Sunday, January 31, 2016

God the Father adopteth, as the fountain of adoption; God the Son, as the conduit; God the Holy Ghost, as the cistern; faith, as the cock whereby it runs into our hearts.
                                                           T. Adams


By it God the Father is made our Father.  The incarnate God-man is made our elder brother, and we are made—

1.  Like Him.

2.  Intimately associated with Him in community of life, standing, relations, and privileges.

3.  Joint-heirs with Him of His glory (Rom. 8:17, 29; Heb. 2:17 and Heb. 4:15).

The Holy Ghost is our indweller, teacher, guide, advocate, comforter, and sanctifier.  All believers, being subjects of the same adoption, are brethren (Eph. 3:6; 1 John 3:14; 5:11).
                                                                     A. A. Hodge


Betwixt civil and sacred adoption there is a twofold agreement and disagreement.  They agree in this, that both flow from the pleasure and good will of the adoptant; and in this, that both confer a right to privileges which we have not by nature; but in this they differ:  one is an act imitating nature, the other transcends nature:  the one was found out for the comfort of them that had no children, the other for the comfort of them that had no Father.  Divine adoption is in Scripture either taken properly for that act or sentence of God by which we are made sons, or for the privileges with which the adopted are invested.  We lost our inheritance by the fall of Adam; we receive it by the death of Christ, which restores it again to us by a new and better title.
                                                                                                                                       J. Flavel

Saturday, January 30, 2016

1.  Men generally adopt when they have no children of their own.  But God had a Son, His dear Son, His well-beloved Son.  He had angels.

2.  Men generally adopt such as they think deserving; God adopts criminals, traitors, enemies.

3.  Men adopt living children; God, those that are by nature spiritually dead.

4.  Man generally adopts one only; God adopts many.
                                                                        G. S. Bowes


Adoption is that act of God by which we who were alienated, and enemies, and disinherited, are made the sons of God, and heirs of His eternal glory.
                                                        R. Watson


By adoption God gives us—

1.  A new nature (2 Pet. 1:3)
2.  A new name (Rev. 3:12)
3.  A new inheritance (Rom. 8:17)
4.  New relations (Rom. 8:15-16)
5.  A new hope (1 Pet. 1:3)
                                                  John Bate

Friday, January 29, 2016

Justification is the act of God as a Judge, adoption as a Father.  By the former we are discharged from condemnation, and accepted as righteous; by the latter we are made the children of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.  By the one we are taken into God's favour; by the other into His family.  Adoption may be looked upon as an appendage to justification, for it is by our being justified that we come to a right to all the honours and privileges of adoption.
                                                                                                                                                    J. Guyse


Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!.....1 John 3:1

.....Fathers on earth sometimes leave their children a heritage of shame, and the shadow of the gallows looms over their cradle.  But God has set apart an inheritance for us—rich, substantial, and permanent.  All that He is, and all that He has, is ours; yes, all that God is, and all that God possesses, is the heritage of His children:  'All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's.'  When the years of minority are expired, the children are taken home to the household on high, where their filial likeness is perfectly developed, and their Father's love is fully enjoyed; where the whole family form one unbroken and vast assemblage—heart knit to heart in the secure possession of their celestial patrimony.    
     Can you now doubt that you should he called the sons of God?  You are not forgiven and kept at a distance, you are not constituted servants inferior and apart; but you are made sons.  The confession of the prodigal was, 'I am no more worthy to be called thy son;' and his prayer was, 'Make me as one of thy hired servants.'  But the father at once reinstated him; calls him in the fulness of his joy, 'my son;' puts on him a robe, which no slave durst assume, and covered his feet with sandals, which no menial could wear.  There was love in pitying you, special love in redeeming you from the curse; but there is an unearthly 'manner' of love in not only plucking you from danger, but in placing you in the near and dear relation of sons.  It would have been unspeakable grace to have made you servants, and kept you in the outer court to obey Him as your Master; but oh, it is past all thought and record that you are children, and that you love Him as your Father,—bear His image, share in His affection, and are preparing for His glorious home....
.....And you possess, in fine, a blessed privilege in prayer.  Your Father's ear is ever open, and His hand is ever full.  You have but to unbosom yourselves before Him, and without reserve.  'Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.'  Your confidence in Him can never be misplaced.  Children in the dawn of youth have perfect trust in their parents—in their ability to supply every want, to grant every request, and to impart all needed information and assistance.  Such tender faith only leaves them after repeated disappointments have taught them an opposite conclusion.  But all wisdom is God's to direct you, all power His to defend you, and all goodness His to secure your felicity.
     And will not such a child be content in any circumstances?  What is good for him, His Father will give him.  As much of temporal blessing will he get as he can improve.  Nor does he need to possess the world in order to enjoy it.  He can look around him on earth, and say, 'My Father made it all.'....
.....And first, the love that leads a man to call a child his own, which is not his by natural descent, has not such a 'manner'  about it.  For when among men a child is adopted, it is usually because the adopter thinks it worthy of his regard; because there is something in its features or character that pleases him.  He likes it, and thinks it a likeable child, and so he takes it to his heart and home, gives it his own name, feeds it, clothes it, educates it, and prepares it for the duties of life.  But no such motive could prompt the divine affection; for we were utterly lost and loathsome before Him.  There was nothing about us, in our character or position, to attract the divine affection.  All was unruly, defiant, and ungrateful.  The pride of our apostasy bade us cry, 'Who is lord over us?'  'Depart from us,' shouted we to the Almighty.  The wonder is that we were not consumed in wrath.  For we were once in His family; but we scornfully left it, and in the pride of rebellious independence, 'took our journey into a far country.'  The door might have been righteously closed upon us for ever.  But He welcomes us; ay, He takes us, disgraced and filthy as we are, to His bosom.  He has loved us; and His love is like himself; for He has loved us, and in defiance of every repelling element.  He has laid His gracious hand upon us, translated us into His family, and made us His sons.  'This is not the manner of men, O Lord God.'
     Again, if one adopts a child, it is commonly because himself is childless, or his hearth may have been desolated by war or disease.  He longs to have some object near him on which to set his heart, and expend his instinctive attachments.  But Jehovah had myriads of a flourishing progeny—uncounted hosts of bright intelligences, who have never disobeyed Him.  His heart rejoices over them; so numerous and so closely arranged are they around His throne, that in its reflected splendour they appear like moving and living clouds of radiance.  It was not because His glory was unseen, or His praises were unsung, that He has loved us.  There was no unsupplied craving in Him, which led Him to adopt us; for the 'many mansions' were crowded with a happy household.  Yet He has loved us; and though He had so many children, He wishes to have more; nay, His heart is set on bringing 'many sons to glory.'  What 'manner' of love is this; how noble and disinterested in its nature!  How intense, too, it must be; for ere this adoption could be effected, the 'first-born among many brethren' must suffer and die.  The Father gives up His only-begotten Son to agony and the cross, that the human slaves of Satan might receive the 'adoption of children.'  Such love is in the manner of it above all conception and parallel, and has no shadow of itself among created attachments.  Feeling, then, how He hath adopted you, and what blessings are implied in your adoption; how, as His children, you are so like Him, and are so loved by Him; how you have the prospect of a blessed heritage, and are enjoying necessary and wholesome tuition and discipline during your present minority,—oh, will you not be induced to cry out with the apostle of love, who revels in the idea of such love, 'Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!'
.....The world recognises and loves only what belongs to itself,—distinction in birth or rank, in arts or arms, in legislation or science, in poetry or architecture, in oratory or philosophy.  Its great ones, and not its good ones, divide among themselves the world's homage.  'They are of the world, therefore the world loveth them.'  Not that the world is able to ignore Christianity; but it admires it, not for itself, but for its splendid results,—for the beneficial effects, in the form of patriotism and philanthropy, which it has produced.  It is not Wilberforce the saint, but Wilberforce the queller of the slave trade, that men admire.  Spiritual Christianity is really as distasteful to the world as ever it was:  'the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.'
     The dignity and prospects of the sons of God are not of a secular and visible nature:  'The world knoweth them not.'  Were they the scions of a royal house, or were their inheritance on earth, the world would very soon come to know them; but their Father is in heaven, and their domain is with Him.  They wear no mantle with symbolic decorations, to attract attention; their pure robe is the righteousness of Christ, invisible to such as are strangers to the cross.  But should this ignorance on the part of the world dispirit you?  No; by no means.  Your case is not solitary.  It 'knew Him not'—even Him it did not recognise as the Son of God.  'It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant that he be as his lord.'  If the world did not know Him, though the glory of His Sonship so often flashed around Him, how can it be expected to know you, with your fewer and feebler tokens of relationship to God?.....But it matters not.  Were you to be tried by a jury of the world, and were your eternal destiny to depend upon their verdict based on their knowledge of your filial dignity, then you might feel anxiety, and might use every means and embrace every opportunity to bring men into acquaintanceship with you.  But your future welfare is in your Father's hands, and no member of His family is too mean to be overlooked, or too distant to be forgotten by Him.  He who 'counts the number of the stars, and names them every one,' has a perfect knowledge of all His children,—of the least and the lowest of them; of the babes as well as of those of full age.  The beggar that lay at the rich man's gate, feeding on the crumbs and waited on by the dogs, might die in solitude and neglect; no friend might receive his parting sigh or close his drooping eyes; no stone would mark the spot of his unrecorded sepulture; and yet the angels carried his spirit into Abraham's bosom, on which he lay a cherished guest at the heavenly banquet.  Out of a world that did not know them the children shall all be assembled; for the eye of a Father is on them, the heart of a Father is with them, and the arm of a Father shall guide them home to His loved abode.....
     And now the main question is, Are we the sons of God?  Does His Spirit so bear witness with our spirits?  Are we able to say that we are in the divine family?  Is it the language of your true experience, that you 'have received the adoption of children'?  Oh, do not deceive yourselves.  I do not ask whether you have resolved to return, or have travelled back a portion of the journey, or have even come to the threshold; but have you crossed that threshold, and are you really in the house?  Be not contented with saying, We wish it were so, or, We hope it is so.  Ah! the wish may never be fulfilled, and the hope may never be realized.  Many a one, with such a wish on his lips and such a hope in his heart, has lulled himself into eternal ruin.  And oh, remember that if you are not in God's family, 'ye are of your father the devil.'  Will you not disown such a frightful paternity, and will you not shudder at its terrible destiny—'everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels'?  Delay not, we implore you, in coming back; live no longer in such society, and with such empty enjoyments.  The Father waits you; the whole house will be moved to greet you on your return.
     And if you be the sons of God, what love will you not cherish towards such a Father, and what obedience must you not render to all His commandments!  Be 'obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in your ignorance;' but 'prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.'  He will not overtask you, and you will find highest happiness in filial devotion and service.  Need we bid you love also the whole household of faith—every one that bears your Father's image?
     And, in conclusion, as long as you are here, feel that you are 'strangers and pilgrims.'  'This is not your rest;' your home is on high.  When another and yet another of your brethren dies, be not alarmed; it is only his Father calling him home.  When you think of your own mortality, ever regard it in this light—as the child crossing the disturbed brook which separates him from home.  And the elder Brother will guide you.  'I will come again,' says He, 'and take you to myself.'  Thus shall you reach your Father's house, and then shall you fully know 'what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon you, that you should be called the sons of God;' and then also shall you feel what it is to be like Him, when you shall have seen Him as He is.  To Him, with the Father, and the ever-blessed Spirit, be glory and power, now and ever.   Amen.
                                                                                                                             John Eadie, D.D., LL.D.      

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sometimes the soul, because it hath somewhat remaining in it of the principle that it had in its old condition, is put to question, whether it be a child of God or not; and thereupon, as in a thing of the greatest importance, puts in its claim, with all the evidences that it hath to make good its title.  The spirit comes and bears witness in this case.  It is an allusion to judicial proceedings in point of titles.  The judge being set, the person concerned lays his claim, produceth his evidences, and pleads them; his adversaries endeavouring all that in them lies to disannul his plea.  In the midst of the trial a person of known and approved integrity comes into the court, and gives testimony fully and directly on behalf of the claimer, which stops the mouth of all his adversaries, and fills the man with joy and satisfaction.  So is it in this case.  The soul, by the power of its own conscience, is brought before the law of God; there a man puts in his plea, that he is a child of God, that he belongs to God's family; and for this end produceth all his evidences, everything whereby faith gives him an interest in God.  Satan, in the mean time, opposeth with all his might; many flaws are found in his evidences; the truth of them all is questioned, and the soul hangs in suspense as to the issue.  In the midst of the contest the Comforter comes, and overpowers the heart with a comfortable persuasion, and bears down all objections, that his plea is good, and that he is a child of God.  When our spirits are pleading their right and title, He comes in and bears witness on our side.  At the same time enabling us to put forth acts of filial obedience, crying "Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6).
                                                                                                                                                Dr. J. Owen

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

ADOPTION--What is implied in.

1.  Derivation of nature from God (John 1:13; James 1:18; 1 John 5:18).

2.  Being born again in the image of God, bearing His likeness (Romans 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 4:10; 2 Peter 1:4).

3.  Bearing His name (1 John 3:1; Rev. 2:17; 4:12).

4.  Being the objects of His peculiar love (John 17:23; Romans 5:5-8; Titus 3:4; 1 John 4:7-11).

5.  The indwelling of the Spirit of His Son (Galations 4:6); who gives an obedient spirit (1 Peter 1:14; 2 John 6), a spirit free from sense of guilt, legal bondage, fear of death (Romans 8:15; Romans 8:21; 2 Cor. 3:17; Galations 5:1; Hebrews 2:15; 1 John 5:14); a spirit elevated with a holy boldness and royal dignity (Hebrews 10:9, 22; 1 Peter 2:9; 4:14).

6.  Present protection, consolations, and abundant provisions (Ps. 125:2; Isa. 56:13; Luke 12:27-32; John 14:8; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; 2 Cor. 1:4).

7.  Present fatherly chastisements for our good, including both spiritual and temporal afflictions (Psalms 51:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-11).

8.  The certain inheritance of the riches of our Father's glory, as heirs with God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17; James 2:5; 1 Peter 1:4; 3:1); including the exaltation of our bodies to fellowship with Him (Romans 8:23; Phil. 3:21).
                                                                                                                                        A. A. Hodge

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

         Come on, companions of our way.
         Who travel to eternal day
         Through this poor world of night;
         Give to the Lord, in noble songs,
         The praise that to His name belongs,
         As children of the light.

         Called out of darkness, by His voice,
         Be that clear shining path our choice,
         Which Christ our captain trod!
         Whether with flowers and fragrance crown'd,
         Or thorns and thistle interwound,
         It leads the soul to God.

         Though pilgrims in a vale of woes,
         Thick-strown with snares, and thronged with foes;
         Since Jesus journey'd through,
         Plant but your steps where his have prest
         The ground once curst,—that ground now blest
         Is heaven's highway for you.

         To heaven, to heaven then march we on,
         Go where our conquering Lord hath gone!
         Thus where He is shall we
         In joy behold Him face to face,
         And, changed by glorifying grace,
         Resemble Him we see.
                                                    James Montgomery

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.  Psalms 39:12

How settled soever their condition be, yet this is the temper of the saints upon earth to count themselves but strangers.  All men indeed are strangers and sojourners, but the saints do best discern it, and most freely acknowledge it.  Wicked men have no firm dwelling upon earth, but that is against their intentions; their inward thought and desire is that they may abide for ever; they are strangers against their wills, their abode is uncertain in the world, and they cannot help it.  And pray mark, there are two distinct words used in this case, strangers and sojourners.  A stranger is one that hath his abode in a foreign country, that is not a native and a denizen of the place, though he liveth there, and in opposition to the natives he is called a stranger:  as if a French man should live in England, he is a stranger.  But a sojourner is one that intendeth not to settle, but only passeth through a place, and is in motion travelling homeward.  So the children of God in relation to a country of their own in another place, namely, heaven, they are denizens there, but strangers in the world; and they are sojourners and pilgrims in regard of their motion and journey towards their country.
                                                                                                                                         Thomas Manton

Monday, January 25, 2016

           As a tree beside the water
           Has the Savior planted me;
           All my fruit shall be in season,
           I shall live eternally.

           Tho’ the tempest rage around me,
           Thro’ the storm my Lord I see,
           Pointing upward to that haven,
           Where my loved ones wait for me.

           When by grief my heart is broken,
           And the sunshine steals away,
           Then his grace, in mercy given,
           Changes darkness into day.

           When at last I stand before him,
           O what joy it will afford,
           Just to see the sinner ransomed,
           And behold my sov’reign Lord.

           I shall not be moved,
           I shall not be moved;
           Anchored to the Rock of Ages,
           I shall not be moved.
                                                 Alfred H. Ackley

The LORD trieth the righteous.....Psalms 11:5

     All  events are under the control of Providence; consequently all the trials of our outward life are traceable at once to the great First Cause.  Out of the golden gate of God's ordinance the armies of trial march forth in array, clad in their iron armor, and armed with weapons of war.  All providences are doors to trial.  Even our mercies, like roses, have their thorns.  Men may be drowned in seas of prosperity as well as in rivers of affliction.  Our mountains are not too high, and our valleys are not too low, for temptations:  trials lurk on all roads.  Everywhere, above and beneath, we are beset and surrounded with dangers.  Yet no shower falls unpermitted from the threatening cloud; every drop has its order ere it hastens to the earth.  The trials which come from God are sent to prove and strengthen our graces, and so at once to illustrate the power of divine grace, to test the genuineness of our virtues, and to add to their energy.  Our Lord, in His infinite wisdom and superabundant love, sets so high a value upon His people's faith, that He will not screen them from those trials by which faith is strengthened.  You would never have possessed the precious faith which now supports you if the trial of your faith had not been like unto fire.  You are a tree that never would have rooted so well if the wind had not rocked you to and fro, and made you take firm hold upon the precious truths of the covenant of grace.  Worldly ease is a great foe to faith; it loosens the joints of holy valor, and snaps the sinews of sacred courage.  The balloon never rises until the cords are cut; affliction doth this sharp service for believing souls.  While the wheat sleeps comfortably in the husk it is useless to man; it must be threshed out of its resting-place before its value can be known.  Thus it is well that Jehovah trieth the righteous, for it causes them to grow rich towards God.   
                                                                                                                                      C. H. Spurgeon 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

One glance of thine, eternal Lord,
Pierces all nature through;
Nor heaven, nor earth, nor hell, afford
A shelter from thy view!

The mighty whole, each smaller part,
At once before Thee lies;
And every thought of every heart
Is open to thine eyes.

Though greatly from myself conceal'd,
Thou seest my inward frame;
To Thee I always stand reveal'd
Exactly as I am.

Since, therefore, I can hardly bear
What in myself I see,
How vile and black must I appear,
Most holy God, to Thee!

But since my Saviour stands between,
In garments dyed in blood,
'Tis He, instead of me, is seen,
When I approach to God.

Thus, though a sinner, I am safe;
He pleads before the throne
His life and death in my behalf,
And calls my sins his own.

What wondrous love, what mysteries,
In this appointment shine!
My breaches of the law are his,
And his obedience mine.
                    John Newton

.....There is a petition which I have heard in public prayers,—Lord, show us the evil of our hearts.  To this petition I cannot venture to set my Amen, at least not without a qualification.  Show me enough of thyself to balance the view, and then show me what thou pleasest.  I think I have a very clear and strong conviction in my judgment, that I am vile and worthless, that my heart is full of evil, only evil, and that continually.  I know something of it too experimentally; and, therefore, judging of the whole by the sample, though I am not suitably affected with what I do see, I tremble at the thought of seeing more.....A man may look with some pleasure upon the sea in a storm, provided he stand safe upon the land himself; but to be upon the sea in a storm, is quite another thing.  And yet surely the coldness, worldliness, pride, and twenty other evils under which I groan, owe much of their strength to the want of that feeling sense of my own abominations....I often seem to know what the Scripture teaches both of sin and grace, as if I knew them not; so faint and languid are my perceptions.  I often seem to think and talk of sin without any sorrow, and of grace without any joy.
.....Whatever means, instruments, or occasions he is pleased to employ, the work is all his own; and I trust you and I are made willing to give him all the glory, and to sink into the dust at the thought that he should ever permit us to take his holy name upon our polluted lips.
                                                                                                       John Newton,
                                                                                                       from a letter dated August 14, 1770

Saturday, January 23, 2016

    Father of love, our Guide and Friend,
    O lead us gently on,
    Until life’s trial time shall end,
    And heavenly peace be won.

    We know not what the path may be
    As yet by us untrod;
    But we can trust our all to thee,
    Our Father and our God.

    If called, like Abraham’s child, to climb
    The hill of sacrifice,
    Some angel may be there in time;
    Deliverance shall arise:

    Or, if some darker lot be good,
    O teach us to endure
    The sorrow, pain, or solitude,
    That makes the spirit pure.

    Christ by no flowery pathway came; 
    And we, his followers here,
    Must do thy will and praise thy name,
    In hope, and love, and fear.

    And, till in heaven we sinless bow,
    And faultless anthems raise,
    O Father, Son, and Spirit now
    Accept our feeble praise.
                                      William J. Irons

.....Many times we must be content, not only to be active instruments, but passive objects of God's glory.  And therefore if God will glorify Himself by our poverty, or our disgrace, our pain and sickness, we must be content.....God may be glorified in our condition, whatever it be.  If He will have us rich and full, that He might be glorified in our bounty; if He will have us poor and low, that He may be glorified in our patience; if He will have us healthy, that He may be glorified in our labour; if He will have us sick, that He may be glorified in our pain; if He will have us live, that He may be glorified in our lives; if He will have us die, that He may be glorified in our deaths: and therefore, 'Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's:' Rom. 14:9.  A Christian is to be like a die in the hand of providence, con-tent whether he be cast high or low, and not to grudge at it....
                                                                                                                                          Thomas Manton

Friday, January 22, 2016

         I love the sacred Book of God!
         No other can its place supply;
         It points me to His own abode;
         It gives me wings and bids me fly.

         Sweet Book! in thee my eyes discern
         The very image of my Lord;
         From thine instructive page I learn
         The joys His presence will afford,

         In thee I read my title clear
         To mansions that will ne'er decay;
         Dear Lord, oh, when wilt Thou appear,
         And bear Thy prisoner away?

         While I am here, these leaves supply
         His place, and tell me of His love;
         I read with faith's discerning eye,
         And gain a glimpse of joys above.

         I know in them the Spirit breathes
         To animate His people here;
         Oh, may these truths prove life to all,
         Till in His presence we appear!
                                              Thomas Kelly

It is a very popular notion that, provided people are moral, amiable, benevolent, charitable and philanthropic, it is of very small consequence what they believe.  Life is better than creed or dogma, we are told.  All this sounds very plausible; but the reader may rest assured that the direct tendency of all this manner of speech and line of argument is to get rid of the Bible — rid of the Holy Ghost — rid of Christ — rid of God — rid of all that the Bible reveals to our souls.  Let him bear this in mind, and seek to keep close to the precious word of God.  Let him treasure that word in his heart; and give himself, more and more, to the prayerful study of it.  Thus he will be preserved from the withering influence of scepticism and infidelity, in every shape and form; his soul will be fed and nourished by the sincere milk of the word, and his whole moral being be kept in the shelter of the divine presence continually.  This is what is needed.  Nothing else will do.
                                                                                                                                       C. H. Mackintosh


If we want any authority to confirm the truth of God's Word, we are in reality rejecting God's Word altogether, and resting on man's word.  A man may say, "How do I know that the Bible is the Word of God?"  We reply, It carries its own divine credentials with it; and if these credentials do not convince, all the human authority under the sun is perfectly worthless.  If the whole population of the earth were to stand before me, and assure me of the truth of God's Word, and that I were to believe on their authority, it would not be saving faith at all.  It would be faith in men, and not faith in God; but the faith that saves is the faith that believes what God says because God says it.
                                                                                                                                     C. H. Mackintosh

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Words of eternal life to me,
O may my faith receive the whole;
Bound with my heart-strings, let them be
Hid in the secret of my soul.

Though heaven and earth shall pass away,
These words of prophecy are sure,
Unchangeable amidst decay,
And pure as God himself is pure.

Whoe'er to these shall add alloy,
Or take one sacred fragment thence,
Them and their works will GOD destroy;
His arm shall be His truth's defense.

Firm in that Truth may we abide,
Till Christ our Lord appear again;
Come, say the Spirit and the Bride,
Lord Jesus, quickly come:—Amen!
                               James Montgomery

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

           Lord, I have made thy word my choice,
           My lasting heritage;
           There shall my noblest powers rejoice,
           My warmest thoughts engage.

           I'll read the histories of thy love,
           And keep thy laws in sight,
           While through the promises I rove,
           With ever fresh delight.

           'Tis a broad land of wealth unknown,
           Where springs of life arise,
           Seeds of immortal bliss are sown,
           And hidden glory lies.

           The best relief that mourners have,
           It makes our sorrows blest;
           Our fairest hope beyond the grave,
           And our eternal rest.                    
                               Isaac Watts

     Let me say there are three books which every Christian ought to have, and if you haven't them, go and buy them before you get your tea.  The first, is a good Bible—a large-print Bible.....Get a good Bible, then a good concordance, and then a scriptural text-book.  Whenever you come to something in the Word of God that you don't know, hunt for its meaning in those books.  Suppose, after the meeting, I am looking all over the platform, and Dr. Kittredge says, "What are you looking for?" and I answer, "Oh, nothing, nothing," he would go off.  If he thought I hadn't dropped something he wouldn't stay.  But suppose I had lost a very valuable ring, which some esteemed friend had given me, and I told him this, he would stay with me, and he would move this organ, and those chairs, and look all over, and by looking carefully we would find it.  If a man hunts for truths in the Word of God, and reads it as if he was looking for nothing in particular, he will get nothing.  When the men went to California in the gold excitement they went to dig for gold, and they worked day and night with a terrible energy just to get a little gold.  Now, my friends, if they wanted to get the pure gold they had to dig for it, and when I was there I was told that the best gold was got by digging deep for it.  So the best truths are got by digging deep for them.
.....If you read a chapter of the Bible and don't see anything in it, read it a second time; and if you can not see anything in it, read it a third time.  Dig deep.  Read it again and again, and even if you have to read it twenty-eight times, do so, and you will see the man Christ Jesus, for he is in every page of the Word; and if you take Christ out of the Old Testament you will take the key out of the Word. 
     Many men in the churches nowadays are saying that the teachings in the New Testament are to be believed, but those in the Old are not.  Those who say this don't know anything about the New.  There is nothing in the Old Testament that God has not put his seal upon.  "Why," some people say to me, "Moody, you don't believe in the flood?  All the scientific men tell us it is absurd."  Let them tell us.  Jesus tells us of it, and I would rather take the word of Jesus than that of any other one.  I haven't got much respect for those men who dig down for stones with shovels, in order to take away the Word of God.  Men don't believe in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, but we have it sealed in the New Testament.  "As it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah."  They don't believe in Lot's wife, but he says, "Remember Lot's wife."  So there is not a thing that men to-day cavil at but the Son of God indorses.  We find that he indorses all the points in the Old Testament, from Genesis to Revelation.  We have only one book—we haven't two.  The moment a man begins to cut and slash, away it all goes.  Some don't believe in the first five books.  They would do well to look into the third chapter of John, where they will see the Samaritan woman at the well looking for the coming of Christ from the first five books of Moses.  I tell you, my friends, if you look for him you will find him all through the Old Testament.  You will find him in Genesis—in every book in the Bible.  Just turn to Luke 24:27, you will find him, after he had risen again, speaking about the Old Testament prophets:  "And beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scripture the things concerning himself."  Concerning himself.  Don't that settle the question?  I tell you, I am convinced in my mind that the Old Testament is as true as the New.  "And he began at Moses and all the prophets."  Mark that "all the prophets."  Then in the forty-fourth verse:  "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms concerning me.  Then opened he their understanding that they might understand the Scripture."  If you take Christ out of the Old Testament, what are you going to do with the psalms and prophets?  The book is a sealed book, if we take away the New from it.  Christ unlocks the Old and Jesus the New.  Philip, in teaching the people, found Christ in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah:  "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."  Why, the earthly Christians had nothing but the Old Testament to preach the gospel from—at Pentecost they had nothing else.  So if there is any man or woman in this assembly who believes in the New Testament, and not in the Old, dear friends, you are deluded by Satan, because if you read the Word of God you will find him spoken of throughout both books.  I notice if a man goes to cut up the Bible and comes to you with one truth and says, "I don't believe this and I don't believe that"—I notice when he begins to doubt portions of the Word of God he soon doubts it all.
.....It is a good deal better to study one book at a time than to run through the Bible.  If we study one book and get its key, it will, perhaps, open up others.  Take up the book of Genesis, and you will find eight beginnings; or, in other words, you pick up the key of several books.  The gospel was written that man might believe on Jesus Christ, and every chapter speaks of it.  Now, take the book of Genesis; it says it is the book of beginnings.  That is the key; then the book of Exodus—it is the book of redemption; that is the key-word of the whole.  Take up the book of Leviticus, and we find that it is the book of sacrifices.  And so on through all the different books; you will find each one with a key.  Another thing:  we must study it unbiased.  A great many people believe certain things.  They believe in certain creeds and doctrines, and they run through the book to get Scripture in accordance with them.  If a man is a Calvinistic man, he wants to find something in accordance with his doctrine.  But if we seek truth, the Spirit of God will come.  Don't seek it in the blue light of Presbyterianism, in the red light of Methodism, or in the light of Episcopalianism, but study it in the light of Calvary.  Another way to study it is, not only to take one book at a time; but I have been wonderfully blessed by taking up one word at a time.  Take up the word, and go to your concordance and find out all about it.....
     There is another thing which has wonderfully helped me. That is, to mark my Bible whenever I hear anything that strikes me.....If ministers saw people doing this they would preach a good deal better sermons.  Not only that, but if we understand the Bibles better the ministers would preach better.  I think if people knew more about the Word than they do, so many of them would not be carried away with false doctrine.  There is no place I have ever been in where people so thoroughly understand their Bibles as in Scotland.  Why, little boys could quote Scripture and take me up on a text.  They have the whole nation just educated, as it were, with the Word of God.  Infidelity cannot come there.  A man got up, in Glasgow, at a corner, and began to preach universal salvation.  "Oh, sir," said an old woman, "that will never save the like of me."  She had heard enough preaching to know that it would never save her.  If a man comes among them with any false doctrine, these Scotchmen instantly draw their Bibles on him.  I had to keep my eyes open, and be careful what I said there.  They knew their Bibles a good deal better than I did.  And so if the preachers could get the people to read the Word of God more carefully, and note what they heard, there would not be so much infidelity among us.
.....But take your Bibles and mark them.  Don't think of wearing it out.  It is a rare thing to find a man wearing his Bible out nowadays—and Bibles are cheap too.  You are living in a land where there are plenty.  Study them and mark them, and don't be afraid of wearing them.  Now don't you see now much better it would be to study it?  And it you are talking to a man, instead of talking about your neighbors, just talk about the Bible; and when Christian men come together, just compare notes, and ask one another:  "What have you found new in the Word of  God since I saw you last?".....
                                                                                                                                            D. L. Moody

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

     Now, reader, does not all this prove to us, in the most striking manner, the immense importance of individual faithfulness?  Is it not eminently calculated to encourage us to stand for the truth of God, cost what it may?.....
.....we must refer the reader to Daniel 3.....There he will see what morally glorious results can be reached by individual faithfulness to the true God, at a moment when Israel's national glory was gone—their city and temple in ruins.  The three worthies refused to worship the golden image.  They dared to face the wrath of the king, to withstand the universal voice of the empire, yea, to meet the fiery furnace itself, rather than disobey.  They could surrender life, but they could not surrender the truth of God.
     And what was the result?  A splendid victory!  They walked through the furnace with the Son of God, and were called forth from the furnace as witnesses and servants of the Most High God.  Glorious privilege! wondrous dignity! and all the simple result of obedience.  Had they gone with the crowd, and bowed the head in worship to the national god, in order to escape the dreadful furnace, see what they would have lost!  But, blessed be God, they were enabled to stand fast in the confession of the grand foundation-truth of the unity of the Godhead—that truth which had been trampled underfoot amid the splendors of Solomon's reign; and the record of their faithfulness has been penned for us by the Holy Spirit in order to encourage us to tread, with firm step, the path of individual devotedness, in the face of a God-hating, Christ-rejecting world, and in the face of a truth-neglecting Christendom.  It is impossible to read the narrative and not have our whole renewed being stirred up and drawn out in earnest desire for more deep-toned personal devotedness to Christ and His precious cause.    
     Similar must be the effect produced by the study of Daniel 6.  We cannot allow ourselves to quote or expatiate; we can only commend the soul-stirring record to the attention of the reader.  It is uncommonly fine, and it furnishes a splendid lesson for this day of soft, self-indulgent, easy-going profession, in which it costs people nothing to give a nominal assent to the truths of Christianity; but in which, notwithstanding, there is so little desire or readiness to follow, with whole-hearted decision, a rejected Lord, or to yield an unqualified and unhesitating obedience to His commandments.
     How refreshing, in the face of so much heartless indifference, to read of the faithfulness of Daniel!  He, with unflinching decision, persisted in his holy habit of praying three times a day, with his window open toward Jerusalem, although he knew that the den of lions was the penalty of his act.  He might have closed his window and drawn his curtains and retired into the privacy of his chamber to pray, or he might have waited for the midnight hour, when no human eye could see or human ear hear him.  But no; this beloved servant of God would not hide his light under a bed or a bushel.  There was a great principle at stake.  It was not merely that he would pray to the one living and true God, but he would pray with "his windows open toward Jerusalem."  And why "toward Jerusalem"?  Because it was God's centre.  But it was in ruins.  True, for the present, and as looked at from a human stand-point; but to faith, and from a divine stand-point, Jerusalem was God's centre for His earthly people.  It was, and it shall be, beyond all question.  And not only so, but its dust is precious to Jehovah; and hence Daniel was in full communion with the mind of God when he opened his windows toward Jerusalem and prayed.  He had Scripture for what he did, as the reader may see by referring to 2 Chronicles 6.  "If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which Thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which Thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for Thy name."
     Here was Daniel's warrant.  This was what he did, utterly regardless of human opinions, and utterly regardless, too, of pains and penalties.  He would rather be thrown into the den of lions than surrender the truth of God; he would rather go to heaven with a good conscience than remain on earth with a bad one.
     And what was the result?  Another splendid triumph!  "Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, BECAUSE HE BELIEVED IN HIS GOD."
     Blessed servant! noble witness!  Assuredly he was the head on this occasion, and his enemies the tail.  And how?  Simply by obedience to the Word of God.  This is what we deem to be of such vast moral importance for this our day.  It is to illustrate and enforce this that we refer to those brilliant examples of individual faithfulness at a time when Israel's national glory was in the dust, their unity gone, and their polity broken up.  We cannot but regard it as a fact full of interest, full of encouragement, full of suggestive power, that in the darkest days of Israel's history as a nation we have the brightest and noblest examples of personal faith and devotedness.  We earnestly press this upon the attention of the Christian reader.  We consider it eminently calculated to strengthen and cheer up our hearts in standing for the truth of God at a moment like the present, when there is so much to discourage us in the general condition of the professing church.  It is not that we are to look for such speedy, striking, and splendid results as were realized in those cases to which we have referred.  This is by no means the question.  What we have to keep before our hearts is the fact that, no matter what may be the condition of the ostensible people of God at any given time, it is the privilege of the individual man of God to tread the narrow path and reap the precious fruits of simple obedience to the Word of God and the precious commandments of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
     This, we feel persuaded, is a truth for the day.  May we all feel its holy power.  We are in imminent danger of lowering the standard of personal devotedness because of the general condition.  This is a fatal mistake, yea, it is the positive suggestion of the enemy of Christ and His cause.  If Mordecai, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel had acted thus, what would have been the result?
     Ah, no, reader; we have ever to bear in mind that our one great business is, to obey, and leave results with God.  It may please Him to permit His servants to see striking results, or He may see fit to allow them to wait for that great day that is coming, when there will be no danger of our being puffed up by seeing any little fruit of our testimony.  Be this as it may, it is our plain and bounden duty to tread that bright and blessed path indicated for us by the commandments of our precious and adorable Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  May God enable us, by the grace of His Holy Spirit, so to do.  May we cleave to the truth of God with purpose of heart, utterly regardless of the opinions of our fellow-men who may charge us with narrowness, bigotry, intolerance, and such like.  We have just to go on with the Lord!
                                                                                                                                    C. H. Mackintosh 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Supported by the word,
Though in himself a worm,
The servant of the Lord
Can wondrous acts perform:
Without dismay he boldly treads
Where'er the path of duty leads.

The haughty king in vain,
With fury on his brow,
Believers would constrain
To golden gods to bow;
The furnace could not make them fear,
Because they knew the Lord was near.

As vain was the decree
Which charged them not to pray;
Daniel still bowed his knee,
And worshipped thrice a-day:
Trusting in God, he feared not men,
Though threatened with the lion's den.

Secure they might refuse
Compliance with such laws;
For what had they to lose,
When God espoused their cause?
He made the hungry lions crouch,
Nor durst the fire his children touch.

The Lord is still the same,
A mighty shield and tower,
And they who trust his name
Are guarded by his power;
He can the rage of lions tame,
And bear them harmless through the flame.

Yet we too often shrink
When trials are in view;
Expecting we must sink,
And never can get through:
But could we once believe indeed,
From all these fears we should be freed.
                                              John Newton

Sunday, January 17, 2016

           We’ll sing of the Shepherd that died,
           That died for the sake of the flock;
           His love to the utmost was tried,
           But firmly endured as a rock.

           When blood from a victim must flow,
           This Shepherd by pity was led
           To stand between us and the foe,
           And willingly died in our stead.

           Our song, then, forever shall be,
           The Shepherd who gave Himself thus;
           No subject’s so glorious as He,
           No theme so affecting to us.

           Of Him and His love will we sing,
           His praises our tongues shall employ,
           Till heavenly anthems we bring
           In yonder bright regions of joy.
                                          Thomas Kelly

.....But none ever stooped so low as Christ, if we consider either the infinite height that he stooped from, or the great depth to which he stooped.  Such was his humility, that though he knew his infinite worthiness of honor, and of being honored ten thousand times as much as the highest prince on earth, or angel in heaven, yet he did not think it too much when called to it, to be bound as a malefactor, to become the laughing-stock of the vilest of men, to be crowned with thorns, to have a mock robe put upon him, and to be crucified like a slave and malefactor, as one of the meanest and worst of vagabonds and miscreants, and an accursed enemy of God and men, who was not fit to live.  And this was not for himself, but for some of the meanest and vilest of creatures, even some of those accursed wretches that crucified him.  Was not this a wonderful manifestation of humility, when he cheerfully and most freely submitted to this abasement?—And how did his patience shine forth under all the terrible sufferings which he endured; when he was dumb, and opened not his mouth, but went as a lamb to the slaughter!  And what contempt of the glory of this world was there, when he rather chose this meanness and suffering, than to be invested with the external glories of an earthly prince, as the multitude often solicited him!....
                                                                                                                                       Jonathan Edwards

Saturday, January 16, 2016

   In looking thro’ my tears one day,
   I saw Mount Calvary,
   Beneath the cross there flowed a stream
   Of grace, enough for me.

   While standing there, my trembling heart,
   Once full of agony,
   Could scarce believe the sight I saw
   Of grace, enough for me.

   When I beheld my ev’ry sin
   Nailed to the cruel tree,
   I felt a flood go thro’ my soul
   Of grace, enough for me.

   When I am safe within the veil,
   My portion there will be,
   To sing thro’ all the years to come
   Of grace, enough for me.

   Grace is flowing from Calvary,
   Grace as fathomless as the sea,
   Grace for time and eternity,
   Grace, enough for me.
                                              E. O. Excell

     Men talk about grace, but, as a rule, they know very little about it.  Let a businessman go to a banker’s to borrow a few hundred dollars for sixty or ninety days; if he is well able to pay, the banker will perhaps lend him the money if he can get another responsible man to sign the note with him.  They give what they call “three days’ grace” after the sixty or ninety days have expired; but they will make the borrower pay interest on the money during these three days, and if he does not return principal and interest at the appointed time, they will sell his goods; they will perhaps turn him out of his house, and take the last piece of furniture in his possession.
     That is not grace at all, but that fairly illustrates man’s idea of it.  Grace not only frees from payment of the interest, but of the principal also.  The grace of God frees us from the penalty of our sin without any payment on our part.  Christ has paid the debt, and all we have to do is to believe on Him for our salvation.
                                                                                                                                    Dwight L. Moody 

Friday, January 15, 2016

            In heavenly love abiding,
            No change my heart shall fear;
            And safe in such confiding,
            For nothing changes here.
            The storm may roar without me,
            My heart may low be laid,
            But God is round about me,
            And can I be dismayed?

            Wherever He may guide me,
            No want shall turn me back;
            My Shepherd is beside me,
            And nothing can I lack.
            His wisdom ever waketh,
            His sight is never dim,
            He knows the way He’s taketh,
            And I will walk with Him.

            Green pastures are before me,
            Which yet I have not seen;
            Bright skies will soon be o’er me,
            Where darkest clouds have been.
            My hope I cannot measure,
            My path to life is free,
            My Savior has my treasure,
            And He will walk with me.
                                              Anna L. Waring

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation    Ps 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change.  Whenever the pillar stayed its motion, the tents were pitched; but tomorrow, ere the morning sun had risen, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow defiles of the mountain, up the hillside, or along the arid waste of the wilderness.  They had scarcely time to rest a little before they heard the sound of "Away! this is not your rest; you must still be onward journeying towards Canaan!"  They were never long in one place.  Even wells and palm trees could not detain them.  Yet they had an abiding home in their God; His cloudy pillar was their roof-tree, and its flame by night their house-hold fire.  They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle, and to say, "Now we are secure; in this place we shall dwell."  "Yet," says Moses, "though we are always changing, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place throughout all generations."  The Christian knows no change with regard to God.  He may be rich today and poor tomorrow; he may be sickly today and well tomorrow; he may be in happiness today, tomorrow he may be distressed—but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God.  If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today.  My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord.  Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God.  He is "my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort."  I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God.  In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.
                                                                                                                                           C. H. Spurgeon

Thursday, January 14, 2016

(In order to understand the following preacher, please read the blog for January 12, 2016.  Also be sure to read January 13, 2016 for more of his writings.)

     It is of the Lord's great mercy that he did not cut you off in your unconverted state, and that you have yet life and time, and that there is a remedy provided for you in the blood of Christ, and that pardon and sanctification and everlasting life are offered to you as well as to others:  God hath not left sinful man to utter destruction, as he hath done the devils; nor hath he made any exception in the offer of pardon and everlasting life against you any more than against any other.  If you had yet but a bleeding heart for sin, could come to Christ believingly for recovery, and resign yourselves to him as your Saviour and Lord, and would be a new man for the time to come, the Lord would have mercy on you in the pardon of your sins, and the everlasting salvation of your soul.....          
                                                                                                                                          Richard Baxter


     It is a palpable error of some ministers, who make such a disproportion between their preaching and their living—who study hard to preach exactly, and study little or not at all to live exactly.  All the week long is little enough to study how to speak two hours; and yet one hour seems too much to study how to live all the week.  They are loath to misplace a word in their sermons, or to be guilty of any notable infirmity—and I blame them not, for the matter is holy and weighty—but they make nothing of misplacing affections, words, and actions, in the course of their lives.  O how curiously have I heard some men preach; and how carelessly have I seen them live.  They have been so accurate as to the composition of their sermons.....And yet, when it came  to matter of practice, and they were once out of church, how incurious were the men, and how little did they regard what they said or did, provided it were not so palpably gross as to dishonor them.  They that preached precisely, would not live precisely.  What a difference was there between their pulpit speeches, and their familiar discourse.
                                                                                                                                            Richard Baxter

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

(In order to understand the following preacher, please read the blog for January 12, 2016.)

     1.  Can you truly say that all the known sins of your past life are the grief of your heart, and that you have felt that everlasting misery is due to you for them; and that, under a sense of this heavy burden, you have felt yourself a lost man, and have gladly entertained the news of a Saviour, and cast your soul upon Christ alone, for pardon by his blood?
     2.  Can you truly say that your heart is so far turned from sin, that you hate the sins which you once loved, and love that holy life which you formerly hated, and that you do not now live in the wilful practice of any known sin?  Is there no sin which you are not heartily willing to forsake, whatever it cost you, and no duty which you are not willing to perform? 
     3.  Can you truly say, that you have so far taken the everlasting enjoyment of God for your happiness, that it hath the most of your heart, of your love, desire, and care; and that you  are resolved, by the strength of divine grace, to let go all that you have in the world rather than hazard it, and that it is your daily and your principal business to seek it?  Can you truly say, that though you have your failings and sins, yet your main care, and the bent of your whole life, is to please God, and to enjoy him for ever; and that you give the world God's leavings, as it were, and not God the world's leavings; and that your worldly business is but as a traveller's seeking for provision in his journey, and heaven is the place that you take for your home?
                                                                                                                                           Richard Baxter


.....If you seek a physician in your sickness, you would have him tell you the truth, though it were the worst—much more here.  For there the knowledge of your disease may, by your fears, increase it; but here you must know it, or else you can never be recovered from it.  I much fear that you are yet a stranger to the Christian life.  For if you were a Christian indeed, and truly converted, your very heart would be set on God and the life to come, and you would make it your chief business to prepare for everlasting happiness; and you durst not, you would not, live in any wilful sin, nor in the neglect of any known duty.  Alas, what have you done? how have you spent your time till now?  Did you not know that you had a soul to be saved or lost, and that you must live in heaven or in hell for ever, and that you had your life and time in this world chiefly for the purpose of preparing for another?  Alas, what have you been doing all your days that you are so ignorant, or so unprepared for death if it should now find you?  If you had but as much mind of heaven as of earth, you would have known more of it, and done more for it, and inquired more diligently after it than you have done.  You can learn how to do your business in the world, and why could you not learn more of the will of God, if you had but attended to it?  You have neighbors that could learn more, that have had as much to do in the world as you, and who have had as little time.  Do you think that heaven is not worth your labor; or that it can be had without any care or pains, when you cannot have the trifles of this world without them, and when God had bid you seek first his kingdom and the righteousness thereof?  Alas, my friends, what if you had died before this hour in an unconverted state; what then had become of you, and where had you now been?  Alas, that you were so cruel to yourselves, as to venture your everlasting state so desperately as you have done.  "What did you think of?  Did you not all this while know that you must shortly die, and be judged as you were then found?  Had you any greater work to do, or any greater business to mind, than your everlasting salvation?  Do you think that all that you can get in this world will comfort you in a dying hour, or purchase your salvation, or ease the pains of hell?"
                                                                                                                                          Richard Baxter

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

    Lord, it belongs not to my care
    Whether I die or live;
    To love and serve thee is my share.
    And this thy grace must give.

    If life be long, I will be glad
    That I may long obey;
    If short, yet why should I be sad
    To soar to endless day?

    Christ leads me through no darker rooms
    Than he went through before;
    No one into his kingdom comes
    But through his opened door.

    Come, Lord, when grace has made me meet
    Thy blessed face to see;
    For if thy work on earth be sweet.
    What will thy glory be!

    My knowledge of that life is small;
    The eye of faith is dim;
    But 't is enough that Christ knows all.
    And I shall be with him.
                                       Rev. Richard Baxter

For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.  Psalms 31:13

     From my very childhood, when I was first sensible of the concernments of men's souls, I was possessed with some admiration to find that everywhere the religious, godly sort of people, who did but exercise a serious care of their own and other men's salvation, were made the wonder and obloquy of the world, especially of the most vicious and flagitious men; so that they that professed the same articles of faith, the same commandments of God to be their law, and the same petitions of the Lord's prayer to be their desire, and so professed the same religion, did everywhere revile those that endeavoured to live in good earnest in what they said.  I thought this was impudent hypocrisy in the ungodly, worldly sort of men to take those for the most intolerable persons in the land who are but serious in their own religion, and do but endeavour to perform what all their enemies also vow and promise.  If religion be bad, and our faith be not true, why do these men profess it?  If it be true and good, why do they hate and revile them that would live in the serious practice of it, if they will not practice it themselves?  But we must not expect reason when sin and sensuality have made men unreasonable.    
     But I must profess that since I observed the course of the world, and the concord of the word and providence of God, I took it for a notable proof of man's fall, and of the truth of the Scripture, and of the supernatural original of true sanctification, to find such a universal enmity between the holy and the serpentine seed, and to find Cain and Abel's case so ordinarily exemplified, and he that is born after the flesh persecuting him that is born after the Spirit.  And methinks to this day it is a great and visible help for the confirmation of our Christian faith.
                                                                                                                                      Richard Baxter


     Rev. Richard Baxter was an English clergyman, curate of Kidderminster, and afterward a Nonconformist in London, where he died, December 8, 1691.  He was born at Rowton, in Shropshire, England, November 12, 1615.  For ten years he lived with his maternal grandfather, then he was taken home to his parents.  His father had been converted only recently, and was then in some measure of trouble; the manner in which he faced and conquered his enemies with the force of gentleness and faith made a deep impression on the boy's mind, and he became a decided and devoted Christian at the age of fifteen.  From this time forward there was never any repose or tameness to his life.  At first he took orders in the Church of England and, after some changes, in 1640 he assumed charge in Kidderminster.  For a while, during the civil war, he was doing religious work in the army.  But the triumph of his career was achieved in his parish as a godly and faithful pastor and preacher.  It has been recorded of him that at the begining of his ministry in Kidderminster there "was scarcely a house in a street where there was family worship;" but when he left the parish there "was scarcely a family in the side of a street where it was not; and whoever walked through the town on the Lord's day evening heard everywhere the delightful sound of reading the Scriptures and prayer and praise."
     After the restoration Baxter was one of the chaplains of Charles II; he was also offered the Bishopric of Hereford, but declined the honor.  On Black Bartholomew's Day,1662, he was ejected from his charge, with two thousand more Non-conformists, and went forth to suffer persecution for conscience' sake.  He was once imprisoned for a year and a half.  In times of forced retirement this wonderful man wrote The Saint's Rest, Call to the Unconverted, and other religious books.  In his last illness he was asked how he was, and, with an upward look, he answered, "Almost well.".....
     He had been driven from place to place.  Now in prison for preaching at Acton:  now kept out of his pulpit by a military guard; now seized again, and his goods and books sold to pay the fine for preaching five sermons—he being so ill that he could not be imprisoned without danger of death, and now again in the king's bench under a warrant from the villainous Jeffreys for writing a paraphrase on the New Testament.  His later life was often "in peril" for Christ's sake, and there must have been something deeply touching in that impress of dignified sorrow which brought tears into the eyes of Judge Hale when he saw the persecuted man standing before the bench.  His presence must have been felt wherever he appeared.  Everybody who knew him acknowledged his mental and moral grandeur.
     Richard Baxter was one of the most prolific of religious writers.  He issued at least sixty large volumes, and his treatises, if reckoned with them, would swell the number to a hundred and sixty-eight.  It is plain from the history of his times that it was these books which kept getting him into trouble.  That generation, so deficient in toleration, as well as in spirituality, refused to endure their pointedness and exhortational force.  Every effort was put forth to check or suppress so perilous and pertinent a public censor.  It is on record that once one of his friends bequeathed to the author twenty pounds for copies of his Call to the Unconverted to be distributed among the people.  But North, then the Lord Keeper, decided that this legacy was for "superstitious uses," and therefore void.  By this he meant, so interpreting an enigmatical expression in the statute, that the book was designed for the propagation of a faith not approved by the State, the Episcopal Church then being the establishment in England.  Thus Baxter's friends were cheated and his enemies allowed to triumph, but his books still circulated.
                                                                                                written by Charles Seymour Robinson, D.D.


     May 1662, the king set his seal of approval to the famous "Act of Conformity" by which every clergyman of the Church of England must, on the 24th of August following, "openly and publickly, before the congregation there assembled, declare his unfeigned assent and consent to the use of all things" in the "Book of Common Prayer."
     Baxter was among the two thousand godly ministers who were willing to leave their weeping flocks, and their pecuniary support, to face poverty and persecution for conscience's sake.  As many were not silenced by this, the "Conventical Act" was passed in 1664, by which "the meeting of more than four persons in any other manner than allowed by the liturgy and practice of the Church of England is forbidden," under a
penalty of a fine or imprisonment.  To prevent the Non-conformist ministers being even among, their flocks, the "Five Mile Act" followed, which prevented them from coming or being within five miles of any city or town corporate, or any place where they had at any time exercised their ministry.
     Although Baxter yielded obedience to the law so far as to abstain from public preaching, yet he kept up family worship, and as some, of their own accord, would drop in and swell the number beyond the legal limit of "four," a warrant was issued for his arrest, and he was incarcerated for six months in Clerkenwell prison.
     Some years later having dared to deliver five sermons, and to live in a corporate town, his enemies seized him again.  His goods were taken from him and sold, "even to the bed that he lay sick on."  "When they had taken and sold all" he says, "and I had borrowed some bedding and necessaries of the buyer, I was never the quieter.".....
.....when reminded on his deathbed of his good deeds, he replied:  "I was but a pen in God's hand, and what praise is due to a pen."  In triumphant peace and joy, he ended his days December 8, 1691.
                                                                                                                   written by Rev. Edwin M. Long