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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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The Advantage Of Being Earnest

Quoting E.M. Bounds:

There is neither encouragement nor room in Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes; all must be strenuous, urgent, ardent. Flamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delight heaven. God would have His children incorrigibly in earnest and persistently bold in their efforts. Heaven is too busy to listen to half-hearted prayers or to respond to pop-calls. Our whole being must be in our praying.

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The Comfort Of A Reproof

Thomas Watson (1620-1686) was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen year pastorate at St. Stephen’s, Walbrook. He showed strong Presbyterian views but in 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love’s plot to recall Charles II of England. He was released on June 30, 1652, and was formally reinstated as vicar of St. Stephen’s Walbrook. Watson obtained great fame and popularity as a preacher. Below, he writes about the godly man and his willingness to receive the reproof of the Word of God:

Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16 ESV)

A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word, but not the reproofs: ‘They hate the one who rebukes in the gate.’ (Amos 5:1O). ‘Their eyes flash with fire!’ Like venomous creatures that at the least touch spit poison, ‘When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.’ (Acts 7:54). When Stephen touched them to the quick, they were mad and could not endure it.

How shall we know that we love the reproofs of the Word?

When we desire to sit under a heart-searching ministry. Who cares for medicines that will not work? A godly man does not choose to sit under a ministry that will not work upon his conscience.

When we pray that the Word may meet with our sins. If there is any traitorous lust in our heart, we would have it found out and executed. We do not want sin covered, but cured. We can open our breast to the bullet of the Word and say, ‘Lord, smite this sin.’

When we are thankful for a reproof: ‘Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.’ (Psalm 141:5). David was glad of a reproof. Suppose a man were in the mouth of a lion, and another should shoot the lion and save the man, would he not be thankful? So, when we are in the mouth of sin, as of a lion, and the minister by a reproof shoots this sin to death, shall we not be thankful? A gracious soul rejoices when the sharp lance of the Word has pierced his abscess. He wears a reproof like a jewel on his ear: ‘Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to an obedient ear.’ (Proverbs 25:12).

To conclude, it is convincing preaching which must do the soul good. A nipping reproof prepares for comfort, as a nipping frost prepares for the sweet flowers of spring. (The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson, published by the Banner of Truth)

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