A Plug

Allow me to inform you of a second blog I’ve begun.  Postings will be weekly, not daily.

It’s called “Undiscarded Images” and can be found here: http://www.strollingthroughliterature.wordpress.com.

I hope you enjoy it.

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Devout Meditations (6)

To be capable of the comfort my text proposes, the mind must be in a suitable disposition.  A free pardon is a comfort to a malefactor, but it implies guilt and, therefore, those who have no apprehension that they have broken the laws would be rather offended than comforted by an offer of pardon.  This is one principle cause of that neglect, yea contempt, which the gospel of the grace of God meets with from the world.  If we could suppose that a company of people – who were all trembling under an apprehension of His displeasure, constrained to confess the justice of the sentence, but not, as yet, informed of any way to escape – were to hear this message for the first time and to be fully assured of its truth and authority, they would receive it as life from the dead.  But it is to be feared that, for want of knowing themselves and their real state in the sight of Him with whom they have to do, many persons who have received pleasure from the music of “Messiah” have neither found nor expected nor desired to find any comfort from the words.

John Newton (1725-1807), from the sermon, “The Consolation” (Isaiah 40.1-2), preached as the first of fifty sermons he preached from the biblical texts George Frederic Handel used in his sacred oratorio, “Messiah.”

Works, Volume 3, Page 19.

Matthew Henry (30)

They did what they could to silence good ministers and to stop their mouths: “You commanded the prophets, saying, ‘Prophesy not,’ and threatened them if they did prophesy (Amos 7.12), as if God’s messengers were bound to observe your orders, and might not deliver their errand unless you gave them leave.  And so, you not only received the grace of God in raising up those prophets in vain, but put the highest affront imaginable upon that God in whose name the prophets spoke.”  Note: those have a great deal to answer for who cannot bear faithful preaching, and those much more who suppress it. – Matthew Henry (1662-1714), commenting on Amos 2.9-16.

 

Looking for Christ

To him who, thus, in disappointment and suffering, baffled in his hopes and tempted to skepticism, yet honors God by a meek and uncomplaining submission due from a sinful, short-sighted creature to infinite wisdom and absolute sovereignty, it will, in time, be made conspicuously to appear – as clearly as the flash of a sunbeam through the fissures of a dissolving cloud – that benefits were withheld for the bestowal of greater, that temporary suffering is but the prelude to everlasting blessing, short-lived disappointment to the dawn of unfading honor, and that truth and right go down beneath a horizon of darkness and an ocean of storms only to reappear in the morning glory of an eternal triumph.

Jesus as an infirm, dying human being, staggered under the curse of a world, prayed that He might be delivered from suffering the second death.  His prayer was unanswered, and He died.  But, His grave was the scene of death’s dethronement and the birthplace of unnumbered millions of deathless souls redeemed from Satan, sin, and hell.

Hold, Christian brother!  Do not despair because your prayers for certain blessings. . .have, for a time, been unanswered.  Where is your faith?  Where is your allegiance to your almighty, all-wise, all-merciful Sovereign?  Collect yourself.  Put on the panoply of God. . .Look up: God, your Redeemer and Deliverer, reigns.

See, He sits on yonder throne, and suns and systems of light are but the sparkling dust beneath His feet.  Thousands of thousands of shining seraphs minister before Him.  Infinite empire is in His grasp. . .His eye is upon His afflicted.

See, see, He comes, He comes, riding upon wings of the whirlwind, wielding His glittering sword bathed in the radiance of heaven, driving His foes, like chaff, before His face and hastening to the succor of His saints with resources of boundless power and illimitable grace. – John L. Girardeau (1825-1898)

No Excuse!

There is no excuse for our apathy and indifference.  The Spirit of our Master is the Spirit of compassion upon the weak and ignorant and those who are out of the way.  We must preach good tidings to the meek, we must bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. – James Henley Thornwell (1812-1862), from “The Sacrifice of Christ the Type and Model of Missionary Effort,” a sermon on John 10.17-18 preached at First Presbyterian Church in New York, New York on Sunday, May 18, 1856.

On Psalm 119.93

The best evidence of our love to the Word of God is never to forget it.  We must resolve that we will never, at any time, cast off our religion, and never, upon any occasion, lay aside our religion, but that we will be constant to it and persevere in it. . .Those speak best of the things of God who speak by experience, who can say that, by the Word, the spiritual life has been begun in them, maintained and strengthened in them, excited and comforted in them. . .The Word of itself, without the grace of God, would not quicken us.  Ministers can but prophesy upon the dry bones, they cannot put life into them but, ordinarily, the grace of God works by the Word and makes use of it as a means of quickening, and this is a good reason why we should never forget it, but should highly value what God has put such honor upon, and dearly love what we have found and hope still to find such benefit by.  See, here, what is the best help for bad memories, namely, good affections.  If we are quickened by the Word, we shall never forget it.  Nay, that Word that does really quicken us to, and in, our duty is not forgotten.  Though the expressions be lost, if the impressions remain, it is well. – Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

“Love to God and Love to Man”

These two elements – love to God and love to man – which His death, considered as a sacrifice, expresses, constitute the essence of virtue.  They are the principles into which every form of moral excellence may be ultimately resolved.  The extent to which they pervade the character and regulate the life – the degree, in other words, in which they are possessed – determines the moral worth of the possessor.  This degree is ascertained by the severity of the trials to which they are exposed.  In the sacrifice of Jesus, therefore, we are to look for the measure of the intensity of His principles.  We are to study His character in the light of His sufferings. – James Henley Thornwell (1812-1862)

From: “The Sacrifice of Christ the Type and Model of Missionary Effort,” a sermon John 10.17-18, preached at First Presbyterian Church in New York, New York, on Sunday, May 18, 1856.

Devout Meditations (5)

I sympathize with your complaints but, if the Lord is pleased to make them subservient to the increase of your satisfaction, to wean you more and more from the world, and to draw you nearer to Himself, you will, one day, see cause to be thankful for them and to number them amongst your choicest mercies.  A hundred years hence, it will signify little to you whether you were sick or well the day I wrote this letter.

John Newton (1725-1807), from an undated letter to a Miss Thorpe

Works, Volume 2, Page 2*

*All references are to the 4-volume edition, published by the Banner of Truth Trust.

Matthew Henry (29)

This is a promise, and a precious promise it is, that the church of Christ shall continue in the world to the end of time.  As one generation of professing Christians passes away, another shall come, in whom the throne of Christ shall endure forever, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  It is a precious promise that all the living members of that church (Judah and Jerusalem are put for the inhabitants of that city and country [Matthew 3.5]) shall be established in their happiness to the utmost ages of eternity.  This new Jerusalem shall be from generation to generation, for it is a city that has foundations, not made with hands, but eternal in the heavens.

Matthew Henry (1662-1714), commenting on Joel 3.18-21.