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.
In order to be a success in business, there is one thing you must do. You cannot be successful without it. That is WORK. I have not told you anything new. Everyone knows that you cannot be successful in anything without work. Why does not everyone work? Because some lack the one thing that makes men want to work - ENTHUSIASM. That is something no one can give you. You must acquire it yourself, and the only way that you can become enthusiastic about anything is to have a thorough KNOWLEDGE of it. You have never seen an enthusiastic man who was lazy.
Satan's time of tempting is usually after an ordinance; and the reason is, because then he thinks he shall find us most secure. When we have been at solemn duties, we are apt to think all is done, and we grow remiss, and leave off that zeal and strictness as before; just as a soldier, who after a battle leaves off his armour, not once dreaming, of an enemy. Satan watches his time, and when we least suspect, then he throws in a temptation.
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When God calls a man, He does not repent of it. God does not, as many friends do, love one day, and hate another; or as princes, who make their subjects favourites, and afterwards throw theminto prison. This is the blessedness of a saint; his condition admits of no alteration. God's call is founded upon His decree, and His decree is immutable. Acts of grace cannot be reversed.God blots out His people's sins, but not their names.
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[Concerning the Word preached:] Do we prize it in our judgments? Do we receive in into our hearts? Do we fear the loss of the Word preached more than the loss of peace and trade? Is it the removal of the ark that troubles us? Again, do we attend to the Word with reverential devotion? When the judge is giving the charge on the bench, all attend. When the Word is preached, the great God is giving us his charge. Do we listen to it as to a matter of life and death? This is a good sign that we love the Word.
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Solve it. Solve it quickly, solve it right or wrong. If you solve it wrong, it will come back and slap you in the face, and then you can solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without risk, but it is an absolutely fatal way to manage a business.
The Kingdom of grace is nothing but.... the beginning of the Kingdom of glory; the Kingdom of grace is glory in the seed, and the Kingdom of glory is grace in the flower; the Kingdom ofgrace is glory in the daybreak, and the Kingdom of glory is grace in the full meridian; the Kingdom of grace is glory militant, and the Kingdom of glory is grace triumphant.... the Kingdom ofgrace leads to the Kingdom of glory.
Thus it is in hell; they would die, but they cannot. The wicked shall be always dying but never dead; the smoke of the furnacedascends for ever and ever. Oh! who can endure thus to be ever upon the rack? This word "ever" breaks the heart. Wicked men do now think the Sabbaths long, and think a prayer long; but oh! how long will it be to lie in hell for ever and ever?