Friday, May 29, 2009
Over every form of material worship there shall be pronounced the sentence, “Earth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes,” but the pure spiritual faith of Jesus Christ can never die; the blessed doctrine that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, and all those glorious doctrines which cluster around the cross of Christ shall survive “the wreck of matter and the crash of worlds.” They shall not only remain, but remain in greater clearness and in fuller power, because the things that could be shaken are taken away, for created things only dim the lustre of the cross, and are made by human sin a veil to hide the Redeemer’s glory; the more completely they are removed the more plainly shall we see the cross of Christ in open vision. “They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”
From a sermon entitled "A Lesson From The Great Panic," delivered May 13, 1866. Image by Jacqueline Harte under Creative Commons License.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The first effort of the devil was to sap the foundations of the Savior’s strength with a doubt. The devil whispers to him, “If - if thou be the Son of God.” Faith is the Christian’s strength; he who doubts not staggers not. Unbelief is the source of our chief weakness. As soon as we begin to distrust our feet begin to slide. Hence, Satan, knowing this, injects that cruel and wicked suspicion, “If - if thou be the Son of God.”
Notice the point of attack: it was our Lord’s sonship. Satan knows that if he can make any of us doubt our interest in the Father’s love, doubt our regeneration and adoption, then he will have us very much in his power. How can I pray, “Our Father which art in heaven,” if I do not know him to be my Father? If the dark suspicion crosses my mind that I am no child of his, I cannot say with the prodigal, “I will arise and go unto my Father,” for I do not know that I have a Father to go to. Having a Father, I feel sure that he will pity my infirmities, that he will feel for my wants, redress my wrongs, protect me in the hour of danger, and succor me in the moment of peril; but if, if I have no Father in heaven, if I be not his child, then, miserable orphan! what shall I do - whither shall I flee? Standing on a pinnacle as God’s child I shall stand there erect, though every wind should seek to whirl me from my foothold; but if he be not my Father, and I am upon a pinnacle, then my destruction is inevitable, and my ruin will be swift and total. “If thou be the Son of God.” Oh, dear friends, beware of unbelief...
From a sermon entitled "Temptations on the Pinnacle," delivered May 6, 1866. Image by Sindre under Creative Commons License.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
God as a Spirit infinitely and exclusively holy, delights in holiness: as a truthful spirit he cannot be satisfied with anything that is untruthful: as a most just and yet loving Being, he finds in the person of Jesus Christ an expiation which was in every way honorable to justice, and a revelation of grace according to the goodwill of divine love, which is precious to himself beyond all expression, and admirable to all holy creatures far beyond all blessing and praise.
Whenever the great God contemplates his own dear Son, he feels an intense delight in surveying his character, and in beholding his sufferings. You and I, so far as we have been taught of God, must find infinite and unspeakable delight in the person and work of Christ; but, alas! we are like common people who look upon a fine picture without a cultivated understanding in the art of painting, we cannot perceive the whole beauty, we do not know the richness of its colouring, and the wondrous skill of all its touches. Who but Jehovah understands holiness? Who like God knows what great love means? Or who save the Lord can comprehend justice and truth to perfection? Therefore it is that as he gazes upon that matchless masterpiece of love and justice, of truth, and holiness, embodied in the person of his dear Son, he finds that infinite satisfaction which our faith is perpetually struggling by small degrees to realize.
From a sermon entitled "Sweet Savour," delivered April 29, 1866. Image by Olof S under Creative Commons License.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
God’s great remedy for man’s ruin of man is the sacrifice of his dear Son. He proclaims to the sons of men that only by the atonement of Jesus can they be reconciled unto himself. In order that this remedy should be of any avail to any man he must receive it by faith, for without faith men perish even under the Gospel dispensation. There is at the present moment great lack of men to tell out the story of the cross of Jesus Christ, and many considerations press that lack upon our hearts. Think how many voices all mingle into this one - ”Who will go for us?” Listen to the wounds of Jesus, as they plaintively cry, “How shall we be rewarded? How shall the precious drops of blood be made available to redeem the souls of men, unless loving lips shall go for us to claim by right those who have been redeemed by
The blood of Jesus cries like Abel’s blood from the ground, “Whom shall I send?” and his wounds repeat the question, “who will go for us?” Does not the purpose of the Eternal Father also join with solemn voice in this demand? The Lord has decreed a multitude unto eternal life. He has purposed, with a purpose which cannot be changed or frustrated, that a multitude whom no man can number shall be the reward of the Savior’s travail; but how can these decrees be fulfilled except by the sending forth of the Gospel, for it is through the Gospel, and through the Gospel alone, that salvation can come to the sons of men. Methinks I hear the awful voice of the purpose mingling with the piercing cry of the cross, appealing to us to declare the word of life. I see the handwriting of old Eternity bound in one volume with the crimson writing of Calvary, and both together write out most legibly the pressing question, who shall go for us to bring home the elect and redeemed ones?
From a sermon entitled "Messengers Wanted," delivered April 22, 1866. Image by Prabhu under Creative Commons License.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
“To obey,” even in the slightest and smallest thing, “is better than sacrifice,” and to hearken diligently to the Lord’s commands is better than the fat of rams. It may be that some of you, though you are professed Christians, are living in the prosecution of some evil trade, and your conscience has often said, “Get out of it.” You are not in the position that a Christian ought to be in; but then you hope that you will be able to make a little money, and you will retire and do a world of good with it. Ah! God cares nothing for this rams’ fat of yours; he asks not for these sacrifices which you intend to make.
“To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” Perhaps you are in connection with a Christian church in which you may see much that is wrong, and you know that you ought not to tolerate it, but still you do so. You say, “I have a position of usefulness, and if I come out I shall not be so useful as I am now.” My brother, your usefulness is but as the fat of rams, and “to obey is better than” it all. The right way for a Christian to walk in is to do what his Master bids him, leaving all consequences to the Almighty. You have nothing to do with your own usefulness further than to keep your Master’s commands, at all hazards and under all risks. “I counsel thee to keep the King’s commandments,” and “whatsoever he saith unto thee, do it.”
From a sermon entitled "Obedience Better Than Sacrifice." Image by aussiegall under Creative Commons License.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I would not malign modern Christendom, but I am persuaded that crowds of professors treat the Book of God with very wicked neglect; for we frequently meet with mistakes which are so absurd that no habitual students of the Word of God could have fallen into them. So many of you take your religion at second hand; you borrow it from the preacher; you copy it from your grandmothers; you follow custom as your guide, and not the voice of God; you do not search the Book of the Lord to discover whether these things be so or not. Why, great multitudes of people go blundering on like Jehu, supposing that they must be right; the uncomfortable but very prudent thought that perhaps all may be wrong has never occurred to them, and a resort to the “law and to the testimony” appearing to them to be altogether superfluous.
Now, my dear friends, I do not see how a servant can be thought to be faithful who is utterly careless as to his master’s will. Solemnly I believe that some professors do not wish to know their Lord’s will thoroughly; there are certain duties whose performance would be unpleasant, and therefore they do not want to have their consciences too much enlightened upon the subject; they shun the light lest they should stand reproved. Brother, if I am afraid of light, let me rest assured that for some evil reason I have good cause to be afraid of it. If my doctrinal opinions or my daily actions are such that I dare not put them into the scale of God’s Word, and give them a thorough pondering, I have reason to suspect that I shall be found wanting at the last. Oh that every one of us would diligently seek with humble and obedient spirit to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn of him!
From a sermon entitled "Heedlessness In Religion," delivered April 15, 1866. Image by eye2eye under Creative Commons License.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Dost thou not know that if thou now prostratest thyself at the foot of the cross, thou art God’s chosen one? Thy name is engraven on the hand of Jesus, on the heart of God. Before the day-star knew its place or planets ran their round, before the primeval darkness was pierced by the sun’s first ray, thou wast dear to the heart of Deity; thou art his elect, his beloved one: and dost thou not know that the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but the covenant of his love shall never depart from thee, neither shall his grace be removed, saith the Lord, who this morning has manifested his mercy towards thee.
Though thou art but just now converted, there is laid up for thee in heaven a crown of life that fadeth not away. Jesus pleads for thee this very day. He this day prepares one of the many mansions for thine eternal dwelling-place. Be thou of good courage. Angels are singing, heaven is rejoicing over thee, the church on earth is glad concerning thee; and one day, when the great Shepherd shall appear, thou also shalt appear with him in glory, and all this for thee, poor helplessly ruined sinner; helpless in thyself, but saved in Christ Jesus.
From a sermon entitled "Hope, Yet No Hope. No Hope, Yet Hope," delivered April 8, 1866. Image by sophiea under Creative Commons License.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
To be descended from that thievish crew who came over to England at the Norman Conquest is thought to be a high honor; but how much more is it to be descended from the King of kings! The blood imperial of heaven is in the veins of every regenerated man and woman. No matter though your garb be fustian, and your home be the abode of poverty, you are a prince of the blood royal the moment that you are born again and made a child of God, and adopted into the family of the Most High.
These are the princes of the living God; these are they who shall be crowned with immortal honor in the day of the Lord’s appearing. Though here they may live unknown and despised, yet angelic eyes detect them, and the whole world shall see them. “When he shall appear they shall appear with him in glory.”
Men court much the greatness, which comes by election. There are presidents of republics who become great by the national vote: it is no mean greatness to be dignified with imperial rank, not by the accident of birth, but by the well-earned respect of honest men. This is something that men may covet. Well, we have this very greatness put upon us by the election of God. Every one who believes in Christ Jesus was chosen in him from before the foundation of the world. What are the votes of men, what the applause of the many after all? The choice of God is most to be desired; because he hath set his love upon me my soul shall sing and rejoice. Election makes all the objects of it great. Now, as you think of your birth and your election in Christ Jesus, you can say, “thy gentleness hath made me great.”
From a sermon entitled "Divine Gentleness Acknowledged," delivered April 1, 1866. Image by bk86a under Creative Commons License.
Monday, May 18, 2009
It is our full belief as Christians, that, in order to the pardon of human sin, it was necessary that God himself should become incarnate, and that the Son of God should suffer, suffer excruciating pains, to which the dignity of his person added infinite weight. Brethren, if the wrath of God be a mere trifle, there was no need of a Savior to deliver us; it were as well to have let so small a matter take its course; or, if the Savior came merely to save us from a pinch or two, why is so much said in his praise? What need for heaven and earth to ring with the glories of him who would save us from a small mischief?
But mark the word. As the sufferings of the Savior were intense beyond all conception, and as no less a person than God himself must endure these sufferings for us, that must have been an awful, not to say an infinite evil, from which there was no other way for us to escape except by the bleeding and dying of God’s dear Son. Think lightly of hell, and you will think lightly of the cross. Think little of the sufferings of lost souls, and you will soon think little of the Savior who delivers you from them. God grant we may not live to see such a Christ-dishonoring theology dominant in our times.
From a sermon entitled "Future Punishment A Fearful Thing," delivered March 25, 1866. Image by James Marvin Phelps under Creative Commons License.
Friday, May 15, 2009
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Now, I am sure it is the duty of every Christian, as well as his privilege, to walk in the conscious enjoyment of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ; and it may be that you came here on purpose that you might begin such a walk. The disciples had walked a long way without knowing Christ, but when they sat at his table, it was the breaking of bread that broke the evil charm, and they saw Jesus clearly at once. Do not neglect that precious ordinance of the breaking of bread. There is much more in it than some suppose. Sometimes when the preaching of the Word affords no joy, the breaking of bread might; and when reading the Word does not yield consolation, a resort to the Lord’s Table might be the means of comfort. There is nothing in any ordinance of itself, but there may be much sin in your neglecting it. There is nothing, for instance, in the ordinance of believers’ baptism, and yet, knowing it to be a prescribed duty in God’s Word, it may be that the Lord will never give you a comfortable sense of his presence, till you yield to your conscience in that matter.
But, waiving all that point, what you want is to see him. Faith alone can bring you to see him. Make it your prayer this morning, “Lord, open thou mine eyes that I may see my Savior present with me, and after once seeing him may I never let him go. From this day forth may I begin like Enoch to walk with God, and may I continue walking with God till I die, that I may then dwell with him forever.” I find it very easy to get near to God, compared with what it is to keep near. Enoch walked with God 400 years; what a long walk that was! What a splendid journey through life! Why should not you begin, dear Christian brother, today, if you have not begun, and walk with God through the few years which remain?
From a sermon entitled "Eyes Opened," delivered March 18, 1866. Image by Calum Davidson under Creative Commons License.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
My brethren, what a discovery was that when we learned the secret that we were to be saved not by what we were or were to be; but, saved by what Christ had done for us! The simplicity of the cross is the grandest of all revelations. “Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.” Why it is as simple as the interpretation which Joseph gave to the dream; but in its simplicity lies a great part of its sweetness. How was it that I was such a fool as not to understand it before, that for every sinner who was truly a sinner, and had no righteousness of his own, Jesus Christ is made righteousness and salvation; and that every sinner who confesses with broken heart that he deserved God’s wrath, may know that Jesus has suffered all God’s wrath for him, and that therefore God is no longer angry with him, for all his anger has been spent upon the person of Jesus Christ.
How sweet it is to understand that all our soul’s terrors and alarms are only meant to bring us to the cross; that they are not intended to make us look at ourselves, to search for comfort there, nor intended to set us upon paving a way to heaven by our own exertions, but to lead us to Jesus.
From a sermon entitled "Have You Forgotten Him?," delivered March 11, 1866. Image by David Blaikie under Creative Commons License.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
He is still faithful and true, immutably the same. Not less than God! No furrows on that eternal brow - no palsy in that mighty arm - no faintness in that Almighty heart - no lack of fullness in his all-sufficiency - no diminution in the keenness of his eye - no defalcation in the purpose of his heart. Omnipotent, immutable, eternal, omnipresent still! God over all, blessed for ever. O Jesus, we adore thee, thou great Amen.
He is the same, too, as to his manhood. Bone of our bone still; in all our afflictions still afflicted. Our brother in ties of blood as much today as when he wore a peasant’s garb, and said, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.” The same heart of sympathy, the same bowels of compassion still; remembering us and bidding us remember him. Not for a moment changed because of the change of his condition. Not for an instant unmindful of us because of the harps of angels and the songs of the redeemed. As quick to hear a sigh or catch a tear today as when in the days of his flesh he comforted his people and carried the lambs in his bosom. The Amen Savior! Oh! Blessed be his name.
From a sermon entitled "The Amen," delivered March 4, 1866. Image by sophiea under Creative Commons License.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
This is the day of Zion’s trouble: at this hour the Church expects to walk in sympathy with her Lord along a thorny road. She is without the camp; through much tribulation she is forcing her way to the crown. She expects to meet with reproaches. To bear the cross is her office, and to be scorned and counted an alien by her mother’s children is her lot. And yet the Church has a deep well of joy, of which none can drink but her own children. There are stores of wine, and oil, and corn, hidden in the midst of our Jerusalem, upon which the saints of God are evermore sustained and nurtured; and sometimes, as in our Savior’s case, we have our seasons of intense delight, for “there is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of our God.” Exiles though we be, we rejoice in our King, yea in him we exceedingly rejoice: while in his name we set up our banners.
From a sermon entitled "Praise Thy God, O Zion," delivered. Image by Paulo Brandão under Creative Commons License.
Monday, May 11, 2009
The Christian’s motto is, “Upward and onward.” Not as though he had already attained, either were already perfect, he presses forward to the mark for the prize of his high calling in Christ Jesus. We are not true Christians if we stop, or start, or turn aside. As an arrow from a bow that is drawn by some mighty archer speeds straightway towards its goal, such is the Christian life as it is, such is it as it always should be. We make progress, and we persevere in so doing.
From a sermon entitled "Faith Versus Sight." Image by John Holm under Creative Commons License.
Friday, May 8, 2009
May the Lord pump you dry of all your self-sufficiency, and then the stream of eternal mercy will come flowing down through the silver pipe of the atoning sacrifice, and you shall rejoice and live. I have now to say to every sinner here in conclusion that my God is a God willing to pardon, a God passing by transgression, iniquity, and sin; and these are his words, not only to the whole of you as a mass, but to each unconverted person in particular, though I cannot point the finger to every one.
“Come now, and let us reason together: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Do not those words melt you at all? I pray God that he may bless them to you. You have been restored, brought here again alter much affliction. God has been gracious to you. He has passed by much sin in his long-suffering. Oh! let Heaven’s mercy melt you!
From a sermon entitled "Man's Thoughts And God's Thoughts," delivered February 18, 1866. Image by fauxto_digit under Creative Commons License.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Genuine humility is a very gracious fruit of the Spirit. To be broken in heart is the best means of preparing the soul for Jesus. “A broken and a contrite hear, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Brethren, always be thankful when you see high thoughts of man brought down; this settling the furrows is a very gracious preparatory work of grace. Yet again, it is added, “Thou makest it soft with showers.” Man’s heart is naturally hardened against the gospel; like the Eastern soil, it is hard as iron if there be no gracious rain. How sweetly and effectively does the Spirit of God soften the man through and through! He is no longer towards the Word what he used to be: he feels everything, whereas once he felt nothing. The rock flows with water; the heart is dissolved in tenderness, the eyes are melted into tears. All this is God’s work. I have said already that God works through us, but still it is God’s immediate work to send down the rain of his grace from on high. Perhaps he is at work upon some of you, though as yet there is no springing up of spiritual life in your souls. Though your condition is still a sad one, we will hope for you that ere long there shall be seen the living seed of grace sending up its tender green shoot above the soil, and may the Lord bless the springing thereof.
From a sermon entitled "Spring In The Heart," delivered February 11, 1866. Image by fauxto_digit under Creative Commons License.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
No genuine revival can ever arise from the flesh. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” Human excitement at the utmost, and carnal zeal at its extremity, can do nothing towards the real conversion of souls. Here we are taught the lesson, “not by might nor by power.” Disappointments ought to have taught the Church of God this lesson long ago. The many revivals which she has had which have proved to be spurious - the puffing up of excitement and not the building up of grace, all these should have driven her out of the last relic of her self confidence, and have made her feel that it is not of herself to do anything in the Lord’s cause without his help. “Our help cometh from the Lord that made heaven and earth.”
It is well to be constantly convinced of this. We must have God’s arm laid to the work, or else nothing will be accomplished which will stand the solemn tests of the last great day. Wood, hay, and stubble we may build alone, but gold, silver and precious stones are from the king’s treasury. “Without me ye can do nothing,” was the Savior’s word to his chosen apostles; how much more applicable must it be to us who are “less than the least of all saints”! In vain your holy assemblies, in vain your earnest desires, in vain your passionate addresses, in vain your efforts of a thousand shapes: unless God himself shall step forth from the hiding-place of his power, and set himself a second time to his own glorious work, no good can come of all your toils.
From a sermon entitled "The Mighty Arm," delivered February 4, 1866. Image by fauxto_digit under Creative Commons License.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Courage, courage! He has not brought you out of Egypt that you may be destroyed. What would the heathen say concerning your God, if after all you should fall and perish? You shall win the day, you shall have every inch of the promised land, only be ye strong and be very courageous, for the Lord will surely drive out your sins, and take your body, soul, and spirit, as a consecrated and holy possession for ever.
But there is a notion among some Christians, who are but little instructed, and who know nothing of experience, that sanctification is an instantaneous work. There are some who think that the moment they believe in Jesus they shall never be troubled with any sin again, whereas, it is then that the battle begins. The moment sin is forgiven it ceases to be my friend, and becomes my deadly foe. When the guilt of sin is gone, then the power of sin becomes obnoxious, and we begin to strive against it. Every now and then we hear of friends who cannot understand my teaching on this point. They say they do not feel anything of uprising sin within themselves. Oh, beloved, I wish you did, for I am afraid you know nothing of the gospel-life if you do not. I will not give a penny for your religion, if it has no inward conflict. Even virtuous heathens have got farther than that, for some of them have written that they felt themselves to be as two men contending or fighting; and surely Christians have got farther still, or ought to have done. This, I know, be it what it may with you, I have to fight every day to get but one inch nearer to heaven, and I feel it will be wrestling to the last moment, and that I shall have a scuffle upon Jordan’s brink with my corruptions.
From a sermon entitled "Secret Sins Driven Out By Driving Hornets," delivered January 28, 1866. Image by chantrybee under Creative Commons License.
Monday, May 4, 2009
When ravens want food, they do not cease crying till they have got it; there is no quieting a hungry young raven till his mouth is full, and there is no quieting a sinner when he is really in earnest till he gets his heart full of divine mercy. I would that some of you prayed more vehemently! “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” An old Puritan said, “Prayer is a cannon set at the gate of heaven to burst open its gates:” you must take the city by storm if you would have it.
You will not ride to heaven on a feather-bed, you must go on pilgrimage; there is no going to the land of glory while you are sound asleep; dreamy sluggards will have to wake up in hell. If God has made you to feel in your soul the need of salvation, cry like one who is awake and alive; be in earnest; cry aloud; spare not; and then I think you will find that my argument will be quite fair, that in all respects a reasonable, argumentative, intelligent prayer, is more likely to prevail with God than the mere screaming, chattering noise of the raven; and that if he hears such a cry as the raven’s, it is much more certain that he will hear yours.
From a sermon entitled "The Ravens' Cry," delivered January 14, 1866. Image by chantrybee under Creative Commons License.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Too many Christians look for a present reward for their labors, and if they meet with success, they begin doting upon it as though they had received their recompense. Like the disciples who returned saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us,” they rejoice too exclusively in present prosperity; whereas the Master bade them not to look upon miraculous success as being their reward, since that might not always be the case. “Nevertheless,” said he, “rejoice not in this, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
Success in the ministry is not the Christian minister’s true reward: it is an earnest, but the wages still wait. The approbation of your fellowmen you must not look upon as being the reward of excellence, for often you will meet with the reverse; you will find your best actions misconstrued, and your motives ill interpreted. If you are looking for your reward here I may warn you of the apostle’s words, “If in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable:” because other men get their reward; even the Pharisee gets his: “Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward;” but we have none here.
To be despised and rejected of men is the Christian’s lot. Among his fellow Christians he will not always stand in good repute. It is not unmitigated kindness nor unmingled love that we receive even from the saints. I tell you if you look for your reward to Christ’s bride herself you will miss it; if you expect to receive your crown from the hand even of your brethren in the ministry who know your labors, and who ought to sympathize with your trials, you will be mistaken. “When the King shall come in his glory,” then is your time of recompense; but not today, nor tomorrow, nor at any time in this world. Reckon nothing which you acquire, no honor which you gain, to be the reward of your service to your Master; that is reserved to the time “when the King shall come in his glory.”
From a sermon entitled "The Reward Of The Righteous," delivered January 21, 1866. Image by atomicjeep under Creative Commons License.