Category Archives: Horatius Bonar

Lord’s Day Hymn – “I hear the words of love”

“I Hear the Words of Love”
By Horatius Bonar, 1861

I hear the words of love,
I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice,
And I have peace with God.

‘Tis everlasting peace,
Sure as Jehovah’s name;
‘Tis stable as His steadfast throne,
Forevermore the same.

The clouds may come and go,
And storms may sweep my sky—
This blood-sealed friendship changes not:
The cross is ever nigh.

My love is ofttimes low,
My joy still ebbs and flows;
But peace with Him remains the same—
No change Jehovah knows.

I change, He changes not,
The Christ can never die;
His love, not mine, the resting-place,
His truth, not mine, the tie.

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“Altogether righteous” by Horatius Bonar

“To be entitled to use another’s name, when my own name is worthless; to be allowed to wear another’s raiment, because my own is torn and filthy; to appear before God in another’s person,— the person of the Beloved Son,—this is the summit of all blessing.

The sin-bearer and I have exchanged names, robes, and persons! I am now represented by Him, my own personality having disappeared; He now appears in the presence of God for me. All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me.

His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine; and I receive the love, and the fellowship, and the glory, as if I had earned them all. So entirely one am I with the sin-bearer, that God treats me not merely as if I had not done the evil that I have done; but as if I had done all the good which I have not done, but which my substitute has done.

In one sense I am still the poor sinner, once under wrath; in another I am altogether righteous, and shall be so for ever, because of the Perfect One, in whose perfection I appear before God. Nor is this a false pretense or a hollow fiction, which carries no results or blessings with it.

It is an exchange which has been provided by the Judge, and sanctioned by law; an exchange of which any sinner upon earth may avail himself and be blest.”

–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How Shall a Man be Just with God? (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1874/1993), 44-45.

 

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“Always the beggar’s outstretched hand” by Horatius Bonar

“It is a sin-bearer that we need, and our faith cannot be a sin-bearer. Faith can expiate no guilt; can accomplish no propitiation; can pay no penalty; can wash away no stain; can provide no righteousness. It brings us to the cross, where there is expiation, and propitiation, and payment, and cleansing, and righteousness; but in itself it has no merit and no virtue.

Faith is not Christ, nor the cross of Christ. Faith is not the blood, nor the sacrifice; it is not the altar, nor the laver, nor the mercy-seat, nor the incense. It does not work, but accepts a work done ages ago; it does not wash, but leads us to the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness…

And as faith goes on, so it continues; always the beggar’s outstretched hand, never the rich man’s gold; always the cable, never the anchor; the knocker, not the door, or the palace, or the table; the handmaid, not the mistress; the lattice which lets in the light, not the sun.

Without worthiness in itself, it knits us to the infinite worthiness of Him in whom the Father delights; and so knitting us, presents us perfect in the perfection of another. Though it is not the foundation laid in Zion, it brings us to that foundation, and keeps us there, grounded and settled, that we may not be moved away from the hope of the gospel.

Though it is not the gospel, the glad tidings, it receives these good news as God’s eternal verities, and bids the soul rejoice in them; though it is not the burnt-offering, it stands still and gazes on the ascending flame, which assures us that the wrath which should have consumed the sinner has fallen upon the Substitute.”

–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How Shall a Man be Just with God? (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1874/1993), 111-113.

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“He is not here” by Horatius Bonar

“So does the angel soothe the fear of the trembling women: ‘Fear not ye; He is not here; He is risen: come, see the place where the Lord lay.’ Let us mark, then, the glad tidings which the angel brings us regarding Him who died and was buried.

He is not here. This is the only place regarding which it could be accounted good news to say, Christ is not here. Christ is here, was good news at Bethany, at Jericho, at Nain, at Capernaum, or on the sea of Galilee; but Christ is not here, is the good news from Joseph’s tomb.

A present Christ would be accounted the joy and security of other places; it is an absent Christ that is announced as the blessing, the consolation here. He is not here, is one of the gladdest sounds that ever fell on human ears. Were He still here, what and where should we have been?

And who is it that you are seeking here? The mortal or the immortal? And what place is this in which you expect to find the Son of God? In a grave? Is this the place for immortality? Is it likely that there should be life in the dwellings of death? Why seek ye the living among the dead? No; not here,—not here; not in this place of death can the Prince of life be found. He was here, indeed; but He is not.

These rock walls and this rock gate cannot hold Him. He was in Gethsemane, in Pilate’s palace, on the cross; but not now. These He has visited, but in none of them has He remained. He has left them all behind. With Him it is all life, and incorruption, and glory now. He is not here!

If not here, where? That we soon discover when we follow Him to Emmaus and to Galilee. But even though we knew not, does it matter, save for this, that we may learn that His disappearance has not been a forsaking of earth, nor a turning His back upon the children of men? His disappearance from the tomb is only the carrying out of His love.

He is risen. He was laid down upon that rocky floor; but only to rest there for a day. For that tomb was His first earthly resting-place; all before that was weariness. Having rested there for a short season, He rises; and with renewed strength, into which hereafter no element of weariness can enter, He resumes His work He has not been carried off, either by friend or enemy; He has been raised by the Father, as the righteous One; the fulfiller of His purpose; the finisher of His work; the destroyer of death; the conqueror of him who has the power of death; the Father’s beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased.

This true temple has been destroyed, only to be rebuilt in greater and more undecaying magnificence. This true Siloam has only for three days intermitted the flow of its missioned waters, that it might gush forth in larger fulness. This true Sun has only for three days been darkened, that it might be relighted in its incorruptible glory.

He is risen! Yes; and now we see more fully the meaning of His own words, spoken at a tomb, and over one whom death had bound, ‘I am the resurrection and the life;’ Himself at once the raiser and the raised, the quickener and the quickened, the possessor and the giver of an infinite life,—a higher kind of life than that which the first Adam knew,—a life which can force its way into the dungeons of death, transforming them, by its resistless power, into the dwellings, the palaces, the temples of immortality and glory.

He is risen! He has tasted death, but He has not seen corruption; for He is the Holy One of God, and upon holiness corruption cannot fasten. As the beloved of the Father, He rises from the dead; for therefore doth the Father love Him, because He giveth His life for the sheep.

And in this resurrection we read the Father’s testimony to His Sonship; the Father’s seal set to His completed propitiation; the Father’s declaration of satisfaction and delight in the work of Calvary.

–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How Shall a Man be Just with God? (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1874/1993), 131-4.

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“The life that is in Him is resurrection-life” by Horatius Bonar

“It was henceforth with a risen Master that the disciples had to do. It was a risen Christ who was their companion on the way to Emmaus; it was a risen Christ who entered the upper chamber with ‘Peace be to you’ on His lips; it was a risen Christ who appeared to five hundred brethren at once; it was a risen Christ that saluted them by the sea of Galilee, and prepared for them their morning meal on the fire of coals; it was a risen Christ with whom they companied during the forty days when He went out and in among them.

And it is now with a risen Christ that we have to do in the pathways of our daily pilgrimage. At every turn of the way, resurrection meets us in the person of the Lord Jesus, and says to us, ‘Because I live, ye shall live also.’ For the life that is in Him is resurrection-life.”

–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How Shall a Man be Just with God? (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1874/1993), 134-5.

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“Shall we ever exhaust the fullness of the cross?” by Horatius Bonar

“The completeness of the sacrificial work on Calvary will be matter for eternal contemplation and rejoicing, long after every sin has been, by its cleansing efficacy, washed out of our being for ever. Shall we ever exhaust the fullness of the cross? Is it a mere stepping-stone to something beyond itself ? Shall we ever cease to glory in it (as the apostle gloried), not only because of past, but because of present and eternal blessing? The forgiveness of sin is one thing; but is that all?

The crucifixion of the world is another; but is that all? Is the cross to be a relic, useless though venerable, like the serpent of brass laid up in the tabernacle; to be destroyed perhaps at some future time, and called Nehushtan? Or is it not rather like the tree of life, which bears twelve manner of fruits, and yields its fruit every month, by the banks of the celestial river?

Its influence here on earth is transforming; but even after the transformation has been completed, and the whole church perfected, shall there not be a rising higher and higher, a taking on of greater and yet greater comeliness, a passing from glory to glory; and all in connection with the cross, and through the never-ending vision of its wonders?

Of the new Jerusalem it is said, ‘The Lamb is the light (or lamp) thereof.’ The Lamb is only another name for Christ crucified: so that thus it is the cross that is the lamp of the holy city ; and with its light, the gates of pearl, the jasper wall, the golden streets, the brilliant foundations, and the crystal river, are all lighted up. The glow of the cross is everywhere, penetrating every part, and reflected from every gem; and by its peculiar radiance transporting the dwellers of the city back to Golgotha, as the fountainhead of all this splendour.

It is light from Calvary that fills the heaven of heavens. Yet it is no dim religious light: for the glory of God is to lighten it; and its light is like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper-stone, clear as crystal; and there is no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light. Yes, we shall never be done with the cross and the blood.”

–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How Shall a Man be Just with God? (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1874/1993), 64-6.

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“That wondrous storehouse” by Horatius Bonar

“This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down at the right hand of God. When He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. The standing posture of the ancient priests showed that their work was an unfinished one. The sitting down of our High Priest intimated to all heaven that the work was done, and the eternal redemption obtained.

And what was thus intimated in heaven has been proclaimed on earth by those whom God sent forth in the power of the Holy Ghost, to tell to men the things which eye had not seen nor ear heard. That ‘sitting down’ contained in itself the gospel. The first note of that gospel was sounded at Bethlehem, from the manger where the young child lay; the last note came from the throne above, when the Son of God returned in triumph from His mission of grace to earth, and took His seat upon the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens.

Between these two extremities, the manger and the throne, how much is contained for us! All the love of God is there. The exceeding riches of divine grace are there. The fullness of that power and wisdom and righneteousness, which have come forth, not to destroy, but to save, is there. These are the two boundary walls of that wondrous storehouse out of which we are to be filled throughout the eternal ages.”

–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness; or, How Shall a Man be Just with God? (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1874/1993), 58-9.

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