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Quotes by Gardiner Spring


There is a vast difference between such an affection and that selfish and unhallowed friendship to God which terminates on our own happiness as its supreme motive and end. If a man in his supposed love to God has no ultimate regard except to his own happiness, if he delights in God not for what He is but for what He is to him, in such a sentiment there is no moral virtue. There is indeed great love of self but no true love of God. But where the enmity of the carnal mind is slain, the soul is reconciled to the divine character as it is. God Himself in the fullness of His manifested glory becomes the object of devout and delighted contemplation. In his more favored hours, the views of a good man are in a great measure diverted from himself. As his thoughts glance toward the varied excellence of the deity, he scarcely stops to inquire whether the being whose character fills his mind and in comparison of whose dignity and beauty all things are atoms and vanity will extend his mercy to him. His soul cleaves to God and in the warmth and fervor of devout affection, he can often say, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none on the earth that I desire beside Thee, as the hart pants after the waterbrooks, so pants my soul after Thee, O God.”


And who and what are ministers themselves? Frail men, fallible, sinning men, exposed to every snare, to temptation in every form; and from the very post of observation they occupy, the fairer mark for the fiery darts of the foe. They are no mean victims the great Adversary is seeking, when he would wound and cripple Christ’s ministers. One such victim is worth more to the kingdom of darkness than a score of common men; and on this very account, the temptations are probably more subtle and severe than those encountered by ordinary Christians. If this subtle Deceiver fails to destroy them, he artfully aims at neutralizing their influence by quenching the fervor of their piety, lulling them into negligence, and doing all in his power to render their work irksome. How perilous the condition of that minister then, whose heart is not encouraged, whose hands are not strengthened, and who is not upheld by the prayers of his people! It is not in his own closet and on his own knees alone that he finds security and comfort and ennobling, humbling and purifying thoughts and joys; but it is when his people also seek them in his behalf that he becomes a better and happier man and a more useful minister of the everlasting gospel.