Tag Archives: Joy

“You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness” by C.S. Lewis

“In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency.

I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both.

We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name.

Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering.

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things– the beauty, the memory of our own past– are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers.

For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them.

And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.”

–C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses(New York: Harper Collins, 1949/2001), 29-31.

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“The great fire of the love of God for us” by Martin Luther

“The chief article and foundation of the gospel is that before you take Christ as an example, you accept and recognize Him as a gift, as a present that God has given you and that is your own.

This means that when you see or hear of Christ doing or suffering something, you do not doubt that Christ Himself, with His deeds and suffering, belongs to you. On this you may depend as surely as if you had done it yourself; indeed as if you were Christ Himself.

See, this is what it means to have a proper grasp of the gospel, that is, of the overwhelming goodness of God, which neither prophet, nor apostle, nor angel was ever able fully to express, and which no heart could adequately fathom or marvel at.

This is the great fire of the love of God for us, whereby the heart and conscience become happy, secure, and content. This is what preaching the Christian faith means.

This is why such preaching is called gospel, which in German means a joyful, good, and comforting ‘message’; and this is why the apostles are called the ‘twelve messengers.’

Concerning this Isaiah 9:6 says, ‘To us a child is born, to us a son is given.’ If He is given to us, then He must be ours; and so we must also receive him as belonging to us.

And Romans 8:32, ‘How should God not give us all things with His Son?’ See, when you lay hold of Christ as a gift which is given you for your very own and have no doubt about it, you are a Christian.

Faith redeems you from sin, death, and hell and enables you to overcome all things. O no one can speak enough about this! It is a pity that this kind of preaching has been silenced in the world.

Now when you have Christ as the foundation and chief blessing of your salvation, then the other part follows: that you take Him as your example, giving yourself in service to your neighbor just as you see that Christ has given Himself for you.

See, there faith and love move forward, God’s commandment is fulfilled, and a person is happy and fearless to do and to suffer all things. Therefore make note of this, that Christ as a gift nourishes your faith and makes you a Christian. But Christ as an example exercises your works.

These do not make you a Christian. Actually they come forth from you because you have already been made a Christian. As widely as a gift differs from an example, so widely does faith differ from works, for faith possesses nothing of its own, only the deeds and life of Christ.

Works have something of your own in them, yet they should not belong to you but to your neighbor. So you see that the gospel is really not a book of laws and commandments which requires deeds of us, but a book of divine promises in which God promises, offers, and gives us all His possessions and benefits in Christ.”

–Martin Luther, “A Brief Instruction on What to Look for and Expect in the Gospels (1521),” in Luther’s Works, Vol. 35: Word and Sacrament I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 35 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 119-120.

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“All that He is, He is for His children” by Wilhelmus à Brakel

“The excellency of the children of God is so great that it exceeds all comprehension. This may be known in some measure by considering their origin and state. The origin and state of a child of God is more excellent than anything imaginable.

To be the child of a king is a great thing in this world. Many boast of the fact that they consider themselves among the descendants of kings and of great men of the world; some pagans boasted of being descendants of the gods.

What then must it be to be a child of God Himself who has all glory within Himself, is above all praise, and has made everything? Everything belongs to Him. All creatures and all kings of the earth must be at His service and His beck, and must obey Him to the minutest detail.

He accomplishes all that He wills, and is nothing but love and goodness. And all that He is, He is for His children.

They are of divine descent. Let kings and princes boast of their descent. Let nobility, by way of a long succession of noble ancestors, ascend to generations of higher origin.

And let families who are now poor and of low estate be encouraged by the fact that their ancestors at one time were noble–all this is at best but an earthly honor.

Oh children of God, you must, however, consider your descent to be from God Himself, not only as Creator (which you have in common with everyone else, and which can only cause us to be ashamed, considering that we have fallen away from this majestic God, have thus become His enemies who are worthy to be punished by Him), but that you have been adopted as children by Him and appointed to be the objects of His fatherly goodness.”

–Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Volume 2, Ed. Joel Beeke, Trans. Bartel Elshout (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1700/1994), 2: 417.

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Filed under Adoption, Christian Theology, Glory of Christ, Jesus Christ, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Wilhelmus à Brakel

“The Saviour’s joy” by Charles Spurgeon

“Remember you have given Jesus great joy in His saving you. He was forever with the Father, eternally happy, infinitely glorious, as God over all.

Yet out of boundless love, He came, took upon Himself our nature, and suffered in our stead to bring us back to holiness and God.

‘He layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.’ That day the shepherd knew but one joy. He had found his sheep, and the very pressure of it upon his shoulders made his heart light, for he knew by that sign that the object of his care was safe beyond all question.

Now he goes home with it, and this joy of his was then so great that it filled his soul to overflowing. The parable speaks nothing as to his joy in getting home again, nor a word concerning the joy of being saluted by his friends and neighbours.

No, the joy of having found his sheep eclipsed all other gladness of heart, and dimmed the light of home and friendship. He turns round to friends and neighbours and entreats them to help him to bear the weight of his happiness.

He cries, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ One sinner had repented, and all heaven must make holiday concerning it.

Oh, brethren, there is enough joy in the heart of Christ over His saved ones to flood all heaven with delight!

The streets of Paradise run knee-deep with the heavenly waters of the Saviour’s joy. They flow out of the very soul of Christ, and angels and glorified spirits bathe in the mighty stream.

Let us do the same.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Parable of the Lost Sheep,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Volume 30 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1884), 30: 526.

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“The Infinite One” by Mark Jones

“The doctrine of God’s infinity gives us great joy because it assures that our sins are forgiven, due to the infinite worth of Christ’s sacrifice. Additionally, we can rejoice that we as finite creatures can never comprehend the infinite.

Far from being a problem, this doctrine is a delight, for we shall one day be given glorious resurrected bodies. As Paul says, ‘Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven’ (1 Cor. 15:49).

In this exalted state, we will be able to perfectly apply our minds to the knowledge of God and Christ by means of the Holy Spirit illuminating our spiritual and intellectual faculties. We shall spend an eternity knowing God, because He is the infinite God.

Yet even for all eternity, we shall never fully comprehend God. Still, this impossibility remains our delight insofar as we have so much to look forward to in what awaits us.

By knowing God, I do not mean merely coming to a greater awareness of who He is but also coming to a greater awareness of all that He has done and will continue to do for us, including our understanding of His attributes displayed in the new creation.

We all, for example, shall be true scientists of the highest order. But we should always remember our established place as creatures. We serve an infinite God, and our praises in this life come so very short of what is due to Him.

But He accepts our praises, despite our weaknesses. The Infinite One stoops and stoops and stoops in order to raise us to places that are undeserved.

Our union with the infinite Son of God puts us in the most privileged place possible for a human being– far more privileged than Adam’s place in the garden. We belong to an infinite God who will satisfy us forever because He alone is in the position to pour out everlasting blessings on His creatures.”

–Mark Jones, God Is: A Devotional Guide to the Attributes of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 48-49.

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“The lantern of Christ’s humanity” by Thomas Watson

“Christ makes the divine nature appear lovely to man. The pure Godhead is terrible to behold, we could not see it and live; but Christ clothing Himself with our flesh makes the divine nature more amiable and delightful to us.

Now we need not be afraid to look upon God, seeing Him through Christ’s human nature. It was a custom of old among the shepherds, they were wont to clothe themselves with sheep-skins, to be more pleasing to the sheep.

So Christ clothed Himself with our flesh that the divine nature may be more pleasing to us. The human nature is a glass, through which we may see the love and wisdom, and glory of God clearly represented to us.

Through the lantern of Christ’s humanity, we may behold the light of the Deity shining. Christ being incarnate, He makes the sight of the Deity not formidable, but delightful to us.”

–Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity Contained in Sermons Upon the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1692/1970), 194-195.

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Filed under Christian Theology, Glory of Christ, Incarnation, Jesus Christ, Joy, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel, Thomas Watson

“God’s purpose” by Wilhelmus à Brakel

“Consider for a moment from whom your life, breath, and whatever you possess proceed– the air which you breathe; the sun, moon, and stars which illuminate and delight you; the heavens which cover you; the earth on which you walk; the food and drink you partake of; and the animals which you use.

Does all this proceed from you? Are you worthy of them? Is not all this the Lord’s? Is it not He who, each day again, grants you His goodness in spite of your unworthiness and sinfulness? Yes, children of God, is it not the Lord who has granted you that precious Savior, who grants you the Holy Spirit, who graces you with spiritual light and life, and who has prepared eternal glory for you?

Everything will return from whence it proceeded. Therefore let your heart, while conscious of your insignificance and reflecting upon the inestimable value of the blessings and goodness of the Lord, also bring all this to Him, and with a heart filled with love and adoration cry out, ‘For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Him be glory forever. Amen’ (Rom. 11:36).

Consider the purpose for which God has placed you upon the earth. Is it only to labor and to rest, to eat and to drink, and to return again to nothing after many troubles and activities? Tell me, why are you here? Is it to know, acknowledge, and glorify your Maker?

And, children of God, to what end has He regenerated you and placed you in His church? Did He do so without purpose? Is it merely to lead you by that way to heaven? No, but it is that you would glorify Him upon earth.

Observe this in the following passages: ‘This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise’ (Isa. 43:21); ‘…that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified’ (Isa. 61:3); ‘But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light’ (1 Pet. 2:9).

You would not have been born, you would not live, and you would not receive and have what you enjoy, if this were not the purpose. If this is the purpose, what else is there to do for you but this?

God has, to some degree, been pleased to place His interests and honor into your hand, and has appointed you to be the heralds of His Name. Ought you then not to see to it how you preserve this precious gift entrusted to you, and how you answer to God’s purpose and engage inestimable activity?

Well, arise therefore, and engage in it with delight.”

–Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Volume 3, Ed. Joel Beeke, Trans. Bartel Elshout (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1700/1994), 3: 256-257.

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