Category Archives: Communion with God

“Prayer on Sunday after the Sermon” by Zacharias Ursinus

“Almighty God, heavenly Father, who has promised us that whatever we ask of you in the name of Your dear Son Jesus Christ, You will surely give to us. (John 16:23)

[Hallowed be Your name]

We ask You to work in us by Your Holy Spirit, so that we may rightly know You, and sanctify, glorify, and praise You in all Your works, in which shine forth Your omnipotence, wisdom, goodness, righteousness, mercy, and truth. Grant us also that we may so direct our whole life—thoughts, words, and deeds—that Your name is not blasphemed because of us but honored and praised.

[Your kingdom come]

Rule us also by the scepter of Your Word and the power of Your Holy Spirit that we and all men may daily more and more surrender and submit to Your Majesty. Preserve and increase Your Church. Destroy all works of the devil, and every false and wicked counsel conceived against Your holy Word. Bring to ruin Your enemies by the power of Your truth and righteousness, so that every power that raises itself against Your honor may be more and more destroyed and demolished each day, until the fullness of Your kingdom comes, when on the final day You will reveal Your glory in us and You will be all in all forevermore.

[Your will be done]

Grant also that we and all men may deny our own will and all the lust of our flesh, and without any murmuring obey Your will, which alone is good. Grant that everyone may carry out the duties of his office and calling as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.

[Give us today our daily bread]

Provide us also with all our bodily needs, peace, and a good government, so that we may acknowledge that You are the only fountain of all good, and a faithful Father who cares for His children; that also our care and labor, and also Your gifts, cannot do us any good without Your blessing. Grant, therefore, that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures and put it only in You.

[Forgive us our debts]

And for the sake of the shedding of Christ’s blood, do not impute to us, poor sinners, any of our transgressions and debts, nor the evil which still clings to us, as we also find this evidence of Your grace in our hearts that we desire to wholeheartedly forgive our neighbor and increase His benefit.

[And lead us not into temptation, etc.]

And because we are so weak in ourselves that we cannot stand even for a moment, and moreover, our sworn enemies—the devil, the world, and our own flesh—do not cease to attack us. Will You, therefore, keep and strengthen us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, so that we may firmly resist them and not go down to defeat in this spiritual war, but remain persistent until we finally obtain the complete victory and reign together with Your Son, our Lord and Protector, Jesus Christ, in Your kingdom forevermore.

All this we ask from You, not so that we, but that You may be praised forevermore, and because You are able to do so as Almighty God, and are also willing as a faithful Father, as certainly as we wholeheartedly desire these things from You, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.”

—Zacharias Ursinus, “Palatinate Church Order (1563),” as quoted in Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present, Eds. Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2018), 614-615.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Communion with God, Jesus Christ, Lord's Day Prayer, Prayer, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Church, The Gospel, Worship

“Measure the height of His love by the depth of His grief” by Charles Spurgeon

‘There was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.’ This cry came out of that darkness. Expect not to see through its every word, as though it came from on high as a beam from the unclouded Sun of Righteousness.

There is light in it, bright, flashing light; but there is a centre of impenetrable gloom, where the soul is ready to faint because of the terrible darkness.

Our Lord was then in the darkest part of His way. He had trodden the winepress now for hours, and the work was almost finished. He had reached the culminating point of His anguish. This is His dolorous lament from the lowest pit of misery— ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’

I do not think that the records of time, or even of eternity, contain a sentence more full of anguish. Here the wormwood and the gall, and all the other bitternesses, are outdone.

Here you may look as into a vast abyss; and though you strain your eyes, and gaze till sight fails you, yet you perceive no bottom; it is measureless, unfathomable, inconceivable.

This anguish of the Saviour on your behalf and mine is no more to be measured and weighed than the sin which needed it, or the love which endured it. We will adore where we cannot comprehend.

I have chosen this subject that it may help the children of God to understand a little of their infinite obligations to their redeeming Lord.

You shall measure the height of His love, if it be ever measured, by the depth of His grief, if that can ever be known.

See with what a price he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law! As you see this, say to yourselves: What manner of people ought we to be!

What measure of love ought we to return to one who bore the utmost penalty, that we might be delivered from the wrath to come?

I do not profess that I can dive into this deep. I will only venture to the edge of the precipice, and bid you look down, and pray the Spirit of God to concentrate your mind upon this lamentation of our dying Lord, as it rises up through the thick darkness— ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, ‘“‘Lama Sabachtani?’’ in Majesty in Misery, Volume 3: Calvary’s Mournful Mountain (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2005), 153-154. (MPTS: 36: 133-134)

Leave a comment

Filed under Biblical Theology, Book of Psalms, Charles Spurgeon, Christian Theology, Christology, Communion with God, Doxology, Glory of Christ, Jesus Christ, Pierced For Our Transgressions, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“The fruit of the enjoyment of an infinite and eternal God” by Stephen Charnock

“The enjoyment of God will be as fresh and glorious after many ages, as it was at first. God is eternal, and eternity knows no change. There will then be the fullest possession without any decay in the object enjoyed.

There can be nothing past, nothing future. Time neither adds to it, nor detracts from it. That infinite fulness of perfection which flourisheth in Him now, will flourish eternally, without any discoloring of it in the least, by those innumerable ages that shall run to eternity, much less any despoiling Him of them: ‘He is the same in His endless duration’ (Psalm 102:27).

As God is, so will the eternity of Him be, without succession, without division. The fulness of joy will be always present, without past to be thought of with regret for being gone, without future to be expected with tormenting desires.

When we enjoy God, we enjoy Him in His eternity without any flux: an entire possession of all together, without the passing away of pleasures that may be wished to return, or expectation of future joys which might be desired to hasten.

Time is fluid, but eternity is stable. And after many ages, the joys will be as savory and satisfying as if they had been but that moment first tasted by our hungry appetites.

When the glory of the Lord shall rise upon you, it shall be so far from ever setting, that after millions of years are expired, as numerous as the sands on the seashore, the sun, in the light of whose countenance you shall live, shall be as bright as at the first appearance.

He will be so far from ceasing to flow, that He will flow as strong, as full, as at the first communication of Himself in glory to the creature.

God, therefore, as sitting upon His throne of grace, and acting according to His covenant, is always vigorous and flourishing, a pure act of life, sparkling new and fresh rays of life and light to the creature, flourishing with a perpetual spring, and contenting the most capacious desire, forming your interest, pleasure, and satisfaction, with an infinite variety, without any change or succession.

He will have variety to increase delights, and eternity to perpetuate them. This will be the fruit of the enjoyment of an infinite and eternal God: He is not a cistern, but a fountain, wherein water is always living.”

–Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God, in The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2010), 364-365.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banner of Truth, Christian Theology, Communion with God, doctrine of God, God the Creator, God the Father, Good News, grace, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Stephen Charnock, The Gospel

“His sufferings and His glory” by John Owen

“These are the two heads whereunto all the prophecies and predictions concerning Jesus Christ under the Old Testament are referred– namely, His sufferings, and the glory that ensued thereon (1 Peter 1:11).

All the prophets testified beforehand ‘of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.’

So when He Himself opened the Scriptures unto His disciples, He gave them this as the sum of the doctrine contained in them, ‘Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?’ (Luke 24:26). The same is frequently expressed elsewhere in Rom. 14:9 and Phil. 2:5–9.

So much as we know of Christ, His sufferings, and His glory, so much do we understand of the Scripture, and no more.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 342–343.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, Christology, Communion with God, Jesus Christ, John Owen, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Worship

“He is the sun of their souls” by John Newton

“The Lord, by His Spirit, manifests and confirms His love to His people. For this purpose He meets them at His throne of grace, and in His ordinances.

There He makes Himself known unto them, as He does not unto the world. There He causes His goodness to pass before them, and opens, applies, and seals to them, His exceeding great and precious promises, and He gives them the Spirit of adoption, whereby, unworthy as they are, they are enabled to cry ‘Abba, Father.’

He causes them to understand that great love wherewith He has loved them, in redeeming them by price and by power, washing them from their sins in the blood of the Lamb, recovering them from the dominion of Satan, and preparing for them an everlasting kingdom, where they shall see His face, and rejoice in His glory.

The knowledge of this, His love to them, produces a return of love from them to Him. They adore Him, and admire Him. They make an unreserved surrender of their hearts to Him. They view Him and delight in Him, as their God, their Saviour, and their portion.

They account His favour better than life. He is the sun of their souls: if He is pleased to shine upon them, all is well, and they are not greatly careful about other things.

But if He hides His face, the smiles of the whole creation can afford them no solid comfort.

They esteem one day or hour spent in the delightful contemplation of His glorious excellencies, and in the expression of their desires towards Him, better than a thousand. And when their love is most fervent, they are ashamed that it is so faint, and chide and bemoan themselves that they can love Him no more.

This often makes them long to depart, willing to leave their dearest earthly comforts, that they may see Him as He is, without a veil or cloud.

For they know that then, and not till then, they shall love Him as they ought.”

–John Newton, The Works of the John Newton, Ed. Richard Cecil (vol. 1; London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 309–310.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banner of Truth, Christian Theology, Communion with God, Heaven, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Union with Christ, Worship

“We give thanks to You” by Matthew Henry

“We give thanks to You, the God of gods, the Lord of lords, for Your covenant love endures forever. Your goodness is Your glory, and Your glory is Your goodness. In Your kindness You are gracious to undeserving sinners according to the abundance of Your grace. You manifest Your mercy to the rebellious who have lived in debauchery. You show Your mercy to whom You choose to show mercy, even to degenerate idol-worshippers like ourselves. All Your works praise You and Your saints bless Your holy name. Psa. 136:2, 3; Exod. 33:19; Psa. 145:10.

You are gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in covenant love. You have told us that You do not delight in afflicting the children of men. Though You cause them grief, You have compassion according to the greatness of Your unfailing love. You take great pleasure in those that fear You, the ones who hope in the love You manifest through Your covenant. Psa. 145:8; Lam. 3:32, 33; Psa. 147:11.

Thank You for demonstrating Your mercy by causing Your sun to shine on the evil and the good. You graciously send rain on the just and the unjust. We thank You for the arrival of every new day. We see with our own eyes that You have stretched out the heavens like a vast curtain where You have pitched a tent for the sun, which shines forth as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. Matt. 5:45; Psa. 104:2; 19:4, 5.

When we consider the heavens, the work of Your fingers, the sun, the moon and the stars which You have ordained, we stand in awe that You have shown such care for us. For what is man that you should give any consideration of him? You bless us with the light of the sun that is a pleasant thing for our eyes. May all glory go to the Father of light, who commands the morning and causes the dawn to know its place. You have never left Yourself without witness among the nations. For you have provided all the peoples of the world with abundance, giving them rain from heaven and fruitful seasons on earth, providing them with food to eat and filling their hearts with joy and gladness. Psa. 8:3, 4; Eccles. 11:7; James 1:17; Job 38:12; Acts 14:17.

We honour You for the way You cover the heavens with clouds, and prepare rain for the earth. You make grass grow on the mountains. You give food to the wild beasts and the young ravens which cry out to You. You cause it to rain in the wilderness where there is no man. You satisfy even the desolate wastelands. Psa. 147:8, 9; Job 38:26, 27.

We bless You when we see how You show Your care for the earth by watering it. You enrich the soil with the river of God which is full of water as it flows down from heaven. You provide grain, and water the earth’s ridges abundantly. You settle its furrows and soften it with showers. You bless its sprouts and crown the year with Your bounty. Our carts are heavy with abundance. You make springs pour forth water in the valleys, creating rivulets that run among the hills, and give drink to every beast of the field, and the birds of the air nest by the waters, singing among the branches. Psa. 65:9-11; Psa. 104:10-12.

We stand in awe as we consider that You laid the foundation of the earth so that it will never be moved. You set boundaries for the seas so they will never again flood the earth. You shut up the sea with bars and doors, saying, ‘Up to this point you shall come, but no farther. Here your proud waves shall stop.’ You have held to Your oath when You swore that the waters of Noah would never again overwhelm the earth. You remain faithful to Your covenant commitment that so long as the earth continues, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease. Your covenant of the day and of the night has never been broken. You give the sun for a light by day, and the moon and the stars for lights by night. Psa. 104:5, 9; Job 38:8, 10, 11; Isa. 54:9; Gen. 8:22; Jer. 33:20; 31:35.

We marvel at Your abundant provision for every living thing. Every creature waits on You to give them their food at the right season. Whatever You give them they gather. You open your hand in blessing, and they are filled with good things. You hide Your face and they are terrified. When You take away their breath, they die and return to dust. Then You renew the face of the earth. You send out Your Spirit and they are created. This, your glory, shall endure forever, and You will rejoice in Your own works. Psa. 104:27-31.

You cause grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate. You enable man to bring forth food from the earth – wine that gladdens his heart, oil that makes his face shine, and bread to strengthen his heart. You give life and breath to every living thing. The whole earth is full of Your gracious love. Psa. 115:16; Eccles. 1:4; Deut. 29:20; Psa. 8:6; Gen. 9:2; Prov. 8:31.

Amen.”

–Matthew Henry, A Way to Pray: A Biblical Method for Enriching Your Prayer Life and Language by Shaping Your Words with Scripture, Ed. O. Palmer Robertson (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1710/2015), 133-137.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Communion with God, Jesus Christ, Matthew Henry, Prayer, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Thanksgiving, The Gospel

“The whole Scripture” by John Newton

“I agree with you, that some accounted evangelical teachers have too much confined themselves to a few leading and favourite topics. I think this a fault, and I believe when it is constantly so the auditories are deprived of much edification and pleasure, which they might receive from a more judicious and comprehensive plan.

The whole Scripture, as it consists of histories, prophecies, doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, admonitions, encouragements, and reproofs, is the proper subject of the Gospel ministry.

And every part should in its place and course be attended to, yet so as that, in every compartment we exhibit, Jesus should be the capital figure, in whom the prophecies are fulfilled and the promises established, to whom, in a way of type and emblem, the most important parts of Scripture history have an express reference, and from whom alone we can receive that life, strength, and encouragement, which are necessary to make obedience either pleasing or practicable.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 275.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banner of Truth, Bible, Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, Communion with God, God's Power, Jesus Christ, John Newton, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, The Gospel