Tag Archives: Perseverance

“Make much of our Lord Jesus Christ” by J.C. Ryle

“In conclusion, I will remind you of the words the Apostle addressed to the Ephesian elders: ‘I commend you to God and to the word of His grace.’ (Acts 20:32)

We are about to part, perhaps to meet no more in this world. Let us solemnly commend one another to God, and to the word of His grace, as that which will never err, never fail us, never lead us astray.

Guided by that Word as our light and lamp, we shall at last receive an inheritance among them that are sanctified.

Above all, let us never forget the advice which Whitefield gave in one of his letters: let us ‘make much of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

There are many things of which we may easily make too much in our ministry, give them too much attention, think about them too much.

But we can never make too much of Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, “What Is Our Position,” Home Truths, seventh series (Ipswich: William Hunt, 1859), 267-268. These words were addressed to pastors at Weston-Super-Mare in August 1858.

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“A prayer request for pastors” by J.C. Ryle

“I will ask one favour on behalf of the brethren who have done the principal part of the labour in the meeting now nearly concluded. We ask a special place in your intercessory prayers.

You should consider the position in which we are placed. We are often put forward into positions which others perhaps would fill just as well, if they would but make the trial, and we are deeply sensible of our own deficiencies.

But still, being put forward in the forefront of the battle, we may surely ask for a special place in your prayers.

We are only flesh and blood. We are men of like passions with yourselves. We have our private trials, and our special temptations.

Often, while watering the vineyards of others, our own is comparatively neglected. Surely, it is not too much to ask you to pray for us.

Pray that we may be kept humble and sensible of our own weakness, and ever mindful that in the Lord alone can we be strong.

Pray that we may have wisdom to take the right step, to do the right thing, in the right way, and to do nothing to cause the Gospel to be blamed.

Pray, above all, that we may go straight on, even unto the end– that we may never lose our first love, and go back from first principles,– that it may never be said of us, that we are not the men we once were, but that we may go on consistently and faithfully, die in harness, and finish our course with joy, and the ministry which we have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.”

–J.C. Ryle, “What Is Our Position,” Home Truths, seventh series (Ipswich: William Hunt, 1859), 267-268. These words were addressed to pastors at Weston-Super-Mare in August 1858.

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“The zeal of Wilberforce” by Charles Spurgeon

“Brethren, we become zealous when we hear the cries and tears of the oppressed.

I think I see a senator standing on the floor of the House of Commons, pleading, in years gone by, the cause of Africa’s down-trodden sons.

I do not wonder at the zeal of Wilberforce, or the marvelous eloquence of Fox. What a cause they had!

They could hear the clanging of the fetters of the slaves, the sighs of prisoners, the shrieks of women, and this made them speak, for they burned with an indignation which carried them away.

Pity pulled up the sluices of their speech, and their souls ran out in mighty torrents of overwhelming eloquence.

Now, think, the Lord this day hears the sighs of the oppressed all over the world. He hears the sighs of the sorrowful.

And beyond that there comes up the daily cries of His elect, who day and night beseech His throne.

Oh! That we were more clamorous! Oh! That we were more intensely importunate! Oh! That we gave Him no rest until He would establish and make Jerusalem a praise on the earth.

For, remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, ‘And shall not God avenge His own elect? Though they cry night and day unto Him, I tell you He will avenge them speedily.'”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Zeal of the Lord,’” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 60 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1914), 60: 545.

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“Perseverance” by George Herbert

My God, the poor expressions of my Love
Which warm these lines, and serve them up to Thee
Are so, as for the present I did move,
Or rather as Thou movedst me.

But what shall issue, whether these my words
Shall help another, but my judgement be;
As a burst fowling-piece doth save the birds
But kill the man, is sealed with Thee.

For who can tell, though Thou has died to win
And wed my soul in glorious paradise;
Whether my many crimes and use of sin
May yet forbid the banes and bliss.

Only my soul hangs on Thy promises
With face and hands clinging unto Thy breast,
Clinging and crying, crying without cease,
Thou art my rock, Thou art my rest.

–George Herbert, “Perseverance,” in Complete English Poems (London: Penguin, 1991/2004), 192-193.

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“For the sake of God’s Word” by Martin Luther

“There are times when, for the sake of God’s word, we must endure the hardship, anguish, and persecution which the holy cross brings upon us. In such times we can rightfully bestir and strengthen ourselves with God’s help in such a way that we can be bold, alert, and cheerful, committing our cause to God’s gracious and Fatherly will.”

–Martin Luther, “Sayings in Which Luther Found Comfort” in Luther’s Works, Vol. 43: Devotional Writings II (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 43: 171.

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“Hitherto the Lord hath helped us” by Charles Spurgeon

“‘Hitherto the Lord hath helped us.’ (1 Samuel 7:12)

Were we a hundred when first I addressed you? What hosts of empty pews, what a miserable handful of hearers. With the staff we crossed that Jordan.

But God has multiplied the people and multiplied the joy, till we have become not only two bands but many bands; and many this day are gathering to hear the gospel preached by the sons of this church, begotten of us, and sent forth by us to minister the word of life in many towns and villages throughout these three kingdoms.

Glory be unto God, this cannot be man’s work. What effort made by the unaided strength of man will equal this which has been accomplished by God. Let the name of the Lord, therefore, be inscribed upon the pillar of the memorial. I am always very jealous about this matter.

If we do not as a Church and a congregation, if we do not as individuals, always give God the glory, it is utterly impossible that God should work by us. Many wonders I have seen, but I never saw yet a man who arrogated the honour of his work to himself, whom God did not leave sooner or later.

Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Behold this great Babylon that I have built.’ Behold that poor lunatic whose hair has grown like eagle’s feathers, and his nails like bird’s claws—that is Nebuchadnezzar.

And that must be you, and that must be me, each in our own way, unless we are content always to give all the glory unto God. Surely, brethren, we shall be a stench in the nostrils of the Most High, an offence, even like carrion, before the Lord of Hosts, if we arrogate to ourselves any honour.

What doth God send his saints for? That they may be demigods? Did God make men strong that they may exalt themselves into His throne? What, doth the King of kings crown you with mercies that you may pretend to lord it over Him?

What, doth He dignify you that you may usurp the prerogatives of His throne? No; you must come with all the favours and honours that God has put upon you, and creep to the foot of His throne and say, What am I, and what is my father’s house that thou hast remembered me. ‘Hitherto the Lord hath helped us.’

I said this text might be read three ways. We have read it once by laying stress upon the centre word. Now it ought to be read looking backward. The word ‘hitherto’ seems like a hand pointing in that direction.

Look back, look back. Twenty years—thirty—forty—fifty—sixty—seventy—eighty—’hitherto!’ say that each of you. Through poverty—through wealth—through sickness—through health—at home—abroad—on the land—on the sea—in honour—in dishonour—in perplexity—in joy—in trial—in triumph—in prayer—in temptation—hitherto.

Put the whole together. I like sometimes to look down a long avenue of trees. It is very delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of leafy temple with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves.

Cannot you look down the long aisles of your years, look at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of loving-kindness and faithfulness which bear your joys? Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely, there must be many.

And the bright sunshine and the blue sky are yonder; and if you turn round in the far distance, you may see heaven’s brightness and a throne of gold. ‘Hitherto! hitherto!’

Then the text may be read a third way,—looking forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark and writes ‘hitherto,’ he looks back upon much that is past, but ‘hitherto’ is not the end, there is yet a distance to be traversed.

More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; more slanders, more comforts; more lions and bears to be fought, more tearings of the lion for God’s Davids; more deep waters, more high mountains; more troops of devils, more hosts of angels yet.

And then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now? No, no, no!

We will raise one stone more when we get into the river, we will shout Ebenezer there: ‘hitherto the Lord hath helped us,’ for there is more to come. An awakening in His likeness, climbing of starry spheres, harps, songs, palms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, the infinity of bliss.

Yes, as sure as God has helped so far as today, He will help us to the close. ‘I will never leave thee, I will never forsake thee; I have been with thee, and I will be with thee to the end.’

Courage, brethren, then. And as we pile the stones, saying, ‘Hitherto the Lord hath helped us,’ let us just gird up the loins of our mind, and be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be revealed in us, for as it has been, so it shall be world without end.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Ebenezer!” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 9; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1863), 166–167. Spurgeon preached this sermon on 1 Samuel 7:12 on March 15, 1863, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England.

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“Moses had faith” by J.C. Ryle

“Moses had faith. Faith was the mainspring of his wonderful conduct. Faith made him do as he did, choose what he chose, and refuse what he refused. He did it all because he believed.

God set before the eyes of his mind His own will and purpose. God revealed to him that a Saviour was to be born of the stock of Israel, that mighty promises were bound up in these children of Abraham, and yet to be fulfilled, that the time for fulfilling a portion of these promises was at hand; and Moses put credit in this, and believed.

And every step in his wonderful career, every action in his journey through life after leaving Pharaoh’s court,—his choice of seeming evil, his refusal of seeming good,—all, all must be traced up to this fountain; all will be found to rest on this foundation. God had spoken to him, and he had faith in God’s word.

He believed that God would keep His promises,—that what He had said He would surely do, and what He had covenanted He would surely perform.

He believed that with God nothing was impossible. Reason and sense might say that the deliverance of Israel was out of the question: the obstacles were too many, the difficulties too great. But faith told Moses that God was all-sufficient. God had undertaken the work, and it would be done.

He believed that God was all wise. Reason and sense might tell him that his line of action was absurd; that he was throwing away useful influence, and destroying all chance of benefiting his people, by breaking with Pharaoh’s daughter. But faith told Moses that if God said ‘Go this way,’ it must be the best.

He believed that God was all merciful. Reason and sense might hint that a more pleasant manner of deliverance might be found, that some compromise might be effected, and many hardships be avoided. But faith told Moses that God was love, and would not give His people one drop of bitterness beyond what was absolutely needed.

Faith was a telescope to Moses. It made him see the goodly land afar off,—rest, peace, and victory, when dimsighted reason could only see trial and barrenness, storm and tempest, weariness and pain.

Faith was an interpreter to Moses. It made him pick out a comfortable meaning in the dark commands of God’s handwriting, while ignorant sense could see nothing in it but mystery and foolishness.

Faith told Moses that all this rank and greatness was of the earth, earthy, a poor, vain, empty thing, frail, fleeting, and passing away; and that there was no true greatness like that of serving God. He was the king, he the true nobleman who belonged to the family of God. It was better to be last in heaven, than first in hell.

Faith told Moses that worldly pleasures were ‘pleasures of sin.’ They were mingled with sin, they led on to sin, they were ruinous to the soul, and displeasing to God. It would be small comfort to have pleasure while God was against him. Better suffer and obey God, than be at ease and sin.

Faith told Moses that these pleasures after all were only for a ‘season.’ They could not last; they were all short-lived; they would weary him soon; he must leave them all in a few years.

Faith told him that there was a reward in heaven for the believer far richer than the treasures in Egypt, durable riches, where rust could not corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal. The crown there would be incorruptible; the weight of glory would be exceeding and eternal;—and faith bade him look away to an unseen heaven if his eyes were dazzled with Egyptian gold.

Faith told Moses that affliction and suffering were not real evils.—They were the school of God, in which He trains the children of grace for glory;—the medicines which are needful to purify our corrupt wills;—the furnace which must burn away our dross;—the knife which must cut the ties that bind us to the world.

Faith told Moses that the despised Israelites were the chosen people of God. He believed that to them belonged the adoption, and the covenant, and the promises, and the glory; that of them the seed of the woman was one day to be born, who should bruise the serpent’s head; that the special blessing of God was upon them; that they were lovely and beautiful in His eyes;—and that it was better to be a door-keeper among the people of God, than to reign in the palaces of wickedness.

Faith told Moses that all the reproach and scorn poured out on him was “the reproach of Christ;”—that it was honourable to be mocked and despised for Christ’s sake;—that whoso persecuted Christ’s people was persecuting Christ Himself;—and that the day must come when His enemies would bow before Him and lick the dust.

All this, and much more, of which I cannot speak particularly, Moses saw by faith. These were the things he believed, and believing, did what he did. He was persuaded of them, and embraced them,—he reckoned them as certainties,—he regarded them as substantial verities,—he counted them as sure as if he had seen them with his own eyes,—he acted on them as realities;—and this made him the man that he was. He had faith. He believed.

Marvel not that he refused greatness, riches, and pleasure.—He looked far forward. He saw with the eye of faith kingdoms crumbling into dust,—riches making to themselves wings and fleeing away,—pleasures leading on to death and judgment,—and Christ only and His little flock enduring for ever.

Wonder not that he chose affliction, a despised people, and reproach.—He beheld things below the surface. He saw with the eye of faith affliction lasting but for a moment,—reproach rolled away, and ending in everlasting honour,—and the despised people of God reigning as kings with Christ in glory.

And was he not right? Does he not speak to us, though dead, this very day? The name of Pharaoh’s daughter has perished, or at any rate is extremely doubtful.—The city where Pharaoh reigned is not known.—The treasures in Egypt are gone.—But the name of Moses is known wherever the Bible is read, and is still a standing witness that ‘whoso liveth by faith, happy is he.'”

–J.C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 200–203.

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