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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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Two Great Truths

Bishop J. C. RyleNow the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name The Angel and MaryImmanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25 ESV)

Bishop J.C. Ryle:

These verses begin by telling us two great truths. They tell us how the Lord Jesus Christ took our nature upon Him, and became man. They tell us also that His birth was miraculous. His mother Mary was a virgin.

These are very mysterious subjects. They are depths, which we have no line to fathom. They are truths, which we have not mind enough to comprehend. Let us not attempt to explain things which are above our feeble reason. Let us be content to believe with reverence, and not speculate about matters which we cannot understand. Enough for us to know, that with Him who made the world nothing is impossible. Let us rest in the words of the Apostles’ Creed:

“Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary.” (Expository Thoughts on Matthew)

Bishop J.C. Ryle: Reading the Bible

Bishop J. C. Ryle

Bishop J.C. Ryle:

Let us thank God daily for giving us the Scriptures. The poorest Englishman who understands his Bible, knows more about religion than the wisest philosophers of Greece and Rome.

Let us remember our deep responsibility. We shall all be judged at the last day according to our light. To whomsoever much is given, of them much will be required.

Let us read our Bibles reverently and diligently, with an honest determination to believe and practice all we find in them. It is no light matter how we use this book. Eternal life or death depends on the spirit in which it is used.

Above all let us humbly pray for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. He alone can apply truth to our hearts, and make us profit by what we read. (Expository Thoughts on Matthew)

J.C. Ryle: Commenting on Mt. 1:18-25

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

The name JESUS means “Savior.” It is the same name as Joshua in the Old Testament. It is given to our Lord because “He saves His people from their sins.” This is His special office. He saves them from the guilt of sin, by washing them in His own atoning blood. He saves them from the dominion of sin, by putting in their hearts the sanctifying Spirit. He saves them from the presence of sin, when He takes them out of this world to rest with Him. He will save them from all the consequences of sin, when He shall give them a glorious body at the last day. Blessed and holy are Christ’s people! From sorrow, cross, and conflict they are not saved. But they are saved from sin for evermore. They are cleansed from guilt by Christ’s blood. They are made fit for heaven by Christ’s Spirit. This is salvation. He who cleaves to sin is not yet saved. (Expository Thoughts on Matthew)

J. C. Ryle: What is the State of Your Heart?

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthew:

…there may be knowledge of Scripture in the head, while there is no grace in the heart. Mark how king Herod sends to inquire of the priests and elders “where the Christ would be born.” Mark what a ready answer they return him, and what an acquaintance with the letter of Scripture they show. But they never went to Bethlehem to seek for the coming Savior. They would not believe in Him, when He ministered among them. Their heads were better than their hearts. Let us all beware of resting satisfied with head-knowledge. It is an excellent thing, when rightly used. But a man may have much of it, and yet perish everlastingly. What is the state of our hearts? This is the great question. A little grace is better than many gifts. Gifts alone save no one. But grace leads on to glory. (Commenting on Mt. 2:1-12)

~ J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthew

 

True Christians

J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle (Commenting on Mt. 2:13-23):

True Christians should never be greatly moved by the persecution of man. Their enemies may be strong, and they may be weak; but still they ought not to be afraid. They should remember that “the triumphing of the wicked is but short.” What has become of the Pharaohs and Neros and Diocletians, who at one time fiercely persecuted the people of God? Where is the enmity of Charles the Ninth of France, and Bloody Mary of England? They did their utmost to cast the truth down to the ground. But the truth rose again from the earth, and still lives; and they are dead, and moldering in the grave. Let not the heart of any believer fail. Death is a mighty leveler, and can take any mountain out of the way of Christ’s church. “The Lord lives” forever. His enemies are only men. The truth shall always prevail. (Expository Thoughts on Matthew)

 

It is not Always Easy to have Faith

Faith in GodIt is not always easy to have faith. As a Christian, there are times when it seems I am plagued by doubts in various areas of my life. Many people have doubts about their faith in God. Some begin to doubt if the Bible is really the Word of God. Some believe there is a God, but have doubts that He is personally concerned about them. It is easy to doubt when you see evil men prosper and good men tortured by injustice. It is easy to doubt when it seems that the whole world is running in the opposite direction from God. It is easy to doubt that the Christian way is the right way, when the culture tells you that your irrational selfish desires are all that matter in life.

James spoke rightly, when he said, “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (1:6) The troubled soul has many doubts which keep him from communion with Christ. If you doubt, you must run to Christ for the remedy. You will be strengthened there. Charles Spurgeon directs this question to each of us: “Where do you live? Many a believer lives in the ‘cottage of doubt,’ when he might live in the ‘mansion of faith.’”

Paul reminds Timothy, “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’. . . .” (1 Timothy 6:20) We must ever be on guard against the doubt, which destroys faith. Jesus describes what happens to the good seeds of faith when not tended properly: “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22) The thorns of doubt are planted by Satan and they grow quickly when the garden is not weeded.

Therefore, guard your faith through regular communion with Christ. Pray and study that your heart would be full of the Scriptures. This will enable you to fight the doubts of dark times through confidence in the Word God.

Samuel at Gilgal

Professing Christians, Awake!

The language of this text is borrowed from natural sleep, in which a person is in a great measure unaware of what is happening around him but life remains in the body. This condition is applied to Christians who have grown insensitive to divine things – they sleep, but life remains in their souls. In particular, the exhortation is for those who find themselves in a state of spiritual slumber to shake off their drowsiness and awake to spiritual realities.

“Now it is high time to awake out of sleep” (Rom. 13:11).

Asahel Nettleton writes:

Consider the glorious future that awaits you. You who have long traversed the wilderness on your way to Zion, your struggles for eternal life will have an end. You who have long labored, prayed, and groaned to be delivered from the bondage of sin, “look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). This night you may wake up amid the song of angels, and a crown of glory may be placed on your head. Awake, then, and behold the glorious dawn of a bright new day!

Finally, consider the great danger of being deceived. A genuine Christian can never sleep sound without being disturbed. He inevitably will become frightened and wake up alarmed about his own condition. However, there are those who remain sound asleep and live at ease in Zion. They neither weep for their sins nor rejoice in the glory of God. Their hope of heaven is really only a pleasant dream while meanwhile they sink further into spiritual deception.

The Christian church is a net that gathers of every kind. Remember that ten virgins professed to be followers of Christ but only five were ready for the bridegroom. Many who now commune on earth will never meet in heaven. Many who now appear to us to be real Christians will, no doubt to our surprise, be found on the left hand of Christ, “for many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). Sadly, the sinner who has professed religion with a false hope can hardly be driven to give it up. However, it is far better to destroy such hope and for the person to conclude that he is lost than for him to awake too late. “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh . . . : lest coming suddenly he finds you sleeping” (Mark 13:35-36). At midnight the cry will be made. Then there will be a great confusion, for thousands will be deceived. Therefore, “let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (Rev. 3:1-3)

An Exhortation to the Rich

George Whitefield, in this excerpt, speaks to the socially prominent and wealthy:

And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:22 ESV)

Permit me only to add a word or two to the rich, and to persons that are freed from the business of this life.

But here I must pause a while, for I am sensible that it is but an ungrateful, and as some may imagine, an assuming thing, for such a novice in religion to take upon him to instruct men in high stations, and who perhaps would disdain to set me with the dogs of their flock.

But however, since St. Paul, who knew what best became a young preacher, commanded Timothy, young as he was, to exhort and charge the rich with all authority; I hope none here that are so, will be offended, if with humility I beg leave to remind them, though they once knew this, that if persons in the most busy employs are indispensably obliged to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling,” much more ought they to do so, who are free from the toils and encumbrance of a lower way of life, and consequently have greater opportunities to leisure to prepare themselves for a future state.

But is this really the case? Or do we not find, by fatal experience, that too many of those whom God has exalted above their brethren, who are “clothed in purple and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day,” by a sad abuse of God’s great bounty towards them, think that their stations set them above religion, and so let the poor, who live by the sweat of their brows, attend more constantly on the means of grace than do they?

But woe unto such rich men! For they have received their consolation. Happy had it been if they had never been born: for if the careless irreligious tradesman cannot be saved, where will luxurious and wicked gentlemen appear?

Let me therefore, by way of conclusion, exhort all persons, high and low, rich and poor, one with another, to make the renewal of their fallen nature, the one business of their lives; and to let no worldly profit, no worldly pleasure, divert them from the thoughts of it. Let this cry, “Behold the bridegroom cometh,” be ever sounding in our ears; and let us live as creatures that are every moment liable to be hurried away by death to judgment: let us remember, that this life is a state of infinite importance, a point between two eternities, and that after these few days are ended, there will remain no more sacrifice for sin; let us be often asking ourselves, how we shall wish we had lived when we leave the world? And then we shall always live in such a state, as we shall never fear to die in. Whether we live, we shall live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we shall die unto the Lord; so that living or dying we may be the Lord’s. (“Worldly Business no Plea for the Neglect of Religion”)

Vain Pursuits

The god of this world, and the addictive desire for the material goods of this earth, will blunt the conscience of a man until he will refuse to see the reasonableness of George Whitefield’s logic below:

And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:22 ESV)

[Is] eternal life, that free gift of God in Christ Jesus, to be purchased with money; or could men carry their flocks beyond the grave, to buy oil for their lamps, i.e. grace for their hearts, when they should be called to meet the bridegroom, there might be some reason why God might well bear with them: but since their money is to perish with them; since it is certain, as they brought nothing into the world, so they can carry nothing out; or supposing they could, since there is no oil to be bought, no grace to be purchased when once the lamp of their natural life is gone out; would it not be much more prudent to spend the short time they have here allotted them, in buying oil while it may be had, and not for fear of having a little less of that which will quickly be another man’s, eternally lose the true riches? . . .

And thus it will be with all unhappy men, who . . . are disquieting themselves in a vain pursuit after worldly riches, and at the same time are not rich towards God.

They may, for a season, seem excellently well employed in being solicitously careful about the important concerns of this life; but when once their eyes are opened by death, and their souls launched into eternity, they will then see the littleness of all sublunary cares, and wonder they should be so besotted [intoxicated] to the things of another life, while they were, it may be, applauded for their great wisdom and profound sagacity in the affairs of this world.

Alas! how will they bemoan themselves for acting like the unjust steward, so very wisely in their temporal concerns, in calling their respective debtors so carefully, and asking how much every one owes to them, and yet never remembering to call themselves to an account, or inquire how much they owed to their own great Lord and master? (“Worldly Business no Plea for the Neglect of Religion”)

Always the Same

Jesus will love us to the end; of His love there is no end. Time will be brought to a close, but His mercy will never end. The mercy of Christ endures forever. According to Thomas Adams:

“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” (Heb. 13:8)

Jesus Christ is the centre of this text; and not only of this, but of the whole Scripture. The sum of divinity is the Scripture; the sum of the Scripture is the gospel; the sum of the gospel is Jesus Christ; … There is nothing contained in the word of God, but God the word.

Nor is he the centre only of his word, but of our rest and peace. ‘I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified,’ 1 Cor. 2:2. Thou hast made us for thee, O Christ; and our heart is unquiet till it rest in thee. It is natural to everything … to desire the centre. But ‘our life is hid with Christ in God,’ Col. 3:3. We must needs amare (love), where we must animare (live). Our mind is where our pleasure is, our heart is where our treasure is, our love is where our life is; but all these, our pleasure, treasure, life, are reposed in Jesus Christ. Thou art my portion, O Lord,’ saith David. Take the world that pleases, let our portion be in Christ. ‘We have left all,’ saith Peter, ‘and followed thee,’ Matt. 19:27; you have lost nothing by it, saith Christ, for you have gotten me. … He is too covetous, whom Jesus Christ cannot satisfy. Let us seek this centre, saith Augustine: … Let us seek him till we have found him; and still seek him when we have found him. That seeking, we may find him, he is ready; that finding, we may seek him, he is infinite. You see the centre.

The referring line, proper to this centre, is Semper idem, ‘(Always) the same.’ There is no mutability in Christ; ‘no variableness, nor shadow of turning,’ Jam. 1:17. All lower lights have their inconstancy; but in the ‘Father of lights’ there is no changeableness. The sun hath his shadow; the ‘Sun of Righteousness’ is without shadow, Mal. 4:2; the sun turns upon the dial, but Christ hath no turning. ‘Whom he loves, he loves to the end,’ John 13:1. (“The Immutable Mercy of Jesus Christ”)

Filled with the Fullness of God

Christians are commanded to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and all other necessities shall be given unto them. Men are fearful, however, that if they should follow this command, all would be taken from them. George Whitefield writes:

And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:22 ESV)

[T]he eternal Son of God came down and shed his precious blood; for this end were we made, and sent into the world, and by this alone can we become the sons of God. Were we indeed to judge by the common practice of the world, we might think we were sent into it for no other purpose, than to care and toil for the uncertain riches of this life: but if we consult the lively oracles, they will inform us, that we were born for nobler ends, even to be born again from above, to be restored to the divine likeness by Jesus Christ, our second Adam, and thereby be made meet to inherit the kingdom of heaven; and consequently, there is an obligation laid upon all, even the most busy people, to secure this end; it being an undeniable truth, that all creatures ought to answer the end for which they were created.

Some indeed are for confining religion to the clergy, and think it only belongs to those who serve at the altar; but what a fatal mistake is this, seeing all persons are indifferently called by God to the same state of inward holiness. As we are all corrupt in our nature, so must we all be renewed and sanctified. And though it must be granted, that the clergy lie under double obligations to be examples to believers, in faith, zeal, charity, and whatever else is commendable and of good report, as being more immediately dedicated to the service of God; yet as we have been all baptized with one baptism into the death of Christ, we are all under the necessity of performing our baptismal covenant, and perfecting holiness in the fear of God: for the holy scriptures point out to us but one way of admission into the kingdom of Christ, through the narrow gate of a sound conversion: And he that does not enter into the sheepfold, whether clergy or lay-men, by this door, will find, to his everlasting confusion, there is no climbing up another way.

Besides, what a gross ignorance of the nature of true religion, as well as of our own happiness, does such a distinction discover? For what does our Savior, by willing us to be religious, require of us? But to subdue our corrupt passions, to root out ill habits, to engraft the heavenly graces of God’s most holy Spirit in their room; and, in one word, to fill us with all the fullness of God. (“Worldly Business no Plea for the Neglect of Religion”)

Christ Will Reign

There is only one way into the kingdom of God. It is the message of Hebrews and the Bible as a whole. There is only one way. It is by believing that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. It is by believing that Jesus Christ has taken our sins upon Himself and borne our punishment and thus reconciled us to God and opened to us the gate of the kingdom of God. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes:

This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:27-29 ESV)

A babe was born in a stable, not in a king’s palace, in a stable in a place called Bethlehem.

Why was He born in a stable? Because there was no room for them in the inn. Everybody booked their rooms in the hostelries, in the inns and though a poor pregnant woman comes along on the verge of giving birth to a baby, nobody would vacate the room. They would not do it then, they would not do it now! They said, ‘She should have booked her room earlier! Why should I go out?’ The selfishness of mankind. So the babe was born amidst the straw in a stable and the little child was put into a manger because there was no crib. Who is this? This is God’s eternal Son. They called Him Jesus, but He is very God of very God. God has visited and redeemed His people! ‘God so loved the world’ that had rebelled against Him and spat in His face as it were. ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ [John 3:16]. He is the King of the kingdom and He says so. He heals in the name of the kingdom; He invites people to come into His kingdom. ‘Come unto me’, He says, ‘all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ [Matthew 11:28]. And He has and He does and He alone can do so and the whole story of true Christianity is of this kingdom being extended. Men and women in every age and generation being added unto it. The kingdom of God is going on.

There are times like the present when it almost seems to be invisible – but it is still there and when men begin to deliver their obituary orations over the death of the Christian church, God revives her again and on she goes and thousands are added and the kingdom is going on and on and on – and it will go on until it is finally completed and the kingdoms of this world shall have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. (Revelation 11:15). Thank God in spite of all that is happening in this world tonight and it is black and it is dark, but as certainly as we are here God’s purposes are ever sure and Christ is going to reign over the whole world from shore to shore and pole to pole – and nothing will be able to resist Him. It is an absolute. (“A Kingdom Which Cannot Be Shaken”)

The Neglect of True Religion

No secular business, no matter how important, will justify the neglect of the thorough change of nature wrought in us by the operation of the Holy Spirit, preserved by grace with the manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit. George Whitefield explains in the excerpt below:

“Let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8:22)

St. Paul preaching at Athens, tells them, that as he passed by and beheld their devotions, he perceived they were in all things too superstitious. But was this apostle to rise [and could] come publishing the glad tidings of salvation in any of our populous cities, he would see no reason why he should charge the inhabitants with this; but rather as he passed by and observed the tenor of their life, say, I perceive in all things ye are too worldly-minded; ye are too eagerly bent on pursuing your lawful business; so eagerly, as either wholly to neglect, or at least too heedlessly to attend on the one thing needful.

There cannot then be a greater charity shown to the Christian world, than to sound an alarm in their ears, and to warn them of the inexpressible danger, of continually grasping after the things of this life, without being equally, nay a thousand times more concerned for their well-being in a future state. And there is still the more occasion for such an alarm, because worldly-mindedness so easily and craftily besets the hearts of men. For out of a specious pretense of serving God in laboring for the meat which perishes, they are insensibly lulled into such a spiritual slumber, as scarce to perceive their neglect to secure that which endures to everlasting life.

The words of the text, if not at first view, yet when examined and explained, will be found applicable to this case, as containing an admirable caution not to pursue the affairs of this world, at the expense of our happiness in the next.

They are the words of Jesus Christ himself: the occasion of their being spoken was this; As he was conversing with those that were gathered round about him, he gave one of them an immediate summons to follow him: but he, either afraid to go after such a persecuted master, or rather loving this present world, says, “Suffer me first to go home and bury my father,” or, as most explain it, let me first go and dispatch some important business I have now in hand. But Jesus said unto him, “Let the dead bury their dead;” leave worldly business to worldly men, let thy secular business be left undone, rather than thou should neglect to follow me.

Whether this person did as he was commanded, I know not; but this I know, that what Christ said here is personal, he has often whispered with the small still voice of his holy Spirit, and said to many here present, that rise up early and late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness, Come draw off your affections from the things of this life; take up your cross and follow me. But they, willing to justify themselves, make answer, Lord, suffer us first to bury our fathers, or dispatch our secular affairs. I say unto all such, “Let the dead bury their dead,” let your worldly business be left undone, rather than you should neglect to follow him.

From the words thus explained, naturally arises this proposition, that no business, though ever so important, can justify a neglect of true religion. (“Worldly Business no Plea for the Neglect of Religion”)

The Yoke of Sin

I pray that all who are burdened with sin and sinfulness, and desire to know how their sins may be forgiven and their souls saved – would hear the gracious words of the following text, and come to Jesus. John A. Broadus (1827-1895) writes:

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

But it is impossible that men should be without subjection to some higher power; by our very nature we look up to some Being that is above us. All who are not subject to God are the subjects of Satan: and they who wish to be delivered from the dominion of the Evil One, must find such deliverance in having God himself for their King, as he intended they should when he made them. Accordingly, when the Savior offers to give rest, he bids them take his yoke upon them, and learn of him, and they shall find rest unto their souls. And then he concludes the invitation by encouraging them to believe that this exchange will be good and pleasant; they labor under the galling yoke of Satan, and are heavy laden with the grievous burdens of sin, but his yoke is easy. This burden is light. . . .

The same bountiful and gracious Being who suits the blessings of his providence to our various wants, does also adapt the invitations of his mercy to the varied characters and conditions of men. Are men enemies to God? – they are invited to be reconciled. Have they hearts harder than the nether millstone? – he offers to take away the stone, and give a heart of flesh. . . Are they sleeping the heavy sleep of sin? – “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.” Are men hungering with a craving hunger? – he tells them of the bread that came down from heaven. Are they thirsty? – he calls them to the water of life. And are they burdened with sin and sinfulness? – he invites them to come to Jesus for rest. It is those who are “bowed down beneath a load of sin,” that are here especially invited to come to Jesus.

Sin is great and grievous burden: and no man can ever see it as it is and feel it in its weight without wishing to be relieved of it. My hearers, are there not many among you who have often felt this – who have often felt heavy laden with the load of your transgressions, and the burden of your sinfulness? Are there not those among you who feel this now? If you do not all feel so, it is because your perceptions are blunted, you do not see things as they are. You have been servants of sin for a long time – have you not found it a hard master? You have been wearing the yoke of Satan lo! These many years – have you not found that his yoke is indeed galling and grievous? How many things you have done at his bidding that you knew to be wrong? How often you have stifled the voice of your conscience, and listened to the suggestions of the Tempter! How often you have toiled to gratify sinful desires and passions, and found that still the craving, aching void was left unfilled!

What has sin done for the world and for you that you should desire it? It brought death into the world, and all our woe. It has filled the earth with suffering and sorrow. It has made it needful that Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, should suffer and die, to make atonement for it. It has brought upon you much of unhappiness now, and many most fearful apprehensions for the future. By your sins you have incurred the just anger of Him that made you-already they rise mountain high, and yet still you go on in your sinfulness, accumulating more and more, heaping up wrath against the day of wrath. You shudder when you think of death, you tremble when you think of God, for you know well that you are not prepared to die, that you cannot meet your Maker and Judge in peace. And not only has sin brought on you all these sufferings and fears, but you cannot rid yourself of it. . . .

If so, hear the Savior’s own invitation, and come to him. He will take off the heavy load that crushes you, and you shall find rest to your souls. He will intercede in your behalf before God, he will take away your guilt by the sacrifice he has offered, and he will “wash you thoroughly from your iniquity, and cleanse you from your sin.” (“Come Unto Me”)

The Purified Heart

Quoting J. C. Ryle:

A right heart is a PURIFIED heart (Acts 15:9; Matt. 5:8). It loves holiness, and hates sin. It strives daily to cleanse itself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1). It abhors that which is evil, and cleaves to that which is good. It delights in the law of God, and has that law engraved on it, that it may not forget it (Psalm 119:11). It longs to keep the law more perfectly, and takes pleasure in those who love the law. It loves God and people. Its affections are set on things above. It never feels so light and happy as when it is most holy; and it looks forward to heaven with joy, as the place where perfect holiness will at length be attained.

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