My idea of delight is a Princeton room full of fellows smoking. When I think what a wonderful aid tobacco is to friendship and Christian patience, I have sometimes regretted that I never began to smoke.
When we depend upon organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend upon education, we get what education can do; when we depend upon man, we get what man can do; but when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do.
For my own part I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that “nothing happens” when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.
If by excessive labour, we die before reaching the average age of man, worn out in the Master’s service, then glory be to God, we shall have so much less of earth and so much more of Heaven!
It is our duty and our privilege to exhaust our lives for Jesus. We are not to be living specimens of men in fine preservation, but living sacrifices, whose lot is to be consumed.
In every minister’s life there should be traces of stern labour. Brethren, do something; do something; DO SOMETHING. While Committees waste their time over resolutions, do something. While Societies and Unions are making constitutions, let us win souls. Too often we discuss, and discuss, and discuss, while Satan only laughs in his sleeve … Get to work and quit yourselves like men
It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by his hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity
Find preachers of David Brainerd’s spirit, and nothing can stand before them.
When asked, “What can be done to revive the work of God where it has decayed?” John Wesley replied,
“Let every preacher read carefully the life of David Brainerd.”
According to my judgment the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life.
Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.
Every lust aims at the height in its kind.
Strength and comfort, and power and peace, in our walking with God, are the things of our desires. Were any of us asked seriously, what it is that troubles us, we must refer it to one of these heads:— either we want strength or power, vigour and life, in our obedience, in our walking with God; or we want peace, comfort, and consolation therein. Whatever it is that may befall a believer that doth not belong to one of these two heads, doth not deserve to be mentioned in the days of our complaints. Now, all these do much depend on a constant course of mortification
If ever, then, thou hast enjoyed peace with God, if ever his terrors have made thee afraid, if ever thou hast had strength to walk with him, or ever hast mourned in thy prayer, and been troubled because of thy weakness, think of this danger that hangs over thy head. It is perhaps but a little while and thou shalt see the face of God in peace no more. Perhaps by to-morrow thou shalt not be able to pray, read, hear, or perform any duties with the least cheerfulness, life, or vigour; and possibly thou mayst never see a quiet hour whilst thou livest,—that thou mayst carry about thee broken bones, full of pain and terror, all the days of thy life. Yea, perhaps God will shoot his arrows at thee, and fill thee with anguish and disquietness, with fears and perplexities; make thee a terror and an astonishment to thyself and others; show thee hell and wrath every moment; frighten and scare thee with sad apprehensions of his hatred; so that thy sore shall run in the night season, and thy soul shall refuse comfort; so that thou shalt wish death rather than life, yea, thy soul may choose strangling. Consider this a little,—though God should not utterly destroy thee, yet he might cast thee into this condition, wherein thou shalt have quick and living apprehensions of thy destruction. Wont thy heart to thoughts hereof; let it know what is like to be the issue of its state. Leave not this consideration until thou hast made thy soul to tremble within thee.
And, indeed, I might here bewail the endless, foolish labour of poor souls, who, being convinced of sin, and not able to stand against the power of their convictions, do set themselves, by innumerable perplexing ways and duties, to keep down sin, but, being strangers to the Spirit of God, all in vain. They combat without victory, have war without peace, and are in slavery all their days. They spend their strength for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which profiteth not. This is the saddest warfare that any poor creature can be engaged in. A soul under the power of conviction from the law is pressed to fight against sin, but hath no strength for the combat. They cannot but fight, and they can never conquer; they are like men thrust on the sword of enemies on purpose to be slain. The law drives them on, and sin beats them back. Sometimes they think, indeed, that they have foiled sin, when they have only raised a dust that they see it not; that is, they distemper their natural affections of fear, sorrow, and anguish, which makes them believe that sin is conquered when it is not touched. By that time they are cold, they must to the battle again; and the lust which they thought to be slain appears to have had no wound.
Set faith at work on Christ for the killing of thy sin … Live in this and thou wilt die a conqueror; yea, thou wilt, through the good providence of God, live to see thy lust dead at thy feet … By faith fill thy soul with a due consideration of that provision which is laid up in Jesus Christ for this end and purpose, that all thy lusts, this very lust wherewith thou art entangled, may be mortified.
Sin cannot be annihilated through legalism, monasticism, pietism, asceticism, pharisaism, celibacy, self-flagellation, confessional booths, rosary beads, hail Marys, or any other external means. The instrument of mortification is the Holy Spirit, and His power is the energy that works in Christians to carry out the process.
Let this, then, be fixed upon thy heart, that if thou hast not relief from him thou shalt never have any. All ways, endeavours, contendings, that are not animated by this expectation of relief from Christ and him only are to no purpose, will do thee no good;
Without an absolute hatred of sin as sin, what business do you have cleaning up some particular part of your life? You who hold on to your sin in tenderness, calling it sweet names, are like Saul who saved the choicest possessions of the Amalekites for himself. The sin that you are holding on to, Christ bled and died for the sake of it, so set yourself against it as the Father set himself against his Son as a result of it.
The writings of John Owen are to be valued above all human writings for a true view of the mystery of the gospel.
I owe more to John Owen than to any other theologian, ancient or modern, and I owe more to this little book [The Mortification of Sin] than to anything else he wrote.
For when God designed the great and glorious work of recovering fallen man and the saving of sinners, to the praise of the glory of his grace, he appointed, in his infinite wisdom, two great means thereof. The one was the giving of his Son for them, and the other was the giving of his Spirit unto them. And hereby was way made for the manifestation of the glory of the whole blessed Trinity; which is the utmost end of all the works of God.
Take away the Spirit from the gospel and you render it a dead letter, and leave the New Testament of no more use unto Christians than the Old Testament is of unto the Jews.
There is not any thing done in us or by us that is holy and acceptable unto God, but it is an effect of the Holy Spirit
Here lay the foundation of the Christian church: The Lord Christ had called his apostles to the great work of building his church, and the propagation of his gospel in the world. Of themselves, they were plainly and openly defective in all qualifications and abilities that might contribute any thing thereunto. But whatever is wanting in themselves, whether light, wisdom, authority, knowledge, utterance, or courage, he promiseth to supply them withal. And this he would not do, nor did, any otherwise but by sending the Holy Spirit unto them; on whose presence and assistance alone depended the whole success of their ministry in the world.
To grant, therefore, that there is any spiritual good in us, or any degree of it, that is not wrought in us by the Spirit of God, both overthrows the grace of the gospel and denies God to be the only, first, supreme, and chiefest good, as also the immediate cause of what is so; which is to deny his very being.
Persons, I say, who diligently apply their rational abilities in and about spiritual things, as externally revealed in the word and the preaching of it, do usually attain great advantages by it, and excel their equals in other things; as Paul did when he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. Would men be but as intent and diligent in their endeavours after knowledge in spiritual things, as revealed in a way suited unto our capacities and understandings, as they are to get skill in crafts, sciences, and other mysteries of life, it would be much otherwise with many than it is. A neglect herein also is the fruit of sensuality, spiritual sloth, love of sin, and contempt of God; all which are the voluntary frames and actings of the minds of men.
There is no command given unto men for evangelical faith or obedience, but they can and do put forth a free positive act of their wills in the rejection of it, either directly or interpretatively, in preferring somewhat else before it.
Now this, in effect, is no less than to overthrow the whole grace of Jesus Christ, and to render it useless; for it ascribes unto man the honour of his conversion, his will being the principal cause of it. It makes a man to beget himself anew, or to be born again of himself,—to make himself differ from others by that which he hath not in an especial manner received. It takes away the analogy that there is between the forming of the natural body of Christ in the womb, and the forming of his mystical body in regeneration. It makes the act of living unto God by faith and obedience to be a mere natural act, no fruit of the mediation or purchase of Christ; and allows the Spirit of God no more power or efficacy in or towards our regeneration than is in a minister who preacheth the word, or in an orator who eloquently and pathetically persuades to virtue and dehorts from vice.
They do but mock God who pray unto him to do that for them which they can do for themselves, and which God cannot do for them but only when as they do it themselves.
Wherever this word is spoken with respect unto an active efficiency, it is ascribed unto God; he creates us anew, he quickens us, he begets us of his own will. But where it is spoken with respect unto us, there it is passively expressed; we are created in Christ Jesus, we are new creatures, we are born again, and the like; which one observation is sufficient to evert the whole hypothesis of Arminian grace.
Believers have a stock of habitual grace; which may be called indwelling grace in the same sense wherein original corruption is called indwelling sin.
There is none by whom the gospel is refused, but they put forth an act of the will in its rejection, which all men are free unto and able for: “I would have gathered you, but ye would not,” Matt. 23:37. “Ye will not come to me, that ye may have life,” John 5:40
I impute it to thy grace as to all the evils which I have not done.
There neither is, nor ever was, in the world, nor ever shall be, the least dram of holiness but what, flowing from Jesus Christ, is communicated by the Sprit, according to the truth and promise of the gospel.
The whole of our sanctification and holiness is comprised in these promises. To be cleansed from the defilements of sin, whatever they be, to have a heart inclined, disposed, enabled, to fear the Lord always, and to walk in all his ways and statutes accordingly, with an internal habitual conformity of the whole soul unto the law of God, is to be sanctified or to be holy. And all this God promiseth directly to work in us and to accomplish himself.
Sanctification is an immediate work of the Spirit of God on the souls of believers, purifying and cleansing of their natures from the pollution and uncleanness of sin, renewing in them the image of God, and thereby enabling them, from a spiritual and habitual principle of grace, to yield obedience unto God, according unto the tenor and terms of the new covenant, by virtue of the life and death of Jesus Christ. Or more briefly:— It is the universal renovation of our natures by the Holy Spirit into the image of God, through Jesus Christ.
Now, consider what it is that in your prayers you most labour about? Is it not that the body, the power, the whole interest, of sin in you may be weakened, subdued, and at length destroyed? Is it not that all the graces of the Spirit may be renewed daily, increased and strengthened, so as that you may be more ready and prepared for all duties of obedience? And what is all this for, but that holiness may be gradually progressive in your souls, that it may be carried on by new supplies and additions of grace, until it come to perfection?
But to suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect. Our duty is our duty, constituted unalterably by the law of God, whether we have power to perform it or no, seeing we had so at our first obligation by and unto the law, which God is not obliged to bend unto a conformity to our warpings, nor to suit unto our sinful weaknesses. Whatever, therefore, God worketh in us in a way of grace, he prescribeth unto us in a way of duty, and that because although he do it in us, yet he also doth it by us, so as that the same work is an act of his Spirit and of our wills as acted thereby.
Would we be cleansed for our sins,—that which is so frequently promised that we shall be, and so frequently prescribed as our duty to be, and without which we neither have nor can have any thing of true holiness in us,—we must labour after and endeavour to grow in this renovation of our natures by the Holy Ghost.
The tree of the cross being cast into the waters of affliction hath rendered them wholesome and medicinal.
Again, there is no other way whereby a man may have a sanctified use of afflictions, or a good issue out of them, but by the assiduous exercise of grace. This God calls for, this he designs, and without it afflictions have no other end but to make men miserable; and they will either have no deliverance from them, or such an one as shall tend to their farther misery and ruin.
Adam cured neither his nakedness nor the shame of it by his fig-leaves. Some have no other covering of their natural filth but outward ornaments of the flesh; which increase it, and indeed rather proclaim it than hide it. The greatest filth in the world is covered with the greatest bravery. See Isa. 3:16-24. Whatever we do ourselves in answer unto our convictions is a covering, not a cleansing; and if we die in this condition, unwashed, uncleansed, unpurified, it is utterly impossible that ever we should be admitted into the blessed presence of the holy God, Rev 21:27. Let no man deceive you, then with vain words. It is not the doing of the few good works, it is not an outward profession of religion, that will give you an access with boldness and joy. Shame will cover you when that it will be too late. Unless you are washed by the Spirit of God and in the blood of Christ from the pollutions of your natures, you shall not inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 6: 9-11. Yea, you will be a horrid spectacle unto saints and angels, yea, to yourselves, unto one another, when the shame of your nakedness shall be made to appear, Isa. 66:24.
It is to no purpose to set ourselves merely to watch against the eruptions of actual sins in the frames of our hearts, in the thoughts of our minds, or outward actions. If we would preserve ourselves from multiplying our defilements, if we would continually be perfecting the work of holiness in the fear of the Lord, it is this we must set ourselves against. The tree must be made a good if we expect good fruit; and the evil root must be digged up, or evil fruit will be brought forth;
Where the work of sanctification and spiritual cleansing is really begun in any, there the whole person is, and is thence denominated, holy. … for although there may be defilements adhering unto their actions, yet their persons are sanctified: so that no unholy person hath any communion with Christ, no member of his body is unholy,—that is, absolutely so, in such a state as thence to be denominated unholy.
He doth not unite us to himself because we are perfect, but that in his own way and time he may make us so; not because we are clean, but that he may cleanse us: for it is the blood of Jesus Christ, with whom we have fellowship that cleaseth us from all our sins.
There is wrought and preserved in the minds and souls of all believers, by the Spirit of God, a supernatural principle or habit of grace and holiness, whereby they are made meet for and enabled to live unto God, and perform that obedience which he requireth and accepteth through Christ in the covenant of grace; essentially or specifically distinct from all natural habits, intellectual and moral, however or by what means soever acquired or improved.
This is what we plead for: The Spirit of God createth a new nature in us, which is the principle and next cause of all acts of the life of God. Where this is not, whatever else there may be, there is no evangelical holiness. This is that whereby we are enabled to live unto God, to fear him, to walk in his ways, and to yield obedience according to his mind and will.
There is not a more secure generation of sinners in the world than those who have been acted by the power of conviction unto a course of obedience in the performance of many duties.
If vain spending of time, idleness, unprofitableness in men’s places, envy, strife, variance, emulations, wrath, pride, worldliness, selfishness, be badges of Christians, we have them on us and amongst us in abundance.
To believe in Christ for redemption, for justification, for sanctification, is but one half of the duty of faith;—it respects Christ only as he died and suffered for us, as he made atonement for our sins, peace with God, and reconciliation for us, as his righteousness is imputed unto us unto justification. Unto these ends, indeed, is he firstly and principally proposed unto us in the gospel, and with respect unto them are we exhorted to receive him and to believe in him; but this is not all that is required of us. Christ in the gospel is proposed unto us as our pattern and example of holiness;
Every act of faith is faith, and every act of love is love, and consequently no act of them is of ourselves, but every one of them is a fruit of the Spirit of God.
He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until he be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel. And so will he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to death.
Again, the principle to be slain is in ourselves. It cannot be killed without a sense of pain and trouble. Hence it is compared to the cutting off of right hands, and the plucking out of right eyes. Lusts that pretend to be useful to the state and condition of men, that are pleasant and satisfactory to the flesh, will not be mortified without such a violence as the whole soul shall be deeply sensible of.
And, moreover, there is no less fatal mistake where we make the object of this duty to be only some particular lusts, or the fruits of them in actual sins, as was before observed. This is the way with many. They will make head against some sins, which on one account or other they find themselves most concerned in; but if they will observe their course, they shall find with how little success they do it. For the most part, sin gets ground upon them, and they continually groan under the power of its victories; and the reason is, because they mistake their business. Contests against particular sins are only to comply with light and convictions. Mortification, with a design for holiness, respects the body of sin, the root and all its branches. The first will miscarry, and the latter will be successful. And herein consists the difference between that mortification which men are put upon by convictions from the law, which always proves fruitless, and that wherein we are acted by the spirit of the gospel. The first respects only particular sins, as the guilt of them reflects upon conscience; the later, the whole interest of sin, as opposed to the renovation of the image of God in us.
There is no greater nor more forcible motive to contend against all the defiling actings of sin, which is our mortification, than this, that by the neglect hereof the temple of the Spirit will be defiled, which we are commanded to watch against, under the severe commination of being destroyed for our neglect therein.
The course I intend is that of labouring universally to improve a principle of holiness, not in this or that way, but in all instances of holy obedience. This is that which will ruin sin, and without it nothing else will contribute any thing thereunto. Bring a man unto the law, urge him with the purity of its doctrines, the authority of its commands, the severity of its threatenings, the dreadful consequences of its transgression; suppose him convinced hereby of the evil and danger of sin, of the necessity of its mortification and destruction, will he be able hereon to discharge this duty, so as that sin may die and his soul may live? The apostle assures us of the contrary, Rom. 7:7-9
Holiness, indeed is perfected in heaven, but the beginning of it is invariably and unalterably confined to this world; and where this fails, no hand shall be put unto that work unto eternity. All unholy persons, therefore, who feed and refresh themselves with hopes of heaven and eternity do it merely on false notions of God and blessedness, whereby they deceive themselves. … “He that hath this hope purifieth himself as he is pure” 1Jn 3:2,3 … He that thinks to please God and to come to the enjoyment of him without holiness makes him an unholy God
It is true, our interest in God is not built upon our holiness; but it is as true that we have none without it. Were this principle once well fixed in the minds of men, that without holiness no man shall see God, and that enforced from the consideration of the nature of God himself, it could not but influence them unto a greater diligence about it than the most seem to be engaged in.
In our desires for heaven, if they are regular, we consider not so much our freedom from trouble as from sin; nor is our aim in the first place so much at complete happiness as perfect holiness. And they who desire heaven as that which would only ease them of their troubles, and not as that which will perfectly free them of sin, will fall into a state wherein sin and trouble shall be eternally inseparable. As, therefore, we would continually tend towards our rest and blessedness, as we would have assured and evident pledges of it in our own souls, as we would have foretastes of it and as experimental acquaintance with it, this is the design which we ought pursue. It is to be feared that the most of us know not how much of glory may be in present grace, nor how much of heaven may be attained in holiness on earth. … our duty it is to be always “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
It is from our likeness and conformity unto God alone that we are or may be useful in the world
Even God himself, whom we are bound to imitate, and a conformity unto whom we are pressing after, doth exercise his benignity and kindness in a peculiar manner towards them: 1 Tim 4:10, “He is the savior of all men,” but “specially of those that believe.” … we are likewise commanded to “do good unto all men” but “especially unto them who are of the household of faith”
We can have no evidence of our interest in God’s decree of election, whereby we are designed unto life and glory, without holiness effectually wrought in us. Wherefore, as our life depends upon it, so do all our comforts.
The doctrine of God’s eternal election is everywhere in the Scripture proposed for the encouragement and consolation of believers, and to further them in their course of obedience and holiness.
God hath chosen the poor of the world, the base and the contemptible, for the most part; yea, he hath designed the generality of his elect to a poor, low, and afflicted condition in this world. And shall we set our hearts on those things that God hath so manifestly put an under-valuation upon, in comparison of the least concernment of grace and holiness?
Men may be subdued by the power of the law, and compelled to habituate themselves unto a strict source of duty, and being advantaged therein by a sedate natural constitution, desire of applause, self-righteousness, or superstition, may make a great appearance of holiness; but if the principle of what they do be only the commands of the law, they never tread one true step in the paths of it.
Being then, under the command of God to be holy, not to endeavor always and in all things so to be is to despise God, to reject his sovereign authority over us, and to live in defiance of him. This state, I suppose, there are few who would be willing to be found in. To be constant despisers of God and rebels against his authority is a charge that men are not ready to own.
Things are in that state and condition in the world as that if we endeavor to answer his will in a due manner, designing to “perfect holiness in the fear of God,” we shall meet with much opposition, many difficulties, and at length, perhaps, it may cost us our lives; multitudes have made profession of it at no cheaper rate.
The command of God that we should be holy is not to be considered only as an effect of power and authority, which we must submit unto, but as a fruit of infinite wisdom and goodness also, which it is our highest advantage and interest to comply withal.
Obedience in holiness becomes equal, easy, and pleasant unto all believers who sincerely attend unto it.
God hath not in the new covenant brought down his command to the power of man, but by his grace he raiseth the power of man unto his command. The former were only a compliance with the sin of our nature, which God abhors; the latter is the exaltation of his own grace.
For men to trust unto themselves herein, as though they could do anything of themselves, is a renunciation of all the aid of grace, without which we can do nothing. We can have no power from Christ unless we live in a persuasion that we have none of our own. Our whole spiritual life is a life of faith; and that is a life of dependence on Christ for what we have not of ourselves. This is that which ruins the attempt of many for holiness, and renders what they do (though it be like unto the acts and duties of it) not at all to belong unto it; for what we do in our own strength is no part of holiness.
Actual grace for every holy act and duty, is administered unto us according to the promise of the gospel. … Now, although this actual working of grace be not in the power of the wills of men, to make use of or refuse as they see good, but its administration depends merely on the grace and faithfulness of God, yet this I must say, that were it is sought in a due manner by faith and prayer, it is never so restrained from any believer
God hath in this matter positively declared his will, interposing his sovereign authority, commanding us to be holy, and that on the penalty of his utmost displeasure; and he hath there withal given us redoubled assurance … that, be we else what we will or can be, without sincere holiness he will neither own us nor have any thing to do with us. Be our gifts, parts, abilities, places, dignities, usefulness in the world, profession, outward duties, what they will, unless we are sincerely holy … we are not, we cannot, we shall not be, accepted with God.
For whereas the foundation of our salvation in ourselves, and the hinge whereon the whole weight of it doth turn, is our faith, men might be apt to think that if they have faith, it will be well enough with them, although they are not holy. Therefore, because this plea and pretence of faith is great, and apt to impose on the minds of men, who would willingly retain their lusts with a hope and expectation of heaven, we are plainly told in the Scripture that faith which is without holiness, without works, without fruits, which can be so, or is possible that it should be so, is vain, is not that faith which will save our souls, but equivocally so called, that may perish for ever with those in whom it is.
The practice of most goes no farther but unto outward acts; the teachings of many go no farther, or at best unto the moderation of affections; but he, in the first place, requires the renovation of our whole souls, in all their faculties, motions, and actings, into the image of God. … There is nothing in any kind pleasing to God, conformable to his mind, or compliant with his will, but he requires it; nothing crooked, or perverse, or displeasing to God, but it is forbidden by him. It is, therefore, a perfect rule of holiness and obedience.
It is hence evident how vain and fond a thing it is for any persons continuing in an unholy condition to imagine that they have any interest in Christ, or shall have any benefit by him. This is the great deceit whereby Satan, that enemy of the common salvation, hath ruined the generality of mankind who profess the Christian religion. … They consider not that there are certain ways and means whereby the virtue and benefit of all that the Lord Christ hath done for us are conveyed to the souls of men, whereby they are made partakers of them. Without these we have no concernment in what Christ hath done or declared in the gospel. If we expect to be saved by Christ, it must be by what he doth and hath done for us, as a priest, a prophet, and a king. But one of the principal ends of what he doth in all these is to make us holy; and if these be not effected in us, we can have no eternal benefit by any thing that Christ hath done or continueth to do as the mediator of the church. Hence the miserable condition of the generality of those who are called Christians, who live in sin, and yet hope to be saved by the gospel, is greatly to be bewailed.
There is no greater misery nor slavery than to be under the power of sin.
The soul of a believer hath such satisfaction in this conflict as that its peace is not ordinarily disturbed, and is never quite overthrown by it. Such a person knows sin to be his enemy, knows its design, with the aids and assistances which are prepared for him against its deceit and violence; and, considering the nature and of this contest, is satisfied with it. Yea, the greatest hardships that sin can reduce a believer unto do but put him to the exercise of those graces and duties wherein he receiveth great spiritual satisfaction. Such are repentance, humiliation, godly sorrow, self-abasement and abhorrency, with fervent outcries for deliverance.
He died for us, that we should not live unto ourselves, but unto him that so dies for us, and by virtue of whose death we live.
Now, the sum of all that the Lord Christ expects from us in this world may be reduced unto these two heads:—1. That we should live holily to him; 2. That we should suffer patiently for him. And in these things alone is he glorified by us. … Where these things are, where this revenue of glory is paid in and returned unto him, he repents not of his purchase, nor of the invaluable price he hath paid for us.
If we are not cleansed from our sins in the blood of Christ, if we are not thereby purified from iniquity, we are an abomination unto God, and shall be objects of his wrath for ever. However, the Lord Christ requieth no more of his disciples in this matter, unto his glory, but that they profess that his blood cleanseth them from their sins, and evidence the truth of it by such ways and means as the gospel hath appointed unto that end.
I advise all that read or hear of these things diligently and carefully to study the gospel, that they may receive thence an evidence of the power, truth, glory, and beauty of Christ and his ways; for he that should consider the conversation of men for his guide will be hardly able to determine which he should choose, whether to be a Pagan, a Mohammedan, or a Christian. And shall such persons, by reason of whom the name of Christ is dishonored and blasphemed continually, expect advantage by him or mercy from him?
He led me, in a measure, to see what is my true glory in this world, even to be despised, and to be poor and mean with Christ. I saw then, in a measure, though I have seen it more fully since, that it ill becomes the servant to seek to be rich, and great, and honoured in that world, where his Lord was poor, and mean, and despised.
On this point, however, I had no anxiety; for I considered, that, as long as I really sought to serve the Lord, that is, as long as I sought the kingdom of God and His righteousness, these my temporal supplies would be added to me. The Lord most mercifully enabled me to take the promises of His word, and rest upon them.
My chief help is prayer. I have NEVER in my life begun to study one single part of divine truth, without gaining some light about it, when I have been able really to give myself to prayer and meditation over it. … This I most firmly believe, that no one ought to expect to see much good resulting from his labours in word and doctrine, if he is not much given to prayer and meditation.
There is a preparation for the public ministry of the Word, which is even more excellent than the one spoken of. It is this: to live in such constant and real communion with the Lord, and to be so habitually and frequently in meditation over the truth, that without the above effort, so to speak, we have obtained food for others, and know the mind of the Lord as to the subject or the portion of the Word on which we should speak. But this I have only in a small measure experienced, though I desire to be brought into such a state, that habitually “out of my belly may flow rivers of living water.”
Neither eloquence nor depth of thought make the truly great preacher, but such a life of prayer and meditation and spirituality, as may render him a vessel meet for the Master’s use, and fit to be employed both in the conversion of sinners and in the edification of the saints.
The passage to which I have just now alluded, John vii. 17, has been a most remarkable comment to me on many doctrines and precepts of our most holy faith. For instance: “Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew v. 39-44. “Sell that ye have, and give alms.” Luke xii. 33. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another.” Rom. xiii. 8. It may be said, surely these passages cannot be taken literally, for how then would the people of God be able to pass through the world. The state of mind enjoined in John vii. 17, will cause such objections to vanish. Whosoever is WILLING To ACT OUT these commandments of the Lord LITERALLY, will, I believe, be led with me to see that, to take them LITERALLY, is the will of God.
Let no one profess to trust in God, and yet lay up for future wants, otherwise the Lord will first send him to the hoard he has amassed, before He can answer the prayer for more.
This is plain, that I have not served a hard Master, and that is what I delight to show. For, to speak well of His name, that thus my beloved fellow-pilgrims, who may read this, may be encouraged to trust in Him, is the chief purpose of my writing.
The difference between the gift and the grace of faith seems to me this. According to the gift of faith I am able to do a thing, or believe that a thing will come to pass, the not doing of which, or the not believing of which would not be sin; according to the grace of faith I am able to do a thing, or believe that a thing will come to pass, respecting which I have the word of God as the ground to rest upon, and, therefore, the not doing it, or the not believing it would be sin. For instance, the gift of faith would be needed, to believe that a sick person should be restored again though there is no human probility: for there is no promise to that effect; the grace of faith is needed to believe that the Lord will give me the necessaries of life, if I first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness: for there is a promise to that effect.”
Make you His service your delight. Your wants shall be His care.
May I and all my brethren leave the management of all our affairs entirely to the Lord, who best knows what is good for us; and may it be our concern to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all temporal supplies shall be added to us!
The three chief reasons for establishing an Orphan-House are :-1. That God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2. The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3. Their temporal welfare.
This, then, was the primary reason, for establishing the Orphan-House. … the first and primary object of the work was, (and still is:) that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided, with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without any one being asked by me or my fellow-labourers, whereby it may be seen, that God is FAITHFUL STILL, and HEARS PRAYER STILL.
And feeling my own weakness, and knowing that it is not in my power to give faith to myself, I ask the brethren to help me with their prayers, that my faith may not fail.
How important to leave our concerns, great and small, with Him; for He arranges all things well ! If our work be His work, we shall prosper in it.
I consider it one of the especial mercies that, amidst so many engagements I have been kept in the ways of God, and that this day I have as much desire as ever, yea more than ever, to live alone for Him, who has done so much for me. My greatest grief is that I love Him so little. I desire many things concerning myself; but I desire nothing so much, as to have a heart filled with love to the Lord. I long for a warm personal attachment to Him.
Pause a few moments, dear reader ! Consider how seasonably the Lord sends the supplies! Not once does He forget us! Not once is our need only half supplied! Not once do His supplies come too late! Dear reader, if you have not the like experience of the Lord’s watchful care, Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!
The chief end for which the Institution was established is, that the Church of Christ at large might be benefited by seeing manifestly the hand of God stretched out on our behalf in the hour of need, in answer to prayer. Our desire, therefore, is not that we may be without trials of faith, but that the Lord graciously would be pleased to support us in the trial, that we may not dishonour Him by distrust.
This way of living brings the Lord remarkably near, He is, as it were, morning by morning inspecting our stores, that accordingly He may send help. Greater and more manifest nearness of the Lord’s presence I have never had, than when after breakfast there were no means for dinner, and then the Lord provided the dinner for more than one hundred persons; or when, after dinner, there were no means for the tea, and yet the Lord provided the tea; and all this without one single human being having been informed about our need.
There is nothing on the part of the Lord to hinder, why you may not know by experience, far more abundantly than we do now, His willingness to answer the prayers of His children. Do but prove the faithfulness of God. Do but carry your every want to Him. Only maintain an upright heart.
I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished.
It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this point. In no book did I ever read about it. No public ministry ever brought the matter before me. No private intercourse with a brother stirred me up to this matter. And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as any thing, that the first thing the child of God has to do morning by morning is, to obtain food for his inner man. … Now what is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the word of God; and here again not the simple reading of the word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.
To Him most manifestly we owe it that our faith has not failed completely.
Truly, it is worth being poor and greatly tried in faith, for the sake of having day by day such precious proofs of the loving interest which our kind Father takes in every thing that concerns us. And how should our Father do otherwise? He that has given us the greatest possible proof of His love which He could have done, in giving us His own Son, surely He will with Him also freely give us all things.
Faith with every fresh trial of it either increases by trusting God, and thus getting help, or it decreases by not trusting Him; and then there is less and less power of looking simply and directly to Him, and a habit of self-dependence is begotten or encouraged. One or other of these will always be the case in each particular instance. Either we trust in God, and in that case we neither trust in ourselves, nor in our fellowmen, nor in circumstances, nor in any thing besides; or we do trust in one or more of these, and in that case do NOT trust in God.
He said there needed neither art nor science for going to God, but only a heart resolutely determined to apply itself to nothing but Him and to love Him only.
O my God, since Thou art with me, and I must now, in obedience to Thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, grant me the grace to continue in Thy Presence; and prosper me with Thy assistance. Receive all my works, and possess all my affections.
Immediately make a holy and firm resolution never more to forget Him. Resolve to spend the rest of your days in His sacred presence, deprived of all consolations for the love of Him if He thinks fit. Set heartily about this work, and if you do it sincerely, be assured that you will soon find the effects of it.
Let us think of Him perpetually. Let us put all our trust in Him. I have no doubt that we shall soon receive an abundance of His grace, with which we can do all things, and, without which we can do nothing but sin
Often I had tried to make myself a Christian; and failing of course in such efforts, I began at last to think that for some reason or other I could not be saved, and that the best I could do was to take my fill of this world, as there was no hope for me beyond the grave.
“And how do you propose to go there?” he inquired.
I answered that I did not at all know; that it seemed to me probable that I should need to do as the Twelve and the Seventy had done in Judea go without purse or scrip, relying on Him who had called me to supply all my need. Kindly placing his hand upon my shoulder, the minister replied,
“Ah, my boy, as you grow older you will get wiser than that. Such an idea would do very well in the days when Christ Himself was on earth, but not now.”
I have grown older since then, but not wiser. I am more than ever convinced that if we were to take the directions of our Master and the assurances He gave to His first disciples more fully as our guide, we should find them to be just as suited to our times as to those in which they were originally given.
The effect of this blessed hope was a thoroughly practical one. It led me to look carefully through my little library to see if there were any books there that were not needed or likely to be of further service, and to examine my small wardrobe, to be quite sure that it contained nothing that I should be sorry to give an account of should the Master come at once.
My experience was that the less I spent on myself and the more I gave away, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become. Unspeakable joy all the day long, and every day, was my happy experience. God, even my God, was a living, bright Reality; and all I had to do was joyful service.
With God all things are possible, and no conversion ever takes place save by the almighty power of the Holy Ghost. The great need, therefore, of every Christian worker is to know God. Indeed, this is the purpose for which He has given us eternal life
Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts, and our own feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things, may be the true cause of our want of success.
The use of means ought not to lessen our faith in God; and our faith in God ought not to hinder our using whatever means He has given us for the accomplishment of His own purposes.
I knew something more than I had ever previously known of what it was to be despised and rejected, and to have nowhere to lay one’s head; and I felt more than ever I had done before the greatness of that love which induced Him to leave His home in glory and suffer thus for me;
Of how much sorer punishment, then, is he worthy who leaves the soul to perish, and Cain-like says, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord Jesus commands, commands me, commands you, my brother, and you, my sister. “Go,” says He, “go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Shall we say to Him, “No, it is not convenient”?
To me it seemed that the teaching of God’s Word was unmistakably clear: “Owe no man any thing.” To borrow money implied, to my mind, a contradiction of Scripture; a confession that God had withheld some good thing, and a determination to get for ourselves what He had not given.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” How true are these words! When the Lord is bringing in great blessing in the best possible way, how oftentimes our unbelieving hearts are feeling, if not saying, like Jacob of old, “All these things are against me.” Or we are filled with fear, as were the disciples when the Lord, walking on the waters, drew near to quiet the troubled sea, and to bring them quickly to their desired haven. And yet mere common-sense ought to tell us that He, whose way is perfect, can make no mistakes; that He who has promised to “perfect that which concerneth” us, and whose minute care counts the very hairs of our heads, and forms for us our circumstances, must know better than we the way to forward our truest interests and to glorify His own Name.
We were reminded of the difficulty of Moses—not a very common one in the present day—and of the proclamation he had to send through the camp to the people to prepare no more for the building of the Tabernacle, as the gifts in hand were already too much. We are convinced that if there were less solicitation for money and more dependence upon the power of the Holy Ghost and upon the deepening of spiritual life, the experience of Moses would be a common one in every branch of Christian work.
Not infrequently our God brings His people into difficulties on purpose that they may come to know Him as they could not otherwise do. Then He reveals Himself as “a very present help in trouble,” and makes the heart glad indeed at each fresh revelation of a Father’s faithfulness. We who only see so small a part of the sweet issues of trial often feel that we would not for anything have missed them; how much more shall we bless and magnify His Name when all the hidden things are brought to light!
Young Christians are sometimes distressed because their desire to preach the Gospel to the heathen has been opposed by parents: such should be encouraged to thank God for the obstacle; and to seek by prayer its removal. When they have learnt to move man through God at home, they will be the better prepared to do the same thing in the mission-field. Where there is fitness for the work, the way will probably be made plain after a time of patient waiting.
How many Christians there are who, in their self-will and attempted self-management, find themselves day by day full of sorrow, or full of care. Trying to keep themselves they are not kept; trying to be happy they are often unhappy; trying to succeed they fail; and they can but confess that their life is very different from that ideal life described in Ps. lxxxix. 15-18. Instead of this many practically know very little of peace “which passeth all understanding,” of joy that is literally “unspeakable”; adjectives far more moderate would be found strong enough to express all they know of oft-troubled peace and intermittent satisfaction and happiness. Many there are who fail to see that there can be but one lord, and that those who do not make God Lord of all do not make Him Lord at all. The slightest reservation in our consecration shows that we hold ourselves as our own, and consequently at liberty to give Him as much or as little as we think fit.
It is very important to have clear thoughts about the third person of the Trinity. Many Christians fail in this respect, and lose much in consequence.
He wants the gifts and offerings that are prompted by love. Shall He look to us in vain? Our David still thirsts, not for the waters of the well of Bethlehem, but for the souls for which He died. Shall He not have them?
Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God hath promised, or according to the Word, for the good of the church, with submission, in faith, to the will of God.
I feel it is far better to begin with God, to see His face first, to get my soul near Him before it is near another. In general it is best to have at least one hour alone with God before engaging in anything else.
There is neither encouragement nor room in Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes; all must be strenuous, urgent, ardent. Flamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delight heaven. God would have His children incorrigibly in earnest and persistently bold in their efforts. Heaven is too busy to listen to half-hearted prayers or to respond to pop-calls. Our whole being must be in our praying.
To say prayers in a decent, delicate way is not heavy work. But to pray really, to pray till hell feels the ponderous stroke, to pray till the iron gates of difficulty are opened, till the mountains of obstacles are removed, till the mists are exhaled and the clouds are lifted, and the sunshine of a cloudless day brightens-this is hard work, but it is God’s work, and man’s best labor.
Importunity is a condition of prayer. We are to press the matter, not with vain repetitions, but with urgent repetitions. We repeat, not to count the times, but to gain the prayer. We cannot quit praying because heart and soul are in it. We pray “with all perseverance.” We hang to our prayers because by them we live. We press our pleas because we must have them, or die.
Prayer is our most formidable weapon, the thing which makes all else we do efficient.
Prayer should be the breath of our breathing, the thought of our thinking, the soul of our feeling, the life of our living, the sound of our hearing, and the growth of our growing. Prayer is length without end, width without bounds, height without top, and depth without bottom; illimitable in its breadth, exhaustless in height, fathomless in depths, and infinite in extension.
Oh for determined men and women, who will rise early and really burn out for God. Oh for a faith that will sweep into heaven with the early dawning of the morning and have ships from a shoreless sea loaded in the soul’s harbor ere the ordinary laborer has knocked the dew from his scythe or the huckster has turned from his pallet of straw to spread nature’s treasures of fruit before the early buyers.
When you are to resist a temptation, or to mortify a corruption—do not go out in your own strength, but in the strength of Christ. Some go out to duty in the strength of their abilities; and go out against sin in the strength of their resolutions—and they both come home foiled. Alas! What are our resolutions, but like the green cords which bound Samson! A sinful heart will soon break these! Do as David when he was to go up against Goliath. He said, “I come to you in the name of the Lord!” So say to your Goliath lust, “I come to you in the name of Christ!” Then we conquer, when the Lion of the tribe of Judah marches before us!
Our people need a God-besotted man. Even if they criticize the fact that you are not available at the dinner on Saturday night because you must be with God, they need at least one man in their life who is radically and totally focused on God and the pursuit of the knowledge of God, and the ministry of the word of God.
How many people in your churches do you know that are laboring to know God, who are striving earnestly in study and prayer to enlarge their vision of God. Precious few.
The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.
Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.
Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned.
There is many a thing which the world calls ‘disappointment’, but there is no such a word in the ‘dictionary of faith’. What to others are disappointments, are divine appointments to believers. If two angels were sent down from heaven—one to conduct an empire, and the other to sweep a street—they would feel no inclination to change employments.
Though troubles assail And dangers affright, Though friends should all fail And foes all unite; Yet one thing secures us, Whatever betide, The scripture assures us, The Lord will provide.
We serve a gracious Master who knows how to overrule even our mistakes to His glory and our own advantage
This is faith: a renouncing of everything we are apt to call our own and relying wholly upon the blood, righteousness and intercession of Jesus
Our righteousness is in Him, and our hope depends, not upon the exercise of grace in us, but upon the fullness of grace and love in Him, and upon His obedience unto death
Beware of belittling God’s crooked sticks. With them he may write the message that that makes a thousand people glad.
I had scarcely a wish ungratified.
Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink, but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in, and for, us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice which HE made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us.
We can have no power from Christ unless we live in a persuasion that we have none of our own.
God had no children too weak, but a great many too strong to make use of. God stands in no need of our strength or wisdom, but of our ignorance, of our weakness; let us but give these to Him, and He can make use of us in winning souls.
Where there is true grace, there is an insatiable desire of more.
When we love God Himself and a godly man because of God’s image in him, this is the same act.
The gospel is not an announcement that God has relaxed his justice or lowered the standard of His holiness.
The highest heaven, the lowest heart, are the two places of God’s most glorious residence.
Would you be certain whether you are converted or not? Now let your soul and all that is within you attend. Have you taken God for your happiness? Where does the desire of your heart lie? What is the source of your greatest satisfaction? … Go into the gardens of pleasure, and gather all the fragrant flowers there, would these satisfy you? Go to the treasures of mammon; suppose you may carry away as much as you desire. Go to the towers, to the trophies of honor. What do you think of being a man of renown, and having a name like the name of the great men of the earth? Would any of these, would all of these satisfy you, and make you to count yourself happy? If so, then certainly you are carnal and unconverted.
[Prayer is] The hardest work of all—a labour above all labours, since he who prays must wage almighty warfare against the doubt and murmuring excited by the faint-heartedness and unworthiness we feel within us…that unutterable and powerful groaning with which the godly rouse themselves against despair, the struggle in which they call mightily upon their faith.
That religion which God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless wishes, raising us but a little above a state of indifference: God, in his word, greatly insists upon it, that we be good in earnest, “fervent in spirit,” and our hearts vigorously engaged in religion.
It is by the mixture of counterfeit religion with true, not discerned and distinguished, that the devil has had his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ … I have seen the devil prevail the same way, against two great revivings of religion in this country. Satan goes on with mankind, as he began with them.
He that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion.
Repentance is in every view so desirable, so necessary, so suited to honor God, that I seek that above all. The tender heart, the broken and contrite spirit, are to me far above all the joys that I could ever hope for in this vale of tears. I long to be in my proper place, my hand on my mouth, and my mouth in the dust.… I feel this to be safe ground. Here I cannot err.… I am sure that whatever God may despise … He will not despise the broken and contrite heart.
In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct ‘interpretations’ of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water. This is the only real harbinger of revival which I have been able to detect anywhere on the religious horizon.
I don’t care how strong your religion is or how strong your church life is. I don’t care how strong your morality is. At the day of judgment God will tear it down, tear it down and it will wilt.
Especially I saw my sinfulness in this, that when God had withdrawn himself, then, instead of living and dying in pursuit of him, I have been disposed to one of these two things; either, first, to yield an unbecoming respect to some earthly objects, as if happiness were to be derived from them; or, secondly, to be secretly forward and impatient, and unsuitably desirous of death.
The saint may expect to discover deeper experience and to know more of the higher life and scriptural life, by being much in prayer. … Now, all the developments of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment. There are the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family: but there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place of believers. All believers see Christ; but all believers do not put their fingers into the prints of the nails, nor thrust their hand into His side. We have not all the high privilege of John to lean upon Jesus’ bosom, nor of Paul, to be caught up into the third heaven. … Most Christians, as to the river of experience, are only up to the ankles; some others have waded till the stream is up to the knees; a few find it breast-high . and but a few—oh ! how few!—find it a river to swim in, the bottom of which they cannot touch. My brethren, there are heights in experimental knowledge of the things of God which the eagle’s eye of acumen and philosophic thought hath never seen; and there are secret paths which the lion’s whelp of reason and judgment hath not as yet learned to travel. God alone can bear us there; but the chariot in which He takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers.
Consider the work of thy generation. Count to run with the foremost therein.
Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think … It is wounding work, of course, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving. … Where there is grafting there is a cutting, the scion must be let in with a wound; to stick it on to the outside or to tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back, or there will be no sap from root to branch, and this I say, must be done by a wound.
True fidelity can endure rough usage.
The nature of gospel worship consists in this, that it is an entrance with boldness into the presence of God. However men may multiply duties, of what sort or nature soever they be, if they design not in and by them to enter into the presence of God, if they have not some experience that so they do, if they are taken up with other thoughts, and rest in the outward performance of them, they belong not unto evangelical worship. The only exercise of faith in them is in an entrance into the presence of God.
Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?
The only reason we don’t have revival is because we are willing to live without it
God pity us that after years of writing, using mountains of paper and rivers of ink, exhausting flashy terminology about the biggest revival meetings in history, we are still faced with gross corruption in every nation, as well as with the most prayerless church age since Pentecost
The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising
If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified
God’s people do not always know the greatness of His love to them. Sometimes, however, it is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Some of us know at times what it is to be almost too happy to live! The love of God has been so overpoweringly experienced by us on some occasions, that we have almost had to ask for a stay of the delight because we could not endure any more. If the glory had not been veiled a little, we should have died of excess of rapture, or happiness. Beloved, God has wondrous ways of opening His people’s hearts to the manifestation of His grace. He can pour in, not now and then a drop of His love, but great and mighty streams.
Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Mark 8:34). Let him first sit down and count up the cost, and the charge he is like to be at, if he follows me. For following of me is not like following of some other masters. The wind sits always on my face, and the foaming rage of the sea of this world, and the proud and lofty waves thereof, do continually beat upon the sides of the bark of the ship that myself, my cause, and my followers are in; he therefore that will not run hazards, and that is afraid to venture a drowning, let him not set foot into this vessel. So whosever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, he cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it (Luke 14:27-29).
Faith is never happier than when it can fall back upon the promise of God.
When God has spoken, his divine “shall,” our “I will,” becomes no idle boast, but the fit echo of the Lord’s decree. Believer, up and take possession of covenant mercies.
When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.
When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.
The curse of a godless man can sound more pleasant in God’s ears than the hallelujah of the pious
The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared?
Prayer without fervency and violence is no prayer; it is speaking, not praying.
Jesus Christ went more willingly to the cross than we do to the throne of grace.
Our prayers are God’s decrees in another shape.
Indeed it is not prayer, it may be something like prayer, the outward form or the bare skeleton, but it is not the living thing, the all-prevailing, almighty thing, called prayer, unless there be a fulness and overflowing of desires.
Shall I come into thy presence, O my God, and mock thee with cold-hearted words? Do the angels veil their faces before thee, and shall I be content to prattle through a form with no soul and no heart? Ah, my brethren! we little know how many of our prayers are an abomination unto the Lord.
The hypocrite would rather have his faith commended than examined.
Then we remember Christ’sdeath rightly when we are dead with Him.
A great faith can trust in an; angry God; it believes God’s love through a frown.
Did Christ bear the wrath of God for us, and shall we not bear the wrath of men for Him?
A true Christian hasa double baptism, one of water, the other of fire.
“The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that he loves you.”
You never find Christ doing a thing which you may not imitate.