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“That happy day” by Charles Spurgeon

“I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm, one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship. When I could go no further, I turned down a side street, and came to a little Primitive Methodist Chapel.

In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people’s heads ache; but that did not matter to me.

I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they could tell me that, I did not care how much they made my head ache. The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose.

At last, a very thin-looking man, a shoemaker, of tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. Now, it is well that preachers should be instructed; but this man was really stupid.

He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was,—

‘LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH’ (Isaiah 45:22)

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in that text.

The preacher began thus:—’My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, ‘Look’. Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pains. It ain’t liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is just, ‘Look.’ Well, a man needn’t go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn’t be worth a thousand a year to be able to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look. But then the text says, ‘Look unto Me.’

‘Ay!’ said he, in broad Essex, ‘many on ye are lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there. You’ll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, ‘Look unto Me’. Some on ye say, ‘We must wait for the Spirit’s workin’.’ You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says. ‘Look unto Me.’

Then the good man followed up his text in this way:—’Look unto Me; I am sweatin’ great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin’ on the cross. Look unto Me; I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sittin’ at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! look unto Me!’

When he had gone to about that length, and managed to spin out ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger.

Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, ‘Young man, you look very miserable.’ Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before.

However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, ‘and you always will be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death,—if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.’

Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do, ‘Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin’ to do but to look and live.’

I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said,—I did not take much notice of it,—I was so possessed with that one thought.

Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed, so it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, ‘Look!’ what a charming word it seemed to me!

Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him.

Oh, that somebody had told me this before, ‘Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.’ Yet it was, no doubt, all wisely ordered, and now I can say,—

‘E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.’

I do from my soul confess that I never was satisfied till I came to Christ; when I was yet a child, I had far more wretchedness than ever I have now; I will even add, more weariness, more care, more heart-ache, than I know at this day.

I may be singular in this confession, but I make it, and know it to be the truth. Since that dear hour when my soul cast itself on Jesus, I have found solid joy and peace; but before that, all those supposed gaieties of early youth, all the imagined ease and joy of boyhood, were but vanity and vexation of spirit to me.

That happy day, when I found the Saviour, and learned to cling to His dear feet, was a day never to be forgotten by me. An obscure child, unknown, unheard of, I listened to the Word of God; and that precious text led me to the cross of Christ.

I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribable. I could have leaped, I could have danced; there was no expression, however fanatical, which would have been out of keeping with the joy of my spirit at that hour.

Many days of Christian experience have passed since then, but there has never been one which has had the full exhilaration, the sparkling delight which that first day had. I thought I could have sprung from the seat on which I sat, and have called out with the wildest of those Methodist brethren who were present, ‘I am forgiven! I am forgiven! A monument of grace! A sinner saved by blood!’

My spirit saw its chains broken to pieces, I felt that I was an emancipated soul, an heir of Heaven, a forgiven one, accepted in Christ Jesus, plucked out of the miry clay and out of the horrible pit, with my feet set upon a rock, and my goings established.

I thought I could dance all the way home. I could understand what John Bunyan meant, when he declared he wanted to tell the crows on the ploughed land all about his conversion. He was too full to hold, he felt he must tell somebody.

It is not everyone who can remember the very day and hour of his deliverance; but it was so with me. The clock of mercy struck in Heaven the hour and moment of my emancipation, for the time had come.

Between half-past ten o’clock, when I entered that chapel, and half-past twelve o’clock, when I was back again at home, what a change had taken place in me! I had passed from darkness into marvellous light, from death to life.

Simply by looking to Jesus, I had been delivered from despair, and I was brought into such a joyous state of mind that, when they saw me at home, they said to me, ‘Something wonderful has happened to you.’

And I was eager to tell them all about it. Oh! there was joy in the household that day, when all heard that the eldest son had found the Saviour, and knew himself to be forgiven,—bliss compared with which all earth’s joys are less than nothing and vanity.

Yes, I had looked to Jesus as I was, and found in Him my Saviour. Thus had the eternal purpose of Jehovah decreed it; and as, the moment before, there was none more wretched than I was, so, within that second, there was none more joyous.

It took no longer time than does the lightning-flash; it was done, and never has it been undone. I looked, and lived, and leaped in joyful liberty as I beheld my sin punished upon the great Substitute, and put away for ever.

I looked unto Him, as He bled upon that tree; His eyes darted a glance of love unutterable into my spirit, and in a moment, I was saved.

Looking unto Him, the bruises that my soul had suffered were healed, the gaping wounds were cured, the broken bones rejoiced, the rags that had covered me were all removed, my spirit was white as the spotless snows of the far-off North; I had melody within my spirit, for I was saved, washed, cleansed, forgiven, through Him that did hang upon the tree.

My Master, I cannot understand how Thou couldst stoop Thine awful head to such a death as the death of the cross,—how Thou couldst take from Thy brow the coronet of stars which from old eternity had shone resplendent there; but how Thou shouldst permit the thorn-crown to gird Thy temples, astonishes me far more.

That Thou shouldst cast away the mantle of Thy glory, the azure of Thine everlasting empire, I cannot comprehend; but how Thou shouldst have become veiled in the ignominious purple for a while, and then be mocked by impious men, who bowed to Thee as a pretended king; and how Thou shouldst be stripped naked to Thy shame, without a single covering, and die a felon’s death;—this is still more incomprehensible.

But the marvel is that Thou shouldst have suffered all this for me! Truly, Thy love to me is wonderful, passing the love of women!

Was ever grief like Thine? Was ever love like Thine, that could open the flood-gates of such grief? Was ever love so mighty as to become the fount from which such an ocean of grief could come rolling down?

There was never anything so true to me as those bleeding hands, and that thorn-crowned head. Home, friends, health, wealth, comforts—all lost their lustre that day when He appeared, just as stars are hidden by the light of the sun.

He was the only Lord and Giver of life’s best bliss, the one well of living water springing up unto everlasting life. As I saw Jesus on His cross before me, and as I mused upon His sufferings and death, methought I saw Him cast a look of love upon me; and then I looked at Him, and cried,—

‘Jesu, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly.’

He said, ‘Come,’ and I flew to Him, and clasped Him; and when He let me go again, I wondered where my burden was. It was gone!

There, in the sepulchre, it lay, and I felt light as air; like a winged sylph, I could fly over mountains of trouble and despair; and oh! what liberty and joy I had!

I could leap with ecstasy, for I had much forgiven, and I was freed from sin. With the spouse in the Canticles, I could say, ‘I found Him.’

I, a lad, found the Lord of glory; I, a slave to sin, found the great Deliverer; I, the child of darkness, found the Light of life.

I, the uttermost of the lost, found my Saviour and my God; I, widowed and desolate, found my Friend, my Beloved, my Husband.

Oh, how I wondered that I should be pardoned! It was not the pardon that I wondered at so much; the wonder was that it should come to me.

I marvelled that He should be able to pardon such sins as mine, such crimes, so numerous and so black; and that, after such an accusing conscience, He should have power to still every wave within my spirit, and make my soul like the surface of a river, undisturbed, quiet, and at ease.

It mattered not to me whether the day itself was gloomy or bright I had found Christ; that was enough for me. He was my Saviour, He was my all; and I can heartily say, that one day of pardoned sin was a sufficient recompense for the whole five years of conviction.

I have to bless God for every terror that ever scared me by night, and for every foreboding that alarmed me by day. It has made me happier ever since.

For now, if there be a trouble weighing upon my soul, I thank God it is not such a burden as that which bowed me to the very earth, and made me creep upon the ground, like a beast, by reason of heavy distress and affliction.

I know I never can again suffer what I have suffered; I never can, except I be sent to hell, know more of agony than I have known; and now, that ease, that joy and peace in believing, that ‘no condemnation’ which belongs to me as a child of God, is made doubly sweet and inexpressibly precious, by the recollection of my past clays of sorrow and grief.

Blessed be Thou, O God, forever, who by those black days, like a dreary winter, hast made these summer days all the fairer and the sweeter! I need not walk through the earth fearful of every shadow, and afraid of every man I meet, for sin is washed away.

My spirit is no more guilty; it is pure, it is holy. The frown of God no longer resteth upon me; but my Father smiles, I see His eyes,—they are glancing love; I hear His voice,—it is full of sweetness.

I am forgiven, I am forgiven, I am forgiven!”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1834–1854, Vol. 1 (Cincinatti; Chicago; St. Louis: Curts & Jennings, 1898), 1:105–110.

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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 weakest Christian” by Thomas Brooks

“The weakest Christian is as much justified, as much pardoned, as much adopted, and as much united to Christ as the strongest, and hath as much interest and propriety in Christ as the highest and noblest Christian that breathes.”

–Thomas Brooks, Heaven on Earth, in The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 2 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 338.

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“His grip on us is unbreakable” by Marcus Peter Johnson

“The gospel is full of inconceivably extravagant promises from our Father. He has given these promises to provide His children with the full assurance of His freely given, irrevocable love, and they are grounded in His steadfast, immovable, unchangeable faithfulness.

What God promises He will infallibly bring to pass. And all the promises the Father makes are bound up inextricably in Jesus Christ, in whom they are fulfilled and completed: ‘For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ’ (2 Cor. 1:20, niv1984).

In order to bring to fruition all that He has promised us, God joins us indissolubly to the One in whom all the promises are contained, fulfilled, and secured. It is only in Christ that we benefit from any of God’s lavish pledges.

Thus, the assurance believers have that God will infallibly save them, and that they will never cease to be saved, is rooted in their being joined to the Savior. The Father gives us to the Son, and it is the Father’s will that the Son save us to the uttermost:

‘And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day’ ( John 6:39–40).

Our separation from Jesus Christ would mean nothing less than the failure of the Son to accomplish the Father’s will. Once joined to Christ, believers will never be separated from Him.

This is not because our grasp on Christ is so strong, but because His grip on us is unbreakable. We are not only perfectly and eternally preserved in Christ because His grasp is insuperable, but, should we need even greater assurance, Jesus tells us that His hold on us is undergirded by the invincible grasp of His Father:

‘I give [my sheep] eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one’ ( John 10:28–30).

The Son and the Father have a common and mutually re-enforcing grasp on those who belong to them. Indeed, we can say more: our preservation in Christ is anchored in the personal relations and purposes of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

The Father gives us to His Son through His Spirit or, alternatively, the Spirit joins us to the Son, and through the Son to the Father (John 14:16–20). Only a breach in the common unity and will of the triune Godhead could sever us from Jesus Christ.”

–Marcus Peter Johnson, One With Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 173-174.

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“Peace with God” by Thomas Brooks

“‘If God be with us, who can be against us?’ I answer, None, so as to deprive us of our inward peace, rest, and quiet. Though, it thunder, and lighten, and rain, and blow abroad, yet a man may be at peace and rest and quiet at home.

A man may have much trouble in the world, and yet rest and quiet in his own spirit: John 14:27, ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you,’ ‘let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,’ No men nor devils, no troubles nor distresses, can deprive a Christian of that inward and blessed peace that Christ hath purchased and paid so dear for.

Peace with God, and peace of conscience, are rare jewels, that none can strip us of. The world may wish you peace, but it is only Christ can give you peace, Rom. 5:1, and 2 Cor. 1:12. The world’s peace is commonly a dear-bought peace; but Christ’s peace is a cheap peace, a free peace. ‘My peace I give unto you.’

The world’s peace is commonly a sinful peace, but Christ’s peace is a holy peace; the world’s peace is a cursed peace, but Christ’s peace is a blessed peace; the world’s peace is but an earthly peace, but Christ’s peace is a heavenly peace, Rom. 14:17; Heb. 12:14, and Ps. 29:11.

Some Christians thought that others could not come to heaven if they did not eat such meats as they; but Paul tells them that the kingdom of God consists not in meat or drink, but ‘in righteousness, and peace, and joy of the Holy Ghost.’

The world’s peace is but an imaginary peace, but Christ’s peace is a real peace. The world’s peace is but a superficial peace, but Christ’s peace is a solid and substantial peace. The world’s peace is but a transient peace, but Christ’s peace is a permanent peace. The world’s peace is but a temporary peace, but Christ’s peace is an eternal peace.

It is a peace that all the world can’t give to a Christian, and it is a peace that all the world can’t take from a Christian, 1 Thes. 5:3; 1 Pet. 3:11; James 3:18; Isa. 9:6, 7; Ps. 37; Isa. 26:3, and 27:5.

When the tyrant threatened one of the ancients that he would ‘take away his house,’ he answered, ‘Yet thou canst not take away my peace.’ ‘I will break up thy school;’ ‘yet shall I keep whole my peace.’ I will ‘confiscate all thy goods;’ ‘yet there is no premunire against my peace.’ ‘I will banish thee thy country:’ ‘yet I shall carry my peace with me.’

All above a believer is at peace; the controversy betwixt God and him is ended. Christ takes up the quarrel betwixt God and a believer. ‘We have peace with God,’ Rom. 5:1. All within a believer is at peace.

A peaceable God makes all at peace. When our peace is made in the court of heaven, which is upon the first act of believing, then follows peace in the court of conscience, ‘peace which passeth all understanding,’ Phil. 4:7.

And all below a believer is at peace with him. He has peace with all the creatures. When we are friends with God, then all the creatures are our friends. ‘The stones of the field shall be at league with thee, the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee,’ &c., Job 5:23.

The peace that Christ gives is the inheritance of saints only. It was all the legacy which the prince of peace left to his subjects, and this legacy none can take from them.

Persecutors may take away my goods, but they cannot take away my peace; they may take away my estate, but they cannot take away my peace; they may take away my liberty, but they cannot take away my peace; they may take away my good name, but they cannot take away my peace; they may take away my relations, but they cannot take away my peace; they may take away my life, but they cannot take away my peace.

I grant that the best have no perfection of peace, because they have no perfection of grace. If there were a perfection of grace, then there might be a perfection of peace; but the perfection of both is reserved for another world; and it must be granted that though sometimes a believer may want the sense of peace, the sweet of peace, yet the grounds of his peace are still fixed, certain, and constant; they are ‘like mount Zion, that cannot be removed.’

Now the grounds of a Christian’s peace are these— an interest in Christ, reconciliation with God, justification, remission of sin, adoption, the covenant of grace and peace.

Now these are always sure and everlasting, though the sense of peace may ebb and flow, rise and fall, in a believer’s heart, especially when he is a-combating with strong corruptions, or high temptations, or under sad desertions, or when unbelief has got the throne, or when their hearts are quarrelsome—for commonly a quarrelsome heart is a troublesome heart, or when they have blotted their evidences for heaven, or when they are fallen from their first love, or when they have contracted eminent guilt upon their souls, or when they are declined in their communion with God.

Now in these cases, though a believer may lose the sense of peace, yet the grounds of his peace remain firm and sure; and though he may lose the sense of his peace, yet in all these sad and dark conditions his soul is day and night in the pursuit of peace, and he will never leave the chase till he has recovered his peace, knowing that God will first or last speak peace to his soul; yea, though he has lost the sense of peace, yet he has that abiding seed of grace in his soul that will in time recover his peace, Ps. 85:8.

Do your enemies threaten to take away this or that from you, you may throw up your caps at them, and bid them do their worst, for they can never take that peace from you that Christ has given as a legacy to you, 1 John 3:9. When there are never so great storms within or without, yet then a believer may find peace in the prince of peace, Isa. 9:6.

When his imperfections are many, a perfect Saviour can keep him in perfect peace in the midst of them all, Isa. 26:3, 4. Though his sacrifices are imperfect, yet Christ a perfect priest can speak peace to his soul, Heb. 7. Peace is that never-fading garland which Christ will so set and settle upon the heads of the upright, that none shall be able to take it off.

A Christian can never lose his inward peace, either totally or finally. It is true by sin, Satan, and the world, a Christian’s peace may be somewhat interrupted, but it can never be finally lost.

The greatest storms in this world that beat upon a believer will in time blow over, and the Sun of righteousness, the prince of peace, will shine as gloriously upon him as ever. Under this word, shalom, the Jews comprehend all peace, prosperity, and happy success.

When the worst of men have done their worst against the people of God, yet the issue shall be peace, prosperity, and happy success. ‘My peace I give unto you;’ that is, that ‘peace with God and peace with conscience that I have purchased with my blood, I give unto you.’

And what power or policy is there that can deprive us of this legacy? Surely none. The peace that Christ gives is bottomed upon His blood, upon His righteousness, upon His satisfaction, upon His intercession, and upon a covenant of peace, and therefore it must needs be a lasting peace, an abiding peace.”

–Thomas Brooks, “A Word in Season,” in The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 5, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1867), 510-512.

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“Before the blazing throne” by Charles Spurgeon

“No human mind can adequately estimate the infinite value of the divine sacrifice, for great as is the sin of God’s people, the atonement which takes it away is immeasurably greater.

Therefore, the believer, even when sin rolls like a black flood, and the remembrance of the past is bitter, can yet stand before the blazing throne of the great and holy God, and cry, ‘Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea rather, that hath risen again.’

While the recollection of his sin fills him with shame and sorrow, he at the same time makes it a foil to show the brightness of mercy. Guilt is the dark night in which the fair star of divine love shines with serene splendour.”

–Charles Spurgeon, “July 6 –  Evening” in Morning and Evening (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 1994),  397.

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“Look to Jesus” by Charles Spurgeon

“Looking unto Jesus.” —Hebrews 12:2

“It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.

He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.’

All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that ‘Christ is all in all.’

Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits.

Therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith.

We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by ‘looking unto Jesus.’

Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him.

Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.

‘My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.'”

–Charles Spurgeon, “June 28 –  Morning” in Morning and Evening (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 1994),  378.

[HT: Nick Gardner]

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