Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My Summer with John #16

John Newton
Today I am continuing to share my reading experience with John Newton. Newton's inspiration for this sermon series was the popularity of Handel's Messiah.

Today's quotes will come from sermon twenty-three (Lamentations 1:12)
The highest wonder ever exhibited to the world, to angels, and men, is the Son of God, suffering and dying for sinners. Next to this, hardly anything is more astonishing to an enlightened mind --than the gross and stupid insensibility with which the sufferings of the Saviour are treated, and the indifference with which this wonderful event is regarded by creatures who are so nearly concerned in it.
If they believe in Him, they will be healed by His wounds, and live by His death. If they finally reject Him, they must perish; and their guilt, and misery will be greatly aggravated by what they have heard of Him! But sin has so blinded our understandings, and hardened our hearts, that we have, naturally, no feeling, either for Him, or for ourselves.
Were His sufferings anything to you, is it possible that you would live in the practice of those sins, for which no atonement could suffice, but His blood? Were you duly affected by the thought of His crucifixion, is it possible that you could crucify Him afresh, and put Him to open shame, by bearing the name of a Christian, and yet living in a course unsuitable to the spirit and precepts of His Gospel? But if you are indifferent to His grief, is it nothing to you on your own account? What! is it nothing to you whether you are saved or perish? whether you are found at His right, or His left hand, in the great Day of His appearance? or whether He shall then say to you, Come ye blessed, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you; or, Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire? (Matthew 25:34, 41)
In the greatest of our sufferings, in those which bear the strongest marks of the Lord's displeasure, there is always some mitigation, some mixture of mercy. At the worst, we have still reason to acknowledge that, He hath not dealt with us after our own sins, nor according to the full desert of our iniquities (Psalm 103:10) If we are in pain, we do not feel every kind of pain at once, yet, we can give no sufficient reason why we should not. If we are exercised with poverty and losses, yet something worth the keeping, and more than we can justly claim, is still left to us, at least our lives are spared, though forfeited by sin. If we are in distress of soul, tossed with tempest and not comforted, we are not quite out of the reach of hope.
Even if sickness, pain, loss, and despair, should all overtake us in the same moment, all is still less than we deserve. Our proper desert is hell, an exclusion from God, and confinement with Satan and his angels, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Everything short of this is a mercy. But Jesus, though He had no sin of His own, bore the sins of many. His sufferings were indeed, temporary, limited in their duration, but otherwise extreme. Witness the effects, His heaviness unto death, His consternation, His bloody sweat, His eclipse [His humiliating end] upon the cross, when deprived of that Presence, which was his only, and His exceeding, joy. On these accounts, no sorrow was like unto His sorrow!
The unknown sorrows of the Redeemer, are a continual source of support and consolation to His believing people. In His sufferings, they contemplate His atonement, His love, and His example, and they are animated by the bright and glorious issue: For He passed from death to life, from suffering to glory.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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