“A godly mother” by Charles Spurgeon

“Fathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother.

Neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the young heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of ‘mother’ is creation’s blot.

Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother.

Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me.

How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape the wrath to come? I thought her lips right eloquent. Others might not think so, but they certainly were eloquent to me.

How can I ever forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, ‘Oh, that my son might live before Thee!’

Nor can her frown be effaced from my memory,– that solemn, loving frown, when she rebuked my budding iniquities.

And her smiles have never faded from my recollection,– the beaming of her countenance when she rejoiced to see some good thing in me towards the Lord God of Israel.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Vol. 1, 1834-1854 (New York: Fleming Revell Co., 1898), 68-69.

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“His measureless benevolence” by John Calvin

“Godly souls can gather great assurance and delight from this Sacrament. In it they have a witness of our growth into one body with Christ such that whatever is His may be called ours.

As a consequence, we may dare assure ourselves that eternal life, of which He is the heir, is ours. And that the Kingdom of Heaven, into which He has already entered, can no more be cut off from us than from Him.

And again that we cannot be condemned for our sins, from whose guilt He has absolved us, since He willed to take them upon Himself as if they were His own.

This is the wonderful exchange which, out of His measureless benevolence, He has made with us:

that, becoming Son of man with us, He has made us sons of God with Him;

that, by His descent to earth, He has prepared an ascent to heaven for us;

that, by taking on our mortality, He has conferred His immortality upon us;

that, accepting our weakness, He has strengthened us by His power;

that, receiving our poverty unto Himself, He has transferred His wealth to us;

that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon Himself (which oppressed us), He has clothed us with His righteousness.

In this Sacrament we have such full witness of all these things that we must certainly consider them as if Christ here present were Himself set before our eyes and touched by our hands.”

–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (ed. John T. McNeill; trans. Ford Lewis Battles; vols. 1-2; The Library of Christian Classics; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), (4.17.2-3), pp. 1361–1362.

[HT: Matt Merker]

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“The sun of Paul’s soul” by J.C. Ryle

“Reader, Jesus Christ crucified was the joy and delight, the comfort and the peace, the hope and the confidence, the foundation and the resting place, the ark and the refuge, the food and the medicine of Paul’s soul. He did not think of what he had done himself, and suffered himself.

He did not meditate on his own goodness, and his own righteousness. He loved to think of what Christ had done, and Christ had suffered,—of the death of Christ, the righteousness of Christ, the atonement of Christ, the blood of Christ, the finished work of Christ. In this he did glory. This was the sun of his soul.

This is the subject he loved to preach about. He was a man who went to and fro on the earth, proclaiming to sinners that the Son of God had shed His own heart’s blood to save their souls. He walked up and down the world telling people that Jesus Christ had loved them, and died for their sins upon the cross.

Mark how he says to the Corinthians, ‘I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins.’ (1 Cor. 15:3.) ‘I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.’ (1 Cor. 2:2.)

He,—a blaspheming, persecuting Pharisee, had been washed in Christ’s blood. He could not hold his peace about it. He was never weary of telling the story of the cross.

This is the subject he loved to dwell upon when he wrote to believers. It is wonderful to observe how full his epistles generally are of the sufferings and death of Christ,—how they run over with thoughts that breathe, and words that burn about Christ’s dying love and power.

His heart seems full of the subject. He enlarges on it constantly. He returns to it continually. It is the golden thread that runs through all his doctrinal teaching and practical exhortation. He seems to think that the most advanced Christian can never hear too much of the cross.

This is what he lived upon all his life, from the time of his conversion. He tells the Galatians, ‘The life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.’ (Galatians 2:20.)

What made him so strong to labor? What made him so willing to work? What made him so unwearied in endeavoring to save some? What made him so persevering and patient? I will tell you the secret of it all. He was always feeding by faith on Christ’s body and Christ’s blood. Jesus crucified was the meat and drink of his soul.

And, reader, you may rest assured that Paul was right. Depend upon it, the cross of Christ,—the death of Christ on the cross to make atonement for sinners,—is the centre truth in the whole Bible.

This is the truth we begin with when we open Genesis. The seed of the woman bruising the serpent’s head is nothing else but a prophecy of Christ crucified.

This is the truth that shines out, though veiled, all through the law of Moses and the history of the Jews. The daily sacrifice, the Passover lamb, the continual shedding of blood in the tabernacle and temple,—all these were emblems of Christ crucified.

This is the truth that we see honored in the vision of heaven before we close the book of Revelation. ‘In the midst of the throne and of the four beasts,’ we are told, ‘and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.’ (Rev. 5:6.)

Even in the midst of heavenly glory we get a view of Christ crucified. Take away the cross of Christ, and the Bible is a dark book. It is like the Egyptian hieroglyphics, without the key that interprets their meaning,—curious and wonderful, but of no real use.”

–J.C. Ryle, “What Think You of the Cross?” in Startling Questions (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1853), 273–276.

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“Christ crucified” by Stephen Charnock

“Christ crucified is the sum of the Gospel, and contains all the riches of it. Paul was so much taken with Christ, that nothing sweeter than Jesus could drop from his pen and lips. It is observed that he hath the word ‘Jesus’ five hundred times in his Epistles.”

–Stephen Charnock, “The Knowledge of Christ Crucified,” in The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 4 (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1684/1865), 495.

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“A garment without spot” by Richard Sibbes

“What beauty have we in justification, to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ, that perfect righteousness, that can answer the justice of God much more Satan’s cavils and the troubles of our own consciences.

That righteousness that satisfieth the justice of God, being the righteousness of God-Man, it will satisfy conscience, and Satan’s temptations.

It is a garment without spot. Satan can pick no hole in that glorious garment, the righteousness of Christ.

If we have the wardrobe of Christ, we shall be beautiful in that we have from Christ, we shall shine in His beams.”

–Richard Sibbes, “A Breathing After God,” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes (ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart; vol. 2; Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet And Co.; W. Robertson, 1862), 234.

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“A piece of advice” by C.S. Lewis

“Oh–I’d nearly forgotten–I have one other piece of advice. Remember that there are only three kinds of things anyone need ever do.

(1) Things we ought to do

(2) Things we’ve got to do

(3) Things we like doing.

I say this because some people seem to spend so much of their time doing things for none of the three reasons, things like reading books they don’t like because other people read them.

Things you ought to do are things like doing one’s school work or being nice to people. Things one has got to do are things like dressing and undressing, or household shopping.

Things one likes doing–but of course I don’t know what you like. Perhaps you’ll write and tell me one day.

Of course I always mention you in my prayers and will most especially on Saturday. Do the same for me.

Your affectionate godfather,

C.S. Lewis

Magdalen College
Oxford
April 3, 1949″

–C.S. Lewis, “To Sarah” in C.S. Lewis: Letters to Children, (New York: Touchstone, 1985), 27.

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“The lone island of despondency” by Charles Spurgeon

“I think that this is the darkest of all the Psalms. It has hardly a spot of light in it. The only bright words that I know of are in the first verse. The rest of the Psalm, is very dark, and very dreary.

Why, then, am I going to read it? Because, it may be, there is some poor heart here that is very heavy.

You cannot tell out of this great crowd how many sorrowing and burdened spirits there may be amongst us. But there may be a dozen or two of persons who are driven almost to despair.

My dear friend, if this is your case, I want you to know that somebody else has been just where you are.

Remember how the shipwrecked man upon the lonely island all of a sudden came upon the footprints of another human being.

So here, on the lone island of despondency, you shall be able to trace the footprints of another who has been there before you. Hear how he prays.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “An Exposition of Psalm 88” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 41; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1895), 478.

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