• OVER 5,000 ARTICLES AND QUOTES PUBLISHED!
  • 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.

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,392,575 Visits
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,274 other followers

  • March 2021
    M T W T F S S
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • Recommended Reading

THE VOICE OF CHRISTMAS

christmas angelOn this Christmas morning, I pray that your thoughts are overwhelmed with the love of Jesus Christ. I am sharing with you this morning the following hymn by Charles Wesley in which the Gospel and evangelical theology are put to lyrics and music. Wesley took advantage of poetic license when he wrote about the angels singing. Actually, Luke 2:13 says: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,” (Luke 2:13 ESV) However, the fact that the angels were “saying” and not “singing” does not diminish the beauty or truth found in this Christmas favorite. By the way, George Whitefield helped Wesley rewrite his original lyrics into the final version we have today.

Hark the herald angels sing [say]
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing [say]
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christian+Christmas(“Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” by Charles Wesley, music by Felix Mendelssohn)

HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Continue reading

SINCERITY

George WhitefieldGeorge Whitefield:

“People want to recommend themselves to God by their sincerity; they think, ‘If we do all we can, if we are but sincere, Jesus Christ will have mercy on us.’ But pray what is there in our sincerity to recommend us to God? … therefore, if you depend on your sincerity for your salvation, your sincerity will damn you.”

 

PRESS FORWARD

George WhitefieldGeorge Whitefield:

Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you. Fight the good fight of faith, and God will give you spiritual mercies.

FACING OPPOSING FORCES

Samuel A Cain“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12 ESV)

There are times in life when we face opposition. This opposition may consist of personal antagonism or even hostility. People may disagree with us and try to obstruct our plans. They may challenge our character in order to raise disapproval toward us and our motives. Take up God’s cause on any issue and our old adversary, the devil, will raise his head in resistance.

The great English evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770) experienced this many times in his life. Whitefield sought to honor God even when he was falsely accused by his enemies. On one occasion, Whitefield received a malicious letter accusing him of wrongdoing. He replied, “I thank you heartily for your letter. As for what you and my other enemies are saying against me, I know worse things about myself than you will ever say about me. With love in Christ, George Whitefield.” He offered no defense because he was seeking to please God – not men.

Jesus Christ faced continuous opposition during His ministry on earth. He taught His followers to expect opposition as well. Jesus said: Continue reading

FAMILY

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“There is a great deal in the way in which a man walks in his house. It will not do to be a saint abroad and a devil at home! There are some of that kind. They are wonderfully sweet at a Prayer Meeting, but they are dreadfully sour to their wives and children. This will never do! Every genuine Believer should say, and mean it, ‘I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.’ It is in the home that we get the truest proof of godliness. ‘What sort of a man is he?’ said one to George Whitefield, and Whitefield answered, ‘I cannot say, for I never lived with him.’ That is the way to test a man—to live with him.” (1894,Sermon #2362)

“Family prayer and the pulpit are the bulwarks of Protestantism! Depend upon it, when family piety goes down, the life of godliness will become very low. In Europe, at any rate, seeing that the Christian faith began with a converted household, we ought to seek after the conversion of all our families and to maintain within our houses the good and holy practice of family worship.” (1891, Sermon #2222)

The Preacher and Preaching

PreachingIn the following excerpts, Al Martin describes how we may begin to distinguish great preaching from poor:

A thing is judged to be good or bad in terms of its proximity to an absolute standard. Of course, in the realm of what is effective or good preaching, there is no single, comprehensive standard. However, I believe we can glean from the Scriptures an accurate standard as to what good preaching is by examining the preaching of the prophets, of the apostles, and of our Lord Jesus Christ. Another basis of comparison is to be found in the lives, ministries, and sermons of the great preachers of past ages. When I use the term ‘great preachers’, I am not thinking of men who are renowned primarily for their ability to embellish the truth of God with great rhetorical effects, or who are known for their proficiency in the art of elocution. Rather, I am thinking of men who were instruments of God in moving other men Godward. Into this particular category I would place such men as Whitefield, M’Cheyne  Spurgeon, Edwards, Baxter and Bunyan. . . .

Let us consider together this matter of what is wrong with preaching in terms of the man who preaches. I wish to state a principle, illustrated from the Scriptures, and then to apply it in several specific areas. The principle is this: that unless we would degrade preaching to a mere elocutionary art, we must never forget that the soil out of which powerful preaching grows is the preacher’s own life. This is what makes the art of preaching different from all other arts of communication. A well-known actress may be famous for her ‘moral’ escapades. She may live like a common harlot. Yet she can enter the theatre at eight o’clock on a Wednesday night and play the role of Joan of Arc in such a way as to move the entire audience to tears. The way in which she lives may have no direct relationship with the exercising of her professional art. . . .

It is readily admitted that the Scriptures teach that there are times when men appear on the scene who have great ministerial gifts, but who are devoid of sanctifying grace [See Matthew 7:21-23]. The history of the church also records the deeds of men who were used sovereignly by God in the exercise of ministerial gifts who proved ultimately to be devoid of sanctifying grace. I believe, however, that this particular problem of deception would primarily apply to those engaged in the kind of ministry where they are not domiciled among their hearers long enough for their lives either to add or detract from the impact of their ministry. Therefore, limiting this principle to the context of pastoral preaching, I believe it is a valid rule [with some few exceptions] that powerful preaching is rooted in the soil of the preacher’s life. It has been said, ‘A minister’s life is the life of his ministry.’ If preaching is the communication of truth through a human instrument, then the particular truth thus communicated is either augmented or reduced in its effect by the life through which it comes.

The secret of the preaching power of Whitefield, M’Cheyne  and the other men I have already mentioned, is found not primarily in the content of their sermons or in the manner of their delivery. Rather, it is found in their lives. Their lives were so clothed with power, and they lived in such vital communion with God that the truth became a living principle when it came through such vessels. Their anointed lives became the soil of their anointed ministries. This principle is particularly true in the life of a resident pastor. The more you and I are known by our people; our influence will increase or diminish according to the tenor of our lives. (“What’s Wrong with Preaching”)

Fire in the Preacher’s Heart

George Whitefield once wrote, “The reason why congregations have been so dead is because they have dead men preaching to them. How can dead men beget living children?” G. Campbell Morgan writes:

In the true sermon there must always be passion. Our Lord’s testimony concerning John, His forerunner, was this: “He was a burning and a shining light” (John 5:35). It is one thing to shine; it is quite another to burn as well.

Half the sermons today – may I be forgiven if I am cruel – are failing because they lack the note of passion.

There is a tale told of that great English actor, Macready. An eminent preacher once said to him: “I wish you would explain something to me.”

“What is it? I don’t know if I can explain anything to a preacher.”

“What is the reason for the difference between you and me? You are appearing before crowds night after night with fiction, and the crowds come wherever you go. I am preaching the essential and unchangeable truth, and I am not getting any crowd at all.”

Macready’s answer was this: “That is quite simple. I can tell you the difference between us. I present the fiction as though it were fact; you present the fact as though it were fiction.”

I leave that story right at this point. Of course the question comes, whether a man can preach these things without passion if they are truth to him. I don’t know; I must not sit in judgment on other men. But our theme as preachers of the Word has to do with the glory of life – with the tragedy of sin, and its remedy; I cannot see how anyone can really handle these things until he is handled by them.

A man was formerly said to “handle his text.” If he handles his text he cannot preach at all. But when his text handles him, when it grips and masters and possesses him, and in experience he is responsive to the thing he is declaring, having conviction of the supremacy of truth and experience of the power of truth, I think that must create passion.

I am not arguing for mere excitement. Painted fire never burns, and an imitated enthusiasm is the most empty thing that can possibly exist in a preacher. Given the preacher with a message from the whole Bible, seeing its bearing on life at any point, I cannot personally understand that man not being swept sometimes right out of himself by the fire and the force and the fervor of his work. (“Preaching With Passion”)

Following Christ

George Whitefield enjoyed his greatest triumph during his month-long tour through New England (1739). Welcomed by ministers and officials of colonies and towns, he found shops closed and business suspended during his stays, thousands of people at his heels, and many following him to the next town. Whitefield’s Boston visit lasted 10 days. Met on the road by a committee of ministers and conducted into the town, he found all meetinghouses except King’s Chapel open to him. He preached in all of them and also on the Common, where thousands could assemble. The contemporary record was set down in superlatives. Benjamin Colman’s words are typical: “admired and followed beyond any man that ever was in America.” The following is an excerpt from a sermon by Whitefield:

[T]hat I may know him and the power of his resurrection. . . . (Philippians 3:10 ESV)

The devils themselves cannot but believe the doctrine of the resurrection, and tremble; but yet they continue devils, because the benefits of this resurrection have not been applied to them, nor have they received a renovating power from it, to change and put off their diabolical nature. And so, unless we not only profess to know, but also feel that Christ is risen indeed, by being born again from above, we shall be as far from the kingdom of God as they: our faith will be as ineffectual as the faith of devils.

Nothing has done more harm to the Christian world, nothing has rendered the cross of Christ of less effect, than a vain supposition, that religion is something without us. Whereas we should consider, that every thing that Christ did outwardly, must be done over again in our souls; or otherwise, the believing there was such a divine person once on earth, who triumphed over hell and the grave, will profit us no more, than believing there was once such a person as Alexander, who conquered the world.

As Christ was born of the Virgin’s womb, so must he be spiritually formed in our hearts. As he died for sin, so must we die to sin. And as he rose again from the dead, so must we also rise to a divine life.

None but those who have followed him in this regeneration, or new-birth, shall sit on thrones as approvers of his sentence, when he shall come in terrible majesty to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

It is true, as for the outward work of our redemption, it was a transient act, and was certainly finished on the cross, but the application of that redemption to our hearts, is a work that will continue always, even unto the end of the world.

So long as there is an elect man breathing on the earth, who is naturally engendered of the offspring of the first Adam, so long must the quickening spirit, which was purchased by the resurrection of the second Adam, that Lord from heaven, be breathing upon his soul.

For though we may exist by Christ, yet we cannot be said to exist in him, till we are united to him by one spirit, and enter into a new state of things, as certainly as he entered into a new state of things, after that he rose from the dead.

We may throng and crowd about Christ, and call him “Lord, Lord,” when we come to worship before his footstool; but we have not effectually touched him, till by a lively faith in his resurrection, we perceive a divine virtue coming out of him, to renew and purify our souls. (“The Power of Christ’s Resurrection”)

The Necessity Of Christ’s Resurrection

Throughout this week, I will be sharing with you some of the best of classic Easter sermons. I pray that each excerpt from the chosen sermons will inspire you to desire to know Jesus as your greatest treasure. George Whitefield writes:

[T]hat I may know him and the power of his resurrection. . . . (Philippians 3:10 ESV)

That Jesus should rise from the dead was absolutely necessary; on his own account. He had often appealed to this as the last and most convincing proof he would give them that he was the Messiah, “There shall no other sign be given you, than the sign of the prophet Jonas.” And again, “Destroy this temple of my body, and in three days I will build it up.” Which words his enemies remembered, and urged it as an argument, to induce Pilate to grant them a watch, to prevent his being stolen out of the grave. “We know that deceiver said, whilst he was yet alive, after three days I will rise again.” So that had he not risen again, they might have justly said, we know that this man was an impostor. It was necessary on our account. “He rose again” (says the apostle) for our justification;” or that the debt we owed to God for our sins, might be fully satisfied and discharged.

It had pleased the Father (for ever adored be his infinite love and free grace) to wound his only Son for our transgressions, and to arrest and confine him in the prison of the grave, as our surety for the guilt we had contracted by setting at naught his commandments. Now had Christ continued always in the grave, we could have had no more assurance that our sins were satisfied for, than any common debtor can have of his creditor’s being satisfied, whilst his surety is kept confined. But he being released from the power of death, we are thereby assured, that with his sacrifice God was well pleased, that our atonement was finished on the cross, and that he hath made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the world.

It was necessary that our Lord Jesus should rise again from the dead, to assure us of the certainty of the resurrection of our own bodies. . . . [T]he resurrection of Jesus Christ put it out of dispute. For as he acted as our representative, if he our head be risen, then must we also, who are his members, rise with him. And as in the first Adam we all died, even so in him our second Adam we must all, in this sense, be made alive. . . .

Never was any matter of fact better attested; never were more precautions made use of to prevent a cheat. He was buried in a sepulcher, hewn out of a rock, so that it could not be said that any digged under, and conveyed him away. It was a sepulcher also wherein never man before was laid; so that if any body did rise from thence, it must be the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Besides, the sepulcher was sealed; a great stone rolled over the mouth of it; and a band of soldiers (consisting not of friends, but of his professed enemies) was set to guard it. And as for his disciples coming by night and stealing him away, it was altogether improbable: For it was not long since, that they had all forsaken him, and they were the most backward in believing his resurrection. And supposing it was true, that they came whilst the soldiers slept; yet the soldiers must be cast into a deep sleep indeed, that the rolling away so great a stone did not awake some of them.

And our blessed Lord’s afterwards appearing at sundry times, and in divers manners, to his disciples, as when they were assembled together, when they were walking to Emmaus, when they were fishing: nay, and condescending to show them his hands and feet, and his appearing to above five hundred brethren at once, put the truth of his resurrection out of all dispute. . . .

But what need we any farther witnesses? Believe you the resurrection of our blessed Lord? I know that you believe it, as your gathering together on this first day of the week in the courts of the Lord’s house abundantly testifies.

What concerns us most to be assured of . . . is, whether we have experimentally known the power of his resurrection; that is, Whether or not we have received the Holy Ghost, and by his powerful operations on our hearts have been raised from the death of sin, to a life of righteousness and true holiness. . . .

Without this, though we may be moralists, though we may be civilized, good-natured people, yet we are no Christians. For he is not a true Christian, who is only one outwardly; nor have we therefore a right, because we daily profess to believe that Christ rose again the third day from the dead. But he is a true Christian who is one inwardly; and then only can we be styled true believers, when we not only profess to believe, but have felt the power of our blessed Lord’s rising from the dead, by being quickened and raised by his Spirit, when dead in trespasses and sins, to a thorough newness both of heart and life. (“The Power of Christ’s Resurrection”)

Do You Really Have Christ In Your Heart?

From the pen of George Whitefield:

“If a person is what the world calls an honest moral man, if he does justly, and, what the world calls, love a little mercy, is not and then good-natured, reacheth out his hand to the poor, receives the sacrament once or twice a year, and is outwardly sober and honest; the world looks upon such an one as a Christian indeed, and doubtless we are to judge charitably of every such person. There are many likewise, who go on in a round of duties, a model of performances, that think they shall go to heaven; but if you examine them, though they have a Christ in their heads, they have no Christ in their hearts.”

George Whitefield: The Care Of The Soul

In the words of George Whitefield (1714 – 1770):

It was the amiable character of our blessed Redeemer, that “he went about doing good,” this great motive, which animated all his actions, brought him to the house of his friend Lazarus, at Bethany, and directed his behavior there. Though it was a season of recess from public labor, our Lord brought the sentiments and the pious cares of a preacher of righteousness into the parlor of a friend; and there his doctrine dropped as the rain, and distilled as the dew, as the little happy circle that were then surrounding him. Mary, the sister of Lazarus, with great delight made one amongst them; she seated herself at the feet of Jesus, in the posture of an humble disciple; and we have a great deal of reason to believe, that Martha, his other sister, would gladly have been with her there; but domestic cares pressed hard upon her, and “she was cumbered with much serving,” being, perhaps, too solicitous to prepare a sumptuous entertainment for her heavenly master and the train that attended him. Happy are they, who in a crowd of business do not lose something of the spirituality of their minds, and of the composure and sweetness of their tempers. This good woman comes to our Lord with too impatient a complaint; insinuating some little reflection, not only on Mary, but on himself too. “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her, therefore, that she help me.” Our Lord, willing to take all opportunities of suggesting useful thoughts, answers her in these words, of which the text is a part, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful; and Mary, has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Alas, Martha! The concerns of the soul are of so much greater importance than those of the body, that I cannot blame your sister on this occasion: I rather recommend her to your imitation, and caution you, and all my other friends, to be much on your guard, that in the midst of your worldly cares, you do not lose sight of what much better deserves your attention.

Even The Cynic And The Scornful Are Not Immune To The Gospel!

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoted from the writings of Charles H. Spurgeon:

Mr. Thorpe was a member of an ‘infidel’ club. In those days infidelity was more blasphemous than now. This infidel society took the name of the “Hell Fire Club”. Among their amusements was that of holding imitations of religious services, and exhibiting mimicries of popular ministers.

Thorpe went to hear George Whitfield preach, that he might caricature him before his profane associates. He listened to Whitfield so carefully that he caught his tones and his manner, and somewhat of his doctrines.

When the “Hell Fire Club” met to see his caricature of Whitfield, Thorpe opened the Bible that he might take a text to preach from it after the manner of Whitfield. His eye fell on the passage, “Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” As he spoke upon that text he was carried beyond himself, lost all thought of mockery, spoke as one in earnest, and was the means of his own conversion!

He was carried by the force of truth beyond his own intention, like one who would play in a river, and is swept away by its current.

Even the scoffer may be reached by the arrows of truth! Scripture has often been the sole means in the hands of its divine Author of converting the soul.

“For the Word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.” (Hebrews 4:12) (From: “Means for Restoring the Banished” #950)

[It is reported that after his amazing conversion, Thorpe became a noted preacher of the gospel.]

The Holy Spirit May Still Give Us Sound Preachers

Charles H. Spurgeon

A church may be soundly asleep, but the Spirit of God can still awaken it. The cultural Christian, the careless believer, the slackest member of a church may, by the power of the Holy Spirit, yet be set on fire for God. Where once the people of a church were a cord of wet wood; now they burn with hunger for the Word of God. Such power too, may come to preachers when the Holy Spirit abides with them. Charles H. Spurgeon comments on this subject:

Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. (Haggai 2:4-5)

Know ye not the difference between the power that cometh of human oratory, and that which cometh by the divine energy which speaks so to the heart that men cannot resist it? We have forgotten this too much. It were better to speak six words in the power of the Holy Ghost than to preach seventy years of sermons without the Spirit. He who rested on those who have gone to their reward in heaven can rest this day upon our ministers and bless our evangelists, if we will but seek it of Him. Let us cease to grieve the Spirit of God, and look to him for help to the faithful ministers who are yet spared to us.

This same Spirit who of old gave to His church eminent teachers can raise up other and more useful men. The other day, a brother from Wales told me of the great men he remembered: he said that he had never heard such a one as Christmas Evans, who surpasses all men. . . . I asked him if he knew another Welsh minister who preached like Christmas Evans. “No,” he said, “we have no such man in Wales in our days.” So in England we have . . . [no] Whitefield, nor any of [his] order; yet, as with God is the residue of the Spirit, He can fetch out from some chimney-corner another Christmas Evans, or find in our Sunday-school another George Whitefield, who shall declare the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Let us never fear for the future, or despair for the present, since the Spirit of God remaineth with us. What if the growing error of the age should have silenced the last tongue that speaks out the old gospel, let not faith be weakened. I hear the tramp of legions of soldiers of the cross. I hear the clarion voices of hosts of preachers. “The Lord gave the word; great was the company of those that published it.” Have faith in God through our Lord Jesus Christ! When He ascended on high He led captivity captive, and received gifts for men. He then gave apostles, teachers, preachers, and evangelists, and He can do the like again. Let us fall back upon the eternal God, and never be discouraged for an instant. (“The Abiding of the Spirit”)

How May We See Our Real And Proper Likeness?

 

George Whitefield Preaching

George Whitefield was probably the most famous religious figure of the eighteenth century. Whitefield was a preacher capable of commanding thousands on two continents through the sheer power of his oratory. In his lifetime, he preached at least 18,000 times to perhaps 10 million hearers. The spiritual revival he ignited, the Great Awakening, became one of the most formative events in American history. His last sermon on this tour was given at Boston Commons before 23,000 people, likely the largest gathering in American history to that point. In this excerpt from one of his sermons, Whitefield helps his audience to understand their true nature and their necessity for Christ in order to gain salvation:

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

I am sensible, that many are offended, when mankind are compared to beasts and devils. And they might have some shadow of reason for being so, if we asserted in a physical sense, that they were really beasts and really devils. . . . But when we make use of such shocking comparisons . . . we would be understood only in a moral sense; and in so doing, we assert no more than some of the most holy men of God have said of themselves. . . . Our stupidity, proneness to fix our affections on the things of the earth, and our eagerness to make provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof, evidence us to be earthly and brutes!; and our mental passions, anger, hatred, malice, envy, and such like, prove with equal strength, that we are also devilish. Both together conspire to evince, that in respect to his affections, as well as his understanding and will, man deservedly may be termed a piece of marred clay. . . .

But this is not all, we have yet more evidence to call; for do the blindness of our understandings, the perverseness of our will, the rebellion of our affections, the corruption our consciences, the depravity of our reason prove this charge; and does not present disordered frame and constitution of our bodies confirm the same also? Doubtless in this respect, man, in the most literal sense of the word, is a piece of marred clay. For God originally made him of the “dust of the earth.” So that notwithstanding our boasting of our high pedigrees, and different descent, we were all originally upon a level and a little red earth was the common substratum out of which we were all formed. Clay indeed it was, but clay wonderfully modified, even by the immediate hands of the Creator of heaven and earth. One therefore hath observed, that it is said “God built the man;” he did not form him rashly or hastily, but built and finished him according to the plan before laid down in his own eternal mind. . . .

This is the account, which the sacred volume gives us of this interesting point. This, this is that blessed book, that book of books, from whence, together with an appeal to the experience of our own hearts, and the testimonies of all past ages, we have thought proper to fetch our proofs. For, after all, we must be obliged to divine revelation, to know what we were, what we are, and what we are to be. In these, as in a true glass, we may see our real and proper likeness. . . . Had we kept our original integrity, the law of God would have yet been written in our hearts, and thereby the want of a divine revelation, at least such as ours, would have been superseded; but being fallen, instead of rising in rebellion against God, we ought to be filled with unspeakable thankfulness to our all bountiful Creator, who by a few lines in his own books hath discovered more to us, than all the philosophers and most learned men in the world could, or would, have discovered, though they had studied to all eternity. (Sermon: “The Potter and the Clay”)

A Marred Piece Of Clay

George Whitefield Preaching

If you have never read any of the biographies of George Whitefield, you should make it a priority on your reading list. I highly recommend the biographies shown in the lower right column of this site by Dallimore. Many men have such a high opinion of themselves that they believe that if there were a God – they certainly would not need Him. When George Whitefield preached salvation through Jesus Christ, he understood that it was important to tell the “bad news” as well as the “good news”. The following illustrates his method:

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done?” declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

Being made in the very image of God; undoubtedly before the fall, man had no other will but his Maker’s. God’s will, and Adam’s, were then like unisons in music. There was not the least disunion, or discord between them. But now he hath a will, as directly contrary to the will of God, as light is contrary to darkness, or heaven to hell. We all bring into the world with us a carnal mind, which is not only an enemy to God, but “enmity itself, and which is therefore not subject unto the law of God, neither indeed can it be.” . . . O man, whoever thou art, an infinitely more dangerous antichrist, because less discerned, even self-will, fits daily in the temple of thy heart, exalting itself, above all that is called God, and obliging all its votaries to say of Christ himself, that Prince of peace, “we will not have this man to reign over us.” God’s people, whose spiritual senses, are exercised about spiritual things, and whose eyes are opened to see the abominations that are in their hearts, frequently feel this to their sorrow. Whether they will or not, this enmity from time to time bubbles up, and in spite of all their watchfulness and care, when they are under the pressure of some sharp affliction, a long desertion, or tedious night of temptation, they often find something within rising in rebellion against the all-wise disposals of divine Providence, and saying unto God their heavenly Father, “what dost thou?” This makes them to cry (and no wonder, since it constrained one of the greatest saints and apostles first to introduce the expression) “O wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” The spiritual and renewed soul groans thus, being burdened; but as for the natural and unawakened man, it is not so with him; self-will, as well as every other evil, either in a more latent or discernible manner, reigns in his unrenewed soul, and proves him, even to a demonstration to others, whether he knows, or will confess it himself or not, that in respect to the disorders of his will, as well as his understanding, man is only a piece of marred clay.

%d bloggers like this: