Saturday, April 30, 2016

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 121:4-5

The same that is the protector of the church in general, is engaged for the preservation of every particular believer; the same wisdom, the same power, the same promises.  "He that keepeth Israel" (verse 4),  "is thy keeper" (verse 5).  The Shepherd of the flock is the Shepherd of every sheep, and will take care that not one, even of the little ones, shall perish.                   
                                                                                                                               Matthew Henry

Friday, April 29, 2016

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth’s sake.  Psalms 115:1

.....Boasting is here for ever excluded, verse 1.  Let no opinion of our own merits have any room either in our prayers or in our praises, but let both centre in God's glory.  1. Have we received any mercy, gone through any service, or gained any success?  We must not assume the glory of it to ourselves, but ascribe it wholly to God.  We must not imagine that we do any thing for God by our own strength, or deserve any thing from God by our own righteousness; but all the good we do is done by the power of his grace, and all the good we have is the gift of his mere mercy, and therefore he must have all the praise.  Say not, The power of my hand has gotten me this wealth, Deut. 8:7.  Say not, For my righteousness the Lord has done these great and kind things for me, Deut. 9:4.  No, all our songs must be sung to this humble tune, Not  unto us, O Lord, and again, Not unto us, but to thy name, let all the glory be given; for whatever good is wrought in us, or wrought for us, it is for his mercy, and his truth's sake, because he will glorify his mercy, and fulfil his promise.  All our crowns must be cast at the feet of him that sits upon the throne, for that is the proper place for them.  2.  Are we in pursuit of any mercy, and wrestling with God for it?  We must take our encouragement, in prayer, from God only, and have an eye to his glory more than to our own benefit in it.  "Lord, do so and so for us; not that we may have the credit and comfort of it, but that thy mercy and truth may have the glory of it."  This must be our highest and ultimate end in our prayers, and therefore it is made the first petition in the Lord's prayer, as that which guides all the rest; Hallowed be thy name; and, in order to that, Give us our daily bread, etc.  This also must satisfy us, if our prayers be not answered in the letter of them; Whatever becomes of us, unto thy name give glory.  See John 12:27-28.....
                                                                                                                                 Matthew Henry


"Not unto us, but unto thy name give glory," etc.  This is not a doxology, or form of thanksgiving, but a prayer.  Not for our safety or welfare, so much as for thy glory, be pleased to deliver us.  Not to satisfy our revenge upon our adversaries; not for the establishment of our own interest; but for the glory of thy grace and truth do we seek thine aid, that thou mayest be known to be a God keeping covenant; for mercy and truth are the two pillars of that covenant.  It is a great dishonouring of God when anything is sought from him more than himself, or not for himself.  Saith Austin, it is but a carnal affection in prayer when men seek self more than God.  Self and God are the two things that come in competition.  Now there are several sorts of self; there is carnal self, natural self, and glorified self; above all these God must have the pre-eminence.
                                                                                                                                        Thomas Manton

Thursday, April 28, 2016

.....To seek after happiness in evil deeds is to plough a rock of granite.  To labor after true prosperity by dishonest means is as useless as to till the sandy shore.  "Wherefore do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth not?"  Young man, you are killing yourself with ambition; you seek your own honor and emolument, and this is a poor, poor object for an immortal soul.  And you, too, sir, are wearing out your life with care; your mind and body both fail you in endeavoring to amass riches, as if a man's life consisted in the abundance of the things which he possesses; you are ploughing a rock; your cares will not bring you joy of heart or content of spirit; your toil will end in failure.  And you, too, who labor to weave a righteousness by your works apart from Christ and fancy that with the diligent use of outward ceremonies you may be able to do the work of the Holy Spirit upon your own heart, you, too, are ploughing thankless rock.  The strength of fallen nature exerted at its utmost can never save a soul.  Why, then, plough the rock any longer?.....
                                                                                                                                         C. H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

God gives his mercies to be spent;
Your hoard will do your soul no good;
Gold is a blessing only lent,
Repaid by giving others food.

The world's esteem is but a bribe,
To buy their peace you sell your own:
The slave of a vain-glorious tribe,
Who hate you while they make you known.

The joy that vain amusements give,
Oh! sad conclusion that it brings!
The honey of a crowded hive,
Defended by a thousand stings.

'Tis thus the world rewards the fools
That live upon her treacherous smiles:
She leads them blindfold by her rules,
And ruins all whom she beguiles.

God knows the thousands who go down
From pleasure into endless woe;
And with a long despairing groan
Blaspheme their Maker as they go.

O fearful thought! be timely wise;
Delight but in a Saviour's charms,
And God shall take you to the skies,
Embraced in everlasting arms.
                            William Cowper

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

No, I shall envy them no more
Who grow profanely great,
Though they increase their golden store,
And rise to wondrous height.

They taste of all the joys that grow
Upon this earthly clod,
Well they may search the creature through,
For they have ne'er a God.

Shake off the thoughts of dying too,
And think your life your own;
But death comes hastening on to you
To mow your glory down.

Yes, you must bow your stately head,
Away your spirit lies,
And no kind angel near your bed
To bear it to the skies.

Go now, and boast of all your stores,
And tell how bright they shine;
Your heaps of glittering dust are yours,
And my Redeemer's mine.
                                           Isaac Watts

Monday, April 25, 2016

     A distinguished man lay on his deathbed, when a great mark of distinction and honour was brought to him.  Turning a cold glance on the treasure he would once have clutched with an eager grasp, he said, with a sigh, "Alas! this is a very fine thing in this country, but I am going to a country where it will be of no use to me." 
     Who can reflect, without sadness, on the closing moments of the gallant General Neil?  His life-long dream had been to obtain the little baton and ribbon of Marshal of France.  He could not sleep after seeing it conferred on McMahon, as a reward of valour in the battle of Magenta.  Before the next engagement, he told his friends that this time he would win the prize he so much coveted.  The conflict was over, and they sought him anxiously upon the gory field.  They found him almost crushed beneath his war-horse, and the practiced eye of the surgeon told him that life would soon be over.  Word was sent to the emperor, who quickly arrived, and taking from his own breast the badge of Marshal of France, he placed it above the heart of his faithful follower.  The lifelong dream was realised, and with a single throb of exultant joy and gratitude he threw his arms about the neck of his sovereign—the next instant he fell back in the embrace of a stronger king.
     O, how can we struggle, and toil, and distract our hearts from the one great purpose of life, simply to gather about us possessions which, though they may be very fine things in this country, "will be of no use to us in the country we are so shortly going to."                                        
                                                                                                                                                 Dr. Haven

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I was in the robe-chamber adjoining to the House of Lords when the King put on his robes.  (George II was then 72 years of age.)  His brow was much furrowed with age, and quite clouded with care.  And is this all the world can give even to a king?  All the grandeur it can afford?  A blanket of ermine round his shoulders,  heavy and cumbersome he can scarce move under it!  A huge heap of borrowed hair, with a few plates of gold and glittering stones upon his head!  Alas, what a bauble is human greatness!  And even this will not endure.
                                                                                                                                               John Wesley

Saturday, April 23, 2016

For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.  Psalms 1:6

.....Whence learn 1.  Albeit there be no man that liveth and sinneth not, yet the godly man, being justified by faith, and careful to bring forth the fruits of faith, is not a sinner in God's esteem; for he is here called Righteous.  2.  However there be many imperfections and failings of the Godly man's actions, yet the course he keepeth and way which he endeavoureth to walk in, is holy and acceptable to God; For the Lord knoweth or approveth the way of the Righteous.  3.  Let the men of this world please themselves, and applaud one another in their Godless carriage; yet the end of their course shall be everlasting destruction; for the way of the ungodly shall perish.
                                                                                                                                            David Dickson

Friday, April 22, 2016

Psalms 1
1    Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2    But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3    And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of
water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4    The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5    Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6    For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

From the pronouncing of the godly man to be the blessed man, and not the ungodly, Learn 1.  Though sin and misery abound among men, yet blessedness may be attained; for God here pronounce some to be blessed.  2.  In relation to the seeking of blessedness, all men, within and without the visible Church,  are divided in godly men, that seek to be blessed in God's way; and ungodly men, who seek blessedness, but not in God's way; for so are they here all ranked.  3.  To determine the Question, who is the blessed man, is competent to God only, in whose hand alone it is to make a man blessed; for here he taketh it upon him, to pronounce the godly man to be the blessed man.  4.  The ungodly do think themselves very wise in following the counsel of their own heart, and of others like themselves, that they may be blessed, But this is not the way of the blessed man, He walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.  5.  The ungodly do obstinately continue in the course of sinning, but the blessed man, if he be overtaken in a sin, doth not defend his sin, nor persist in it:  He standeth not in the way of sinners.  6.  The ungodly may come to that height at length, as to mock godliness, as mere folly, and to scorn admonitions and reproofs:  But the blessed man doth never harden his heart so, as to mock piety in others, or instruction offered to himself, He sitteth not in the seat of the scornful.  7.  The blessed man maketh the word of God in holy Scripture to be his Counselor concerning the remedy of sin and misery, and to be the rule to walk by, till his blessedness be perfected for the Scripture to him, for the obedience of faith, is a Law, and that fenced with supreme authority:  It is the Law of the Lord.  8.  In that measure that a man is godly and blessed, he maketh the word of God, which holdeth forth the way of reconciliation with God through the Messiah, Christ, the way of growing in communion with God through him, the matter of his chief delight, and contentment......
                                                                                                                                            David Dickson

Thursday, April 21, 2016

O holy Saviour! Friend unseen!
The faint, the weak, on thee may lean:
Help me, throughout life's varying scene,
By faith to cling to thee.

Blest with communion so divine,
Take what thou wilt, I'll ne'er repine.
E'en as the branches to the vine
My soul would cling to thee.

Far from her home, fatigued, oppress'd,
Here she has found a place of rest;
An exile still, yet not unblest,
While she can cling to thee.

Without a murmur I dismiss
My former dreams of earthly bliss;
My joy, my consolation this,
Each hour to cling to thee.

What though the world deceitful prove,
And earthly friends and joys remove;
With patient, uncomplaining  love
Still would I cling to thee.

Oft when I seem to tread alone
Some barren waste with thorns  o'ergrown,
A voice of love, in gentlest tone,
Whispers, "Still cling to me."

Though faith and hope awhile be tried,
I ask not, need not aught beside:
How safe, how calm, how satisfied,
The souls that cling to thee!

They fear not life's rough storms to brave,
Since thou art near, and strong to save;
Nor shudder e'en at death's dark wave;
Because they cling to thee.

Blest is my lot, whate'er befall:
What can disturb me, who appal,
While, as my strength, my rock, my all,
Saviour!  I cling to thee?
                     Charlotte Elliott

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities  Psalms 31:7

     One day a person who, by the calamities of war, sickness, and other affliction, had been reduced from a state of affluence to penury, came to Gotthold in great distress.  He complained that he had just met one of his former acquaintances, who was even not distantly related to him, but that he had not condescended to bow, far less to speak to him, and had turned his eyes away, and passed him as if he had been a stranger.  O sir, he exclaimed with a sigh, how it pained me!  I felt as if a dagger had pierced my heart! 
     Gotthold replied, Don’t think it strange at all.  It is the way of the world to look high, and to pass unnoticed that which is humble and lowly.  I know, however, of One who, though he dwelleth on high, humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth (Ps. 113:5-6), and of whom the royal prophet testifies:  “Thou hast known my soul in adversities.”
     Yes; though we have lost our rich attire, and come to him in rags; though our forms be wasted because of grief, and waxed old (Ps. 6:7, Luth. Ver.); though sickness and sorrow have consumed our beauty like a moth (Ps. 39:11); though blushes, and tears, and dust, overspread our face (Ps. 69:7), he still recognizes, and is not ashamed to own us.  Comfort yourself with this, for what harm will it do you at last, though men disown, if God the Lord have not forgotten you?
                                                                                                                                      Christian Scriver

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Saviour divine! we know thy name,
And in that name we trust;
Thou art the Lord our righteousness,
Thou art thine Israel's boast.

Guilty we plead before thy throne,
And low in dust we lie,
Till Jesus stretch his gracious arm
To bring the guilty nigh.

The sins of one most righteous day
Might plunge us in despair;
Yet all the crimes of numerous years
Shall our great Surety clear.

That spotless robe, which he hath wrought,
Shall deck us all around;
Nor by the piercing eye of God
One blemish shall be found.

Pardon, and peace, and lively hope,
To sinners now are given;
Israel and Judah soon shall change
Their wilderness for heaven.

With joy we taste that manna now,
Thy mercy scatters down:
We seal our humble vows to thee,
And wait the promis'd crown.
                     Dr. Doddridge

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  1 Cor 1:30

....."How shall man be just with God?"  And who can estimate the sublime importance of this enquiry.  Time, fleeting, changing, dying time, cannot comprehend its import.  The unfathomable depths of eternity alone can reveal it.  Dear reader, when a hundred years have passed away, of what consequence will those things be to you, on which you are expending the ardor and earnestness of your being now?  It will be of no interest to you then, that you were the owner of millions, or wore the diadem of a king, or drained every cup of pleasure or of love.  But it will be of immense, of never-ceasing interest to you, to be made just and holy in the sight of God; to have the stain of sin purged out of your soul; to be redeemed from the anathema of a holy and inexorable law, and admitted to walk in white in the radiant palaces of God.  Christ, thus as the righteousness of man; Christ, the justifier of the sinner, is worthy of the instant, earnest, all absorbing attention of every creature of God, to whom he has been revealed.
                                                                                                                                    E. P. Rogers, D.D.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

     It is the prayer of Hezekiah in his trouble, "O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me" (Isa. 38:14); it is the prayer of Job for a "daysman" to stand between him and God (Job 9:33); it is the cry of the church before the Incarnation for the appearance of a Divine Mediator; it is the confidence of every faithful soul since that blessed time in the perpetual intercession of our great High Priest in heaven, which is to us the pledge of future blessedness.
                                                                                           Agellius and Cocceius, in Neale and Littledale


     What David prays to God to be for him, that Christ is for all his people:  Heb. 7:22.  He drew nigh to God, struck hands with him, gave his word and bond to pay the debts of his people; put himself in their law-place and stead, and became responsible to law and justice for them; engaged to make satisfaction for their sins, to bring in everlasting righteousness for their justification, and to preserve and keep them, and bring them safe to eternal glory and happiness; and this was being a surety for them for good.
                                                                                                                                       John Gill

Monday, April 18, 2016

Be surety for thy servant for good.....Psalms 119:122

     The keen eye of the world may possibly not be able to affix any blot upon my outward profession; but, "if thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities; O Lord, who shall stand?"  The debt is continually accumulating, and the prospect of payment as distant as ever.  I might well expect to be "left to my oppressors," until I should pay all that was due unto my Lord.  But behold!  "Where is the fury of the oppressor?" Isa. 51:13.  The surety is found the debt is paid the ransom is accepted the sinner is free.  There was a voice heard in heaven-“Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom," Job 33:24.  The Son of God himself became "Surety for a stranger," and "smarted for it," Prov. 11:15.  At an infinite cost--the cost of his own precious blood--he delivered me from "mine oppressors"--sin--Satan--the world--death--hell.
                                                                                                                                           Charles Bridges

Sunday, April 17, 2016

.....For Adam, with all the innumerable advantages he had, that is, all helps necessary in himself; and no opposition or difficulty from himself to conflict with, utterly broke the original covenant.  But believers who have very little strength in themselves, and have a powerful inbred opposition to their stability, are yet secured in their station by the interposition of their divine sponsor.  Farther:  we need a surety, because in the state and condition of sin we are not capable of immediate dealing or covenanting with God.  It could not be on account of God's holiness and glorious greatness, that there should be any new covenant at all between God and sinners, without the interposition of a surety.  Nor did it become the infinite wisdom of God, after man had broken and disannulled the covenant made with him in innocency, to enter into a new covenant with him in his fallen condition, without an immediate undertaker, that it should be assuredly kept and the ends of it attained.  If you have lent a man a thousand pounds upon his own security, when, his circumstances were good, and he hath not only failed in his payment, but contracted other debts innumerable, will you lend him ten thousand pounds on the same security, expecting to receive it again?  Wherefore, God knowing our inability, laid help upon one that is mighty, he exalted one chosen from among the people.  (Psalms 89:19.)  He committed this work to Jesus Christ, and then said concerning us, 'now deliver them, for I have found a ransom.'......
                                                                                                                                   John Owen, D. D.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

     God has made a covenant with his people, has given him-self for their portion, his Son for their price, his Spirit for their guide in the way, his earth for their accommodation by the way, his angels for their guard, the powers of darkness and death for their spoils, everlasting glory for their crown.  And because their way is difficult and their work is contrary to them, he has given them all that grace which is necessary to bring them to glory.  In general, a new heart, in all things suited to their way, and thoroughly furnished for every good work.  In particular, knowledge to guide, oneness to fix and intend, tenderness to submit to and yield, love to constrain and bring on, fear to fence and hold in, obedience to perform and bring forth....
....."But will the Lord indeed do all these things for mortals?  Will he take notice of worms?  Shall such dry bones live?  Will he set such vile dust as the apple of his eye?  Is not this too good to be true, too great to be believed? that I were sure the one half were as it hath been told me!"  Too great to be believed!  As if it must be questioned whether the sun be light because it dazzles our eyes.  But what certainty would you have?  Is all this too great for the great and Almighty God to do, who hath said, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isa. 55:9.  Can he not do it, who can do all things?  Will he not do it, when he hath said he will?  Will the Lord mock?  Can God deceive?  Shall his word, yea, and his oath too, those two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, can these fail?  If you should hear the Lord himself speaking to you from heaven with audible voice, My covenant I make with thee, and it is my intent and purpose to perform every word that is written in it, according to the plain import and meaning thereof; there shall not a tittle fail, neither will I alter the thing that is gone forth of my lips.  Heaven and earth shall fail, but my word shall not fail; trust to it, trust everlasting truth, trust to everlasting strength.  Fear not, for there shall not fail one word of all that I have spoken by all the prophets.                                                          
     If you should hear the Lord speaking thus to you from heaven, what would you say? would not this satisfy you?  Why, search the Scriptures, that "more sure word of prophecy." 2 Pet. 1:19.  Read them diligently, understand what thou read-est, and then say if thou dost not there find the Lord speaking fully to thee.....
                                                                                                                                         Richard Alleine

Friday, April 15, 2016

    O Thou who didst thy glory leave
    Apostate sinners to retrieve
    From nature's deadly fall;
    Me thou hast purchased with a price,
    Nor shall my crimes in judgment rise,
    For thou hast borne them all.

    Jesus was punished in my stead,
    Without the gate my Surety bled,
    To expiate my stain;
    On earth the Godhead deign'd to dwell,
    And made of infinite avail,
    The suffr'ings of the man.

    And was he for his rebels giv'n?
    He was:  th' incarnate King of heav'n
    Did for his foes expire;
    Amaz'd, O earth, the tidings hear
    He bore, that we might never bear,
    His Father's righteous ire.

    Ye saints, the man of sorrows bless,
    The God for your unrighteousness
    Deputed to atone:
    Praise him till, with the heav'nly throng,
    Ye sing the never-ending song,
    And see him on his throne.
                                                 Augustus Toplady


         He gave me back the bond;
         It was a heavy debt;
         And as he gave he smiled and said,
         “Thou wilt not me forget.”

         He gave me back the bond;
         The seal was torn away;
         And as he gave he smiled and said,
         “Think thou of me alway.”

         That bond I still will keep,
         Although it canceled be,
         It tells me of the love of him
         Who paid the debt for me.

         I look on it and smile;
         I look again and weep;
         That record of his love for me
         I will for ever keep.

         It is a bond no more;
         But it shall ever tell
         All that I owed was fully paid
         By my Immanuel.
                                                                           Charles Stanley

Thursday, April 14, 2016

    "Lord, I am Thine, I rest my soul on Thee,
        Lord, I am Thine;
    Thy precious blood was shed on Calvary
        To make me Thine:
    My scarlet sins have met a crimson tide,
    And I am pardoned, saved, and satisfied.

    Lord, I am Thine, what love unfathomed this,
        That I am Thine!
    A sinner, tasting some of heaven's bliss,
        What love divine!
    O deeps of love, God's mighty, unshored sea,
    Love full, love vast, as God's eternity!

    Yes, I am Thine, my home with Thee above,
        Thine, ever Thine,
    The precious purchase of redeeming love,
        Love deep, divine,
    A love surpassing measure or degree,
    That gives the sinner such a place with Thee.

    Lord, I am Thine, to gratify the heart
        That made me Thine,
    That went through agony and bitter smart,
        To make me shine,
    In the fair firmament of sovereign grace
    To share Thy glory, and to see Thy face.

    Lord, I am Thine; I wait the upward call,
        Lord, I am Thine,
    When in Thine image at Thy feet I fall,
        Thine, ever Thine.
    O joyous meeting, when Thy face I see,
    And fully know the Love that loveth me!
                                                   S. T. Francis


    Now I have found the ground wherein
    Sure my soul's anchor may remain;
    The wounds of Jesus, for my sin
    Before the world's foundation slain;
    Whose mercy shall unshaken stay
    When heaven and earth are fled away.

    Father, Thine everlasting grace
    Our scanty thought surpasses far;
    Thy heart still melts with tenderness;
    Thine arms of love still open are,
    Returning sinners to receive,
    That mercy they may taste and live.

    Love, Thou bottomless abyss!
    My sins are swallowed up in Thee:
    Covered is my unrighteousness,
    Nor spot of guilt remains on me:
    While Jesus' blood, through earth and skies,
    Mercy, free boundless mercy! cries.

    With faith I plunge me in this sea;
    Here is my hope, my joy, my rest;
    Hither, when hell assails, I flee,
    I look into my Saviour's breast:
    Away, sad doubt, and anxious fear!
    Mercy is all that's written there.

    Though waves and storms go o'er my head;
    Though strength, and health, and friends be gone;
    Though joys be withered all and dead;
    Though every comfort be withdrawn;
    On this my steadfast soul relies,
    Father! Thy mercy never dies.

    Fixed on this ground will I remain,
    Though my heart fail and flesh decay;
    This anchor shall my soul sustain,
    When earth's foundations melt away:
    Mercy's full power I then shall prove,
    Loved with an everlasting love.
                    J. A. Rothe, translated by J. Wesley 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

     Christ the Surety, and broken man the Debtor, are one in law, but not intrinsically one..... they are legally one, or in the law's sense one; because by a legal substitution and surrogation, Christ having put his name in the believers bond, by the law he is in his place, and the believer is put in Christ's law place:  so that by a legal act the Surety is the broken man; therefore Christ being made Surety, saith, I am the broken man; all my friends Debts be upon me, my life for their life, my Soul for their Souls, Gal. 4:4, 5, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."  John 18:8, "Jesus answered, I have told you I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way."  Gen. 44:33, "Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad, a bond-man to my Lord, and let the lad go up with, his brethren."  And God commands the wakened ups sword of Justice, to smite him for his brethren, since he will stand in their room, and take their Debt upon him, Zech. 13:7, "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd."  The Surety and the Debtor are not intrinsically, physically and formally one (though they be one in law; so that there is not two Debts, nor two Bonds, nor two Debtors in law); for though the Lord laid on Christ the punishment of our iniquity, yet he did not lay on Christ iniquity itself.....
.....neither the Creditor nor the Law can exact satisfaction from both the Surety and the Debtor; but the Surety having paid all, and satisfied; the broken Debtor can say, I have paid all, I am free:  he may plead, My friend and Surety hath done all for me; and that is as good in foro in the court of Justice, as if I had paid all in mine own person, Gal. 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."  Romans 4:25, "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."  1 Peter 2:24, "Who his own seIf bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."  The Debt that Christ paid, is our very Debt; and the believer can say, When Christ my Surety was judged and crucified for my sins, then was I judged:  and what would you have more of a man, than his life?  Isaiah 53:6, 7, 8, "And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he was taken from prison, and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken."....
     All Christ's offices are founded upon his Suretyship:  for by that Covenant of Suretyship that is betwixt Jehovah and the Son, he is King, Priest, and Prophet:  whatsoever he did by office, and by compact and agreement with God; he did because he had put his name in our bond, having become Surety for his people.  As a King he suffers for his subjects and saves them, because he was engaged to do so; as a Priest he dies for them, because by his Suretyship he was engaged to bear their punishment; he performs also a Prophet's office towards them, because he was engaged to God to do so, etc., John 17:4, 6, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world.".....
                                                                                                                                  Patrick Gillespie

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

     There is a well-known story told of Napoleon the First's time.  In one of the conscriptions, during one of his many wars, a man was balloted as a conscript who did not want to go, but he had a friend who offered to go in his place.  His friend joined the regiment in his name, and was sent off to the war.  By and by a battle came on, in which he was killed, and they buried him on the battlefield.  Some time after the Emperor wanted more men, and by some mistake the first man was balloted a second time.  They went to take him but he remonstrated.
     "You cannot take me."
     "Why not?"
     "I am dead," was the reply.
     "You are not dead; you are alive and well."
     "But I am dead," he said.
     "Why, man, you must be mad.  Where did you die?"
     "At such a battle, and you left me buried on such a battle-field."      
     "You talk like a madman," they cried; but the man stuck to his point that he had been dead and buried some months.
     "You look up your books," he said, "and see if it is not so."  They looked, and found that he was right. They found the man's name entered as drafted, sent to the war, and marked off as killed. 
     "Look here," they said, "you didn't die; you must have got some one to go for you; it must have been your substitute."
     "I know that," he said; "he died in my stead.  You cannot touch me:  I died in that man, and I go free.  The law has no claim against me."
     They would not recognize the doctrine of substitution, and the case was carried to the Emperor.  But he said that the man was right, that he was dead and buried in the eyes of the law, and that France had no claim against him.
      This story may or may not be true, but one thing I know is true; Jesus Christ suffered death for the sinner, and those who accept Him are free from the law.
                                                                                                                            D. L. Moody

Monday, April 11, 2016

        From whence this Fear and Unbelief?
        Hath not the Father put to Grief
        His spotless Son for me?
        And will the righteous Judge of Men,
        Condemn me for that Debt of Sin,
        Which, Lord, was charg'd on Thee?

        Complete Atonement Thou hast made,
        And to the utmost Farthing paid
        Whate'er thy People ow'd
        Nor can his Wrath on me take place,
        If shelter’d in thy Righteousness,
        And sprinkled with thy Blood.

        If Thou hast my Discharge procur'd,
        And freely in my Room endur’d
        The whole of Wrath Divine:
        Payment God cannot twice demand,
        First at my bleeding Surety's hand,
        And then again at mine.

        If Thou for me hast purchas’d Faith,
        By thy Obedience unto Death,
        He will the Grace bestow:
        Would Israel's God a Price receive,
        And not the purchas'd blessing give?
        His Justice answers, No!

        Turn then, my Soul, unto thy Rest;
        The Merits of thy great High Priest
        Have bought thy Liberty:
        Trust in his efficacious Blood;
        Nor fear thy Banishment from God,
        Since Jesus died for thee.
                                                    Augustus Toplady

Sunday, April 10, 2016

    Yonder—amazing sight!—I see
    Th' incarnate Son of God,
    Expiring on the accursed tree,
    And welt'ring in his blood.

    Behold a purple torrent run
    Down from his hands and head:
    The crimson tide puts out the sun;
    His groans awake the dead.

    The trembling earth, the darken'd sky
    Proclaim the truth aloud;
    And, with the amaz'd centurion, cry,
    'This is the son of God!'

    So great, so vast a sacrifice,
    May well my hope revive:
    If God's own Son thus bleeds and dies,
    The sinner sure may live.

    Oh, that these cords of love divine
    Might draw me, Lord, to thee!
    Thou hast my heart, it shall be thine—
    Thine it shall ever be!
                                                    Dr. S. Stennett

Saturday, April 9, 2016

    'Tis finished!  The Messias dies,
    Cut off for sins, but not his own:
    Accomplished is the sacrifice,
    The great redeeming work is done.

    'Tis finished! all the debt is paid;
    Justice divine is satisfied;
    The grand and full atonement made;
    God for a guilty world hath died.

    The veil is rent in Christ alone;
    The living way to heaven is seen;
    The middle wall is broken down,
    And all mankind may enter in.

    The types and figures are fulfilled;
    Exacted is the legal pain;
    The precious promises are sealed;
    The spotless Lamb of God is slain.

    The reign of sin and death is o'er,
    And all may live from sin set free;
    Satan hath lost his mortal power;
    'Tis swallowed up in victory.

    Saved from the legal curse I am,
    My Saviour hangs on yonder tree:
    See there the meek, expiring Lamb!
    'Tis finished! he expires for me.

    Accepted in the Well-beloved,
    And clothed in righteousness divine,
    I see the bar to heaven removed;
    And all thy merits, Lord, are mine.

    Death, hell, and sin are now subdued;
    All grace is now to sinners given;
    And lo, I plead the atoning blood,
    And in thy right I claim thy heaven!
                                                       Charles Wesley

.....When our divines say, Christ took our place, and we have his condition; Christ was made us, and made the sinner; it is true only in a legal sense: as we say, the advocate is the client, or the guilty man, because the advocate beareth his name and person; and what the accused man could in law say before the judge, in his own defense, that the advocate saith for him.  The advocate saith, 'I cannot in law die for this crime, for such reasons.'  So the surety in law, or in a legal substitution, is the broken man.  The surety saith, 'The debt is mine, all the wants, all the poverty, all the debts and burdens of my broken friend be on me;'—and the rich surety having paid all, can say, 'I have paid all; I am in law free.'  My friend and surety hath done all, and paid all for me; and that is as good, in the court of justice, as if I had paid in my own person all.  For the truth is, there be not two debts, and two bonds, and two sums, nor two debtors; the broken man and the surety are in law but one person, one party addebted—which of them pay, it is all one to law and justice:  it is all one sum they owe.  The believer in Christ is put in Christ's law-place, and Christ by law is put in his place.  Christ, made surety, saith, 'I am the sinner, O Justice, all my broken friends' wants, all their debts be upon me; my life for their life, my soul for my brethren's souls, my glory, my heaven, for my kinsmen's glory and heaven.'  The law's bloody bond, was the curse of God upon the sinner, upon the debtor:  Christ changed bonds and obligations with us, and putteth out our name, and putteth in his own name in the bloody bond; and where the law readeth, 'the curse of God upon the debtor,' Christ is assigned to this bond, and the gospel readeth it, 'the curse of God upon the rich surety.' (Gal. 3:13.)  Hear then the boldness of faith:   "Now, then, there is no condemnation to those that are in Jesus Christ."  What challenges Satan or conscience can make against the believer (for justice being put to silence by Christ, maketh none) hear an answer:  'I was condemned.  I was judged.  I was crucified for sin, when my surety, Christ, was condemned, judged, and crucified for my sins; and what would you have more of a man than his life?  It was a man's life and soul, my life, that my surety offered up to God for sin, and I have paid all, because my surety hath paid all.'  And the truth is, it is not two debts, one that the believer owes to God's justice, and another that Christ paid; but the debt that Christ paid is our very debt, and sins, which he did bear on his own body the tree, (1 Pet. 2:24)..... 
                                                                                                                                   Samuel Rutherford

Friday, April 8, 2016

     There are sometimes rare and beautiful wares brought into the market that are invoiced at almost fabulous rates.  Ignorant people wonder why they are priced so high.  The simple reason is that they cost so much to procure.  That luxurious article labeled 200 pounds was procured by the adventurous hunter, who, at the hazard of his neck, brought down the wild mountain goat, out of whose glossy hair the fabric was wrought.  Yonder pearl that flashes on the brow of the bride is precious, because it was rescued from the great deep at the risk of the pearl-fisher's life, as he was lifted into the boat half dead, with the blood gushing from his nostrils.  Yonder ermine, flung so carelessly over the proud beauty's shoulder, cost terrible battles with polar ice and hurricane.  All choicest things are reckoned the dearest.  So is it, too, in heaven's inventories.  The universe of God has never witnessed aught to be reckoned in comparison with the redemption of a guilty world.  That mighty ransom no such contemptible things as silver and gold could procure.  Only by one price could the Church of God be redeemed from hell, and that the precious blood of the Lamb—the Lamb without blemish or spot—the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
                                                                                                                                                  T. Cuyler

Thursday, April 7, 2016 will be well for us to have a definite idea of the meaning of the word justification.  This is a forensic term, and it means the pronouncing a person free from any liability to the penalty of law.  It is just the opposite of condemnation, and is thus used in many places in the Word of God.  It is not pardon.  Pardon is the remission of a penalty which has been justly incurred, and is an exercise of mercy toward a proved and acknowledged offender.  It implies guilt, or liability to the penalty of a law broken.  Justification, on the other hand, implies no such liability, and pronounces the person free from any rightful exposure to punishment.  If a man is charged with a crime, and the evidence does not substantiate the charge, the verdict of acquittal justifies the man, and declares him free from any liability to penal suffering.  If, on the contrary, he is proved guilty of the crime charged, and sentenced, and afterwards pardoned, the act of pardon does not justify him—does not say that he did not deserve punishment; but simply, in the exercise of mercy, remits the penalty which was confessedly deserved.  Now the necessity of a man's justification, who is charged with a crime before a tribunal, either of law or of public opinion, lies in the fact that he is under law, and is charged with being a violator of law.  And in order to his justification, he must show, either that the law alleged to have been violated by him, did not apply to him, or that he did not violate it in any particular.  A man might plead, if arraigned for a violation of laws intended to apply only to aliens, that he was a citizen, and that the law in question had no claims upon him, and therefore, while he acknowledged having committed the act charged, justified himself by the plea that the law had no jurisdiction over him, which would be a valid plea.  But if he were charged with a breach of law which did apply to him, then his only method of justification would be, to prove his entire innocence of the act charged upon him.  If successful in this, his justification is complete.  But unless he can establish his innocence perfectly, he cannot be justified.  All law demands perfect obedience.  It is in its nature immutable and inexorable.  It admits of no compromise.  It simply and sternly issues its mandates, and says:  Obey and thou shalt be justified.  Disobey, but once, and thou shalt be condemned.
.....There is clearly, then, no ground whatever in man's case for legal justification before God.  The only methods by which such justification can be secured by law, are impossible in his case.  He cannot plead exemption from the law, nor innocence of its violation.  His penitential tears cannot wash out the record of sin and condemnation, neither can obedience to come, atone for past rebellion.  He is condemned to suffer the dreadful penalty, justly condemned; and, so far as he is concerned, hopelessly condemned.  But is there no way by which man may be rescued from this fearful position?  If he cannot justify himself; if he cannot meet his liabilities to the law of God, and satisfy the claims of justice, cannot some one be found, in the wide universe of God, possessing the ability and the willingness to ransom him from the grasp of the law, by doing that for him which he cannot do for himself, so that the law may be satisfied, and the eternal barrier which it interposes to the exercise of mercy, be forever removed?  Ah! this is the great question, which never could have been answered, but by the Gospel of the Son of God.  Go ask of nature, how can man be just with God, and listen for a reply.  The moaning wind may pour its sad dirges around his dwelling, but there is no hope—no cheering in its melancholy music.  The earthquake's shock—the ocean storm—the tornado's blast—the lightning's fiery flood—the crashing avalanche—the black forest—the dreary desert, of what do all these speak, but of wrath, and malediction, and blighting, and death?  Go ask the angels, How can man be just with God, and they will point you to those vacant thrones, and voiceless harps, which were once tilled and tuned by their fallen companions; and what say these, but, "The soul that sinneth it shall die."  Roam through all the universe of God; tell of the pitiable state of man—his guilt—his danger, and with a trumpet blast, whose voice shall sweep around the outskirts of interminable space, ask, "Is there no hope for man?" and the slow and sullen echo shall come back and strike in dismal accents on your ear, "No hope for man."
     Turn we then to that fuller and sublime revelation which is made in the Gospel, and the momentous inquiry, "How shall man be just with God?" finds at once an answer.  Christ Jesus is made of God, unto us righteousness.  This is what man needs—a justifying righteousness, and this is afforded him only by Christ.    
     To understand fully this important subject, theologians are accustomed to use illustrations drawn from human law.  When law has demands against an individual, the principle of justice is violated, if those demands are not complied with by him, or for him.  And if the satisfaction be rendered by another, it must be the same in kind and in degree which it was incumbent on the man himself to render.  No man can be a surety for another, who has not the ability to meet the demands which the law has against his principal.  I owe ten thousand dollars.  I am not able to pay.  The law lays its strong arm upon me, threatens to tear me from my home and family, and shut me up forever in a dreary prison.  That money must be paid by me, or it must be paid for me, or I must go to prison.  There is no hardship here.  The law is not in fault.  It is necessary for the protection and well-being of society, that the law of debt should be stringent, and rigidly enforced.  I cannot pay the debt.  My sorrow will not pay it.  My abstaining from contracting debt in future will not pay it.  Ten thousand dollars must be paid by me, or for me, or I am ruined.  I try to find a friend who will pay this sum for me.  I go to my father, and implore him to save me from a dungeon.  With tears of parental fondness in his eyes, he exclaims, alas! my son, I have not a tenth of that sum.  Take all I have, but it will not avail.  Here is willingness, but not ability.  I go to my neighbor with my sad tale.  He tells me, "I owe the same amount and I cannot pay my own debts, and if I had the means I would not pay yours."  Here is neither willingness or ability.  I make one more effort.  I go to a wealthy individual and ask his aid.  He has the money, but he harshly rebukes me for my imprudence or extravagance, and tells me that I deserve to suffer.  Here is ability without inclination, and I have as yet found no deliverer.  At last I find a generous friend, who owes nothing himself, is fully able to advance the requisite amount, and entirely willing to make the sacrifice.  Now I can be free from the grasp of the law; not that I am able to satisfy its demands, but I have found a surety whom my creditor accepts, and who places himself in my stead, assumes my obligation, discharges the claim, and sets me free.  But though free, I amn ot independent of the law in future.  It is still to be my rule of life; and gratitude to my benefactor, who honored the law in my stead, will give it fresh claims upon my future regard.
     With this familiar illustration, let us turn to our relations to the law of God.  What are the things the law requires at our hands?  They are two:  suffering for disobedience, for we have already incurred the penalty, and perfect obedience, in order to secure the promised reward.  But we cannot answer this double demand of the law.  We might endure the penalty, but this could not take the place of obedience, and secure for us a title to the reward which is promised to those who have never sinned.  Penal suffering can never be meritorious suffering.  Transgression not only exposes us to suffering, but forever vitiates all claim to reward.  Therefore, in order that we may be justified, we must find one who can save us from the penalty, by enduring it in our stead, and can purchase for us the reward, by a perfect obedience, which may be placed to our account.  And not only so, but we must find one who will be willing as well as able, in the sense of adequate merit, and who will have the right to become our surety to the law of God.  Now search the universe, and where but in Christ, will such a being be found.  Man cannot be the surety for his fellow, for he owes more than he can pay, and being in the same condemnation, is utterly powerless as a surety.  Angels might have the inclination, but they owe as much to God's law as they can pay, and their perfect obedience has no merit in it that can be set over to the account of another.  Gabriel has not a grain of holiness above that which God requires of him, so that he could not intercede for a solitary mortal, on the ground of any merit of his own.  Devils have neither ability or inclination.  No one is left but God, and God in Christ alone is the righteousness, or justification of the sinner.  He has perfect ability and entire liberty, and complete willingness to satisfy the demand of the law.....
     Christ, then, by his perfect obedience, and his endurance of the penalty of the law, satisfies the justice of God, and furnishes a ground of justification for man, and thus becomes his righteousness.  God can now be just, and yet justify the sinner who believes in Christ, and chooses him as his surety. The perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to him, just as his sin was imputed to Christ; and on account of this righteousness, thus passed to his credit, to use a commercial term, he is regarded as free from his liability to punishment; and while he is not exonerated from obligation to obey the law, is forever released from its terrible condemnation. 
     This imputation of the righteousness of Christ, does not imply the transfer of his personal acts to us, so that they become ours, or of his moral character to us, which is impossible in the nature of things.  It is simply a change in our relations to the law.  Our liability to punishment is taken away, by the obedience and suffering of our surety in our stead; and though we were sinners, justly exposed to condemnation, yet for the sake of what Christ has done, we are considered and treated as if we were righteous, just as Christ, though sinless himself was, for our sake, considered and treated as if he were a sinner.  The whole doctrine is contained in this passage:  "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Cor. 5:21.
     There is yet one more element in the plan of justification through the merits of Christ, which is essential to the completeness of the scheme.  It is the mode by which this righteousness of Christ becomes available for each individual who is saved.  This mode is by faith.  "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1).  "The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17).  What then is the relation of faith to justification?  It is not the ground, that is the obedience and sufferings of Christ.  It is not the condition, in the sense of a meritorious consideration, on which salvation is suspended.  But it is the instrument of our justification.  A man is starving for want of food.  A supply is furnished and offered.  He reaches out his hand, takes the food, eats and lives.  What is faith here?  It is not the providing the food.  That is the fruit of benevolence on the part of him who provides.  It is not the food itself.  It is not the relief consequent upon the repast.  It is the hand which is extended to take the food graciously provided, freely offered; and when taken, the means of life and comfort.  In vain the love which provided the food; in vain the price it cost; in vain its offer, unless the hand of the starving man is extended to receive it.  Faith is the instrument of justification, the hand which seizes the bread of life, the manna in the wilderness of sin, provided by a benevolent God, and purchased by the tears, the agonies, and the blood of his own dear Son.  Without such a faith, salvation is impossible.  Christ's death is unavailing for your justification, dear reader, except you believe.  He never died for you, if you have no faith in him.  And call not your mere intellectual assent to his history, evangelical faith.  You may go down to hell with such a faith in lively exercise.  Yours must be the desperate grasp of the starving man at the food which can save his life—the death gripe of the drowning wretch, at the rope which can save him from destruction.
                                                                                                                                E. P. Rogers, D. D.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

       Art thou weary, sad, and lonely,
       All thy summer past?
       One remaineth, and One only—
       Hear His voice at last.

       Open to Me, My beloved,
       I have waited long,
       Till the night fell on the glory,
       Silence on the song.

       Soul, for thee I left My glory,
       Bore the curse of God—
       Wept for thee with bitterest weeping,
       Agony and blood.

       Soul, for thee I died dishonoured
       As a felon dies;
       For thou wert the pearl all priceless
       In thy Saviour's eyes.

       Soul, for thee I rose victorious,
       Glad that thou art free;
       Entered heaven in triumph glorious,
       Heaven I won for thee.

       Sorrow, sin, and desolation,
       These thy claim to Me:
       Love that won thee full salvation,
       This My claim to thee.

       Soul, I knock, I stand beseeching,
       Turn Me not away;
       Heart that craves thee, love that needs thee,
       Wilt thou say Me nay?
                                               G. Tersteegen

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

         Man of Sorrows!—what a name
         For the Son of God, who came
         Ruined sinners to reclaim!
         Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

         Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
         In my place condemned He stood;
         Sealed my pardon with His blood:
         Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

         Guilty, vile, and helpless, we;
         Spotless Lamb of God was He:
         Full atonement!—can it be?
         Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

         Lifted up was He to die,
         It is finished! was His cry;
         Now in heaven exalted high:
         Hallelujah! what a Saviour!

         When He comes, our glorious King,
         All His ransomed home to bring,
         Then anew this song we'll sing—
         Hallelujah! what a Saviour!
                                     P. P. Bliss

Monday, April 4, 2016

Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.  Job 9:33

     There is an old quarrel between the thrice Holy God and His sinful subjects, the sons of Adam.  Man has sinned; he has broken God's law in every part of it, and has wantonly cast off from him the allegiance which is due to his Maker and his King.  There is a suit against man, which was formally instituted at Sinai and must be pleaded in Court before the Judge of quick and dead.  God is the great plaintiff against his sinful creatures, who are the defendants.  If that suit be carried into Court, it must go against the sinner.  There is no hope whatever that at the last tremendous day any sinner will be able to stand in judgment if he shall leave the matter of his debts and obligations towards his God unsettled until that dreadful hour.....But the infinite grace of God proposes an arbitration, and I trust you are not anxious to have your suit carried into court, but are willing that the appointed Daysman should stand betwixt you and God and lay his hand upon both and propose and carry out a plan of reconciliation.....There is a way by which thy debts may yet be paid; that way is a blessed arbitration in which Jesus Christ shall stand as the daysman.
.....God has accepted Christ Jesus to be His umpire in His dispute.   He appointed Him to the office, and chose Him for it before He laid the foundations of the world.  He is God's fellow, equal with the Most High, and can put His hand upon the Eternal Father without fear, because He is dearly beloved of that Father's heart.  He is "very God of very God," and is in no respect inferior to "God over all, blessed for ever."  But He is also a man like thyself, sinner.  He once suffered, hungered, thirsted, and knew the meaning of poverty and pain.  Nay, He went farther, He was tempted as thou hast been, and farther still, He suffered the pangs of death, as thou poor mortal man wilt one day have to do.  Now, what thinkest thou?  God has accepted Him; canst thou agree with God in this matter, and agree to take Christ to be thy daysman too?  Does foolish enmity possess thee, or does grace reign and lead thee to accept Emmanuel, God with us, as umpire in this great dispute?....Sinner, has divine grace brought thee to thy senses?  Wilt thou accept Christ now?  Art thou willing that He should take this case into His hands and arbitrate between thee and God?  For if God accepteth Him, and thou accept Him too, then He has one of the first qualifications for being a Daysman.
     But, in the next place, both parties must be fully agreed to leave the case entirely in the arbitrator's hands.....Now God has committed "all power" into the hands of his Son.  Jesus Christ is the plenipotentiary of God, and has been invested with full ambassadorial powers.  He comes commissioned by his Father, and He can say in all that He does towards sinners, that His Father's heart is with Him.  If the case be settled by him, the Father is agreed.
     Now, sinner, does grace move thy heart to do the same?  Wilt thou agree to put thy case into the hands of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man?  Wilt thou abide by His decision?  Wilt thou have it settled according to His judgment, and shall the verdict which He gives stand absolute and fast with thee?  If so, then Christ has another essential of an arbitrator; but if not, remember, though He may make peace for others, He will never make peace for thee; for this know, that until the grace of God has made thee willing to trust the case in Jesus' hands, there can be no peace for thee, and thou art wilfully remaining God's enemy by refusing to accept His dear Son.
     Further, let us say, that to make a good arbitrator, or umpire, it is essential that he be a fit person.  If the case were between a king and a beggar, it would not seem exactly right that another king should be the arbitrator, or another beggar; but if there could be found a person who combined the two, who was both prince and beggar, then such a man could be selected by both.  Our Lord Jesus Christ precisely meets the case.  There is a very great disparity between the plaintiff and the defendant, for how great is the gulf which exists between the eternal God and the poor fallen man!  How is this to be bridged?  Why, by none except by one who is God and who at the same time can become man.  Now the only being who can do this is Jesus Christ.....
     Yet there is one more essential of an umpire, and that is, that he should be a person desirous to bring the case to a happy settlement.....In the great case which is pending between God and the sinner, the Lord Jesus Christ has a sincere anxiety both for his Father's glory and for the sinner's welfare, and that there should be peace between the two contending parties.  It is the life and aim of Jesus Christ to make peace.  He delighteth not in the death of sinners, and He knows no joy greater than that of receiving prodigals to His bosom, and of bringing lost sheep back again to the fold.....
     Thou seest then, sinner, how the case is.  God has evidently chosen the most fitting arbitrator.  That arbitrator is willing to undertake the case, and thou mayest well repose all confidence in Him.  But if thou shalt live and die without accepting Him as thine arbitrator, then, the case going against thee, thou wilt have none to blame but thyself.  When the everlasting damages shall be assessed against thee in thy soul and body forever, thou shalt have to curse only thine own folly for having been the cause of thy ruin.
                                                                                                                                   C. H. Spurgeon

Sunday, April 3, 2016

     Christ sacrificed not goats, nor calves, nor birds; not bread, nor blood, nor flesh, as did Aaron and his descendants.  He offered his own body and blood, and the manner of the  sacrifice was spiritual, for it was offered through the Holy Spirit.  Though the body and blood of Christ were visible like any other material object, the fact that he offered them as a sacrifice was not apparent.  It was not a visible sacrifice as in the case of those offered at the hands of Aaron.  Christ offered himself in heart before God.  His sacrifice was perceptible to no mortal.  Therefore, his bodily flesh and blood became a spiritual sacrifice.
     In the new order, the tabernacle or house is spiritual; for it is heaven, or the presence of God.  Christ hung upon a cross; he was not offered in a temple.  He was offered before the eyes of God, and there he still abides.  The cross is an altar in a spiritual sense.  The material cross was indeed visible, but none knew it as Christ's altar.  His prayer, his sprinkled blood, were all spiritual, for it was all wrought through his spirit.
     The fruit and blessing of his office and sacrifice, the forgiveness of sins and our justification, are likewise spiritual.  In the Old Covenant, the priest with his sacrifices and sprinklings of blood effected merely an external absolution, or pardon.  It rendered no one inwardly holy and just before God.  Something more than that was necessary to secure real forgiveness.  With the priesthood of Christ there is true spiritual remission, sanctification and absolution.  These avail before God, whether we be outwardly excommunicated or not. Christ's blood has obtained for us pardon forever acceptable to God.  He will forgive us our sins for the sake of that blood as long as its power shall last and its intercession for grace in our behalf shall continue, which is forever.
                                                                                                                                          Martin Luther

Saturday, April 2, 2016

    "He saved others" scorners cried,
    Beholding Jesus crucified;
    "Is this the Son of God with power?
    Lo, in His own afflictive hour,
    Himself He cannot save."

    He was the Son of God with power,
    He "came unto that very hour;"
    I'll joy in His reproach and shame,
    "He saved others;" I'll exclaim,
    "Himself He could not save."

    His agony and bloody sweat,
    His cross and passion paid my debt;
    He saved others when He fell,
    Yet,—who the mystery can tell?
    Himself He could not save.

    Love, love unthroned the Son of God;
    Love bruised Him with the Father's rod;
    Love gave, and love reclaim'd His breath;
    He saved others by His death;
    Himself He could not save.

    Were Love and Deity at strife?
    No,—freely He resign'd His life;
    God freely sent Him from above;
    Love is of God, for God is love;
    Himself He could not save.

    Have I hope beyond the grave;
    'Tis this, Himself He could not save;
    Hope full of immortality;
    He saved others, saved me;
    Himself He could not save.
                                                    James Montgomery

Friday, April 1, 2016

     When Rev. Mr. Arnot was pastor of a church in Glasgow he heard of a woman in trouble.  She could not pay her debts and she could not pay her rent; so he went round to her house thinking he would help her.  He knocked at the door twice but no one came.  He knocked the third time very loud but all was still.  After waiting he made a great noise and at last left the house. 
     Some days after he met the woman in the street, and said, "I was at your house the other day.  I heard you were in trouble and went to help you."
     "Was that you?  I was in the house but I thought it was the landlord come for the rent and as I had not got the money I kept the door locked."
     That woman represents the sinner.  A sinner thinks God is coming to demand something.  God comes to give and bless. Jesus comes to pay the debt.
                                                                                                                                          D. L. Moody