Love Brought Christ

God could not, nor can, receive any additional good by our salvation. But it was love, mere love; it was free love that brought the Lord Jesus Christ into our world.

—George Whitefield, 1714-1770

Christmas Joy

Jesus Christ did not come into the world to help you to forget your sin. He has not come to furnish you with a cloak with which to cover it. He has not appeared that He may so strengthen your minds (as some men would have you believe) that you may learn to laugh at your iniquities, and defy the consequences thereof. For no such reason has the Son of God descended from Heaven to earth.

He has come, not to lull you into a false peace, not to whisper consolation which would turn out to be delusive in the end, but to give you a real deliverance from sin by putting it away, and so to bring you a true peace in which you may safely rejoice.

—Charles Spurgeon

Pursue Patience

Beg of God a waiting frame of spirit

As there is nothing more sinful in itself, nor more tormenting to ourselves in an evil day, than an impatient, hasty spirit, so there is nothing more conducive to our glorifying of God, nor to the quiet of our own spirits, than a silent waiting spirit.

This the God of heaven must give, and He gives it to them that ask Him

Beg of God those graces which may dispose you to this patient waiting. I might instance in many habits of grace necessary to bring the soul into this waiting temper, but I will touch only upon five:

  1. Beg faith of God, faith in His Word and promise. He that believes does not make haste. The hastiness and impatience of the soul is the result of distrust in God.
  2. Hope is another gracious habit which disposes the soul to waiting. We hope for what we see not. For what we see, why do we any longer wait for?
  3. Humility is a third. The proud soul thinks much to wait; he looks upon mercy as his due, and thinks that God has wronged him while He withholds it from him. The humble soul believes that it deserves nothing, and is therefore willing upon the least crevice of hope to wait on God.
  4. Pray for patience. A passive patience is necessary in order to the bearing of evils.
  5. Pray for meekness. A forward spirit is always a hasty spirit, and does not know how to wait.

—John Collinges, 1623-1690

Humility and Love

There must be humility if we mean to be at peace

For it is only by pride that men make contention, but humility pulls down the heart and makes it pliant and easy to be dealt with.

But where wrongs lie heavy, sin lies light; where those seem great, this seems little—which humility would easily remedy. For humility makes a man no thing in himself … he will not make a great matter of a small one, or stand up on his terms of reputation.

And thus the mind must be purified and qualified if you would have peace. Furnish the will with love and charity towards God and men. For when we think, “God loves me, bears with my infirmities, forgives me my offenses and trespasses,” this will cause us, out of love and thankfulness to God, to count it a very small matter to pass by and forgive the weaknesses of our brethren.

Besides, love is sociable. A good interpreter takes everything in the best way. It “suffereth long, is kind, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, beareth all things, seeketh not her own” (1 Cor 13:4-7).

Love puts aside all private claims, and shares all in common. It is not selfish, looking not on its own things, but on the things of others also, prizing their well-being even as its own.

—Robert Harris, 1581-1658
President of Trinity College at Oxford

Desiring the Presence of God

The glorious presence of God that the saints shall have of God in heaven is a great part of their happiness

Heaven would not be heaven without the presence of God. The presence of God in the most miserable place possible would be a greater happiness than the absence of God in the most glorious place possible.

David would not be afraid though he walked in the valley of the shadow of death, because God was with him (Ps 23:4). Luther would rather be in hell with God’s presence, than in heaven, God being absent. If the presence of God takes away the dread of the shadow of the valley of death and makes hell to be more desired than heaven, what will the presence of God make heaven to be? The three children in the fiery furnace with God’s presence were happy; how happy then are the saints with God’s presence in heaven?

The saints desire God’s presence even when He is angry; they hate to be out of His presence. In Psalm 51:9 David cried to God to hide His face from his sins, for God’s face was then an angry face against him. Yet in v. 11 he cried out again, “Cast me not away from thy presence.” He was not willing to be out of God’s presence.

Saint Augustine has this expression: “Whose face he fears, even his face he [desires].” God made rich promises to Moses, yet Moses could not be satisfied without the presence of God. “If thy presence be not with us, bring us not hence” (Exod 33:15). The apostle, when describing the misery of those that are damned, in 2 Thess 1:9 says, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.”

The presence of God needs to be the happiness of the saints.

—Jeremiah Burroughs

Do You Desire God?

Do you desire God?

Stir up and enlarge your desires

Let those narrow hearts open their mouths wide.

Say with the psalmist, “This one thing I desire; nothing but God, nothing but grace. Take corn and wine who will, take the gold and the silver who will, let the Lord God be mine, and that shall suffice me.” Desire God only, and follow after God fully. Psalm 63:8: “My soul followeth hard after thee.”

Friends, you have some wishes and some weaker desires after the Lord. Oh, quicken up these faint hearts. Look often at how worthy the Lord is of all your desires. What a jewel, what a treasure the grace of God is!

Look often heavenward

Get a sight of God and His glorious treasures; live more in the contemplation of His glory and goodness.

It is the sight of the object that must kindle and quicken desire.

You who have cold hearts heavenward, it is a sign that your eye is little on heaven. Believe it, some clearer views of the love, the goodness, the holiness, the kindness, and the glory of the Lord would whet your appetite, would put life into those dull desires, would make you hungry souls, and thirsty souls, and longing souls .

Oh, look often upward; dwell in the mountain of spices; get some taste and relish of the goodness of God by being more constantly conversant with Him, and this will pierce all your vessels. Your souls would stream forth in the words and sighs of the psalmist in Ps 42:1-2: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.”

—Richard Alleine

The Porch of Eternity

Life is the Porch of Eternity

Here the believer dresses himself that he may be fit to enter in with the Bridegroom.

We cannot say of a wicked man that life is his

Though he lives, yet life is not his; he is dead while he lives. He does not improve the life of nature to get the life of grace. He is like a man that takes the lease of a farm, and makes no benefit of it. He has been so long in the world, as Seneca speaks, but he has not lived. He was born in the reign of such a king, his father left him such an estate, he was of such an age, and then he died. There is an end of him; his life was not worth a prayer, nor his death worth a tear.

The privilege of life is a believer’s

Life to a child of God is an advantage for heaven. This life is given to him to make provision for a better life.

While he has natural life, he lays hold upon eternal life. How does he work out his salvation? What ado is there to get his evidences sealed? What weeping? What wrestling? How does he even take heaven by storm?

So that life is yours; it is to a child of God a season of grace, and seed-time of eternity. The longer he lives, the riper he grows for heaven.

The life of a believer spends as a lamp, he does good to himself and to others. The life of a sinner runs out as the sand; it does little good. The life of the one is as a figure engraved in marble; the life of the other as letters written in dust.

—Thomas Watson

Esteeming Heaven

A sound belief in things unseen will cause practical estimation of them, and that above all earthly things.

A glimpse of the heavenly glory as in a glass will cause the soul deliberately to say, “This is the chief desirable felicity; this is the crown, the pearl, the treasure; nothing but this can serve my turn.”

It will debase the greatest pleasures, or riches, or honors of the world in your esteem

How contemptible will they seem while you see God stand by, and heaven as it were set open to your view. You will see there is little cause to envy the prosperity of the servants of the world. You will pity them, as miserable in their mirth, and bound in the fetters of their folly and concupiscence, and as strangers to all solid joy and honor. You will be moved with some compassion to them in their misery, when they are braving it among men, and domineering for a little while. You will think, “Alas! Poor man! Is this all your glory? Do you have no better wealth, no higher honor, no sweeter pleasures than these husks?”

With such a practical judgment as you value gold above dirt, and jewels above common stones, you will value heaven above all the riches and pleasures of this world, if you have indeed a living, saving faith.

—Richard Baxter, 1615-1691

Future Redemption

There is yet a redemption to come, which is called the redemption of our body (Rom 8:23).

Of this redemption we have both the deposit and the seal, to wit, the Spirit of God (Eph 1:14, 4:30). And because the time to it is long, therefore we are to wait for it; and because it will be that upon which all our blessedness will be let out to us, and we also let into it, therefore we should be comforted at all the signs of the near approach thereof; “then,” says Christ, “look up and lift up your heads” (Luke21:28).

The bodies of saints are called the purchased possession

Possession, because the whole of all that shall be saved shall be for a temple or house for God to dwell in, in the heavens. A purchased possession, because the body; as well as the soul, is bought with the price of blood (1 Cor 6:14-20).

But what then does He mean by the redemption of this purchased possession? I answer, He means the raising it up from the dead: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death” (Hos 13:14).

And then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory”

This saying and that in Isaiah speak both the selfsame thing (1 Cor 15; Isa 25:8). And this was signified by Moses, where he speaks of the year of jubilee, and of the redemption of the house that was sold in Israel, how of that year it should return to the owner (Lev 25).

Our bodies of right are God’s, but sin still dwells in them

We have also sold and forfeited them to death and the grave, and so they will abide; but at the judgment day; that blessed jubilee, God will take our body; which originally was His, and will deliver it from the bondage of corruption, unto which, by our souls, through sin, it has been subjected.

He will take it, I say, because it is His, both by creation and redemption, and will bring it to that perfect freedom that is only to be found in immortality and eternal life.

And for this should we hope!

—John Bunyan, 1628–1688

A Piece of Heaven

A contented Christian carries heaven about him

For, what is heaven, but that sweet repose and full contentment that the soul shall have in God? In contentment there are the first fruits of heaven. There are two things in a contented spirit, which make it like heaven.

  1. God is there

Something of God is to be seen in that heart.

A discontented Christian is like a rough tempestuous sea; when the water is rough you can see nothing there; but when it is smooth and serene, then you may behold your face in the water.

When the heart rages through discontent, it is like a rough sea, you can see nothing there, unless passion and murmuring; there is nothing of God, nothing of heaven in that heart: but by virtue of contentment, it is like the sea when it is smooth and calm, there is a face shining there; you may see something of Christ in that heart, a representation of all the graces.

  1. Peace of soul is there

O what a Sabbath is kept in a contented heart! What a heaven!

A contented Christian like Noah in the ark: though the ark were tossed with waves, Noah could sit and sing in the ark.

The soul that is gotten into the ark of contentment, sits quiet, and sails above all the waves of trouble; he can sing in this spiritual ark; the wheels of the chariot move, but the axle-tree stirs not; the circumference of the heavens is carried about the earth, but the earth moves not out of its center. When we meet with motion and change in the creatures round about us, a contented spirit is not stirred nor moved out of its center.

The sails of a mill move with the wind, but the mill itself stands still, an emblem of contentment; when our outward estate moves with the wind of providence, yet the heart is settled through holy contentment; and when others are like quicksilver, shaking and trembling through disquiet, the contented spirit can say, as David, “O God my heart is fixed” (Ps 57:7), what is this but a piece of heaven?

—Thomas Watson