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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Spurgeon On Christians Who Are Satisfied With Their Spiritual Condition

Charles H. Spurgeon

From the works of Charles H. Spurgeon

There are some whose conduct is all that we could wish, whose conversation is for the most part unctuous with the gospel, mid savory of truth ; but even they will confess to a . . . charge, which I must now sorrowfully bring against them and against myself; namely, that there is too little real communion with Jesus Christ. If thanks to divine grace, we are enabled to keep our conduct tolerably consistent, and our lives unblemished, yet how much have we to cry out against ourselves, from a lack of that holy fellowship with Jesus which is the high mark of the true child of God Brethren, let me ask some of you how long it is since you have had a love-visit from Jesus Christ—how long since you could say, “My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies?” How long is it since “he brought you into his banqueting house, and his banner over you was love?” Perhaps some of you will be able to say, “It was but this morning that I saw him; I beheld his face with joy, and was ravished with his countenance.” But I fear the greatest part of you will have to say, “Ah, sir, for months I have been without the shinings of his countenance.” What have you been doing, then, and what has been your way of life? Have you been groaning every day? Have you been weeping every minute? “No!” Then you ought to have been. I can not understand how your piety can be of any very brilliant order, if you can live without the sunlight of Christ, and yet be happy. Christians will lose sometimes the society of Jesus; the connection between themselves and Christ will be at times severed, as to their own feeling of it; but they will always groan and cry when they lose their Jesus. What! is Christ thy Brother, and does he live in thine house, and yet thou hast not spoken to him for a month? I fear there is little love between thee and thy Brother, for thou hast had no conversation with him for so long. What! is Christ the Husband of his church, and has she had no fellowship with him for all this time? Brethren, let me not condemn you, let me not even judge you, but let your conscience speak. Mine shall, and so shall yours. Have we not too much forgotten Christ? Have we not lived too much without him? Have we not been contented with the world, instead of desiring Christ? Have we been, all of us, like that little ewe lamb that did drink out of the master’s cup, and feed from his table? Have we not rather been content to stray upon the mountains, feeding anywhere but at home? I fear many of the troubles of our heart spring from want of communion with Jesus. Not many of us are the kind of men who, living with Jesus, his secrets must know. O! no; we live too much without the light of his countenance; and are too happy when he is gone from us. Let us, each of us, then, for I am sure we have each of us need, in some measure, put up the prayer, “O Lord, revive thy work!” Ah! methinks I hear one professor saying, “Sir, I need no revival in my heart; I am everything I wish to be.” Down on your knees, my brethren! down on your knees for him! He is the man that most needs to be prayed for. He says that he needs no revival in his soul; but he needs a revival of his humility, at any rate. If he supposes that he is all that he ought to be, and if he knows that he is all he wishes to be, he has very mean notions of what a Christian is, or of what a Christian should be, and very unjust ideas of himself. Those are in the best condition who, while they know they want reviving, yet feel their condition and groan under it. (The True Essence of Revival)

Matthew Henry On Repentance

Matthew Henry

Quoting Matthew Henry:

Some people do not like to hear much of repentance; but I think it is so necessary that if I should die in the pulpit, I would desire to die preaching repentance, and if out of the pulpit I would desire to die practicing it.

Ayn Rand On Consequences

Quoting philosopher and writer Ayn Rand:

“We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.”

Thomas Brooks On Christ’s Love For Us

Thomas Brooks

From the pen of Thomas Brooks:

Let us stand still, and admire and wonder at the love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners; that Christ should rather die for us, than for the angels. They were creatures of a more noble extract, and in all probability might have brought greater revenues of glory to God: yet that Christ should pass by those golden vessels, and make us vessels of glory, Oh, what amazing and astonishing love is this! This is the envy of devils and the admiration of angels and saints.

The apostle, being in a holy admiration of Christ’s love, affirms it to pass knowledge, Eph. iii. 18, 19; that God, who is the eternal Being, should love man when he had scarce a being, Prov. viii. 30, 31, that he should be enamored with deformity, that he should love us when in our blood, Ezek. xvi., that he should pity us when no eye pitied us, no, not our own. Oh, such was Christ’s transcendent love, that man’s extreme misery could not abate it. The deploredness of man’s condition did but heighten the holy flame of Christ’s love. It is as high as heaven, who can reach it? It is as low as hell, who can understand it? Heaven, through its glory, could not contain him, man being miserable, nor hell’s torments make him refrain, such was his perfect matchless love to fallen man. That Christ’s love should extend to the ungodly, to sinners, to enemies that were in arms of rebellion against him, Rom. v. 6, 8, 10; yes, not only so, but that he should hug them in his arms, lodge them in his bosom, dandle them upon his knees, and lay them to his breasts, that they may suck and be satisfied, is the highest improvement of love, Isa lxvi. 11-13.

That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of his Father, to a region of sorrow and death, John i. 18; that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature, Isa. liii. 4; that he that was clothed with glory, should be wrapped with rags of flesh, 1 Tim. iii. 16; that he that filled heaven, should be cradled in a manger, John xvii. 5; that the God of Israel should fly into Egypt, Mat. ii. 14; that the God of strength should be weary; that the judge of all flesh should be condemned; that the God of life should be put to death, John xix. 41; that he that is one with his Father, should cry out of misery, ‘O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!’ Mat. xxvi. 39: that he that had the keys of hell and death, Rev. i. 18, should lie imprisoned in the sepulcher of another, having, in his lifetime, nowhere to lay his head; nor after death, to lay his body, John xix. 41, 42; and all this for man, for fallen man, for miserable man, for worthless man, is beyond the thoughts of created natures. The sharp, the universal and continual sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the cradle to the cross, does above all other things speak out the transcendent love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners. That wrath, that great wrath, that fierce wrath, that pure wrath, that infinite wrath, that matchless wrath of an angry God, that was so terribly impressed upon the soul of Christ, quickly spent his natural strength, and turned his moisture into the drought of summer, Ps. xxxii. 4; and yet all this wrath he patiently underwent, that sinners might be saved, and that ‘he might bring many sons unto glory,’ Heb. ii. 10.

Oh, wonder of love! Love enables Jesus to suffer. It was love that made our dear Lord Jesus lay down his life, to save us from hell and to bring us to heaven.

Enlightened Self Interest Vs. Big Government

John Stossel

From the desk of columnist John Stossel:

“I reread [‘Atlas Shrugged’] recently and was stunned. It was as if [Ayn] Rand had seen the future. Writing half a century ago, she predicted today’s explosion of big government in shockingly accurate detail. The ‘Preservation of Livelihood Law.’ The ‘Equalization of Opportunity Law.’ The ‘Steel Unification Plan.’ Don’t these sound like laws passed by the current Congress? All were creations of Rand’s villain, Wesley Mouch, the evil bureaucrat who regulates business and eventually drives the productive people out of business. Who is today’s Wesley Mouch? Barney Frank? Chris Dodd. Tim Geithner? … ‘Atlas’ is still a big bestseller today. This year, it reached as high as NO. 15 on Amazon’s bestseller list. Pretty amazing. Clearly there’s some magic in ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ The Library of Congress once asked readers which books made the biggest difference in their lives. ‘Atlas’ came in second, after the Bible. … The embrace of freer markets has lifted more people out of the misery of poverty than any other system — ever. The World Bank says that in just the last 30 years, half a billion people who once lived on less than $1.25 a day have moved out of poverty. But now, Wesley Mouch — I mean, Congress and the bureaucrats — tell us they are going to ‘fix’ capitalism, as if their previous ‘fixes’ didn’t hamstring the free market and create the problems they propose to solve. Who are they kidding? Rand had it right. She learned it the hard way in Soviet Russia. What makes a country work is leaving people free — free to take risks, to invent things — and to keep the rewards of their work. Critics say Ayn Rand promotes selfishness. I call it ‘enlightened self interest.’ When free people act in their own self-interest, society prospers.”

Read more here. . . .

Martin Luther On Christ

Quoting Martin Luther:

“Christ took our sins and the sins of the whole world as well as the Father’s wrath on his shoulders, and he has drowned them both in himself so that we are thereby reconciled to God and become completely righteous.”

Benjamin Franklin On Providence

Benjamin Franklin

Quoting Benjamin Franklin:

“All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. … Have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without His notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?”

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