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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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The Tranquil Soul

The following is from Jonathan Edwards:

Holy and humble Christian love is a principle of wonderful power to give ineffable quietness and tranquility to the soul. It banishes all disturbances, and sweetly composes and brings rest to the spirit, and makes all divinely calm and sweet and happy. In that soul where divine love reigns and is in lively exercise, nothing can cause a storm, or even gather threatening clouds. (“Charity and its Fruit”)

We Are Travelers

Thomas Watson

From the desk of Thomas Watson:

The world is a great inn; we are guests in this inn. Travelers, when they are met in their inn, do not spend all their time in speaking about the inn; they are to lodge there but a few hours and are gone. They speak about their home and the country to which they are traveling. So when we meet together, we should not be talking only about the world; we are to leave this presently. We should talk about our heavenly country. (Watson, Heaven Taken By Storm, 38)

Jonathan Edwards On The Happiness Of Man

Jonathan Edwards

From the pen of Jonathan Edwards:

“Another part of God’s fullness which He communicates, is His happiness. This happiness consists in enjoying and rejoicing in Himself; and so does also the creature’s happiness. It is a participation of what is in God; and God and His glory are the objective ground of it. The happiness of the creature consists in rejoicing in God; by which also God is magnified and exalted.” (Edwards, Works, 101)

Jonathan Edwards On The Sovereignty Of God

Jonathan Edwards

From the pen of Jonathan Edwards:

The Sovereignty of God is the stumbling block on which thousands fall and perish; and if we go contending with God about His sovereignty it will be our eternal ruin. It is absolutely necessary that we should submit to God as an absolute sovereign, and the sovereign of our souls; as one who may have mercy on whom He will have mercy and harden whom He will.

Jonathan Edwards On The Sovereignty Of God

Jonathan Edwards

Quoting Jonathan Edwards:

The Sovereignty of God is the stumbling block on which thousands fall and perish; and if we go contending with God about His sovereignty it will be our eternal ruin. It is absolutely necessary that we should submit to God as an absolute sovereign, and the sovereign of our souls; as one who may have mercy on whom He will have mercy and harden whom He will.

Worried?

Quoting John Stott:

All worry is about tomorrow, whether about food or clothing or anything else; but all worry is experienced today. Whenever we are anxious, we are upset in the present time about some event which may happen in the future. However, these fears of ours about tomorrow, which we feel so acutely today, may not be fulfilled. The popular advice, “Don’t worry, it may never happen,” is doubtless unsympathetic, but perfectly true. People worry that they may not pass an exam, or find a job, or get married, or retain their health, or succeed in some enterprise. But it is all fantasy. “Fears may be liars;” they often are. Most worries…never materialize. (The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, IVP, 1978, p. 168-169)

Part V: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

George Washington

George Washington wrote a set of rules about how a man should behave in public. This is the fifth part of my posting of these rules. Some of his ideas may seem quaint to our modern minds but they are an excellent reminder of the importance of being a gentleman!

51 Wear not your clothes foul, or ripped, or dusty, but see they be brushed once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any uncleanness.

52 In your apparel be modest and endeavor to accommodate nature, rather than to procure admiration; keep to the fashion of your equals, such as are civil and orderly with respect to time and places.

53 Run not in the streets, neither go too slowly, nor with mouth open; go not shaking of arms, nor upon the toes, nor in a dancing [damaged manuscript].

54 Play not the peacock, looking every where about you, to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly and clothes handsomely.

55 Eat not in the streets, nor in your house, out of season.

56 Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.

57 In walking up and down in a house, only with one in company if he be greater than yourself, at the first give him the right hand and stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him; if he be a man of great quality walk not with him cheek by jowl but somewhat behind him but yet in such a manner that he may easily speak to you.

58 Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for ’tis a sign of a tractable and commendable nature and in all causes of passion permit reason to govern.

59 Never express anything unbecoming, nor act against the rules before your inferiors.

60 Be not immodest in urging your friends to discover a secret.

Jonathan Edwards: Pride As A Cause Of Unrighteous Anger

Jonathan Edwards

Quoting Jonathan Edwards:

Pride is one chief cause of undue anger. It is because men are proud, and exalt themselves in their own hearts, that they are revengeful, and are apt to be excited, and to make great things out of little ones that may be against themselves. Yea, they even treat as vices things that are in themselves virtues, when they think their honor is touched, or when their will is crossed. And it is pride that makes men so unreasonable and rash in their anger, and raises it to such a high degree, and continues it so long, and often keeps it up in the form of habitual malice… If men sought not chiefly their own private and selfish interests, but the glory of God and the common good, then their spirit would be a great deal more stirred up in God’s cause than in their own; and they would not be prone to hasty, rash, inconsiderate, immoderate, and long-continued wrath, with any who might have injured or provoked them; but they would in a great measure forget themselves for God’s sake, and from their zeal for the honor of Christ. The end they would aim at, would be, not making themselves great, or getting their own will, but the glory of God and the good of their fellow-beings. (“The Spirit of Love the Opposite of An Angry or Wrathful Spirit”, 1 Corinthians 13:5)

Jonathan Edwards On Anger

Jonathan Edwards

Quoting Jonathan Edwards:

We should never be angry but at sin, and this should always be that which we oppose in our anger. And when our spirits are stirred to oppose this evil, it should be as sin, or chiefly as it is against God. If there be no sin and no fault, then we have no cause to be angry; and if there be a fault or sin, then it is infinitely worse as against God than it is as against us, and therefore it requires the most opposition on that account. Persons sin in their anger when they are selfish in it; for we are not to act as if we were our own, or for ourselves simply, since we belong to God, and not to ourselves. When a fault is committed wherein God is sinned against, and persons are injured by it, they should be chiefly concerned, and their spirits chiefly moved against it, because it is against God; for they should be more solicitous for God’s honor than for their own temporal interests. (“The Spirit of Love the Opposite of An Angry or Wrathful Spirit”, 1 Corinthians 13:5)

Joel Osteen’s Teachings Rebuked

John MacArthur takes on the words of Joel Osteen as compared to the Word of God:

Arthur Pink On Adversities

Arthur W. Pink

Quoting Arthur W. Pink:

For a Christian to defy adversities is to “despise” chastisement. Instead of hardening himself to endure stoically, there should be a melting of the heart.

God’s Guiding Of Providence

Octavius Winslow

Quoting Octavius Winslow:

We live in a world of mysteries. They meet our eye, awaken our inquiry, and baffle our investigation at every step.

Nature is a vast arcade of mysteries. Science is a mystery. Truth is a mystery. Religion is a mystery. Our existence is a mystery. The future of our being is a mystery.

And God, who alone can explain all mysteries, is the greatest mystery of all. How little do we understand of the inexplicable wonders of a wonder working God, “whose thoughts are a great deep,” and “whose ways are past finding out.”

But to God nothing is mysterious.

In His purpose, nothing is unfixed. In His forethought, nothing is unknown. In His providence, nothing is contingent. His glance pierces the future as vividly as it beholds the past. “He knows the end from the beginning.” All His doings are parts of a divine, eternal, and harmonious plan.

He may make ”darkness his secret place; His pavilion round about him dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies,” and to human vision His dispensations may appear gloomy, discrepant, and confused. Yet He is “working all things after the counsel of His own will,” and all is transparent and harmonious to His eye! (Octavius Winslow’s, “My Times in God’s Hand”)

“HUMILITY”

11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23)

10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4)

We must view humility as one of the most essential things that characterizes true Christianity. (Jonathan Edwards)

Guided By Values

Quoting radio talk show host Dennis Prager:

“The liberal world came up with the idea of giving trophies to kids who lose; they don’t want their children feeling bad. Conservatives, on the other hand, teach their kids how to lose well. They are less worried about their children feeling bad. A couple of years ago, I gave a speech on happiness to the students and faculty of a prestigious high school in the Los Angeles area. The subject was the need to act happy even when one isn’t feeling happy — because it is unfair to others to inflict our bad moods on them and because we will never be happy if we allow our feelings to dictate our happiness. From what I experienced that day and learned later, liberal students and faculty generally loathed my speech; conservative students generally loved it (there was no conservative faculty to speak of). Why? Because conservatives are far more likely to be comfortable with the idea that feelings are not as important as behavior. Those who know that feelings must not govern us, but that we must govern our feelings, are far more likely to be happy people. The upshot of all this? There is an amazingly simple way to defeat the left: Raise children who are grateful to be American, who don’t complain, who can handle losing and who are guided by values, not feelings.”

Benjamin Franklin On The Education Of Youth

Benjamin Franklin

Quoting Benjamin Franklin:

“The good Education of Youth has been esteemed by wise Men in all Ages, as the surest Foundation of the Happiness both of private Families and of Common-wealths. Almost all Governments have therefore made it a principal Object of their Attention, to establish and endow with proper Revenues, such Seminaries of Learning, as might supply the succeeding Age with Men qualified to serve the Public with Honor to themselves, and to their Country.”

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