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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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  • February 2012
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  • Recommended Reading

Thomas Brooks: This Incomparable Book!

From the pen of Thomas Brooks:

The whole of Scripture is but one entire love letter, dispatched from the Lord Christ, to His beloved spouse!

Oh! the mysteries, the excellencies, the glories which are in this incomparable book! There are none so useful, none so needful, none so delightful, none so necessary to make you happy and to keep you happy–as this!

Ah! the Word of the Lord is . . . 

  • a light to guide you, a counselor to counsel you,
  • a comforter to comfort you, a staff to support you,
  • a sword to defend you, a physician to cure you!

The Word is . . .

  • a mine to enrich you, a robe to clothe you,
  • a crown to crown you, bread to strengthen you,
  • wine to cheer you, a honeycomb to feast you,
  • music to delight you, a paradise to entertain you!

Oh! therefore, before all and above all: search the Scripture, study the Scripture, meditate on the Scripture, delight in the Scripture, treasure up the Scripture!

There is . . .

  • no wisdom like Scripture wisdom, no knowledge like Scripture knowledge, no experience like Scripture experience,
  • no comforts like Scripture comforts, no delights like Scripture delights, no convictions like Scripture convictions,
  • no conversion like Scripture conversion!

I exhort you to a speedy, serious, diligent, and constant study of the Scripture. Ah! you do not know how soon . . .

  • your blind minds may be enlightened, your hard hearts may be softened, your proud spirits may be humbled,
  • your sinful natures may be changed, your defiled consciences may be purged, your distempered affections may be regulated,

and your poor souls may be saved . . .

  • by searching into the Scriptures, by reading the Scripture, and
  • by pondering upon the Scripture.

Ah! if you do not in good earnest, give yourself up . . .

  • to the reading, to the studying, to the pondering, to the believing,
  • to the practicing, to the applying, and to the living up to the Scripture–
  • Satan will be too hard for you, the world will be too hard for you,
  • your lusts will be too hard for you, temptations will be too hard for you, deceivers will be too hard for you, and in the end you will be miserable! (“Apples of Gold”, 1660)

General Orders, May 2nd, 1778

Quoting George Washington:

“The Commander in Chief directs that divine Service be performed every Sunday at 11 o’clock in those Brigades to which there are Chaplains; those which have none to attend the places of worship nearest to them. It is expected that Officers of all Ranks will by their attendance set an Example to their men. While we are zealously performing the duties of good Citizens and soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion. To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian. The signal Instances of providential Goodness which we have experienced and which have now almost crowned our labors with complete Success, demand from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of Gratitude and Piety to the Supreme Author of all Good.” (George Washington, General Orders, May 2nd, 1778)

Thomas Goodwin: How Long?

There is much vanity in our thoughts and manner of thinking. Our thoughts are subject to vanity much more than we wish to admit. Thomas Goodwin explains:

How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? (Jeremiah 4:14)

In these words he compares the heart unto some house of common resort, made, as it were, with many and large rooms to entertain and lodge multitudes of guests in; into which, before conversion, all the vain, light, wanton, profane, dissolute thoughts that post up and down the world, as your thoughts do, and run riot all the day, have free, open access, the heart keeps open house to them, gives them willing, cheerful welcome and entertainment; accompanies them, travels over all the world for the daintiest pleasures to feed them with; lodgeth, harbors them; and there they, like unruly gallants and roisters, lodge, and revel it day and night, and defile those rooms they lodge in with their loathsome filth and vomits. ‘How long,’ says the Lord, ‘shall they lodge therein,’ whilst I, with my Spirit, my Son, and train of graces, ‘stand at the door and knock,’ Rev. iii. 20, and cannot find admittance? Of all which filthiness, etc the heart, this house, must be washed: ‘Wash thy heart from wickedness.’ Washed, not swept only of grosser evils, as, Matt. xii. 43, the house the unclean spirit re-enters into is said to be swept of evils that lay loose and uppermost, but washed and cleansed of those defilements which stick more close, and are incorporated and wrought into the spirit. And those vain and unruly guests must be turned out of doors without any warning; they have stayed there long enough, too long: ‘how long?’ And ‘the time past may suffice,’ as the Apostle speaks; they must lodge there no more. The house, the soul, is not in conversion to be pulled down, but only these guests turned out; and though kept out they cannot be, they will still enter whilst we are in these houses of clay, yet lodge they must not. If thoughts of anger and revenge come in the morning or daytime, they must be turned out ere night: ‘Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,’ Eph. iv. 26; for so you may come to lodge yet a worse guest in your heart with them. ‘Give not place to the devil,’ for it follows, who will ‘bring seven worse with him.’ If unclean thoughts offer to come to bed to thee when thou lie down, let them not lodge with thee. To conclude, it is not what thoughts are in your hearts, and pass through them, as what lodging they have, that doth difference your repentance. Many good thoughts and motions may pass as strangers through a bad man’s heart; and so likewise multitudes of vain thoughts may make a thoroughfare of a believer’s heart, and disturb him in good duties, by knockings and interruptions, and breakings in upon the heart of a good man; but still they lodge not there – are not fostered, or harbored. (“The Vanity of Thoughts”)

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