Category Archives: Communion with God

“If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?” by John Owen

“This will be exceeding effectual to endear thy soul unto God, to cause thee to delight in Him, and to make thy abode with Him.

Many saints have no greater burden in their lives, than that their hearts do not come clearly and fully up, constantly to delight and rejoice in God;—that there is still an indisposedness of spirit unto close walking with Him.

What is at the bottom of this distemper? Is it not their unskilfulness in or neglect of this duty, even of holding communion with the Father in love?

So much as we see of the love of God, so much shall we delight in Him, and no more. Every other discovery of God, without this, will but make the soul fly from Him.

But if the heart be once much taken up with this the eminency of the Father’s love, it cannot choose but be overpowered, conquered, and endeared unto Him.

This, if any thing, will work upon us to make our abode with Him. If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?

Put, then, this to the venture: exercise your thoughts upon this very thing, the eternal, free, and fruitful love of the Father, and see if your hearts be not wrought upon to delight in Him.

I dare boldly say, believers will find it as thriving a course as ever they pitched on in their lives. Sit down a little at the fountain, and you will quickly have a farther discovery of the sweetness of the streams.

You who have run from him, will not be able, after a while, to keep at a distance for a moment.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 2: Communion With God (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 2: 35-36.

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“Do not take up your time so much with studying your own heart as with studying Christ’s heart” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“March 20, 1840

MY DEAR FRIEND,

I do not even know your name, but I think I know something of the state of your soul. Your friend has been with me, and told me a little of your mind; and I write a few lines just to bid you look to Jesus and live.

Look at Num. 21:9, and you will see your disease and your remedy. You have been bitten by the great serpent. The poison of sin is through and through your whole heart, but Christ has been lifted up on the cross that you may look and live.

Now, do not look so long and so harassingly at your own heart and feelings. What will you find there but the bite of the serpent? You were shapen in iniquity, and the whole of your natural life has been spent in sin.

The more God opens your eyes, the more you will feel that you are lost in yourself. This is your disease.

Now for the remedy. Look to Christ; for the glorious Son of God so loved lost souls, that He took on Him a body and died for us—bore our curse, and obeyed the law in our place. Look to Him and live.

You need no preparation, you need no endeavours, you need no duties, you need no strivings, you only need to look and live. Look at John 17:3. The way to be saved is to know God’s heart and the heart of Jesus.

To be awakened, you need to know your own heart. Look in at your own heart, if you wish to know your lost condition. See the pollution that is there—forgetfulness of God, deadness, insensibility to his love. If you are judged as you are in yourself, you will be lost.

To be saved, you need to know the heart of God and of Christ. The four Gospels are a narrative of the heart of Christ. They show his compassion to sinners, and his glorious work in their stead. If you only knew that heart as it is, you would lay your weary head with John on his bosom.

Do not take up your time so much with studying your own heart as with studying Christ’s heart. For one look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ!

Look at Rom. 15:13. That is my prayer for you. You are looking for peace in striving, or peace in duties, or peace in reforming your mind; but ah! look at His word. ‘The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.

All your peace is to be found in believing God’s word about His Son. If for a moment you forget your own case altogether, and meditate on the glorious way of salvation by Christ for us, does your bosom never glow with a ray of peace?

Keep that peace; it is joy in believing. Look as straight to Christ as you sometimes do at the rising or setting sun. Look direct to Christ.

You fear that your convictions of sin have not been deep enough. This is no reason for keeping away from Christ. You will never get a truly broken heart till you are really in Christ.—See Ezek. 36:25–31.

Observe the order: First, God sprinkles clean water on the soul. This represents our being washed in the blood of Christ. Then He gives ‘a new heart also.’ Thirdly, He gives a piercing remembrance of past sins. Now, may the Lord give you all these!

May you be brought as you are to the blood of the Lamb! Washed and justified, may He change your heart—give you a tender heart, and his Holy Spirit within your heart; and thus may He give you a broken heart for your past sins.

Look at Rom. 5:19. By the sin of Adam, many were made sinners. We had no hand in Adam’s sin, and yet the guilt of it comes upon us. We did not put out our hand to the apple, and yet the sin and misery have been laid at our door.

In the same way, ‘by the obedience of Christ, many are made righteous.’ Christ is the glorious One who stood for many. His perfect garment is sufficient to cover you.

You had no hand in His obedience. You were not alive when He came into the world and lived and died; and yet, in the perfect obedience, you may stand before God righteous. This is all my covering in the sight of a holy God.

I feel infinitely ungodly in myself: in God’s eye, like a serpent or a toad; and yet, when I stand in Christ alone, I feel that God sees no sin in me, and loves me freely.

The same righteousness is free to you. It will be as white and clean on your soul as on mine. Oh, do not sleep another night without it! Only consent to stand in Christ, not in your poor self.

I must not weary you. One word more. Look at Rev. 22:17. Sweet, sweet words! ‘Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.’

The last invitation in the Bible, and the freest,—Christ’s parting word to a world of sinners! Any one that pleases may take this glorious way of salvation.

Can you refuse it? I am sure you cannot.

Dear friend, be persuaded by a fellow-worm not to put off another moment. Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

You are sitting, like Hagar, within reach of the well. May the Lord open your eyes, and show you all that is in Christ!

I pray for you, that you may spiritually see Jesus and be glad—that you may go to Him and find rest.

Farewell.

—Yours in the Lord,

Robert Murray M’Cheyne”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 278-280.

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“Your own soul is your first and greatest care” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“Take heed to thyself. Your own soul is your first and greatest care. You know a sound body alone can work with power; much more a healthy soul.

Keep a clear conscience through the blood of the Lamb.

Keep up close communion with God.

Study likeness to Him in all things.

Read the Bible for your own growth first, then for your people.

Expound much; it is through the truth that souls are to be sanctified, not through essays upon the truth.

Be easy of access, apt to teach, and the Lord teach you and bless you in all you do and say. You will not find many companions. Be the more with God.

My dear people are anxiously waiting for you. The prayerful are praying for you.

Be of good courage; there remaineth much of the land to be possessed.

Be not dismayed, for Christ shall be with thee to deliver thee.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 216-217.

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“Christ is the centre where all the lines of His Father’s love do meet” by Thomas Watson

“Christ is lovely to God His Father. God is infinitely taken with Him.

Christ is called the Rose of Sharon, and how doth God delight to smell this rose! ‘My elect in whom my soul delights.’ (Isa. 42:1)

Surely if there be loveliness enough in Christ to delight the heart of God, there may well be enough in Him to delight us. Christ is the centre where all the lines of His Father’s love do meet.”

–Thomas Watson, “Christ’s Loveliness,” in Discourses on Important and Interesting Subjects, Being the Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson (vol. 1; Edinburgh; Glasgow: Blackie, Fullarton, & Co.; A. Fullarton & Co., 1829), 1: 308.

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“What will we do for Him, if we will not feast with Him?” by Richard Sibbes

“Christ hath both will, and skill, and power, and authority to feed us to everlasting life, for the Father sent Him forth, and sealed Him to that purpose.

All the springs of our joy are from Him (Psalm 87:7). Our duty is to accept of Christ’s inviting of us.

What will we do for Him, if we will not feast with Him?”

–Richard Sibbes, “Bowels Opened: or, A Discovery of the Near and Dear Love, Union and Communion Betwixt Christ and the Church, and Consequently Betwixt Him and Every Believing Soul, Delivered in Diverse Sermons on the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Chapters of the Canticles,” The Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 2 (ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1639/2001), 2: 34.

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“Why would we not celebrate God for His greatest greatness?” by Petrus Van Mastricht

“The infinite greatness of God supplies an argument for us to make Him great with infinite praises (Luke 1:46).

For He is (1) great, and therefore, greatly to be praised.

Indeed, He is (2) most great, infinitely great: ‘and His greatness is unsearchable.’

And also (3) He is the only One who is such (Isa. 40:12; 15, 17).

Indeed, (4) great in so many ways; great, in fact, in all ways: in His essence, His presence, His duration, His wisdom, His strength and power, His grace and mercy (Ps. 147:5).

And in this greatness He is (5) above the gods, whether earthly, such as kings and magistrates, or heavenly (at lease in the opinion of the pagans), the false gods; and above all gods (2 Chron. 2:5; Ps. 135:5).

For if, then we celebrate the sun for its great greatness, and the heavens for their greater greatness, why would we not celebrate God for His greatest greatness, for His infinite greatness?

Let us therefore make Him great (1) in our heart (Ps. 103:1; Luke 1:46), by always thinking of Him great things, indeed the greatest of things, for He is the One who is infinitely greater than all our thoughts (Eph. 3:20); by esteeming as great, indeed, as most great, both Him and all that is His– His presence, favor, promises, worship– in such a way that we approach Him and all things of His with an infinite (that is, an insatiable) appetite and desire (Ps. 84:1-2).

(2) In our mouth, that with a great voice, in the presence of others, we celebrate Him who is infinitely great (Ps. 103:8), indeed that we call others to celebrate Him with us (Ps. 103:20-22).

Finally, (3) in our work, that we do it (a) with profound reverence for the infinite deity, and with fear of offending Him, even in the least things, because He is the most great King (Mal. 1:14; Deut. 10:17; Neh. 1:5; Dan. 9:4). (b) By a careful zeal for obeying and pleasing Him (2 Cor. 5:9). (c) By an infinite desire or concern for possessing and enjoying Him (Ps. 73:25).”

–Petrus Van Mastricht, Theoretical-Practical Theology: Faith in the Triune God, Volume 2, Trans. Todd Rester, Ed. Joel Beeke (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage, 2019), 2: 190.

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“Without losing Himself, God can give Himself” by Herman Bavinck

“A deep chasm separates God’s being from that of all creatures.

It is a mark of God’s greatness that He can condescend to the level of His creatures and that, though transcendent, He can dwell immanently in all created beings.

Without losing Himself, God can give Himself, and, while absolutely maintaining His immutability, He can enter into an infinite number of relations to His creatures.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, Vol. 2, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 2: 159.

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