Saturday, July 28, 2018

My Victorian Year #29

This week I'm sharing quotes from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening and J.C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on Matthew.

From Morning and Evening:

  • Strong faith enables the servants of God to look with calm contempt upon their most haughty foes. We know that our enemies are attempting impossibilities. They seek to destroy the eternal life, which cannot die while Jesus lives; to overthrow the citadel, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail.
  • Hope ever! For God fails you not.
  • We have only to sit more continually at the cross foot—to be less troubled with our afflictions and woes. We have but to see His sorrows—and we shall be ashamed to mention our sorrows. We have but to gaze into His wounds—and heal our own. If we would live aright—it must be by the contemplation of His death. If we would rise to dignity—it must be by considering His humiliation and His sorrow.
  • Forgiveness of sin is a present thing—a privilege for this day, a joy for this very hour. The moment a sinner trusts Jesus—he is fully forgiven.
  • Our iniquity is gone, all gone at once, and all gone forever. Blessed completeness! What a sweet theme to dwell upon as one gives himself to sleep.
  • If you would know experimentally the preciousness of the promises, and enjoy them in your own heart, meditate much upon them. But besides meditating upon the promises, seek in your soul to receive them as being the very words of God. My soul, it is God, even your God, God who cannot lie—who speaks to you! This Word of His which you are now considering, is as true as His own existence.
  • He is an unchangeable God. He has not altered the thing which has gone out of His mouth, nor called back one single consolatory sentence. Nor does He lack any power; it is the God who made the heavens and the earth—who has spoken thus. Nor can He fail in wisdom as to the time when He will bestow the favors, for He knows when it is best to give and when better to withhold. Therefore, seeing that it is the Word of a God so true, so immutable, so powerful, so wise—I will and must believe the promise.
  • When the guilt of sin was taken away—the punishment of sin was removed. For the Christian there is no stroke from God’s angry hand—nay, not so much as a single frown of punitive justice. The believer may be chastised by his Father—but God the Judge has nothing to say to the Christian, except “I have absolved you—you are acquitted.”
  • For the Christian there is no penal death in this world, much less any second death. He is completely freed from all the punishment as well as the guilt of sin, and the power of sin is removed too. It may stand in our way, and agitate us with perpetual warfare; but sin is a conquered foe to every soul in union with Christ.
  • There is no sin which a Christian cannot overcome—if he will only rely upon his God to do it. Those who wear the white robe in heaven, overcame through the blood of the Lamb, and we may do the same. No lust is too mighty, no besetting sin too strongly entrenched; we can overcome through the power of Christ.

From Expository Thoughts on Matthew, Matthew 5-7

  • Would we know what kind of people Christians ought to be? Would we know the character at which Christians ought to aim? Would we know the outward walk and inward habit of mind which become a follower of Jesus? Then let us often study the sermon on the mount. 
  • The Lord Jesus calls those blessed, who are poor in spirit. He means the humble, and lowly-minded, and self-abased. He means those who are deeply convinced of their own sinfulness in God's sight.
  • Humility is the very first letter in the alphabet of Christianity. We must begin low, if we would build high. The Lord Jesus calls those blessed, who mourn. He means those who sorrow for sin, and grieve daily over their own short-comings.
  • The Lord Jesus calls those blessed, who are meek. He means those who are of a patient and contented spirit.
  • The Lord Jesus calls those blessed, who hunger and thirst after righteousness. He means those who desire above all things to be entirely conformed to the mind of God.
  • The Lord Jesus calls those blessed, who are merciful. He means those who are full of compassion towards others.
  • The Lord Jesus calls those blessed, who are pure in heart. He means those who do not aim merely at outward correctness, but at inward holiness.
  • The Lord Jesus calls those blessed, who are peacemakers. He means those who use all their influence to promote peace and charity on earth, in private and in public, at home and abroad.
  • Lastly, the Lord Jesus calls those blessed, who are persecuted for righteousness sake. He means those who are laughed at, mocked, despised, and ill-used, because they endeavor to live as true Christians.
  • Let us learn how entirely contrary are the principles of Christ to the principles of the world. The very characters which the Lord Jesus praises, the world despises. The very pride, and thoughtlessness, and high tempers, and worldliness, and selfishness, and formality, and unlovingness, which abound everywhere, the Lord Jesus condemns.
  • Let us learn how unhappily different is the teaching of Christ from the practice of many professing Christians.
  • Above all let us learn how holy and spiritual-minded all believers should be. They should never aim at any standard lower than that of the sermon on the mount.
  • True Christians are to be in the world like SALT. Now salt has a peculiar taste of its own, utterly unlike anything else. When mingled with other substances, it preserves them from corruption. It imparts a portion of its taste to everything it is mixed with. It is useful so long as it preserves its savor, but no longer.
  • True Christians are to be in the world like LIGHT. Now it is the property of light to be utterly distinct from darkness. The least spark in a dark room can be seen at once. Of all things created light is the most useful. It fertilizes. It guides. It cheers.
  • It will never do to idle through life, thinking and living like others, if we mean to be owned by Christ as His people. Have we grace? Then it must be seen. Have we the Spirit? Then there must be fruit.
  • "Salt" and "light" evidently imply peculiarity both of heart and life, of faith and practice. We must dare to be singular and unlike the world, if we mean to be saved.
  • Let us beware of despising the Old Testament under any pretense whatever. Let us never listen to those who bid us throw it aside as an obsolete, antiquated, useless book.
  • The religion of the Old Testament is the embryo of Christianity. The Old Testament is the Gospel in the bud. The New Testament is the Gospel in full flower. The Old Testament is the Gospel in the blade. The New Testament is the Gospel in full ear. The saints in the Old Testament saw many things through a glass darkly.
  • Let us, for another thing, beware of despising the law of the Ten Commandments. Let us not suppose for a moment that it is set aside by the Gospel, or that Christians have nothing to do with it.
  • In the last place, let us beware of supposing that the Gospel has lowered the standard of personal holiness, and that the Christian is not intended to be as strict and particular about his daily life as the Jew.
  • The Lord Jesus enjoins on us a spirit of universal love and charity. We ought to put away all malice. We ought to return good for evil, and blessing for cursing. We ought to "love even our enemies."
  • A son should be like his father. But where is our likeness to our Father in heaven, if we cannot show mercy and kindness to everybody?
  • Unfailing courtesy, kindness, tenderness, and consideration for others, are some of the greatest ornaments to the character of the child of God. The world can understand these things, if it cannot understand doctrine.
  • Those who fancy that true religion has any tendency to make men unhappy, are greatly mistaken. It is the absence of it that does this, and not the presence. True religion has the directly contrary effect. It tends to promote peace, and charity, and kindness, and goodwill among men.
  • Observe that our Lord takes it for granted, that all who call themselves His disciples will GIVE ALMS. He assumes as a matter of course, that they will think it a solemn duty to give, according to their means, to relieve the needs of others.
  • Observe again that our Lord takes it for granted, that all who call themselves His disciples will PRAY. He assumes this also as a matter of course. He only gives directions as to the best way of praying.
  • Thousands, and tens of thousands, who never saw a Bible, or heard the pure Gospel, are acquainted with "Our Father," and "Paternoster."
  • Happy would it be for the world, if this prayer was as well known in the spirit, as it is in the letter!
  • The first sentence declares to whom we are to pray--"Our Father who is in heaven." We are not to cry to saints and angels, but to the everlasting Father, the Father of spirits, the Lord of heaven and earth.
  • The second sentence is a petition respecting God's name--"May your name be kept holy." By the "name" of God we mean all those attributes under which He is revealed to us--His power, wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy, and truth.
  • The glory of God is the first thing that God's children should desire. It is the object of one of our Lord's own prayers--"Father, glorify your name." (John 12:28.)
  • It is the purpose for which the world was created. It is the end for which the saints are called and converted. It is the chief thing we should seek, that "in all things God may be glorified." (1 Peter 4:11.)
  • The third sentence is a petition concerning God's kingdom--"May your kingdom come." By His kingdom we mean first, the kingdom of grace which God sets up and maintains in the hearts of all living members of Christ, by His Spirit and word.
  • But we mean chiefly, the kingdom of glory which shall one day be set up, when Jesus shall come the second time, and "all men shall know Him from the least to the greatest."
  • The fourth sentence is a petition concerning God's will--"May your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth." We here pray that God's laws may be obeyed by men as perfectly, readily, and unceasingly, as they are by angels in heaven.
  • The fifth sentence is a petition respecting our own daily needs--"give us this day our daily bread." We are here taught to acknowledge our entire dependence on God, for the supply of our daily necessities.
  • The sixth sentence is a petition respecting our sins--"Forgive us our debts." We confess that we are sinners, and need daily grants of pardon and forgiveness.
  • The seventh sentence is a profession respecting our own feelings towards others--we ask our Father to "forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." This is the only profession in the whole prayer, and the only part on which our Lord comments and dwells, when He has concluded the prayer.
  • The eighth sentence is a petition respecting our weakness--"Bring us not into temptation." It teaches us that we are liable, at all times, to be led astray, and fall.
  • The ninth sentence is a petition respecting our dangers--"deliver us from evil." We are here taught to ask God to deliver us from the evil that is in the world, the evil that is within our own hearts, and not least from that evil one, the devil.
  • The last sentence is an ascription of praise--"yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory."
  • What do we love best? Are our chief affections on things in earth, or things in heaven? Life or death depends on the answer we can give to these questions.
  • All the care in the world will not make us continue a minute beyond the time which God has appointed. We shall not die until our work is done.
  • Half our miseries are caused by imagining things that we think are coming upon us. Half the things that we expect to come upon us, never come at all.
  • Do we know anything of this asking, seeking, and knocking? Why should we not? There is nothing so simple and plain as praying, if a man really has a will to pray. There is nothing, unhappily, which men are so slow to do.
  • Do we ever really pray? If not, we shall at last be without excuse before God, except we repent. We shall not be condemned for not doing what we could not have done, or not knowing what we could not have known.
  • Do we indeed pray? Then let us pray on, and not faint. It is not lost labor. It is not useless. It will bear fruit after many days. That word never yet failed, "Everyone who asks receives."
  • What is the best safe-guard against false teaching? Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalm. 119:105.) The man who reads it aright will never be allowed greatly to err. It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear.
  • Nothing supplies false prophets with followers so much as spiritual sloth under a cloak of humility.
  • A religion which costs us nothing, and consist in nothing but hearing sermons, will always prove at last to be a useless thing.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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