• 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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The Loss Of Heaven

Richard Baxter

Quoting English Puritan preacher, minister and author Richard Baxter (1615-1691):

“A hard heart now makes heaven and hell seem but trifles. We have showed them everlasting glory and misery, and they are as men asleep; our words are as stones cast against a wall, which fly back in our faces. We talk of terrible things, but it is to dead men; we search the wounds, but they never feel it; we speak to rocks rather than to men; the earth will as soon tremble as they. But when these dead souls are revived, what passionate sensibility, what working affections, what pangs of horror, what depths of sorrow will there then be! How violently will they denounce and reproach themselves! How will they rage against their former madness! The lamentations of the most affectionate wife for the loss of her husband, or of the tenderest mother for the loss of her children, will be nothing to theirs for the loss of heaven.” (From: “Lamentations of the Lost,” excerpt from The Saint’s Everlasting Rest)

The Angelic World

Dr. Sam Storms

Quoting Sam Storms:

Jesus believed in and experienced the ministry of angels:

1. His conception was announced by an angel (Gabriel).

2. His birth was announced by angels.

3. He was tempted by a fallen angel.

4. He was ministered to by angels subsequent to the temptation.

5. His teaching is filled with references to angelic beings.

6. He experienced the ministry of angels in Gethsemane.

7. He could have appealed to twelve legions of angels (Mt. 26:53).

8. [Angels] were present at His tomb following the resurrection.

9. [Angels] were present at His ascension.

The point is that angels were an integral part of Christ’s birth, life, ministry, teaching, death, resurrection, ascension, and will accompany Him at his second advent. To deny the reality of the angelic world is to undermine the integrity of Jesus himself. (Angels, November 8, 2006, www.enjoyinggodministries.com)

Living Life To The Glory Of God

Samuel Clarke

Reverend Samuel Clarke came from a long line of Puritan ministers. He was a distinguished Bible scholar and a caring pastor. His ordination in the Dagnall Lane Chapel in 1712 was attended by several notable ‘dissenting’ ministers of the day. The closing exhortation at the service was delivered by Matthew Henry, the famous Bible commentator. Pastor Clarke ran a weekly Bible class for young people, teaching scripture and practical Christian living. In the following sermon excerpt, he helps us to understand the nature of true Christian character:

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. (Genesis 18:19)

These words are part of the character, which God himself, in different places of the Old Testament, has given of that great and good man, the Patriarch Abraham. And they are spoken in this place, as a ground or reason of the great and lasting blessings which God declared he intended to confer upon him. . . . Upon account of this character, and the blessings consequent upon it, he is elsewhere styled in scripture, “the friend of God,” and the “father of all them that believe”. . . .

The virtues, upon the account whereof these great blessings were promised to Abraham, were personal: but the blessings themselves, it is evident, were, with regard to him, figurative only; being fulfilled not till some hundreds of years after, upon his posterity; whereas, he himself did but sojourn in the land of promise, as in a strange country, and confessed that he was a stranger and pilgrim on the earth. . . .

The particular virtue which procured to Abraham the character given him in my text, was his keeping the way of the Lord, that is, his adhering to the belief and worship of the one true God of the universe, in opposition to the general corruption of the idolatrous nations among whom he lived; and his commanding his children and his household after him, to do the like. . . .

The great and principal design of every man’s life, ought to be the promoting of the glory of God; the encouraging of virtue, and discouraging every kind of vice. Not that any man is obliged to be perpetually employed in actions that are immediately of a religious nature; or that all his thoughts and discourses are to be wholly confined to things sacred: but that his principal and final aim, his general and constant view, the settled temper and disposition of his mind, and the habitual tendency of all his actions, be the establishing of truth and right in the world. And when once a man has habitually fixed to himself this great end, and it is become, as it were, his natural temper; when he is “transformed,” as St. Paul expresses it, “by the renewing of his mind,” and his “meat and drink,” as our Savior speaks concerning himself, is to “do the will of his Father which is in Heaven:” this love of goodness, will naturally, like all other habits, influence even the most common actions of his life: even when he is not actually thinking of it, but employed perhaps in the most vulgar affairs, or even in diversions themselves; yet still everything he does, will habitually have somewhat in it, tending to promote a general sense of truth and equity, a general regard to God and virtue. And whatever his particular state, relation, or circumstances of life be; he will particularly apply the proper advantages and opportunities, wherewith that state or those circumstances more peculiarly furnish him to promote the same ends of virtue and goodness. (“The Character of a Good Man”)

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