Sunday, 31 January 2016

The great idol!

The great idol!

(George Everard, "Backwards or Forwards — Which?" 1882)

"and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her." Ruth 1:14 

If you are faithful, if you live godly in Christ Jesus — you will find that the reproach of the cross has not yet ceased. In some shape or other, you will have to bear this burden for Him, who bore the terrible burden of your sin.

Orpah was unwilling to give up the idols of Moab — Baal, Ashtareth, and the like. She preferred them, to the thrice holy Jehovah whom Naomi worshipped.

With the professor now, as with Orpah then, it is no easy thing to give up the idols which hitherto have reigned in the heart. Bear in mind that . . .
  whatever you love best,
  whatever eclipses the Sun of Righteousness in your soul,
  whatever rules on the throne of the inner man
 — that is your idol, that is your God!

With Lot's wife, it was the society of Sodom.
With Balaam, it was Balak's silver and gold.
With the young ruler, it was his "great possessions."
With Demas, it was "this present evil world."

With you it may be one or other of these, or it may be something widely different. It may be...
  a friend or a relation,
  success in a lawful calling,
  the comfort of your own happy fireside,
  the praise of man, or
  some of the varied pleasures which the world offers.

But there is one idol more hard to part with than all these — I mean the great idol SELF! Self, in its thousand shapes, is ever claiming the first place in our hearts. Self-love, self-will, self-wisdom, self-importance, self-righteousness — all these are not easily cast out, and rise again and again to re-assert their power!

Be assured, my reader, that if any of these are uppermost, the day will most likely come that you will very plainly renounce that Saviour whom you profess to have chosen. Or if you should carry the name of Christian even to the end — yet you are not Christ's. He reckons you not one of His. You have not chosen that good part which can never be taken from you. He has said, "whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33. That is, unless Christ is so pre-eminent in your affections, that you are willing to forsake all, even life itself, when it comes into competition with Him — you cannot be numbered among those who follow Him.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The believer's lesson book!

The believer's lesson book!
(George Everard, "Beneath the Cross" 1877)

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Galatians 6:14

The cross of Christ is the believer's lesson book. The sufferings He bore for our sake, should be the subject of our constant meditation.

Nowhere, as in the Cross and in the scenes connected with it — do we see such revelations of the heart of Christ.

Mercy shines forth in her beauty...
  seeking pardon for His cruel murderers,
  compassionating the daughters of Jerusalem,
  and saving a sinner of the deepest dye!

Justice, too, stands forth in unsullied glory. In paying the debt of human guilt, in bearing the penalty of a broken law — Christ is seen to be a just God, as also a Saviour.

In our Lord's suffering and death, there is precious instruction for the believer in almost every matter belonging to the Christian life...
  what are the perils you are likely to meet with — and how best to overcome them;
  what should be your life in secret before God — and what should be your path in the world;
  what is your strength in the hour of temptation, and in the season of sorrow;
  how to crucify the world — and how to glorify God in the position which you occupy
 — all this may be learned in fellowship with our suffering Redeemer.

Beneath the Cross likewise, you may best learn to cultivate every Christian grace and virtue.
Meekness and courage,
zeal and love,
prayer and patience and forebearance,
and submission to the will of God —
are the fruits of a believing view of Christ's death.

You may learn, too, to conquer sin by the sight of that which it cost Christ to save you from it. The nail and the spear may be driven through the sins which have been most cherished. You may thus be enabled to crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts.

And beneath the Cross you may learn another lesson. You may learn how to die. Through death, Christ has destroyed the power of death — the sting is gone. To him who believes, death is life — for it is departing to be with Christ, which is far better.

Therefore let us often betake ourselves to Calvary. Let memory recall and ponder those hours on which our everlasting peace depends. Let our faith bridge over the centuries that have passed between. Let us go and stand in thought, beside the faithful women who were last at the cross, and first at the grave. Let us look again, and yet again, and discover new lessons of instruction and fresh grounds for the deepest contrition, as also for everlasting joy and thankfulness — beneath the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Search the Scriptures!

Search the Scriptures!
(George Everard, "A Talk about the Family Bible" 1878)

The word Bible signifies Book; and when we call it the Bible, we mean that it is the Book of books — the best Book, the wisest Book, the Book that will do us the most good of any in the world!

If all the other books in the world were destroyed, however great and irreparable the loss — if men still had the Bible, they would be far better off than if this were destroyed and all other books remained.

It is the Book that alone can tell . . .
  how sin can be forgiven,
  how temptation can be overcome,
  how trouble and sorrow can be met,
  how tears can be wiped away, and
  how death can be the gate of everlasting life.

It is indeed the best companion . . .
  for days of trial,
  for the day of sickness, and
  for the hour when we must part from all below!

Oh what a treasure is a well-read Bible! It is . . .
  a mine of gold,
  a hive full of honey,
  a field covered with a rich harvest.
It is a tree of life, of which every twig bears precious fruit.
It is an ocean full of pearls.
It is a river full of the purest water of life.
It is a sun whose beams warm and cheer the heart.
It is a bright star that can guide the pilgrim through the darkest night.
It is a granary stored with the finest of the wheat.
It is a medicine-chest, from which we may find a remedy for every malady of the soul.
It is a Mount Pisgah, from which we can view the promised land of Canaan.
All this and much more, is the Bible to those who love to search it and explore the depths of heavenly wisdom which it contains.

Dear reader, whatever you forget, never, never forget to read something out of this precious Book day by day.

The Scriptures warn against . . .
  the fear of man,
  the allurements of worldly pleasures,
  the snare of pride, and
  the temptation of doubt and unbelief.

Sunday, 10 January 2016


(Hannah More, "PRAYER")

Prayer is...
  the application of need, to Him who alone can relieve it,
  the confession of sin, to Him who alone can pardon it,
  the urgency of poverty,
  the prostration of humility,
  the fervency of penitence,
  the confidence of trust.

Prayer is...
  not eloquence, but earnestness,
  not the definition of helplessness, but the feeling of it,
  the "Lord, save us — or we perish!" of drowning Peter,
  the cry of faith, to the ear of mercy.

Adoration is the noblest employment of created beings.

Confession is the natural language of guilty creatures.

Gratitude is the spontaneous expression of pardoned sinners.

Prayer is desire — it is...
not a mere conception of the mind,
not an effort of the intellect,
not an act of the memory.

Prayer is...
  an elevation of the soul towards its Maker,
  a pressing sense of our own ignorance and infirmity,
  a consciousness...
      of the perfections of God,
      of His readiness to hear,
      of His power to help,
      of His willingness to save.

Prayer is not an emotion produced in the senses, nor an effect wrought by
the imagination — but a determination of the will, an effusion of the heart.

Sincere prayer gives...
  a tone to our conduct,
  a law to our actions,
  a rule to our thoughts,
  a bridle to our speech,
  a restraint to wrong passions,
  a check to ill tempers.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

I am sure I cannot endure to the end!

I am sure I cannot endure to the end!
(Letters of John Newton)

"but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Jeremiah 32:40

Jesus, to whom I have been led to commit myself, has engaged to save me, absolutely, and from first to last. He has promised not only that He will not depart from me — but that He will put, keep, and maintain His fear in my heart — so that I shall never finally depart from Him! And if He does not do this for me — I have no security against my turning apostate! For I am so weak, inconsistent, and sinful; I am so encompassed with deadly snares from the world; and I am so liable to such assaults from the subtlety, vigilance, and power of Satan — that, unless I am "kept by the power of God," I am sure I cannot endure to the end!

I do believe that the Lord will keep me while I walk humbly and obediently before Him; but, were this all — it would be cold comfort! For I am prone to wander — and need a Shepherd whose watchful eye, compassionate heart, and boundless mercy — will pity, pardon, and restore my backslidings!

For, though by His goodness and not my own — I have hitherto been preserved in the path of holiness; yet I feel those evils within me, which would shortly break loose and bear me down to destruction, were He not ever present with me to control them.

Those who comfortably hope to see His face in glory — but depend upon their own watchfulness and endeavours to preserve themselves from falling — must be much wiser, better, and stronger than I am! Or at least they cannot have so deep and painful a sense of their own weakness and vileness, as daily experience forces upon me. I desire to be found in the use of the Lord's appointed means for the renewal of my spiritual strength — but I dare not undertake to watch a single hour, nor do I find ability to think a good thought, nor a power in myself of resisting any temptation! My strength is perfect weakness — and all I have is sin.

In short, I must sit down in despair — if I did not believe that He who has begun a good work in me, will carry it out to completion.

"Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe" Psalm 119:117