Bidden voor uw leraar – Octavius Winslow

October 19, 2014 Comments off

(…) Van hoe groot gewicht is het dan, dat hij (uw leraar) bij alle gelegenheden deelt in uw gebed!
Aan het verzuim van deze gewichtige plicht moet veel van de dorheid en onvruchtbaarheid toegeschreven worden, waarover men klaagt bij het horen van het Woord. U had wellicht een gewoonte, om bij het verlaten van Gods huis de leer te bedillen, die gij hebt horen verkondigen; gij hebt de leerrede beoordeeld in vitterij, u een oordeel aangematigd over de inhoud der prediking, of over de manier van de prediker, en bitter geklaagd over het onnutte van hetgeen gij hebt gehoord.
In alle tederheid en getrouwheid wensen wij de vraag tot uw geweten te richten: Bidt gij voor uw leraar? Hierin moet het grote kwaad gezocht worden, waarover gij treurt. Gij hebt over uw leraar geklaagd bij anderen; (helaas, hoe dikwijls en hoe bitter, het zij tot uw verootmoediging gezegd) maar hebt gij ook over hem geklaagd bij de Heere? Hebt gij er nooit met ernst over nagedacht dat de tekortkoming op de kansel, waarover gij klaagt, in zeer nauw verband kan staan met uw tekortkoming in de binnenkamer, waarvan gij u niet eens bewust zijt?

Gij hebt het gebed voor uw leraar nagelaten. Gij hebt verzuimd om in bijzondere, vurige voorbidding bij de Heere het instrument te gedenken, waarvan uw toenemen in het geestelijk leven zozeer afhankelijk is. Gij hebt tot hem opgezien als het kanaal der genade, maar gij hebt verzuimd aan Jezus om die genade te vragen, waarvan hij slechts het kanaal is. Gij hebt van zijn bediening lering en troost verwacht, maar gij hebt verzuimd het onderwijs, de zalving voor hem te vragen, waardoor hij in staat is u te bevestigen in de waarheid, of u te troosten in smart.

Gij hebt wellicht een schaarsheid van gedachten bij hem opgemerkt, gij gevoelde een gebrek aan kracht in zijn bediening, maar gij hebt dit niet toegschreven aan uw eigen armoede en gebrek aan de geest en de gewoonte van het gebed tot zijn behoeven. Gij hebt u verwonderd over het gebrek aan sympathie, aan gevoel en tederheid in de uitoefening van zijn herderlijke plichten; maar gij hebt vergeten met hem te sympatiseren in zijn grote verantwoordelijkheid, neerdrukkende kommer, en bezigheden, die onscheidbaar verbonden zijn aan het ambt dat uw leraar bekleedt, en waarin hij dikwijls uitnemend zeer bezwaard is geweest boven (zijn) macht, alzo dat (hij) zeer in twijfel (was) ook van het leven.Aldus kan de oorzaak van een onvruchtbaar horen van het Woord dichter bij u liggen, dan gij wel vermoedt. Er was van uw zijde nalatigheid in het gebed, gebrek aan sympathie; en alzo heeft God een tekortkoming in kracht en sympathie toegelaten bij hem.

Octavius Winslow

Invincible Grace – John Newton

September 20, 2014 Comments off

Do I think that God, in the ordinary course of his providence, grants this assistance in an irresistible manner, or effects faith and conversion without the sinner’s own hearty consent and concurrence? I rather chose to term grace invincible than irresistible. For it is too often resisted even by those who believe; but, because it is invincible, it triumphs over all resistance when He is pleased to bestow it. For the rest, I believe no sinner is converted without his own hearty will and concurrence. But he is not willing till he is made so. Why does he at all refuse? Because he is insensible of his state; because he knows not the evil of sin, the strictness of the law, the majesty of God whom he has offended, nor the total apostasy of his heart; because he is blind to eternity, and ignorant of the excellency of Christ; because he is comparatively whole, and sees not his need of this great Physician; because he relies upon his own wisdom, power, and supposed righteousness. Now in this state of things, when God comes with a purpose of mercy, he begins by convincing the person of sin, judgment, and righteousness, causes him to feel and know that he is a lost, condemned, helpless creature, and then discovers to him the necessity, sufficiency, and willingness of Christ to save them that are ready to perish, without money or price, without doings or deservings.

From: Letters of John Newton

Not pity but a whipping for those staying under an unedifying ministry – Spurgeon

May 20, 2014 Comments off

Perhaps, again, you are saying, “Oh that I were as in months past!” not so much from your own fault as from the fault of your minister.There is such a thing, my dear friends, as our getting into a terribly bad condition through the ministry that we attend. Can it be expected that men should grow in grace when they are never watered with the streams that make glad the city of our God? Can they be supposed to wax strong in the Lord Jesus, when they do not feed on spiritual food? We know some who grumble, Sabbath after Sabbath, and say they cannot hear such and such a minister. Why don’t you buy an ear-trumpet then? Ah! but I mean, that I can’t hear him to my soul’s profit. Then do not go to hear him, if you have tried for a long while and don’t get any profit. I always think that a man who grumbles as he goes out of chapel ought not to be pitied, but whipped, for he can stay away if he likes, and go where he will be pleased. There are plenty of places where the sheep may feed in their own manner; and every one is bound to go where he gets the pasture most suited to his soul; but you are not bound to run away directly your minister dies, as many of you did before you came here. You should not run away from the ship directly the storm comes, and the captain is gone, and you find her not exactly sea-worthy; stand by her, begin caulking her, God will send you a captain, there will be fine weather by-and-bye, and all will be right; but very frequently a bad minister starves God’s people into walking skeletons, so that you can tell all their bones; and who wonders that they starve out their minister, when they get no food and no nutriment from his ministrations. This is a second reason why men frequently cry out, “Oh that I were as in months past!”
CH Spurgeon – Comfort for the desponding

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? – JC Philpot

May 6, 2014 Comments off

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”–Romans 8:35

Be this never forgotten, that if we have ever been brought near to the Lord Jesus Christ by the actings of living faith, there never can be any final, actual separation from him. In the darkest moments, in the dreariest hours, under the most painful exercises, the most fiery temptations, there is, as with Jonah in the belly of hell, a looking again toward the holy temple. There is sometimes a sigh, a cry, a groan, a breathing forth of the heart’s desire to “know Him, and the power of his resurrection;” that he would draw us near unto himself, and make himself precious to our souls. And these very cries and sighs, groanings and breathings, all prove that whatever darkness of mind, guilt of conscience, or unbelief we may feel, there is no real separation. It is in grace as it is in nature; the clouds do not blot out the sun; it is still in the sky, though they often intercept his bright rays. And so with the blessed Sun of righteousness; our unbelief, our ignorance, our darkness of mind, our guilt of conscience, our many temptations–these do not blot out the Sun of righteousness from the sky of grace. Though thick clouds come between him and us and make us feel as though he was blotted out, or at least as if we were blotted from his remembrance, yet, through mercy, where grace has begun the work, grace carries it on: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

JC Philpot, Daily portions 2 May

Christ our Sweet Savour before God – Spurgeon

March 28, 2014 Comments off

“I will accept you with your sweet savour.”
- Eze_20:41

The merits of our great Redeemer are as sweet savour to the Most High. Whether we speak of the active or passive righteousness of Christ, there is an equal fragrance. There was a sweet savour in his active life by which he honoured the law of God, and made every precept to glitter like a precious jewel in the pure setting of his own person. Such, too, was his passive obedience, when he endured with unmurmuring submission, hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, and at length sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane, gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked out the hair, and was fastened to the cruel wood, that he might suffer the wrath of God in our behalf. These two things are sweet before the Most High; and for the sake of his doing and his dying, his substitutionary sufferings and his vicarious obedience, the Lord our God accepts us. What a preciousness must there be in him to overcome our want of preciousness! What a sweet savour to put away our ill savour! What a cleansing power in his blood to take away sin such as ours! and what glory in his righteousness to make such unacceptable creatures to be accepted in the Beloved! Mark, believer, how sure and unchanging must be our acceptance, since it is in him! Take care that you never doubt your acceptance in Jesus. You cannot be accepted without Christ; but, when you have received his merit, you cannot be unaccepted. Notwithstanding all your doubts, and fears, and sins, Jehovah’s gracious eye never looks upon you in anger; though he sees sin in you, in yourself, yet when he looks at you through Christ, he sees no sin. You are always accepted in Christ, are always blessed and dear to the Father’s heart. Therefore lift up a song, and as you see the smoking incense of the merit of the Saviour coming up, this evening, before the sapphire throne, let the incense of your praise go up also.

CH Spurgeon, Morning and Evening 28 March (Evening)

Remaining sin like remaining Canaanites – Octavius Winslow

March 28, 2014 Comments off

“The children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in the land.” Joshua 17:12.

You will recollect that when the children of Israel took possession of Canaan, although they conquered its inhabitants and took supreme possession and government of the country, yet they could not entirely dispossess the former occupants of the soil. Now, what these Canaanites, these heathenish idolaters, were to the children of Israel, the natural corruptions of the heart are to the called children of God. After all that divine and sovereign mercy has done for the soul, though the inhabitants of the land have been conquered, and the heart has yielded to the power of omnipotent grace, and the “strong man armed” has been deposed, and Jesus has taken the throne, yet the Canaanites still dwell in the land, and we cannot expel them thence. These are the natural corruptions of our fallen nature, the evils of a heart that is but partially renewed, the heathenish lusts and passions and infirmities that formerly were the sole occupants of the soil, and still dwell there, and which we shall never, in the present state, entirely dispossess. But what did the children of Israel do to these Canaanites, whom they could not give out of the cities, but who would dwell in the land? We read in the 13th verse: “Yet it came to pass when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.” Now this is what the children of God must do with the spiritual Canaanites that yet dwell in the renewed heart: they cannot be driven out, but they may be put to tribute; they cannot be entirely extirpated, yet they may be brought into complete subjection, and even made to contribute to the spiritual advance of the soul, and to the glory of God. Yes, even these very indwelling and powerful Canaanites, these strong corruptions that war and fight in the renewed soul, may be made subservient to the spiritual benefit of a child of God. Will it not be so, if they lead him to put no confidence in himself, to draw largely from the fulness of grace in Jesus, to repair often to the throne of mercy, to deal much and closely with the atoning blood, to cultivate a watchful, prayerful, tender spirit, and daily and hourly to rejoice in Christ Jesus, having no confidence in the flesh? Thus may the renewed soul- often led to exclaim, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”- through a supply of the Spirit of Christ Jesus, and becoming more thoroughly versed in the are of the holy war, be able to turn the risings of his indwelling sins into occasions of more holy and humble walk with God.

Octavius Winslow, Morning thoughts 28 March

One with the Prince of sufferers – Octavius Winslow

December 22, 2013 Comments off

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” 2 Timothy 2:11, 12

BEHOLD, then, your exalted privilege, you suffering sons of God! See how the glory beams around you, you humble and afflicted ones! You are one with the Prince of sufferers, and the Prince of sufferers is one with you! Oh! to be one with Christ-what tongue can speak, what pen can describe the sweetness of the blessing, and the greatness of the grace? To sink with Him in His humiliation here is to rise with Him in His exaltation hereafter. To share with Him in His abasement on earth is to blend with Him in His glory in heaven. To suffer shame and ridicule, persecution and distress, poverty and loss for Him now, is to wear the crown, and wave the palm, to swell the triumph, and shout the song, when He shall descend the second time in glory and majesty, to raise His Bride from the scene of her humiliation, robe her for the marriage, and make her manifestly and eternally His own.

Oh! laud His great name for all the present conduct of His providence and grace. Praise Him for all the wise though affecting discoveries He gives you of yourself, of the creature, of the world. Blessed, ah! truly blessed and holy is the discipline that prostrates your spirit in the dust. There it is that He reveals the secret of His own love, and draws apart the veil of His own loveliness. There it is that He brings the soul deeper into the experience of His sanctifying truth; and, with new forms of beauty and expressions of endearment, allures the heart, and takes a fresh possession of it for Himself. And there, too, it is that the love, tenderness, and grace of the Holy Spirit are better known. As a Comforter, as a Revealer of Jesus, we are, perhaps, more fully led into an acquaintance with the work of the Spirit in seasons of soul-abasement than at any other time. The mode and time of His divine manifestation are thus beautifully predicted: “He shall come down like rain on the mown grass; as showers that water the earth.” Observe the gentleness, the silence, and the sovereignty of His operation-”He shall come down like rain.” How characteristic of the blessed Spirit’s grace! Then mark the occasion on which He descends-it is at the time of the soul’s deep prostration. The waving grass is mowed-the lovely flower is laid low-the fruitful stem is broken-that which was beautiful, fragrant, and precious is cut down-the fairest first to fade, the loveliest first to die, the fondest first to depart; then, when the mercy is gone, and the spirit is bowed, when the heart is broken, the mind is dejected, and the world seems clad in wintry desolation and gloom, the Holy Spirit, in all the softening, reviving, comforting, and refreshing influence of His grace, descends, speaks of the beauty of Jesus, leads to the grace of Jesus, lifts the bowed soul, and reposes it on the bosom of Jesus.

Precious and priceless, then, beloved, are the seasons of a believer’s humiliation. They tell of the soul’s emptiness, of Christ’s fullness; of the creature’s insufficiency, of Christ’s all-sufficiency; of the world’s poverty, of Christ’s affluence; they create a necessity which Jesus supplies, a void which Jesus fills, a sorrow which Jesus soothes, a desire which Jesus satisfies. They endear the cross of the incarnate God, they reveal the hidden glory of Christ’s humiliation, they sweeten prayer, and lift the soul to God; and then, “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” Are you as a bruised flower? are you as a broken stem? Does some heavy trial now bow you in the dust? Oh never, perhaps, were you so truly beautiful-never did your grace send forth such fragrance, or your prayers ascend with so sweet an odor-never did faith, and hope, and love develop their hidden glories so richly, so fully as now! In the eye of a wounded, a bruised, and a humbled Christ, you were never more lovely, and to His heart never more precious than now-pierced by His hand, smitten by His rod, humbled by His chastisement, laid low at His feet, condemning yourself, justifying Him, taking to yourself all the shame, and ascribing to Him all the glory.

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