Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In The Day Of Thy Power

...thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. (Psalm 110:3)

In the darkest ages Christ has always had a church; and if darker times shall come, he will have his church still. Oh! Elijah, thy unbelief is foolish. Thou sayest, “I, only I, am left alone, and they seek my life.” Nay, Elijah, in those caves of the earth God has his prophets, hidden by seventies. Thou too, poor unbelieving Christian, at times thou sayest, “I, even I, am left.” Oh! if thou hadst eyes to see, if thou couldst travel a little, thy heart would be glad to find that God does not lack a people. It cheers my heart to find that God has a family everywhere. We do not go anywhere but we find really earnest hearts - men full of prayer. I bless God that I can say, concerning the church wherever I have been, though they are not many, there are a few, who sigh and groan over the sorrows of Israel. There are chosen bands in every church, thoroughly earnest men who are looking out for, and are ready to receive their Master, who cry to God that he would send them times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.

Do not be too sad; God has a people, and they are willing now; and when the day of God’s power shall come, there is no fear about the people. Religion may be at a low ebb, but it never was at such a low ebb that God’s ship was stranded. It may be ever so low, but the devil shall never be able to cross the river of Christ’s church dry shod. He shall always find abundance of water running in the channel thereof. God grant us grace to look out for his people, believing that there are some everywhere, for the promise is, “thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.”

From a sermon entitled "A Willing People And An Immutable Leader," delivered April 13, 1856.

Photo by 29cm; some rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Whom will you serve?

Don’t stand halting between two opinions, but just say, once for all, whom you will serve. If you choose the devil, choose him, love him, serve him, and rejoice in your choice. If you choose hell, go there, rush madly there; it’s a fearful dwelling place for eternity - an awful home for ever! But if you choose God,; beseech you be in downright earnest about it. The religion of the present day, what mockery it is to call it religion at all! I protest, I believe the common religion of this age will not carry half those who profess it to heaven. It is a religion which they might easily carry to heaven, for it is too light to burden them, but it is too fragile to carry them there. They have a godliness which has not eaten up their soul. I heard a minister say once to his people, that “it would be a long time before the zeal of God’s house would eat them up.”

Take the churches all round: what a slumbering brotherhood they are! There might almost be a controversy between the prince of this world, and the prince of heaven to whom they belonged. But I beseech you, let there be a marked and decided difference between you and the world. Let your heart be steeped in godliness; let your life be saturated with religion. Take care that, “whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, you do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by him."

From a sermon entitled "Israel At The Red Sea," delivered March 30, 1856.

Photo by Edward; some rights reserved.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Union with Christ

[W]e think that good works spring from union with Christ. We believe that the more a man knows and feels himself to be one with Jesus, the more holy will he be. The very fact that Christ and the Christian become one, makes the Christian Christ like. Why is a Christian’s character like Christ’s character? Only for this reason, that he is joined and united to the Lord Jesus Christ. Why does that branch bring forth grapes? Simply because it has been grafted into the vine, and therefore it partakes of the nature of the stem. So, Christian, the only way whereby thou canst bring forth fruit to God is by being grafted into Christ and united with him.

You Christians who think you can walk in holiness without keeping up perpetual fellowship with Christ have made a great mistake. If you would be holy, you must live close to Jesus. Good works spring only thence. Hence we draw the most powerful reasons against anything like trusting in works; for as works are only the gift of God, how utterly impossible does it become for an unrighteous, unconverted, ungodly man, to produce any such good works in himself. And if they are God’s gifts, how little merit can there be in them.

From a sermon entitled "Good Works," delivered March 16, 1856.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Christian compassion to the poor

God measures to us with our own bushel. Days of trouble come even to the most generous, and they have made the wisest provision for rainy days who have lent shelter to others when times were better with them. The promise is not that the generous saint shall have no trouble, but that he shall be preserved in it, and in due time brought out of it. How true was this of our Lord! Never trouble deeper nor triumph brighter than his, and glory be to his name, he secures the ultimate victory of all his blood bought ones. Would that they all were more like him in putting on bowels of compassion to the poor. Much blessedness they miss who stint their alms.... Selfishness bears in itself a curse, it is a cancer in the heart; while liberality is happiness, and maketh fat the bones. In dark days we cannot rest upon the supposed merit of alms giving, but still the music of memory brings with it no mean solace when it tells of widows and orphans whom we have succored, and prisoners and sick folk to whom we have ministered.

From The Treasury of David, exposition of Psalm 41.

Photo by Miyuki Utada; some rights reserved.

Friday, October 26, 2007

We shall see Him as He is

Our minds often revert to Christ as he was, and as such we have desired to see him. Ah! How often have we wished to see the babe that slept in Bethlehem! How earnestly have we desired to see the man who talked with the woman at the well! How frequently have we wished that we might see the blessed Physician walking amongst the sick and dying, giving life with his touch, and healing with his breath! How frequently too have our thoughts retired to Gethsemane, and we have wished our eyes were strong enough to pierce through eighteen hundred and fifty years which part us from that wondrous spectacle, that we might see him as he was!

We shall never see him thus; Bethlehem’s glories are gone for ever; Calvary’s glooms are swept away; Gethsemane’s scene is dissolved; and even Tabor’s splendors are quenched in the past. They are as things that were; nor shall they ever have a resurrection. The thorny crown, the spear, the sponge, the nails-these are not. The manger and the rocky tomb are gone. The places are there, unsanctified by Christian feet, unblessed, unhallowed by the presence of their Lord. We shall never see him as he was. In vain our fancy tries to paint it, or our imagination to fashion it. We cannot, must not, see him as he was; nor do we wish, for we have a larger promise, “We shall shall see him as he is.”

From a sermon entitled "The Beatific Vision ," delivered January 20, 1856.

Photo by Calum Davidson; some rights reserved.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A lamb without blemish

A blemished lamb, if it had the smallest speck of disease, the least wound, would not have been allowed for a Passover. The priest would not have suffered it to be slaughtered, nor would God have accepted the sacrifice at his hands. It must be a lamb without blemish; and was not Jesus Christ even such from his birth? Unblemished, born of the pure virgin Mary, begotten of the Holy Ghost, without a taint of sin; his soul was pure, and spotless as the driven snow, white, clear, perfect; and his life was the same. In him was no sin. He took our infirmities and bore our sorrows on the cross. He was in all points tempted as we are, but there was that sweet exception, “yet without sin.” A lamb without blemish.

Ye who have known the Lord, who have tasted of his grace, who have held fellowship with him, doth not your heart acknowledge that he is a lamb without blemish? Can ye find any fault with your Savior? Have you aught to lay to his charge? Hath his truthfulness departed? Have his words been broken? Have his promises failed? Has he forgotten his engagements? And, in any respect, can you find in him any blemish? Ah, no! he is the unblemished lamb, the pure, the spotless, the immaculate, “the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world;” and in him there is no sin.

From a sermon entitled "Christ Our Passover," delivered December 2, 1855.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Great Physician has healed us

Men may alleviate suffering, they may console the afflicted and cheer the distressed, but they cannot heal the broken in heart, nor bind up their wounds. It is not human eloquence, or mortal wisdom, it is not the oration of an Apollos, nor the wondrous words of a prince of preachers; it is the “still small voice” of God which alone confers the “peace which passeth all understanding.” The binding of the heart is a thing done immediately by God, ofttimes without any instrumentality whatever; and when instrumentality is used, it is always in such a way that the man does not extol the instrument, but renders grateful homage to God. In breaking hearts, God uses man continually; repeated fiery sermons, and terrible denunciations do break men’s hearts; but you will bear me witness when your hearts were healed, God only did it.

You value the minister that broke your heart; but it is not often that we ascribe the healing to any instrumentality whatever. The act of justification is generally apart from all means: God only does it. I know not the man who uttered the words that were the means of relieving my heart: “Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” I do not recollect what he said in the sermon, and I am sure I do not care to know. I found Jesus there and then; and that was enough for me. When you get your wounds healed, even under a minister, it seems as if it were not the minister who spoke; you never heard him speak like it in all your life before. You say, “I have often heard him with pleasure, but he has outdone himself; before, he spoke to my ear, but now to my heart." We are some of us rejoicing in the liberty of Christ, and walking in all the joy of the Spirit; but it is to God we owe our deliverance, and we are grateful neither to man nor book, so much as to the great Physician who has taken pity on us.

From a sermon entitled "Healing For The Wounded," delivered November 11, 1855.

Photo by GH; some rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Working to win a starry crown

Do you wish to be useful? Do you desire to honor your Master? Do you long to carry a heavy crown to heaven, that you may put it on the Savior’s head? If you do - and I know you do - then seek above all things that your soul may prosper and be in health - that your inner man may not be simply in a living state, but that you may be a tree planted by the rivers of water, bringing forth your fruit in your season, your leaf never withering, and whatsoever you do prospering.

Ah! Do you want to go to heaven, and wear a starless crown there - a crown that shall be a real crown, but that shall have no star upon it, because no soul has been saved by you? Do you wish to sit in heaven with a dress of Christ’s on, but without one single jewel that God has given you for your wages here below? Ah! no; methinks you wish to go to heaven in full dress, and to enter into the fullness of the joy of the Lord. Five talents well improved, five cities; and let no man be satisfied with his one talent merely, but let him seek to put it out at interest; “for unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance.”

From a sermon entitled "The Holy Ghost - The Great Teacher," delivered November 18, 1855.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

He is the God of Peace

Mars amongst the heathens was called the god of war; Janus was worshipped in periods of strife and bloodshed; but our God Jehovah styles himself not the God of war, but the God of peace. Although he permits war in this world, sometimes for necessary and useful purposes; although he superintends them, and has even styled himself the Lord, mighty in battle, yet his holy mind abhors bloodshed and strife; his gracious spirit loves not to see men slaughtering one another, he is emphatically, solely, and entirely, and without reserve, “the God of peace.” Peace is his delight; “peace on earth and goodwill towards men.” Peace in heaven (for that purpose he expelled the angels): peace throughout his entire universe, is his highest wish and his greatest delight.

If you consider God in the trinity of his persons for a few moments, you will see that in each - Father, Son, and Holy Ghost - the title is apt and correct, “the God of peace.” There is God the everlasting Father, he is the God of peace, for he from all eternity planned the great covenant of peace, whereby he might bring rebels nigh unto him, and make strangers and foreigners fellow-heirs with the saints, and joint-heirs with his Son Christ Jesus. He is the God of peace, for he justifies, and thereby implants peace in the soul, he accepted Christ, and, as the God of peace, he brought him again from the dead; and he ordained peace, peace eternal with his children, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; he is the God of peace.

So is Jesus Christ, the second person, the God of peace for “he is our peace who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” He makes peace between God and man. His blood sprinkled on the fiery wrath of God turned it to love, or rather that which must have broken forth in wrath, though it was love forever, was allowed to display itself in loving-kindness through the wondrous mediatorship of Jesus Christ; and he is the God of peace because he makes peace in the conscience and in the heart. When he says, “Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden" he gives “rest,” and with that rest he gives "the peace of God which passeth all understanding,” which keeps our heart and mind. He is moreover the God of peace in the Church, for wherever Jesus Christ dwells, he creates a holy peace. As in the case of Aaron of old, the ointment poured upon the head of Christ trickles down to the very skirts of his garments, and thereby he gives peace - peace by the fruit of the lips, and peace by the fruit of the heart, unto all them that love Jesus Christ in sincerity.

So is the Holy Ghost the God of peace. He of old brought peace, when chaotic matter was in confusion, by the brooding of his wings: he caused order to appear where once there was nothing but darkness and chaos. So in dark chaotic souls he is the God of peace. When winds from the mountains of Sinai, and gusts from the pit of hell sweep across the distressed soul; when, wandering about for rest, our soul fainteth within us, he speaks peace to our troubles, and gives rest to our spirits. When by earthly cares we are tossed about, like the sea-bird, up and down, up and down, from the base of the wave to the billows’ crown, he says, “Peace be still.”

From a sermon entitled "The God of Peace," delivered November 4, 1855.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

The chastening of the Lord

When a father chastises a son for anything he has done, and the boy does it again directly, it shows that he despises his father’s chastening; and so have we seen Christians who have had an error in their lives, and God has chastened them on account of it, but they have done it again. Ah! you will remember there was a man named Eli. God chastened him once when he sent Samuel to tell him dreadful news - that because he had not reproved his children those children should be destroyed, but Eli kept on the same as ever; he despised the chastening of the Lord although his ears were made to tingle, and in a little while God did something else for him. His sons were taken away, and then it was too late to mend, for the children were gone. The time he might have reformed, his character had passed away. How many of you get chastened of God and do not bear the rod. There are many deaf souls that do not hear God’s rod; many Christians are blind and cannot see God’s purposes, and when God would take some folly out of them the folly is still retained. It is not every affliction that benefits the Christian; it is only a sanctified affliction. It is not every trial that purifies an heir of light it is only a trial that God himself sanctifies by his grace. Take heed if God is trying you, that you search and find out the reason. Are the consolations of God small with you? Then, there is some reason for it. Have you lost that joy you once felt? There is some cause for it. Many a man would not have half so much suffered if he would but look to the cause of it.

I have sometimes walked a mile or two, almost limping along because there was a stone in my shoe, and I did not stop to look for it. And many a Christian goes limping for years because of the stones in his shoe, but if he would only stop to look for them, he would be relieved. What is the sin that is causing you pain? Get it out, and take away the sin, for if you do not, you have not regarded this admonition which speaketh unto you as unto sons“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord.”

From a sermon entitled "Chastisement," delivered October 28, 1855.

Photo by Christian Guthier; some rights reserved.

Friday, October 19, 2007

In this world to do good

[D]o not be afraid to go out into the world to do good. Christ is keeping you in the world for the advantage of your fellow men. I am sometimes wicked enough to think that I would rather go anywhere than stand up again and preach my Master’s gospel. Like Jonah, I have thought I would really pay my fare to be carried away to Tarshish, instead of coming back to Nineveh. So would some of you who have tried to preach, and found you could not succeeded as you desired.

But do not be downhearted, my brother; a Christian should never get so. If you have but one listener today, perhaps the next time the number will be doubled, and so on, till they cannot be counted. Never say, “I wish to go out of this world:” do not murmur, “My life is prolonged beyond my joys.” Do what you can. Do not go amongst people with fear; do not be ashamed to look duty in the face. If you are not successful at first, do not be cowards and run away from your guns. We should do all we can to bring our guns into line with our brothers, and take good aim at our foes. Never desert your work, though you come home distressed in spirit, though you see no gleam of success, and nothing is gained. Recollect, you cannot run out of the battle, but you must go on; and you cannot escape the service. On then, and glory shall be yours.

From a sermon entitled "Christ's Prayer For His People," delivered October 21, 1855.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

A soul saved from death

Suppose that by some conversation of yours you are made the means of delivering a soul from death. My friends, you are apt to imagine that all conversion is under God done by the minister. You make a great mistake. There are many conversions effected by a very simple observation from the most humble individual. A single word spoken may be more the means of conversion than a whole sermon. There you sit before me. I thrust at you, but you are too far off. Some brother, however, addresses an observation to you - it is a very stab with a short poignard in your heart. God often blesses a short pithy expression from a friend more than a long discourse from a minister.

There was once in a village, where there had been a revival in religion, a man who was a confirmed infidel. Notwithstanding all the efforts of the minister and many Christian people, he had resisted all attempts, and appeared to be more and more confirmed in his sin. At length the people held a prayer meeting specially to intercede for his soul. Afterwards God put it into the heart of one of the elders of the church to spend a night in prayer in behalf of the poor infidel. In the morning the elder rose from his knees, saddled his horse, and rode down to the man’s smithy. He meant to say a great deal to him, but he simply went up to him, took him by the hand, and all he could say was, “O sir! I am deeply concerned for your salvation. I am deeply concerned for your salvation. I have been wrestling with God all this night for your salvation.” He could say no more, his heart was too full. He then mounted on his horse and rode away again. Down went the blacksmith’s hammer, and he went immediately to see his wife. She said, “What is the matter with you?” “Matter enough,” said the man, “I have been attacked with a new argument this time. There is elder B — — - has been here this morning; and he said,” I am concerned about your salvation.’ Why, now, if he is concerned about my salvation, it is a strange thing that I am not concerned about it.”

The man’s heart was clean captured by that kind word from the elder; he took his own horse and rode to the elder’s house. When he arrived there the elder was in his parlor, still in prayer, and they knelt down together. God gave him a contrite spirit and a broken heart, and brought that poor sinner to the feet of the Savior. There was “a soul saved from death, and a multitude of sins covered.”

From a sermon entitled "Conversion," delivered October 7, 1855.

Photo by Per Ola Wiberg; some rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do we have the repentance that leads to life?

There are many men who when they hear a faithful gospel sermon, are exceedingly stirred and moved by it. By a certain power which accompanies the Word, God testifies that it is his own Word, and he causes those who hear it involuntarily to tremble. I have seen some men, while the truths of Scripture have been sounded from this pulpit, whose knees have knocked together, whose eyes have flowed with tears as if they had been fountains of water. I have witnessed the deep dejection of their spirit, when - as some of them have told me - they have been shaken until they knew not how to abide the sound of the voice, for it seemed like the terrible trumpet of Sinai thundering only their destruction. Well, my hearers, you may be very much disturbed under the preaching of the gospel, and yet you shall not have that “repentance unto life.” You may know what it is to be very seriously and very solemnly affected when you go to God’s house, and yet you may be hardened sinners.

Let me confirm the remark by an instance: Paul stood before Felix with the chains upon his hands, and as he preached of “righteousness, temperance, and of judgment to come,” it is written, “Felix trembled,’’ and yet procrastinating Felix is in perdition, among the rest of those who have said, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season I will call for thee.” There are many of you who cannot attend the house of God without being alarmed; you know what it is often to stand aghast at the thought that God will punish you; you may often have been moved to sincere emotion under God’s minister; but, let me tell you, you may be after all a castaway, because you have not repented of your sins, neither have you turned to God.

From a sermon entitled "Repentance Unto Life ," delivered September 23, 1855.

Photo by Kevin Dooley; some rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

They shall rest from their labors

To my mind, one of the best views of heaven is that it is a land of rest - especially to the workingman. Those who have not to work hard, think they will love heaven as a place of service. That is very true. But to the working-man, to the man who toils with his brain or with his hands, it must ever be a sweet thought that there is a land where we shall rest. Soon this voice will never be strained again; soon these lungs will never have to exert themselves beyond their power; soon, this brain shall not be racked for thought; but I shall sit at the banquet-table of God, yea, I shall recline on the bosom of Abraham, and be at ease for ever.

Oh! weary sons and daughters of Adam, you will not have to drive the ploughshare into the unthankful soil in heaven, you will not need to rise to daily toils before the sun has risen, and labor still when the sun hath long ago gone to his rest; but ye shall be still, ye shall be quiet, ye shall rest yourselves, for all are rich in heaven, all are happy there, all are peaceful. Toil, trouble, travail, and labor, are words that cannot be spelled in heaven; they have no such things there, for they always rest.

From a sermon entitled "Heaven and Hell," delivered September 4, 1855.

Photo by Louise Docker, some rights reserved.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cast thy burden on the Lord

Consider, that the greatest things with man are little things with God. We call the mountains great, but what are they? They are but “the small dust of the balance.” We call the nations great, and we speak of mighty empires, but the nations before him are but as “a drop in the bucket.” We call the islands great and talk of ours boastingly- "He taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” We speak of great men and of mighty- "The inhabitants of the earth in his sight are but as grasshoppers.” We talk of ponderous orbs moving millions of miles from us - in God’s sight they are but little atoms dancing up and down in the sunbeam of existence. Compared with God there is nothing great....

Suppose, now, that ye had all the troubles of all the people in the world, that they all came pouring on your devoted head: what are cataracts of trouble to God? "Drops in the bucket.” What are whole mountains of grief to him? Why, “he taketh up the mountains as the dust of the balance.” And he can easily remove your trials. Do not sit down then, thou son of weariness and want, and say, “My troubles are too great.” Hear the voice of mercy: “Cast thy burden on the Lord and he will sustain thee, he will never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

From a sermon entitled, "What Are The Clouds," delivered August 19, 1855.

Photo by Vijay; some rights reserved.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Working for a crown of life

There are many things that we may never hope to be rewarded for here, but that shall be remembered before the throne hereafter, not of debt, but of grace. Like a poor minister I heard of, who, walking to a rustic chapel to preach, was met by a clergyman who had a far richer berth. He asked the poor man what he expected to have for his preaching. “Well,” he said, “I expect to have a crown.” “Ah!” said the clergyman, “I have not been in the habit of preaching for less than a guinea, anyhow.” [Note: under the old system of British coinage, a crown was the name of a coin which typically had a value equal to one-fourth that of another coin, called a guinea. The clergyman has misunderstood the meaning of the poor minister, thinking he is speaking of a small preaching fee.]

“Oh!” said the other, “I am obliged to be content with a crown, and what is more, I do not have my crown now, but I have to wait for that in the future.” The clergyman little thought that he meant the “crown of life that fadeth not away!” Christian! live on the future; seek nothing here, but expect that thou shalt shine when thou shalt come in the likeness of Jesus, with him to be admired, and to kneel before his face adoringly.

From a sermon entitled "The Hope of Future Bliss," delivered May 20, 1855.

Photo by B Balaji; some rights reserved.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Jesus' Blood cleanses from all sin

Suppose you call on your creditor, and say to him, “I have nothing to pay with.” “Well,” says he, “I can issue a distress against you, and place you in prison and keep you there.” You still reply that you have nothing and he must do what he can. Suppose he should then say, “I will forgive all.” You now stand amazed and say, “Can it be possible that you will give me that great debt of a thousand pounds?” He replies, “Yes, I will.” “But how am I to know it?” There is a bond: he takes it and crosses it all out and hands it back to you, and says, “There is a full discharge, I have blotted it all out.” So does the Lord deal with penitents. He has a book in which all your debts are written; but with the blood of Christ he crosses out the handwriting of ordinances which is there written against you. The bond is destroyed, and he will not demand payment for it again.

The devil will sometimes insinuate to the contrary, as he did to Martin Luther. “Bring me the catalogue of my sins,” said Luther; and he brought a scroll black and long. “Is that all?” said Luther. “No,” said the devil; and he brought yet another. “And now,” said the heroic saint of God, “write at the foot of the scroll: 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin.' That is a full discharge.”

From a sermon entitled "Forgiveness," delivered May 20, 1855.

Photo by Paul Keleher; some rights reserved.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Likeness of Christ

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, and you have admired the talent of the persons who could write so well, but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of his people. If we, my brethren, were what we profess to be; if the Spirit of the Lord were in the heart of all his children, as we could desire; and if, instead of having abundance of formal professors, we were all possessors of that vital grace, I will tell you not only what we ought to be but what we should be; we should be pictures of Christ, yea, such striking likenesses of him, that the world would not have to hold us up by the hour together, and say, “Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;” but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, “He has been with Jesus; he has been taught of him, he is like him; he has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he expands it out into his very life and every day actions.”

From a sermon entitled "Christ's People - Imitators of Him," delivered April 29, 1855.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Prayer Closet

Perhaps you have lost your evidence this morning; you do not know whether you are a child of God or not, I will tell you where you lost your confidence-you lost it in your closet. Whenever a Christian backslides, his wandering commences in his closet. I speak what I have felt. I have often gone back from God - never so as to fall finally, I know, but I have often lost that sweet savor of his love which I once enjoyed. I have had to cry,

“Those peaceful hours I once enjoyed.
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void!
The world can never fill.”

I have gone up to God’s house to preach, without either fire or energy; I have read the Bible, and there has been no light upon it, I have tried to have communion with God, but all has been a failure. Shall I tell where that commenced? It commenced in my closet. I had ceased, in a measure, to pray. Here I stand, and do confess my faults; I do acknowledge that whene’er I depart from God it is there it doth begin. Oh Christians, would you be happy? Be much in prayer. Would you be victorious? Be much in prayer.

From a sermon entitled "Paul's First prayer," delivered March 25, 1855.

Photo by Lida Rose; some rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

He led captivity captive

Beloved, our Savior Jesus Christ finished the great work of making us what we are, by his ascension into heaven. If he had not risen up on high and led captivity captive, his death would have been insufficient. He “died for our sins,” but he “rose again for our justification.” The resurrection of our Savior, in his majesty when he burst the bonds of death, was to us the assurance that God had accepted his sacrifice; and his ascension up on high, was but as a type and a figure of the real and actual ascension of all his saints, when he shall come in the clouds of judgment, and shall call all his people to him.

Mark the man-God, as he goes upward towards heaven, behold his triumphal march through the skies, whilst stars sing his praises, and planets dance in solemn order; behold him traverse the unknown fields of ether till he arrives at the throne of God in the seventh heaven. Then hear him say to his Father, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do, behold me and the children thou hast given me; I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have done all, I have accomplished every type; I have finished every part of the covenant; there is not one iota I have left unfulfilled, or one tittle that is left out; all is done.” And hark, how they sing before the throne of God when thus he speaks: “Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”

From a sermon entitled "The Kingly Priesthood of the Saints," delivered January 28, 1855.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Go to the throne of God

It is the privilege of Englishmen, that they can always send a petition to Parliament; and it is the privilege of a believer, that he can always send a petition to the throne of God. I am free to God’s throne. If I want to talk to God tomorrow morning, I can. If tonight I wish to have conversation with my Master, I can go to him. I have a right to go to his throne. It matters not how much I may have sinned. I go and ask for pardon. It signifies nothing how poor I am -I go and plead his promise that he will provide all things needful. I have a right to go to his throne at all times-in midnight’s darkest hour, or in noontide’s heat. Wherever I am; if fate command me to the utmost verge of the wide earth, I have still constant admission to his throne. Use that right, beloved-use that right.

There is not one of you that lives up to his privilege. Many a gentleman will live beyond his income, spending more than he has coming in; but there is not a Christian that does that-I mean that lives up to his spiritual income. Oh, no! you have an infinite income - an income of promises - an income of grace; and no Christian ever lived up to his income. Some people say, “If I had more money I should have a larger house, and horses, and carriage, and so on.” Very well and good; but I wish the Christian would do the same. I wish they would set up a larger house, and do greater things for God; look more happy, and take those tears away from their eyes.

From a sermon entitled "Spiritual Liberty," delivered February 18, 1855.

Photo by Jared; some rights reserved.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Love so amazing, so divine

The gospel to the Christian is a thing of power. What is it that makes the young man devote himself as a missionary to the cause of God, to leave father and mother, and go into distant lands? It is a thing of power that does it - it is the gospel. What is it that constrains yonder minister, in the midst of the cholera, to climb up that creaking staircase, and stand by the bed of some dying creature who has that dire disease? It must be a thing of power which leads him to venture his life; it is love of the cross of Christ which bids him do it. What is that which enables one man to stand up before a multitude of his fellows, all unprepared it may be, but determined that he will speak nothing but Christ and him crucified? What is it that enables him to cry, like the warhorse of Job in battle, Aha! and move glorious in might? It is a thing of power that does it - it is Christ crucified.

And what emboldens that timid female to walk down that dark lane in the wet evening, that she may go and sit beside the victim of a contagious fever? What strengthens her to go through that den of thieves, and pass by the profligate and profane? What influences her to enter into that charnelhouse of death, and there sit down and whisper words of comfort? Does gold make her do it? They are too poor to give her gold. Does fame make her do it? She shall never be known, nor written among the mighty women of this earth. What makes her do it? Is it love of merit? No; she knows she has no desert before high heaven. What impels her to it? It is the power of the gospel on her heart; it is the cross of Christ; she loves it, and she therefore says

“Were the whole realm of nature mine.
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

From a sermon entitled "Christ Crucified," delivered February 11, 1855.

Photo by Michelle Zlimen; some rights reserved.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The moment you cease to believe

While he had faith, Peter walked on the waves of the sea. That was a splendid walk; I almost envy him treading upon the billows. Why, if Peter’s faith had continued, he might have walked across the Atlantic to America. But presently there came a billow behind him, and he said, “That will sweep me away;” and then another before, and he cried out, “That will overwhelm me;” and he thought-how could I be so presumptuous as to be walking on than top of these waves? Down goes Peter. Faith was Peter’s life-buoy; faith was Peter’s charm-it kept him up; but unbelief sent him down. Do you know that you and I, all our lifetime, will have to walk on the water? A Christian’s life is always walking on water-mine is -and every wave would swallow and devour him but faith makes him stand. The moment you cease to believe, that moment distress comes in, and down you go. Oh! Wherefore dost thou doubt, then?

Faith fosters every virtue; unbelief murders every one. Thousands of prayers have been strangled in their infancy by unbelief. Unbelief has been guilty of infanticide; it has murdered many an infant petition, many a song of praise that would have swelled the chorus of the skies, has been stifled by an unbelieving murmur, many a noble enterprise conceived in the heart has been blighted ere it could come forth, by unbelief; many a man would have been a missionary; would have stood and preached his Master’s gospel boldly; but he had unbelief. Once make a giant unbelieving, and he becomes a dwarf: Faith is the Samsonian lock of the Christian; cut it off, and you may put out his eyes -and he can do nothing.

From a sermon entitled "The Sin of Unbelief," delivered January 14, 1855.

Photo by Adam Baker; some rights reserved.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Contemplation of Christ

He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well nigh unutterable names; he may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosaurus, and all kinds of extinct animals, he may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind. I dare say it does, but after all the most excellent study for expanding the soul is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatary. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound, in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief- and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul, so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.

From a sermon entitled "The Immutability of God," delivered January 7, 1855.

Photo by Kieran Connellan; some rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Of His fulness we have all received

Suppose that all the saints who lived from the days of Adam, down to the times when Malachi closed the Old Testament, and that all the saints who lived in Christ’s time, and then on through the early ages. of the Church in the days of Chrysostom, and Augustine, and all the holy men who afterwards gathered around the Reformers, and all who in every place have served God since then — suppose they all stood in one vast circle; to whom do you suppose they would every one point? To whom would they all bear witness? Why, with outstretched arm, every one of them would turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, and speak his praise. Could you then inquire into their individual history, you would find among them characters exceedingly diverse, though all remarkably beautiful; some renowned for courage, others for gentleness; some for patient endurance, others for diligent labor, and yet all inspired by a common faith; all of them aglow with fervent gratitude; all of them looking with steadfast gaze and love intense towards ONE from whom they had received every gift that profited them; and that One, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of men. The rule would admit of not a single exception. From each man in his own proper position, from every man in his own particular calling, from all the individuals severally in their own personal experience, the innumerable voices, distinct, but blending in chorus, would go up from earth to heaven, saying, “Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” Then methinks from the excellent glory would come a response. The inhabitants of heaven would echo back the strain, “Of his fullness have all we, the glorified spirits, received, and grace for grace.” This is the testimony of the Church militant, and of the Church triumphant; yea, it is the testimony of all who in every place and at every time have come and put their trust under the shadow of his wings.

From a sermon entitled "The Fulness and the Filling."

Photo by Lida Rose ; some rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fearfully and wonderfully made

I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalm 139:14)

I will praise thee:
a good resolve, and one which he was even now carrying out. Those who are praising God are the very men who will praise him. Those who wish to praise have subjects for adoration ready to hand. We too seldom remember our creation, and all the skill and kindness bestowed upon our frame: but the sweet singer of Israel was better instructed, and therefore he prepares for the chief musician a song concerning our nativity and all the fashioning which precedes it. We cannot begin too soon to bless our Maker, who began so soon to bless us: even in the act of creation he created reasons for our praising his name,

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Who can gaze even upon a model of our anatomy without wonder and awe? Who could dissect a portion of the human frame without marvelling at its delicacy, and trembling at its frailty? The Psalmist had scarcely peered within the veil which hides the nerves, sinews, and blood vessels from common inspection; the science of anatomy was quite unknown to him; and yet he had seen enough to arouse his admiration of the work and his reverence for the Worker.

Marvellous are thy works. These parts of my frame are all thy works; and though they be home works, close under my own eye, yet are they wonderful to the last degree. They are works within my own self, yet are they beyond my understanding, and appear to me as so many miracles of skill and power. We need not go to the ends of the earth for marvels, nor even across our own threshold; they abound in our own bodies.

And that my soul knoweth right well. He was no agnostic—he knew; he was no doubter—his soul knew; he was no dupe—his soul knew right well. Those know indeed and of a truth who first know the Lord, and then know all things in him. He was made to know the marvellous nature of God's work with assurance and accuracy, for he had found by experience that the Lord is a master worker, performing inimitable wonders when accomplishing his kind designs. If we are marvellously wrought upon even before we are born, what shall we say of the Lord's dealings with us after we quit his secret workshop, and he directs our pathway through the pilgrimage of life? What shall we not say of that new birth which is even more mysterious than the first, and exhibits even more the love and wisdom of the Lord.

From the Treasury of David, exposition of Psalm 139.

Photo by MR+G ; some rights reserved.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Loving His people, loving His cross

Another proof of our joy in receiving Christ is receiving his people. This, in more ways than one, he has made the test of attachment to himself. “Love one another.” “Feed my lambs.” “If ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Just as Laban said when he took in Eliezer, “There is room for thee, and room for the camels,” so let there be room in our hearts for Jesus. There will be room for some of these poor troubled ones, these burdened saints. They may not always be pleasant company, but we shall be willing to receive them, and to join with them, because of their Master. Now, dear friend, if you are a Christian, and have received Christ, unite yourselves with his people; make a profession of your faith; come out and join the people of God, and do not be ashamed with them to suffer the reproach of Christ.

And if you have received Christ joyfully, you will love his cross. I mean not only the cross which he had to carry, but the cross which you now have to carry for him. You will count it a great privilege to suffer reproach for his sake. You will love the cross. “No cross no crown,” is an ancient motto; but it is just as true today as it was a thousand years ago. The faith that Moses illustrated you will follow, counting the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. If you receive the Master in good part, you will say, “Come in, my Master; come in, and bring thy cross, too, and I will bear it cheerfully, for thy sake.”

From a sermon entitled "The Honored Guest."

Photo by Frank; some rights reserved.