“What a wonder!” by Stephen Charnock

“Now let us consider, what a wonder of power is all this: the knitting a noble soul to a body of clay, was not so great an exploit of Almightiness, as the espousing infinite and finite together.

Man is further distant from God, than man from nothing.

What a wonder is it, that two natures infinitely distant, should be more intimately united than anything in the world; and yet without any confusion!

That the same person should have both a glory and a grief; an infinite joy in the Deity, and an inexpressible sorrow in the humanity!

That a God upon a throne should be an infant in a cradle.

That the thundering Creator be a weeping babe and a suffering man.

These are such expressions of mighty power, as well as condescending love, that they astonish men upon earth, and angels in heaven.”

–Stephen Charnock, “On the Power of God” in The Existence and Attributes of God, vol. 2 (Robert Carter & Brothers, 1853), 63–64.

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“What a marvelous way of speaking!” by Martin Luther

“So far as justification is concerned, Christ and I must be so closely attached that He lives in me and I in Him. What a marvelous way of speaking!

Because He lives in me, whatever grace, righteousness, life, peace, and salvation there is in me is all Christ’s; nevertheless, it is mine as well, by the cementing and attachment that are through faith, by which we become as one body in the Spirit.

Since Christ lives in me, grace, righteousness, life, and eternal salvation must be present with Him; and the Law, sin, and death must be absent. Indeed, the Law must be crucified, devoured, and abolished by the Law—and sin by sin, death by death, the devil by the devil.

In this way Paul seeks to withdraw us completely from ourselves, from the Law, and from works, and to transplant us into Christ and faith in Christ, so that in the area of justification we look only at grace, and separate it far from the Law and from works, which belong far away…

But faith must be taught correctly, namely, that by it you are so cemented to Christ that He and you are as one person, which cannot be separated but remains attached to Him forever and declares: ‘I am as Christ.’

And Christ, in turn, says: ‘I am as that sinner who is attached to Me, and I to him. For by faith we are joined together into one flesh and one bone.’

Thus Eph. 5:30 says: ‘We are members of the body of Christ, of His flesh and of His bones,’ in such a way that this faith couples Christ and me more intimately than a husband is coupled to his wife.”

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 26: Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 26 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 167–168.

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“The fruit of free grace” by Thomas Brooks

“Look upon all that you have received, and all that you shall hereafter receive, as the fruit of free grace.

Look upon thy adoption, and write this motto, This is the fruit of free grace.

Look upon thy justification, and write this motto, This is the fruit of free grace.

Look upon all thy graces, and write, These are the fruits of free grace.

Look upon thy experiences, and write, These are the fruits of free grace.

Look upon thy strength to withstand temptations, and write, This is the fruit of free grace.

Look upon divine power to conquer corruptions, and write, This is the fruit of free grace.

Look upon the bread thou eatest, the beer thou drinkest, the clothes thou wearest, and write, These are the fruits of free grace.

1 Cor. 4:7, ‘Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou hast not received? and if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as though thou hadst not received it? Who maketh thee to differ?’

This age is full of such proud monsters, but an humble soul sees free grace to be the spring and fountain of all his mercies and comforts. He writes free grace upon all his temporals, and upon all his spirituals.”

–Thomas Brooks, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, in The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 3 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1661/1866), 39.

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“The weakest Christian” by Thomas Brooks

“The weakest Christian is as much justified, as much pardoned, as much adopted, and as much united to Christ as the strongest, and hath as much interest and propriety in Christ as the highest and noblest Christian that breathes.”

–Thomas Brooks, Heaven on Earth, in The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 2 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 338.

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“True zeal for Christ” by Charles Spurgeon

“True zeal will show itself in the abundance of a man’s labours and gifts. Zeal labours for Christ. My brethren, if you want a picture of zeal, take the Apostle Paul.

How he compasses sea and land! Storms cannot stay him, mountains cannot impede his progress. He is beaten with rods, he is stoned, he is cast into prison, but the invincible hero of the cross presses on in the holy war, until he is taken up to receive a crown of glory.

We do little or nothing, the most of us; we fritter away our time. O that we could live while we live; but our existence—that is all we can call it—our existence, what a poor thing it is!

We run like shallow streams: we have not force enough to turn the mill of industry, and have not depth enough to bear the vessel of progress, and have not flood enough to cheer the meads of poverty.

We are dry too often in the summer’s drought, and we are frozen in the winter’s cold. O that we might become broad and deep like the mighty stream that bears a navy and gladdens a nation.

O that we may become inexhaustible and permanent rivers of usefulness, through the abundant springs from whence our supply cometh, even the Spirit of the living God.

The Christian zealot may be known by the anguish which his soul feels when his labours for Christ are not successful—the tears that channel his cheeks when sinners are not saved.

Do not tell me of zeal that only moves the tongue, or the foot, or the hand; we must have a zeal which moves the whole heart.

We cannot advance so far as the Saviour’s bloody sweat, but to something like it the Christian ought to attain when he sees the tremendous clouds of sin and the tempest of God’s gathering wrath.

How can I see souls damned, without emotion? How can I hear Christ’s name blasphemed, without a shudder? How can I think of the multitudes who prefer ruin to salvation, without a pang?

Believe me, brethren and sisters, if you never have sleepless hours, if you never have weeping eyes, if your hearts never swell as if they would burst, you need not anticipate that you will be called zealous.

You do not know the beginning of true zeal, for the foundation of Christian zeal lies in the heart. The heart must be heavy with grief and yet must beat high with holy ardour.

The heart must be vehement in desire, panting continually for God’s glory, or else we shall never attain to anything like the zeal which God would have us know.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Zealots” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 11 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1865), 392–393. Spurgeon preached this sermon from Luke 6:15 on July 16, 1865.

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“He is king forever” by Herman Bavinck

“What a father is for his family, what an educator is for the young, what a commander is for the army, what a king is for his people—all that and much more God is in a totally original way for his creatures.

Not just one but all His attributes come to expression in the world and therefore need to be honored by us.

Now ‘kingship’ for one is a glorious divine institution as well. It not only confers on a people a unity symbolized in a person, but as a hereditary kingship it also assumes the character of originality, loftiness, independence, and constancy.

In all this it is a beautiful—albeit a weak—image of the kingship of God.

All sovereignty on earth is derivative, temporary, and limited, and in the case of abuse, more a curse than a blessing. But God is king in the absolute and true sense.

The government of the universe is not democratic, nor aristocratic, nor republican, nor constitutional, but monarchical. To God belongs the one undivided legislative, judicial, and executive power.

His sovereignty is original, eternal, unlimited, abundant in blessing. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 19:6). His royal realm is the whole of the universe.

His are the heavens and the earth (Exod. 19:5; Ps. 8:1; 103:19; 148:13). He possesses all the nations (Ps. 22:28; 47:8–9; 96:10; Jer. 10:7; Mal. 1:14) and is supreme in all the earth (Ps. 47:2, 7; 83:18; 97:9).

He is king forever (Ps. 29:10; 1 Tim. 1:17); no opposition stands a chance against Him (Ps. 93:3–4).

His kingdom will surely come (Matt. 6:10; 1 Cor. 15:24; Rev. 12:10); His glory will be revealed and His name feared from the rising of the sun to its going down (Isa. 40:5; 59:19); He will be king over the entire earth (Zech. 14:9).

Also, in this government God deals with each thing according to its kind. God rules over all things conformably to their nature. Consequently, that rule of God is variously represented in Scripture and described with various names.

By his rule He upholds the world and establishes it so that it will not be moved (Ps. 93:1).

He ordains the light and the darkness (Ps. 104:19–20), commands the rain and withholds it (Gen. 7:4; 8:2; Job 26:8; 38:22ff.), gives snow and hoarfrost and ice (Ps. 147:16), rebukes and stills the sea (Nah. 1:4; Ps. 65:7; 107:29), sends curses and destruction (Deut. 28:15ff.).

All things fulfill His command (Ps. 148:8). With equally sovereign power and majesty He rules in the world of rational creatures.

He rules among the Gentiles and possesses all nations (Ps. 22:28; 82:8). He deems the nations as emptiness and less than nothing (Isa. 40:17), deals with the inhabitants of the earth according to His will (Dan. 4:35), and directs the hearts and thoughts of all (Prov. 21:1).”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2, Ed. John Bolt, and trans. John Vriend, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 615–616.

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“The clouds are big with mercy” by Charles Spurgeon

“The hardest blow that our God ever strikes, if it puts us right and separates us from self and sin, and carnal policy, is a coup de grace, a blow of love.

If it ends our life of selfishness, and brings us back into the life of trust, it is a blessed blow. When God blesses His people most it is by terrible things in righteousness.

He smote David to heal him. He fetched him out from the snare of the Philistine fowler, and delivered him from the noisome pestilence of heathen association, by a way that brought the tears into his eyes till he had no more power to weep.

Now the servant of the Lord begins to see the wonderful hand of God, and he shall yet say, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept Thy word.”

I, the preacher of this hour, beg to bear my little witness that the worst days I have ever had have turned out to be my best days, and when God has seemed most cruel to me he has then been most kind.

If there is anything in this world for which I would bless Him more than for anything else it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in these things the richest, tenderest love has been manifested towards me.

I pray you, dear friends, if you are at this time very low, and greatly distressed, encourage yourselves in the abundant faithfulness of the God who hides Himself.

Our Father’s wagons rumble most heavily when they are bringing us the richest freight of the bullion of His grace. Love letters from heaven are often sent in black-edged envelopes.

The cloud that is black with horror is big with mercy. We may not ask for trouble, but if we were wise we should look upon it as the shadow of an unusually great blessing.

Dread the calm, it is often treacherous, and beneath its wing the pestilence is lurking. Fear not the storm, it brings healing in its wings, and when Jesus is with you in the vessel the tempest only hastens the ship to its desired haven.

Blessed be the Lord, whose way is in the whirlwind, and who makes the clouds to be the dust of His feet.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “David Encouraging Himself in God”, inThe Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 27 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1881), 372–373. Spurgeon preached this sermon on 1 Samuel 30:6-8 on June 26, 1881.

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