Tag Archives: John MacDuff

🎄 Merry Christmas: This baffles all our comprehension!

“So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.” John 1:14

What a transition!

What a stoop for that Infinite Being who proclaimed Himself the Alpha and the Omega; for “The Ancient of days” to assume the nature and take the form of a cradled infant, sleeping on a virgin mother’s breast!

We have no plumb line to sound the depths of that humiliation. We have no arithmetic by which it can be submitted to any process of calculation.

If we can entertain for a moment the shocking supposition of the loftiest created spirit in heaven abjuring his angel nature, and becoming an insect or a worm; we can, in some feeble degree, estimate the descent involved in the transformation.

But, for the Illimitable, Everlasting Jehovah, Himself to become incarnate . . .

the Creator, to take the nature of the created; the Infinite, to be joined with the finite; Deity, to be linked with dust; this baffles all our comprehension!

(John MacDuff, “Clefts of the Rock” 1874)

Character

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Character 

(John MacDuff)

Character is the product of daily, hourly actions, words and thoughts: 
  daily forgiveness, 
  daily unselfishness, 
  daily kindnesses, 
  daily sympathies, 
  daily charities, 
  daily sacrifices for the good of others, 
  daily struggles against temptation, 
  daily submissiveness under trial. 
It is these, like the blending of colors in a picture–which constitute a person’s character.


I am fast borne along the stream of time!

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I am fast borne along the stream of time! 

(John MacDuff, “Evening Incense” 1856)

“It is appointed unto all once to die–and after death, the judgment!” Hebrews 9:27

O my Father, You are daily loading me with Your benefits–giving me unnumbered causes for gratitude and thankfulness. No earthly friend could have loved and cared for me like You. Oh may the life You are thus preserving by Your unceasing bounty–be unreservedly dedicated to Your praise.

O my Father, keep me mindful that I am soon to be done with this fleeting world; that I am fast borne along the stream of time–to the ocean of endless futurity!

May I be living in a constant state of preparedness for that solemn hour when small and great shall stand before You, and the booksshall be opened. Train me for eternity! Let me not be frittering away these fleeting, but precious moments. Impress on me the solemn conviction . . .
  that as men live–so do men die
  that as death leaves me–so judgment will find me;
  and that as judgment finds me–so eternity will keep me.

Oh let death leave me falling asleep in Jesus, united to Him by a living faith–so that judgment may find me seated at His right hand, listening to the joyous welcome, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!”

Blessed Jesus, all my hope of a glorious resurrection centers in You. I look to You as the strong tower which cannot be shaken. I flee anew to the holy sanctuary of Your covenant love. Sheltered there, amid a dissolving earth, and burning worlds–I shall be able joyfully to utter the challenge, “Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?”

Keep me from all negligence and unwatchfulness. Trim my flickering lamp. Let me live with Your Judgment-throne in view. May I ever remember–that I must soon give an account of myself to You, the infallible searcher of all hearts. May I feel that all the talents and means which You have given me–are trusts to be laid out for You. When you come to demand a reckoning, may I not be among the number of those who have hidden their talent in the earth, and have the cheerless retrospect of a misspent life.

May every providential voice sound loud in my ears, “Arise and depart–for this is not your rest, because it is defiled–it is ruined, beyond all remedy!”

Make me more heavenly-minded. Give me more of a pilgrim attitude–and a pilgrim spirit. May I ever feel that my true home is above–and that I am here on earth, but a wayfarer and sojourner, as all my fathers were. May I attain, as I advance nearer to Heaven, the blessed habit of a holy life, declaring plainly that I am seeking a heavenly home. 

I delight often to anticipate that happy time, when I shall suffer no more–and sin no more!

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

Trust His heart–even when you can’t trace His hand!

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Trust His heart–even when you can’t trace His hand!

(John MacDuff, “The Promised Land!” 1859)

“And He led them forth by the right way–that they might go to a city of habitation.” Psalm 107:7

God’s thoughts are not as our thoughts–neither are His ways as our ways! This truth is strikingly exemplified in the manner in which He led the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land. We would have chosen the way that was nearest and most direct–but God decided otherwise. He led them round about through the wilderness, and that for the space of forty years! And not merely was it the most distant way–but it was the most dangerous way as well. It was a land of deserts and of pits–a land of drought and death–a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt. 

But, as strange as it appeared, we are fully justified in saying that it was wisely arranged
Their long detainments;
their tiresome and circuitous wanderings;
their fierce conflicts with the Moabites and the Amalekites;
the bitter waters which they had to drink; and
the fiery serpents with which they were stung–
all fulfilled the high purposes of Him who is excellent in counsel, as well as wonderful in working. However contrary His way might have been to theirs–yet “He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.”

His dealings with His people now are still as unusual, and as much opposed to all their preconceived plans–as were His dealings with the Israelites! He has crossed their own schemes, and thwarted their most fondly-cherished purposes! He always effects His own ends–in His own way!

Christian, what is your duty?

It is to cherish high thoughts of God in all His inscrutable dealings towards you. 

It is to trust His heart–even when you can’t trace His hand; believing that “all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” 

It is to follow His guidance continually; for as He led His people of old with “the cloud by day, the pillared fire by night”–so He has promised to direct all your steps, and preserve all your goings.

It is to wait His time; for although the way may appear long and tedious–yet remember, “all is well, that ends well.” And what will the end be? “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads! They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away!”

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #2 ~ Alpha & Omega

This baffles all our comprehension!

“So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.” John 1:14

What a transition!

What a stoop for that Infinite Being who proclaimed Himself the Alpha and the Omega; for “The Ancient of days” to assume the nature and take the form of a cradled infant, sleeping on a virgin mother’s breast!

We have no plumb line to sound the depths of that humiliation. We have no arithmetic by which it can be submitted to any process of calculation.

If we can entertain for a moment the shocking supposition of the loftiest created spirit in heaven abjuring his angel nature, and becoming an insect or a worm; we can, in some feeble degree, estimate the descent involved in the transformation.

But, for the Illimitable, Everlasting Jehovah, Himself to become incarnate . . .

the Creator, to take the nature of the created; the Infinite, to be joined with the finite; Deity, to be linked with dust; this baffles all our comprehension!

(John MacDuff, “Clefts of the Rock” 1874)

Thankfulness To God

Thankfulness To God

“God has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Acts 14:17

We ofttimes forget that the common mercies of life are evidences of our Father’s loving thought and care for His children. There is no such thing as ‘chance’ in this world. God sends the rains, orders the seasons, and brings the harvests. In enjoying the gifts — we should not forget the Giver. In accepting and using the blessings — we should not fail to see the Hand which brings them to us! (J.R. Miller)

“What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits to me?” Psalm 116:12

The Christian, as he journeys onwards in the pathway of life, ought frequently to look back, and review the way by which God has led him. If we would keep alive our gratitude — if we would have it to increase more and more, until, like a holy flame, it burns within us — we must often, in thought, retrace the varied turnings and windings of our earthly pilgrimage.

We are so prone, amid our daily duties and our interaction with the world, to forget and overlook the divine benefits received, that only by a careful and frequent retrospect, can we continue, from day to day, cherishing a spirit of true and ever-increasing thankfulness to God. But, the oftener we make the review, the greater cause will we have for saying, with David, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my father’s house, that you have brought me hitherto?”

Christian! you cannot indeed reckon up all the benefits you have received from the hand of God — for they are as numerous as the stars of heaven or the drops of the mighty ocean! Your common mercies — alas! too lightly valued . . .

the air you breathe,
the return of the gladsome sunlight,
the succession of the seasons, and
the quiet and gentle stillness and repose of night

— all these, with their unnumbered host of attendant blessings, are scattered on your path! (John MacDuff)

Let us praise God for common mercies, for they prove to be uncommonly precious — when they are once taken away! (Charles Spurgeon)


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