That which once was, will be no more. Yesterday will never come again. To-day is passing, and will not return. You may work while it is day; but when you have lost that day, it will not return for you to work in. While your candle burns, you may make use of its light, but when it is done, it is too late to use it.
Keep your children as much as may be from ill company, especially of ungodly playfellows. It is one of the greatest dangers for the undoing of children in the world; especially when they are sent to common schools: for there is scarce any of those schools so good, but hath many rude and ungodly ill-taught children in it.
It is not a terrible thing to a wretched soul, when it shall lie roaring perpetually in the flames of hell, and the God of mercy himself shall laugh at them; when...God shall mock them instead of relieving them; when none in heaven or earth can help them but God, and he shall rejoice over them in their calamity
See that your chief study be about heart, that there God's image may be planted, and his interest advanced, and the interest of the world and flesh subdued, and the love of every sin cast out, and the love of holiness succeed; and that you content not yourselves with seeming to do good in outward acts, when you are bad yourselves, and strangers to the great internal duties. The first and great work of a Christian is about his heart.
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Nothing can be rightly known, if God be not known; nor is any study well managed, nor to any great purpose, if God is not studied. We know little of the creature, till we know it as it stands related to the Creator: single letters, and syllables uncomposed, are no better than nonsense. He who overlooketh him who is the 'Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, ' and seeth not him in all who is the All of all, doth see nothing at all. All creatures, as such, are broken syllables; they signify nothing as separated from God. Were they separated actually, they would cease to be, and the separation would be annhiliation; and when we separate them in our fancies, we make nothing of them to ourselves. It is one thing to know the creatures as Aristotle, and another thing to know them as a Christian. None but a Christian can read one line of his Physics so as to understand it rightly. It is a high and excellent study, and of greater use than many apprehend; but it is the smallest part of it that Aristotle can teach us.
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Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy Scriptures ever have the preeminence. Let Scripture be first and most in your hearts and hands and other books be used as subservient to it. While reading ask yourself: 1. Could I spend this time no better? 2. Are there better books that would edify me more? 3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life? 4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come? "The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails-given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body." Ecclesiastes 12:11-12
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If it will be an intolerable thing to suffer the heat of fire for a year or a day, or an hour, what will it be to suffer ten thousand times more for ever? What if thou wert to suffer Lawrence 's death, to be roasted upon a gridiron; or to be scraped or pricked to death as other martyrs were; or if thou wert to feed upon toads for a year together? If thou couldst not endure such things as these, how wilt thou endure the eternal flames ?
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Naturally, men are prone to spin themselves a web of opinions out of their own brain, and to have a religion that may be called their own. They are far readier to make themselves a faith, than to receive that which God hath formed to their hands; are far readier to receive a doctrine that tends to their carnal commodity, or honor, or delight, than one that tends to self-denial.
Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy scriptures ever have the pre-eminence, and, next to them, those solid, lively, heavenly treatises which best expound and apply the scriptures, and next, credible histories, especially of the Church ... but take heed of false teachers who would corrupt your understandings.
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I remember myself, that when I was young, I had sometime the company of one ancient godly minister, who was of weaker parts than many others, but yet did profit me more than most; because he would never in prayer or conference speak of God, or the life to come, but with such marvelous seriousness and reverence, as if he had seen the majesty and glory which he talked of.
Get masters of families to do their duty, and they will not only spare you a great deal of labor, but will much further the success of your labors. You are not like to see any general reformation, till you procure family reformation. Some little religion there may be, here and there; but while it is confined to single persons, and is not promoted in families, it will not prosper, nor promise much future increase.
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For it was thy sin, and the sin of all the world, that lay upon our Redeemer, and his sacrifice and satisfaction is sufficient for all, and the fruits of it are offered to one as well as another, but it is true that it was never the intent of his mind to pardon and save any that would not by faith and repentance be converted.
My Lord, I have nothing to do in this World, but to seek and serve thee; I have nothing to do with a Heart and its affections, but to breathe after thee. I have nothing to do with my Tongue and Pen, but to speak to thee, and for thee, and to publish thy Glory and thy Will. What have I to do with all my Reputation, and Interest in my Friends, but to increase thy Church, and propagate thy holy Truth and Service? What have I to do with my remaining Time, even these last and languishing hours, but to look up unto thee, and wait for thy Grace, and thy Salvation?
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And though it be their sin and vanity that is the cause [of lust], it is nevertheless your sin to be the unnecessary occasion... You must not lay a stumbling-block in their way, nor blow up the fire of their lust... You must walk among sinful persons as you would do with a candle among straw or gunpowder; or else you may see the flame which you did not foresee, when it is too late to quench it.
We must feel toward our people as a father toward his children; yea, the most tender love of a mother must not surpass ours. We must even travail in birth, till Christ be formed in them. They should see that we care for no outward thing, neither liberty, nor honor, nor life, in comparison to their salvation... When the people see that you truly love them, they will hear anything from you...Oh therefore, see that you feel a tender love for your people in your hearts, and let them perceive it in your speech and conduct. Let them see that you spend and are spent for their sakes.
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You little know what you have done, when you have first broke the bounds of modesty; you have set open the door of your fancy to the devil, so that he can, almost at his pleasure ever after, represent the same sinful pleasure to you anew; he hath now access to your fancy to stir up lustful thoughts and desires, so that when you should think of your calling, of your God, or of your soul, your thoughts will be worse than swinish, upon the filth that is not fit to be named. If the devil here get in a foot, he will not easily be got out.
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If I were but sure that I should live to see the coming of the Lord, it would be the joyfulest tidings in the world. O that I might see His kingdom come! It is the characteristic of His saints to love His appearing, and to look for that blessed hope. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come." "Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act.
When we speak to drunkards, worldlings, or any ignorant, unconverted men, we disgrace them as in that condition to the utmost, and lay it on as plainly as we can speak, and tell them of their sin, and shame, and misery: and we expect, not only that they should bear all patiently, but take all thankfully, and we have good reasons for all this; and most that I deal with do take it patiently ... But if we speak to a godly minister against his errors or any sin ... if it be not more an applause than a reprehension, they take it as an injury almost insufferable.
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Sit not down without assurance. Get alone, and bring thy heart to the bar of trial: force it to answer the interrogatories put to it to set the qualifications of the saints on one side, and the qualifications of thyself on the other side, and then judge what resemblance there is between them.... Yet be sure thou judge by a true touchstone, and mistake not the Scripture description of a saint, that thou neither acquit nor condemn thyself by mistake.
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Such is the depth of the Christian Scriptures, that even if I were attempting to study them and nothing else from early boyhood to decrepit old age, with the utmost leisure, the most unwearied zeal, and talents greater than I have, I would be still daily making progress in discovering their treasures.
The very design of the gospel doth tend to self-abasing; and the work of grace is begun and carried on in humiliation. Humility is not a mere ornament of a Christian, but an essential part of the new creature: it is a contradiction to be a sanctified man, or a true Christian, and not humble.
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