Category Archives: Charles Bridges

“Put your heart into your sermon” by Charles Bridges

“The Minister, that does not manifestly put his heart into his sermon, will never put his sermon into the hearts of his people. Pompous elocution, attempts at theatrical display, or affected emotions, are indeed most repugnant to the simple dignity of our office. A painted fire may glare, but will not warm.

Violent agitations, without correspondent tenderness of feeling, will disgust instead of arresting the mind. Preaching is not (as some appear to think it) the work of the lungs, or the mimicry of gesture, or the impulse of uncontrollable feeling; but the spiritual energy of a heart constrained by the love of Christ, and devoted to the care of those immortal souls, for whom Christ died.”

–Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1830/2005), 320.

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“Believe, wait, and work” by Charles Bridges

“It is faith that enlivens our work with perpetual cheerfulness. It commits every part of it to God, in the hope, that even mistakes shall be overruled for His glory; and thus relieves us from an oppressive anxiety, often attendant upon a deep sense of our responsibility.

The shortest way to peace will be found in casting ourselves upon God for daily pardon of deficiencies and supplies of grace, without looking too eagerly for present fruit. Hence our course of effort is unvarying, but more tranquil. It is peace—not slumber, rest in the work—not from it.

Faith also supports us under the trials of our Ministerial warfare with the clear view of the faithfulness of the covenant, and the stability of the church. And indeed, as all the promises are made to faith, or to the grace springing from it, this is the only spring of Christian courage, and Christian hope.

Unbelief looks at the difficulty. Faith regards the promise… But after all, the grand secret is habitually to have our eye upon Christ. Peter—looking at the waves instead of the Saviour— began to sink.

We too—if we look at the difficulties of our work, and forget the upholding arm of our ever-present Head—shall sink in despondency. Believe—wait— work—are the watchwords of the Ministry.

Believing the promise, gives the power to wait. Waiting supplies strength for work, and such working is not in ‘vain in the Lord.'”

–Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1830/2005), 178-179.

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“Scatter seed, believe, and wait” by Charles Bridges

“Our plain and cheering duty is therefore to go forward — to scatter the seed, to believe and to wait. Yet must there be expectancy as well as patience.

The warrant of success is assured, not only as regards an outward reformation, but a spiritual change of progressive and universal influence. The fruit of Ministerial labour is not indeed always visible in its symptoms, nor immediate in its results, nor proportioned to the culture.

Faith and patience will be exercised — sometimes severely so. But after a painstaking, weeping seed-time, we shall bring our sheaves with rejoicing, and lay them upon the altar of God, ‘that the offering up of them might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.’

Meanwhile we must beware of saying— ‘Let him make speed, and hasten his work that we may see it.’ The measure and the time are with the Lord. We must let Him alone with His own work.

Ours is the care of service — His is the care of success. The Lord of the harvest must determine when, and what, and where the harvest shall be.”

–Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1830/2005), 76.

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“Our library and our understanding” by Charles Bridges

“It is far more easy to furnish our library than our understanding.”

–Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1830/2005), 46.

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“The attentive study of the Scriptures” by Charles Bridges

“Let the Theologian ascend from the lower school of natural study, to the higher department of Scripture, and, sitting at the feet of God as his teacher, learn from His mouth the hidden mysteries of salvation, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard which none of the princes of this world knew which the most accurate reason cannot search out; which the heavenly chorus of angels, though always beholding the face of God, desire to look into.

In the hidden book of Scripture, and nowhere else, are opened the secrets of the more sacred wisdom. Whatever is not drawn from them—whatever is not built upon them—whatever does not most exactly accord with them—however it may recommend itself by the appearance of the most sublime wisdom, or rest upon ancient tradition, consent of learned men, or the weight of plausible argument—is vain, futile, and, in short, a very lie.

To the law and to the testimony. If any one speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Let the Theologian delight in these sacred oracles: let him exercise himself in them day and night, let him meditate on them, let him live in them, let him derive all his wisdom from them, let him compare all his thoughts with them, and let him embrace nothing in religion which he does not find here.

Let him not bind his faith to a man— not to a Prophet—not to an Apostle—not even to an Angel himself, as if the dictum of either man or angel were to be the rule of faith. Let his whole ground of faith be in God alone. For it is a Divine, not a human faith, which we learn and teach; so pure that it can rest upon no ground but the authority of God, who is never false, and never can deceive.

The attentive study of the Scriptures has a sort of constraining power. It fills the mind with the most splendid form of heavenly truth, which it teaches with purity, solidity, certainty, and without the least mixture of error. It soothes the mind with an inexpressible sweetness.

It satisfies the sacred hunger and thirst for knowledge with flowing rivers of honey and butter. It penetrates into the innermost heart with irresistible influence. It imprints its own testimony so firmly upon the mind, that the believing soul rests upon it with the same security, as if it had been carried up into the third heaven, and heard it from God’s own mouth.

It touches all the affections, and breathes the sweetest fragrance of holiness upon the pious reader, even though he may not perhaps comprehend the full extent of his reading.”

–Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1830/2005), 58-59.

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“The Church” by Charles Bridges

“The Church is the mirror that reflects the whole effulgence of the Divine character. It is the grand scene of the display of the Divine Perfections. The revelations made to the Church– the successive grand events in her history– and, above all– the manifestation of the Divine glory in the Person of the Son of God, furnish even to the heavenly intelligences fresh subjects of adoring contemplation.”

–Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2005), 1.

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“In all your ways acknowledge Him” by Charles Bridges

“Let our confidence be uniform. In all thy ways acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:6). Take one step at a time, every step under divine warrant and direction. Ever plan for yourself in simple dependence on God.

It is nothing less than self-idolatry to conceive that we can carry on even the ordinary matters of the day without His counsel. He loves to be consulted. Therefore take all thy difficulties to be resolved by Him.

Be in the habit of going to Him in the first place— before self-will, self-pleasing, self-wisdom, human friends, convenience, expediency. Before any of these have been consulted go to God at once.

Consider no circumstances too clear to need His direction. In all thy ways, small as well as great; in all thy concerns, personal or relative, temporal or eternal, let Him be supreme… This is indeed to walk with God as a Father. This is true faith.”

–Charles Bridges, A Commentary on Proverbs (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1846/1968), 24–25.

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