“Preach Christ, always and evermore” by Charles Spurgeon

“Of all I would wish to say this is the sum; my brethren, preach Christ, always and evermore. He is the whole gospel. His person, offices, and work must be our one great, all-comprehending theme.

The world needs to be told of its Saviour, and of the way to reach Him. Justification by faith should be far more than it is the daily testimony of Protestant pulpits; and if with this master-truth there should be more generally associated the other great doctrines of grace, the better for our church and our age.

If with the zeal of Methodists we can preach the doctrine of Puritans, a great future is before us. The fire of Wesley, and the fuel of Whitefield will cause a burning which shall set the forests of error on fire, and warm the very soul of this cold earth.

We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel. Man’s fall, his need of a new birth, forgiveness through an atonement, and salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-axe and weapons of war.

We have enough to do to learn and teach these great truths, and accursed be that learning which shall divert us from our mission, or that wilful ignorance which shall cripple us in its pursuit.

More and more am I jealous lest any views upon prophecy, church government, politics, or even systematic theology, should withdraw one of us from glorying in the cross of Christ. Salvation is a theme for which I would fain enlist every holy tongue.

I am greedy after witnesses for the glorious gospel of the blessed God. Oh, that Christ crucified were the universal burden of men of God!”

–Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1875/2008), 87-88.

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“God’s glorious grace is the most dear to Him” by Thomas Manton

“Grace is wronged by intercepting the glory of grace. It is the greatest sacrilege that can be to rob God of His glory, especially the glory of His grace. Above all things in the world, God’s glory is the most dear to Him; He cannot endure to have a partner.

Especially is the glory of His grace dear to him; it is the whole aim of all His dispensations to glorify grace: Eph. 1:6, ‘To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.’

You rob God of His chiefest honour when you take the crown of glory that is due to grace, and put it upon your own head.”

–Thomas Manton, “Several Sermons Upon Titus 2:11-14″ in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, vol. 16 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1874), 45–46.

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“Childlike faith” by J. Gresham Machen

“What mars the simplicity of the childlike faith which Jesus commends is not an admixture of knowledge, but an admixture of self-trust. To receive the kingdom as a little child is to receive it as a free gift without seeking in the slightest measure to earn it for one’s self.

There is a rebuke here for any attempt to earn salvation by one’s own character, by one’s own obedience to God’s commands, by one’s own establishment in one’s life of the principles of Jesus; but there is no rebuke whatever for an intelligent faith that is founded upon the facts.

The childlike simplicity of faith is marred sometimes by ignorance, but never by knowledge; it will never be marred—and never has been marred in the lives of the great theologians—by the blessed knowledge of God and of the Saviour Jesus Christ which is contained in the Word of God.

Without that knowledge we might be tempted to trust partly in ourselves; but with it we trust wholly to God. The more we know of God, the more unreservedly we trust Him; the greater be our progress in theology, the simpler and more childlike will be our faith.”

–J. Gresham Machen, What is Faith? (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1925/1991), 95.

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“Moses had faith” by J.C. Ryle

“Moses had faith. Faith was the mainspring of his wonderful conduct. Faith made him do as he did, choose what he chose, and refuse what he refused. He did it all because he believed.

God set before the eyes of his mind His own will and purpose. God revealed to him that a Saviour was to be born of the stock of Israel, that mighty promises were bound up in these children of Abraham, and yet to be fulfilled, that the time for fulfilling a portion of these promises was at hand; and Moses put credit in this, and believed.

And every step in his wonderful career, every action in his journey through life after leaving Pharaoh’s court,—his choice of seeming evil, his refusal of seeming good,—all, all must be traced up to this fountain; all will be found to rest on this foundation. God had spoken to him, and he had faith in God’s word.

He believed that God would keep His promises,—that what He had said He would surely do, and what He had covenanted He would surely perform.

He believed that with God nothing was impossible. Reason and sense might say that the deliverance of Israel was out of the question: the obstacles were too many, the difficulties too great. But faith told Moses that God was all-sufficient. God had undertaken the work, and it would be done.

He believed that God was all wise. Reason and sense might tell him that his line of action was absurd; that he was throwing away useful influence, and destroying all chance of benefiting his people, by breaking with Pharaoh’s daughter. But faith told Moses that if God said ‘Go this way,’ it must be the best.

He believed that God was all merciful. Reason and sense might hint that a more pleasant manner of deliverance might be found, that some compromise might be effected, and many hardships be avoided. But faith told Moses that God was love, and would not give His people one drop of bitterness beyond what was absolutely needed.

Faith was a telescope to Moses. It made him see the goodly land afar off,—rest, peace, and victory, when dimsighted reason could only see trial and barrenness, storm and tempest, weariness and pain.

Faith was an interpreter to Moses. It made him pick out a comfortable meaning in the dark commands of God’s handwriting, while ignorant sense could see nothing in it but mystery and foolishness.

Faith told Moses that all this rank and greatness was of the earth, earthy, a poor, vain, empty thing, frail, fleeting, and passing away; and that there was no true greatness like that of serving God. He was the king, he the true nobleman who belonged to the family of God. It was better to be last in heaven, than first in hell.

Faith told Moses that worldly pleasures were ‘pleasures of sin.’ They were mingled with sin, they led on to sin, they were ruinous to the soul, and displeasing to God. It would be small comfort to have pleasure while God was against him. Better suffer and obey God, than be at ease and sin.

Faith told Moses that these pleasures after all were only for a ‘season.’ They could not last; they were all short-lived; they would weary him soon; he must leave them all in a few years.

Faith told him that there was a reward in heaven for the believer far richer than the treasures in Egypt, durable riches, where rust could not corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal. The crown there would be incorruptible; the weight of glory would be exceeding and eternal;—and faith bade him look away to an unseen heaven if his eyes were dazzled with Egyptian gold.

Faith told Moses that affliction and suffering were not real evils.—They were the school of God, in which He trains the children of grace for glory;—the medicines which are needful to purify our corrupt wills;—the furnace which must burn away our dross;—the knife which must cut the ties that bind us to the world.

Faith told Moses that the despised Israelites were the chosen people of God. He believed that to them belonged the adoption, and the covenant, and the promises, and the glory; that of them the seed of the woman was one day to be born, who should bruise the serpent’s head; that the special blessing of God was upon them; that they were lovely and beautiful in His eyes;—and that it was better to be a door-keeper among the people of God, than to reign in the palaces of wickedness.

Faith told Moses that all the reproach and scorn poured out on him was “the reproach of Christ;”—that it was honourable to be mocked and despised for Christ’s sake;—that whoso persecuted Christ’s people was persecuting Christ Himself;—and that the day must come when His enemies would bow before Him and lick the dust.

All this, and much more, of which I cannot speak particularly, Moses saw by faith. These were the things he believed, and believing, did what he did. He was persuaded of them, and embraced them,—he reckoned them as certainties,—he regarded them as substantial verities,—he counted them as sure as if he had seen them with his own eyes,—he acted on them as realities;—and this made him the man that he was. He had faith. He believed.

Marvel not that he refused greatness, riches, and pleasure.—He looked far forward. He saw with the eye of faith kingdoms crumbling into dust,—riches making to themselves wings and fleeing away,—pleasures leading on to death and judgment,—and Christ only and His little flock enduring for ever.

Wonder not that he chose affliction, a despised people, and reproach.—He beheld things below the surface. He saw with the eye of faith affliction lasting but for a moment,—reproach rolled away, and ending in everlasting honour,—and the despised people of God reigning as kings with Christ in glory.

And was he not right? Does he not speak to us, though dead, this very day? The name of Pharaoh’s daughter has perished, or at any rate is extremely doubtful.—The city where Pharaoh reigned is not known.—The treasures in Egypt are gone.—But the name of Moses is known wherever the Bible is read, and is still a standing witness that ‘whoso liveth by faith, happy is he.'”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 200–203.

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“The gospel and envy” by Jonathan Edwards

“The gospel scheme, all of it from beginning to end, tends to the contrary of this spirit of envy. The Christian form of doctrine doth abundantly hold forth those things which militate against a spirit of envy.

The things which they teach us of God are exceedingly contrary to it.

For there we are taught how far God was from grudging us the most exceeding honor and blessedness, and how He has grudged us nothing as too much to be done for us, and nothing as too great and too good to be given us.

He hath not grudged us His only begotten Son, that which was most precious and most dear of all to Himself.

For what was dearer to God than His only begotten, dearly beloved Son? He hath not grudged us the highest honor and blessedness in union with Him.

The doctrines of the gospel teach us how far Jesus Christ was from grudging us anything which He could do for or give to us.

He did not grudge us a life spent in labor and suffering.

He did not grudge us His own precious blood.

He hath not grudged us a sitting with Him on His throne in heaven, and being partakers with Him of that heavenly kingdom and glory which the Father hath given Him, and sitting with Him on thrones judging the world, though we deserve to be had in infinite contempt and abhorrence by Him.

The Christian scheme of doctrine teaches us how Christ came into the world to deliver us from the fruits of Satan’s envy towards us.

The devil being miserable himself envied mankind that happiness which they had, and could not bear to see our first parents in their happy state in Eden, and therefore exerted himself to the utmost to ruin them, and accomplished it.

The gospel teaches how Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil, and deliver us from that misery into which his envy has brought us.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, in Ethical Writings, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8, Ed. Paul Ramsey (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1749/1989), 224.

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“Earnestly seek humility” by Jonathan Edwards

“Let all be exhorted earnestly to seek much of an humble spirit, and to endeavor to be humble in all their behavior toward God and men. Seek for a deep and abiding sense of your comparative meanness before God and man.

Know God. Confess your nothingness and ill-desert before Him. Distrust yourself. Rely only on God. Renounce all glory except from Him. Yield yourself heartily to His will and service.

Avoid an aspiring, ambitious, ostentatious, assuming, arrogant, scornful, stubborn, willful, leveling, self-justifying behavior. And strive for more and more of the humble spirit that Christ manifested while He was on earth. Consider the many motives to such a spirit.

Humility is a most essential and distinguishing trait in all true piety.

It is the attendant of every grace, and in a peculiar manner tends to the purity of Christian feeling.

It is the ornament of the spirit.

It is the source of some of the sweetest exercises of Christian experience.

It is the most acceptable sacrifice we can offer to God.

It is the subject of the richest of His promises.

It is the spirit with which He will dwell on earth, and which He will crown with glory in heaven hereafter.

Earnestly seek, then, and diligently and prayerfully cherish a humble spirit, and God shall walk with you here below, and when a few days shall have passed, He will receive you in the honors bestowed on His people at Christ’s right hand.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, in Ethical Writings, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8, Ed. Paul Ramsey (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1749/1989), 251.

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“Love the infinitely condescending God” by Jonathan Edwards

The gospel leads us to love God as an infinitely condescending God. The gospel above all things in the world holds forth the exceeding condescension of God.

No other manifestation which God ever made of Himself exhibits such condescension as the Christian revelation does.

The gospel teaches how God, who humbles Himself to behold things in heaven, stooped so low as to take an infinitely gracious notice of poor vile worms of the dust, and to concern Himself for their salvation, so as to send His only begotten Son to die for them that they might be honored and brought into eternal fellowship with Him and the perfect enjoyment of Him.

So that the love to which the Christian revelation leads us is love to God as such a condescending God, and to such exercises of love as it becomes us to exercise towards a God of such infinite condescension, which are humble acts of love.

For there is no disposition of the creature more adapted to the condescension of the Creator than humility.

The condescension of God is not properly humility; because for reasons already mentioned, humility is a perfection only of those beings which have comparative meanness.

But yet God by His infinite condescension shows His nature to be infinitely far from, and opposite to pride. And therefore God’s condescending is called His humbling Himself. Psalms 113:6, ‘Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!’

And humility is the nearest and most proper conformity to the condescension of God that can be in a creature.

The gospel leads us to love Christ, as an humble person. Christ is one who is God-man, and so has not only condescension which is a divine perfection, but also humility which is a creature excellence.

The gospel holds forth Christ to us as one meek and lowly of heart, as the most perfect and excellent instance of humility that ever was, and one in whom were the greatest testimonies and expressions of humility in His abasement of Himself.

For He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death [Philippians 2:8]. Now the gospel leads us to love Christ as such an humble person, and therefore to love Him with such a love as is proper to be exercised towards such an one, which is an humble love.

And that the more, because the gospel leads us to love Christ not only as an humble person but a humble Savior, Lord and Head. If our Lord and Head be humble, and we love Him as such, certainly it becomes us who are His disciples and servants to be so.

For surely it does not become the servant to be prouder or less abased than his Master.

Matthew 10:24–25, ‘The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.’

John 13:13–16, ‘Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.’

Matthew 20:25–27, ‘Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.’

The gospel leads us to love Christ as a crucified Savior. He is a Savior and Lord who suffered the greatest ignominies, was put to the most ignominious death, though He was the Lord of glory.

This in many ways teaches His followers humility, and leads them to an humble love of Christ.

For by God’s sending His Son into the world to suffer such an ignominious death, He did as it were pour contempt on all that earthly glory which men are wont to be proud of, in that He gave His Son, the Head of all elect men, to appear in circumstances so far from earthly glory, circumstances of the greatest earthly ignominy.

Hereby the condescension of God appeared, and hereby Christ above all other things showed His humility, in that He was willing to be thus abased, and in thus humbling Himself and becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

And hereby Christ our Lord and Master and Head showed His contempt of earthly glory, and those things upon which men pride themselves.

If we therefore behave ourselves as the followers of a crucified Jesus we shall walk humbly before God and men all the days of our lives.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, in Ethical Writings, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8, Ed. Paul Ramsey (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1749/1989), 247-248.

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