Tag Archives: Comfort

“Sickbeds and deathbeds” by Herman Bavinck

“The satisfaction of the human heart and conscience are the seal and crown of religion. A religion that has no consolation to offer in time of mourning and sorrow, in life and in death, cannot be the true religion.

From other sciences, from logic, mathematics, physics, etc., we do not expect comfort for the guilty conscience and the saddened heart. But a religion that has nothing to say at sickbeds and deathbeds, that cannot fortify the doubting ones, nor raise up those who are bowed down, is not worthy of the name.

The contrast often made between truth and consolation does not belong in religion. A truth that contains no comfort, which does not connect with the religious-ethical life of human beings, ceases by that token to be a religious truth.

Just as medical science in all its specialties is oriented to the healing of the sick, so in religion people have a right to look for peace and salvation.”

–Herman Bavinck, Ed. John Bolt and Trans. John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 552.

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“The proper study of the Christian” by Charles Spurgeon

“It has been said by some one that ‘the proper study of mankind is man.’ I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God.

The proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.

There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity.

Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, ‘Behold I am wise.’

But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with the solemn exclamation, ‘I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.’

No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe.

He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well nigh unutterable names; he may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosaurus, and all kinds of extinct animals; he may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind.

I dare say it does, but after all, the most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity.

Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatary.

Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore.

Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated.

I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.

It is to that subject that I invite you this morning.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Immutability of God,” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, Volume 1 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855), 1. Preached this sermon from Malachi 3:6 on January 7, 1855. He was just 20 years old.

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“Go and tell Jesus” by Jonathan Edwards

“I would now apply myself to the honoured one, who stood in the nearest relation of any to the deceased, whom God by this awful providence has made a sorrowful widow.

Suffer me, honoured madam, in your great affliction, to exhibit to you a compassionate Redeemer.

God has now taken from you that servant of His, that was the nearest and best friend you had in this world. He was your wise and prudent guide, your affectionate and pleasant companion.

He was so great a blessing while he lived, to you and your family, and, under Christ, was so much the comfort and support of your life.

You see, madam, where your resort must be: your earthly friends can condole your loss, but cannot make it up to you. We must all confess ourselves to be but miserable comforters.

But you may go and tell Jesus, and there you may have both support and reparation. His love and His presence is far beyond that of the nearest and most affectionate earthly friend.

Now you are bereaved of your earthly consort, but you may go to a spiritual Husband, and seek His compassion and His company.

He is the fountain of all that wisdom and prudence, that piety, that tender affection and faithful care, that you enjoyed in your departed consort.

In Him is an infinite fountain of all these things, and of all good.

In Him you may have light in your darkness, comfort in your sorrow, and fulness of joy and glory in another world, in an everlasting union with your dear, deceased relative, in the glorious presence of the same Redeemer, in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore.

This doctrine also directs the bereaved, afflicted children, that are, with hearts full of grief, now mourning over a dear departed father, where to go and what to do.

You will no longer have your father’s wisdom to guide you, his tender love to comfort and delight you, and his affectionate care to guard you and assist you.

You will no longer have his pious and judicious counsels to direct you, and his holy examples set before you, and his fervent, humble, believing prayers with you and for you.

But in the blessed Jesus, your father’s Lord and Redeemer, you may have much more than all those things. Your father’s virtues that made Him so great a blessing to you, were but the image of what is in Christ.

Therefore go to Jesus in your mourning: go and tell Jesus. Tell a compassionate Saviour what has befallen you.

Heretofore you have had an earthly father to go to, whose heart was full of tenderness to you. But the heart of His Redeemer is much more tender.

His wisdom and His love is infinitely beyond that of any earthly parent. Go to Him, and then you will surely find comfort.

Go to Him, and you will find that, though you are bereaved, yet you are not left in any want. You will find that all your wants are supplied, and all your loss made up, and much more.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Sorrows of the Bereaved Spread Before Jesus,” in  The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 2. Ed. Edward Hickman (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1834/1998), 2:968. The entire sermon may be read here. Edwards preached this sermon on Matthew 14:12 on September 2, 1741, at the funeral of the Rev. William Williams. In this section Edwards is speaking directly to the widow and children of the deceased.

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“He gives songs in the night” by Jonathan Edwards

“Jesus was one that wept with those that wept. And indeed it was mere pity that brought Him into the world, and induced Him not only to shed tears but to shed His blood.

He poured out His blood as water on the earth, out of compassion to the poor, miserable children of men.

And when do we ever read of any one person coming to Him when on earth, with a heavy heart, or under any kind of sorrow or distress for pity or help, but what met with a kind and compassionate reception?

And He has the same compassion now He is ascended into glory. There is still the same encouragement for bereaved ones to go and spread their sorrows before Him.

Afflicted persons love to speak of their sorrows to them that have had experience of affliction, and know what sorrow is. But there is none on earth or in heaven that ever had so much experience of sorrow as Christ.

Therefore He knows how to pity the sorrowful. Christ is able to afford all that help that is needed. His power and His wisdom are as sufficient as His purpose, and answerable to His compassions.

By the bowels of His mercies, the love and tenderness of His heart, He is disposed to help those that are in affliction. And His ability is answerable to His disposition.

He is able to support the heart under the heaviest sorrows, and to give light in the greatest darkness. He can divide the thickest cloud with beams of heavenly light and comfort.

He is one that gives songs in the night, and turns the shadow of death into the morning: he has power to make up the loss of those that are bereaved…

Persons under sorrowful bereavements are ready to go and lay open their sorrows to them that they think will be ready to pity them, though they know they can but pity them, and cannot help them.

How much more is here in such a case to induce us to go to Jesus, who is not only so ready to pity, but so able to help, able abundantly more than to fill up the breach, and able to turn all our sorrows into joy!”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Sorrows of the Bereaved Spread Before Jesus,” in  The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 2. Ed. Edward Hickman (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1834/1998), 2:966-967. The entire sermon may be read here. Edwards preached this sermon on Matthew 14:12 on September 2, 1741, at the funeral of the Rev. William Williams.

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“His everlasting arms can bear us up” by Thomas Manton

“God is a great God, who taketh the care and charge upon Him of the sustentation and government of all things to their proper ends and uses. How soon would the world fall into confusion and nothing without His power and care!

Now this should recommend Him to our esteem and love. Oh, what a blessed thing is it to have an interest in this powerful and almighty God! All His strength and power is engaged for the meanest and weakest of His children.

1 Peter 1:5, ‘We are kept by the power of God to salvation;’ and therefore we are bidden to be ‘strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ Surely they are blessed that have such a mighty God on their side, and engaged with them against their enemies.

1 John 4:4, ‘Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.’ He can enable them to do their work, satisfy their desires, maintain them in the midst of opposition: John 10:29, ‘My father, which gave them Me, is greater than all.’

Such is the efficacy of His providence, that He can subject all things to Himself, make them servants, to do what He would have them. Oh, how safe is a Christian in the love and covenant and arms of an Almighty God, whom he hath made his refuge!

Our trials are many, and grace received is small in the best. But our God is great. He that made all things, and sustaineth all things, and governeth all things, and possesseth all things, is our God.

Surely ‘His grace is sufficient for us,’ 2 Cor. 12:9, and His everlasting arms can bear us up: Deut. 33:27, ‘The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.’ He can recover us from our falls, and lift us over all our difficulties.

If we could but rest upon His word and lean upon His power, why should we be discouraged? Oh, let us rejoice, then, not only in the goodness but greatness of that God whom we have chosen for our portion!”

–Thomas Manton, “Sermon XCVI – Psalm 119:91” in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, Volume 7 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1872), 418-419.

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“All His attributes are on your side” by Jonathan Edwards

“To all true Christians: you have heard what a superlatively excellent being your God is. His excellencies are all matter of joy and comfort to you; you may sit and meditate upon them with pleasure and delight.

The thoughts of the greatness, power, holiness, and justice of God is matter of terror to the wicked, and will be matter of horrible amazement to them forever; but it is all comfortable and rejoicing to you. The most terrible and dreadful of all God’s attributes need not to be terrible, but comfortable to you.

You may think of His great power, of His terrible majesty, of His vindictive justice, with joy, as well as of His mercy and goodness; you may think of His being a consuming fire joyfully, as well as of His being the Rose of Sharon and Lily of the Valley, for all His attributes are on your side: His justice and holiness, as well as His pity, love, and compassion.

You may think of His descending from heaven to judgment in His dreadful majesty, and all the world rent to pieces before Him with earthquakes and thunder and lightning, and devils and wicked men trembling in inexpressible horror and amazement at the sight of Him, with as much comfort as you may think of Him hanging upon the cross.

You are delivered from the wrath of this dreadful Being, are got into Christ, a safe refuge from all danger, and where you never need to fear the feeling of His vengeance. His wrath is to be poured out on His enemies, but you are safe and need not fear: you are out of the way of that stream of brimstone which kindles hellfire.

You are come to Mount Sion, the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the General Assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than the blood of Abel.

This God, to whom there is none in heaven to be compared, nor any among the sons of the mighty to be likened; this God who is from everlasting to everlasting, an infinitely powerful, wise, holy, and lovely being, who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, is your God.

He is reconciled to you and is become your friend; there is a friendship between you and the Almighty; you are become acquainted with Him, and He has made known Himself to you, and communicates Himself to you, converses with you as a friend, dwells with you, and in you, by His Holy Spirit.

Yea, He has taken you into a nearer relation to Him: He is become your Father, and owns you for His child, and doth by you, and will do by you, as a child.  He cares for you. He will see that you are provided for. He will see that you never shall want anything that will be useful to you.

He has made you one of His heirs, and a co-heir with his Son. And He will bestow an inheritance upon you, as it is bestowed upon a child of the King of Kings.

You are now in some measure sanctified, and have the image of God upon your souls, but hereafter, when God shall receive you, His dear child, into His arms, and shall admit you to the perfect enjoyment of Him as your portion, you will be entirely transformed into His likeness, for you shall see Him as He is.

The consideration of having such a glorious God for your God, your friend, your Father, and your portion, and that you shall eternally enjoy Him as such, is enough to make you despise all worldly afflictions and adversities, and even death itself, and to trample them under your feet.”

-–Jonathan Edwards “God’s Excellencies: A Sermon on Psalm 89:6,” in Sermons and Discourses 1720-1723, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10, Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven: Yale, 1992), 434-435. It may be read here in its entirety.

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“Our glory and our safety” by Thomas Brooks

“God hath His everlasting arms under His people, so that they shall never totally nor finally fall. The safety and security of the child lies not so much in the child’s hanging about the mother’s neck, as in the mother’s holding it fast in her arms.

So our safety and security lies not so much in our weak holding upon Christ, but in Christ’s holding of us fast in His everlasting arms. This is our glory and our safety, that Christ’s left hand is always under us, and His right hand does always embrace us.

If the soul be forsaken by friends, then that promise relieves it, Heb. 13:5, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’”

–Thomas Brooks, “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ” in The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 3, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 107-108.

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