Tag Archives: Gospel

Why me, Lord?

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Why me, Lord? 

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

“By the grace of God I am what I am!”

Oh, what was I, that God should set His love upon me before time; and in time to call me to the saving knowledge of His Son, whom to know aright is life eternal? Why me, Lord? 

And what am I even now, since I have felt something of the power of His precious gospel? Why me, Lord? 

What¬†was¬†I, what¬†am¬†I–that I should be¬†eternally chosen¬†and¬†effectually called¬†and¬†perfectly accepted¬†in the Beloved? Not unto me, in the least, not unto me, but unto Your sovereign grace be all the praise!

“Oh, help me to ascribe to You the glory due to Your great name; for I am surrounded, I am loaded with Your benefits. All Your dealings with me show forth Your loving-kindness. In temporals, as well as spirituals, I am singularly favored. Oh, let me never be allowed to rob You of Your glory, but help me to give it all where it is due, in life and death and to all eternity–to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.”¬†


Riches and Poverty!

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Riches and Poverty! 

(J.C. Ryle, “Riches and Poverty!“)

Many in every age have disturbed society by stirring up the poor against the rich. But so long as the world is under the present order of things, universal equality cannot be attained.

So long as . . .
  some are wise, and some are foolish;
  some are strong, and some are weak;
  some are healthy, and some are diseased;
so long as children reap the fruit of their parent’s misconduct;
so long as sun, and rain, and heat, and cold, and wind, and waves, and drought, and blight, and storm, and tempest are beyond man’s control–so long will there be inequality in this world.

Take all the property in England by force this day, and divide it equally among the inhabitants. Give every person over twenty years old an equal portion. Let all share alike, and begin the world over again. Do this, and see where you would be at the end of fifty years. You would just have come round to the point where you began! You would just find things as unequal as before!

¬†¬† Some would have worked–and some would have been lazy;
¬†¬† some would have been always careless–and some always scheming;
¬†¬† some would have sold–and others would have bought;
¬†¬† some would have wasted–and others would have saved.
And the end would be that some would be rich–and others would be poor.

We might as well say . . .
  that all people ought to be of the same height, weight, strength, and cleverness;
  or that all oak trees ought to be of the same shape and size;
  or that all blades of grass ought to be of the same length
–as that all people were meant to be equal.

Settle it in your mind that the main cause of all the suffering you see around you, is sin. Sin is the grand cause . . .
¬† of the enormous luxury of the rich–and the painful degradation of the poor;
¬† of the heartless selfishness of the highest classes–and the helpless poverty of the lowest.

Sin must be first cast out of the world;
the hearts of all people must be renewed and sanctified;
the devil must be bound;
the Prince of Peace must come down and take His great power and reign
–all this must be before there ever can be universal happiness, or the gulf be filled up which now divides the rich and poor.

Beware of expecting a millennium to be brought about . . .
  by any method of government,
  by any system of education,
  or by any political party.

Labor to do good to all men; pity your poorer brethren, and help every reasonable endeavor to raise them from their low estate. Do not slacken your hand from any endeavor . . .
  to increase knowledge, 
  to promote morality,
  to improve the temporal condition of the poor.

But never, never forget . . .
  that you live in a fallen world,
  that sin is all around you,
  and that the devil is abroad.


The plague of unsatisfiedness

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The plague of unsatisfiedness

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of¬†covetousness; a man’s life does not consist in¬†the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15¬†

Covetousness is . . . 
  a very great and grievous sin;
  a mother sin;
  a breeding sin; 
  a sin which has all sin in its womb; 
  a very vile and heinous sin;
  the root of all evil.

Covetousness makes the soul¬†earthly–which should be¬†celestial.¬†

Covetousness is an evil which subjects men to the basest and vilest evils. 

Covetousness makes a man a fool! “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Luke 12:20

Covetousness robs a man of all true peace, comfort, contentment and quiet. 

Covetousness brings men into snares which drown their souls in perdition.

Covetousness renders men¬†unsatisfied¬†under all their outward enjoyments. Though a covetous wretch has enough to¬†sink¬†him–yet he can never have enough to¬†satisfy¬†him. First he wishes for a¬†bag¬†full, and then a¬†chest¬†full, and then a¬†room¬†full, and then a¬†house¬†full, etc.¬†

The plague of unsatisfiedness–is the great plague which covetous men are under. Certainly you shall as soon fill a triangle with a circle, and a chest with grace–as you shall be able to fill and satisfy a covetous mind with money.¬†

A covetous man is like a¬†swine–which is good for nothing while it lives.¬†
The horse is good to carry, 
the ox is good to draw, 
the sheep is good for cloth, 
the cow is good to give milk, 
and the¬†dog¬†is good to guard the house–
but the hog is good for nothing while he lives! 
Just so, a covetous man is only serviceable when he is dead. That scripture often proves true, “the riches of a sinner are laid up for the just.” Job 27:17¬†

No sin lays men under greater woes! 

“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and¬†a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that¬†plunge men into ruin and destruction. 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 6:9-10¬†


Murder all his hearers at once!

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Murder all his hearers at once!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)

“The¬†leaders¬†of the people have led them down the path of destruction!” Isaiah 9:16

Take heed of settling yourselves under an unholy minister–of one whose¬†life¬†gives the lie to his doctrine. An unholy preacher is the greatest destroyer of the souls of men! He who preaches well, but¬†lives¬†bad–does what he can, to¬†murder all his hearers at once!¬†There is no greater bar to holiness, than ministers’ unholy lives. An unholy life mars the soundest and the sweetest doctrine. The¬†sins of teachers¬†are the¬†teachers of sins!¬†

An unholy minister is¬†the¬†greatest pest, the¬†worst plague, and the¬†greatest mischief–that can be to a people; for his enormities, his wickednesses, will have the strongest influences upon the souls and lives of men–to make them eternally miserable. His falls will be the fall and ruin of many; for people are prone to . . .
¬† live more by¬†examples–than by¬†precepts;
¬† mind more what the minister¬†does–than what he¬†says;
¬† eye more how he¬†walks–than how he¬†talks.¬†

Let a minister be ever so learned, solid, quaint, elegant, zealous, judicious, sententious, etc.–yet if he is carnal, covetous, worldly, vain, and loose in his life and walk, his hearers will rather slight and abhor the holy things of God.

When the preacher departs out of the way of holiness, the people will quickly wander from all that is good. He whose life is not a standing reproof to sin–will, by his life, encourage sinners more and more in a way of sin. There is nothing which keeps men so off from the love of holiness, and from the pursuing after holiness–than the unholy lives of their ministers.

“Watch your¬†life¬†and doctrine closely.” 1 Timothy 4:16

“Set an¬†example¬†for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12¬†

“In everything set them an¬†example¬†by doing what is good.” Titus 2:7

These Gergesites had rather lose Christ, than lose their porkers!

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These Gergesites had rather lose Christ, than lose their porkers!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)
 

“When they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave their region.” Matthew 8:34

A man bewitched with the world will prefer the most base and contemptible things before the Lord Jesus Christ. He will, with the Gergesenes, prefer his swine before a Savior, Matthew 8:28-34. 

When they saw what a sad market their hogs were brought to, they desired Christ to depart out of their country.¬†These Gergesites had rather lose Christ, than lose their porkers!¬†They had rather that the devil should possess their souls–than that Jesus should drown their pigs. They prefer their¬†swine, before their¬†salvation!

They present a wretched petition for their own damnation; they pleaded with Him to leave their region. Though there is no misery, no plague, no curse, no wrath, no Hell–compared to Christ’s departure from a people; yet men bewitched with the world will desire this. “When they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave their region.” Matthew 8:34


The dregs of old age!

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The dregs of old age!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)¬†

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

Many desire to repent when old age comes, when . . .
  their wits are cracked,
  their souls distracted,
  their senses stupefied,
  their hearts bewildered,
  their minds darkened and
  their bodies diseased and distempered.

Oh, then they think that they will be able to leap into Heaven, with a¬†“Lord have mercy upon me”¬†in their mouths.¬†Even though they have lived like devils–yet they hope they shall die like saints!

Do you think, O vain man–that after you have spent your¬† time, and wasted your strength, and exhausted your energies in the work of Satan, and in the service of your lusts–that God will receive you to His grace and favor? If you do thus flatter yourself–it is ten thousand to one that you will deceive yourself!¬†Though true repentance is never too late–yet late repentance is seldom true.Ah, how many millions are now in Hell–who have thought, and resolved, and said that they would repent hereafter–but that hereafter never came!¬†

You say¬†“Tomorrow, tomorrow I will repent,”¬†when you know not what a tomorrow will bring forth. Alas! how many thousand ways may¬†death¬†surprise you before tomorrow comes!¬†Though there is but one way to come into the world–yet there are a thousand thousand ways to be sent out of the world.¬†Oh, the diseases, the hazards, the dangers, the accidents, the deaths–which daily, which hourly attend the life of man!

Ah friends! it is a dangerous thing to make repentance to be the task of old age. 
The longer any man defers his repentance, the more difficult it will be for him to repent:
  his heart will every day grow more and more hard, 
  and his will more and more perverse, 
  and his judgment more and more corrupted, 
  and his affections more and more disordered, 
  and his conscience more and more benumbed or enraged, 
  and his whole life more and more defiled and debauched.

Friends, do not deceive yourselves! Old age is but a tottering and sinking foundation for you to build your eternal hopes and happiness upon–your eternal¬†making¬†or¬†marring¬†upon! Are the dog-days of old age–are the trembling hands, the wrinkled face, the failing eyes, the gasping lungs, the fainting heart, the feeble knees, and the broken down legs–are these a sacrifice worthy of a majestic God? Is a¬†body¬†full of sores, aches, and diseases–and a¬†soul¬†full of sin–an offering worthy of a holy God? Surely not!¬†

Oh, what madness, what wickedness is this: to serve¬†Satan, your¬†lusts, and this¬†world¬†with full dishes–and to put off¬†God¬†with scraps! To serve Satan, your lusts, and this world in the flower, in the prime and primrose of your days–and to put off God with¬†the dregs of old age!¬†Oh, do not let Satan deceive you, do not let your own hearts delude you!


The beauty and glory of a Christian!

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The beauty and glory of a Christian!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness“, 1662)¬†

Holiness will render you most beautiful and amiable. As holiness is the beauty of¬†God, and the beauty of¬†angels–so it is¬†the beauty and glory of a Christian¬†also. Holiness casts such a beauty upon man, as makes him very amiable and desirable.¬†

The redness of the rose, the whiteness of the lily, and all the beauties of the natural universe–are but¬†deformities¬†compared to that beauty which holiness puts upon us. If all natural beauty were contracted into one beauty–yet it would be but an obscure and an unlovely beauty, compared to that beauty which holiness puts upon us!

Holiness is lovely, yes–loveliness itself. Purity is a Christian’s splendor and glory. There is no beauty compared to that of sanctity; nothing beautifies and bespangles a man like holiness.¬†

Holiness is so attractive and so lovely a thing–that it draws all eyes and hearts to an admiration of it. Holiness is so great a beauty–that it puts a beauty upon all other excellencies in a man. That holiness is a very beautiful thing, and that it makes all those beautiful who have it–is a truth that no devil can deny!¬†

“Demetrius,” says Plutarch, “was so lovely of face, that no painter was able to draw him.” Just so, holiness puts so rare a beauty upon man–that no painter under heaven is able to draw him!¬†

Scipio Africanus¬†was so lovely a person, that the Spaniards stood amazed at his loveliness. Holiness puts such a loveliness, and such an amiableness upon a person–that many admire it, and stand amazed at it.¬†

O sirs, as ever you would be amiable and desirable–be holy!¬†

As ever you would be attractive and lovely–be holy!¬†

As ever you would outshine the sun in splendor and glory–labor to be holy!

Many have ventured their names, their estates, their liberties, their lives, yes, their very souls–to enjoy a lovely¬†Bathsheba, an attractive¬†Helena, a beautiful¬†Diana, a lovely¬†Cleopatra, etc.–whose beauties have been but¬†clay, well-colored. Oh, how much more, then, should you be provoked to labor and venture your all for holiness–which will imprint upon you that most excellent and most exquisite beauty; which will go to the grave and to glory with you; yes, which will render you not only amiable and excellent in the eyes of men–but also lovely and lovely in the eyes of God!

Unholy souls are . . .
  foul souls,
  ugly souls,
  deformed souls,
  withered souls,
  wrinkled souls,
  altogether unlovely souls.


Tears have a voice!

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Tears have a voice!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness”, 1662)

“The Lord has¬†heard¬†the¬†voice of my weeping.” Psalm 6:8

Tears have a voice.¬†God has an eye upon a man’s tears, as well as upon his prayers. Penitent tears are divine ambassadors, which never return from the throne of grace without answers of grace. Peter said nothing, but went out and wept bitterly–and obtained mercy. Tears are a kind of silent prayers, which will at last prevail for mercy.¬†

A sinner’s face never shines so beautiful, as when it is bedewed with penitential tears.

“I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears!” Isaiah 38:5

He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God!

 

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He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God!

(R.C. Sproul, “The Holiness of God”)

A god who is all love, all grace, all mercy–but no sovereignty, no justice, no holiness, and no wrath–is an idol!

The most violent expression of God’s wrath and justice is seen in the Cross. If ever a person had room to complain for injustice it was Jesus.¬†He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God!¬†

If we stagger at the wrath of God, then let us stagger at the Cross. Here is where our astonishment should be focused.

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God!” 2 Corinthians 5:21¬†

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us!” Galatians 3:13¬†

“He humbled Himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8¬†

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree!” 1 Peter 2:24

“Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God!” 1 Peter 3:18¬†

 


How wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is!

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How wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is!

(Charles Spurgeon) 

“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¬†

The love of Christ in its sweetness, its fullness, its greatness, its faithfulness–surpasses all human comprehension. Where shall language be found–which could describe His matchless, His unparalleled love towards His redeemed people? It is so vast and boundless that, as the swallow but¬†skims¬†the water, and dives not into its depths–so all descriptions of Jesus but touch the surface, while immeasurable depths lie beneath. Well might the poet say, “O love–you fathomless abyss!” for this love of Christ is indeed¬†measureless¬†and¬†fathomless; none can attain unto it!

Before we can have any right idea of the love of Jesus, we must understand His previous¬†glory¬†in His height of majesty–and His¬†humiliation¬†upon the earth in all its depths of shame.¬†

But who can fathom the majesty and glory of Christ, when . . . 
  He was enthroned in the highest heavens;
  He was very God of very God;
  He made the heavens and all the hosts thereof;
  His own almighty arm upheld the spheres;
  the full chorus of the hallelujahs of the universe unceasingly flowed to the foot of His throne;
  He reigned supreme above all His creatures, as God over all, blessed forever! 
Who can fathom His height of glory then? 

And who, on the other hand, can fathom how low He descended? 
To become a¬†man¬†was something–to be a man of¬†sorrows¬†was far more.¬†
To bleed, and die, and suffer–these were much for Him who was the Son of God; but to suffer such unparalleled agony, to endure a death of shame and desertion by His Father–this is a depth of condescending love which the most inspired mind must utterly fail to penetrate!¬†

Herein is love! and truly it is love that surpasses knowledge!

O let His love for such unworthy sinners as us, fill our hearts with adoring gratitude. 


Walk in the Spirit!

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Walk in the Spirit!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18¬†

Walk in the Spirit¬†(let your steps be guided by the Spirit,)¬†and you will not gratify the evil desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

Rich would the blessings of this day be, if we were filled with the Holy Spirit. The consequences of this¬†sacred filling of the soul, would be impossible to overestimate. Life, comfort, light, purity, power, peace; and many other precious blessings are inseparable from the Spirit’s gracious presence.

As¬†sacred oil–He anoints the head of the believer, sets him apart to the priesthood of saints, and gives him grace to execute his duties aright.¬†

As the only truly¬†purifying water–He cleanses us from the power of sin and sanctifies us unto holiness, working in us to will and to do of the Lord’s good pleasure.¬†

As the¬†holy light–He reveals the Lord Jesus to us, and guides us in the way of righteousness. Enlightened by His pure celestial ray, we are no longer walk in darkness–but in the light of Scripture truth.¬†

As¬†purifying fire–He both purges us from dross, and sets our consecrated nature ablaze. He is the sacrificial flame by which we are enabled to offer our whole souls as a living sacrifice unto God.¬†

As¬†heavenly dew–He removes our barrenness and nourishes our lives. O that He would drop from above upon us at this early hour! Such¬†morning dew¬†would be a sweet commencement for the day.¬†

As the¬†heavenly Dove, with wings of peaceful love–He broods over the souls of believers; and as a¬†Comforter¬†He dispels the cares and doubts which mar the peace of His beloved ones. He descends upon His chosen people, and bears witness to their sonship by working in them a filial spirit by which they cry¬†Abba, Father!¬†

As the¬†wind–He brings the breath of spiritual life to men. He performs the quickening operations by which the spiritual creation is animated and sustained.¬†

O that we might feel the Spirit’s presence and influence this day and every day!¬†


The Weaver!

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The Weaver!

(J.R. Miller)

The life that is given up to God in true devotion, need fear nothing. We may have our sorrows, our disappointments, our losses, but all of our life is in the hands of God–and no real harm can come to us. In all the events and experiences of our most difficult days–God is developing our graces and character!

Very beautiful is the figure of¬†the loom. God is¬†the Weaver. He has before Him the pattern into which He would fashion our lives. Some threads are white, some are dark–but the great Weaver will blend them so that the finished work will be beautiful.¬†

The Weaver! 
(Author unknown)

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Ofttimes He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper
And I the under-side.

Not til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28¬†


The road by which the Spirit leads God’s children!

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The road¬†by which the Spirit leads God’s children!

(J.C. Ryle, “Heirs of God” 1878)

“As many as are¬†led by the Spirit of God–they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14

All true Christians are under the¬†leading¬†and¬†teaching¬†of a power which is Almighty, though unseen–even the power of the Holy Spirit. They no longer turn to their own way, and walk in the light of their own eyes, and follow their own natural heart’s desire. The Spirit¬†leads¬†them. The Spirit¬†guides¬†them. There is a movement in their hearts, lives, and affections, which they feel–though they may not be able to explain; and a movement which is always more or less in the¬†same direction.

They are all led . . .
  away from sin, 
  away from self-righteousness, 
  away from the world!

This is¬†the road¬†by which the Spirit leads God’s children.¬†
Those whom God adopts as His children–He¬†teaches¬†and¬†trains.¬†
He shows them their own hearts. 
He makes them weary of their own ways. 

They are all led to Christ. 
They are all led to the Bible. 
They are all led to prayer. 
They are all led to holiness. 
This is the beaten path along which the Spirit makes them to travel.
Those whom God adopts–He always sanctifies.¬†
He makes sin very bitter to them. 
He makes holiness very sweet.

When they are taken into the¬†wilderness, and taught to see their own emptiness–it is the leading of the Spirit.¬†

It is He who leads them to Mount¬†Sinai, and first shows them the law–that their hearts may be broken.¬†

It is He who leads them to Mount¬†Calvary, and shows them the cross–that their hearts may be bound up and healed.

It is He who leads them to Mount¬†Pisgah, and gives them distinct views of the promised land–that their hearts may be cheered.¬†

Each and all of God’s children is the subject of these leadings.¬†
Each and all is led by the right way, to bring him to a city of habitation.

Settle this down in your heart, and do not let it go: the children of God are a people “led by the Spirit of God,” and always led more or less in the same way. Their experience will tally wonderfully when they compare notes in Heaven.

“I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” Proverbs 4:11¬†

“In your unfailing love You will¬†lead¬†the people You have redeemed.
¬†In Your strength You will¬†guide¬†them to Your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13¬†

The ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe!

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The ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe!

(John Piper)

What makes sin sin is not first that it hurts people, but that it blasphemes God. 
This is the ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe.

Sin is . . .

  the glory of God not honored,

    the holiness of God not reverenced,

     the greatness of God not admired,

      the power of God not praised,

       the truth of God not sought,

        the wisdom of God not esteemed,

          the beauty of God not treasured,

            the goodness of God not savored,

              the faithfulness of God not trusted,

           the commandments of God not obeyed,

        the justice of God not respected,

      the wrath of God not feared,

    the grace of God not cherished,

  the presence of God not prized,

the person of God not loved.

The infinite, all-glorious Creator of the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist (Romans 11:36)–who holds every person’s life in being at every moment (Acts 17:25)–is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, and dishonored by everybody in the world. That is the ultimate outrage of the universe.


The sum of my complaints amounts to this!

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The sum of my complaints amounts to this!

(Letters of John Newton)

“Oh, what a wretched man I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” Romans 7:24¬†

I see much daily cause for humiliation–whether I look backward or inward.¬†The sum of my complaints amounts to this–that I am a sick sinner, diseased in every part. I am burdened with a body of sin and death.¬†

But I have a little book, which I am enabled to believe is the sure Word of God. The doctrines and promises I meet with in it, which we call¬†the gospel, exactly suit my needs–and the temper and conduct it is designed to form, agrees with my leading desires.¬†

I was once far otherwise minded, and would doubtless have remained so–had not almighty power and sovereign mercy softened my heart. I would therefore praise Him for what he has done, and wait upon Him to do more, for I can do nothing for myself. In the mean time, instead of complaining–I would try to be thankful.¬†

If He has begun a good work, I dare not indulge a doubt of His carrying it on to completion. If He who is¬†the infallible Physician¬†has undertaken my case–I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord!


Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

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Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

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(Samuel Davies, “The Preaching of Christ Crucified, the Means of Salvation”)

“Christ died for the ungodly!” Romans 5:6

In¬†the cross of Christ,¬†God’s hatred to sin¬†is manifested in the most striking light–and¬†the evil of sin¬†is exposed in the most dreadful colors! Now it appears, that such is the divine hatred against all sin, that God can by no means forgive sin, without punishment; and that all the infinite benevolence of His nature towards His creatures cannot prevail upon Him to pardon the least sin–without an adequate atonement.

Nay, now it appears that when so malignant and abominable a thing is but imputed to His dear Son, His co-equal, His darling, His favorite–that even He could not escape unpunished, but was made a¬†monument of vindictive justice¬†to all worlds!¬†

What can more strongly expose the evil of sin–than the cross of Christ?¬†Sin is such an intolerably malignant and abominable thing, that even a God of infinite mercy and grace cannot let the least instance of it pass unpunished!

It was not a small thing which could arm God’s justice against the Son of His love. Though He was perfectly innocent in Himself–yet when He was made sin for us–God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up unto death–the shameful, tormenting, and accursed death of the cross!

Go, you fools, who make a mock at sin! 
Go and learn its malignity and demerit–at the cross of Jesus!¬†

WHO is it that hangs there writhing in the agonies of death
 . . .
  His hands and feet pierced with nails,
  His side gashed with a spear,
  His face bruised with blows, 
  drenched with tears and blood,
  His heart melting like wax,
  His whole frame racked and disjointed,
  forsaken by His friends, and even by His Father,
  tempted by devils, 
  and insulted by men? 
Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?
 It is . . .
  Jesus, the eternal Word of God,
¬† God’s Elect, in whom His soul delights,
¬† God’s beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased!

And¬†WHAT¬†has He done?¬†He did no wickedness; He knew no sin–but was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.¬†

And WHY then, all these dreadful sufferings from Heaven, earth, and Hell? 
Why, He only stood in the law-place of sinners–He only received their sin by imputation.¬†
And you see what it has brought upon Him! 
You see how low it has reduced Him! 
What a horrid evil must that be–which has such tremendous consequences, even upon the Darling of Heaven!

Oh! what still more dreadful havoc would SIN have made, if it had been punished upon the sinner himself in his own person! Surely all the various miseries which have been inflicted upon our guilty world in all ages, and even all the punishments of Hell–do not so loudly proclaim the terrible¬†desert¬†and¬†malignity¬†of sin, as the cross of Christ!

The infinite malignity of sin and God’s hatred to it, appear nowhere in so striking and dreadful a light–as in the cross of Christ! Let a reasonable creature take but one serious view of that cross–and surely he must ever after tremble at the thought of the least sin!

An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation

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An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation

(J.I. Packer, “The Puritan View of Preaching the Gospel”)

“You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their¬†sins.”¬†Matthew 1:21¬†

If we do not preach about¬†sin¬†and God’s judgment on it, we cannot present Christ as Savior from sin and the wrath of God. And if we are silent about these things, and preach a Christ who saves only from the sorrows of this world–then we are not preaching the Christ of the Bible. We are, in effect bearing false witness, preaching a false Christ, and our message is another gospel. Such preaching may soothe some, but it will help nobody; for a Christ who is not seen and sought as a Savior from sin, will not be found to save from anything else.

An imaginary Christ will not bring a real salvation
; and a half-truth presented as the whole truth is a complete untruth.


He that has learned to feel his sins, and to trust Christ as his Savior, has learned the two hardest and greatest lessons in Christianity.

“He was delivered over to death for our¬†sins¬†and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25¬†

“He Himself bore our¬†sins¬†in His body on the tree” 1 Peter 2:24

I desire that this may be the text at my funeral:

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I desire that this may be the text at my funeral:

The Aged Christian’s Final Farewell to the World and its Vanities” John Whitson, 1558-1629)

I desire that this may be the text at my funeral:¬†Psalm 42:2, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.¬†When can I go and meet with God?”¬†

Oh! when shall I ascend to the eternal throne of blessedness, where no comforts are lacking? 

When shall I be covered with the glorious robe of immortality, and shine in the brightness of my Redeemer’s innocence?¬†

When shall I behold the lovely face of my Lord and dwell in the courts of His holy temple, where . . .
  all tears shall be wiped away from my eyes,
  all sorrows removed from my heart,
  and all sins and spots are done away? 

Where I shall exchange the dross of this world, for true and durable riches! 

Where, instead of these¬†earthly riches¬†which moth and rust corrupt–I shall enjoy the heavenly riches of perfect peace and good conscience, never to be lost!¬†

Instead of these false and flattering honors, I shall enjoy everlasting glory, and be admitted into the fellowship of my Redeemer to reign with Him in His glorious kingdom! 

Instead of vain and momentary pleasures, I shall be filled with fullness of joy and be ravished with those delights which neither eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive! 

Instead of this dark and cloudy knowledge, I shall have my heart enlightened with the beams of the true light! 

Instead of this feeble strength, I shall be endowed with the might of angels! 

Instead of this transitory health, I shall enjoy a powerful and immortal vigor! 

Instead of this¬†fading beauty, I shall be adorned with the loveliness of Christ’s spouse!¬†

Instead of long life, I shall be crowned with life eternal! 

We shall sing, Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God almighty! Heaven and Earth are full of your glory. Glory be to You, O Lord, most High.

And now, as the deer pants for the water-brooks, so longs my soul after You, O God! 
O that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!
For whom have I in Heaven but You–and who is there upon earth that I desire but You?¬†
My heart and my strength fail me, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever!

Depths, heights, lengths and breadths of loveliness!

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Depths, heights, lengths and breadths of loveliness!

(Cornelius Tyree, “The Glorious Sufficiency of Christ!” 1879)

The more we love Him, the more lovely He will become to us.

We soon exhaust the most excellent characters of earth. But in the character of our blessed Redeemer there are¬†depths, heights, lengths and breadths of loveliness¬†that we can never exhaust through time or eternity. After, in Heaven, we shall have seen the King in His beauty as many millions of years as there are grains of dust in our globe–there will still be in Him an infinitude of unrevealed beauties to transport our ever expanding souls.

“He is fairer than the children of men,” and infinitely more lovely than all the holy angels, comprising in Himself all the graces of time and all the perfections of eternity.¬†

“He is the chief among ten thousand! Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!” As every ray of light in the natural world may be traced up in converging rays to the sun–so every trait of moral loveliness found in good men and angels is but a feeble ray from Him, the sun of the moral universe.¬†

The school of spiritual knowledge

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The school of spiritual knowledge

(Octavius Winslow, “Trial, A Help Heavenward“)

The school of trial is the school of spiritual knowledge. 

“Blessed is the man whom You¬†chasten, O Lord; and¬†teach¬†out of Your law.”¬†
Oh yes, in severe trials we learn more of . . .
¬† God’s¬†power¬†to support us,¬†
  His wisdom to guide us, 
  His love to comfort us, 
  in a degree we could not have learned but in the way of trial!

In affliction, we grow in a knowledge of¬†ourselves, learning more of our superficial attainments, shallow experience, and limited grace. We learn, too, more of our weakness, emptiness, and vileness–the plough-share of trial penetrating deep into the heart and turning up its veiled iniquity. And oh, how does this deeper self-knowledge lay us low, humble and abase us. And when our self-sufficiency and our self-seeking and our self-glorying is thus mowed down–then the showers of the Savior’s grace descend “as rain upon the mown grass,” and so we advance in knowledge and holiness heavenward.¬†

Trial, too, increases our acquaintance with Christ. We know more of the Lord Jesus through one sanctified affliction, than by all the treatises the human pen ever wrote! Christ is only savingly known, as He is known personally and experimentally. 
Books cannot teach Him, 
sermons cannot teach Him, 
lectures cannot teach Him. 
They may aid our information and correct our views–but to know Him as He is, and as we ought, we must have¬†personal dealings¬†with Him.¬†

Our sins must bring us to His sin-atoning blood, 
our condemnation must bring us to His righteousness, 
our corruptions must bring us to His grace, 
our needs must bring us to His fullness, 
our weakness must bring us to His strength, 
our sorrow must bring us to His sympathy, and
His own loveliness and love must attract us to Himself. 

And oh, in one hour, in a single transaction, in a lone sorrow, which has brought us to Jesus–who can estimate how rapidly and to what an extent we have grown in a knowledge of His person and work, His character and love?¬†

Oh yes, times of trial are times of growth in experimental knowledge. We see God and Jesus and truth from new standpoints, and in a different light; and we thank the Lord for the storm which dispelled the mist which hid all this glory, unveiling so lovely a landscape and so serene a sky to our view. 

I have seen more of my own vileness, 
and known more of Jesus, 
and have penetrated deeper into the heart of God, 
and have a clearer understanding of revealed truth, 
and have learned more of the mysteries of the divine life
–on this bed of sickness, in this time of bereaved sorrow, in this dark cloud that has overshadowed me–than in all my life before!¬†

A corrupt heart was the source of all!

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A corrupt heart was the source of all!

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

We have seen what man¬†was¬†as God made him–a lovely and happy creature.

Let us view him now as he has unmade himself–we shall see him a sinful and a miserable creature. This is the sad state we are brought into by the fall. Man’s nature is now wholly corrupted. There is a sad alteration–an astonishing overturning in the nature of man. Where, at first, there was nothing evil–now there is nothing good.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that¬†every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5

All our wicked practices are here traced to the fountain and spring-head–a corrupt heart was the source of all.¬†

The¬†soul, which was made upright in all its faculties–is now wholly disordered.¬†

The¬†heart, which originally was made according to God’s own heart–is now the reverse of it . . .
 a forge of evil imaginations,
 a sink of inordinate affections,
 and a storehouse of all impiety! Mark 7:21, 22 

Behold the heart of the natural man, as it is opened in our text: 

The mind is defiled.

The thoughts of the heart are evil.

The will and affections are defiled. 

The imagination of the thoughts of the heart, that is, whatever the heart frames within itself by thinking, such as judgment, choice, purposes, devices, desires, every inward motion–is evil. Yes, and¬†every¬†imagination–every frame of his thoughts, is evil continually.¬†

But is there not, at least, a mixture of good in them? No, they are only evil. Whatever changes may be found in them, are only from evil to evil; for the imagination of the heart, or frame of thoughts in natural men, is evil continually. Not one holy thought can ever be produced by an unholy heart.

O, what a vile heart is this! 

O, what a corrupt nature is this! 

What can that heart be, whereof every imagination, every set of thoughts–is only evil, and that continually!¬†

Surely that corruption is ingrained in our hearts, interwoven with our very natures, has sunk deep into our souls, and will never be cured but by a miracle of grace. Now such is man’s heart, such is his nature–until regenerating grace changes it!

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances!” Ezekiel 36:26-27¬†

All the jewels in the Savior’s crown are without a single flaw!

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All the jewels in the Savior’s crown are without a single flaw!¬†

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away, and will present you¬†faultless¬†with great joy into His glorious presence!” Jude 1:24¬†

Revolve in your mind that wondrous word “faultless”! We are far off from it now; but as our Lord never stops short of perfection in His work of redeeming love, every saved sinner shall be¬†without blemish¬†one day. The Savior who will keep His people to the end, will also present them at last to Himself as “a glorious Church,¬†without spot or wrinkle¬†or any such thing–but holy and without blemish!”

All the jewels in the Savior’s crown are without a single flaw!¬†

But how will Jesus make us faultless? He will wash us from our sins in His own blood, until we are as white and lovely as God’s purest angel! We shall be clothed in His perfect righteousness, which makes the saint who wears it truly faultless, perfect in the sight of God.

Also, the work of the Holy Spirit within us will be altogether complete. He will make us so perfectly holy, that we shall have no lingering tendency to sin. We shall be as holy as God is holy, and we shall dwell in His presence forever! 

“You are¬†altogether beautiful, My beloved–there is¬†no spot¬†in you!” Song of Songs 4:7

Sin gone, 
Satan shut out,
temptation past forever, 
and ourselves “faultless” before God
–this will be Heaven indeed!

Unto you who believe–He is precious!

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Unto you who believe–He is precious!

(Author unknown, 1872)

Unto you who believe–He is precious!” 1 Peter 2:7

It is to unbelievers only, that Christ is “as a root out of a dry ground”–having no form nor loveliness.¬†

To those who know Him, and put their trust in Him–He is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely! To those who believe, He is precious . . .
  in all the offices He sustains,
  in all the relations He bears,
  as their atoning Sacrifice, 
  as the Lord their righteousness, 
  as the source of their spiritual life,
  as their Teacher,
  as their Example, 
  and as their Guide. 

O my soul, is Jesus precious to you? 

Do you realize something of His worth? 

Is He your Refuge, your Hiding-place? 

Are you sheltered in Him? 

Is He your Shepherd, your Guardian, your Friend? 

Do you feel that, whatever you are called to part with–you cannot part with Christ?¬†

Do you feel that that He is your Savior, your Life, your All? 

Oh, then cleave to Him, serve Him earnestly, and live to His glory! 

And know to your comfort, that as unworthy and sinful as you are–you are precious to Him. He bought you with His precious blood, He claims you as His own, and He will treasure you among His jewels when He comes to gather them up!

“Yes, Christ is precious to my soul,
 My transport and my trust;
 Jewels to Him are gaudy toys,
¬†And gold is sordid dust!”

Such a god should be derided, not worshiped!

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Such a god should be derided, not worshiped!

(William S. Plumer, “Providence Asserted” 1856)

“Our God is in Heaven;¬†He does whatever pleases Him!”¬†Psalm 115:3¬†

“The Lord does whatever pleases Him, throughout all Heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths.” Psalm 135:6

To deny God’s¬†providence¬†is as atheistic as to deny His existence.¬†

Nothing more derogatory to the character of God can possibly be said, than that He does not rule His world.

The world may as well be without a God, as have one who is incompetent to rule it. 

A God, who neither sees, nor hears, nor knows, nor cares, nor helps, nor saves–is a vanity, and can never claim homage from intelligent men.¬†Such a god should be derided, not worshiped!

“The Lord reigns,¬†let the nations tremble!”¬†Psalm 99:1¬†

“Hallelujah!¬†For our Lord God Almighty reigns!”¬†Revelation 19:6¬†

Calvary’s stupendous scene!

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Calvary’s stupendous scene!¬†

(Henry Law, “Family Prayers”)

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins!” 1 John 4:9-10¬†

Holy Father, 
The heavens, the earth, and all that are therein, proclaim Your wondrous goodness. But Your love shines forth in surpassing luster at¬†Calvary’s stupendous scene!¬†At the cross we see Your heavenly grace removing the tremendous load of our iniquities from us–and¬†heaping them all on Your beloved Son!¬†We see Him standing as a transgressor in our place.¬†
We see Him, who knew no sin–made sin for us.¬†
We see Him, the all-holy One–accounted as a curse!¬†
We see Your justice leading the spotless Lamb to the slaughter, and rigorously demanding the full payment for all our sin-debt!

Your avenging sword enters into His very heart! 

The stream of sin-atoning blood flows! 

Full recompense is meted out!

Divine Justice can ask no more. 

Charges against us are all obliterated. 

The debt-book is cancelled. 
If our sins are searched for, they cannot now be found!

The¬†spotless Lamb¬†is devoted to all anguish–that we may be inheritors of all joy.¬†

He is cast off from You–that we may be brought near to You.¬†

He is treated as Your enemy–that we may be welcomed as Your friends.¬†

He is deserted by You–that we may be received to Your everlasting favor.¬†

He is surrendered to Hell’s worst–that we may attain Heaven’s best.¬†

He is stripped–that we may be clothed.¬†

He is wounded–that we may be healed.¬†

He thirsts–that we may drink of the water of life.¬†

He is in darkness–that we may rejoice in the glories of eternal day.¬†

He weeps–that all tears may be forever wiped from our eyes.¬†

He groans–that we may sing an endless song.¬†

He endures all pain–that we may rejoice in unfading health.¬†

He wears a crown of thorns–that we may receive a crown of glory.¬†

He bows His head in death–that we may lift up our head in Heaven.¬†

He bears earth’s reproach–that we may receive Heaven’s welcome.¬†

He is tormented–that we may be comforted.¬†

He is made all shame–that we may inherit all glory.¬†

His eyes are dark in death–that our eyes may gaze on unclouded brightness.¬†

He dies–that we may escape the second death, and live forevermore.¬†

O gracious Father, thus You spared not Your only begotten Son–that You may spare us!¬†

All our sins are cast behind Your back–all are¬†buried in the ocean of reconciling blood!¬†

We can only fall low and cry, “We adore You for the gift of Your Son as our substitute; for the death of Your Son as our ransom!”


Blessed Jesus, we have been standing beneath Your cross. 
The sight constrains us to the deepest humility. 
Our vile iniquity–is the cause of Your shame!¬†
We cannot fathom the sins which plunged You into such depths of unutterable woe! 
We cannot estimate the burden of wrath which thus crushed You. 
We cannot deny that the sins which stain us are evils of infinite malignity, since nothing but Your blood could wash away their guilty stains! As transgressors, we abhor ourselves before You.

While we humbly gaze–may we anxiously ponder,¬†“Why, blessed Jesus–why did You thus die?”¬†

May His precious answer sound through every part of our hearts and souls, 
“I die–that you may not die.¬†
¬†I lay down My life–to purchase your life.¬†
¬†I present Myself as a sin-offering to–expiate all your sins.¬†
¬†My blood thus streams–to wash out all your guilt.¬†
¬†The fountain is thus opened in My side–to cleanse you from all impurity.¬†
 I thus endure your curse.
 I thus pay your debt. 
 I thus rescue you from all condemnation. 
¬†I thus satisfy divine justice for you!”

How then distinguish them?

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How then distinguish them? 

(Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)

You may know a¬†sheep¬†from a¬†swine, when both have fallen into the same mire–and are, in fact, so bemired, that neither by coat nor color can the one be distinguished from the other.¬†

How then distinguish them? Nothing more easy! 

The¬†¬†sheep–a type of the godly–strives and struggles to¬†get out¬†of the muck.

But the swine, in circumstances agreeable to its nature, wallows in the filth. 

“What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and¬†the swine, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”¬†2 Peter 2:22

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?¬†Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.¬†A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.¬†Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire!¬†Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”¬†Matthew 7:16-20¬†

What are the marks of a true shepherd?

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What are the marks of a true shepherd?

(Arthur Pink, 1939)

“Be an¬†example¬†to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your¬†faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

How diligently should those¬†who think of entering the ministry, scrutinize their¬†motives; for thousands have abused this Divine institution through love of ease, desire for authority and fame, or love of money–and brought upon themselves “greater condemnation” (James 3:1). Thousands have invaded the pastoral office in an unauthorized manner–to¬†fleece¬†sheep rather than¬†feed¬†them–robbing Christ of His honor and starving His people.¬†

Solemn beyond words is it to observe how sternly our Lord denounced these false shepherds of His day. (Matthew 23). As Ryle rightly said, “Nothing seemed so offensive to Christ as a false shepherd. Nothing ought to be so much feared by the Church, and be so plainly rebuked, opposed and exposed.”

What are the marks of a true shepherd?¬†How are God’s people to identify those called and qualified by Him to minister unto His people?¬†

First, the genuine pastor has¬†the doctrine of Christ on his LIPS. The ministers of the new covenant are described as those who had “renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness.” Christendom today is infested with men who are full of deceit and hypocrisy, trimming their sails according to whatever direction the¬†breeze of public opinion¬†is blowing.¬†

“We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2). The true servant of Christ holds back nothing which is profitable, no matter how unpalatable it may be unto his hearers. He is one who magnifies not himself, nor his denomination, but Christ–His wondrous Person, His atoning blood, His exacting claims.¬†

Second, the genuine pastor has¬†the Spirit of Christ in his HEART. It is the Spirit who opens to him the mysteries of the Gospel, so that he is “the faithful and wise servant” (Matthew 24:45). It is the Spirit of Christ who gives him a love for His sheep, so that it is his greatest delight to lead them into the green pastures of His Word. It is the Spirit of Christ who enables him to use “great boldness of speech” (2 Corinthians 3:12), so that he shuns not to declare all the counsel of God. It is the Spirit of Christ who makes him to be “prepared in season and out of season; to correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). It is the Spirit of Christ who gives efficacy to his ministry, making it fruitful according to the sovereign pleasure of God.¬†

Third, the genuine pastor has¬†the example of Christ in his LIFE, which is a conforming of him to the image of his Master. It is true, sadly true, that there is not one of them who does not fall far short both of the inward and outward image of Christ. Yet there are some faint tracings of His image visible in all His true servants. The image of Christ is seen in their words, spirit, and actions; otherwise we have no warrant to receive them as God’s servants.

Find a man (no easy task today!) who has . . .
   the doctrine of Christ on his lips,
   the Spirit of Christ in his heart,
   the example of Christ in his life,
and you find one of His genuine ministers. All others are but thieves and robbers!

We do not know what we might have been!

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We do not know what we might have been!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“God is our refuge and strength–a very present help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1

We do not know what we might have been–if God’s gracious protection had not been like a wall of fire around us, as it still is–for the Lord continues to deliver all who put their trust in Him.¬†

Believe with unquestioning confidence that God is delivering you even now. You know that He¬†has¬†delivered you–be just as sure that He will continue to help you in every time of trouble.

“I am locked in a prison of despair!” Yes, but your Lord has a key that can open the door and let you out.¬†

“I am in great poverty!” another says. But He knows all about it, and He is going to supply all your needs.¬†

Yet another says, “But I am fainting!” God is near, ready to revive and encourage your fainting soul.

Perhaps a person says, “I find faith for the past and the ultimate future quite easy, but I don’t have enough faith for the present.” We sometimes forget that God is “a very¬†present¬†help in times of trouble,” but it is true.¬†

There may be many trials before you, but there is an abundance of mercy ready to meet those trials. There may be troubles that you do not know yet, as well as repetitions of those you have experienced. But the Lord will give you strength and will continue to deliver you.

As the eyes gradually fail, and the limbs grow weak, and the¬†infirmities of old age¬†creep over us–we are likely to be distressed, but our Lord will not forsake us.¬†

When severe¬†sickness¬†invades our earthly bodies and our pains multiply and intensify–we wonder how we will endure.

As we consider our¬†death–we wonder how we will be able to bear our last hours.¬†

Be encouraged: He who¬†has¬†delivered and¬†does¬†deliver–will¬†continue¬†to deliver.¬†
Even as the trial comes, the Lord will show you a way of escape.

He¬†has¬†delivered you–give Him your gratitude.¬†
He¬†is¬†delivering you–give Him your confidence.¬†
He¬†will¬†deliver you–begin now to praise Him for mercies that He has yet to show you, and for grace that you have not yet experienced but that He will grant you in the future.

“He¬†has¬†delivered us from such a deadly peril–and He¬†will¬†deliver us!” 2 Corinthians 1:10¬†

The Lord is My Shepherd!

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The Lord is My Shepherd!

(J.R. Miller, 1905)

“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need!” Psalm 23:1¬†

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd.¬†He will carry the¬†lambs¬†in His arms,¬†holding them close to His heart.¬†He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young!”¬†Isaiah 40:11

The¬†shepherd¬†is a favorite Scriptural picture of the divine love and care. In the Old Testament, the twenty-third Psalm gathers the whole wonderful truth in exquisite lines which are dear to young and old wherever the Bible is known. Then in the New Testament, when our Lord would give His friends the sweetest revealings of His heart toward them, and tell them what they are to Him and what He would be to them, He says,¬†“I am the Good Shepherd.”

The Hebrew shepherd¬†lives¬†with his sheep. If they are out in the storm–he is with them. If they are exposed to danger–so is he. Just so, Christ lives with His redeemed people. He enters into closest relations with them.

The shepherd¬†knows¬†his sheep. He has a¬†name¬†for each one and calls them all by their names. Just so, Christ knows each one of His friends–He has intimate personal knowledge of each one. He knows the best in us–and also the worst. He knows our faults, our sins, our wanderings. Yet, knowing us as we are–He loves us still and never wearies of us!

The shepherd is most¬†gentle¬†with his sheep. He does not¬†drive¬†them–but goes before them and¬†leads¬†them. When they need rest on the way–he makes them lie down, and chooses for their resting-place, not the dusty road–but¬†green pastures. He is especially kind to the¬†lambs,¬†carrying them in His arms,¬†holding them close to His heart. All this is an exquisite picture of the¬†gentleness of our Good Shepherd in His care of His sheep.¬†Whatever the need is, there is something in the heart of Christ which meets its craving and supplies its lack!¬†

The shepherd defends his flock in all danger. Often he had to risk his own safety, even his life, in protecting his sheep. Just so, the Good Shepherd gives His life for His sheep!

Christ’s sheep are absolutely¬†safe¬†in His keeping. “I give unto them eternal life,” He said; “and they will never perish–ever! No one can snatch them out of My hand!”¬†

Then at last, He will bring His own all¬†safely home, “and they shall become one flock, with one Shepherd!”

The most potent force for the production of virtue!

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The most potent force for the production of virtue!
(Charles Spurgeon)

“The HOPE which is reserved for you in Heaven.” Colossians 1:5¬†

Our hope in Christ for the future, is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here on earth.It will animate our hearts to think often of Heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there. 

Here on earth we are weary and toil-worn. Yonder is the land of rest, where the sweat of labor shall no more bedew the worker’s brow, and fatigue shall be forever banished. To those who are weary and woe-worn, the word “rest” is full of Heaven.

We are always in the field of battle. We are so tempted within, and so molested by foes without–that we have little or no peace! But in Heaven we shall enjoy the victory, when the banner shall be waved aloft in triumph, and the sword shall be forever sheathed, and we shall hear our Captain say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!”¬†

We have suffered bereavement after bereavement–but we are going to the land of the immortal, where graves are unknown things.¬†

Here on earth, sin is a constant grief to us–but there we shall be perfectly holy, for nothing which defiles shall enter into that pure kingdom! Hemlock does not spring up in the furrows of celestial fields.¬†

Oh! is it not joy, that we are not to be in a state of banishment forever–that we are not to dwell eternally in this wilderness, but shall soon inherit everlasting glory!

Nevertheless let it never be said of us, that we are dreaming about the future–and forgetting the present. Let the future sanctify the present to highest uses. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the hope of Heaven is the most potent force for the production of virtue! It is a fountain of joyous effort–it is the cornerstone of cheerful holiness.¬†

The man who has this hope in Jesus goes about his work with vigor, for the joy of the Lord is his strength. He fights against temptation with ardor, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary. He can labor without present reward, “for here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come!” Hebrews 13:1
 
“The hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time!” Titus 1:2¬†

“While we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!” Titus 2:13¬†

“Having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7¬†

The wedding feast!

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The wedding feast!

(Octavius Winslow) 

“Let us be glad and rejoice and honor Him. For the time has come for¬†the wedding feast¬†of the Lamb, and His bride has prepared herself.” Revelation 19:7¬†

Jesus sustains no relation to His Church more expressive than this. From all eternity He betrothed her to Himself. He asked her at the hands of her Father, and the Father gave her to Him. He entered into a covenant that she should be His. The conditions of that covenant were great, but not too great for His love to undertake. They were that He should . . . 
  assume her nature, 
  discharge her legal obligations, 
  endure her punishment, 
  repair her ruin, and 
  bring her to glory! 

He undertook all, and He accomplished all–because He loved her!¬†

The love of Jesus to His Church, is the love of the most tender husband. It is . . . 
  exclusive, 
  constant, 
  affectionate, 
  matchless, 
  wonderful. 

Jesus . . . 
  sympathizes with her, 
  nourishes her, 
  provides for her, 
  clothes her, 
  watches over her, and 
  indulges her with the most intimate and endearing communion. 

The Lord Jesus will come in the clouds of Heaven, and this will be the occasion of His public wedding of His Church. Her¬†presentunion to Him is secret and unknown–invisible to the world. But He will appear, openly and visibly to take her to Himself; and before His Father and the holy angels He will solemnize her eternal union.

Oh what a time of splendor and of rejoicing will that be! Arrayed in His nuptial robes, Jesus will descend to make her His own; and she, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” will go forth to meet Him. Then will be heard the song of angels, “Let us be glad and rejoice and honor Him. For the time has come for¬†the wedding feast¬†of the Lamb, and His bride has prepared herself.”¬†

Yes! “Blessed are they who are called unto¬†the wedding feast¬†of the Lamb.”

Three rules for a happy marriage

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Three rules for a happy marriage

(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Mark” 1857)

Of all relationships of life, none ought to be regarded with such reverence and none taken in hand so cautiously, as the relationship of husband and wife. 

In no relationship is so much earthly happiness to be found, if it is entered upon discreetly, advisedly, and in the fear of God. In none is so much misery seen to follow, if it is taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, wantonly, and without thought. 

From no step in life does so much¬†benefit¬†come to the soul, if people marry “in the Lord.” From none does the soul take so muchharm, if imagination, passion, or any mere worldly motive is the only cause which produce the union.¬†

There is, unhappily, only too much necessity for impressing these truths upon people. It is a mournful fact, that few steps in life are generally taken with so much levity, self-will, and forgetfulness of God, as marriage. Few are the young couples who think of inviting Christ to their wedding! 

It is a mournful fact that unhappy marriages are one great cause of the misery and sorrow of which there is so much in the world. People find out too late that they have made a mistake, and go in bitterness all their days. 

Happy are they, who in the matter of marriage observe three rules: 

The first is to¬†marry only in the Lord, and after prayer for God’s approval and blessing.¬†

The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels. 

The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another’s sanctification. The more holy married people are, the happier they are.

I began to read the Holy Scriptures upon my knees

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I began to read the Holy Scriptures upon my knees

(George Whitefield)

My mind being now more open and enlarged,¬†I began to read the Holy Scriptures upon my knees, laying aside all other books and praying over, if possible, every line and Word. This proved food indeed and drink indeed to my soul. I daily received fresh life, light and power from above. I got more true knowledge from reading the Book of God in one month–than I could ever have acquired from all the writings of men!


“I went to my room and locked my door, and putting the Bible on a chair, I went down on my knees at the chair. There I remained for several hours in prayer and meditation over the Word of God; and I can tell you that I learned more in those three hours which I spent in this way, than I had learned for many months previously.”¬†George Muller

“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long!” Psalm 119:97¬†

Too wise to err–and too loving to be unkind!

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Too¬†wise¬†to err–and too¬†loving¬†to be unkind!

(Arthur Pink, “The Sovereignty of God”)

Because God is¬†righteous–His judgments fall upon those who rebel against Him.

Because God is¬†faithful–the solemn threatenings of His Word are fulfilled.¬†

Because God is¬†omnipotent–none can successfully resist Him, still less overthrow His counsel.¬†

Because God is¬†omniscient–no problem can master Him, and no difficulty baffle His wisdom.¬†

Faith endures “as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27) Faith endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heart-aches of life–by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is¬†too¬†wise¬†to err–and too¬†loving¬†to be unkind.¬†

So long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself–there will be neither¬†rest¬†for the heart, nor¬†peace¬†for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as¬†from¬†His hand–then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings–whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr’s stake–we shall be enabled to say, “The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places!” (Psalm 16:6). But that is the language of¬†faith–not of¬†sight¬†or of¬†sense.

There is no higher aspect of faith, than that which brings the heart to patiently submit unto¬†whatever¬†God sends unto us; to meekly acquiesce unto His sovereign will; and to say, “Shall I not drink the¬†cup of suffering¬†which my Father has given me?” Faith when it reaches the pinnacle of attainment declares, “though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him!”

“Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine!” Luke 22:42¬†

The Scriptural view of sin!

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The Scriptural view of sin!


ALLEINE: O miserable man, what a deformed monster has sin made you! God made you “little lower than the angels”–but sin has made you little better than the devils!


BEART: There is a certain infiniteness in sin, because it is against an infinite God, which therefore brings a punishment of infinite duration, because it cannot be atoned for by finite creatures.


BROOKS: Did God leave us to act according to our sinful natures–we would all be incarnate devils, and this world would be an absolute Hell!
¬† There is no little sin–because there is no little God to sin against.


EDWARDS: You contribute nothing to your salvation–but the sin which made it necessary!
  Never did God so manifest His hatred of sin, as in the death and suffering of His only begotten Son.


FLAVEL: Christ is not sweet–until sin is made bitter to us!
¬† If God should damn you to all eternity–your eternal sufferings could not satisfy for the evil that is in one vain thought!¬†O the depth of the evil of sin!


HODGE: Original sin is the only rational solution of the undeniable fact of the deep, universal and early manifested sinfulness of men in all ages, of every class, and in every part of the world.


JAMES: The torments of the bottomless pit are not so dreadful a demonstration of God’s hatred of sin, as the agonies of the cross!


LOVE: Sin is worse than Hell, because sin made Hell to be Hell.


MANTON: Sin is sweet in commission, but bitter in its wages!
¬†¬†The more affected we are with our sinful misery–the fitter we are for Christ’s marvelous mercy.


MASON: Sin digs graves for bodies, and kindles Hell for souls!
  A man can never leave sin thoroughly, until he loathes it heartily.
  Go to Golgotha and see what sin did there!
  Christ did not die for sin, that we might live in sin.
  The sins of the wicked anger Christ, the sins of His people grieve Him.


NEWTON: The more vile we are in our own eyes–the more precious Christ will be to us!
¬†¬†Sin cannot be hated for itself–until we have seen the malignity of it in Christ’s sufferings!


OWEN: The¬†seed¬†of every sin–is in every heart!
¬† Christ’s blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls!
¬† I do not understand how a man can be a true believer–in whom sin is not the greatest burden, sorrow and trouble!

PRICE: We drown our sins in the Red Sea of Christ’s blood!


RYLE: Christ is never fully valued, until sin is clearly seen.


SIBBES: The depths of our misery–can never fall below the depths of God’s mercy!
¬†¬†Sin is not so sweet in the¬†committing¬†of it–as it is bitter in the¬†reckoning¬†of it.¬†
¬† It is evident that our conversion is sound–when we loathe and hate sin from the heart.


SPURGEON: If Christ has died for me–then I cannot trifle with the sin which killed my best Friend!
  What sin is worth being damned for?
¬† If you have¬†lived¬†like the wicked–then you will¬†die¬†like the wicked, and be¬†damned¬†like the wicked!
¬† Look to the cross, and hate your sin–for sin nailed your Well-Beloved to the cruel tree!
  Sin is self-damnation!
¬† As salt tinges every drop in the ocean–so does sin affect every atom of man’s nature!
¬† There is no cure for the love of sin–like the blood of Christ!


WATSON: Sin has the devil for its father, shame for its companion, and death and damnation for its wages!

The life-buoy!

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The life-buoy!

(Charles Spurgeon, “Christ Is All”)¬†

Whatever trials you have, my dear brother, Christ is all in all to meet them. 

Are you poor? He will make you rich in your poverty by His consoling presence. 

Are you sick? He will make your bed in your sickness, and so will make your sick-bed better than the walks of health. 

Are you persecuted? If it is for His sake, you may even leap for joy. 

Are you oppressed? Remember how He also was oppressed and afflicted; and you will have fellowship with Him in his sufferings. 

Amidst all the vicissitudes of this present life, Christ is all that the believer needs to bear him up, and bear him through. No wave can sink the man who clings to this life-buoy; he shall swim to glory on it!

Jesus is all I need!
  Jesus is . . . 
  the living water to quench my thirst, 
  the heavenly bread to satisfy my hunger, 
  the snow-white robe to cover me, 
  the sure refuge in times of trouble, 
  the happy home of my soul, 
  my food and my medicine, 
  my solace and my song, 
  my light and my delight. 

The believer can say, “Christ is mine!”¬†No emperor is half as rich as the beggar that has Christ!¬†He who has Christ, being a pauper, has all things. And he who has not Christ, possessing a thousand worlds, possesses nothing for real happiness and joy!¬†

Oh, the blessedness of the man who can say,¬†“Christ is mine!”

Your salvation makes amends for all His sufferings!

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Your salvation makes amends for all His sufferings!

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(Samuel Davies, “The Sufferings of Christ, and Their Consequent Joys and Blessings“)

“He shall¬†see His seed!¬†He shall¬†see¬†of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied!” Isaiah 53:10-11¬†

Jesus is now exalted to His throne in the highest heavens; and from thence He takes a wide survey of the universe. He looks down upon our world–and beholds kings in their grandeur, victorious generals with all their power, nobles and great men in all their pomp. But these are not the objects that best please His eyes.¬†“He shall see His seed!”¬†He sees one here, and another there, bought with His blood, and born of His Spirit; and this is the most delightful sight our world can afford Him. Some of them may be oppressed with poverty, covered with rags, or ghastly with famine; they may make no great figure in mortal eyes; but He loves to¬†look¬†at them! He esteems them as His children, and¬†the fruits of His dying pangs!

The happiness of His exalted state consists in a great degree, in the pleasure of seeing the designs of His death accomplished in the conversion and salvation of sinners!

His eyes are graciously fixed upon this assembly today! And if there is one of His spiritual seed among us, He can distinguish them in the crowd. 
He sees you
 drinking in His Words with eager ears! 
He sees you at His table commemorating His love!
He sees your hearts breaking with penitential sorrows, and melting at His cross!

But these are not the only children whom He delights to view; they are not all in such an abject, imperfect state. No! He sees a glorious company of them around His throne in Heaven, arrived to maturity, enjoying their inheritance, and resembling their divine Parent!

How does His benevolent heart rejoice to look over¬†the immense plains of Heaven–and see them all peopled with¬†His seed!¬†When He takes a view of this numerous offspring, sprung from His blood, and when He looks down to our world–and sees so many¬†infants in grace, gradually advancing to their adult age; when He sees some, perhaps every hour since He died upon Calvary, entering the gates of Heaven, having finished their course of¬†education¬†upon earth; I say, when this prospect appears to Him on every hand–how does He rejoice!

Now the prophecy in my text is fulfilled! “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied!” If you put the sentiments of His benevolent heart into language, methinks He would say, “Since My death has been so fruitful of such a glorious posterity, I am well satisfied. I desire no other reward for all My agonies for them. If this end is but answered, I am fully satisfied by My hanging on the tree for them!”

Suppose that He should this day appear to you in that¬†suffering¬†form–sweating great drops of blood, accused, insulted, bruised, scourged, nailed upon the cross! And suppose He should turn to¬†you¬†with a countenance full of love and pity, and drenched with blood and tears, and address you in such moving language as this:
“See! sinners–see what I suffer for you! See at what a dear rate I purchase your salvation! See how I love you! And now I have only this to ask of you in return: that you would forsake those murderous sins which thus torment Me; that you would love and serve Me; and receive that salvation which I am now purchasing with the blood of My heart! This I ask, with all the importunity–of My last breath, of My bleeding wounds, and My expiring groans. Grant Me but this, and I am well satisfied! I shall think of all My sufferings, as well bestowed.”

O sirs, must not your heart melt away within you, to hear such language as this? See the strength of the love of Jesus! If you are but saved, He does not begrudge His blood and life for you!¬†Your salvation makes amends for all His sufferings!¬†This He accounts His greatest joy–a joy more than equivalent to all the pains He endured for you! He has¬†full satisfaction¬†for all the sorrows you have caused Him!

But alas! If you are¬†not¬†saved–then you will perish forever under the weight of His righteous vengeance; and He will rejoice over your damnation! He will glorify Himself in your destruction! The flames of Hell will burn dreadfully bright–when He will please Himself in the execution of His justice upon you!

Alas! Is the happiness of Heaven, the only kind of happiness that you are careless about? Is the salvation of your immortal soul, the only deliverance for which you have no desire? Alas! Have you become so stupidly wicked!!

“He shall see His seed! He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied!” Isaiah 53:10-11

But there is a condition

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But there is a condition

(J.R. Miller, “In All Your Ways!“)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.¬†In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6¬†

We all need direction in our life paths. 

We turn to our friends for counsel, but human wisdom is inadequate. It is short-sighted and cannot certainly know what is best. It is ignorant and may mislead unwittingly. Wrong advice, though meant for good, has wrecked many a life destiny! Human guidance is not enough; we need something truer, wiser, safer–something infallible; and that is just what we have assured to us in this¬†promise of divine direction.

But there is a¬†condition–we must acknowledge the Lord in¬†all¬†our ways. The “all” is emphatic. Most of us acknowledge the Lord in¬†some¬†of our ways. We turn to Him in the time of great trials, or in great and sore dangers. Even scoffers and atheists have been known, in the moment of peril, as in a storm at sea–to fall upon their knees and call upon God for help. The worst people, when alarming sickness is on them, or when death stares them in the face, want to take hold of the hand of God. There are none of us who do not at certain times crave divine direction and help.¬†

But the promise reads, “In¬†all¬†your ways”–that is¬†the¬†condition¬†of the promised direction.

We are very willing to acknowledge God while He directs us in the paths in which¬†we¬†are inclined to go–paths that are pleasant and agreeable to¬†us. We can easily submit to the sweet will of God, when it is indeed sweet to our natural taste. But how is it when God directs us to go the way we do not want to go–to do the thing that is unpleasant, and will cause pain, or require sacrifice or loss?¬†

How is it when the voice of God, answering to our request . . .
   bids us to take the path which leads to a cross;
   bids us to turn away from the pleasant thing that we crave;
   bids us to give up the dear friendship, which is drawing us away from Him; 
   bids us give into His hand, the child or loved one we so desire to keep with us?

“In all your ways” means the hard ways–as well as the easy ways; the thorny path–as wall as the path of flowers. Yet we are continually coming to points at which we hesitate. We say: “In all¬†but this, dear Lord–I can take Your way and do Your will.” Still the answer comes, “In all¬†My ways, My child.”¬†

There must be no reserve, no withholding, no exception. 

The¬†beloved sin¬†must be given up–though it seems only a little one, though giving it up is like cutting off a right hand or plucking out a right eye.¬†

The¬†hard path¬†must be taken–though it leads among thorns that pierce the feet, over the sharp stones, and through fire and flood.¬†

The¬†painful duty¬†must be done–though it costs us popularity, ease, or position; though it leads to poverty, suffering, or homelessness.¬†

The¬†bitter grief¬†must be accepted–though it seems to take all, and leave nothing.
It must be accepted sweetly, lovingly, cheerfully, with unquestioning surrender. 

The lesson is plain. Nothing must be withheld from God–whether it be in obedience, or in submission.¬†

The darling sin must be given up. 

The rough path must be walked over. 

That hard duty must be accepted. 

We must acknowledge the Lord in all our ways, if we would have Him direct our paths.

Looking at the world through the cross!

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Looking at the world through the cross!

(Octavius Winslow)

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14¬†

Jesus could accomplish man’s redemption in no other way than by crucifixion. He must die–and die the death of the cruel cross.¬†

What light and glory beam around the cross!

Of what prodigies of grace, is it the instrument, 
of what glorious truths, is it the symbol, 
of what mighty transforming power, is it the source! 

Around the cross gathers all the light of the Old Testament economy: 
  it explains every symbol, 
  it substantiates every shadow, 
  it solves every mystery, 
  it fulfills every type, 
  it confirms every prophecy, 
of that dispensation which had eternally remained unmeaning and inexplicable, but for the death of the Son of God upon the cross. 

Not the¬†past¬†only–but all¬†future¬†splendor gathers around the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It assures us of the ultimate reign of the Savior, and tells of the reward which shall spring from His sufferings. And while its one arm points to the divine counsels of eternity past–with the other it points to the future triumph and glory of Christ’s kingdom in the eternity to come! Such is the lowly yet sublime, the weak yet mighty instrument, by which the sinner is saved and God eternally glorified.¬†

The cross of Christ is . . .
  the grand consummation of all preceding dispensations of God to men;
  the meritorious procuring cause of all spiritual blessings to our fallen race;
¬† the scene of Christ’s splendid victories over all His enemies and ours;
  the most powerful incentive to all evangelical holiness;
  the instrument which is to subjugate the world to the supremacy of Jesus;
  the source of all true peace, joy and hope;
  the tree beneath whose shadow all sin expires, all grace lives. 

The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! 
What a holy thrill these words produce in the heart of those who love the Savior! 
How significant is their meaning, how precious is their influence! 

Marvelous and irresistible, is the power of the cross! The cross of Christ has . . .
  subdued many a rebellious will; 
  broken many a marble heart; 
  laid low many a vaunting foe; 
  overcome and triumphed, when all other instruments have failed; 
  transformed the lion like heart of man, into the lamb like heart of Christ! 

When lifted up in its own bare simplicity and inimitable grandeur–the cross of Christ has won and attracted millions to its faith, admiration, and love!¬†

What a marvelous power does this cross of Jesus possess! It changes the Christian’s entire judgment of the world.¬†Looking at the world through the cross–his opinion is totally revolutionized.¬†
He sees the world as it really is–a sinful, empty, vain thing.¬†
He learns its iniquity, in that it crucified the Lord of life and glory. 
His expectations from the world, and his love to the world, are transformed. 
He has found another object of love–the Savior whom the world cast out and slew.¬†
His love to the world is destroyed by that power which alone could destroy it–the crucifying power of the cross.¬†

It is the cross which eclipses, in the view of the true believer, the glory and attraction of every other object. 

What is the weapon by which faith combats with, and overcomes the world? What but the cross of Jesus! 

Just as the natural eye, gazing for a while upon the sun, is blinded for the moment to all other objects by its overpowering effulgence; so to the believer, concentrating his mind upon the glory of the crucified Savior, studying closely the wonders of¬†graceand¬†love¬†and¬†truth¬†meeting in the cross–the world with all its attraction fades into the full darkness of an eclipse.¬†

Christ and His cross infinitely better than the world and its trinkets! 

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14¬†

We shall not always live in this poor, dying, trying, suffering, sinful state!

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We shall not always live in this poor, dying, trying, suffering, sinful state! 

(Letters of John Newton)

Now¬†I know in part–then¬†I shall know fully.” Soon we shall see cause to number our¬†sharpest trials, among our¬†choicest mercies!¬†Then we shall say,¬†“He has done all things well.”

Our trials are but for a season.¬†We shall not always live in this poor, dying, trying, suffering, sinful state!¬†Yet a little while, and all our sorrows will be left below–and this poor earth will be exchanged for a glorious Heaven!

Our present troubles will soon be to us–as the remembrance of a¬†dream¬†when we awake!

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen–but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary–but what is unseen is eternal!” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18¬†

An immense ocean of everlasting love!

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An immense ocean of everlasting love!

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

Dear friend,
May Jesus be yours–all that He¬†is, and all that He¬†has. Then you will be as rich as an archangel!

May He captivate you more with His infinite beauty and enable you to live more blessedly upon His infinite fullness, that He may keep His royal court in your soul!

The more you are acquainted with Him, the more you will grow in love to Him; for He is altogether lovely, an immense ocean of everlasting love! The loveliness of the whole world is but a drop compared to His immeasurable love. What must Heaven be, where His love is to be fully manifested and enjoyed forever! There we shall see Him! Oh, for that day! 

But even along our pilgrim way, He walks with us and makes our hearts burn within us. These sweet foretastes of His love draw us on and whet our appetite for Heaven. A few more of these foretastes, and we shall get to the fountainhead and drink rivers of pleasure forevermore! 

To His precious dear heart’s love, I commend you and yours, and am for His sake your friend and servant,
William Romaine

When she kisses you!

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When she kisses you!

(Francis Quarles, 1592-1644)

Do you think, my soul, to be made happy by the smiles of the world–or unhappy by her frowns?¬†

When she fawns upon you, she deludes you. 

When she kisses you, she betrays you. 

Like Jael, she brings the milk in a lordly dish, and bears a hammer in her deadly hand. 

Trust not her¬†flattery, O my soul–nor let her¬†malice¬†move you.¬†

Her music is your enchantment, and her sweetness is your snare! 

She is the highway to eternal death! 

“Worldliness is the most thronged road to everlasting ruin!”¬†J.A. James

“The spirit of the world is eating out the very heart and life of true godliness!”¬†George Everard¬†

Refined worldliness is the present snare of the Church of God!”¬†Horatius Bonar

“The world is a¬†sea, where we are tossed upon the surging waves of sorrow, and often in danger of shipwreck! The world is a¬†wilderness, full of fiery serpents!”¬†Thomas Watson¬†

Who shall have the glory–the worm or Jesus?

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Who shall have the glory–the worm or Jesus?

(Letters of William Romaine, 1714-1795)

I received your letter, and think you overlook our ever adorable Jesus, in setting any value upon a poor, dirty worm such as myself. 

If His grace raised this poor, dirty worm from a dunghill and set it upon a throne with His princes,¬†who shall have the glory–the worm or Jesus?¬†Shall any of His due praise be given to the worm? God forbid!

As vile and base as I am–yet He lets me approach Him and converse with Him freely.¬†

He condescends to admit me into fellowship with Him; and He opens His treasures and says, “All these are yours. I bought them for you with the price of My blood, but I give them to you as a free gift!”¬†

An infallible test!

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An infallible test!

(Samuel Davies, “The Nature of Love to God and Christ, Opened and Enforced”)

“If anyone does not love the Lord–a curse be on him!”¬†1 Corinthians 16:22

If you truly love the Lord Jesus Christ–then you earnestly study and endeavor to please Him by¬†a life of universal obedience. Love is always¬†desirous¬†to please the person beloved; and it will naturally lead to a¬†conduct¬†that is pleasing. This, then, you may be sure of, that if you truly love Jesus–then it is the labor of your life to please Him.

The only way to¬†please¬†Jesus, and the best¬†test¬†of your love to Him–is¬†obedience¬†to His commandments. This is made¬†the decisive mark¬†by Christ Himself: “If anyone¬†loves¬†Me–he will¬†obey¬†My teaching. He who does not love Me–will not¬†obey¬†My teaching.” John 14:23, 24

Jesus repeats this¬†theme¬†over and over in different forms: “Whoever has My commands and¬†obeys¬†them–he is the one who¬†lovesMe,” verse 21. “If you¬†love¬†Me–you will¬†obey¬†what I command,” verse 15. “You are My friends–if you¬†do¬†what I command.” John 15:14. “This is love for God,” says John; that is, it is the surest¬†evidence, and the natural, inseparable¬†effect¬†of our love to God, “that we¬†obey¬†His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3; that is, they will not seem grievous to one who obeys them from the principle of sincere love.

Here, then, you who¬†profess¬†to love the Lord Jesus–here is¬†an infallible test¬†for your love! Do you make it the great aim of your life to keep His commandments? Do you honestly endeavor to perform every¬†duty¬†which He has required–and that because He has commanded it? And do you vigorously resist and struggle against every¬†sin, however constitutional, however fashionable, however gainful–because He forbids it? And is the way of obedience¬†pleasant¬†to you? Would you choose this holy way to Heaven, rather than any other–if it were left to your choice?

Your¬†not¬†loving¬†God–if it continues, will certainly lead you to Hell.¬†You are fit for no other place!¬†Where should the¬†enemies¬†of God be–but in an infernal prison? There is the same propriety in throwing you into Hell–as in shutting up madmen in bedlam, or rebels in a dungeon! Why, you are devilized already!¬†You have the very temperament of devils!¬†Enmity to God¬†is the grand constituent of a devil–it is the worst ingredient in that infernal disposition; and this you have in your hearts, and, as it were, incorporated with your habitual temperament! And what do you think will become of you? Judge for yourselves–must you not be doomed to that everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels–whom you resemble?

“If anyone does not love the Lord–a curse be on him!”¬†1 Corinthians 16:22

Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption

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Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption

(Robert Traill)

“But from Him you are in Christ Jesus, who for us became:
 wisdom from God, 
 as well as righteousness,
 sanctification,
¬†and¬†redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30

Wisdom¬†outside of Christ–is damning folly!¬†

Righteousness¬†outside of Christ–is guilt and condemnation!¬†

Sanctification¬†outside of Christ–is filth and sin!¬†

Redemption¬†outside of Christ–is bondage and slavery!

If a man trusts to his own righteousness, he rejects Christ’s righteousness.¬†
If he trusts to Christ’s righteousness, he rejects his own righteousness.

I know no true religion but Christianity.

I know no true Christianity but the doctrine of Christ:
  of His divine person,
  of His divine offices,
  of His divine righteousness, 
  and of His divine Spirit. 

I know no true ministers of Christ, but such as make it their business to commend Jesus Christ in His saving fullness of grace and glory, to the faith and love of men.

I know no true Christian, but one united to Christ by faith, and abiding in him by faith and love, unto the glorifying of the name of Jesus Christ, in the beauties of gospel-holiness.    

Quicken our poor, cold, lifeless souls!

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Quicken our poor, cold, lifeless souls! 

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

“My soul cleaves unto the dust–quicken me according to Your Word!” Psalm 119:25¬†

What powerful attractions the present world has! How prone we are . . .
  to sink down to its level,
  to become attached to its customs,
  and to cleave to its vanities! 
Yet, at the best, it is but dust. There is nothing in the world to satisfy or suit an immortal mind. 

Jesus died for us–to deliver us from this present evil world. The Holy Spirit urges us to rise above it, and offers us His divine and all-sufficient aid. He will not force, but only attract or draw. Alas! that we should . . .¬†
  slight His intimations,
  disregard His exhortations,
  and grieve His loving heart!

We are not of the world–and yet how worldly we are!¬†We are born from above–but yet how earthly we remain! Our souls go out after things that are carnal, drossy, dusty, contemptible–to the neglect of things that are spiritual, pure, holy, and invaluable.¬†

Heavenly Father, we confess our folly, we deplore our ingratitude, we condemn our conduct. We feel weak and feeble when we attempt to burst our bonds, and mount upwards to Your throne. O quicken, quicken us! By the power of Your Holy Spirit, and by bringing home Your inspired Word–quicken our poor, cold, lifeless souls!¬†

Have You not promised to be as the¬†dew¬†unto Your people, coming down graciously, gradually, and gently upon them–in order to revive their graces, quicken their devotions, and cause them to grow up into Christ? O come down upon our dry and thirsty souls as the dew–or fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants.

Quicken us–and so will we mount up to Your throne, and do Your righteous will. Quicken us–and so Jesus will be precious to us, and the work of the Lord will be pleasant to us.

Where is there a more sinful spot to be found upon our guilty globe?

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Where is there a more sinful spot to be found upon our guilty globe?

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(Samuel Davies, “The Justice of God–and the Sins of Our Country” 1755)

“When¬†disaster¬†comes to a city–has not the LORD caused it?” Amos 3:6

It concerns us all to seriously reflect upon our own sins and the sins of our land, which have brought these calamities upon us.

We and our countrymen are sinners, aggravated sinners! God proclaims that we are such:
  by His judgments now upon us,
  by withering fields and scanty harvests,
  by the sound of the trumpet and the alarm of war! 

O my country, is not your wickedness great, and your iniquities infinite?¬†Where is there a more¬†sinful spot¬†to be found upon our guilty globe?¬†Pass over the land, take a survey of the inhabitants, inspect into their conduct–and¬†what do you see? What do you hear?¬†

You see the¬†gigantic forms of vice¬†bidding defiance to the God of Heaven–while true religion and virtue are forced to retire to avoid public contempt and insult!¬†

You see herds of drunkards swilling down their cups, and drowning all morality within them! 

You hear the¬†swearer¬†venting his fury against God–trifling with that Name which prostrate angels adore, and imprecating that damnation, under which the hardiest devil in Hell trembles and groans!

You see avarice hoarding up her useless treasures, 
dishonest craft
 planning her schemes of unlawful gain, 
and oppression unmercifully grinding the face of the poor! 

You see prodigality squandering her stores! 

You see luxury spreading her table! 

You see¬†vanity¬†laughing aloud and dissolving in empty, unthinking mirth–regardless of God, of time and eternity!¬†

You see¬†sensuality¬†wallowing in carnal pleasures, and aspiring, with perverted ambition–to sink as low as her four-footed brethren in the stalls!

You see cards more in use than the Bible; 
the backgammon table more frequented than the table of the Lord; 
novels 
and¬†romances¬†more read–than the history of the blessed Jesus!¬†

You see trifling, and even evil diversions and amusements, become a gigantic business! 
The outcome of a horse-race is more anxiously attended to–than the concerns of eternity!¬†

And where these¬†grosser forms of vice¬†do not shock your senses–you often meet with the appearances of¬†a¬†more refined impiety, which is equally dangerous!

You hear the¬†conversation¬†of reasonable creatures, of candidates for eternity–engrossed by trifles, or vainly wasted on the affairs of time! These are their¬†important subjects¬†of conversation, even at the threshold of the house of God!

You see swarms of prayerless families all over our land! You see ignorant, wicked children, unrestrained and untaught by those to whom God and nature have entrusted their souls! 

You see the holy religion of Jesus–abused, neglected, disobeyed, and dishonored by its professors!¬†

You see crowds of professed believers, who are in reality, practical atheists! 
These nominal Christians are really unholy heathens! 
They are¬†abandoned slaves of sin–who yet pretend to be the servants of the holy Jesus!

You see multitudes¬†lying in a deep sleep in sin¬†all around us! You see them eager in the pursuits of the vanities of time–but stupidly unconcerned about the important realities of the eternal world just before them! So few are concerned what shall become of them–when all their connections with earth and flesh must be broken, and they must take their flight into strange, unknown regions! So few lamenting their sins! So few crying for mercy and a new heart! So few flying to Jesus!¬†

The only effectual reformer of the world!

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The only effectual reformer of the world!

(Samuel Davies, “Serious Reflections on WAR” 1757)

“When He comes–He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment!” John 16:8

The Holy Spirit is¬†the only effectual reformer of the world!¬†If He is absent–
  legislators may make laws against crime; 
  philosophers may reason against vice; 
  ministers may preach against sin; 
  conscience may remonstrate against evil;
  the divine law may prescribe, and threaten Hell; 
  the gospel may invite, and allure to Heaven; 
but all will be in vain!

The strongest arguments, the most melting entreaties, the most alarming denunciations from God and man, enforced with the highest authority, or the most compassionate tears–all will have no effect–all will not effectually reclaim one sinner, nor gain one sincere convert to righteousness!¬†

Paul, Apollos, and Peter, with all their apostolic abilities, can do nothing, without the Holy Spirit. Paul may plant the seed–and Apollos may water it; but God alone can make it grow! “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything–but only God, who makes things grow!” 1 Corinthians 3:6, 7

Never will peace and harmony be established in this¬†jangling world–until this¬†Divine Agent¬†takes the work in hand.

It is He alone, who can melt down the obstinate hearts of men into love and peace! 

It is He alone, who can soften their rugged and savage tempers, and transform them into mutual benevolence! 

It is He alone–who can quench those lusts that set the world on fire, and implant the opposite virtues and graces. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, are mentioned by Paul, as the¬†fruit of the Spirit, because the Spirit alone is the author of them. And if these dispositions were predominant in the world–what a serene, calm, peaceful region would it be,¬†undisturbed with the hurricanes of human passions!

Oh, how much do we need the influence of the blessed Spirit . . .
  to break the heart of stone,
  to enlighten the dark mind, and
  to comfort the desponding soul!

The only system adapted to his case!

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The only system adapted to his case!

(William Nicholson, “Pearls of Great Price!” 1855)

Viewing man as a fallen, sinful creature–the gospel is¬†the¬†only¬†system adapted to his case!¬†¬†
The more he contemplates it, the more he perceives its precious adaptation to his dreadful state. 
The gospel is . . .
  light, for the darkness of his reason; 
  peace, for the tumult of his conscience; 
  joy, for the anguish of his mind; 
  hope, for the gloom of his despair. 

Is he guilty? The gospel presents . . .
  an all-sufficient Savior,
  an all-atoning sacrifice,
  and an all-forgiving God. 

Is he impure? The gospel opens up for him a fountain for sin and for uncleanness–a hallowed flood supplied from the Redeemer’s cross, where the vilest sinner may wash from his heinous pollution.¬†

Is he alienated from God–at an infinite distance from the only source of happiness and forgiveness? The gospel is a medium of approach, a way of access to the thrice holy God. Here the Alpine mountains of his guilt are leveled to the dust. Here the prodigal returns, is freely received, fully forgiven, elevated to a place in his heavenly Father’s family, and never lost from his heavenly Father’s heart.¬†

Is he the victim of ignorance and error? Here he receives the lessons of a heavenly prophet–the¬†Spirit¬†of God becomes his kind instructor. Here the untutored savage is made wiser than the learned sage, “wise unto salvation!”

Does he feel himself the subject of passions that lead him continually astray from God? 
The same Spirit becomes the inhabitant of his bosom . . .
  to subdue his passions, 
  to curb his lusts, 
  to control his will, and 
  to sanctify the nature He has first renewed, and which shall finally be glorified with Christ. 

In every point of view, the gospel meets his case!

Is he a sinner? The gospel offers pardon!

Is he a debtor? The gospel grants him full payment of his dept! 

Is he a captive to sin and Satan? The gospel gives him liberty. 

Is he fallen into utter depravity? It elevates him to God’s throne, and constitutes him “a king and a priest unto God.”¬†

Is he thirsty? The gospel is a river of life. 

Is he weary? It is a sweet repose. 

Is he ignorant? The gospel is a divine instructor. 

Is he spiritually diseased? It is immortal health and vigor to his soul. 

Is he dying? The gospel is eternal life. 

Yes, in the gospel . . .
  the law is fulfilled,
  justice is atoned, and
¬† the divine perfections are harmonized in man’s redemption.

The cultivation of an insignificant life

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The cultivation of an insignificant life

(J.H. Jowett)

It is possible to evade a multitude of trials by the cultivation of an insignificant life.
 

Only One Life!

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, 
And from my mind would not depart:
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,¬†
Only what’s done for Christ will last!

Only one life, yes only one, 
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,¬†
And stand before His Judgment seat.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,¬†
Only what’s done for Christ will last!

Only one life, the still small voice, 
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, 
And to God’s holy will to cleave.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,¬†
Only what’s done for Christ will last!

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes and fears;
Each with its days I must fulfill, 
living for self, or in His will.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,¬†
Only what’s done for Christ will last!

When this bright world would tempt me sore, 
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way, 
Then help me Lord with joy to say:
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,¬†
Only what’s done for Christ will last!

Give me Father, a purpose deep, 
In joy or sorrow Your word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,¬†
Pleasing You in my daily life.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,¬†
Only what’s done for Christ will last!

Oh let my love with fervor burn, 
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for You, and You alone, 
Bringing You pleasure on Your throne.
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,¬†
Only what’s done for Christ will last!

Only one life, yes only one, 
Now let me say, “Your will be done!”
And when at last I’ll hear the call,¬†
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all!”
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,¬†
Only what’s done for Christ will last!

        Author unknown
 

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.
 Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you
¬†know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

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