Too Old to Be Useful

“Well, it is a pleasant sight to see young people actively engaged in doing good!” said an old lady, as she watched from her parlor window some of her grand-children setting forth on their weekly errands of mercy to the poor and afflicted.

Yes; it was a pleasant sight to look upon these youthful Christians, full of health and energy, devoting their time and their talents to the service of God and the welfare of their fellow-creatures; and yet the old lady sighed as she finished her sentence, and did not seem quite comfortable. Why? Listen to what she is saying now:

“Ah, I was once as busy as any of them. I could take a class in the Sunday-school, and visit the poor, and collect for the missionary society; but now I am forced to be idle and useless. My strength and my senses are gradually forsaking me; and I am but a worn-out and unprofitable servant. But come, I must not complain; I have had my share in these good works in bygone days, and I must be content to lie by now and let others labor; for I am too old to be of any use.”

Was the old lady right? She meant what she said, and she meant well. She was trying to bear with patience and resignation her unavoidable exclusion from the charitable engagements of her young relatives; but old people as well as young sometimes have mistaken ideas; and it is possible that the old lady was not quite so clear upon the subject of Christian usefulness as we should like our readers to be.

It is true that the aged cannot work in God’s vineyard as they used to do before infirmity or ill-health disabled them for active service — but still they are not too old to be useful.

Too old to be useful! Such words are a libel upon their characters — an insult to their capabilities. It cannot be that any Christian is continued upon earth who has not something to do — as well as to suffer for his Master. Look at the closing days of the venerable Eliot, the first missionary to the American Indians. On the day of his death, when in his eightieth year, he was found teaching the alphabet to an Indian child at his bedside. “Why not rest from your labors, now?” said a friend. “Because,” said the venerable man, “I have prayed to God to make me useful in my sphere, and he has heard my prayer; for now that I can no longer preach, he leaves me strength enough to teach this poor child this alphabet.”

Eighty years of age and bed-ridden! Who after this can plead their inability to do good? Who will not rather gather up their remaining time and talents and devote them to God’s service? Like the widow’s mite, your offering may seem poor and small; you are almost ashamed to cast it into the treasury; but bring it without hesitation — nay with gladness. What could give you more? it is your all; and your feeble efforts will meet with kind and gracious acknowledgment from a loving Savior, who said, “She has done what she could!”

Oh, it is so delightful to labor for Christ that the true-hearted Christian would gladly keep on as Eliot did to the last. Rev. John Campbell, of Kingsland, went one morning to attend an early committee meeting of a religious society. On his way up-stairs he found an old friend, remarkable for his devotedness to the cause of Christ, leaning on the banister which led to the room, and unable to proceed from a difficulty of breathing.

“What! are you here, Mr. T? How could you venture in your state of health? You have attended our meetings for a long time, and you should now leave the work for younger men.”

His friend looked up with a cheerful smile, and replied, with characteristic energy, “Oh, Johnny, Johnny, man, it is hard to give up working in the service of such a Master.”

How cheering then is the thought that the aged have still opportunities of usefulness afforded them! Suppose we remind our readers of a few ways in which they have it in their power to benefit others.

Well, some of you, perhaps, who cannot walk about and visit your neighbors, might send them a little tract and book occasionally. A person dies in your street — a child is born in the next house — a worldly family opposite are in trouble — a gentleman has met with an accident —  — all these, and many others, are occasions when “a little messenger of mercy” might speak “a word in season.” Listen to the following fact:

A man who was keeper of one of the locks on the Grand Junction Canal lived for many years apparently without any religious feelings. He possessed much personal kindness, and had been the means of saving at least twelve people from a watery grave, some of whom had plunged into the stream in seasons of frantic sorrow. In the summer of 1841 poor Matthew met with a severe accident, and was removed to the London Hospital. After he had been there a few days, he received a letter by post — of which the following is a copy — enclosing a tract entitled “Today!”

“You have suffered greatly, my friend; your poor body calls for help and sympathy, and in the hospital you are mercifully attended to, as you could not be at home. How is it with your precious soul? Are you fit to die? Had your sufferings caused instant death, where would your soul have been? Where, my friend? Where? In Heaven — or in Hell? Do think of this inquiry, and read the tract I enclose. Do not neglect this friendly warning — but attend to it while it is yet with you called ‘Today.’ Oh! what a mercy you were spared yet a little longer! May it be for the salvation of your precious soul. The Lord Jesus is able and willing to save all who feel their need of his salvation. Pray, then, afflicted friend, for the Holy Spirit to show you your need of mercy, and of the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse you from your sins, and to obtain your acceptance with God. This tract was written by a gentleman seventy years old. May the Lord make it a blessing to your soul. He is able and willing to save you from going to Hell, and willing to prepare you for the holiness and happiness of Heaven. — Farewell.”

There was no signature to the letter; it bore the “Stroudwater” postmark — but Matthew knew no one residing there. However, the perusal of the letter induced him to read the tract; the Holy Spirit blessed it to his conversion; and he became a consistent Christian. He wished very much that he could find out who had sent him the tract; and a kind friend to whom this interesting fact was mentioned thought that he knew the person from whom it came. He wrote accordingly, and received the following note, which proved that his conjecture was right:

“My dear sir: It was in hours of weakness, and during a long detention from the house of the Lord, that I was directed one Sabbath-day to write the letter to which you refer. It used to be a saying with myself, to myself, on doing any such thing, ‘Well, I have cast one grain more of the good seed of the kingdom into the field of the world — that world which still lies in wickedness,’ I bless the Lord he permitted me to cast in that grain, and I praise him still more that he caused it to germinate and bring forth fruit. Glory be to his holy name, that he has seen fit to glorify the riches of his grace in the salvation of a soul by means in themselves so weak and poor. Several other such grains have been cast into the field of the world. Oh, that it may please the Lord to cause them to be fruitful also!”

Now, reader, let the example of this pious invalid win you in some measure to follow it. It does not, you see, require much money, much talent, much influence, or much strength to be useful. A few kind words written, or a good tract enclosed to an acquaintance or even to a stranger, may be the appointed channel through which God’s grace shall flow into their seals. “Cast your bread upon the waters: for you shall find it after many days.”

Then there is the influence which you may exert over children and young people. Not by fault-finding, or selfish requirements, or sarcastic observations; but by kind words, persuasive advice, and affectionate treatment. Your little grand-children, or your elder nephews and nieces, as they cluster round your cheerful fireside, may drink in many a gentle lesson which shall guide them in after years. If you have not any youthful relatives, you can cultivate the acquaintance of the children of your friends and neighbors. It is a lovely sight to see old age and youth sweetly blending together — old age tempering the gaiety of youth, and youth brightening the gravity of old age. The ivy adorns the oak — and the oak supports the ivy. “But young people,” you may say, “are so self-willed and conceited; they think they are as wise as old folks.” It is often too true — but bear with them; we have all been young in our time; and it is astonishing how grateful even the most independent among them are for a real and warm-hearted interest in their welfare. You may influence them strongly, if you are only kind in purpose and judicious in practice.

Sympathize with them in their joys and their sorrows. Show them that increase of years does not necessarily blunt the feelings or narrow the affections; that the pilgrim who has almost reached his welcome and long-expected resting-place does not forget or despise those who have but lately set out on their toilsome journey. Speak to them of your own experience of actual life; of the mental and moral discipline which you have endured; of the difficulties in the path of duty which you have met and conquered; of the comfort which has sustained you in the hour of trial and bereavement. Simple facts are more impressive than mere advice. Quietly but deeply they sink into the memory, arousing no opposition, exciting no argument; in time of need they will be remembered and turned to good account. You may thus be the honored instrument of guiding some wayward and careless heart to true peace and happiness; of imparting right principles which shall steer some perplexed spirit across the rough sea of temptation; of forming the character of those who are destined in coming years to exercise great moral power over their fellow-creatures. You may not — you will not — live to behold those happy results of your patient and prayerful efforts; but when those who die in the Lord rest from their labors, their works follow them.

An aged man carefully planted several fruit-trees in his garden, that they might grow up for the use and benefit of posterity; so may you cast into human hearts, that precious seed which will germinate and spring forth and bless the world long after you have departed to your rest. The destiny of future generations may be linked with your Christian endeavor. God grant that you may fully appreciate and fulfill your peculiar mission to the young.

But perhaps the best way in which the aged Christian — yes, and any Christian — can benefit others, is by the purity and loveliness of his example. You cannot now do much or say much for the good of your fellow-creatures; but “nothing speaks so loudly as the silent eloquence of a holy and consistent life;” nothing exercises such gentle and yet such powerful influence over the mind, as the example of one whom we love and respect. It is a practical and perpetual sermon.

Look into that quiet and half-darkened room. In the large easy-chair sits an aged lady. She is confined by constant ailment to her chair, for she cannot move herself without assistance. Her friends are forbidden to see her, as the least excitement proves injurious; and therefore a skillful nurse and a loving-hearted daughter are her only associates. But she does not wish for society; incessant pain renders her unable to converse much, and the exertion of speaking but a few words fatigues her sadly. Poor lady! the days have indeed come in which she has no pleasure; the grasshopper is become a burden; desire has failed; and fears are in the way. Her life has been a life full of good works; and now, withdrawn forever from her loved occupations, she must solace herself with the beautiful thought, “They also serve, who only stand and wait.” It is a beautiful thought; she knows its truth; she feels its preciousness; her daily, constant prayer is, “May Your will be done.”

Yet you must not imagine that her career of usefulness has ended — that it found its termination in that sick room. No; in that limited sphere, during that lingering illness, she has, perhaps, done more good than you or I have effected in our lifetime. How? That kind servant who waits upon her has lately grown thoughtful and pious, and she traces the happy change in her views and in her feelings to the sweet example of her dear mistress; not to her counsels, not to her persuasions — but to her example. She witnessed her patience, her fortitude, her serenity, her faith in Christ, her readiness to depart; and she felt how valuable that religion must be which could give such peace in life, such hope in death. She determined, with God’s help, to make that religion her own; and now her mistress’ last hours are cheered by the delightful knowledge that her grateful attendant has chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.

Glance now inside that lowly almshouse. There dwells a venerable man whose snow-white locks, bended frame, and tottering steps are plain indications that his physical energies are rapidly declining. Is he too old or too infirm to be useful? Almost, so far as active service is concerned, for he is both palsied and half blind; but the light of his example shines brightly still, and sheds a holy radiance on all who come within its reach. His upright conduct, his cheerful demeanor, his kind feelings, and his Heaven-like spirit — are perpetual living lessons to his neighbors and friends. More than one thoughtless visitor has left his humble abode with the impression, “Well, there is such a thing as real religion; I wish I were as good and as happy as that old man is.” And many wavering or weary Christians have been strengthened for their earnest conflict through the remembrance of the simple faith and devotedness of this aged servant of God.

Does your life, your example, thus influence others for good? Are you an epistle known and read of all men? Does your character and conduct commend the religion of Christ? Is it your daily endeavor to “adorn” as well as profess the doctrine of God your Savior? Every Christian should look well to his example; it effects far more than his words, however well-chosen and well-expressed those words may be. But especially should the aged believer be careful to let his light shine brightly and steadily before men, because his sphere of usefulness being limited, he should make the most of those means which are still within his reach; and because soon, very soon, “the night comes,” and then his opportunities on earth will be closed forever.

There is one other way that we must not overlook, in which the aged Christian may advance Christ’s kingdom in the world, and that way is intercessory prayer. Weak and infirm, you may be unable to converse about religion; poor, perhaps, in this world’s riches, it is not in your power to relieve the wants of the needy; but amidst your feebleness and your poverty — you can shut your door and pray to your Father who sees in secret. You can implore . . .
his support for the distressed; 
his sympathy for the sorrowful; 
his aid for the helpless;
his instruction for the ignorant; 
his pardon for the sinful; 
his grace for the undeserving.

You can plead with him on behalf of the heathen at home, and the heathen abroad. You can supplicate his blessing both for the queen upon her throne and the peasant in his cottage. Abraham interceded for Sodom; Job for his children; Moses for the Israelites; Jacob for his grandsons; the disciples for their persecuted brethren; the apostle for his beloved converts. Catch their spirit; follow in their steps; add to their success. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

It is impossible to tell how richly the healthful dew of God’s grace may rest upon parched and barren hearts; or how appropriately the gifts of his providence may be given to the abodes of poverty and need, through the instrumentality of those heartfelt petitions which you offer at the throne of grace. Eternity alone will fully disclose the blessings which have been linked with intercessory prayer.

Aged Christian! mourn not that your opportunities of usefulness are so few; rather rejoice that you are still permitted to have a place among the laborers in Christ’s vineyard. Your department is a retired one; your employment is easy; but your path is marked out for you by the Master whom you serve. In wise considerateness he appoints to each laborer his position and his duties; and to all who honestly perform the work which he assigns — be it great or be it small — he will address those gracious words of commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant — enter you into the joy of your Lord!”

Yet you cannot but sigh sometimes when you reflect how little you are really able to do for the honor of God and the good of your fellow-men; your best services are so imperfect, your holiest efforts are so defiled. As life advances, you grow better acquainted with your own motives, and more enlightened respecting God’s character and will; and the inevitable result is that you are humbled under the increasing consciousness of your sinfulness and your failures. Oh if you could but serve God as you desire to do! How unwearied, how unselfish, how unlimited would be your joyful obedience!

Wait awhile, and your longings shall be satisfied. In Heaven there will be no feebleness to retard your efforts, no imperfection to sully your actions. “His servants shall serve him.” Without one difficulty or defect, they shall fulfill his varied behests and do his will. And as angels are now ministering spirits for the heirs of salvation, it is not improbable that glorified Christians will be frequently engaged on some errand of love to God’s intelligent creatures. How welcome is this idea to those who feel half sorry when they consider that their work on earth is so near its close!

Anonymous


One of the secrets of happy and beautiful life!

(J.R. Miller)

“As your days–so shall your strength be!” Deuteronomy 33:25

One of the secrets of happy and beautiful life, is to live one day at a time. Really, we never have anything to do any day–but the bit of God’s will for that day. If we do that well–we have absolutely nothing else to do.

Time is given to us in days. It was so from the beginning. This breaking up of time into little daily portions means a great deal more than we are accustomed to think. For one thing, it illustrates the gentleness and goodness of God. It would have made life intolerably burdensome if a year, instead of a day–had been the unit of division. It would have been hard to carry a heavy load, to endure a great sorrow, or to keep on at a hard duty–for such a long stretch of time. How dreary our common task-work would be–if there were no breaks in it, if we had to keep our hand to the plough for a whole year! We never could go on with our struggles, our battles, our suffering–if night did not mercifully settle down with its darkness, and bid us rest and renew our strength. 

We do not understand how great a mercy there is for us in the briefness of our short days. If they were even twice as long as they are–life would be intolerable! Many a time when the sun goes down–we feel that we could scarcely have gone another step. We would have fainted in defeat–if the summons to rest had not come just when it did.

We see the graciousness of the divine thoughtfulness in giving us time in periods of little days, which we can easily get through with–and not in great years, in which we would faint and fall by the way. It makes it possible for us to go on through all the long years and not to be overwrought, for we never have given to us at any one time–more than we can do between the morning and the evening.

If we learn well the lesson of living just one day at a time, without anxiety for either yesterday or tomorrow, we shall have found one of the great secrets of Christian peace. That is the way God teaches us to live. That is the lesson both of the Bible and of nature. If we learn it, it will cure us of all anxiety; it will save us from all feverish haste; it will enable us to live sweetly in any experience.

Downloaded from Grace Gems – A Treasury of Ageless, Sovereign Grace, Devotional Writings

 

 

3 Simple Rules For Listing to a Sermon

It is not enough that we go to church and hear a sermons. We may do so for fifty years, and be nothing better, but rather worse. “Take heed,” says our Lord, “how you hear.” Would anyone know how to hear properly? Then let them lay to heart three simple rules.

We must hear with FAITH, believing implicitly that every word of God is true, and shall stand. The word in the old time did not profit the Jews, since it was “not mixed with faith in those who heard it (Heb. 4:2).

We must hear with REVERENCE, remembering constantly that the Bible is the book of God. This was the habit of the Thessalonians. They received Paul’s messages, “not as the word of men, but the word of God” (Thess. 2:13).

We must hear with PRAYER, praying for God’s blessing before the sermon is preached, praying for God’s blessing again when the sermon over. Here lies the rand defect of the hearing of many. They ask no blessing, and so they have none. The sermon passes through their minds like water through a leaky vessel, and leaves nothing behind.

Summary

Let us bear these rules in mind every Sunday morning, before we go to hear the Word of God preached. Let us not rush into God’s presence careless, reckless, and unprepared, as if it mattered not in what way such work was done. Let us carry with us faith, reverence, and prayer. If these three are our companions, we will hear with profit, and return with praise.


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (II Peter 3:18)

True grace is progressive, of a spreading, growing nature. It is with grace as it is with light: first, there is the daybreak; then it shines brighter to the full noonday. The saints are not only compared to stars for their light, but to trees for their growth (Isa. 61:3; Hos. 14:5) A good Christian is not like Hezekiah’s sun that went backwards, nor Joshua’s sun that stood still, but is always advancing in holiness, and increasing with the increase of God.…. (T. Watson)

The growth of grace is the best evidence of the truth of grace. Things that have not life will not grow. A stake in a hedge will not grow. But a plant that hath vegetative life will grow. The growing of grace shows it to be alive in the soul.…. (T. Watson)

Christian, as ever you would stir up others to exalt the God of grace, look to the exercise and improvement of your own graces. When poor servants live in a family, and see the faith and love and wisdom and patience and humility of a master, shinning like the stars in heaven, it draws forth their hearts to bless the Lord that ever they came into such a family…. When men’s graces shine as Moses’ face did, when their life, as one speaketh of Joseph’s life, is a very heaven, sparkling with virtues as so many bright starts, how much others are stirred up to glorify God, and cry, “These are Christians indeed! These are an honour to their God, a crown to their Christ, and a credit to their gospel! Oh, if they were all such, we would be Christians, too!….. (Thomas Brooks)

The right manner of growth is to grow less in one’s own eyes. “I am a worm and no man” (Psalm 22:16). The sight of corruption and ignorance makes a Christian grow into a dislike of himself. He doth vanish in his own eyes. Job abhorred himself in dust (Job 42:6). This is good to grow out of conceit with oneself….. (T. Watson)

In is a sign of not growing in grace, when we are less troubled about sin. Time was when the least sin did grieve us (as the least hair makes the eye weep), but if he neglected closet prayer; now he can omit family prayer. Time was when vain thoughts did not trouble him; now he is not troubled for loose practice. There is a sad declension in religion, and grace is so far from growing that we can hardly perceive its pulse to beat….. (T. Watson)

If now you would be rich in graces, look to your walking. It is not the knowing soul, nor the talking soul, but the close-walking soul, the obediential soul, that is rich. Others may be rich in notions, but none so rich in spiritual experience, and in all holy and heavenly graces, as close walking Christians….. (Thomas Brooks) 

It is a sign of not growing in grace, when we grow more worldly. Perhaps once we were mounted into higher orbits, we did set out our hearts on things above and speak the language of Canaan. But now our minds are taken off heaven, we dig our comforts out of these lower mines, and with Satan compass the earth. It is a sign we are going downhill apace, and our grace is in a consumption. It is observable when nature decays, and people are near dying, they grow more stooping. And truly when men’s hearts grow more stooping to the earth, and they can hardly lift up themselves to an heavenly thought, if grace be not dead, yet it is ready to die….(T. Watson)

Experience will tell every Christian that the more strictly and closely and constantly he walketh with God, the stronger he groweth in duty. Infused habits are advantaged by exercise. As the fire that kindled the wood for sacrifice upon the alter first came down from heaven, but then was to be kept alive by the care and labour of the priests, so the habits of spiritual grace are indeed infused from God, and most be maintained by daily influences from God, yet with a concurrence also of our own labours, in waiting upon God, and exercising ourselves with godliness; and the more a Christian doth so exercise himself, the more strong he shall grow. (Collings on Providence)  

Let them be thy choicest companions, that have made Christ their chiefest companion. Do not so much eye the outsides of men as their inside: look most to their internal worth. Many persons have their eyes upon the external grab of a professor. But give me a Christian that minds the internal worth of persons, that makes such as are most filled with the fullness of God his choicest and chiefest companions….(T. Brooks)

Christians may be growing when they think they do not grow. “There is that maketh himself poor, yet he is rich” (Prov. 13:7). The sight that Christians have of their defects in grace, and their thirst after greater measures of grace, makes them think they do not grow. He who covets a great estate, because he hath not so much as he desires, thinks himself poor… (Thomas Watson)

Souls may be rich in grace, and yet not know it, not perceive it. The heir is heir to a crown or a great estate, but knows it not. Moses’ face did shine, and others saw it, but he perceived it not. So many a precious soul is rich in grace, and others see it and know it and bless God for it, and yet the poor soul perceives it not. Sometimes this arises from the soul’s strong desires of spiritual riches. The strength of the soul’s desires after spiritual riches doth often take away the very sense of growing spiritually rich, yet they cannot perceive it, they cannot believe it. It is just so with many a precious Christian: his desires after spiritual riches are so strong, that they take away the very sense of his growing rich in spirituals. Many Christians have much worth within them, but they see it not. It was a good man that said, “The Lord was in this place and I knew it not.” Again, this ariseth sometimes from men neglecting to cast up their accounts. Many men thrive and grow rich, and yet, by neglecting to cast up their accounts, they cannot tell whether they go forward or backward. It is so with many precious souls. Again, this ariseth sometimes from the soul’s too frequent casting up of its accounts. If a man should cast up his accounts once a week, or once a month, he may not be able to discern that he doth grow rich, and yet he may grow rich. But let him compare one year with another, and he shall clearly see that he doth grow rich. Again, this sometimes ariseth from the soul’s mistakes in casting up its accounts. The soul many times mistakes; it is in a hurry, and then it puts down ten for a hundred for a thousand. Look, as hypocrites put down their counters for gold, their pence for pounds, and always prize themselves above the market, so sincere souls do often put down their pound for pence, their thousands for hundreds, and still prize themselves below the market.     (T. Brooks)  
                                                            J. C. Ryle, Holiness pp.95-97

 

 

James Smith (1802-1862)

“Ye are not your own.” 1 Cor. 6:19.

No-Jesus has purchased you with His own blood, quickened you by His Spirit, espoused you to Himself, and intends to glorify you with Himself for ever. He claims you, and says, “I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine.” He will provide for you as His own, and spare you, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. You are His beloved bride, His portion. A member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. In loving you, He loveth Himself. He requires you to live under the daily conviction that you are His; that all you have is His. You have nothing of your own; all you have He freely gave, and all you have you profess to have surrendered to Him. Think more of Jesus than of His gifts, cleave to Him, and not to what you may be called to surrender. He will never take anything from you, but He will give you something better. If He strip you, it is to teach you; to lead you to live upon Himself; and to find your heaven in His company, grace, and offices. Do you live, walk, and act, so as to leave the impression upon the minds of observers that you are the Lord’s? Do you expect Him to preserve, guide, and supply you? Let conscience answer.

Lord! Am I thine, entirely thine?
Purchased and saved by blood divine?
With full consent that I would be,
And own thy sovereign right in me.

“Taken from: “Daily Remembrancer Morning and Evening”
    

Press to Contniue

Collection of Quotations

“God is true, and may be trusted, but every man a liar, and must be suspected. The Creator is a rock of ages, the creature a broken reed. We cannot expect too little from man nor too much from God.” M. Henry


“Now let us turn in, and inquire-What is our daily use of the word of God? Are we satisfied with a slight looking, or do we seek an intimate acquaintance with it? Is its influence ever present-ever practical? Do we prize it as a welcome guest? Is it our delightful companion and guide? Oh! meditate in this blessed book. “Eat the word,” when you “have found it; and it will be unto you the joy and rejoicing of your heart.” (Jer. xv. 16.) The name of Jesus-its great subject-will be more precious-your love will be inflamed (Ps. xxxix. 3)-your perseverance established (Verse 23, 95)-and your heart enlivened in the spirit of praise. (Ps. lxiii. 5, 6.) Thus bringing your mind into close and continual contact with the testimonies of God, and pressing out the sweetness from the precious volume, it will drop as from honeycomb, daily comfort and refreshment upon your heart.”*  (Charles Bridges Psalm 119:98-100)

*Thus Luther recommends us to ‘pause at any verse of Scripture we choose, and to shake, as it were, every bough of it; that if possible, some fruit at least may drop down to us. Should this mode’-he remarks-‘appear somewhat difficult at first, and no thought suggest itself immediately to the mind capable of affording matter for a short ejaculation; yet persevere, and try another and another bough. If your soul really hungers, the Spirit of God will not send you away empty. You shall at length find an abundance of delicious fruit, that you will gladly seat yourself under its shade and abide there, a under a tree laden with fruit.’

Psalm 119:97 “O how I love thy law, it is my meditation all the day”

Now-Reader-do you search for him in his law? Do you love his law, because it “testifies of him?” Do you pray for his Spirit, that his law may guide you to him? Charles Bridges  

John v.39 ‘Where I to enjoy Hezekiah’s grant, and to have fifteen years added to my live, I would be much more frequent in my applications to the throne of grace. Were I to renew my studies I would take my leave of those accomplished triflers-the historians, the orators, the poets of antiquity-and devote my attention to the Scriptures of truth. I would sit with much greater assiduity at my Divine Master’s feet, and desire to “know nothing save Jesus Christ and him crucified.” This wisdom, whose fruits are peace in life, consolation in death, and everlasting salvation after death-this I would trace-this I would seek-this I would explore through the spacious and delightful fields of the Old and New Testament.’ Such was the testimony of one, who had cultivated the classic fields with no inconsiderable success, and who above most men had enriched his soul with glorious treasures of the word of God-whose praise is all the churches as the author of ‘Theron and Aspasia.’   

Psalm 119:89
“For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”

“The decrees of the kings of the earth, “settled” on earth, are exposed to all the variations and weakness of a changing world. They may be revoked by themselves or their successors, or they may die away. The empty sound of the “law of the Medes and Persians that altereth not” (Dan. vi. 8), has long since been swept away into oblivion. But while “the word settled” on earth has “waxed old like a garment,” and perished; the word settled in heaven-is raised above all the revolutions of the universe, and remaineth as the throne of God-unshaken and eternal; exhibiting the foundations of the believer’s hope and of the unbeliever’s terror to be alike unalterably fixed.” (Charles Bridges)  

“They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts”

“When therefore, we are tempted to neglect the precepts, or when we fail to live in them, and to delight in them, let us each bring our hearts to this test: ‘What would I take in exchange for them? Will the good-will and approbation of the world compensate for the loss of the favour of God? Could I be content to forgo my greatest comforts, to “suffer the loss of all things” (Phil. iii. 8), yea, of life itself (Acts, xx. 24), rather than forsake one of the ways of God?   (Comment on Psalm 119:87 Charles Bridges)


Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ

Love
How does the Spirit cultivate and nurture that fruit of love in and through us throughout our lives? He cultivates and nurtures love by the means of grace: the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments. Powerfully and irresistibly the Spirit calls us unto newness of life. In the justified, he works by means of grace to purify us unto the production of love. He turns us from the hatred of our old flesh and leads us forth into the love of our new nature in Christ Jesus.

Consequently, it is vitally important that we attend a church where the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is most purely preached and the sacraments are faithfully administered according to the ordinances of Christ. By the means of grace, the Spirit uses many passages in Scripture, including John 13:34-35, to work in us the fruit of the exercise of true love. By the living word of Christ, the Spirit of Christ cultivates, fertilizes, waters, and rigorously prunes us unto faithful production of the sweet fruit of love.      (Richard J. Smit: “The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” p.25)

Faithfulness
“Christ’s loyalty to his church is encouraging. Because he is faithful, he promised that he will be with his church unto the end. He will not forsake his people. He will not leave his sheep and lambs so that they are destroyed by the devil, by the world, or by themselves. He is our good shepherd, who provides his church with the necessary gifts and means to be preserved unto the end. All of the promises that Christ declares to his church are true, and he is faithful to them and to all those in whom those promises must be realized.” (Richard J. Smit: “The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ”)

Longsuffering
Christ is the supreme example of longsuffering. When Christ “was reviled. [he] reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened no; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23). He endured suffering at the hands of sinners, including his own people, and submitted to his heavenly Father’s way. He suffered long with his people who sinned against him. Although he was forsaken and denied by his disciples, he did not retaliate in kind. He did not deny his unfaithful disciples before his heavenly Father. He confessed their names before the throne of his heavenly Father in his longsuffering and prayer, saying, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” What applied to his disciples applies to his church. (Richard J. Smit: “The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” p.76)

Meekness
It is humbling is it not, that Christ humbled himself so low for us in order that we, who deserve to be cast down, might inhabit the heights of underserved glory in his heavenly kingdom? What Christ by his death and resurrection earned for us, a life of his humility, he is pleased to work in us by his Spirit through the preaching of the word. By the preaching of the gospel of God’s sovereign, electing grace in Christ, the Spirit is pleased to call us out of the darkness and death of pride into the light and life of genuine humility.

That virtue we need for faithful lives in our respective churches, homes, and places in daily life. For example, the meek wife will be faithful to her husband in her lifelong marriage, will guide her house with wisdom and discretion, and also, as time and opportunity permit, bear the burdens of others within the household of faith. ….

As the meek fulfil their calling in the church, home, and other areas of life, they put others first. The husband will think of his wife first, and so wife toward her husband. The meek parents will not put themselves, their vacations, their hobbies, or other earthly desires first, but will put the needs and spiritual welfare of their children and their children’s children first. Bearing the burdens of fellow saints becomes a priority for the meek. Interceding for others in the church in prayers before God’s throne of grace is a daily element of prayers of the meek. Just as the Father in heaven so esteemed those others in the church that he gave his only begotten Son for them, so surely must we esteem our fellow saints.  (Richard J. Smit: “The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” pp.132, 134)


“What a privilege it is to be children of good parents. The parents in covenant with God, and God lays up mercy for their children. “The just man walketh in his integrity, his children are blessed after him.” Prov. xx.7. A religious parent does not procure wrath, but helps to keep off wrath from his child; he seasons his child with religious principles, he prays down a blessing on it; he is a loadstone to draw his child to Christ by good counsel and example. Oh, what a privilege is it to be born of godly, religious parents! Augustine says that his mother Monica travailed with greater care and pains for his new birth, than for his natural. Wicked idolaters entail misery on their posterity; God ‘visits the iniquity of the fathers upon their children;’ but religious parents procure a blessing upon their children; God reserves mercy for their posterity.” (Second Commandment. Thomas Manton p. 67)

“I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law.”

We often read and sing David’s Psalms; but we have little of David’s spirit. A man’s employment is as the constitution of his mind is; for all things work according to their nature. A man addicted to God; that is to say, one who hath taken God for his happiness, his word for his rule; his Spirit for his guide, and his promises for his encouragement, his heart will always be working towards God, day and night. In the day, he will be studying God’s word: in the night, if his sheep be interrupted, he will be meditating on God’s name; still entertaining his soul with God. The predominant affection will certainly set the thoughts awork. The man of God had told us, in the former verse, what was his chief employment in the day-time; and now he telleth us how his heart wrought in the night: night and day he was remembering God; and his duty to him. In the day, the statues of God were his solace, and as songs to him in the house of his pilgrimage: in the night, the name of God was his meditation: “I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law.” (Thomas Manton, Psalm 119:55)

    It is just because modern Christendom has such an inadequate estimate of the fearful and universal effects which the Fall has wrought, that the imperative need for the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is now so little realized. It is because such false conceptions of human depravity so widely prevail that, in most places, it is supposed all which is needed to save half of the community is to hire some popular evangelist and attractive singer. And the reason why so few are aware of the awful depths of human depravity, the terrible enmity of the carnal mind against God and the heart’s inbred and inveterate hatred of Him, is because His character is now so rarely declared from the pulpit. If the preachers would deliver the same type of messages as did Jeremiah in his degenerate age, or even as John the Baptist did, they would sooner discover how their hearers were really affected toward God; and then they would perceive that unless the power of the Spirit attended their preaching they might as well be silent.” (A. W. Pink “The work of the Holy Spirit.” P. 47) 

“What a privilege it is to be children of good parents. The parents in covenant with God, and God lays up mercy for their children. “The just man walketh in his integrity, his children are blessed after him.” Prov. xx.7. A religious parent does not procure wrath, but helps to keep off wrath from his child; he seasons his child with religious principles, he prays down a blessing on it; he is a loadstone to draw his child to Christ by good counsel and example. Oh, what a privilege is it to be born of godly, religious parents! Augustine says that his mother Monica travailed with greater care and pains for his new birth, than for his natural. Wicked idolaters entail misery on their posterity; God ‘visits the iniquity of the fathers upon their children;’ but religious parents procure a blessing upon their children; God reserves mercy for their posterity.” (Second Commandment. Thomas Manton p. 67)

 “Though idolaters love the false image of God in a picture, they hate his true image in a believer. They pretend to honour Christ in a crucifix, and yet persecute him in his members.” (Thomas Manton. The Ten Commandments p.67)

My times are in thy hands “…The great truth is this-all that concerns the believer is in the hands of the Almighty God. “My times”, these change and shift; but they change only in accordance with unchanging love, and they shift only according to the purpose of One with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. “My times,” that is to say, my ups and my downs, my health and my sickness, my poverty and my wealth-all those are in the hand of the Lord, who arranges and appoints according to his holy will the length of my days, and the darkness of my nights. Storms and calms vary the seasons at the divine appointment. Whether times are reviving or depressing remains with him who is Lord both of time and eternity; and we are glad of it…” (CHS on Psalm 31:15a)

“The Bible is the statute-book of God’s Kingdom, wherein is comprised the whole body of the heavenly law, the perfect rules of a holy life, and the sure promises of a glorious one.” Ezekiel Hopkins (Posted 5/Sep//2018) The Puritan Treasury p.32)

 The work of the Holy Spirit- “All around us are those willing to receive Christ as their Saviour, who are altogether unwilling to surrender to Him as their Lord. They would like His peace, but they refuse His “yoke,” without which His peace cannot be found (Matt. 11:29). They admire His promises, but have no heart for His precepts. They will rest upon His priestly work, but will not be subject to His kingly sceptre. They will believe in a “Christ” who is suited to their own corrupt tastes or sentimental dreams, but they despise and reject the Christ of God. Like the multitudes of old, they want His loaves and fishes, but for His heart-searching, flesh-withering, sin-condemning teaching, they have no appetite. They approve of Him as the Healer of their bodies, but as the Healer of their depraved souls they desire Him not. And nothing but the miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit, can change this bias and bent in any soul.

Since God places your salvation in himself alone, why should you descend to yourself? Since he assigns you his own mercy alone, why will you recur to your own merits? Since he confines your thoughts to his own mercy, why do you turn partly to the view of your own works? (Calvin’s Inst. 3/22/6) 

 “A Sabbath well spent brings a week of content,
And strength for the toils of the morrow:
But a Sabbath profaned, whate’er may be gained,
Is a certain forerunner of sorrow.”

“You will never glory in God till first of all God has killed your glorying in yourself.”    C. H. Spurgeon  

Psalm 54:4 “Blessed are they that dwell in his house,”  But how dwell in it? Not to look in sometimes as we pass by, or to stay in it a time, as we do at an inn, but to be constant abiders in it day and night, as to which we have devoted ourselves and vowed our service… They are dwellers, not visitors, in God’s house.” Richard Baker   

Institutes of the Christian Religion
John Calvin
By Henry Beveridge

Some object that God would be inconsistent with himself, in inviting all without distinction while he elects only a few. Thus, according to them, the universality of the promise destroys the distinction of special grace. Some moderate men speak in this way, not so much for the purpose of suppressing the truth, as to get quit of puzzling questions, and curb excessive curiosity. The intention is laudable, but the design is by no means to be approved, dissimulation being at no time excusable. In those again who display their petulance, we see only a vile cavil or a disgraceful error. The mode in which Scripture reconciles the two things-viz. that by external preaching all are called to faith and repentance, and that yet the Spirit of faith and repentance is not given to all-I have already explained, and will again shortly repeat. But the point which they assume I deny as false in two respects: for he who threatens that when it shall rain on one city there will be drought in another (Amos 4:7); and declares in another passage, that there will be a famine of the word (Amos 8:11), does he who, forbidding Paul to preach in Asia, and leading him away from Bithynia, carries him over to Macedonia (Acts 16:6:), shows that it belongs to him to distribute the treasure in what way he pleases. But it is by Isaiah he more clearly demonstrates the promises of salvation specially to the elect (Isaiah 8:16); for he declares that his disciples would consist of them only, and not indiscriminately of the whole human race. Whence it is evident that the doctrine of salvation, which is said to be sat apart for the sons of the Church only, is abused when it is represented as effectually available to all.   (Vol. 2, Book 3, Ch.22, Sec. 10, pp. 221-222)

The Typology of the Ark.
 A.W. Pink

  1. The ark was a place of absolute security.

    This truth is seen in several particulars. First, this ark itself was pitched “within and without with pitch” (Gen. 6:14), hence it would be thoroughly watertight, and as such, a perfect shelter. No matter how hard it rained or how high the waters rose, all inside the ark were secure. The ark was in this respect also, a type of our salvation in Christ. Speaking to the saints, the apostle said, “Your life is hid (like Noah in the ark) with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). In the next place, we read concerning Noah after he had entered the ark, “And the Lord shut him in” (Gen. 7:16). What a blessed word this is! Noah did not have to take care of himself; having entered the ark, God was then responsible for his preservation. So it is with those who have fled to Christ for refuge, they are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). Finally the security of all in the ark is seen in the issuing of them forth one year later on to the destruction-swept earth-“And Noah went forth, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him: every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark” (Gen. 8:18, 19). All who had entered had been preserved, none had perished by the flood, and none had died a natural death, so perfect is the type. How this reminds us of the Lord’s words, “Of them which thou gavest Me I have lost none” (John 18:9). (Gleanings in Genesis pp 105-6)

    THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
    “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.” (Psalm 139:2-4). What a wondrous Being is the God of Scripture! Each of His glorious attributes should render Him honourable in our esteem. The apprehension of His omniscience ought to bow us in adoration before Him. Yet how little do we meditate upon this divine perfection! Is it because the very thought of it fills us with uneasiness? How solemn is this face: nothing can be concealed from God! And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: “for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them” (Ezekiel 11:5). Though He be invisible to us, we are not so to Him. Neither the darkness of night, the closest curtains, nor the deepest dungeon can hide any sinner from the eyes of Omniscience. The tress of the garden were not able to conceal our first parents. No human eye beheld Cain murder his brother, but his Maker witnessed his crime. Sarah might laugh derisively in the seclusion of her tent, yet was it heard by Jehovah. Achan stole a wedge of gold and carefully hid it in the earth, but God brought it to light. David was at much pains to cover up his wickedness, but ere long the all-seeing God sent one of His servants to say to him, “Thou art the man”! And to writer and reader is also said, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).  (A.W. Pink)

Hebrews 12:25: See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh”-note carefully the present tense: not “that spoke.” Christ is still speaking through His Gospel, by His Spirit, and instrumentally through His own commissioned servants, calling upon all who come under the sound of his voice to serve and obey Him. There are many ways in which we may “refuse” to hear and heed Him. First, by neglecting to read daily and diligently the Scriptures through which He speaks. Second, by failing to attend public preaching where His Word is faithfully dispensed-if so be we live in a place where this holy privilege is obtainable. Third, by failing to comply with the terms of His Gospel and yield ourselves unto His authority. Fourth, by forsaking the Narrow Way of His commandments and going back again to the world. Fifth, by abandoning the truth for error, which generally ends in total apostasy. How we need to pray for an hearing ear, that is, for a responsive heart and yielded will.     (A. W. Pink commentary)

Puritan, Joseph Caryl, very pertinently asked, “You will swallow words until you have tried them. Why else have we ears to hear? Why are we trusted with reason to judge things with, or with rules to judge them?  There is no greater tyranny in the world than to command men to believe (with implicit faith) as others believe, or to impose our opinions and assertions upon those who hear them and not give them liberty to try them” (Practical Christianity A.W. Pink)

(W.T. Shedd Presbyterian, (1889) The unenlightened understanding is unable to apprehend, and the unregenerate will is unable to believe. Vital force is lacking in these two principle factors. What is needed at this point is life and force itself. Consequently, the Author of spiritual life Himself must operate directly, without the use of means or instruments; and outright give spiritual life and power from the dead: that is, ex nihilo. The new life is not imparted because man perceives the truth, but he perceives the truth because the new life is imparted. A man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because he has been regenerate .

(Counterfeit or Genuine by David O. Fuller, DD) Surely, we come to Scripture to be learners only: not to teach the blessed writers how they ought to have spoken about God! When will men learn that “the Scripture phrase, or language of the Holy Ghost” is as much above them as heaven is above earth? …….What is the use of the inspiration of the Bible, if no form of the Bible that we now have is inspired? Why should God have worked a stupendous miracle in order to preserve the writers of the Biblical books from error and make the autographs of their books completely true, if He intended then to leave the books thus produced to the mere chance of transmission from generation to generation by every human and often careless copyists?” 

(Exposition of Psalm 119 by Charles Bridges) In connecting this verse with the preceding, how accurately is the middle path preserved, equally distant from the idea of self-sufficiency to “keep the Lord’s statutes,” and self-justification in neglecting them! The first attempt to render spiritual obedience will quickly convince us of our utter helplessness. We might as soon create a world, as create in our hearts one pulse of spiritual life. And yet our inability does not cancel our obligation. Shall God lose his right, because sin has palsied our ability? Is not a drunken servant still under his master’s law? and is not the sin which prevents him from performing his duty, not his excuse, but his aggravation? Thus our weakness is that of an heart, which “cannot be subject to the law of God,” only because it is carnal, “enmity against God.” The obligation therefore remains in full forWhat then remains for us, but to return the mandate to haven, accompanied with an earnest prayer, that the Lord would write upon our hearts those statutes,  to which he requires obedience in his word?-“Thou hast commanded us to keep thy statutes diligently.” We acknowledge, Lord, our obligation; but we feel our impotency. Lord help us: we look unto thee. “Oh that our ways were directed to keep thy statutes!” Give what thou commandest; and then command what thou wilt.” Now, as if to exhibit the fullness and suitableness of the promises of the gospel, the commands and prayers are returned back again from heaven with promises of quickening and directing grace. Thus does the Lord fully answer his end with us. He did not issue the commands, expecting that we could turn our own hearts to them; but that the conviction of our entire helplessness might cast us upon him, who loves to be sought, and never will be thus in vain. And indeed this is a part of the “mystery of godliness,” that in proportion as we depend upon him who is alike, “the Lord our righteousness,” and our strength, our desire after holiness will increase, and our prayers become more fervent. He who commands our duty, perfectly knows our weakness, and he who feels his own weakness is fully encouraged to depend upon the power of his Saviour. Faith is then the principle of evangelical obedience, and the promises of his grace enable us for duty, at the very time that we are commanded to it. In this view are brought together the supreme authority of the Lawgiver, the total insufficiency of the creature, the full provisions of the Saviour, and the all-sufficiency of “the God of grace.” We pray for what we want; we are thankful for what we have; we trust for what is promised. Thus “all is of God.” Christ “is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Rev. 22:13.) Thus “grace reigns” triumphant. The foundation is laid in grace, and the headstone will be brought forth with shouting, crying, “Grace, grace unto it.” (Zech. 4:7). The Saviour’s work is finished and Jesus is crowned Lord of all for ever. From the time of the Apostles until the present God’s people have loved His Word. In times of sorrow they have found solace in its promises, in days of sadness, they have been comforted and strengthened by its testimonies; in the midst of happiness, they have rejoiced in its commands, and always has this been the so because they have regarded this Word as God’s Word; it words indeed, have been a blessing to their souls. Thus, even though many of its implications have only been worked out since the days of the Reformation, the idea of verbal inspiration has been present from the beginning. One thing at least is clear: the doctrine of verbal inspiration, which Bible believers are defending today, is a doctrine which has been defended since the days of the Apostles. It is indeed the very view which the Apostles and, above all, our Lord Himself maintained. The view of modernism, neo-orthodoxy and destructive criticism do not represent a natural development of the attitude toward the Bible which has characterized the Church since the time of its inception. Those who espouse the doctrine of verbal inspiration and Scriptural infallibility are in a true apostolic succession.

Psalm 119: 5.
O that my ways were directed to keep thy statues!  The Lord has indeed “commanded us to keep his precepts.” But, alas! Where is our power? Satan would make the sense of our weakness an excuse for indolence. The Spirit of God convinces us of it, as an incitement to prayer and an exercise of faith. If, Reader, your heart is perfect with God, you “consent to the law that it is good;” you “delight in it after the inner man” (Rom. 7:16, 22); you would not have one jot or tittle altered, mitigated, or replaced, that it might be more conformed to your own will, or allow you more liberty or self-indulgence in the ways of sin. But you do not sigh to think, that, when you aim at the perfect standard of holiness, you should, at your best moments, and in your highest attainments, fall so far below it; seeing indeed the way before you, but feeling yourself without ability to walk in it? Then let a sense of your helplessness for the work of the Lord lead you to the throne of grace, to pray, and watch, and wait, for the strengthening and refreshing influences of the Spirit of grace. Here let your faith realize at one and the same view your utter insufficiency, and your complete All-sufficiency. (2 Cor. 3:5.) Here behold Him, who is ever presenting himself before God as our glorious Head, receiving in himself, according to the good pleasure of the Father (Col. 1:18, 19),  the full supply for this and every successive moment of inexpressible need. Our work is not therefore left upon our own hands, or wrought out at our “own charges.” So long as “He hath the residue of the Spirit” (Matt. 2:15), “grace” will be found “sufficient;” –Divine “strength will be made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) “Without him we can do nothing” (John 15:5); “through him, all things.” (Phil. 4:14) Even the “worm Jacob shall thresh the mountains,” when the Lord says, “Fear not, I will help thee.” (Isaiah 41:14, 15.)  

Psalm 40:12- “For innumerable evils have compassed me about”
“Come at length the dreadful night;
Vengeance with its iron rod
Stood, and with collected might
Bruised the harmless Lamb of God.
See, my soul, thy Saviour see
Prostrate in Gethsemane!

There my God bore all my guilt
This through grace can be believed;
But the horrors which he felt
Are too fast to be conceived.
None can penetrate through thee,
Doleful, dark Gethsemane!

Sins against a holy God;
Sins against his righteous laws;
Sins against his love, his blood;
Sins against his name and cause;
Sins immense as is  the sea
Hide me, O Gethsemane!”
(The Treasury of David)

Psalm 33:20b “He is our help” There is an excellent story of a young man, that was at sea in a mighty raging tempest; and when all the passengers were at their wit’s end for fear he, only was merry; and when he was asked the reason of his mirth, he answered, “That the pilot of the ship was his farther, and he knew his father would have a care of him.” The great and wise God, who is our Father, hath from all eternity decreed what shall be the issue of all wars, what the event of all troubles; he is our pilot, he sits at the stern; and though the ship of the church or state be in a sinking condition, yet be of good comfort, our Pilot will have a care of us. There is nothing done in the lower house of Parliament on earth, but what is first decreed in the higher house in heaven. All lesser wheels are ordered and overruled by the upper. Are not five sparrows, saith Christ, sold for a farthing? One farthing’s worth of harm more than God hath decreed from all eternity.-Edmund Calamy (The Treasury of David P. 120)

Psalm 119:18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy lawThe light which they beg is not anything besides the word. When God is said to enlighten us, it is not that we should expect new revelations, but that we may see the wonders in his word, or get a clear sight of what is already revealed. Those that vent their own dreams under the name of the Spirit, and divine light, they do not give you mysteria, but monstra, portentous opinions; not show you the wondrous things of God’s law, but he prodigies of their own brain; unhappy abortives, that die as soon as they come to light. “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this words, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). (Psalm 119 Volume 1, Sermon XIX. Thomas Manton)

(E.J. Young “Thy Word is Truth”) …..The Bible is indeed indispensable, for without it we could not know the will of God. One of the Reformed catechisms asks the pertinent question, ‘Whence do you know your misery?’ The answer which is given is very simple, but also very penetrating. It merely says, ‘Out of the law of God’ (Heidelberg Catechism, Question No. 3) According to this catechism one would not know how great his misery was, were it not for the law of God. The Bible, of course, teaches the same thing: ‘for by the law is the knowledge of sin’ (Romans 3:20). This law to which the Bible refers is something that was once for all written down. It is there in the Bible, accessible at all times to those who desire to consult it. 

THE DECREES OF GOD. The Attributes of God by A.W.Pink “Let us now consider some of the properties of the divine decrees. First, they are eternal. To suppose any of them to be made in time is to suppose that some new occasion has occurred; some unforeseen event or combination of circumstances has arisen, which has induced the Most High to form a new resolution. This would argue that the knowledge of the Deity is limited, and that He is growing wiser in the progress of time-which would be horrible blasphemy. No man who believes that the divine understanding is infinite, comprehending the past, the present, and the future, will ever assent to the erroneous doctrine of temporal decrees. God is not ignorant of future events which will be executed by human volitions; He has foretold them in innumerable instances, and prophecy is but the manifestation of His eternal prescience. Scripture affirms that believers were chosen in Christ before the world began (Ephesians. 1:14), yea, that grace was “given” to them (II Timothy 1:9). Secondly, the decrees of God are wise. Wisdom is shown in the selection of the best possible ends and of the fittest means of accomplishing them. That this character belongs to the decrees of God is evident from what we know of them. They are disclosed to us by their execution, and every proof of the wisdom of the plan, in conformity to which they are performed. As the Psalmist declared, “O LORD, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom Thou made them all” (104:24). It is indeed but a very small part of them which falls under our observation, yet, we ought to proceed here as we do in other cases, and judge of the whole by the specimen, of what is unknown, by what is known. He who perceives the workings of admirable skill in the parts of a machine which he has an opportunity to examine, is naturally led to believe that the other parts are equally admirable. In like manner we should satisfy our minds as to God’s works when doubts obtrude themselves upon us, and repel any reconcile to our notions of what is something that we reach the bounds of the finite and gaze toward the mysterious realm of the infinite, let us exclaim, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33).  Thirdly, they are free. “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being His counsellor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:13-14). God was alone when He made His decrees, and His determinations were influenced by no external cause. He was free to decree or not to decree, and to decree one thing and not another. This liberty we must ascribe to Him who is Supreme, Independent, and Sovereign in all His doings. Fourthly, they are absolute and unconditional. The execution of them is not suspended upon condition which may, or may not be, performed. In every instance where God has decreed and end, He has also decreed every means to that end. The One who decreed the salvation of His elect also decreed to work faith in them (II Thessalonians 2:13). “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10); but that could not be, if His counsel depended upon a condition which might not be performed. But God “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11). 

Surgeon on the Sovereignty of God Sermon on Matthew 20:15- “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation- the kingship of God over all the works of His own hands-the throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a football, as the great and stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth.  And we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne we trust.” 

THE BEAUTY Of HOLINESS OF GOD “As it seems to challenge an excellency above all His other perfections, so it is the glory of all the rest: as it is the glory of the Godhead, so it is the glory of every perfection in the Godhead; as His power is the strength of them, so His holiness is the beauty of them; as all would be weak without almightiness to back them, so all would be uncomely without holiness to adorn them. Should this be sullied, all the rest would lose their honour; as at the same instant the sun should lose its light, it would lose its heat, its strength, it strength, its generative and quickening virtue. As sincerity is the lustre of every grace in a Christian, so is purity the splendour of every attribute in the Godhead. His justice is a holy justice, His wisdom a holy wisdom, His power a “holy arm” (Psalm 98:1). His truth or promise a “holy promise” (Psalm 105:42). His name, which signifies all His attributes in conjunction is “holy” (Psalm 103:1). (S. Charnock).  

The Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 34: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.

LAMENT TO THE LORD
They’ve brought you up to date, Lord down at old St. Machar’s
They’ve pensioned off the organ and they’re praising on guitars!
They’ve done it for the young ones; ‘we want to draw them in’
But I do wish they could worship without making such a din!
I’m growing rather deaf, Lord, and where there’s all that noise
It gets so very hard, Lord, to hear your loving voice.
They’re using SGP, Lord, words and tunes that I don’t know,
So I hardly ever sing now, though I did love singing so.
They’re very go ahead, Lord, They’re using the NIV,
But the words are not so beautiful as the others used to be.

So they’ve modernised the Bible, the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed
When the old ones were so perfect that they filled my every need. 
My mind’s not quite so agile as it was some years ago
And I miss the age old beauty of the words that I still know.
It’s very clear to me, lord, I’ve overstayed my time,
I don’t take to change so kindly as I did in my prime.
But it can’t be very long now before I’m called above.
 And I know I’ll find you there, lord, and glory in your love.
So till then I’ll stick it out, lord, though it is not the same for me,
But while others call you “YOU”, Lord, do you mind if I say “THEE”?

“The Christian family is the greenhouse within which is nurtured the tender plant of obedient service to Christ; therefore the church should keep the glass clean, the temperature warm, and the soil well watered and fertilized.” (With a Shepherd’s heart p. 81) 

The Cross!

WHAT THE CROSS IS

1 A magnet to draw us

2 A Gallows to slay us

3 A Balance to weigh us

4 A Ladder to lift us

WHAT THE CROSS SHOWS US

1 Sin at its blackest

2 Law at its sternest

3 Love at its highest

4 Life at its fullest

THE DIMENSIONS OF THE CROSS

1 It is as high as heaven

2 It is as deep as damnation

3 It is as wide as the world