• 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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Humility is a Grace

The following is by J. C. Ryle:

Humility may well be called the queen of the Christian graces. To know our own sinfulness and weakness and to feel our need of Christ is the start of saving religion.

Humility is a grace which has always been a distinguishing feature in the character of the holiest saints in every age. Abraham and Moses and Job and David and Daniel and Paul were all eminently humble men.

Above all, humility is a grace within the reach of every true Christian. All converted people should work to adorn with humility the doctrine they profess. If they can do nothing else, they can strive to be humble.

Do you want to know the root and spring of humility? One word describes it. The root of humility is right knowledge. The person who really knows himself and his own heart, who knows God and his infinite majesty, and holiness, who knows Christ and the price at which he was redeemed, that person will never be a proud person.

He will count himself, like Jacob, unworthy of the least of all God’s mercies. He will say of himself, like Job, “I am unworthy.” He will cry, like Paul, “I am the worst of sinners” He will consider others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3)

Ignorance–nothing but sheer ignorance, ignorance of self, of God, and of Christ–is the real secret of pride. From that miserable self-ignorance may we daily pray to be delivered. The wise person knows himself and will find nothing within to make him proud.

Does It Seem That You And God Have Drifted Apart?

From the desk of Charles H. Spurgeon:

Numbers of Christians can view the past with pleasure, but regard the present with dissatisfaction; they look back upon the days which they have passed in communing with the Lord as being the sweetest and the best they have ever known, but as to the present, it is clad in a sable garb of gloom and dreariness.

Once they lived near to Jesus, but now they feel that they have wandered from him, and they say, “O that I were as in [years] past!” They complain that they have lost their evidences, or that they have not present peace of mind, or that they have no enjoyment in the means of grace, or that conscience is not so tender, or that they have not so much zeal for God’s glory.

The causes of this mournful state of things are manifold: It may arise through a comparative neglect of prayer, for a neglected closet is the beginning of all spiritual decline. Or it may be the result of idolatry. The heart has been occupied with something else, more than with God; the affections have been set on the things of earth, instead of the things of heaven.

A jealous God will not be content with a divided heart; he must be loved first and best. He will withdraw the sunshine of his presence from a cold, wandering heart. Or the cause may be found in self-confidence and self-righteousness.

Pride is busy in the heart, and self is exalted instead of lying low at the foot of the cross. Christian, if you are not now as you “were in [years] past,” do not rest satisfied with wishing for a return of former happiness, but go at once to seek your Master, and tell him your sad state. Ask his grace and strength to help you to walk more closely with him; humble yourself before him, and he will lift you up, and give you yet again to enjoy the light of his countenance.

Do not sit down to sigh and lament. While the beloved Physician lives there is hope, nay there is a certainty of recovery for the worst cases!

This is the Way

George Whitefield was one of history’s greatest preachers. In the following article he shows us that our own corrupt wills tempt us to forsake Christ for the temporary pleasures of earth:

[T]hat I may know him and the power of his resurrection. . . . (Philippians 3:10 ESV)

[H]ow shall an unbeliever . . . come thus to “know Christ, and the power of his resurrection?” God, who cannot lie, has told us, “I am the resurrection and the life, whosoever liveth and believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Again, says the apostle, “By faith we are saved, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.”

This, this is the way, walk in it. Believe, and you shall live in Christ, and Christ in you; you shall be one with Christ, and Christ one with you. But without this, your outward goodness and professions will avail you nothing.

But then, by this faith we are not to understand a dead speculative faith, a faith in the head; but a living principle wrought in the heart by the powerful operations of the Holy Ghost, a faith that will enable us to overcome the world, and forsake all the affection for Jesus Christ. For thus speaks our blessed Master, “Unless a man forsake all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple”. . .

If we can reconcile light and darkness, heaven and hell, then we may hope to know the power of Christ’s resurrection without dying to ourselves and the world. But till we can do this, we might as well expect that Christ will have concord with Belial.

For there is such a contrariety between the spirit of this world, and the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that he who will be at friendship with the one, must be at enmity with the other: “We cannot serve God and mammon.”

This may, indeed, seem a hard saying; and many, with the young man in the gospel, may be tempted to go away sorrowful. But wherefore should this offend them? For what is all that is in the world, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, but vanity and vexation of spirit?

God is love; and therefore, could our own wills, or the world, have made us happy, he never would have sent his own dear Son Jesus Christ to die and rise again, to deliver us from the power of them. But because they only torment, and cannot satisfy, therefore God bids us to renounce them. (“The Power of Christ’s Resurrection”)

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