the Lord in this matter and receive His smile!

“These commandments that I give to you today are to be upon your hearts.¬†Impress them on your children.¬†Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates!”¬†Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the¬†training¬†and¬†instruction¬†of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4¬†

When the Father of Lies enters the pulpit with a Bible under his arm!

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When the Father of Lies enters the pulpit with a Bible under his arm!

(Arthur Pink, 1886-1952)

The success of a counterfeiter depends largely upon how closely the counterfeit resembles the genuine article. 

Heresy is not so much the total denial of the truth, as a perversion of it. That is why a half-lie is always more dangerous than a complete repudiation. 

Hence when the Father of Lies enters the pulpit with a Bible under his arm it is not his custom to flatly deny the fundamental truths of Christianity; rather he tacitly acknowledges them, and then proceeds to give an erroneous interpretation and a false application.

False prophets are to be found in the circles of the most orthodox, and they pretend to have a fervent love for souls–yet they fatally delude multitudes concerning the way of salvation! These¬†pulpit hucksters¬†have wantonly lowered the standard of divine holiness and so adulterated the Gospel, in order to make it palatable to the carnal mind.

Any preacher . . .
¬† who adulterates God’s Word,
  who denies repentance to be a condition of salvation,
  who assures the giddy and godless that they are loved by God,
  who declares that saving faith is nothing more mental assent
–is a false prophet, and should be shunned as a deadly plague!

It is only those who truly love Christ who are fitted to minister to His flock! 
The work is so laborious, 
the appreciation is often so small, 
the response is so discouraging, 
the criticisms are so harsh, 
the attacks of Satan are so fierce,
that only the “love of Christ”–His love for us and our love for Him–can “constrain” to such work.¬†

“Hirelings” will feed the goats–but only those who love Christ can feed His sheep!

Christian Love Part 3 Of 4 By J. C. Ryle

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III. Let me show, thirdly–where¬†the love of the Bible comes from.

Love, such as I have described, is certainly not¬†natural¬†to man. Naturally, we are all more or less selfish, envious, ill-tempered, spiteful, ill-natured, and unkind! We have only to observe children, when left to themselves, to see the proof of this. Let boys and girls grow up without proper training and education–and you will not see one of them possessing Christian love! Mark how some of them think first of themselves, and their own comfort and advantage! Mark how others are full of pride, passion, and evil tempers! How can we account for it? There is but one reply. The¬†natural heart¬†knows nothing of true love.

Christian love will never be found except in a heart prepared by the Holy Spirit. It is a tender plant, and will never grow except in one soil. You may as well expect grapes on thorns, or figs on thistles–as look for love when the heart is not right.

The heart in which love grows, is a heart changed, renewed, and transformed by the Holy Spirit. The image and likeness of God, which Adam lost at the fall, has been restored to it, however feeble and imperfect the restoration may appear. It is a “partaker of the Divine nature,” by union with Christ and sonship to God; and one of the first features of that nature is¬†love. (2 Peter I. 4.)

Such a heart is deeply convinced of¬†sin–hates it, flees from it, and fights with it from day to day. And one of the prime motions of sin which it daily labors to overcome, is¬†selfishness¬†and¬†lack of love.

Such a heart is deeply sensible of its¬†mighty debt to our Lord Jesus Christ. It feels continually that it owes to Him who died for us on the cross, all its present comfort, hope, and peace. How can it show forth its gratitude? What can it render to its Redeemer? If it can do nothing else, it strives to be like Him, to drink into His spirit, to walk in His footsteps, and, like Him–to be full of love. “The love of Christ shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit” is the surest¬†fountain¬†of Christian love. Love will produce love.

I ask my reader’s special attention to this point. It is one of great importance in the present day. There are many who profess to admire love–while they care nothing about¬†vital Christianity. They like some of the¬†fruits¬†and results of the Gospel–but not the¬†root¬†from which these fruits alone can grow, or the doctrines with which they are inseparably connected.

Hundreds will praise love–who hate to be told of man’s corruption, of the blood of Christ, and of the inward work of the Holy Spirit. Many a parent would like his children to grow up unselfish and good tempered–who would not be much pleased if conversion, and repentance, and faith, were pressed home on their attention.

Now I desire to protest against this notion, that you can have the¬†fruits¬†of Christianity, without the¬†roots–that you can produce Christian tempers, without teaching Christian doctrines–that you can have love which will wear and endure, without grace in the heart.

I grant, most freely, that every now and then one sees a person who seems very charitable and amiable, without any distinctive Christian religion. But such cases are so rare and remarkable, that, like¬†exceptions–they only prove the truth of the general rule. And often, too often, it may be feared in such cases the love is only¬†apparent, and in private it completely fails. I firmly believe, as a general rule, you will not find such love as the Bible describes, except in the¬†soil¬†of a heart thoroughly imbued with Bible religion. Holy¬†practice¬†will not flourish without sound¬†doctrine. What God has joined together, it is useless to expect to have separate.

The delusion which I am trying to combat, is helped forward to a most mischievous degree by the vast majority of novels, romances, and tales of fiction. Who does not know that the heroes and heroines of these works are constantly described as patterns of perfection? They are always doing the right thing, saying the right thing, and showing the right temper! They are always kind, and amiable, and unselfish, and forgiving! And yet you never hear a word about their religion! In short, to judge by the generality of works of fiction, it is possible to have . . . 
excellent practical religion–without doctrine,¬†
the¬†fruits¬†of the Spirit–without the¬†grace¬†of the Spirit,¬†
and the¬†mind¬†of Christ–without¬†union¬†with Christ!

Here, in short, is the great danger of reading most novels, romances, and works of fiction. The greater part of them give a false or incorrect view of human nature. They paint their model men and women as they¬†ought¬†to be, and not as they¬†really are. The readers of such writings get their minds filled with wrong conceptions of what the world is. Their notions of mankind become¬†visionary¬†and¬†unreal. They are constantly looking for men and women such as they never meet–and expecting what they never find.

Let me entreat my readers, once for all, to draw their ideas of human nature from the Bible, and not from novels. Settle it down in your mind, that there cannot be true love without a heart renewed by grace. A certain degree of kindness, courtesy, amiability, good nature–may undoubtedly be seen in many who have no vital religion. But the glorious plant of¬†Bible love, in all its fullness and perfection, will never be found without union with Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Teach this to your children, if you have any. Hold it up in schools, if you are connected with any. Lift up love. Make much of love. Give place to none in exalting the grace of kindness, love, good nature, unselfishness, good temper.¬†

But never, never forget, that there is but one¬†school¬†in which these things can be thoroughly learned–and that is the school of Christ. Real love comes down from above. True love is the¬†fruit of the Spirit. He who would have it–must sit at Christ’s feet, and learn of Him.

That dead man or dead woman

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That dead man or dead woman

(Thomas Brooks, “A Believer’s Last Day, His Best Day”)

“What the wicked dreads will overtake him;
¬†what the righteous desire will be granted.” Proverbs 10:24¬†

“The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
¬†but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.” Proverbs 11:23¬†

We should lament over that dead man or dead woman . . .
  whom Hell harbors,
  whom the devil devours,
  whom divine justice torments!

But let us rejoice over those departed believers whom Christ embosoms, and whom all the court of Heaven comes forth to welcome!

“Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my end be like theirs!” Numbers 23:10¬†

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints!” Psalm 116:15

Pride cannot live beneath the cross!

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Pride cannot live beneath the cross!

(Charles Spurgeon) 

“He humbled Himself.” Philippians 2:8¬†

Jesus is the great teacher of lowliness of heart. We need daily to learn of Him. 

See the Master taking a basin and towel to wash His disciples feet! 
Follower of Christ, will you not humble yourself?
See Him as¬†the Servant of servants–and surely you cannot be proud!¬†

Surely this sentence is the¬†compendium of His biography: “He humbled Himself!”¬†

While on earth, He was always stripping off first one robe of honor and then another–until He was fastened to the bloody tree. And there He emptied out His inmost self, pouring out His life-blood, giving up¬†His all¬†for us–until they laid Him penniless in a borrowed grave!

How low was our dear Redeemer brought! How then can we be proud? 

Stand at the foot of the cruel cross, and count the¬†purple drops¬†by which you have been cleansed of your infinite sins! See the thorn-crown; mark His scourged shoulders, still gushing with encrimsoned rills. See His hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and His whole self to mockery and scorn. See the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in His outward frame. Hear the horrid shriek:¬†“My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me!”¬†

If you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross–you have never seen it!¬†
If you are not humbled in the presence of the dying Jesus–you do not know Him.¬†

You were¬†so lost¬†that nothing could save you–but the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son.¬†
Think of that, and as Jesus stooped for you–bow yourself in lowliness at His feet.¬†

A sense¬†of Christ’s amazing love to us–has a greater tendency to humble us than even a consciousness of our own guilt!¬†

May the Lord bring us in contemplation, to Calvary–and then we will no longer think of ourselves with pompous pride. We shall then take the humble place of one who loves much, because much has been forgiven.¬†Pride cannot live beneath the cross!¬†Let us sit there and learn our lesson–and then rise and carry it into practice.

Far from a world of grief and sin–with God eternally shut in!

Grace logoFar from a world of grief and sin–with God eternally shut in!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Those He¬†predestined, He also called;
 and those He called, He also justified;
¬†and those He¬†justified, He also¬†glorified!” Romans 8:30¬†

Here is a precious truth for you, believer. You may be poor, or in suffering, or unknown–but for your encouragement take a review of your “calling” and the consequences that flow from it, and especially that blessed result here spoken of.¬†

As surely as you are God’s child today–so surely shall all your trials soon be at an end, and you shall be rich to all intents of bliss! Wait awhile, and your weary head shall wear the crown of glory, and your work-worn hands shall grasp the palm-branch of victory.¬†

Do not lament your troubles–but rather rejoice that before long you will be where “there shall be neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” The chariots of fire are at your door, and a moment will suffice to bear you to the glorified. The everlasting song is almost on your lips. The portals of Heaven stand open for you.¬†

Do not think that you can fail of entering into eternal rest. 
If He has effectually called you–then nothing can divide you from His love.¬†
Trials and troubles cannot sever the bond;
the fire of persecution cannot burn the link; 
the hammer of Hell cannot break the chain. 
You are eternally secure! 

That voice which effectually called you to Jesus at first–shall call you yet again from earth to Heaven, from death’s dark gloom toimmortality’s unuttered splendors!¬†Rest assured, the heart of Him who has predestined, called and justified you–beats with infinite love towards you! You shall soon be with the glorified, where your everlasting portion is. You are only waiting here to be made fit for your Celestial inheritance, and that done, the wings of angels shall waft you far away to the mount of peace, and joy, and blessedness, where, “Far from a world of grief and sin–with God eternally shut in,” you shall rest forever and ever!

One blessing after another!

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One blessing after another!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“From the fullness of His grace we have all received¬†one blessing after another!¬†John 1:16¬†

Our Lord Jesus is ever giving–and does not for a solitary instant withdraw His hand.¬†
As long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim–the oil shall not be stopped.¬†

He is a sun ever-shining. 
He is manna always falling round the camp. 
He is a rock in the desert, ever sending out streams of life from His smitten side. 
The rain of His grace is always dropping. 
The river of His bounty is ever-flowing. 
The well-spring of His love is constantly overflowing. 

As our King can never die–so His grace can never fail.¬†

Daily we pluck His fruit, and daily His branches bend down to our hand with a fresh store of mercy. 

Who has ever returned from His door, unblessed?
Who has ever risen from His table, unsatisfied? 
Who has ever come from His bosom, un-imparadised? 
His mercies are new every morning–and fresh every evening.¬†

Who can know the number of His benefits, or recount His infinite bounties? 

Every sand which drops from the glass of time–is but the tardy follower of a myriad of mercies. The wings of our hours are covered with the silver of His kindness, and with the yellow gold of His affection. The¬†river of time¬†bears from the¬†mountains of eternity–the¬†golden sands of His favor.¬†

Who can count the¬†dust of the benefits¬†which He bestows on His redeemed people, or number of His mercies towards us? How shall my soul extol Him–who daily loads us with benefits, and who crowns us with loving-kindness?¬†

O that my praise could be as ceaseless as His bounty! O miserable tongue, how can you be silent? 

“Praise the Lord, O my soul!¬†Do not forget all of¬†His¬†benefits!”¬†Psalm 103:2¬†

With God for your portion!

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With God for your portion!

(Charles Spurgeon)

You are my portion, O Lord.” Psalm 119:57¬†

Look at your possessions, O believer–and compare your portion with the lot of your fellow men.¬†

Some of them have their portion in the field; they are rich, and their harvests yield them a golden increase. But what are harvests compared with your God, who is the God of harvests? What are bursting granaries compared with Him, who is the heavenly Gardener, and feeds you with the bread of heaven? 

Some have their portion in the city; their¬†wealth¬†is abundant, and flows to them in constant streams, until they become a very reservoir of gold. But what is¬†gold¬†compared with your¬†God?¬†You could not live on it; your spiritual life could not be sustained by it. Put gold on a troubled conscience–and could it allay its pangs? Apply it to a desponding heart–and see if it could relieve a solitary groan, or give one grief the less? But you have God, and in Him you have more than gold or riches ever could buy!¬†

Some have their portion in that which most men love–applause and¬†fame. But ask yourself: Is not your God more to you than that? What if a myriad trumpets should be loud in your applause–would this prepare you to pass the Jordan of death, or cheer you in prospect of the final judgment? No! there are griefs in life which fame and wealth cannot alleviate; and there is the deep need of a dying hour, for which no riches can provide.¬†

But when you have God for your portion, you have more than all else put together. 
In Him every need is met, whether in life or in death. 
With God for your portion you are rich indeed, for He will . . .
  supply your real needs,
  comfort your desponding heart,
  assuage your deepest grief,
  guide your steps wisely, 
  be with you in the dark valley of death,
and then take you home to Heaven, to enjoy Him as your portion forever! 

“My flesh and my heart may fail,¬†but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!”¬†Psalm 73:26¬†

Let us beware of the love of money!

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Let us beware of the love of money! 

(J.C. Ryle)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21¬†

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:25¬†

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10¬†

Let us beware of the love of money! It is possible to use money well, and do good with it. But for each one who makes a right use of money, there are thousands who make a wrong use of it, and do harm both to themselves and others. 

Let the worldly man, if he will, make an idol of money, and count him happiest who has most of it. 

But let the Christian, who professes to have “treasure in Heaven,” set his face like a flint against the spirit of the world in this matter. Let him not worship gold. He is not the best man in God’s eyes who has most money, but he who has most grace and likeness to Jesus.

“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” Proverbs 30:8¬†

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5¬†

We need the teaching of the Great Expositor!

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We need the teaching of the Great Expositor!

(“Every Day!” Author unknown, 1872)

“Lead me in Your truth–and teach me!” Psalm 25:5

What a mercy it is, in the midst of prevailing errors, to possess the truth of God–the sure word of His testimony–the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. May we read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the truth–that we may find it profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness.¬†

Too frequently the Word of God is read with little profit, because it is read with little prayer. We need Divine illumination! We need the teaching of the Great Expositor, in order rightly to understand the Word of God, and to receive it in the love of it. 

May the prayer of the psalmist be my prayer: “Lead me in Your truth–and teach me!”¬†

Lead me into the¬†knowledge¬†and¬†experience¬†of it–let it dwell in my heart, and influence my life.¬†

Lead me into the¬†enjoyment¬†of it–may I find Your Word, and eat it; may it be sweet to my taste, yes, sweeter than honey–than honey from the comb.¬†

And lead me into the¬†practice¬†of it–may my ways be directed to keep Your statutes, and may I be a living epistle, read and known by all men.

May Your Word come to me with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction!

“When He, the Spirit of truth, comes–He will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13¬†

He who trifles with it is a fool!

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He who trifles with it is a fool!

(J.A. James, “The Practical Believer Delineated“)

“Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life!” Psalm 39:4¬†

If the man who¬†trembles¬†at death is a coward–then¬†he who¬†trifles¬†with it is a fool!¬†
There is a thousand times more rationality in the trembler–than in the trifler!¬†

There is a phenomenon in the rational world well worthy of consideration, inquiry and solution–the strange and fatal insensibility of men to the grand fact that they are mortal! Since it is infallibly certain that they must and will die, and since death is so solemn an event–how does it happen that so few ever seriously think of it or really prepare for it?¬†

One would think that so grand and solemn a fact as death, especially viewed in connection with the events which are to immediately follow it–Heaven, Hell and eternity–along with the¬†uncertainty¬†how soon it may be realized–might operate with an unlimited and altogether overpowering influence upon men’s minds and hearts!

But men wish to forget death–and alas, too often succeed in accomplishing¬†this fatal oblivion!¬†Yet we can scarcely wonder at this, when we consider what their spiritual condition is–and what death is!¬†

It is the¬†commonness¬†of death, which deprives it of its extreme dreadfulness. If death happened in our world only once in a century, it would be felt like the shock of an earthquake–and would hush the inhabitants of earth into a breathless silence, while the echoes of the knell of the departed soul were reverberating around the globe!

Death is . . .
  the moment of destiny;
  the seal of eternity;
  the cessation of probation;
  the commencement of retribution and judgment! 

The accompaniments of death are solemn, and so are the consequences! 

To every¬†sense–death is revolting!

To every¬†social affection–death is harrowing!

To¬†reason–death is perplexing!

To everything but saving faith–death is overwhelming!

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!” Psalm 90:12¬†

The more I see of Jesus

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The more I see of Jesus

(Mary Winslow)

“My ears had¬†heard¬†of You, but now my eyes have¬†seen¬†You! Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6¬†

The more I see of Jesus, the more He opens to me His loving heart–the deeper is my sorrow for sin. I lie down in the dust at His feet closer than ever I did before. I can truly say I abhor myself in dust and ashes before Him. My heart seems ready to melt into contrition in view of the ten thousand thousand sins, willful and aggravating–that I have committed against Him who loved me with an everlasting love, and with loving kindness drew me to Himself.¬†

So eternal and deep, so sovereign and boundless is the love of Jesus, that angels cannot fathom it! He is nothing but sincere, constant, and unabating love–to the weakest, the most unworthy of all His little flock.¬†

I feel such a weariness of this world that nothing here gives me anything more than a momentary, passing pleasure–and it is gone at a glance.

Oh, to have such a Friend as Jesus, who feels all our sorrows, carries all our burdens, and has promised to bring us safely through this trying world, and place us at last at His own right hand, where neither sickness nor sorrow shall ever come!

Oh for Heaven! Nothing else will satisfy my longing soul, but the sight of Him it loves.

Jesus is all in all to me, and He will be all in all through eternity!

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name! 

   ~  ~  ~  ~ 

For those who desire additional devotional reading, here is an uplifting short article by¬†J.R. Miller, “Heavenly Worship”¬†

The chief dangers which will confront the church in the coming century!

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The chief dangers which will confront the church in the coming century!

(William Booth, 1829-1916)

The chief dangers which will confront the church in the coming century will be . . .
  religion without the Holy Spirit,
  Christianity without Christ,
  forgiveness without repentance,
  salvation without regeneration,
  Heaven without Hell. 

We have seen such a tragic repetition of it in our own days

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We have seen such a tragic repetition of it in our own days

(Arthur Pink)

“With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction!” Hosea 8:4¬†

Sad indeed is the above passage–and the more so, because¬†we have seen such a tragic repetition of it in our own days.¬†

Oh what earthly-mindedness, what indulging of the flesh, what sinful extravagance–are now seen among professing Christians today!

How practical godliness has waned; 
how the denying of self has disappeared; 
how covetousness, pleasure and worldliness now possess the great majority of those calling themselves the people of God. 

Yet as great as the sin of the people is–far greater is that of most of the preachers, who, instead of warning, admonishing, rebuking, and setting before their people an example of sobriety and contentment–criminally remain silent upon the crying sins of their hearers, while they themselves encourage the reckless indulgence of worldly lusts.

The worldling’s Bible!

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The worldling’s Bible!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16¬†

The worldling’s Bible¬†is the Christian. He never reads the Book–but he reads the disciple of Christ, and he judges the Christian religion by the lives of its professors!¬†

The world does not read the Bible–the world reads Christians!

“For it is God’s will that by doing good, you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men!” 1 Peter 2:15¬†

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-2

God would be voted out of the world!

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God would be voted out of the world!

(Thomas Boston, “Human Nature in its Fourfold State“)

“The world . . . hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” John 7:7¬†

“They have hated both Me and my Father!” John 15:24¬†
“They hated Me without a cause!” John 15:25¬†

“Haters of God.” Romans 1:30

“Crucify Him!”¬†they shouted.¬†
“Why? What crime has He committed?” asked Pilate.
¬†But they shouted all the louder,¬†“Crucify Him!”¬†Mark 15:13-14

Men set up for themselves an¬†idol¬†of their own imagination, instead of the true God–and then fall down and worship it.

Every natural man is an enemy to God–as He is revealed in His Word. The infinitely holy, just, powerful, and true God–is not the God whom he loves, but¬†the God whom he loathes!¬†The Pagans finding that they could not be like God in¬†holiness, made their gods like themselves in filthiness; and thereby they show what sort of a¬†god¬†the natural man would have. God is holy and just; can an unholy creature love His unspotted holiness?¬†

There is not a man, who is wedded to his lusts, as all the unregenerate are–but would desire to blot out¬†the God of justice. Can the malefactor love his condemning judge? Can a heinous sinner love a just and holy God? No, he cannot!

Men naturally would rather have a¬†blind idol–than the all-seeing God! They no more love the all-seeing, everywhere present God–than the thief loves to have the judge witness to his evil crimes. If it could be carried by votes,¬†God would be voted out of the world; for the language of the carnal heart is, “Leave us alone! We have no desire to know Your ways!” Job 21:14

“The carnal mind is a mass of downright, undiluted enmity to the Most High God. Such a mind is opposed, not merely to the¬†thingsof God, the¬†laws¬†of God, and the¬†truth¬†of God–but to God Himself!” Spurgeon

Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!

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Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!

(Richard Baxter, “Directions against Gluttony“)

“Dust you are, and to dust you will return!” Genesis 3:19¬†

“Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both.” Job 21:26¬†

“When You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust!” Psalm 104:29¬†

“All come from dust, and to dust all return!” Ecclesiastes 3:20¬†

Remember what your body is, and what it will shortly be, and how loathsome and vile it will be in the grave. And then think how far such a body should be pampered and pleased–and at what a price.¬†Do not pay too dear for a feast for worms!¬†Look into the grave, and see what the end of all of all your pleasant foods and drinks is; of all your dainty and costly fare. You may see there the skulls cast up, and the ugly hole of that mouth which devoured so many sweet, delicious morsels–but there is none of the pleasure of it now left!

Oh astonishing folly! that men can so easily, so eagerly, so obstinately, waste their estates, and neglect their souls, and displease their God, and in effect even sell their hopes of Heaven–for so small and sordid a delight, as the pleasing of such a piece of flesh, which must shortly have so vile an end!

Was it worth so much care, and toil, and cost, and the casting away of your salvation–to pamper that body a little while, which must shortly be such a loathsome carcass? Methinks one sight of a skull or a grave, would make you look upon gluttony and luxury as madness.

The case will be altered with you when all your wealth and friends cannot keep your pampered carcass from corruption, nor procure your soul a comfort equal to a drop of water to cool your tongue, tormented in the flames of God’s displeasure! Then all the comfort you can procure from God and conscience will be but this sad memento, “Remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony!” Luke 16:25¬†

The Sympathy of Christ!

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The Sympathy of Christ!

(Francis Bourdillon)

“We do not have a high priest who is unable to¬†sympathize¬†with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are” Hebrews 4:15

In all our infirmities and troubles of every kind–in pain and sickness, in poverty and need, in anxiety and grief–Jesus has a sympathetic heart for us. Is not this comforting? Does it not cheer us in a time of suffering, when some kind friend comes in and sits down beside us and shows most plainly that though he is unable to help us, he does sincerely feel for us? How much more cheering it is to know that Jesus in Heaven sympathizes with us in all our troubles here below! Does not this thought, this blessed truth–take the edge off the sharpest suffering, and lift us for the time above our sorrows?¬†

Jesus Christ Himself was afflicted when He was on earth. He is called a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. No sorrows were ever equal to His. We know that He was tired and hungry and sad. He was besides, the poorest of the poor–He had nowhere to lay His head. He led what would be called a very hard life.¬†

Our greatest sufferings are light when compared with His. He had some afflictions which we cannot fully understand, as when He prayed in the garden, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me!” And as when He cried upon the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!”¬†¬†

He can sympathize with the poor–because He was poor Himself.¬†
He can sympathize with the sad–because He was a man of sorrows.¬†
He can sympathize with all who suffer–because His own sufferings were so many and so great.¬†

He was tempted; He was tried; He was afflicted; He went through what we have to go through–and much more. In this very world in which we live now–He lived and suffered; and therefore He can and does sympathize with His suffering people.¬†

“He was despised and rejected by men–a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces–He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows–yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace, was upon Him–and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5

Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!

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Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!

(Francis Bourdillon, 1864)

There is One who knows just what we are. The Lord Jesus Christ says, “I know your works!” His eye is always upon us. He knows us exactly as we are–each one of us. Mere profession does not deceive Him. Mere head knowledge does not pass with Him for repentance, faith, and holiness. He knows our hearts–and He knows our lives.¬†

The mockery of an empty profession, 
the mere pretense of a religion that is all in the head or on the lips, 
the unhumbled heart, 
the coldness, the hardness, the lack of faith and gratitude and love
–He knows them all!

“You do not realize that you are¬†wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!” Revelation 3:17

The very first lesson we must learn–is what we¬†are.¬†

What are we, then? Just what the Laodiceans were, but did not know themselves to be: “Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!”¬†

What–all¬†of us?¬†
Yes–all¬†of us!

We are “wretched,” for we are in great misery and danger–and all the more wretched because we do not know it.¬†

We are “miserable,” worthy to be pitied, even while we flatter ourselves that all is well with us, for we are but deceiving ourselves.

We are “poor,” for we have no spiritual wealth–no supply whatever for the needs of our souls.

We are “blind,” ignorant of our own hearts–ignorant of God–ignorant of truth and of the way of life.¬†

We are “naked,” with no righteousness of our own in which we can appear–no covering, no defense, no refuge.

We are all this–and, worst of all,¬†we do not know it!¬†If we knew it and bewailed it–then our case would not be so bad. In other words, if we knew ourselves to be sinners–then it might be hoped that we would seek the Savior of sinners. But we shall never seek Him–until we feel our¬†need¬†of Him!

Because the Lord loves you

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Because the Lord loves you

(Letters of John Newton)

“For the Lord disciplines the one He¬†loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6¬†

“Those whom I¬†love¬†I rebuke and discipline.” Revelation 3:19¬†

My Dear Friend,
Because the Lord loves you–He appoints trials for you. Like most effectual medicines, they are neither pleasant to the taste nor in their operation, when first taken–but afterwards they yield a harvest of righteousness and peace. He sends them not for His own pleasure, but for our profit.¬†

He could relieve you in a moment, but He does not. The plain inference is, that it is good, it is best for us to be afflicted!

I have had my trials, and I can from experience bear testimony to His all-sufficiency and faithfulness. 

He does all things well. How can He who is infinitely wise and good, do otherwise?

“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He¬†loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12¬†

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

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Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

(Octavius Winslow)

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!”

We cannot keep our eyes too exclusively or too intently fixed on Jesus. 

All salvation is in Him. 
All salvation proceeds from Him. 
All salvation leads to Him. 
And for the assurance and comfort of our salvation, we are to repose believingly and entirely on Him. 

Christ must be all! 
Christ the beginning, 
Christ the center, 
Christ the end. 

Oh sweet truth to you who are sensible of your poverty, vileness, and insufficiency, and of the ten thousand flaws and failures of which, perhaps, no one is cognizant but God and your own soul! 

Oh the blessedness–to turn from self, and rest in Christ:¬†
  a full Christ, 
  a loving Christ, 
  a tender Christ, 
whose heart’s love never chills,¬†
from whose eye darts no reproof, 
from whose lips breathes no sentence of condemnation! 

“He whose daily life is a fixing his eyes on Jesus, has heaven on his way to heaven!”¬†Henry Law

“And when Christ, who is your life, appears–then you also will appear with Him in glory!” Colossians 3:4¬†

Here we see what is in every human heart by nature!

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Here we see what is in every human heart by nature!

(Don Fortner)

“What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.¬†
They shouted back,¬†“Crucify Him!”¬†Matthew 27:22¬†

Oh, what a revelation of man the cross is! 
Man hating God, and hating Him most when God displayed His love most fully. 
Man acting like the devil, taking Satan’s side against God!¬†

Yes, the cross was a public declaration of man’s hatred for God and His Son.¬†

The cross is proud man spitting in God’s face and saying, “I am holy. I need no Savior. To Hell with God and His Son!”¬†

Our Savior asked,¬†“What do you think you of Christ?”¬†
Man’s answer was,¬†“Crucify Him!”¬†

Man’s heart, his hands, his tongue all combine to scream out hatred for God and His Son.¬†

Calvary’s hill displays man’s utter hatred for God!

How deep, bitter, universal, and vile is the hatred of the human heart for God! Oh, how fallen man hates God! 

The arrest, the scourging, the mockery, the spitting, the smiting, the cries, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”, the wagging the heads, the cruel nails, the thieves’ railing–everything was but¬†the outpouring of man’s utter hatred for God.¬†

Here we see what is in every human heart by nature!

Man declared his heart, in the crucifixion of God’s darling Son.

God seems to have said, “Vent the feelings of your heart.” And he did, taking God by the throat, as it were, man snatched the only begotten Son from His Father’s heart and crucified Him with hellish delight.

Reckoning the death of the cross the worst of all deaths, man said, “This is the best way to show my contempt for God. This is exactly what I think of the Son of God!” Thus, the enmity of the natural heart speaks out, and man not only confesses publicly that he is a hater of God, but he takes pains to show the intensity of his hatred.¬†

The cross interprets what is in man’s heart.¬†

The cross rips the mask of pretended religion off of the face of our race. 

The cross of Christ exhibits man’s heart as a cesspool overflowing with the malignity of Hell.¬†

Brethren, we have two faults

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Brethren, we have two faults

(Charles Spurgeon)

Brethren, we have two faults
: 

   1. We do not think God to be as great as He is. (His transcendence)
   2. We do not think God can be as little as He can be. (His immanence)

We err on both sides. We neither know the height of His glory–nor the depth of His grace!

He who counts the brilliant¬†stars–also numbers the very¬†hairs¬†of our head!¬†
He never fails to hear the heart-lispings of His redeemed people.

I dare say that we think that we magnify Him, but in reality we belittle Him with our highest thoughts.

When the bird of thought was let go!

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When the bird of thought was let go!

(A.W. Tozer)

Anyone who wishes to check on his true spiritual condition may do so, by noting what his voluntary thoughts have been over the last hours or days. 
What has he thought about, when free to think of whatever he pleased? 
Toward what has his inner heart turned, when it was free to turn wherever it desired?

When the¬†bird of thought¬†was let go, did it fly out like the¬†raven¬†to settle upon floating carcasses–or did it like the¬†dove¬†circle and return again to the ark of God?¬†

Such a test is easy to run, and if we are honest with ourselves–we can discover not only what we¬†are, but what we are going tobecome. We will soon be the sum of our voluntary thoughts!

Hang this question up in your houses!

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Hang this question up in your houses!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Whoever claims to live in Him, must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6¬†

Hang this question up in your houses,¬†“What would Jesus do?”¬†

And then think of another,¬†“How would Jesus do it?”¬†

For¬†what¬†Jesus would do, and¬†how¬†He would do it–will always stand as the best guide to us.

“Leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21¬†

A statue of a stone lamb!

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A statue of a stone lamb!

(J.R. Miller)

“Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us!” 1 Corinthians 5:7¬†

On a little church in Germany stands a statue of a stone lamb, which has an interesting history. When some workmen were engaged on the roof of the building, one of them fell to the ground. His companions hastened down, expecting to find him dead. They were amazed, however, to see him unhurt. A lamb had been grazing just where he struck the ground, and falling upon it, the little creature was crushed to death, while the man himself escaped injury. He was so grateful for this wonderful deliverance, that he had a statue of the lamb carved in stone, and placed on the building as a memorial. The lamb saved his life, by dying in his place. 
 
In the same way, every saved soul can point to the Lamb of God, and say, “I am saved–because Jesus died in my stead!”¬†

What memorial have we set up to witness to our gratitude and love? 

“The Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!” Galatians 2:20¬†

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain–to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12¬†

You must keep the circus going!

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You must keep the circus going! 

(Ernest Reisinger)

Whatever means you use to get people into the church, is precisely what you must use to keep them.

If you get them with a ‘religious circus’ then¬†you must keep the circus going–you must keep up the entertainment.

If you get them with biblical preaching and teaching, then that will keep them and you will not need the entertainment. 

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:2-3¬†

A hazardous game!

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A hazardous game!

(Charles Spurgeon, “Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden” 1883)¬†

“Avoid every kind of evil!” 1 Thessalonians 5:22¬†

“If we play around the viper’s hole–it no wonder that we are bitten!”

An old proverb advises us not to play with sharp-edged tools, lest we cut our fingers. 

It is a sin to trifle with sin! If we must play, we had better find harmless toys! 

That evil which caused Christ a bloody death, is no fit theme for any man’s sport.¬†

Playing with wickedness is a hazardous game! Sooner or later, we will pluck the lion of sin by the beard, and we shall be torn in pieces! 

This is true of indulgence in strong drink: “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!¬†In the end it bites like a snake, and poisons like a viper!”¬†

This is equally true of all other forms of evil, especially of the lusts of the flesh. Lewd words, soon lead to foul deeds. Yet such is the folly of men, that they run dreadful risks in sheer wantonness, as though vipers and cobras were fine playmates, and devils were merry-makers!

“Keep your servant from¬†deliberate sins!¬†Do not let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.” Psalm 19:13

Do not judge a minister . . .

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Do not judge a minister . . .

(Thomas Brooks, “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ!“)

“If you point these things out to the brethren, you will be¬†a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the¬†truths¬†of the faith and of the¬†good teaching¬†that you have followed.” 1 Timothy 4:6¬†

It is sad to see how many preachers in our days make it their business to enrich men’s¬†heads¬†with lofty, empty, airy notions–instead of enriching their¬†souls¬†with holy truths.¬†

Fix yourself under that man’s ministry who makes it his business, his work–to enrich the soul, to win the soul, and to build up the soul; not to tickle the ear, or please the fancy. This age is full of such light, vain souls–who dislike everything but what is empty and airy.

Do not judge a minister . . .
  by his voice, nor
  by the multitude who follow him, nor
  by his affected tone, nor
  by his rhetoric and flashes of wit;
but by the holiness, heavenliness, and spiritualness of his teaching! 
Many ministers are like empty orators, who have a¬†flood¬†of words–but a¬†drop¬†of matter!

Some preachers affect rhetorical strains; they seek abstrusities and love to hover and soar aloft in dark and cloudy expressions, and so shoot their arrows over their hearers’ heads–instead of bettering their hearers’ hearts.¬†

Mirthful things in a sermon are only for men to gaze upon and admire. 

He is the best preacher, not who tickles the ear–but who breaks the heart!


“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power!” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

A diligent pupil in the College of Contentment

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A diligent pupil in the College of Contentment 

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be¬†content.” Philippians 4:11¬†

These words show us that contentment is not a¬†natural propensity¬†of man. Grumbling, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man–as weeds are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and weeds; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth. Just so, we need not teach men to¬†complain; they complain fast enough without any education.¬†

“Ill weeds grow quickly.” But the precious¬†things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have¬†wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want¬†flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care.¬†

Now,¬†contentment¬†is one of the¬†flowers of Heaven, and if we would have it–then it must be cultivated, as it will not grow in us by nature. It is the new nature alone which can produce contentment–and even then we must be especially careful and watchful, that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us.¬†

Paul says, “I have learned… to be content;” as much as to say, that he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mastery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave–a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome.

We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him–if we too might by any means attain unto his high degree of contentment. Do not indulge the notion that you can learn contentment without discipline. It is not an ability that may be exercised naturally–but a grace to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be–and continue¬†a diligent pupil in the College of Contentment.

The blessed man!

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The blessed man!

(James Smith, “Comfort for Christians!”)

Blessed¬†is the man You¬†chasten, O Lord–the man You¬†teach¬†from Your law!” Psalm 94:12¬†¬†¬†
    
The chastenings of the Lord¬†often appear severe–but they are¬†merciful. They . . .
  correct our follies,
  subdue our proud wills, and
  soften and humble our hard hearts before Him.

When God¬†chastens–He¬†teaches. The¬†lessons¬†are found in His Word–but we never learn many of them, until we go through the¬†furnace of affliction!¬†We often learn more truth from one short, sharp affliction–than we do from many books and sermons!

In affliction, God teaches us . . .
  our own emptiness and vanity,
  our dependence on Himself, and
  the insufficiency of all our earthly things! 

In affliction, God . . .
  endears the Lord Jesus and His great salvation to us;
  shows us the value of the provision of grace;
  makes our consciences tender and honest; 
  qualifies us for usefulness on earth; and
  fits us for the enjoyment of Himself in Heaven.

We¬†need¬†chastening. If we do not receive it–we become . . .
  carnal and worldly,
  light and trifling,
  unsavory and useless in both the world and the church! 

It is a blessed thing to be chastened of the Lord, especially when the rod teaches us such important and invaluable lessons! Chastened Christians are generally the most useful and attractive Christians. 

“Heed the¬†rod–and the One who appointed it!” Micah 6:9¬†
Chastened Christian! Seek grace . . .
  to bear the rod, 
  to bless the rod, and 
  to kiss the hand that holds the rod!

Blessed¬†is the man whom God¬†corrects–so do not despise¬†the chastening of the Almighty!” Job 5:17

O for a spirit of habitual prayer!

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O for a spirit of habitual prayer!

(James Smith, “The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion” 1859)

“But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress–and He hears my voice!” Psalm 55:16-17¬†

The well taught Christian carries everything to God–and in so doing, obtains relief, enjoys peace, and grows in grace.¬†
For all that we¬†need–we should call upon God.¬†
And from all that we¬†fear–we should flee unto God.¬†

At the close of every day, it is our mercy to call upon the Lord.
We must make confession of sin–and obtain pardon.¬†
We must carry to Him our burdens–and obtain relief.¬†
We must tell out before Him our needs–and obtain a supply.

Oh, how precious it is to go to the Lord at the close of each day, and tell Him all that has . . .
  vexed us,
  grieved us,
  cast us down, or
  disquieted our spirits! 

And how blessed to go to him each morning, and seek grace to live holily and happily through the day! 

Nor is it less blessed to have a few minutes with God at¬†noon–breaking, as it were, the day in two, and keeping short accounts with God.¬†

O for a spirit of habitual prayer
, that at evening, and at morning, and at noon–we may pray, and cry aloud to God!¬†

If we were more with the Lord in prayer, we would have . . .
  more strength to carry our crosses,
  more patience to bear our troubles,
¬† and more¬†comfort¬†amidst life’s sorrows.¬†

Holy Spirit, take up your residence in my heart as a Spirit of prayer, and lead me daily, hourly, yes, very often–to the mercy-seat. Let me find the hours of prayer to be precious seasons. And especially at eventide, when worn and exhausted with the toils and troubles of the day–let me find sweet solace and refreshment in pouring out my soul unto God.¬†

Precious Lord Jesus, draw our souls to You evening by evening, and lead us into the presence of Your Father, that we may have sweet and hallowed fellowship with God! Let our devotions ascend as sweet incense to God.


They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

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They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

(Arthur Pink)

You have done these things, and I kept silent.¬†You thought that I was just like you!¬†But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.” Psalm 50:21

The only God against whom the natural man is not at enmity–is one of his own imagination! The deity whom he professes to worship, is not the living God–for He is truth and faithfulness,¬†holiness¬†and¬†justice, as well as being gracious and merciful.

It is a god of their own devising–and not the God of Holy Writ, whom the ungodly believe in!¬†

“They say: How can God know? Does the Most High even know what is happening?” Psalm 73:11
They would strip Deity of His omniscience if they could! 
The wicked wish that there might be . . .
  no Witness of their sins,
  no Searcher of their hearts,
  no Judge of their deeds!
They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

What a proof that “the carnal mind is enmity against God!”¬†

Such is the portion awaiting the lost: 
  eternal separation from the fountain of all goodness; 
  everlasting punishment; 
  torment of soul and body; 
  endless existence in the Lake of Fire;
  forever locked up with demons and the vilest of the vile; 
  every ray of hope excluded; and
  utterly crushed and overwhelmed by the wrath of a sin-avenging God!
“Consider this, you who forget God–or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue!” Psalm 50:22

His mercy is a boundless, fathomless, endless ocean!

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His mercy is a boundless, fathomless, endless ocean!

(James Smith, “The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion” 1859)

“You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive–and abundant in mercy to all who call upon You.” Psalm 86:5¬†

What a beautiful representation of God is this! How comforting, at the close of another day’s cares and troubles, sorrows and sins–to be reminded that our “God is good,” and especially that He is “ready to forgive”–ready to pardon all the faults and follies of this day–ready to pass them by, and still treat me as His beloved child!

He only requires me to confess and be sorry for my sins–and in a moment, all is forgiven, all is forgotten, and forgotten forever!¬†

Then He is “abundant in mercy.” The¬†fountain of His mercy¬†has not yet run dry. Run dry! It is not in the least diminished!¬†His mercy is a boundless, fathomless, endless ocean!

God has plenty of mercy for miserable sinners . . .
  mercy to pardon them,
  mercy to purify them,
  mercy to comfort them,
¬† mercy to¬†save¬†them–
mercy for all who call upon Him!

O my soul, take home tonight this lovely representation of your God, and believing that He is good, ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy–go to Him, call upon Him, and plead with Him. Then you may obtain mercy, and find grace to help you in every time of need.¬†

Good and gracious God, I adore You for Your goodness; I bless You that You are ready to forgive; I rejoice that You are abundant in mercy. And now, O Lord, glorify Your mercy in me–show Your readiness to forgive, in me! Let my heart be eased of every sorrow–and let my conscience be cleansed from every sin! Let me lie down to rest tonight guiltless–rejoicing in the glorious fact that You have blotted out my sins as a cloud, and my transgressions as a thick cloud, and are now at eternal peace with me!

 

We need to be on our guard against Solomonian religion!

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We need to be on our guard against Solomonian religion!

(J.R. Miller)

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his¬†heart¬†was not fully devoted to the Lord his God.” 1 Kings 11:4¬†

The trouble was all in Solomon’s heart! It is the heart which needs watching and keeping with all diligence. The heart must be wholly devoted in its aim and motive, to God and His service.

Solomon had a corner in his heart for the Lord–and then other corners for the gods of all the other nations. The Savior’s words are: “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

We need to be on our guard against Solomonian religion!¬†There is plenty of it these days. It abhors the preaching of the stern truths of God’s Word about sin and punishment, and about holiness.¬†It sends well-near everybody to Heaven–and regards Hell as a mere fable!¬†It calls holy Christians “puritanic” or “strait-laced.” It calls great sins “escapades,” and finds no use for such psalms as the fifty-first.

It is not hard to see in this verse, however–which of the two kinds of religion pleases God best, and which leads to the best end.

What a farce it all is!

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What a farce it all is!

(Arthur Pink)

The vast majority of the churches are in a sorry state! Those that are out-and-out worldly are at their wits end to invent new devices for drawing a crowd. Others which still preserve an outward form of godliness often provide nothing substantial for the soul; there is little ministering of Christ to the heart, and little preaching of sound doctrine without which souls cannot be built up and established in the faith.

The great majority of the pastors summon to their aid some professional speaker, who puts on a high-pressure campaign and secures sufficient new ‘converts’ to take the place of those who have ‘lapsed’ since he was last with them.

What a farce it all is!

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