Quotes by J.C. Philpot
This is a reading age – and as books are cheap, largely read, and easily procurable, the press has come to embrace a wider circle and to possess a greater influence on the public mind than any other medium of communication. The Christian press has spread itself in all directions, and exercises an influence scarcely inferior to that of the pulpit. Works, therefore, written by gracious men, whether living or dead, may be viewed as exercising a ministry of their own, running, as it were, parallel to that of the pulpit, and in harmony with it – but possessing the advantage of penetrating into places, and speaking on occasions where the voice of the living preacher cannot come, as well as of being accessible at all times, lying silently and unobtrusively on the table or the bookshelf, ready to be taken up or laid down at pleasure – and, if we have well chosen them, our trustiest friends and wisest counselors, who will always tell us the truth without fear and without flattery.
Satan is so wily, his agents so surround us, their designs are so masked, their language so plausible, their manners so insinuating, their appearance often so imposing, their arguments so subtle, their activity so unwearied, their insight into our weaknesses so keen, their enmity against Christ and His gospel so implacable, their lack of all principle and all honesty so thorough, that the net may be drawing around us, before we have the slightest suspicion of these infernal plots being directed against us!
Our hearts are desperately proud. If there is one sin which God hates more than another, and more sets Himself against, it is the sin of pride. Like a weed upon a dung-heap, pride grows more profusely in some soils, especially when well fertilized by rank, riches, praise, flattery, our own ignorance, and the ignorance of others. We all inherit pride from our fallen ancestor Adam, who got it from Satan, that “king over all the children of pride.” Those, perhaps, who think they possess the least pride, and view themselves with wonderful self-admiration as the humblest of mortals, may have more pride than those who feel and confess it. It may only be more deeply hidden in the dark recesses of their carnal mind.
As God then sees all hearts, and knows every movement of pride, whether we see it or not, His purpose is to humble us! When I look back upon my life, and see all my sins, all my follies, all my slips, all my falls, my conscience testifies of the many things I have thought, said, and done, which grieve my soul, make me hang my head before God, put my mouth in the dust, and confess my sins unto Him. When I contrast my own exceeding sinfulness with God’s greatness, God’s majesty, God’s holiness, and God’s purity… I fall down, humbly and meekly before Him, I put my mouth in the dust, I acknowledge I am vile. “I am nothing but dust and ashes.” (Abraham) “Behold, I am vile!” (Job) “Woe to me! I am ruined!” (Isaiah) “I am a sinful man!” (Peter)
Those whom God calls to the work, He usually so strips and empties, so pulls down, humbles, and abases, so shows them what the ministry is, and their own unfitness for it—that they shrink back from so arduous and important a work, and can scarcely be persuaded that they are called to it. We need hardly remark how different this is from the forward, pushing, bold, if not presuming spirit which so many manifest in their ambitious aim almost to force their way into the pulpit.
The way also in which texts are brought to his mind, opened up to his understanding, or applied to his heart; the light cast upon a passage when speaking from it, the suitable Scriptures which are brought to his memory to confirm his views upon it, and the sweet enjoyment which he has himself in or after the time of speaking from it; the secret prayer and meditation on the word which he has before he goes into the pulpit, and the holy savor which often rests on his spirit after the labors of the day; the sense which he has of the blessedness of the work, and his willingness to spend and be spent, labor and suffer, live and die in the Lord’s service – these and similar experiences confirm him in the persuasion that the Lord has called him to the work, and is with him in it.
It was absolutely necessary either that the sinner should suffer in his own person, or in that of a substitute. Jesus became this substitute; He stood virtually in the sinner’s place, and endured in His holy body and soul the punishment due to Him; for He “was numbered with the transgressors.”
The cross was the place on which this sacrifice was offered; for as the blood of the slain lamb was poured out at the foot of the altar, sprinkled upon its horns, and burned in its ever-enduring fire, so our blessed Lord shed His blood upon the cross. He there endured the wrath of God to the uttermost; He there put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself; He there offered His holy soul and body, the whole of His pure and sacred humanity, in union with his eternal Deity, as an expiation for the sins of His people.
Godly sorrow springs from a view of a suffering Savior, and manifests itself by hatred of self, abhorrence of sin, groaning over our backslidings, grief of soul for being so often entangled by our lusts and passions, and is accompanied by softness, meltings of heart, flowings of love to the Redeemer, indignation against ourselves, and earnest desires never to sin more.
There may be circumstances in your earthly lot which at this moment are peculiarly trying. You look around and wonder how this or that circumstance will terminate. At present it looks very dark–clouds and mists hang over it, and you fear lest these clouds may break, not in showers upon your head, but burst forth in the lightning flash and the thunder stroke! But all things are put in subjection under Christ’s feet! That which you dread cannot take place except by His sovereign will–nor can it move any further except by His supreme disposal. Then make yourself quiet. He will not allow you to be harmed. That frowning providence shall only execute His sovereign purposes, and it shall be among those all things which, according to His promise, shall work together for your good. None of our trials come upon us by chance! They are all appointed in weight and measure–are all designed to fulfill a certain end. And however painful they may at present be, yet they are intended for your good. When the trial comes upon you, what a help it would be for you if you could view it thus, “This trial is sent for my good. It does not spring out of the dust. The Lord Himself is the supreme disposer of it. It is very painful to bear; but let me believe that He has appointed me this peculiar trial, along with every other circumstance. He will bring about His own will therein, and either remove the trial, or give me patience under it, and submission to it.