2 Corinthians 5:20

We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: We implore you on Christ's behalf,
Be Reconciled To God

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Character of an Old English Puritan

"The Old English Puritan was such an one, that honored God above all, and under God gave every one his due.

His first care was to serve God, and therein he did not what was good in his own, but in God's sight, making the word of God the rule of his worship. He highly esteemed order in the House of God: but would not under color of that submit to superstitious rites, which are superfluous, and perish in their use. He reverenced Authority keeping within its sphere: but durst not under pretence of subjection to the higher powers, worship God after the traditions of men. He made conscience of all God's ordinances, though some he esteemed of more consequence..."

- John Geree (1600-1649), an English Puritan, who, though censured by the bishops, was a pastor beloved of the people.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Christ with His Bride, part 4

"Who can speak suitably, and as he ought of this noble, notable subject, the love of Christ to His church, that breathes so sweetly and strongly throughout this Song, and that which by its sovereign influence so powerfully draw forth the church's love after Him: a heart be-drenched with, and a tongue and pen dipped in the sense of this love, would do well; sure the reading, writing, speaking, hearing, and meditating of this song, treating of so transcendently excellent a theme, and in so spiritually ublime and lofty a strain, calls for a most spiritual and divine frame of heart."

- Margaret Durham, the wife of James Durham, in a letter (1669), describing the spiritual communion of Christ with His bride, His people.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Chronicles

Having the day off from work, I was able preach with Pastor McCurley downtown today at noon. He preached from the end of Psalm 2, "Be wise now O you kings... serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish in the way... blessed are all they that put their trust in Him."

Pastor McCurley preached how we are to give reverance to God the Son, whom the Father has appointed to be over all the kings and authorities of this earth. This psalm is especially fitting to us at it speaks to our own time when Jesus the Messiah reigns at God's right hand in heaven. We are to serve King Jesus. Those who kindle His wrath but a little, will perish in their way, but those who trust Him, will be blessed.

When Pastor McCurley was about done, though yet preaching, a fellow from across the street came directly up to him. He was tall, a white guy with a shaved head, and was wearing cut-offs with tattoes on his arms. He did not wait for Pastor McCurley to finish but got his attention and began speaking to him. As I went up to see how things were going, Pastor McCurley turned to me and asked me if I would preach while he prayed with the fellow. It turned out that he had heard Pastor McCurley preaching a block or two away. He wanted Pastor McCurley to pray for him, as he had known the Lord but had become discouraged in life and had not been walking with Him and wanted help.

I began to preach on Romans 14 where it says, "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's... for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." I preached that to live is Christ, and to die is gain, and that those who trust in Christ are His, and how we shall all stand before the living Christ to give an account unto Him of our lives. The Lord gave both Pastor McCurley and I much unction as we preached, and much good was laid before the people that walked by today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Christ with His Bride, part 3

"...Those frequently claimed, avouched, boasted of, and gloried in, mutual interests:- Those love restings, and resposings on the arm, and on the bosom of one another, with these serious and solemn chargings and adjurings not unseasonably to disturb and interrupt this rest and repose:

-Those mutual kind invitings, and hearty accepting of invitations; those comings and welcomings; those feastings, feedings, and banquetings on all manner of pleasant fruits, chief spices, and best wines, even the rarest and chiefest spiritual dainties and delicates:

-Those pleasant, refreshful airings and walkings together in the fragrant fields, villages, woods, orchards, gardens, arbours, umbrages, and as it were, labyrinths of love:

-Those stately magnificent and majestic describings of one another, as to stature, favor, beauty, comely proportion of parts, curious deckings and adornings, seet-smelling odoriferous anointings, powderings, and perfumings, holding forth their respective qualifications, endowments, accomplishments, perfections, and excellencies, whereof all things in the world, bearing such names, are but dark, dull, and empty resemblances..."

- Margaret Durham, the wife of James Durham, in a letter (1669), describing the spiritual communion of Christ with His bride, His people.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Christ with His Bride, part 2

"...those failings, faultings, lyings a-bed, and lazinesses, and thereupon, when observed, those love-faintings, swarfings, swoonings, seekings and sorrowings on the one side; and those love followings, findings, pityings, pardonings, passings by, rousings, revivings, supportings, strengthenings, courings, confirmings, and comfortings, with most warm and kindly compellations, on the other: (O let men and angels, wonder at the kingly condescending, the majestic meekness, the stately stooping, the high humility, and the lofty lowliness that conspicuously shines forth here on the Bridegroom's part!)

-those love languishings, feverings, sickenings, holy violentions, apprehendings, and resolute refusings to let go on the one part, and those love unheartings, heart-ravishings, captivatings, and being overcome: those love arrests and detainments in the galleries, as if nailed (to speak so with reverence) to the place, and sweetly charmed into a kind of holy impotency, to remove the eye from looking on so lovely an object, on the other:

-those bashful, but beautiful blushings, humble hidings, and modest thinking shame to be seen or heard speak, on the Bride's part, and those urgent callings, and in a manner compellings, to compear, with those serious professings of singular satisfaction, to hear her sweet voice, and to see her comely countenance on the Bridegroom's part...

- Margaret Durham, the wife of James Durham, in a letter (1669), describing the spiritual communion of Christ with His bride, His people.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Christ with His Bride, part 1

"My blessed husband, the author of this piece, as according to the grace given unto him... has been led to open up [this] book of the holy scriptures, wherein the Lord's people did very much desire to know the mind of the Spirit, [it] being somewhat darker, and less easily understood, than many, if not than all the rest... this book of Solomon, the Song of Songs, or the most excellent Song;

containing the largest and liveliest discoveries of the love of Jesus Christ, the King, Bridegroom, and Husband of his church, to her His Queen, Bride, and Spouse; and of hers to Him, with those spiritually glorious interviews, holy courtings, most superlative, but most sincere, commending and cordial entertainings of each other, those mutual praisings and valuings of fellowship;-those missings, lamentings, and bemoanings of the want thereof;-

those holy impatiencies to be without it, swelling to positive and peremptory determinations, not to be satisfied, nor comforted in any thing else, those diligent, painful and restless seekings after it, till it be found and enjoyed, on the one hand;-and those sweet, and easy yieldings to importunity, and gracious grantings of it, on the other; with those high delightings, solacings, complacencies, and acquiescings in, and heartsome embracings of one another's fellowship:-"

- The Epistle Dedicatory of Margaret Durham commending the commentary of her husband James Durham on the Song of Solomon to the Lady, Viscountess of Kenmure, 1669. Her letter is impressive, being much more spiritually full and edifying, savoring of a rich, experiential acquaintence with the deeps truths of Christ's Word, than even the preface to the reader by the justly renowned scholar, John Owen.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An Inch to Preach

"But an inch of time remains, and then eternal ages roll on for ever -- but an inch on which we can stand and preach the way of salvation to a perishing world."

- Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843), a minister in the Church of Scotland, who died two months before the Disruption at the age of 29 due to typhus fever. Upon the occasion of the right of the church to govern itself coming before the House of Commons, M'Cheyne wrote in his diary, "Eventful night this in the British Parliament! Once more King Jesus stands at an earthly tribunal, and they know Him not!"

Monday, February 8, 2010

God's Earnest Invitation, part 4

"There is a second love and mercy in God, by which he loves all men and angels, yea, even his enemies, makes the sun to shine on the unjust man as well as the just, and causes dew and rain to fall on the orchard and fields of the bloody and deceitful man, whom the Lord abhors, as Christ teaches us, Matt. 5:43-48.

Nor does God miscarry in this love. He desires the eternal being of damned angels and men; he sends the gospel to many reprobates, and invites them to repentance and with longanimity and forbearance suffers pieces of froward dust to fill the measure of their iniquity, yet does not the Lord's general love fall short of what he wills to them."

- Samuel Rutherford (1660-1661), from Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself, pp. 443-45 (1647).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

God's Earnest Invitation, part 3

"Now this desire of approbation is an abundantly sufficient closing of the mouth of such as stumble at the gospel, being appointed thereunto, and an expression of Christ's good liking to save sinners. Expressed in his borrowed wishes, Deut. 5:29. O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep my commandments. Ps. 81:13. O that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel walked in my ways, which wish, as relating to disobeying Israel, is a figure, or metaphor borrowed from men, but otherwise shows how acceptable the duty is to God, how obligatory to the creature. But the Lord's expostulations, Ezek. 18:31. Why will ye die, O house of Israel? Verse 32. For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies. In the Lord's crying to sinners, Prov. 1:20. Wisdom cries, she utters her voice in the streets. The word is to cry with strong shouting, either for joy, Ps. 81:2, or sorrow, Lam. 2:19, which expresses Christ's desire to save sinners."

- Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661), from Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself, pp. 443-45 (1647).

Friday, February 5, 2010

God's Earnest Invitation, part 2

"Isa. 55:1, Ho, everyone that thirsts, come to the waters, and he that hath no silver, come buy, and eat

2. God loves, approves the believing of Jerusalem and of her children, as a moral duty as the hen loves to warm and nourish her chickens; and he hates, with an exceeding and unfeigned dislike of improbation and hatred, their rebellious disobedience and refusing to be gathered: but there is no purpose, intention, or decree of God held forth in these invitations called his revealed will, by which he says he intends and wills that all he makes the offer unto shall obey and be saved.

But it's to be observed, that the revealed will of God, held forth to all does not hold forth formally that God intends, decrees, or purposes in his eternal council that any man shall actually obey, either elect or reprobate; it formally is the expression only of the good liking of that moral and duty conjunction between the obedience of the creature and the reward, but it does not hold forth any intention or decree of God that any shall obey, that all shall obey, or that none at all shall obey."

- Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661), from Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself, pp. 443-45 (1647).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

God's Earnest Invitation, part 1

"Isa. 55:1, Ho, everyone that thirsts, come to the waters, and he that has no silver, come buy, and eat

As if the Lord were grieved, and said, 'Woe is me, Alas that thirsty souls should die in their thirst, and will not come to the water of life, Christ, and drink gratis, freely, and live.' For the interjection, 'Ho,' is a mark of sorrowing, as ah, or woe, everyone that thirsts. It expresses two things, 1. A vehemency and a serious and unfeigned ardency of desire that we do what is our duty, and the concatenation of these two, extremely desired of God: our coming to Christ and our salvation. This moral connection between faith and salvation is desired of God with his will of approbation, complacency, and moral liking, without all dissimulation, most unfeignedly; and whereas Arminians say, we make counterfeit, feigned, and hypocritical desires in God, they calumniate and cavil egregiously, as their custom is."

- Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661), from Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself, pp. 443-45 (1647).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Christian Home

"It was said of one that 'she looked like a prayer.' If we would make our homes truly Christian homes, our daily lives must be like our daily prayers.

If the members of the family wrangle and quarrel, the fact that the father is a minister or an elder, and the mother president of a Dorcas society or secretary of an association to send the gospel to China, does not make the home religious. If a blessing is asked at the table before the meal begins, and if then, instead of cheerful and affectionate conversation, the table-talk is made up of faultfinding with the food, of ill-tempered disputes amid acrimonious bickerings, the asking of a blessing surely does not make the intercourse Christian. If family worship is observed with scrupulous fidelity, and the members rise from their knees to violate the simplest lessons of Christian love and kindness in their fellowship as a household, the fact that there is family worship does not make a Christian home.

The prayers must be lived. The Scripture lessons must find their way into the heart and then into the speech and conduct."

- J.R. Miller (1840-1912), a Presbyterian pastor from Pennsylvania and a popular Christian author.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Speaking in God's Language

"The more intimately we converse with the word of God, and the more we dwell upon it in our thoughts, the better able we shall be to speak to God in his own language and the better we shall know what to pray for as we ought. Reading the word will not serve, but we must meditate in it."

- Matthew Henry (1662-1714) on Psalm 119:148.