Meditation is the soul of religion… We ought, therefore, both for our own good and for the Lord’s honor to be much occupied with meditation, and that meditation should chiefly dwell upon the Lord Himself: it should be “meditation of Him.” For want of it much communion is lost and much happiness is missed.
Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of the Savior. He who has stood before his God, convicted and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the man to weep for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the evil which has been forgiven him, and to live to the honor of the Redeemer by whose blood he has been cleansed.
Our love ought to follow the love of God in one point, namely, in always seeking to produce reconciliation. It was to this end that God sent His Son.
If a man could know that he was loved by all his fellowmen, if he could have it for certain that he was loved by all the angels, yet these were but so many drops, and all put together could not compare with the main ocean contained in the fact that “God loved us.”
The best sermon is that in which the theme absorbs the preacher and hearers, and leaves no one either time or desire to think about the speaker.
I think beloved, it will not be hard for you to learn. The angels of heaven rejoice over Sinners that repent: saints of God, will not you and I do the same? I do not think the church rejoices enough. We all grumble enough and groan enough: but very few of us rejoice enough. When we take a large number into the church it is spoken of as a great mercy; but is the greatness of that mercy appreciated?
Free-will doctrine – what does it? It magnifies man into God; it declares God’s purposes a nullity, since they cannot be carried out unless men are willing. It makes God’s will a waiting servant to the will of man, and the whole covenant of grace dependent upon human action. Denying election on the ground of injustice it holds God to be a debtor to sinners, so that if He gives grace to one He is bound to do so to all. It teaches that the blood of Christ was shed equally for all men and since some are lost, this doctrine ascribes the difference to man’s own will, thus making the atonement itself a powerless thing until the will of man gives it efficacy. Those sentiments dilute the scriptural description of man’s depravity, and by imputing strength to fallen humanity, rob the Spirit of the glory of His effectual grace: this theory says in effect that it is of him that willeth, and of him that runneth, and not of God that showeth mercy.
Only the prayer which comes from our heart can get to God’s heart.
I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need.
No music is more sweet to a gospel preacher than the rustle of Bible pages in the congregation.
God’s people can never by any possibility be punished for their sins. God has punished them already in the person of Christ, their substitute. But yet, while the Christian cannot be condemned, he can be chastised. Punishment is laid on a man in anger; God strikes him in wrath. But when he afflicts His child, chastisement is applied in love. The rod has been baptized in deep affection before it is laid on the believer’s back.
He who talks upon plain gospel themes in a farmer’s kitchen, and is able to interest the carter’s boy and the dairymaid, has more of the minister in him than the prim little man who keeps prating about being cultured, and means by that – being taught to use words which nobody can understand.
Our sorrows are all, like ourselves, mortal. There are no immortal sorrows for immortal souls. They come, but blessed be God, they also go. Like birds of the air, they fly over our heads. But they cannot make their abode in our souls. We suffer today, but we shall rejoice tomorrow.
You will find indwelling sin frequently retarding you the most, when you are most earnest. When you desire to be most alive to God – you will generally find sin most alive to repel you.
Faith shows itself by good works.
Do not desire to be the principal man in the church. Be lowly. Be humble. The best man in the church is the man who is willing to be a doormat for all to wipe their boots on, the brother who does not mind what happens to him at all, so long as God is glorified.
Many a man has died from internal bleeding, and yet there has been no wound whatever to be seen by the eye. You may go to hell as well dressed in the garnishings of morality as in the rags of immorality. Unless the very center of your soul and the core of your being be made obedient to the living God, He will not accept you, for He looks not only to your outward condition, but to your heart’s secret loyalty or treachery toward Himself.
There will be no new God, nor a new devil, and we shall never have a new Savior, nor a new atonement: Why should we then be either attracted or alarmed by the error and nonsense which everywhere plead for a hearing because they are new? What is their newness to us; we are not children, nor frequenters of playhouses? Truly, to such a new toy or a new play has immense attractions; but men care less about the age of a thing than about its intrinsic value. To suppose that theology can be new is to imagine that the Lord himself is of yesterday. A doctrine which is said to have lately become true must of necessity be a lie. Falsehood has no beard, but truth is hoary with an age immeasurable. The old gospel is the only gospel. Pity is our only feeling towards those young preachers who cry, "See my new theology," in just the same spirit as little Mary says, "See my pretty new frock."
I would rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than a universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of men be added to it.
I know this, that the death of all that is sinful in me is my soul’s highest ambition, yes, and the death of all that is carnal and all that savors of the old Adam. Oh, that it would die. And where can it die but at the feet of Him who has the new life, and who by manifesting Himself in all His glory is to purge away our dross and sin?
I know there are some who say, “Well, I’ve given myself to the Lord, but I don’t intend to give myself to any church.” I say, “Now why not?” And they answer, “Because I can be just as good a Christian without it.” I say, “Are you quite clear about that? You can be as good a Christian by disobedience to your Lord’s commands as by being obedient? There’s a brick. What is the brick made for? It’s made to build a house. It is of no use for the brick to tell you that it’s just as good a brick while it’s kicking about on the ground by itself, as it would be as part of a house. Actually, it’s a good-for-nothing brick. So, you rolling stone Christians, I don’t believe that you’re answering the purpose for which Christ saved you. You’re living contrary to the life which Christ would have you live and you are much to blame for the injury you do.”
It is well said that neglected prayer is the birth-place of all evil.
Few preachers of religion do believe thoroughly the doctrine of the Fall, or else they think that when Adam fell down he broke his little finger, and did not break his neck and ruin his race.
Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.
[Satan] can make men dance upon the brink of hell as though they were on the verge of heaven.
Some go to church to take a walk; some go there to laugh and talk.
Some go there to meet a friend; some go there their time to spend.
Some go there to meet a lover; some go there a fault to cover.
Some go there for speculation; some go there for observation.
Some go there to doze and nod; the wise go there to worship God.
I take it that the highest proof of Christ’s power is not that He offers salvation, not that He bids you take it if you will, but that when you reject it, when you hate it, when you despise it, He has a power whereby he can change your mind, make you think differently from your former thoughts, and turn you from the error of your ways.
For our part, we find it far more easy to believe that the Lord made us than that we were developed by a long chain of natural selections from floating atoms which fashioned themselves.
The man who cannot weep cannot preach. At least, if he never feels tears within, even if they do not show themselves without, he can scarcely be the man to handle such themes as those which God has committed to his people’s charge.
Reckon then that to acquire soul-winning power, you will have to go through mental torment and soul distress. You must go into the fire if you are going to pull others out of it, and you will have to dive into the floods if you are going to draw others out of the water. You cannot work a fire escape without feeling the scorch of the conflagration, nor man a lifeboat without being covered with the waves.
God has a way of giving by the cartloads to those who give away by shovelfuls.
He that can toy with his ministry and count it to be like a trade, or like any other profession, was never called of God. But he that has a charge pressing on his heart, and a woe ringing in his ear, and preaches as though he heard the cried of hell behind him, and saw his God looking down on him- oh, how that man entreats the Lord that his hearers may not hear in vain!
Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.
God’s mercy is so great that you may sooner drain the sea of its water, or deprive the sun of its light, or make space too narrow, than diminish the great mercy of God.
The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.
Texts will often refuse to reveal their treasures till you open them with the key of prayer.
Child of God, you cost Christ too much for Him to forget you.
The shop, the barn, the scullery, and the smithy become temples when men and women do all to the glory of God!
There are some of your graces which would never be discovered if it were not for your trials.
Of course, you are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound Scripture without assistance from the works of divines and learned men who have labored before you… It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others… A respectable acquaintance with the opinions of the giants of the past, might have saved many an erratic thinker from the wild interpretations and outrageous inferences.
To be a soul winner is the happiest thing in this world. And with every soul you bring to Jesus Christ, you seem to get a new heaven here upon earth.
A man is not saved against his will, but he is made willing by the operation of the Holy Ghost. A mighty grace which he does not wish to resist enters into the man, disarms him, makes a new creature of him, and he is saved.
Are you glorying in your graces or your talents? Are you proud of yourself, that you have had holy postures and sweet experiences?… Your flaunting poppies of self-conceit will be pulled up by the roots, your mushroom graces will wither in the burning heat, and your self-sufficiency shall become as straw for the manure pile. If we forget to live at the foot of the cross in deepest lowliness of spirit, God won’t forget to make us feel the pain of His rod.
We want personal consecration. I have heard that word pronounced purse and all consecration, a most excellent pronunciation. He who loves Jesus consecrates to Him all that he has, and feels it a delight that he may lay anything at the feet of Him who laid down his life for us.
It is a terribly easy matter to be a minister of the gospel and a vile hypocrite at the same time.
Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide.
Our Savior has bidden us to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15). He has not said, “Preach it only to the elect,” and though that might seem to be the most logical thing for us to do, yet since He has not been pleased to stamp the elect in their foreheads or put any distinctive mark upon them, it would be an impossible task for us to perform. When we preach the Gospel to every creature, the Gospel makes its own division, and Christ’s sheep hear His voice, and follow Him.
Hang this question up in your homes – “What would Jesus do?” and then think of another – “How would Jesus do it?” For what Jesus would do, and how He would do it, may always stand as the best guide to us.
We must not trust our heart at any time; even when it speaks most fair, we must call it liar; and when it pretends to the most good, still we must remember its nature, for it is evil, and that continually.
Not that our salvation should be the effect of our work, but our work should be the evidence of our salvation.
A faith which works not for purification will work for putrefaction. Unless our faith makes us pine after holiness, it is no better than the faith of devils, and perhaps it is not even so good as that. A holy man is the workmanship of the Holy Spirit.
Morality may keep you out of jail, but it takes the blood of Jesus Christ to keep you out of hell.
When a Calvinist says that all things happen according to the predestination of God, he speaks the truth, and I am willing to be called a Calvinist. But when an Arminian says that when a man sins, the sin is his own, and that if he continues in sin, and perishes, his eternal damnation will lie entirely at his own door, I believe that he speaks the truth, though I am not willing to be called an Arminian. The fact is, there is some truth in both these systems of theology.
If Christ on His cross intended to save every man, then He intended to save those who were lost before He died. If the doctrine be true, that He died for all men, then He died for some who were in hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins. Once again, if it was Christ’s intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood.
Good men are promised tribulation in this world, and ministers may expect a larger share than others, that they may learn sympathy with the Lord’s suffering people, and so may be fitting shepherds of an ailing flock.
If we give God service it must be because He gives us grace. We work for Him because He works in us.
Our best performances are so stained with sin, that it is hard to know whether they are good works or bad works.
If your religion does not make you holy, it will damn you. It is simply painted pageantry to go to hell in.
Urgently we do need a revival of personal godliness. This is, indeed; the secret if church prosperity. When individuals fall from their steadfastness, the church is tossed to and fro; when personal faith is steadfast, the church abides true to her Lord.
You may readily judge whether you are a child of God or a hypocrite by seeing in what direction your soul turns in seasons of severe trial. The hypocrite flies to the world and finds a sort of comfort there. But the child of God runs to his Father and expects consolation only from the Lord’s hand.
I believe, that the work of regeneration, conversion, sanctification and faith, is not an act of man’s free will and power, but of the mighty, efficacious ad irresistible grace of God.
If we do wrong and no harm comes of it, we are not thereby justified. If we did evil and good came of it, the evil would be just as evil. It is not the result of the action, but the action itself which God weighs.
“You preached well,” said a friend to John Bunyan one morning. “You are too late,” said honest John, “The devil told me that before I left the pulpit.”
If any man is not sure that he is in Christ, he ought not to be easy one moment until he is sure. Dear friend, without the fullest confidence as to your saved condition, you have no right to be at ease, and I pray you may never be so. This is a matter too important to be left undecided.
Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.
A man must not consider that he is called to preach until he has proved that he can speak. God certainly has not created behemoth to fly; and should leviathan have a strong desire to ascend with the lark, it would evidently be an unwise aspiration, since he is not furnished with wings. If a man be called to preach, he will be endowed with a degree of speaking ability, which he will cultivate and increase. If the gift of utterance be not there in a measure at the first, it is not likely that it will ever be developed.
[Patience is] a grace as difficult as it is necessary, and as hard to come by as it is precious when it is gained.
When a tear is wept by you, think not your Father does not behold; for, “Like as a father pities his children so the Lord pities them that fear Him.” Your sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; your whisper can incline His ear unto you; your prayer can stay His hands; your faith can move His arm. Oh! Think not that God sits on high in an eternal slumber, taking no account of you.
True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.
The minister who does not earnestly pray over his work must surely be a vain and conceited man. He acts as if he thought himself sufficient of himself, and therefore needed not to appeal to God
The voices of childhood echo throughout life. The first learned is generally the last forgotten.
If a man tells me that he is humble, I know him to be profoundly proud.
Believing is a matter of the will. A man does not believe without being willing to believe.
The Word of God apart from the Spirit of God will be of no use to you. If you cannot understand a book, do you know the best way to reach its meaning? Write the author and ask him what he meant. If you have a book to read and you have the author always accessible, you need not complain that you do not understand it. The Holy Spirit has come to abide with us forever. Search the Scriptures, but cry for the Spirit’s light and live under His influence.
If you do get lost, some of you will have to wade through your mother’s tears and leap over your father’s prayers and your minister’s entreaties. You will have to force a passage through the warnings of godly people and the examples of pious relatives. Why this effort to destroy your own souls?
Do not look to your hope, but to Christ, the source of your hope.
Self-sufficiency is Satan’s net, wherein he catches men, like poor silly fish, and does destroy them. Be not self-sufficient. Think yourselves nothing, for you are nothing, and live by God’s help. The way to grow strong in Christ is to become weak in yourself. God pours no power into man’s heart till man’s power is all poured out. Live, then, daily, a life of dependence on the grace of God. Do not set yourself up as if you want an independent gentleman; do not start in your own concerns as if you could do all things yourself; but live always trusting in God. You have as much need to trust Him now as ever you have; for, mark this, although you would have been damned without Christ, at first, you will be damned without Christ now, unless He still keeps you.
Whirled from off our feet by a revival, carried aloft by popularity, exalted by success in soul-winning, we should be as the chaff which the wind driveth away, were it not that the gracious discipline of mercy breaks the ships of our vainglory with a strong east wind, and casts us shipwrecked, naked and forlorn, upon the Rock of Ages.
Because there is one hypocrite, met set down all the rest the same. I heard one man say that he did not believe there was a true Christian living, because he had found so many hypocrites. I reminded him that there could be no hypocrites if there were no genuine Christians. No one would try to forge bank notes if there were no genuine ones.
Nothing makes a man so virtuous as belief of the truth. A lying doctrine will soon beget a lying practice. A man cannot have an erroneous belief without by-and-by having an erroneous life. I believe the one thing naturally begets the other.
True salvation is not to be found through the mere reception of any creed, however true or scriptural. Mere “head notion” is not the road to heaven. “You must be born again,” means a great deal more than that you must believe certain dogmas. The study of the Bible cannot save you! You must press beyond this; you must come to the living, personal Christ, or else your acceptance of the soundest creed cannot avail for the salvation of your soul. Salvation lies in Jesus only!
Christian, remember the goodness of God in the frost of adversity.
When a man is saved by divine grace, he is not wholly cleansed from the corruption of his heart. When we believe in Jesus Christ all our sins are pardoned; yet the power of sin, albeit that it is weakened and kept under by the dominion of the new-born nature which God doth infuse into our souls, doth not cease, but still tarrieth in us, and will do so to our dying day.
Although we are sure that men are not saved for the sake of their works, yet we are equally sure that no man will be saved without them.
You will bear me witness, my friends, that it is exceedingly seldom I ever intrude into the mysteries of the future with regard either to the second advent, the millennial reign, or the first and second resurrection. As often as we come about it in our expositions, we do not turn aside from the point, but if guilty at all on this point, it is rather in being too silent than saying too much
The Holy Spirit is the Word, and the Word is, therefore, living truth.
There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a study of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity,