Saturday, May 12, 2018

My Victorian Year #19

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:

A little stay on earth—will make heaven more heavenly. Nothing makes rest so sweet as toil; nothing renders security so pleasant as exposure to alarms.
We would not have full fellowship with Christ if we did not for awhile sojourn below, for He was baptized with a baptism of suffering among men, and we must be baptized with the same if we would share his kingdom.
Our time on earth is fixed and settled by eternal decree. Let us not be anxious about it—but wait with patience until the gates of pearl shall open!
Whatever my own case may be—the beloved Physician can heal me. And whatever may be the state of others whom I may remember at this moment in prayer, I may have hope in Jesus that He will be able to heal them of their sins.
I can have hope for each, for all, when I remember the healing power of my Lord; and on my own account, however severe my struggle with sins and infirmities, I may yet be of good cheer. He who on earth walked the hospitals, still dispenses His grace, and works wonders among the sons of men—let me go to Him at once in right earnest.
The Holy Spirit makes men penitents—long before He makes them theologians; and he who believes what he knows, shall soon know more clearly what he believes.
If we would rightly “acquaint ourselves with God—and be at peace,” we must know Him—as He has revealed Himself. Let no man be content until he knows something of the God from whom his being was derived.
All the goodness of the past, the present, and the future—Christ bestows upon His people. In the mysterious ages of the past, the Lord Jesus was His Father’s first elect, and in His election—He gave us an interest, for we were chosen in Him from before the foundation of the world.
The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that “Christ is risen from the dead;” for, “if Christ is not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain—you are yet in your sins.”
The divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in His resurrection, since He was “Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” It would not be unreasonable to doubt His Deity—if He had not risen.
Moreover, Christ’s sovereignty depends upon His resurrection, “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living.”
Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, is linked with Christ’s triumphant victory over death and the grave; for “He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
Nay, more, our very regeneration is connected with His resurrection, for we are “Begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
And most certainly our ultimate resurrection rests here, for, “If the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you—He who raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you.” If Christ is not risen—then shall we not rise; but if He be risen—then they who are asleep in Christ have not perished—but in their flesh shall surely behold their God.
He is full of grace. Ah! had He not been—I would never have been saved. He drew me when I struggled to escape from His grace; and when at last I came all trembling like a condemned culprit to His mercy-seat He said, ‘Your sins which are many—are all forgiven you—be of good cheer.’
And He is full of truth. True have His promises been, not one has failed. I bear witness that never any servant had such a master as I have; never any brother had such a kinsman as He has been to me; never any spouse had such a husband as Christ has been to my soul; never any sinner had a better Savior; never any mourner had a better comforter than Christ has been to my heart. I desire none beside Him.
In life—He is my life; and in death—He shall be the death of death. In poverty—Christ is my riches. In sickness—He makes my bed. In darkness—He is my star. In brightness—He is my sun. He is my manna in this wilderness. He shall be heavenly manna when I come to the heavenly Canaan. Jesus is to me—all grace and no wrath, all truth and no falsehood. And of truth and grace He is full, infinitely full. My soul, this night, bless with all your might ‘the only Begotten.’
“I am with you always,” is enough for my soul to live upon—though all others forsake me!
“Fear not,” is the Lord’s command and His divine encouragement to those who at His bidding are launching upon new seas! His divine presence and preservation forbid so much as one unbelieving fear. Without our God—we should fear to move; but when He bids us to, it would be dangerous to tarry. Reader, go forward, and fear not!
Old Paths, Chapter Ten, The Holy Ghost

What place has God the Holy Ghost in your religion! What do you know of His office, His work, His indwelling, His fellowship, and His power?--This is the subject to which I ask your attention this day. I want you to consider seriously what you know about the work of God the Holy Ghost.
I believe that few truths of the Christian religion are so often obscured and spoiled by false doctrine as the truth about the Holy Ghost- I believe that there is no subject which an ignorant world is so ready to revile as “cant, fanaticism, and enthusiasm,” as the subject of the work of the Holy Ghost. 
For convenience sake I shall divide my subject into four heads. I shall examine in order:-- 1. Firstly,--the importance attached to the work of the Holy Ghost in Scripture. 2. Secondly,--the necessity of the work of the Holy Ghost to man’s salvation. 3. Thirdly,--the manner in which the Holy Ghost works in man’s heart. 4. Lastly,--the marks and evidences by which the presence of the Holy Ghost in a man’s heart may be known.

ask you then to remark carefully, that whatever individual Christians have, are, and enjoy, in contradistinction to the worldly and unconverted, they owe to the agency of God the Holy Ghost. By Him they are first called, quickened, and made alive. Of Him they are born again, and made new creatures. By Him they are convinced of sin, guided into all truth and led to Christ. By Him they are sealed unto the day of redemption. He dwells in them as His living temples. He witnesses with their spirits, gives them the spirit of adoption, makes them to cry Abba Father, and makes intercession for them. By Him they are sanctified. By Him the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts. Through His power they abound in hope. Through Him they wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Through Him they mortify the deeds of their bodies. After Him they walk. In Him they live. In a word, all that believers have from grace to glory, all that they are from the first moment they believe to the day they depart to be with Christ,--all, all, all may be traced to the work of God the Holy Ghost.
The election of God the Father, and the atoning blood of God the Son, are the foundation stones of our faith. But from them must never be separated the applicatory work of God the Holy Ghost. The Father chooses. The Son mediates, absolves, justifies, and intercedes. The Holy Ghost applies the whole work to man’s soul. Always together in Scripture, never separated in Scripture, let the offices of the three Persons in the Trinity never be wrenched asunder and disjoined in your Christianity. What God hath so beautifully joined together let no man dare to put asunder.
Without the Holy Ghost no man ever turns to God, repents, believes, and obeys.--Intellectual training and secular education alone make no true Christians. Acquaintance with fine arts and science leads no one to heaven. Pictures and statues never brought one soul to God. The “tender strokes of art” never prepared any man hands.--The most zealous efforts of ministers alone cannot make men Christians. The “ablest scriptural reasoning has no effect on the mind; the most fervent pulpit eloquence will not move the heart; the naked truth alone will not lead the will. We who are ministers know this well by painful experience.
We can show men the fountain of living waters, but we cannot make them drink.
And we learn by such cases as these, that nothing will make a Christian but the introduction into the heart of a new nature, a new principle, and a Divine seed from above.
What is it then that man needs? We need to be “born again:” and this new birth we must receive of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of life must quicken us. The Spirit must renew us. The Spirit must take away from us the heart of stone. The Spirit must put in us the heart of flesh. A new act of creation must take place. A new being must be called into existence. Without all this we cannot be saved. Here lies the main part of our need of the Holy Ghost. “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3.) No salvation without a new birth!
We need a meetness for heaven, as well as a title for heaven, and this meetness we must receive from the Holy Ghost. The love of sin must be taken from us, as well as the guilt of sin removed; the desire of pleasing God must be implanted in us, as well as the fear of God’s judgment taken away; a love to holiness must be engrafted, as well as a dread of punishment removed.
Man’s utter inability to turn to God without the Spirit, man’s utter unmeetness for the joys of heaven, without the Spirit,--are two great foundation stones in revealed religion, which ought to be always deeply rooted in a Christian’s mind.

Low and inadequate views of your spiritual disease, are sure to be accompanied by low and inadequate views of the remedy provided in the Gospel. 
I say then that the Holy Ghost works on the heart of a man in a mysterious manner. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself tell us that in well-known words;--“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8.) I say furthermore, that the Holy Ghost works on the heart of a man in a sovereign manner. I say furthermore, that the Holy Ghost always works on the heart of a man in such a manner as to be felt. I say furthermore, that the Holy Ghost always works on the heart of a man in such a manner as to be seen in the man’s life. I say furthermore, that the Holy Ghost always works on the heart of a man in an irresistible manner. I say, finally, under this head, that the Holy Ghost generally works on the heart of man through the use of means. The Word of God, preached or read, is generally employed by Him as an instrument in the conversion of a soul. He applies that Word to the conscience: He brings that Word home to the mind. This is His general course of procedure. 

Where the Holy Ghost is, there will always be deep conviction of sin, and true repentance for it. Where the Holy Ghost is, there will always be lively faith in Jesus Christ, as the only Saviour. Where the Holy Ghost is, there will always be holiness of life and conversation. He is the Spirit of holiness. (Romans 1:4.) Where the Holy Ghost is, there will always be the habit of earnest private prayer. He is the Spirit of grace and supplication, (Zechariah 12:10.) He works in the heart as the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father. He makes a man feel that he must cry to God, and speak to God,--feebly, falteringly, weakly, it may be,--but cry he must about his soul. Finally, where the Holy Ghost is, there will always be love and reverence for God’s Word. He makes the new-born soul desire the sincere milk of the Word.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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