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    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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Instantly Noticed in Heaven

Charles SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“Behold—he prays!” (Acts 9:11)

Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray—the Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed, but praying soul. Oftentimes a poor broken-hearted one bends his knee—but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears. Yet that groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music; that tear has been caught by God and treasured in the lachrymatory of heaven. “You put all my tears into Your bottle,” implies that they are caught—as they flow!

The suppliant, who can only groan out his words, will be well understood by the Most High God. He may only look up with misty eye; but prayer is the falling of a tear! Tears are the diamonds of heaven! Sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah’s court, and are numbered with the most sublime strains which reach the majesty on high! Continue reading

The Name of Jesus

Thomas Adams (1583–1653) was an English clergyman and well known preacher. He was a Calvinist in theology, but was also called “The Shakespeare of the Puritans“. The following excerpts are from his “The Immutable Mercy of Jesus Christ”:

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. (Heb. 13:8)

[T]he name of Jehovah was God known to Israel, from the time of the first mission of Moses to them, and their manumission out of Egypt, and not before. For, saith God to Moses, “I appeared unto Abraham, and to Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them.” (Exodus 6:3) This I AM is an eternal word, comprehending three times: “that was, that is, and is to come.”

Now, to testify the equality of the Son to the Father, the Scripture gives the same eternity to Jesus that it doth to Jehovah. He is called Alpha and Omega . . . the First and the Last: which is, which was, and which is to come, (Revelation 1) and here, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever. Therefore he was, not only Christus Dei, the anointed of God, but Christus Deus, God himself anointed; seeing that eternity, which hath neither beginning nor ending, is only exclusive and proper to God. . . .

Jesus was his proper name, Christ his appellative. Jesus is a name of his nature, Christ of his office and dignity; as divines speak. [He is] a reconciler, a Redeemer, [and] a Savior. When the conscience wrestles with law, sin, [and] death, there is nothing but horror and despair without Jesus. He is ‘the way, the truth, and the life;’ without him, [there is only] error, deception, [and] death . . . [S]aith Bernard: “If thou writes to me, thy letter doth not please me, unless I read there Jesus. If thou converse, thy discourse is not sweet, without the name of Jesus. The blessed restorer of all, of more than all that Adam lost; for we have gotten more by his regenerating grace than we lost by Adam’s degenerating sin.” (“The Immutable Mercy of Jesus Christ”)

One King, One LORD

In the words of Charles H. Spurgeon:

“And the LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His Name one” (Zechariah 14:9)

Blessed prospect! This is no dream of an enthusiast but the declaration of the infallible Word. Jehovah shall be known among all people, and His gracious sway shall be acknowledged by every tribe of man. Today, it is far from being so. Where do any bow before the great King? How much there is of rebellion! What lords many and gods many there are on the earth! Even among professed Christians what diversities of ideas there are about Him and His gospel! One day there shall be one King, one Jehovah, and one name for the living God. O LORD, hasten it! We daily cry, “Thy kingdom come.”

We will not discuss the question as to when this shall be lest we lose the comfort of the certainty that it shall be. So surely as the Holy Ghost spake by His prophets, so surely shall the whole earth be filled with the glory of the LORD. Jesus did not die in vain. The Spirit of God worketh not in vain. The Father’s eternal purposes shall not be frustrated, Here, where Satan triumphed, Jesus shall be crowned, and the LORD God Omnipotent shall reign. Let us go our way to our daily work and warfare made strong in faith. (Faith’s Checkbook)

Life in Christ

Charles Hodge (1823-1886) originally published the following excerpt in an article for the Princeton Review, April 1876 (Vol. 5, Issue 18, pp. 352-362). Enjoy the wisdom that follows:

It does not need to be proved that Jehovah was the God of the Hebrews; the object of their worship, of their love, gratitude, and trust. They recognized him as their absolute and rightful sovereign, whose authority extended over their inward as well as their outward life. On him they were dependent and to him they were responsible. His favor was their life, and they could say, “Whom have we in heaven but thee, and there is none on earth we desire beside thee.”

As little does it require proof that Christ is the God of Christians. In the New Testament all divine titles are given to him. He is called God, the true God, the great God, God over all, Jehovah. He is declared to be almighty, omnipresent, immutable, and eternal. He created heaven and earth; all things visible and invisible were made by him and for him, and by him all things consist. He upholds all things by the word of his power. This divine person became flesh; he was found in fashion as a man, and in the form of a servant. Having been born of a woman, he was made under the law, and fulfilled all righteousness. He redeemed us from the come of the law by .being made a come for us. He bore our sins in his own body, on the tree. He died the just for the unjust, to bring us unto God, and having died for our offenses, and risen again for our .justification, has ascended to heaven, where lie is seated on the right hand of God, all power in heaven and earth being committed to his hands, and where he ever lives to make intercession for his people. This Christ, God and man, in two distinct natures and one person forever, was to the writers of the New Testament all and in all. He was; their wisdom; from him they derived all their knowledge of divine things, and to his teaching they implicitly submitted. He was their righteousness; renouncing all dependence on their own righteousness, they trusted exclusively on the merit of his obedience and death for their acceptance with God. He was their sanctification. Their spiritual life was derived from him and sustained by him. They were in him as the branch is in the vine, or the members in the body, so that it was not they who lived, but Christ who lived in them. Without him they could do nothing; they could no more bring forth the fruits of holy living separated from him than a branch can bear fruit when separated from the vine, nor than the body can live when separated from the head. They felt themselves to be in him in such a sense, that what he did, they did. They died with him. They rose with him. What he is, they become. What he has, they receive, all in their measure — that is, as much as they can hold. They are filled with the fullness of God in Him.

This being so, it follows, of course, that Christ was to them the object of divine worship and of all the religious affections, of adoration, of supreme love, of trust, of submission, of devotion He was their absolute sovereign and proprietor by the double right of creation and redemption. Love to him was the motive, his Will the rule, his glory the end of their obedience. It was Christ for them to live. Living or dying, they were the Lord’s. They enforced all moral duties out of regard to him; wives were to obey their husbands, children their parents, servants their masters, for Christ’s sake. Christians were commanded not to utter a contaminating word in a brother’s ear because he belonged to Christ; they endeavored to preserve their personal purity, because their bodies were the members of Christ. The blessedness of heaven in their view consisted in being with Christ, in beholding his glory, enjoying his love, in being like him, and in being devoted to his services. It is a simple fact, that such was the Christianity of the writers of the New Testament Their religious life terminated on Christ, and was determined by their relation to him. He was their God, their Savior, their prophet, priest, and king; they depended on his righteousness for their justification; they looked to him for sanctification. He was their life, their way, their end. If they lived, it was for him; if they died, it was that they might be with him. (“Christianity without Christ”)

The First Mover Of All Good

From the desk of Robert Bolton:

“Were the holiest heart upon earth enlarged to the vast comprehension of this great world’s wideness; nay, made capable of all the glorious and magnificent hallelujahs and hearty praises offered to Jehovah, both by all the militant and triumphant church, yet would it come infinitely short of sufficiently magnifying, admiring, and adoring the inexplicable mystery and bottomless depth of this free, independent mercy, and love to God, the Fountain and First Mover of all our good.”

In Him We Have Obtained An Inheritance

We hear much about the “inheritance of the saints” but are you personally enjoying the experience as a Christian? Martin Luther has much to say on the subject:

However, what is Christ’s inheritance? His heritage is life and death, sin and grace, all that is in heaven and earth, eternal truth, power, wisdom, righteousness; he governs and rules over all, over hunger and thirst, over fortune and misfortune, over everything imaginable, whether in heaven or on earth, not only spiritual but also secular affairs; and the sum total of all is, he has all things in his hand, be they eternal or temporal. Now if I believe on him, I become partaker with him of all his possessions, and obtain not only a part or a piece; but, like him, I obtain all, eternal righteousness, eternal wisdom, eternal strength, and become a lord and reign over all. The stomach will not hunger, sins will not oppress, I will no more fear death, nor be terror-stricken by Satan, and I will never be in want, but will be like Christ the Lord himself.

In the light of this we now easily understand the sayings here and there in the prophets and especially in the Psalms; as when David in Ps 34, 10 says: “The young lions (the rich) do lack, and suffer hunger; but they that seek Jehovah shall not want any good thing.” And in another Psalm: “Jehovah knoweth the days of the perfect; and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be put to shame in the time of evil; and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.” Ps 37, 18-19. And immediately following in verse 25: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” All this comes of itself from the fact that we are and are called Christ’s brethren; not because of our worthiness, but because of God’s pure grace. Yes, if God gave us this in our heart, so that we experience it, then we would be saved; but it goes in one ear and out the other. And this it is that Paul praises so highly and strongly to the Romans when he says: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.” Rom 8,14-17.

The title of being Christ’s brothers is so high that the heart of man cannot understand it. If the Holy Spirit bestows not this grace, none can say: Christ is my brother. For reason is not bold enough to say so; although one may say it with the tongue, as the spirits of modern times do. It is not uttered in this way, it is necessary for the heart to experience it; otherwise it is pure hypocrisy. If you truly experience it in your heart it will be such a great thing that you will much prefer to keep silence than to speak about it. . . . [in an unbecoming way.]

In The Midst Of The Flames

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

“When thou pass through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walks through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isaiah 43:2).

Bridge there is none: we must go through the waters and feel the rush of the rivers. The presence of God in the flood is better than a ferryboat. Tried we must be, but triumphant we shall be; for Jehovah Himself, who is mightier than many waters, shall be with us. Whenever else He may be away from His people, the LORD will surely be with them in difficulties and dangers. The sorrows of life may rise to an extraordinary height, but the LORD is equal to every occasion. The enemies of God can put in our way dangers of their own making, namely, persecutions and cruel mocking, which are like a burning, fiery furnace. What then? We shall walk through the fires. God being with us, we shall not be burned; nay, not even the smell of fire shall remain upon us. Oh, the wonderful security of the heaven-born and heaven-bound pilgrim! Floods cannot drown him, nor fires burn him. Thy presence, O LORD, is the protection of Thy saints from the varied perils of the road. Be-hold, in faith I commit myself unto Thee, and my spirit enters into rest.

For My Portion Give Me Christ

Thomas Adams

From the pen of Thomas Adams:

‘Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.’ (Heb. 13:8)

By the name of Jehovah was God known to Israel, from the time of the first mission of Moses to them, and their manumission out of Egypt, and not before. For, saith God to Moses, ‘I appeared unto Abraham, and to Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them,’ Exodus. 6:3. This I AM is an eternal word, comprehending three times: ‘that was, that is, and is to come.’

Now, to testify the equality of the Son to the Father, the Scripture gives the same eternity to Jesus that it doth to Jehovah. He is called Alpha and Omega, ‘the First and the Last: which is, which was, and which is to come,’ Rev. 1 and here, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.’ Therefore he was, not only Christus Dei, the anointed of God, but Christus Deus,’ God himself anointed; seeing that eternity, which hath neither beginning nor ending, is only exclusive and proper to God.

The words may be distinguished into a centre, a circumference, and a mediate line, referring the one to the other. The immovable centre is Jesus Christ. The circumference, which runs round about him here, is eternity: ‘Yesterday, to-day, and for ever.’ The mediate line referring them is the same: ‘Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.’

The centre is Jesus Christ. Jesus was his proper name, Christ his appellative. Jesus a name of his nature, Christ of his office and dignity; as divines speak.

Jesus, a name of all sweetness, (Bernard: Honey in the mouth, music in the ear, joy in the heart.) a Reconciler, a Redeemer, a Savior. When the conscience wrestles with law, sin, and death, there is nothing but horror and despair without Jesus. He is ‘the way, the truth, and the life;’ without him, error, deception, and death. Saith Bernard: “If thou write to me, thy letter doth not please me, unless I read there Jesus. If thou converse, thy discourse is not sweet, without the name of Jesus. The blessed restorer of all, of more than all that Adam lost; for we have gotten more by his regenerating grace than we lost by Adam’s degenerating sin.

Christ is the name of his office; being appointed and anointed of God a king, a priest, a prophet.

This Jesus Christ is our Savior: of whose names I forbear further discourse, being unable, though I had the tongue of angels, to speak aught worthy. All that can be said is but a little; but I must say but a little in all. But of all names given to our Redeemer, still Jesus is the sweetest. Other, saith Bernard, are names of majesty; Jesus is a name of mercy. The Word of God, the Son of God, the Christ of God, are titles of glory; Jesus, a Savior, is a title of grace, mercy, and redemption. This Jesus Christ is the centre of this text; and not only of this, but of the whole Scripture. The sum of divinity is the Scripture; the sum of the Scripture is the gospel; the sum of the gospel is Jesus Christ. There is nothing contained in the word of God, but God the word.

Nor is he the centre only of his word, but of our rest and peace. ‘I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified,’ 1 Cor. 2:2. Thou hast made us for thee, O Christ; and our heart is unquiet till it rest in thee. It is natural to everything, to desire the centre. But ‘our life is hid with Christ in God,’ Col. 3:3. We must needs love, where we must live. Our mind is where our pleasure is, our heart is where our treasure is, our love is where our life is; but all these, our pleasure, treasure, life, are reposed in Jesus Christ. Thou art my portion, O Lord,’ saith David. Take the world that pleases, let our portion be in Christ.

God Alone Can Give The Increase

Samuel Davies

Let us remember that the Biblical promises of God’s blessings do not render needless our most supreme efforts to obtain them. Let us remember too, that our most supreme efforts do not supplant the power of the Holy Spirit working in us the blessings we are striving for. Samuel Davies discusses this concept as it correlates to sanctification:

“So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” (I Corinthians 3:7, Hanover County, Virginia, Nov. 19, 1752)

The scripture representation of the degeneracy of mankind is confirmed by universal experience. If we form any observations of ourselves or others, we find that the whole bent of our souls by nature is contrary to the gospel. The gospel is designed to reclaim men from sin; but they are obstinately set upon it: it is designed to make sin bitter to them, and to dissolve their hearts into tender sorrows for it; but we naturally delight in sin, and out hearts are hard as the nether mill-stone: it is intended to bring apostate rebels back to God, and the universal practice of holiness; but we love estrangement from him, and have no inclination to return. We abhor the ways of strict holiness, and choose to walk in the imaginations of our own hearts. The gospel is calculated to advance the divine glory, and abash the pride of all flesh, in the scheme of salvation it reveals: but this is directly contrary to the disposition of the sinner, who is all for his own glory. This requires no tedious arguments to prove it. Look in upon your own hearts; look back on your own conduct; look round you on the world; and there the evidences of it will glare upon you.

Now, since the innate dispositions of men are thus averse to the gospel, it is evident that nothing but divine power can make it effectual for their sanctification. Instructions may furnish the head with notions, and may correct speculative mistakes; but they have no power to sway the will, and sweetly allure it to holiness. Persuasions may prevail to bring men to practice what they had omitted through mistake, carelessness, or a transient dislike; but they will have no effect where the heart is full of innate enmity against the things recommended. In this case, he that planteth and he that watereth is nothing; it is God alone can give the increase; as is more than intimated by the promises and declarations of the word, which appropriate all the success of the gospel to God alone.

Jehovah is not fond of ostentation and parade, nor wasteful in throwing away his blessings where they are not needed; and therefore, if the means of grace were sufficient of themselves to convert sinners and edify believers, he would not make such magnificent promises of the supernatural aids of his grace, nor claim the efficacy of them as his own. He would not assert the insufficiency of them without his influence, nor assign the withdrawal of his grace as one cause of their unsuccessfulness. But all this he does in his word. (“The Success of the Ministry of the Gospel, Owing to a Divine Influence”)

Shall The Preacher Not Suffer?

Quoting Charles Spurgeon:

May not severe discipline fall to the lot of some to qualify them for their office of under-shepherds? We cannot speak with consoling authority to an experience which we have never known. The suffering know those who have themselves suffered, and their smell is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed. The “word to the weary” is not learned except by an ear which has bled while the awl has fastened it to the door-post. “The complete pastor’s” life will be an epitome of the lives of his people, and they will turn to his preaching as men do to David’s Psalms, to see themselves and their sorrows, as in a mirror. Their needs will be the reason for his griefs. As to the Lord himself, perfect equipment for his work came only through suffering, so must it be to those who are called to follow him in binding up the broken-hearted, and loosing the prisoners. Souls still remain in our churches to whose deep and dark experience we shall never be able to minister till we also have been plunged in the abyss where all Jehovah’s waves roll over our heads. If this be the fact – and we are sure it is – then may we heartily welcome anything which will make us fitter channels of blessing. For the elect’s sake it shall be joy to endure all things. (“Laid Aside. Why?” Sword and Trowel May 1876)

Prayers That Are Heard!

From the desk of Charles H. Spurgeon:

“Behold—he prays!” (Acts 9:11)

Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray—the Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed, but praying soul. Oftentimes a poor broken-hearted one bends his knee—but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears. Yet that groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music; that tear has been caught by God and treasured in the lachrymatory of heaven. “You put all my tears into Your bottle,” implies that they are caught—as they flow!

The suppliant, who can only groan out his words, will be well understood by the Most High God. He may only look up with misty eye; but prayer is the falling of a tear! Tears are the diamonds of heaven! Sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah’s court, and are numbered with the most sublime strains which reach the majesty on high!

Do not think that your prayer, however weak or trembling—will be unregarded. Our God not only hears prayer—but also loves to hear it. “He does not forget the cry of the humble.” True, He does not regard proud looks and lofty words. He has no concern for the pomp and pageantry of kings. He does not listen to the swell of martial music. He has no regard for the triumph and pride of man. But wherever there is:

• a heart full with godly sorrow,

• or a lip quivering with agony,

• or a deep groan,

• or a penitential sigh

—the heart of Jehovah is open! He marks that prayer down in the registry of His memory! He puts our prayers, like rose leaves—between the pages of His book of remembrance; and when the volume is opened at last, there shall be a precious fragrance springing up there from!

The Hand Of Providence

Charles H. Spurgeon

From the writings of Charles H. Spurgeon:

We know that all things work together for good to them that love God. (Romans 8:28)

Upon some points a believer is absolutely sure. He knows, for instance, that God sits in the stern-sheets of the vessel when it rocks most. He believes that an invisible hand is always on the world’s tiller, and that wherever providence may drift, Jehovah steers it. That re-assuring knowledge prepares him for everything. He looks over the raging waters and sees the spirit of Jesus treading the billows, and he hears a voice saying, “It is I, be not afraid.” He knows too that God is always wise, and, knowing this, he is confident that there can be no accidents, no mistakes; that nothing can occur which ought not to arise. He can say, “If I should lose all I have, it is better that I should lose than have, if God so wills: the worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing that could befall to me if God ordains it.” “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” The Christian does not merely hold this as a theory, but he knows it as a matter of fact. Everything has worked for good as yet; the poisonous drugs mixed in fit proportions have worked the cure; the sharp cuts of the lancet have cleansed out the proud flesh and facilitated the healing. Every event as yet has worked out the most divinely blessed results; and so, believing that God rules all, that He governs wisely, that He brings good out of evil, the believer’s heart is assured, and he is enabled calmly to meet each trial as it comes. The believer can in the spirit of true resignation pray, “Send me what thou wilt, my God, so long as it comes from Thee; never came there an ill portion from Thy table to any of Thy children.”

“Say not my soul, ‘From whence can God relieve my care?

Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.

His method is sublime, His heart profoundly kind,

God never is before His time, and never is behind.'”

(Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotions)

Pray And Then Pray Again

Do you want the blessings that are necessary for the success of the church? Do you understand that prayer is both a privilege and a necessity? Does prayer power your ministry? Charles Spurgeon believed that we should abound in prayer, so that our preaching will go forth in power:

Asking is the rule of the kingdom. “Ask, and ye shall receive.” It is a rule that never will be altered in anybody’s case. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the elder brother of the family, but God has not relaxed the rule for him. Remember this text: Jehovah says to his own Son, “Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” If the royal and divine Son of God cannot be exempted from the rule of asking that he may have, you and I cannot expect the rule to be relaxed in our favor. Why should it be? What reason can be pleaded why we should be exempted from prayer? What argument can there be why we should be deprived of the privilege and delivered from the necessity of supplication? I can see none: can you? God will bless Elijah and send rain on Israel, but Elijah must pray for it. If the chosen nation is to prosper Samuel must plead for it. If the Jews are to be delivered Daniel must intercede. God will bless Paul, and the nations shall be converted through him, but Paul must pray. Pray he did without ceasing; his epistles show that he expected nothing except by asking for it. If you may have everything by asking, and nothing without asking, I beg you to see how absolutely vital prayer is, and I beseech you to abound in it. . . .

Prayer must be in action, or else those blessings which are vitally essential to the success of the church can never come to it. Prayer is the great door of spiritual blessing, and if you close it you shut out the favor. . . .

Do you know, brothers, what great things are to be had for the asking? Have you ever thought of it? Does it not stimulate you to pray fervently? All heaven lies before the grasp of the asking man; all the promises of God are rich and inexhaustible, and their fulfillment is to be had by prayer. (“Ask and Have,” a sermon on James 4:2-3)

God’s Love Lost?

Robert Murray McCheyne

It is God who tells us that our hearts are “desperately wicked. I’m sure that many of you hear this charge with indignation and say it cannot be true. Yet, God claims for Himself the privilege of knowing and trying the heart. God says that “the carnal mind is enmity against God”. The inclination of the unconverted mind is hatred against god. We may not be conscious of this hatred within us, but that is because we have made our true self-consciousness into a maze of self-deception. The dread and hatred of God, is an impelling force which blinds us to our true state of being. Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843) explains mans dilemma:

“For the love of Christ constrains us.” (II Cor. 5:14)

When Adam was unfallen, God was everything to his soul; and everything was good and desirable to him, only in so far as it had to do with God. Every vein of his body, so fearfully and wonderfully made, every leaf that rustled in the bowers of Paradise, every new sun that rose, rejoicing like a strong man to run his race, brought him in every day new subjects of godly thought and of admiring praise; and it was only for that reason that he could delight to look on them. The flowers that appeared on the earth, the singing of birds, and the voice of the turtle heard throughout the happy land, the fig tree putting forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes giving a good smell, all these combined to bring in to him at every pore a rich and varied tribute of pleasantness. And why? Just because they brought into the soul rich and varied communications of the manifold grace of Jehovah. For, just as you may have seen a child on earth devoted to its earthly parent, pleased with everything when he is present, and valuing every gift just as it shows more of the tenderness of that parent’s heart, so was it with that genuine child of God. In God he lived, and moved, and had his being; and not more surely would the blotting out of the sun in the heavens have taken away that light which is so pleasant to the eyes, than would the hiding of the face of God from him have taken away the light of his soul, and left nature a dark and desolate witness. But when Adam fell, the fine gold became dim; the system of his thoughts and likings was just reversed. Instead of enjoying God in everything, and everything in God, everything now seemed hateful and disagreeable to him, just in as far as it had to do with God.

When man sinned, then he feared, and hated Him whom he feared; and fled to all sin just to flee from Him whom he hated. So that, just as you may have seen a child who has grievously transgressed against a loving parent doing all it can to hide that parent from its view, hurrying from his presence and plunging into other thoughts and occupations, just to rid itself of the thought of its justly offended father; in the very same way when fallen Adam heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, that voice which before he sinned was heavenly music in his ears – then “Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden”. And in the same way does every natural man run from the voice and presence of the Lord, not to hide under the thick embowering leaves of Paradise, but to bury himself in cares and business and pleasures and reveling. Any retreat is agreeable, where God is not; any occupation is tolerable, if God be not in the thoughts.

Now I am quite sure that many of you may hear this charge against the natural man with incredulous indifference, if not with indignation. You do not feel that you hate God, or dread his presence; and therefore you say it cannot be true. But when God says of your heart that it is “desperately wicked”; when god claims for Himself the privilege of knowing and trying the heart, is it not presumptuous in such ignorant beings as we are to say that that is not true with respect to our hearts, which God affirms to be true, merely because we are not conscious of it? God says that “the carnal mind is enmity against God”, that the very grain and substance of an unconverted mind is hatred against god, absolute, implacable hatred against Him in whom we live, and move, and have our being. It is quite true that we do not feel this hatred within us; but that is only an aggravation of our sin and of our danger. We have so choked up the avenues of self-examination, there are so many turnings and windings before we can arrive at the true motives of our actions, that our dread and hatred of God, which first moved man to sin, and which are still the grand impelling forces whereby Satan goads on the children of disobedience; these are wholly concealed from our vies, and you cannot persuade a natural man that they are really there. But the Bible testifies that out of these two deadly roots – dread of God- – and hatred of God grows up the thick forest of sins with which the earth is blackened and overspread. And if there be one among you, who has been awakened by God to know what is in his heart, I take that men this day to witness that his bitter cry, in view of all his sins, has ever been: “Against thee, thee only have I sinned.”

If, then, dread of God, and hatred of God, be the cause of all our sins, how shall we be cured of the love of sin, but by taking away the cause? How do you most effectually kill the noxious weed? Is it not by striking at the root? In the love of Christ to man then – in that strange, unspeakable gift of God, when He laid down His life for His enemies, when He died the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God – do you not see an object which, if really believed by the sinner, takes away all his dread and all his hatred of God? The root of sin is severed from the stock. In His bearing double for all our sins, we see the curse carried away, we see God reconciled. Why should we fear any more? Not fearing, why should we hate God any more? Not hating God, what desirableness can we see in sin any more? Putting on the righteousness of Christ, we are again placed as Adam was, with God as our friend. We have no object in sinning; and, therefore, we do not care to sin.

In the sixth chapter of Romans Paul seems to speak of the believer sinning, as if the very proposition were absurd. “How shall we, that are dead to sin,” that is, who in Christ have already borne the penalty – “how shall we live any longer therein?” And again he says very boldly: “Sin shall not have dominion over you” – it is impossible in the nature of things – “for you are not under the law, but under grace”; you are no longer under the curse of a broken law, dreading and hating God; you are under grace; under a system of piece and friendship with God.

But is there anyone ready to object to me that if these things be so, if nothing more than that a man may be brought into peace with god is needful to a holy life and conversation, how comes it that believers do still sin? I answer, it is indeed too true that believers do sin; but it is just as true that unbelief is the cause of their sinning. If you and I were to live with our eye so closely on Christ bearing double for all our sins, freely offering to all a double righteousness for all our sins; and if this constant view of the love of Christ maintained within us, as assuredly it would if we looked with a straightforward eye, the peace of God which passes all understanding – the peace that rests on nothing in us, but upon the completeness that is in Christ – then I do say that, frail and helpless as we are, we should never sin; we should not have the slightest object in sinning. But this is not the way with us. How often in the day is the love of Christ quite out of view! How often is it obscured to us! Sometimes hid from us by God Himself, to teach us what we are. How often are we left without the realizing sense of the completeness of His offering, the perfectness of His righteousness, and without the will or confidence to claim an interest in Him! Who can wonder then that, where there is so much unbelief, dread and hatred of God should again creep in, and sin should often display its poisonous head.

The matter is very plain, if only we had spiritual eyes to see it. If we live a life of faith on the Son of God, then we shall assuredly live a life of holiness. I do not say we ought to do so; but I say, we shall, as a matter of necessary consequence. But in as far as we do not live a life of faith, in so far we shall live a life of unholiness. It is through faith that God purifies the heart; and there is no other way.

Is there one of you, then, desirous of being made new, of being delivered from the slavery of sinful habits and affections. We can point you to no other remedy but the love of Christ. Behold how He loves you! See what He bore for you; put your finger, as it were, into the prints of the nails, and thrust your hand into His side; and be no more faithless, but believing. Under a sense of your sin, flee to the Savior of sinners. As the timorous dove flies to hide itself in the crevices of the rock, so do you flee to hide yourself in the wounds of your Savior; and when you have found Him, like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land; when you sit under His shadow, with great delight; you will find that He has slain all the enmity, that He has accomplished all your warfare. God is now for you. Planted together with Christ in the likeness of His death, you shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. Dead unto sin, you shall be alive unto God.

Lie Down By Faith

Quoting Anne Dutton:

Oh, what heart can conceive, or tongue express, a thousandth part of that joy and glory which He has reserved for His people in the world to come, when He will bid them enter into His own joy, and He Himself will be their everlasting light and their glory! Oh, then we shall have the light of life, of glory-life, in such manner and measure as far surpasses all our present thought!

Come, lie down by faith, in the bosom of His eternal Love! It is a sweet, soft bed, that will delight and refresh you exceedingly! Here is a basin of heavenly wine, or rather a sea of boundless bliss! Drink your fill, bathe your soul in pleasures—and shout the glories, the fullness, the praises of the strong Jehovah amid all your felt emptiness, weakness, and imperfections! So shall you be exceeding joyful and fruitful, and your obedience highly pleasing to your God and Father, in the Son of His love. (Anne Dutton’s “Letters on Spiritual Subjects”)

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