Prayer is the offering up of our desires to God in the name of Christ, for such things as are agreeable to his will. It is an offering of our desires. Desires are the soul and life of prayer; words are but the body; now as the body without the soul is dead, so are prayers unless they are animated with our desires.
Make up your spiritual accounts daily; see how matters stand between God and your souls (Psalm 77:6). Often reckonings keep God and conscience friends. Do with your hearts as you do with your watches, wind them up every morning by prayer, and at night examine whether your hearts have gone true all that day, whether the wheels of your affections have moved swiftly toward heaven.
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Christ heals with more ease than any other. Christ makes the devil go out with a word (Mark 9:25). Nay, he can cure with a look: Christ's look melted Peter into repentance; it was a healing look. If Christ doth but cast a look upon the soul he can recover it. Therefore David prays to have a look from God, 'Look Thou upon me, and be merciful unto me' (Psalm 119:132).
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It was wonderful love that Christ should rather die for us than for the angels that fell. They were creatures of a more noble extract, and in all probability might have brought greater revenues of glory to God; yet that Christ should pass by those golden vessels, and make us clods of earth into stars of glory -- Oh, the hyperbole of Christ's love!
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Some have asked whether we shall know one another in heaven? Surely, our knowledge will not be diminished, but increased. The judgement of Luther and Anselm, and many other divines is, that we shall know one another; yea, the saints of all ages, whose faces we never saw; and, when we shall see the saints in glory without their infirmities of pride end passion, it will be a glorious sight.
To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort; but to be assured that all things which fall out shall co-operate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more; this may fill their hearts with joy till they run over.
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The torments of hell abide for ever.... If all the earth and sea were sand, and every thousandth year a bird should come, and take away one grain of this sand, it would be a long time ere that vast heap of sand were emptied; yet, if after all that time the damned may come out of hell, there were some hope; but this word EVER breaks the heart.
Has Christ provided such a blessed banquet for us? He does not nurse us abroad-but feeds us with His own breast-nay, with His own blood! Let us, then, study to respond to this great love of Christ. It is true, we can never parallel His love. Yet let us show ourselves thankful. We can do nothing satisfactory-but we may do something out of gratitude. Christ gave Himself as a sin-offering for us. Let us give ourselves as a thank-offering for Him. If a man redeems another out of debt-will he not be grateful? How deeply do we stand obliged to Christ-who has redeemed us from hell!
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Christ was born of a virgin, that we might be born of God. He took our flesh, that He might give us His Spirit. He lay in the manger that we might lie in paradise. He came down from heaven, that He might bring us to heaven. And what was all this but love? If our hearts be not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us. Behold, love that surpasses knowledge!
Great was the work of creation, but greater was the work of redemption. Great wisdom was seen in making us-but more miraculous wisdom in saving us. Great power was seen in bringing us out of nothing-but greater power in helping us when we were worse than nothing. (...) In the creation, God gave us ourselves; in the redemption, He gave us Himself.
If God spares us as a father does his son, let us imitate God. It is natural for children to imitate their parents. Let us imitate God in this one thing: As God spares us, and passes by many failures, so let us be sparing in our censures of others; let us look upon the weaknesses and indiscretions of our brethren with... a more tender, compassionate eye. How much God bears with us!
"If you are loyal you are successful," ruminated the company paper at one time. "All useful work is raised to the plane of art when love for the task-loyalty-is fused with the effort. Loyalty is the great lubricant of life. It saves the wear and tear of making daily decisions as to what is best to do. The man who is loyal to his work is not wrung nor perplexed by doubts, he sticks to the ship, and if the ship founders he goes down like a hero with colors flying at the masthead and the band playing."
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It is absurd to think that anything in us could have the least influence upon our election. Some say that God did foresee that such persons would believe, and therefore did choose them; so they would make the business of salvation to depend upon something in us. Whereas God does not choose us FOR faith, but TO faith. "He hath chosen us, that we should be holy" (Eph. 1:4), not because we would be holy, but that we might be holy. We are elected to boldness, not for it.