Thursday, December 31, 2015

We are the Lord's:  His all sufficient merit,
Sealed on the cross, to us this grace accords;
We are the Lord's, and all things shall inherit;
Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.

We are the Lord's:  then let us gladly tender
Our souls to Him, in deeds, not empty words;
Let heart and tongue, and life combine to render
No doubtful witness that we are the Lord's.
             from a hymn by Karl Johann Philipp Spitta,Tr.  by Charles Tamberlane Astle


I and my house will serve the Lord;
But first, obedient to his word
I must myself appear;
By actions, works, tempers, show
That I my heavenly Master know,
And serve with heart sincere.

I must the fair example set;
From those that on my pleasure wait
The stumbling block remove;
Their duty by my life explain,
And still in all my works maintain
The dignity of love.

Easy to be entreated, mild,
Quickly appeased and reconciled,
A follower of my God,
A saint indeed, I long to be,
And lead my faithful family
In the celestial road.

Lord, if thou didst the wish infuse,
A vessel fitted for thy use receive:
Into thy hands receive:
Work in me both to will and do;
And show them how believers true,
And real Christians, live.
                    Charles Wesley

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.  1 Peter 2:12

.....Why should I subdue my flesh? that I may be saved?  No, but that I may lead an honest life before the world.  For this honest life does not justify us, but we must first be justified and believe before we attempt to lead an honest (pious) life.  But as to outward conduct, this I am not to direct to my own profit, but that the unbelieving may thereby be reformed and attracted, that they through us may come to Christ; which is a true mark of love, though they slander and asperse us, and hold us as the worst wretches.  Therefore we should exhibit such an excellent course of action, that men shall be compelled to say, Certainly they cannot be blamed. 
     We read that when the emperors reigned, and persecuted the Christians, no fault could be found with the latter, except that they called on Christ and considered Him as God.  So Pliny writes in his letter to Trajan, the Emperor, that he knew of no wrong that the Christians did, except that they came together every morning, early, and sang songs of praise in order that they might honor their Christ and receive the sacrament; besides this, none could bring any charge against them.  Therefore St. Peter says:  Ye must endure to have men asperse you as evil-doers, and for this reason you are to lead such a life that you shall do no man injury, and in this manner you shall bring about their reformation.  Till that day arrive; that is, ye must endure it as long as men reproach you, till all shall be set forth and revealed, so that it shall be seen how unjust they have been toward you, and that they must glorify God on your account....
                                                                                                                       Martin Luther

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I gave my life for thee,                   Gal. 2:20
My precious blood I shed,             1 Pet. 1:19
That thou might'st ransomed be,    Eph. 1:7
And quickened from the dead.       Eph. 2:1
I gave My life for thee;                  Titus 2:14
What hast thou given for Me?        John 21:15-17

I spent long years for thee            1 Tim. 1:15
In weariness and woe,                  Isa. 53:3
That an eternity                           John 17:24
Of joy thou mightest know.           John 16:22
I spent long years for thee;           John 1:10-1I
Hast thou spent one for Me?         1 Pet. 4:2

My Father's home of light,             John 17:5
My rainbow-circled throne,            Rev. 4:3
I left, for earthly night,                   Phil. 2:7
For wanderings sad and lone.        Matt. 7:20
I left it all for thee;                         2 Cor. 8:9
Hast thou left aught for Me?          Luke 10:29

I suffered much for thee,               Isa. 53:5
More than thy tongue may tell,      Matt. 26:39
Of bitterest agony,                        Luke 22:44
To rescue thee from hell.               Rom. 5:9
I suffered much for thee;               1 Pet. 2:21-24
What canst thou bear for Me?       Rom. 8:17-18

And I have brought to thee,            John 4:10-14
Down from My home above,          John 3:13
Salvation full and free,                   Rev. 21:6
My pardon and My love.                Acts 5:31
Great gifts I brought to thee;          Ps. 68:18
What hast thou brought to Me?     Rom. 12:I

Oh, let thy life be given,               Rom. 6:13
Thy years for Him be spent,         2 Cor. 5:15
World-fetters all be riven,             Phil. 3:8
And joy with suffering blent;         1 Pet. 4:13-16
I gave Myself for thee:                  Eph. 5:2
Give thou thyself to Me!               Prov. 23:28
                                                                    Frances Ridley Havergal 

“The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.”  Oh, wonderful gift! not promised, but given; not to friends, but to enemies.  Given without condition, without reserve, without return.  Himself unknown and unloved, His gift unsought and unasked, He gave His life for thee a more than royal bounty.....Oh, grandeur of love!  “I lay down My life for the sheep!”  And we for whom He gave it have held back, and hesitated to give our lives, not even for Him (He has not asked us to do that), but to Him!
                                                                                                                        Frances Ridley Havergal                              

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

.....He stood alone, for who could have stood with Him?  He bore the wrath of God alone; He traveled in solitude down into "the rough valley that had neither been eared nor sown," and there He settled forever the question of our sins.  With this we had nothing to do, though to this we are eternally indebted for everything.  He fought the fight and gained the victory alone, but He divides the spoils with us.  He was in solitude "in the horrible pit and miry clay;" but directly He planted His foot on the everlasting "rock" of resurrection, He associates us with Him.  He uttered the cry alone; He sings the "new song" in company. (Psalm xl. 2, 3.) 
     Now the question is, shall we refuse to suffer from the hand of man with Him who suffered from the hand of God for us?.....
                                                                                                                            C. H. Mackintosh

Monday, December 28, 2015

"That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee."  Proverbs 22:19

     On this verse observe the following things:—
     1. The particularity of address,—"to thee, even to thee."  In the days of prophetic inspiration, it was no unusual thing for the servants of God to receive express commissions to individuals, in which they alone were concerned.  But the whole Book of God,—the entire "word of His testimony,"—should be considered by every one as addressed to him; —as much so as if there were no other human being besides himself, and as if it had been "given by inspiration" to himself alone.  There is no room for any saying, as Jehu did of old,—"To which of all us?"  The answer would, in every case, be—To each of you all—to thee—to thee—to thee.  Not that there is no such thing as "rightly dividing the word of truth;" not that there are no portions of it that have a special appropriateness of application to the characters and circumstances of individuals.  Still, the great truths of the Word are alike to each and to all.  And speedily a man may be placed in one or other of the peculiar situations to which the different portions of it are adapted!  I know of nothing more important than for every individual to bring divine lessons home to himself.  Too often, alas! we forget personal amidst general application of particular truths.  We think of them as intended for men, and forget that they are designed for us.  Would you then profit by what you hear?— keep in mind, that what is addressed to all is addressed to each—"to thee, even to thee."

     2. Mark the emphasis on the time—"this day."  We set a mark, in our minds, on days that have been rendered memorable by events of special interest.  Would Noah, think you, ever forget the day of the year on which he and his family entered the ark, and when "the Lord shut him in?"—or the day on which he again stepped out of it upon the green earth, to be the second father of mankind?  Would the shepherds ever forget on what night of the year the angelic messengers, amidst the light of the glory of the Lord, announced to them the divine Saviour's birth, and when "the multitude of the heavenly host," bursting on their sight, "ascended jubilant," saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men?"  Or would Cornelius ever forget the day and the hour when the angelic visitant directed him to that instruction whereby he and all his house should be saved?  You, it is true, have many times heard the words of truth.  Let me, however, remind any of you who have thus often heard, and who still neglect them, of the importance to you of each day that you enjoy the privilege.  Every time you thus hear them, your eternal all depends on the reception you give to the message of God.  This day may be important indeed, for it may be the last on which divine truth shall sound in your ears.  O that it may be a day to be sacredly and joyfully remembered by every sinner now present, as the day on which he first felt its inestimable preciousness to his soul!  If you thus hear, and thus improve the opportunity, the day will not be obliterated from your memory by the lapse of eternity.  There is one thing of which with emphasis it may be said to each individual sinner—It is ''to thee, even to thee:''—I mean the message of the Gospel—the message of free mercy through the divine Mediator.  There is no exception; there is no difference.  The Law speaks to each—"to thee, even to thee"—its sentence of condemnation.  The Gospel speaks to each—"to thee, even to thee"—its offer of free, full, immediate, irrevocable, pardon on the ground of the universal atonement.  To every fellow-creature we can say—An adequate atonement has been made for all; therefore for thee—"for thee, even for thee;" and on the ground of that atonement does divine mercy come near to thee—"to thee, even to thee"—with the offer of forgiveness, acceptance, and life.  "This day" is the message of life again "made known" unto thee, sinner; and there is no obstacle to thine acceptance and enjoyment of it, but what is in thyself;—none in God; none in Christ; none in the atonement; none in the divine offer of its virtue to mankind.  "To thee is the word of this salvation sent;" and "now is the accepted time, now the day of salvation."

     3. Mark the design:—"That thy trust may be in the Lord."  Can there be a design more gracious?  It is connected with the sinner's present and eternal happiness.  "They that know thy name," says David, "shall put their trust in thee:" then it follows—"for thou, Lord, hast never forsaken them that seek thee."  No.  God "keeps them by His power, through faith unto salvation."  God is revealed, to be trusted in:  and He is worthy of all confidence.  To trust in God is to trust in His perfections, as made known in the gospel,—in His mercy as it there appears in union with the justice and holiness of His character and government, and in His faithfulness to all the "exceeding great and precious promises" of His covenant, which are "yea and amen in Christ Jesus."  All may thus trust in Him.  I say to each hearer—"To thee, even to thee'' is God in Christ made known, that thou mayest trust in Him.  This trust arises from the knowledge of him as in Christ the God of salvation.  Mark the testimony—"Who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God," I Peter 1:20-21.  A blessing is ever represented as accompanying and flowing from it; while the language dictated by it is that of unmoved tranquillity, and fearless joy—"O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation," Isaiah 12:1-2.          
                                                                                                                                     Ralph Wardlaw  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

There’s a Stranger at the door,
    Let Him in!
He has been there oft before,
    Let Him in!
Let Him in, ere He is gone;
Let Him in, the Holy One,
Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son;
     Let Him in!

Open now to Him your heart;
    Let Him in!
If you wait He will depart;
    Let Him in!
Let Him in; He is your Friend;
And your soul He will defend,
He will keep you to the end;
    Let Him in!

Hear you now His loving voice?
    Let Him in!
Now, oh, now make Him your choice;
    Let Him in!
He is standing at your door;
Joy to you He will restore,
And His name you will adore;
    Let Him in!

Now admit the heav’nly Guest;
    Let Him in!
He will make for you a feast;
    Let Him in!
He will speak your sins forgiv’n,
And when earth ties all are riv’n,
He will take you home to heav’n
    Let Him in!
                      J. B. Atchinson

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; Hebrews 2:3

...he left his Father's bosom, that he might bring us into acquaintance with the Father; for this end did he who thought it no robbery to be equal with the Father, make himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man; and being found in fashion of a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, that he might bring man into a reunion with God; for this end did Christ live a wearisome troublesome life among a company of rebels and enemies, as if a man should live among toads and serpents.  So that he cried out, as weary of any longer abiding with them, "O, faithless generation!  How long shall I be with you?  How long shall I suffer you?"  For this did he make himself an offering for sin, that by taking away sin, he might bring men to God.  This is the great purpose of Christ in all his offices.  Ye have heard of the three offices of the Mediator, that he is a Priest, a Prophet, and a King.  This is the end of the priestly office.  The purpose of Christ's offering up himself a sacrifice was, by satisfying the justice of God, to make way for sinners' return to God.  This is the end of his prophetical office, to lead men into knowledge and acquaintance with God.  This is the end of his kingly office; that governing them, and ruling their hearts by his Spirit, he might effectually bring men to God, to acquaintance with him.  Now, then, since this is the great design of God in his great dispensation towards man, to keep man in acquaintance with himself, and to reduce him when he had lost it; doth it not concern us to do our part for the bringing to pass this great work?  Shall God lose his end in making us, and in setting man in the world every way furnished for his service? and shall God lose his end in sending his Son to receive us, when we had forsaken him?  Shall Christ leave his Father's bosom to bring us home to the Father, and shall we refuse to return?  Shall he pour out his soul an offering for sin, that he might make way for our access to God, "That we who were far off might be made nigh by the blood of Christ?" and shall we frustrate all by our refusing to go to him?  Shall Christ come and offer us his help and direction to come to the Father, and shall we abide still strangers?  Shall the King's Son come into our cottages to invite us to dwell with his Father at court, and shall we shut the door upon him, esteeming our cottages better than his palace?.....
                                                                                                                               James Janeway

Saturday, December 26, 2015

    When in the light of faith divine
    We look on things below,
    Honour, and gold, and sensual joy,
    How vain and dangerous too!

    [Honour's a puff of noisy breath;
    Yet men expose their blood,
    And venture everlasting death
    To gain that airy good.

    Whilst others starve the nobler mind,
    And feed on shining dust,
    They rob the serpent of his food
    T' indulge a sordid lust.]

    The pleasures that allure our sense
    Are dangerous snares to souls;
    There's but a drop of flattering sweet,
    And dash'd with bitter bowls.

    God is mine all-sufficient good,
    My portion and my choice;
    In him my vast desires are fill'd,
    And all my powers rejoice.

    In vain the world accosts my ear,
    And tempts my heart anew;
    I cannot buy your bliss so dear,
    Nor part with heaven for you.
                                              Isaac Watts

.....God and the world are contrary; he is all good, and the world lieth in wickedness; and they command contrary things.  The world saith, Slack no opportunity of gain and pleasure; if you will be so peevish as to stand nicely upon conscience, you will do nothing but draw trouble upon yourselves.  Now, God saith, Deny yourselves, take up your cross, renounce the world, etc.  The world saith, 'Wilt thou take thy bread, and thy water, and thy flesh, and give it unto men whom thou knowest not whence they be?' 1 Sam. 25:11.  But God saith, 'Sell that ye have, and give alms, provide bags that waste not,' etc.  It were easy to instance in several such contrarieties.  We find by experience that so far as we mingle with the world, so far are our hearts deadened and estranged from God; and by the encroachment of worldly delights and vanities upon the spirit, the love of God decayeth.  It is a vain conceit to think we can serve God and our lusts too.  The world and grace are incompatible; they may be together sometimes, as a rusty dial may be right by chance.  But you will be put to trial; and when God and the world come in competition, you may see whose friendship you do desire.  When a worldly man must do the one or the other, you shall see where his heart is; he will rather offend God than lose riches, pleasures, or preferment:  he is loath to be bound up by the curt allowance of conscience and religion; and though he would gild all with a pretence of respect to God, yet carnal reasons oversway, and he taketh the world's part against God.   Well, now, you see the enmity between God and the world.  (1.)  Think of it seriously, when you are about to mingle with earthly comforts and delights, and can neglect God for a little carnal conveniency and satisfaction; this is to be an enemy to God; and can I make good my part against him?  He is almighty, and can crush you.  What are our feeble hands to the grasp of omnipotency?  See Ezek. 22:14.  And he is a terrible enemy 'when he whetteth his glittering sword,' Deut. 32:41.  Nay, if none of all this were to be feared, the very estrangement from God is punishment enough to itself.  Shall I renounce the love and favour of God, and all commerce and communion between him and me, for a little temporal delight and pleasure?  God forbid.  (2.)  Learn how odious worldliness is; it is direct enmity to God, because it is carried on under sly pretences; of all sins this seemeth most plausible.  Usually we stroke it with a gentle censure, and say, He is a good man, but a little covetous and worldly, etc.  That is enough to entitle him God's enemy.  The world reckoneth sins, not by the inward contrariety to God, but by the outward excesses and acts of filthiness; and therefore, because covetous persons do not break out into acts foul and shameful, they have much of the honour and respect of the world:  Ps. 49:13, 'Their way is folly, yet their posterity approve their sayings;' that is, praise and esteem such a kind of life.  Sensual persons are like beasts, and therefore the object of common scorn; but worldliness suiteth more with carnal reason, and is a sin more human and rational:  Ps. 10:3, 'They bless the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.'  The Lord abhorreth them, but men bless them; for they do not measure sins so much by the inward enmity, as by the outward excess.  God's hatred ariseth from his own purity, but man's from the external inconveniences of disgrace and loss.....                                                                                              Thomas Manton

Friday, December 25, 2015

How happy is the pilgrim’s lot!
How free from every anxious thought,
From worldly hope and fear!
Confined to neither court nor cell,
His soul disdains on earth to dwell,
He only sojourns here.

This happiness in part is mine,
Already saved from self design,
From every creature love;
Blest with the scorn of finite good,
My soul is lightened of its load,
And seeks the things above.

The things eternal I pursue,
A happiness beyond the view
Of those that basely pant
For things by nature felt and seen;
Their honors, wealth, and pleasures mean
I neither have nor want.

I have no sharer of my heart,
To rob my Savior of a part,
And desecrate the whole;
Only betrothed to Christ am I,
And wait His coming from the sky,
To wed my happy soul.

I have no babes to hold me here;
But children more securely dear
For mine I humbly claim,
Better than daughters or than sons,
Temples divine of living stones,
Inscribed with Jesus’ Name.

No foot of land do I possess,
No cottage in this wilderness,
A poor wayfaring man,
I lodge awhile in tents below;
Or gladly wander to and fro,
Till I my Canaan gain.

Nothing on earth I call my own;
A stranger, to the world unknown,
I all their goods despise;
I trample on their whole delight,
And seek a country out of sight,
A country in the skies.

There is my house and portion fair,
My treasure and my heart are there.
And my abiding home;
For me my elder brethren stay,
And angels beckon me away,
And Jesus bids me come.

“I come,” Thy servant, Lord, replies,
“I come to meet Thee in the skies,
And claim my heavenly rest”;
Now let the pilgrim’s journey end,
Now, O my Savior, Brother, Friend.
Receive me to Thy breast!
                       John Wesley

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims.....1 Peter 2:11

.....This is now the sense of the Apostle, when he says, Dear brethren, I admonish you as strangers and as pilgrims.  Since, then, you are one with Christ, form one household, and His goods are yours, your injury is His injury, and He takes as His own all that you possess; therefore you are to follow after Him, and conduct yourselves as those who are no more citizens of the world.  For your possessions lie not upon the earth, but in heaven; and though you have already lost all temporal good, you still have Christ, who is more than all else.  The devil is the prince of this world and rules it; his citizens are the people of this world; therefore, since you are not of the world, act as a stranger in an inn, who has not his possessions with him, but procures food, and gives his gold for it.  For here it is only a sojourning, where we cannot tarry, but must travel further.  Therefore we should use worldly blessings no more than is needful for health and appetite, and therewith leave and go to another land.  We are citizens in heaven; on earth we are pilgrims and guests.....
                                                                                                                    Martin Luther

Thursday, December 24, 2015

           Christian! seek not yet repose,
           Hear thy guardian angel say;
           Thou art in the midst of foes;
           “Watch and pray.”

           Principalities and powers,
           Mustering their unseen array,
           Wait for thy unguarded hours:
           “Watch and pray.”

           Gird thy heavenly armor on,
           Wear it ever night and day;
           Ambushed lies the evil one;
           “Watch and pray.”

           Hear the victors who o’ercame;
           Still they mark each warrior’s way;
           All with one sweet voice exclaim,
           “Watch and pray.”

           Hear, above all, hear thy Lord,
           Him thou lovest to obey;
           Hide within thy heart his word,
           “Watch and pray.”

           Watch, as if one that alone
           Hung the issue of the day;
           Pray, that help may be sent down:
           “Watch and pray.”
                                   Charlotte Elliott

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  1 Peter 5:8

.....Be sober, be vigilant; for your adversary the devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Here he gives us a warning, and would open our eyes, and it would be well worthy that the text should be written in golden letters.  Here you perceive what this life is, and how it is described, so that we might well be ever wishing that we were dead.  We are here in the devil’s kingdom, just as in case a pilgrim should arrive at an inn, where he knew that all in the house were robbers; if he must enter there he will yet arm himself in the best way he can devise, and will sleep but little:  so are we now on earth, where the prince is an evil spirit, and has the hearts of men in his power, doing by them as he will.  It is a fearful thought if we properly regard it.  Therefore St. Peter would warn us to take heed to ourselves, and act the part of a faithful servant, who knows the state of things here......
     And here observe especially, that he says the devil goeth about.  He does not pass before your eyes, when you are armed against him, but looks out before and behind you, within and without, where he may attack you.....  
     Let every one now look to this; surely each shall trace something of this in his own experience.  He that has examined knows it well.  Therefore it is so sad for us that we go about so heedlessly.....Job has spoken thus:  “Man’s life on earth is nothing but an encampment, a mere conflict and strife.”  Why then does God thus leave us in life and misery?  In order that faith may be exercised and grow, and that hastening out of this life, we may have a desire of death, and an anxiety to depart.....                                           
                                                                                                                          Martin Luther

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

        Cast thy burden on the Lord,
        Only lean upon his word;
        Thou shalt soon have cause to bless
        His eternal faithfulness.

        Ever in the raging storm
        Thou shalt see his cheering form,
        Hear his pledge of coming aid:
        “It is I, be not afraid.”

        Cast thy burden at his feet;
        Linger at his mercy-seat:
        He will lead thee by the hand
        Gently to the better land.

        He will gird thee by his power,
        In thy weary, fainting hour:
        Lean, then, loving, on his word;
        Cast thy burden on the Lord.
                                             Author Unknown

....."The very hairs of your head are all numbered:  not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father." It would bring a holy calm over your mind, dear friend, if you were always to remember this.  It would so relieve your mind from anxiety, that you would be the better able to walk in patience, quiet, and cheerfulness, as a Christian should.  When a man is anxious, he cannot pray with faith; when he is troubled about the world, he cannot serve his Master; his thoughts are serving himself.  If you would "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," all things would then be added unto you.  You are meddling with Christ's business, and neglecting your own, when you fret about your lot and circumstances.  You have been trying "providing" work, and forgetting that it is yours to obey.  Be wise, and attend to the obeying, and let Christ manage the providing.  Come and survey your Father's storehouse, and ask whether He will let you starve while He has laid up so great an abundance in His garner.  Look at His heart of mercy; see if that can ever prove unkind!  Look at His inscrutable wisdom; see if that will ever be at fault.  Above all, look up to Jesus Christ, your Intercessor, and ask yourself, while He pleads, can your Father deal ungraciously with you?  If He remembers even sparrows, will He forget one of the least of His poor children?  "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain thee.  He will never suffer the righteous to be moved."
                                                                                                                C. H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

To Mr. S.
Dear Friend, Gloucester, June 23, 1736

Never a poor creature set up with so small a flock.  When the good Bishop, who ordained me on Sunday, gave out last year in his visitation charge, that he would ordain none under full three and twenty, my heart leap'd for joy, for then I thought my friends would not only be disappointed in their hope of having me enter into orders so soon; but that I should also have time (as was my intention) to make at least a hundred sermons, with which to begin my ministry; but this is so far from being the case, that I have not a single one by me, except that which I made for a small christian society, and which I sent to a neighbouring clergyman, to convince him how unfit I was to take upon me the important work of preaching.  He kept it for a fortnight, and then sent it back with a guinea for the loan of it; telling me he had divided it into two, and had preached it morning and evening to his congregation.  With this sermon I intend to begin, God willing, next Sunday, not doubting, but that he, who increased a little lad's loaves and fishes for the feeding of a great multitude, will from time to time, in the proper use of appointed means, supply me with spiritual food for whatever congregation he in his all-wise Providence shall be pleased to call me to.  Help, help me, my dear friend, with your warmest addresses to the throne of grace, that I may not only find mercy, but grace to help in time of need.  At present this is the language of my heart,
                   A guilty weak and helpless worm into thy arms I fall.
                   Be thou my Strength, my righteousness, my Jesus,
                            and my all.
Oh cease not, for I must again repeat it, cease not to pray for Yours, etc.
                                 George Whitefield

Monday, December 21, 2015

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrew 4:16

1.  From this encouragement, he draweth another direction, to come boldly to God in prayer for everything whereof we stand in need.  Then, the Apostle alloweth unto the believer,  1.  Certain persuasion of the acceptation of his person: he biddeth him Come boldly.  2.  He alloweth certain persuasion of the granting of his prayers, in the matter namely of grace and mercy; which includeth the remission of sins.

2.  The Throne of Grace, or the Mercy Seat, was above the ark, within the Sanctuary, and represented God in Christ reconciled to His people, gracious and merciful unto them.  To this he alludeth, and by this means teacheth us, 1.  That the substance of that typical Mercy Seat, is to be found in Christ under the Gospel.  In Him God is ever to be found, on His Throne of Grace, 2.  That the veil of the ceremonial Sanctuary, is rent in Christ's suffering, and an open door made unto the Holiest, unto every believer, and not for the Highest alone, to enter in, 3. That God layeth aside His terror and rigor of justice, when His own come unto Him in Christ, and offereth access unto the Throne of Grace, unto them.

3.  He will have us coming with boldness to obtain Mercy, including himself with the faithful, and joining the meanest of the faithful to whom he writeth in the same privilege with himself.  Then, 1.  Free liberty to expound all our mind to God, as the word importeth, without employing the mediation of saint or angel, or any beside Christ, is one of the privileges of Christian religion.  2.  This privilege is common to the meanest of the faithful, with the chiefest Apostles.  3.  There is mercy to be had for such as come for removing of every sin, and remedy of every misery.

4.  He setteth before them the hope of Grace, to help in time of need.   Importing Hereby, 1.  That albeit, for the present, possibly, we be not touched with the sense of Wants, Straights, and Difficulties, yet we are to expect, that time of need will come.  2.  That it is good to foresee this, and make provision, in the time of Grace, in this acceptable Day, while God is on His Throne of Grace.  3.  That our prayers, if they get not an answer presently, yet shall they get an answer in the time of need.  When our need cometh, then shall our Help come also.
                                                                                                                                    David Dickson

Sunday, December 20, 2015

.....Thus it is with the people of God; let others talk of riches and honours; but there is none of them all do value true riches as they do.  But here is the difference:  one thinks he hath riches when he hath the command of a great deal of gold and silver; the other knows he hath riches when he hath Christ and grace, and can have good returns out of that other world.  And which of these is the wisest will erelong be seen.  One looks upon heaven and glory as a shadow, a fable, and the things of this world as the only realities; the other looks upon heaven, God, and eternity, as the greatest realities, and most worthy of his highest valuation and the things of this world as flying shadows, which cannot fill the arms of him that doth embrace them.  And under this apprehension and sense of things, no marvel that he doth prefer the substance before the shadow.  He believes with that worthy, that he was born for other things than to eat and drink, and sleep, or to take his pleasure, or to get an estate; he knows that the business in this world is to provide for another, to get his peace made with God, to contemplate heaven, and to get thither.....                                    
                                                                                                                         James Janeway

Saturday, December 19, 2015

This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.  Psalms 119:50

     In some respects the same event happens to us all; to good men, to great men, to well-instructed men, as well as to the wicked, the obscure, and the ignorant.  Each of these can speak of "my affliction."  "The heart knoweth his own bitterness." Prov. xiv. 10.
     It is a grand matter when "my affliction" is in each case balanced by "my comfort."  It was so in David's case, and he is a fair representative of all believers.  How is it with each one of our hearers?

I.  Believers have their peculiar comfort.  Each tried child of God can say, "This is my comfort."

1.  This, as different from others.  Worldly men get their drops of comfort from such sources as they prefer; but the godly man looks to his experience of the Word, and says, "This is my comfort." Ps. iv. 6.

2.  This, as understanding what it is.  He knew his consolation as well as he knew his tribulation.  He was not like Hagar, who could not see the well which was so near her. Gen. xxi. 19.

3.  This, as having it near at hand.  He does not say that, as if he pointed it out in the distance; but this, as grasping it.

4.  This, as pleading in prayer that which he had enjoyed; urging upon the Lord the mercy already received.

II.  That comfort comes from a peculiar source.  "Thy word hath quickened me."

1.  In part it is outward. 
     The word of God, full of promises, is our comfort.  Rom. xv. 4.
     The word of God, full of records of his goodness, is the confirmation of our confidence.  Ps. lxxvii. 5-10.
     The word of God, full of power, is our strength.  Eccles. viii. 4.

2.  In part it is inward.  "Thy word hath quickened me."
     In past experience he had felt the power of the word in raising him:
            Into life from death.  Ps. cxvi. 8.
            Into energy from lethargy.  Cant. vi. 12.
            Into higher life from lower.  Ps. cxix. 67.
            In all things it had been a source of quickening to him.
            In present experience he was then feeling its power in making
                    His mind less worldly.
                    His heart more prayerful.
                    His spirit more tender.
                    His faith more simple.

If the word has done and is doing all this, we may expect it to do more, and to magnify its power in our complete rescue.

 III.  That comfort is valuable under peculiar trials.
1.  Hope deferred.  Study the context.  "Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope" (verse 49).  Quickening enables us to hope on.

2.  Trial endured (verse 50).  Comfort is most needed in trouble, and there is no comfort like quickening.

3.  Scorn suffered.  "The proud have had me greatly in derision" (verse 51).  We care nothing for mockers when we are lively in spiritual things.

4.  Sin of others.  "Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked" (verse 53).  More grace will enable us to bear up under abounding sin.

5.  Changes.  Read carefully verse 54.  The Bible has a song for all seasons and a psalm for all places.

6.  Darkness; "in the night" (verse 55).  There is no night-light like the Word, enlightening and enlivening the heart.

IV.  That the form of our comfort is a test of character.

1.  Some look to wealth; when their corn and their wine are increased, they say, "This is my comfort."  They mind the main chance; they are worldly.  Luke xii. 19.

2.  Some seek to dreams and visions, omens and fancies, impressions and presentiments; they are superstitious.

3.  Some run to sin, drink, gaming, worldly company, dissipation, opium; they are wicked.

4.  Some resort to their fellow-men for advice and assistance; they are unwise, and will be disappointed.  Jer. xvii. 5.
    What is your comfort?
    Has this blessed volume quickened you?
    If so, look to it under all trials, for it will never fail you.
                                                                 C. H. Spurgeon

Friday, December 18, 2015

      A fulness resides in Jesus our head,
      And ever abides to answer our need:
      The Father's good pleasure has laid up in store
      A plentiful treasure to give to the poor.

      Whate'er be our wants, we need not to fear,
      Our numerous complaints his mercy will hear;
      His fulness shall yield us abundant supplies;
      His power shall shield us when dangers arise.

      The fountain o'erflows our woes to redress;
      Still more he bestows, and grace upon grace
      His gifts in abundance we daily receive;
      He has a redundance for all that believe.

      Whatever distress awaits us below,
      Such plentiful grace will Jesus bestow,
      As still shall support us, and silence our fear;
      For nothing can hurt us while Jesus is near.

      When troubles attend, or danger or strife,
      His love will defend and guard us thro' life:
      And when we are fainting, and ready to die,
      Whatever is wanting his hand will supply.

.....for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.  Ps 130:7

.....For this plenteous redemption leaves behind it no more relics of man than Moses left hoofs of beasts behind him in Egypt.  It redeems not only from the fault, but from the punishment and in the punishment; not only a tanto, but a toto [not only from such, but also from all (sin and penalty)]; not only from the sense but from the fear of pain; and in the fault, not only from the guilt, but from the stain; not only from being censured, but from being questioned.  Or is it meant by a plenteous redemption that not only he leads captivity captive, but gives gifts unto men?  For what good is it to a prisoner to have his pardon, if he be kept in prison still for not paying his fees? but if the prince, together with the pardon, send also a largess (a free gift), that may maintain him when he is set at liberty, this, indeed, is a plenteous redemption; and such is the redemption that God's mercy procures unto us.  It not only delivers us from a dungeon, but puts us in possession of a palace; it not only frees us from eating bread in the sweat of our brows, but it restores us to Paradise, where all fruits are growing of their own accord; it not only clears us from being captives, but endears us to be children; and not only children, but heirs; and not only heirs, but coheirs with Christ; and who can deny this to be a plenteous redemption?  Or is it said a plenteous redemption in regard of the price that was paid to redeem us? for we are redeemed with a price, not of gold or precious stones, but with the precious blood of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son to be a ransom for us; and this I am sure is a plenteous redemption. 
                                                                                                                         Sir Richard Baker

Thursday, December 17, 2015 thy mouth wide....  Psalms 81:10

"Open thy mouth wide."  This implies, 1. Warmth and fervency in prayer.  To open the mouth is in effect to open the heart, that it may be both engaged and enlarged.....We may be said to open our mouths wide when our affections are quick and lively, and there is a correspondence between the feelings of the heart and the request of the lip; or when we really pray, and not merely seem to do so.  This is strongly and beautifully expressed in Psalms 119:131:  "I opened my mouth, and panted:  for I longed for thy commandments.".....2.  It implies a holy fluency and copiousness of expression, so as to order our cause before him, and fill our mouths with arguments.  When the good man gets near to God, he has much business to transact with him, many complaints to make, and many blessings to implore; and, as such seasons do not frequently occur, he is the more careful to improve them.  He then pours out his whole soul, and is at no loss for words; for when the heart is full, the tongue overflows.  Sorrow and distress will even make those eloquent who are naturally slow of speech.....3.  Enlarged hope and expectation.  We may be too irreverent in our approaches to God, and too peremptory in our applica-tion; but if the matter and manner of our prayer be right, we cannot be too confident in our expectations from him.....Open thy mouth wide then, O Christian; stretch out thy desires to the utter most, grasp heaven and earth in thy boundless wishes, and believe there is enough in God to afford thee full satisfaction.  Not only come, but come with boldness to the throne of grace:  it is erected for sinners, even the chief of sinners.....                                                                            
                                                                                                                        Benjamin Beddome

I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.   Psalms 81:10

Consider the import of the promise:  "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it."  "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find."  Particularly, 1.  If we open our mouths to God in prayer, he will fill them more and more with suitable petitions and arguments.  When we attempt to open the mouth, God will open it still wider.  Thus he dealt with Abraham when he interceded for Sodom:  the longer he prayed, the more submissive and yet the more importunate he became.  By praying we increase our ability to pray, and find a greater facility in the duty.  "To him that hath shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly,"  2.  God will fill the mouth with abundant thanksgivings.  Many of David's Psalms begin with prayer, and end with the most animated praises.  No mercies so dispose to thankfulness as those which are received in answer to prayer; for according to the degree of desire will be the sweetness of fruition.....3.  We shall be filled with those blessings we pray for, if they are calculated to promote our real good and the glory of God.  Do we desire fresh communications of grace, and manifestations of divine love; a renewed sense of pardoning mercy, and an application of the blood of Christ?  Do we want holiness, peace, and assurance?  Do we want to hear from God, to see him, and be like him?  The promise is, "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus," Phil. 4:19.  You shall have what you desire, and be satisfied:  it shall be enough, and you shall think it so.  "The Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."
                                                                                                                              Benjamin Beddome

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Glory be to God the Father,
Glory be to God the Son,
Glory be to God the Spirit,
Great Jehovah, Three in One!
Glory, glory, glory, glory,
While eternal ages run!

Glory be to Him Who loved us,
Washed us from each spot and stain!
Glory be to Him Who bought us,
Made us kings with Him to reign!
Glory, glory, glory, glory,
To the Lamb that once was slain!

Glory to the King of angels,
Glory to the church’s King,
Glory to the King of nations!
Heaven and earth, your praises bring;
Glory, glory, glory, glory,
To the King of glory bring!

“Glory, blessing, praise eternal!”
Thus the choir of angels sings;
“Honor, riches, power, dominion!”
Thus its praise creation brings;
Glory, glory, glory, glory,
Glory to the King of kings!
             Horatius Bonar

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.   Rom 11:36

     To whom be glory forever.  This should be the single desire of the Christian.  All other wishes must be subservient and tributary to this one.  The Christian may wish for prosperity in his business, but only so far as it may help him to promote this—"To Him be glory forever."  He may desire to attain more gifts and more graces, but it should only be that "to Him may be glory forever."  You are not acting as you ought to do when you are moved by any other motive than a single eye to your Lord's glory.  As a Christian, you are "of God, and through God;" then live "to God."  Let nothing ever set your heart beating so mightily as love to Him.  Let this ambition fire your soul; be this the foundation of every enterprise upon which you enter, and this your sustaining motive whenever your zeal would grow chill; make God your only object.  Depend upon it, where self begins, sorrow begins; but if God be my supreme delight and only object,
    "To me 'tis equal whether love ordain
    My life or death—appoint me ease or pain."
Let your desire for God's glory be a growing desire.  You blessed Him in your youth; do not be content with such praises as you gave Him then.  Has God prospered you in business?  Give Him more as He has given you more.  Has God given you experience?  Praise Him by stronger faith than you exercised at first.  Does your knowledge grow?  Then sing more sweetly.  Do you enjoy happier times than you once had?  Have you been restored from sickness, and has your sorrow been turned into peace and joy?  Then give Him more music; put more coals and more sweet frankincense into the censer of your praise.  Practically in your life, give Him honor, putting the "Amen" to this doxology to your great and gracious Lord, by your own individual service and increasing holiness.
                                                                                                                             C. H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

As when the weary traveler gains
The height of some o'erlooking hill,
His heart revives, if cross the plains
He eyes his home, though distant still.

While he surveys the much-loved spot,
He slights the space that lies between;
His past fatigues are now forgot,
Because his journey's end is seen.

Thus, when the Christian pilgrim views,
By faith, his mansion in the skies,
The sight his fainting strength renews,
And wings his speed to reach the prize.

The thought of home his spirit cheers,
No more he grieves for troubles past;
Nor any future trial fears,
So he may safe arrive at last.

'Tis there, he says, I am to dwell
With Jesus in the realms of day;
Then I shall bid my cares farewell,
And He shall wipe my tears away.

Jesus, on Thee our hope depends,
To lead us on to thine abode:
Assured our home will make amends
For all our toil while on the road.
                             John Newton

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ       Phil 3:7-8

.....If thou be in Christ thou lookest to pleasant things in the world, as a stranger does to fair meadows, orchards, palaces, coaches, courts, and pleasant countries until he is far afield.  He looks to all these things with a sigh, if he love home well, and says:  "He had rather be at home in his own country nor have them all."  Such is the estimation that those who are in Christ have of the things of the world.  He can let out a hearty laughter at all things that are in it; and count nothing of them all, to be at home, in glory with Christ, and with His Father.
.....whatever comes betwixt a man and Christ to keep him from a right estimation of Christ, albeit all the brave pasments (strips of lace or silk sewed on clothes) and gold fuilzie (gold-leaf) in the world were upon it, it is no other but plain nothing, and we should count so of it.  If anything come between me and Christ, whatever it be, away with it.....So whatever takes away any of Christ from us, who is our stock, that is loss indeed, and may be justly called loss.....Whatever it be, court (influence), honour, or pleasure, or anything else that thou followest, if it come between thee and Christ, thou art a loser in seeking of it.....You think you are well set up now, if you get riches and honours and pleasures; but stay till the Lord come, and say, "Pay me for all the court, honour, pleasure, etc., that ever you gat;" and there will be a great poverty soon then.
.....Look into Christ's offer in the gospel, and that is also wonderful, and His knowledge is superexcellent in that:  To offer a kingdom to all His followers.  How long shall it endure?  For an hundred thousand years?  Aye.  It endures for evermore.  It lasts for all eternity.....Ye shall find also that in this offer there is peace to a troubled conscience, ease to a troubled mind.  To offer a kingdom, thus how great a matter is it?  Who is there can offer an eternal kingdom but only He?  A soul may dream of a kingdom, but none can speak it into the conscience but He who can say, "Come and see."       
                                                                                                                           Samuel Rutherford

Monday, December 14, 2015

    To God I made my sorrows known,
    From God I sought relief;
    In long complaints before his throne
    I pour'd out all my grief.

    My soul was overwhelm'd with woes,
    My heart began to break;
    My God, who all my burden knows,
    He knows the way I take.

    On every side I cast mine eye,   
    And found my helpers gone,
    While friends and strangers pass'd me by,
    Neglected and unknown.

    Then did I raise a louder cry,
    And call'd thy mercy near,
    "Thou art my portion when I die,
    Be thou my refuge here."

    Lord, I am brought exceeding low,
    Now let thine ear attend,
    And make my foes who vex me know
    I've an almighty Friend.

    From my sad prison set me free,
    Then shall I praise thy name,
    And holy men shall join with me
    Thy Kindness to proclaim.
                                                   Isaac Watts

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path.....Psalms 142:3

Although we as Christians possess the full solution of the problem of suffering, yet we frequently find ourselves in the position of Job, in regard to this or that particular affliction.  There are sorrows so far reaching, so universal; there are losses so absolute, and blows so terrible and inexplicable, that it seems for a time as if we were wrapped in thickest gloom, and as if the secret of the Lord had not been revealed.  Why was this man stricken, and that man spared?  Why was such and such a being, in whom so many hopes centred, or who had already realised so many pleasant expectations, why was he withdrawn?  Why was that other person left, a useless encumbrance to earth?  Why was that voice, which found echo in so many hearts, suddenly silenced?  Why have I been smitten?  Why have I lost that which rendered my moral life beautiful and useful?  Often-times the soul seems lost for awhile in thoughts which overwhelm it, it loses its foothold, it tumbles about helplessly amid the deep waters of affliction.  It seems as if all were over.  Do not believe it.  Remember Job; you cannot go to greater lengths of despair than he, and yet God had pity on him.  There is much comfort for you in this example of indescribable suffering, exasperated to the highest degree, and yet pardoned and consoled.  Cling to the memory of this blessed fact as to a cable of deliverance, a board or a plank amidst the shipwreck.  And then remember that affliction forms part of God’s plan, and that he also asks you to manifest ready and absolute confidence in him.
                                                                                                                     E. De Pressense, D. D.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A letter by George Whitefield

Plymouth, July 4, 1744

     Since my last, I have had some particular information about the late odd adventure.  It seems, that four gentlemen came to the house of one of my particular friends, kindly enquiring after me, and desired to know where I lodged that they might come and pay their respects.  He directed them.  Soon afterwards I received a letter, informing me that the writer was a nephew to Mr. S., an eminent attorney at New York, that he had the pleasure of supping with me at his uncle's house, and desired my company to sup with him and a few more friends at a tavern.  I sent him word, that it was not customary for me to sup out at taverns, but should be glad of his company, out of respect to his uncle, to eat a morsel with him at my lodgings.  He came; we supped; and I observed that he frequently looked around him, and seemed very absent; but having no suspicion, I continued in conversation with him and my other friends, 'til we parted.  This, I now find, was to have been the assassin; and being interrogated by his other companions on his return to the tavern about what he had done, he answered, that being used so civilly, he had not the heart to touch me.  Upon which, as I am informed, the person who assaulted me laid a wager of ten guineas that he would do my business for me.  Some say, that they took his sword from him, which I suppose they did, for I only saw and felt the weight of his cane.  The next morning, I was to expound at a private house, and then to set out for Biddeford.  Some urged me to stay and prosecute; but being better employed, I went on my intended journey, was greatly blessed in preaching the everlasting gospel, and upon my return was well paid for what I had suffered:  curiosity having led perhaps two thousand more than ordinary to see and hear a man, that had like to have been murdered in his bed.  Thus all things tend to the furtherance of the gospel, and work together for good to those that love God.....

                                                                 Leaving you to add an Hallelujah, I subscribe myself.
                                                                                                    Ever, ever yours,
                                                                                                             G. W.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  Psalms 121:4

Man sleeps; a sentinel may slumber on his post by inattention, by long-continued wakefulness, or by weariness; a pilot may slumber at the helm; even a mother may fall asleep by the side of the sick child; but God is never exhausted, is never weary, is never inattentive.  He never closes his eyes on the condition of his people, on the wants of the world.
                                                                                                                            Albert Barnes

Friday, December 11, 2015

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.  Psalms 121:3-5

A great practical difficulty is to find a "keeper" who will remain awake during the whole night.  The weariness of those who keep a faithful watch, and their longing for day during the tedious lonely hours of darkness, is alluded to in a graphic and beautiful figure of the Psalmist.....The usual method adopted to secure due vigilance is to require the man to call out loudly, or to blow a whistle, every quarter of an hour.....Yet, notwithstanding all precautions, as soon as sleep falls on the tired camp, it is too often the case that the hireling keeper lies down on the ground, wraps around him his thick abaiyeh, or cloak, and, careless of his charge, or overcome with weariness, yields himself up to his drowsy propensities.  Viewed in the
light of these facts, how full of condescension and cheer is the assurance of God's never-ceasing care.....
                                                                                                                 James Neil

Thursday, December 10, 2015

My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  Psalms 121:2

"My help cometh from the Lord."  I require to remember that my help cometh from the Lord, not only when seemingly there is no outward help from men or otherwise, but also and especially when all seems to go well with me, when abundance of friends and help are at hand.  For then, surely, I am most in danger of making an arm of flesh my trust, and thus reaping its curse; or else of saying to my soul, "Take thine ease," and finding the destruction which attends such folly.
                                                                                                                           Alfred Edersheim

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pictou, Nova Scotia, April 22, 1797
.....Ignorance of the Scriptures is a prevailing evil, which is the cause of ignorance of God, of Christ, as to his person, offices, and righteousness, as also of the Holy Spirit, in his renewing and sanctifying work in the soul, and, of course, the cause of much ignorance, carelessness, and wickedness, in our daily practice.  People in general are strangers to the faith and love of the Lord Jesus Christ, these powerful motives to holiness of heart and life, and so they are left to a soul-ruining trust in their obedience to a broken covenant of works, which they are daily breaking more and more.  People in general are strangers to their guilt by original sin, and so (the) hellish corruption of their whole nature by that guilt, and so their religion does not at all reach the heart, but consists in superficial, outward performances.  It is not to be expected that people who are in such a case toward God, should have any true love toward one another, accordingly there is little attention paid to the duties of justice or mercy farther than self-interest leads. 
     The young generation are growing up in ignorance, vanity, pride, and self-conceit, following all the bad, and little or nothing of the good example of the aged.
     The people of this place are particularly guilty of a woful contempt of the gospel, a dreadful stupidity under judgments, a grievous backsliding from reformation attained to, a heinous profanation of the Sabbath day, a breaking of their Baptismal engagements, not giving education to their children, nor endeavouring to bring them up in the fear of God, a growing inclination to the horrible vice of drinking, wasting their means to ruin soul and body, and many other evils which might be mentioned.  On these accounts the judgments of God are abroad in the earth.  A most expensive, bloody, and destructive war has been desolating the nations for several years past, and though God has kindly shielded us from its worst effects, we have been neither thankful nor humble.....
                                                                                                           Rev. James MacGregor, D.D.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The following is a brief excerpt from the Memoir of the Rev. James MacGregor, D.D., (a Scottish missionary to Nova Scotia), written by George Patterson.

.....In the year 1805, in answer to a petition from Sheffield in New Brunswick, he performed one of his longest and most interesting missionary journeys, viz., up the St. John River in that Province.  We have the last part of his own account of it preserved, though he sets it down for the year 1803.  We shall supply such information as we have been able to gather regarding the first part of it.  He travelled on horseback, taking his own horse, which members of his family recollect as a very sagacious animal—one particularly that would follow a track with great sagacity, or a road that it had once travelled.  His course led him by Amherst where he lodged with the Rev. Mr. Mitchell, then labouring there, from whom he received direction as to his route.  The next day he started for the Bend of Peticodiac.  Here he met with an incident, which he used afterward to relate as an example of the power of prayer.  In the afternoon having got off his horse for some purpose, when he was ready to mount he could not find the animal.  He looked about but could see no sign of him.  The road being through the woods and covered with moss or leaves, it left no track.  He concluded that it must have gone on.  He therefore proceeded on a distance, as he judged, of a mile and a half, till he came to a wet place where the horse if he had passed must have left a track.  There being none he turned and walked back to the place where he had lost him, and still could discover no trace of the animal.  He was now reduced to extremity—at a distance from a house, his horse in all likelihood lost in the woods, and darkness was coming on.  He used to relate his thoughts at the moment.  He had left home rather against the wishes of the Session, and he began to think that Providence was frowning upon his undertaking; but then again be concluded that it was occasioned by his old enemy, that Satan was playing him this trick to hinder him.  In his extremity, all other means failing, he resorted to prayer.  Kneeling down he besought his heavenly Father to relieve him from his difficulty.  When he opened his eyes at the conclusion of his prayer the horse was
in sight.
     Shortly after, he had a remarkable preservation of his life.  It having grown very dark he had to allow the animal to take his own course.  In a little he saw a glimmering appearance at one side of him, which he could not understand, but he allowed his horse to keep on his way.  In a short time he reached a house; but what was his surprise to discover afterward that the horse had walked along steadily on the top of a mill-dam, where a false step on one side would have plunged him into the water, or on the other, have given a most dangerous if not fatal fall!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.  I Peter  3:9

     Wonderful and glorious fact, that God has decreed and appropriated to you this blessing whereby all the riches of his grace and everything good are yours!.....What price would you not gladly pay for this blessing, were it purchasable, instead of being freely given, without any merit, and were you privileged to buy the assurance of heart which would say, "I know I am a child of God, who has received me into his grace, and I live in the sure hope that I will be eternally blessed and saved."  Think, what a vast difference God makes between you and others because you are a Christian.  He has appointed you to be an heir of everlasting grace and blessing and of eternal life.....
     If men would take this to heart, it would be easy by teaching and persuasion to win them to friendship and kindness toward their fellow men; to induce them not to return evil or reviling from a motive of revenge, but when their own privileges and protection and the punishment of evil cannot be obtained, quietly and peaceably to suffer injury......Christians have excellent reason and a powerful motive for being patient and not revengeful or bitter in the fact that they are so richly blessed of God and given that great glory whereof they cannot be deprived, nor suffer its loss.....Only see that you keep a quiet conscience and a loving heart, not allowing yourself, on account of the devil and wicked men, to be disturbed and deprived of your good conscience, your peaceful heart.....
                                                                                                     Martin Luther

Sunday, December 6, 2015

*Kaunaumeek, Jan. 2, 1744
     "There is but one thing that deserves our highest care and most ardent desires; and that is, that we may answer the great end for which we were made, viz. to glorify that God, who has given us our being and all our comforts, and do all the good we possibly can to our fellow-men, while we live in the world.  Verily life is not worth the having, if it be not improved for this noble end and purpose.  Yet, alas, how little is this thought of among man-kind!  Most men seem to live to themselves without much regard to the glory of God, or the good of their fellow-creatures.  They earnestly desire, and eagerly pursue after the riches, the honours, and the pleasures of life, as if they really supposed, that wealth or greatness, or merriment, could make their immortal souls happy.  But alas! what false and delusive dreams are these!  And how miserable will those ere long be who are not awaked out of them, to see that all their happiness consists in living to God, and becoming "holy, as he is holy!".....If you would glorify God, or answer his just expectations from you, and make your own soul happy in this and the coming world, observe these few directions; though not from a father, yet from a brother who is touched with a tender concern for your present and future happiness.
     "First; Resolve upon, and daily endeavour to practice a life of seriousness and strict sobriety.  The wise man will tell you the great advantage of such a life, Eccl. 7:3.  Think of the life of Christ; and when you can find that he was pleased with jesting and vain merriment, then you may indulge in it yourself.
     "Again; be careful to make a good improvement of precious time.  When you cease from labour, fill up your time in reading, meditation, and prayer; and while your hands are labouring, let your heart be employed, as much as possible, in divine thoughts.
     "Further:  Take heed that you faithfully perform the business which you have to do in the world, from a regard to the commands of God; and not from an ambitious desire of being esteemed better than others.  We should always look upon ourselves as God's servants, placed in God's world, to do his work; and accordingly labour faithfully for him; not with a design to grow rich and great, but to glorify God, and to do all the good we possibly can.
     "Again:  never expect any satisfaction or happiness from the world.  If you hope for happiness in the world hope for it from God, and not from the world.  Do not think you shall be more happy if you live to such or such a state of life, if you live to be yourself, to be settled in the world, or if you shall gain an estate in it: but look upon it that you shall then be happy, when you can be constantly employed for God, and not for yourself; and desire to live in this world, only to do and suffer what God allots to you.  When you can be of the spirit and temper of angels, who are willing to come down into this lower world, to perform what God commands them, though their desires are heavenly, and not in the least set on earthly things, then you will be of that temper which you ought to have, Col. 3:2.
     "Once more; never think that you can live to God by your own power or strength; but always look to, and rely on him for assistance, yea for all strength and grace.  There is no greater truth than this, that 'we can do nothing of ourselves;' (John 15:5 and 2 Cor. 3:5) yet nothing but our own experience can effectually teach it us.  Indeed, we are a long time in learning, that all our strength and salvation is in God.  This is a life which I think no unconverted man can possibly live; and yet it is a life which every godly soul is pressing after, in some good measure.  Let it then be your great concern, thus to devote yourself and your all to God.
     "I long to see you, that I may say much more to you than I now can, for your benefit and welfare; but I desire to commit you to, and leave you with, the Father of mercies, and God of all grace; praying that you may be directed safely through an evil world, to God's heavenly kingdom.
                                                                                               "I am your affectionate loving brother,
                                                                                                           "David Brainerd."

*(At the time of this letter, David was a missionary to the Indians and Kaunaumeek was about 18 miles southeast of Albany, New York.)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

O Lord! I would delight in thee,
And on thy care depend;
To thee in every trouble flee,—
My best, my only Friend.

When all created streams are dried,
Thy fulness is the same;
May I with this be satisfied,
And glory in thy name!

Why should the soul a drop bemoan,
Who has a fountain near;
A fountain which will ever run
With waters sweet and clear?

No good in creatures can be found,
But may be found in thee;
I must have all things, and abound,
While God is God to me.

Oh, that I had a stronger faith,
To look within the veil,
To credit what my Saviour saith,
Whose words can never fail!

He, that has made my heaven secure,
Will here all good provide;
While Christ is rich, can I be poor?
What can I want beside?

O Lord!  I cast my care on thee;
I triumph and adore;
Henceforth my great concern shall be
To love and please thee more.
                    Dr. Ryland

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.  Psalms 42:5

My Dear Sir,
You say you are more disposed to cry miserere than hallelujah.  Why not both together?  When the treble is praise, and heart-humiliation for the bass, the melody is pleasant, and the harmony is good.  However, if not both together, we must have them alternately; not all singing, not all sighing, but an interchange and balance, that we may be neither lifted too high nor cast down too low,—which would be the case if we were very comfortable or very sorrowful for a long continuance.  But though we change, the Saviour changes not.  All our concerns are in his hands, and therefore safe.  His path is in the deep waters, his thoughts and methods of conduct are as high above ours as the heavens are high above the earth; and he often takes a course for accomplishing his purposes directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe.  He wounds in order to heal, kills that he may make alive, casts down when he designs to raise, brings a death upon our feelings, wishes, and prospects, when he is about to give us the desire of our hearts.  These things he does to prove us; but he himself knows, and has determined beforehand, what he will do.  The proof indeed usually turns out to our shame.  Impatience and unbelief show their heads, and prompt us to suppose this and the other thing, yea perhaps all things are against us, to question whether he be with us and for us, or not.  But it issues likewise in the praise of his goodness, when we find that, mangre all our unkind complaints and suspicions, he is still working wonderfully for us, causing light to shine out of darkness, and doing us good in defiance of ourselves.
                                                                           a letter by John Newton dated November 6, 1777