We are foolish to expect to serve God without opposition: the more zealous we are, the more sure are we to be assailed... Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon shall be cast out and for ever destroyed, while Jesus and they who are with him shall receive the crown. Let us sharpen our swords to-night, and pray the Holy Spirit to nerve our arms for the conflict. Never battle so important, never crown so glorious. Every man to his post, ye warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly!
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In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on God alone. When no human deliverance can avail, he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God. Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God--and God alone!
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You cannot preach conviction of sin unless you have suffered it. You cannot preach repentance unless you have practiced it. You cannot preach faith unless you have exercised it. True preaching is artesian; it wells up from the great depths of the soul. If Christ has not made a well within us, there will be no outflow from us.
God never punishes his children in the sense of avenging justice. He chastens as a father does his child, but he never punishes his redeemed as a judge does a criminal. It is unjust to exact punishment from redeemed souls since Christ has been punished in their place. How shall the Lord punish twice for one offense?
I am no preacher of the old legal Sabbath. I am a preacher of the gospel. The Sabbath of the Jew is to him a task; the Lord's Day of the Christian, the first day of the week, is to him a joy, a day of rest, of peace, and of thanksgiving. And if you Christian men can earnestly drive away all distractions, so that you can really rest today, it will be good for your bodies, good for your souls, good mentally, good spiritually, good temporally, and good eternally.
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In agony unknown He bleeds away His life; in terrible throes He exhausts His soul. "Eloi! Eloi! lama sabachthani?" And then see! they pierce His side, and forthwith runneth out blood and water! This is the shedding of blood, the terrible pouring out of blood, without which, for you and the whole human race, there is no remission.
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What will you do when the Law of God comes in terror; when the trumpet of the archangel shall tear you from your grave; when the eyes of God shall burn their way into your guilty soul; when the great books shall be opened and all your sin and shame shall be punished... can you stand against an angry Law in that Day?
Providence is wonderfully intricate. Ah! You want always to see through Providence, do you not? You never will, I assure you. You have not eyes good enough. You want to see what good that affliction was to you; you must believe it. You want to see how it can bring good to the soul; you may be enabled in a little time; but you cannot see it now; you must believe it. Honor God by trusting Him.
Money gained on Sabbath-day is a loss, I dare to say. No blessing can come with that which comes to us, on the devil's back, by our willful disobedience of God's law. The loss of health by neglect of rest, and the loss of soul by neglect of hearing the gospel, soon turn all seeming profit into real loss.
Christian, take good care of thy faith; for recollect faith is the only way whereby thou canst obtain blessings. If we want blessings from God, nothing can fetch them down but faith. Prayer cannot draw down answers from God's throne except it be the earnest prayer of a man who believes. Faith is the angelic messenger between the soul and the Lord Jesus in glory.
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Prayerless souls are Christless souls, Christless souls are Graceless souls and Graceless souls shall soon be damned souls. See your peril, you that neglect altogether the blessed privilege of prayer! You are in the bonds of iniquity, you are in the gall of bitterness. God deliver you, for Hisname's sake!
The business of the believer with his Bible open is to pray, 'Lord, give me the meaning and spirit of your word, while it lies open before me; apply your word with power to my soul, threatening or promise, doctrine or precept, whatever it may be; lead me into the soul and marrow of your word.'
To be laughed at is no great hardship to me. I can delight in scoffs and jeers. Caricatures, lampoons, and slanders are my glory. But that you should turn from your own mercy, this is my sorrow. Spit on me, but, oh, repent! Laugh at me, but, oh, believe in my Master! Make my body as the dirt of the streets, but damn not your own souls!
Sleepy Christian, let me shout in thine ears: thou are sleeping while souls are being lost, sleeping while men are being damned, sleeping while hell is being peopled, sleeping while Christ is being dishonored, sleeping while the devil is grinning at thy sleepy face, sleeping while demons are dancing round thy slumbering carcass, and telling it in hell that a Christian is asleep. You will never catch the devil asleep; let not the devil catch you asleep. Watch, and be sober, that ye may be always up to do your duty.
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Jesus is humble, and His servants must not be proud; but Jesus was never mean or cowardly, nor must His servants be. There was no braver man than Christ. He could stoop to save a soul, but He would stoop to nothing by which His character might be compromised or truth and righteousness insulted. To preach the Gospel boldly is to deliver it as such a message ought to be delivered. Blush to preach of a dying Saviour? Apologize for talking about the Son of God condescending to be made man that He might redeem us from all iniquity? Never!
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I can admire the solemn and stately language of worship that recognizes the greatness of God, but it will not warm my heart or express my soul until it has also blended therewith the joyful nearness of that perfect love that casts out fear and ventures to speak with our Father in heaven as a child speaks with its father on earth. My brother, no veil remains.
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