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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Law And Gospel

John Calvin

A prayer by John Calvin:

Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast made known thy Law, and hast also added thy gospel, in which thou callest us to thy service, and also invitest us with all kindness to partake of thy grace — O grant, that we may not be deaf, either to thy command or to the promises of thy mercy, but render ourselves in both instances submissive to thee, and so learn to devote all our faculties to thee, that we may in truth avow that the rule of a holy and religious life has been delivered to us in thy law, and that we may also firmly adhere to thy promises, lest through any of the allurements of the world, or through the flatteries and crafts of Satan, thou shouldst suffer our minds to be drawn away from that love which thou hast once for all manifested to us in thine only begotten Son, and in which thou daily confirmest us by the teaching of the Gospel, until we at length shall come to the full enjoyment of this love in that celestial inheritance, which has been purchased for us by the blood of thine only Son. Amen.

Emerson On Opportunity

Quoting American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882):

 

“America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine Providence in behalf of the human race.”

Richard Baxter: Remember That Christ Has Conquered Satan!

Have you ever had a troubling moment when you felt the presence of evil as a living supernatural, yet unseen, being? At such times your fears may be real or imaginary but evil exists and there are devils or demons under the command of a “being” named Lucifer in the spiritual world that surrounds us. Often, however, we give the Devil more attention than is due him. Richard Baxter reminds us of this by providing Christians with advice concerning the fear of Satan:

Remember that the devil is chained up and wholly at the will and beck of God. He could not touch Job, or an ox, or an ass of his, till he had permission from God, Job 1. He cannot appear to thee nor hurt thee unless God give him leave.

Labor therefore to make sure of the love of God, and then thou art safe; then thou hast God, his love and promise, always to set against the devil.

Remember that Christ hath conquered the devil in his temptations, on the cross, by his resurrection and ascension. He “destroyed through death him that had the power of death, even the devil, that he might deliver them who through fear of death were their entire lifetime subject to bondage,” Heb. 2:14-15. The prince of this world is conquered and cast out by him, and wilt thou fear a conquered foe?

Remember that thou art already delivered from his power and dominion, if thou be renewed by the Spirit of God. And therefore let his own be afraid of him, that are under his power, and not the free-men and redeemed ones of Christ. God hath delivered thee in the day that he converted thee, from a thousand-fold greater calamity than the seeing of the devil would be; and having been saved from his greatest malice, you should not over-fear the less.

Remember what an injury it is to God and to Christ that conquered him, to fear the devil, while God is your protector (any otherwise than as the instrument of God’s displeasure): it seems as much as to say, I fear lest the devil be too hard for God; or lest God cannot deliver me from him.

Remember how you honor the devil by fearing him, and pleasure him by thus honoring him. And will you not abhor to honor and please such an enemy of God and you? This is it that he would have; to be feared instead of God. He glories in it as part of his dominion: as tyrants rejoice to see men fear them, as those that can destroy them when they will, so the devil triumphs in your fears as his honor. When God reprehended the idolatry of the Israelites, it is as they feared their idols of wood and stone. To fear them, showed that they took them for their gods, 2 Kings 17:38-39; Dan. 6:26.

Consider that it is a folly to be inordinately fearful of that which never did befall thee, and never befalleth one of many hundred thousand men: I mean any terrible appearance of the devil. Thou never sawest him; nor hearest credibly of but very few in an age that see him (besides witches). This fear therefore is irrational, the danger being utterly improbable.

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