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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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Things Bitter to the Flesh

John BunyanJohn Bunyan:

Do not even such things as are most bitter to the flesh, tend to awaken Christians to faith and prayer, to a sight of the emptiness of this world, and the fadingness of the best it yield? Doth not God by these things (ofttimes) call our sins to remembrance, and provoke us to amendment of life? How then can we be offended at things by which we reap so much good? … Therefore if mine enemy hunger, let me feed him; if he thirst, let me give him drink. Now in order to do this, (1) We must see good in that, in which other men can see none. (2) We must pass by those injuries that other men would revenge. (2) We must show we have grace and that we are made to bear what other men are not acquainted with. (4) Many of our graces are kept alive, by those very things that are the death of other men’s souls. . . .

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The Evidence

Thomas ArnoldThomas Arnold:

The evidence for our Lord’s life and death and resurrection … has been shown to be satisfactory; it is good according to the common rules for distinguishing good evidence from bad. Thousands and tens of thousands of persons have gone through it piece by piece as carefully as every judge summing upon a most important case. I have myself done it many times over, not to persuade others but to satisfy myself. I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.

Light and Darkness

Charles H. SpurgeonHow many people are astonished at the failure of their hopes? They wish to spend their days in the light of the sun; however, they are amazed to find themselves walking in darkness. I pray that soon they will no longer look through a dark windowpane  at the banquet of the Lord, but will sit at the table, and feed upon Christ. Charles H. Spurgeon describes the condition in this manner:

We hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. (Isaiah 59:9 ESV)

I address those who sincerely want to obtain the true and heavenly light, who have waited hoping to receive it, but instead of obtaining it are in a worse, at least in a sadder, state than they were. They are almost driven into the dark foreboding that for them no light will ever come, they shall be prisoners chained forever in the valley of the shadow of death. These people are in some degree aware of their natural darkness. They are looking for light. They are not content with their obscurity, they are waiting for brightness. There are a few who are not content to be what their first birth has made them; they discover in their nature much evil and would be glad to get rid of it; they find in their understanding much ignorance, and they long to be illuminated; they do not understand Scripture when they read it, and though they hear gospel terms, they still fail to grasp gospel-thought. They pant to escape from this ignorance, they desire to know the truth, which saves the soul; and their desire is not only to know it in theory, but also to know it by its practical power upon their inner selves. They really and anxiously want to be delivered from the state of nature, which they feel to be a dangerous one, and to be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God. . . .

Moreover, these persons have a high idea of what the light is. They call it brightness. They wait for it, and are grieved because it does not come. … You cannot think too highly of the blessings of grace; I would rather incite in you a sacred covetousness after them than in the remotest degree lower your estimate of their preciousness. Salvation is such a blessing that heaven hangs upon it; if you win grace you have the germ of heaven within you, the security, the pledge and earnest of everlasting bliss. So far, again, there is much that is hopeful in you. It is good that you loathe the darkness and prize the light.

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