Saturday, April 21, 2018

My Victorian Year #16

This week I'll be sharing quotes from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening and J.C. Ryle's Old Paths.

From Morning and Evening:

  • God’s people need lifting up. They are very heavy by nature.
  • By nature sparks fly upward—but the sinful souls of men fall downward.
  • There are three ways in which God’s people require to be lifted up. They require to be elevated in character. Lift them up, O Lord; do not allow Your people to be like the world’s people! The world lies in the wicked one—lift them out of it!
  • Moreover, believers need to be prospered in conflict.
  • We may also ask our Lord to lift them up at the last! Lift them up by taking them home, lift their bodies from the tomb, and raise their souls to Your eternal kingdom in glory!
  • We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember it is God’s seeing the blood—which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when our eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same.
  • You must wrestle with your sin—but the major part of the wrestling must be done alone in private with God.
  • Beware of faintness in devotion; if Moses felt it, who can escape? It is far easier to fight with sin in public—than to pray against it in private. It is remarked that Joshua never grew weary in the fighting—but Moses did grow weary in the praying.
  • The more spiritual an exercise—the more difficult it is for flesh and blood to maintain it. Let us cry, then, for special strength, and may the Spirit of God, who helps our infirmities, as He allowed help to Moses, enable us like him to continue with our hands steady.
  • We are full of sin—but the Savior bids us lift our eyes to Him, and as we gaze upon His streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, “It is finished! I have made an end of sin! I have brought in everlasting righteousness.” Oh! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus!
  • The word AMEN solemnly confirms that which went before; and Jesus is the great Confirmer; immutable, forever is “the Amen” in all His promises. Sinner, I would comfort you with this reflection.
  • Jesus Christ said, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” If you come to Him, He will say “Amen” in your soul; His promise shall be true to you.
  • He was a Priest to pardon and cleanse once, He is Amen as Priest still. He was a King to rule and reign for His people, and to defend them with His mighty arm. He is an Amen King—the same still.
  • He was a Prophet of old, to foretell good things to come, His lips are most sweet, and drop with honey still—He is an Amen Prophet. He is Amen as to the merit of His blood; He is Amen as to His righteousness. That sacred robe shall remain most fair and glorious when nature shall decay.
  • He is Amen in every single title which He bears; your Husband, never seeking a divorce; your Friend, sticking closer than a brother; your Shepherd, with you in death’s dark valley; your Help and your Deliverer; your Castle and your High Tower; the Horn of your strength, your confidence, your joy, your all in all, and your Yes and Amen in all.
  • O child of God, death has lost its sting, because the devil’s power over it is destroyed. Then cease to fear dying. Ask grace from God the Holy Spirit, that by an intimate knowledge and a firm belief of your Redeemer’s death, you may be strengthened for that dread hour.
  • Death is no longer banishment, it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones already dwell.
  • We are not far from home—a moment will bring us there.
  • Let us fight as if it all depended upon us—but let us look up and know that all depends upon Him!
  • A living Redeemer, truly mine—is joy unspeakable!

From Old Paths, chapter 7, FORGIVENESS

  • THERE is a clause near the end of the Belief, or Apostle’s Creed, which, I fear, is often repeated without thought or consideration. I refer to the clause which contains these words, “I believe in the Forgiveness of sins.” Thousands, I am afraid, never reflect what those words mean.
  • Our need of forgiveness. Let me show, first of all, our need of forgiveness. All men need forgiveness, because all men are sinners.
  • It is the very A B C of Christianity, that a man should know his right place in the sight of God, and understand his deserts.
  • We take to sin naturally from the very first. No child ever needs schooling and education to teach it to do wrong. No devil, or bad companion, ever leads us into such wickedness as our own hearts. And “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23.) We must either be forgiven, or lost eternally.
  • There is not a commandment in all the ten which does not condemn us. If we have not broken it in deed we have in word; if we have not broken it in word, we have in thought and imagination,--and that continually.
  • Tried by the standard of the fifth chapter of St. Matthew, there is not one of us that would be acquitted.
  • Our faith, how feeble! Our love, how cold! Our works, how few! Our zeal, how small! Our patience, how short-breathed! Our humility, how thread-bare! Our self-denial, how dwarfish! Our knowledge, how dim! Our spirituality, how shallow! Our prayers, how formal! Our desires for more grace, how faint!
  • Sin is a burden, and must be taken off. Sin is a defilement, and must be cleansed away. Sin is a mighty debt, and must be paid. Sin is a mountain standing between us and heaven, and must be removed.
  • The first step towards heaven is to see clearly that we deserve hell. There are but two alternatives before us, we must either be forgiven, or be miserable for ever.
  • The way of forgiveness. Let me point out, in the second place, the way of forgiveness.
  • To-day’s sorrow will not wipe off the score of yesterday’s sins. It is not an ocean of tears that would ever cleanse an uneasy conscience and give it peace.
  • The Lord Jesus Christ, in great love and compassion, has made a full and complete satisfaction for sin, by suffering death in our place upon the cross. There He offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, and allowed the wrath of God, which we deserved, to fall on His own head.
  • He has provided a garment of righteousness to clothe us. He has opened a fountain of living waters to cleanse us. He has removed every barrier between us and God the Father, taken every obstacle out of the way, and made a road by which the vilest may return.
  • And faith, simple faith, is the only thing required, in order that you and I may be forgiven. That we will come by faith to Jesus as sinners with our sins,--trust in Him,-rest on Him,--lean on Him,--confide in Him,--commit our souls to Him,--and forsaking all other hope, cleave only to Him,--this is all and everything that God asks for. Let a man only do this, and he shall be saved. 
  • Afterwards he shall be holy. I call upon every reader of these pages to let nothing move him from this strong ground,--that faith in Christ is the only thing needed for our justification. Stand firm here, if you value your soul’s peace.
  • I know well that the natural heart dislikes this doctrine. It runs counter to man’s notions of religion. It leaves him no room to boast. Man’s idea is to come to Christ with a price in his hand,--his regularity,--his morality,--his repentance,--his goodness,--and so, as it were, to buy his pardon and justification. The Spirit’s teaching is quite different: it is first of all, to believe. Whosoever believeth shall not perish. (John 3:16.)
  • 3. Encourage all who wish to be forgiven. Let me, in the third place, encourage all who wish to be forgiven.
  • 4. Some marks of having found forgiveness. Let me, in the last place, supply the readers of this paper with some marks of having found forgiveness. I dare not leave out this point. Too many persons presume they are forgiven, who have no evidence to show.
  • a) Forgiven souls hate sin. They can enter most fully into the words of our Communion Service: “The remembrance of sin is grievous unto them, and the burden of it is intolerable.” It is the serpent which bit them: how should they not shrink from it with horror? It is the poison which brought them to the brink of eternal death how should they not loathe it with a godly disgust? It is the Egyptian enemy which kept them in hard bondage how should not the very memory of it be bitter to their hearts?
  • (b) Forgiven souls love Christ. This is that one thing they can say, if they dare say nothing else,--they do love Christ. His person, His offices, His work, His name, His cross, His blood, His words, His example, His day, His ordinances,--all, all are precious to forgiven souls.
  • The books which are most full of Him, are most pleasant to their minds. The people on earth they feel most drawn to, are those in whom they see something of Christ.
  • (c) Forgiven souls are humble. They cannot forget that they owe all they have and hope for to free grace, and this keeps them lowly.
  • (d) Forgiven souls are holy. Their chief desire is to please Him who has saved them, to do His will, to glorify Him in body and in Spirit, which are His.
  • (e) Forgiven souls are forgiving. They do as they have been done by.
  • All ideas of heaven in which forgiveness has not a place, are castles in the air and vain fancies.
  • Forgiveness is the way by which every saved soul enters heaven. Forgiveness is the only title by which he remains in heaven. Forgiveness is the eternal subject of song with all the redeemed who inhabit heaven. Surely an unforgiving soul in heaven would find his heart completely out of tune.
  • You believe perhaps, there is forgiveness of sins. You believe that Christ died for sinners, and that He offers a pardon to the most ungodly. But are you forgiven yourself? Have you yourself laid hold on Christ by faith, and found peace through His blood?
  • If ever your sins are to be forgiven, it must be now,-now in this life, if ever in the life to come,--now in this world, if they are to be found blotted out when Jesus comes again the second time.
  • We ought not to be satisfied with the same kind of hearing, and reading, and praying, which satisfied us in years gone by. We ought to labour every year to throw more heart and reality into everything we do in our religion.
  • To love Christ more intensely,--to abhor evil more thoroughly,--to cleave to what is good more closely,--to watch even our least ways more narrowly,--to declare very plainly that we seek a country,--to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. and be clothed with Him in every place and company,--to see more,--to feel more,--to know more,--to do more,--these ought to be our aims and desires every year we begin. Truly there is room for improvement in us all.
  • Let us count it a sorrowful thing to go to heaven alone, and let us seek to draw companions with us. We ought never to forget that every man, woman and child around us, will soon be either in heaven or hell.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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