Going forward in a heart-knowledge of God through the Holy Spirit's progressive unveiling of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Scriptures.
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JOHN CALDWELL (1800's)
Things To Come
The Believer's Library
“In the epistle to the Ephesians the saints are viewed as already risen with Christ, and seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. In Colossians they are also seen risen with Christ, and already translated into the kingdom of God 's dear Son. In Hebrews the scene of the worship of God's people is transferred from earth to heaven, and already by faith we anticipate the coming glory, and enter with boldness “within the veil,” whither for us our great High Priest has gone.
Death is therefore to the saints no “debt of nature” left unpaid by Christ. There is no imperfection in His work, leaving it as essential that those whom He has redeemed should pass through it at all. Being already, and in virtue of the infinite preciousness of Jesus, “made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” the people of God require no purgatory beyond the discipline common to the family in this life: at any moment they may be called hence, as in the twinkling of an eye, to meet the Lord in the air. The very next song of praise may be sung in the great congregation, with Jesus in the midst; the next remembrance of His death may be, not with the broken bread and wine, but around Himself, looking into that very face that once was marred more than any man's beholding crowned with glory that very brow that once for us was wreathed with thorns.
“Seeing therefore that ye look for such thing, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?”
JOSEPH CARYL (1600's)
Taken from his 12 vol. Commentary on Job
“They that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee”
(Psalm 9:10 )
“The reason why God is trusted so little, is because He is so little known. We say of some men, ‘They are better known than trusted;" and if we knew some men more, we should trust them less: but the truth is, God is always trusted as much as He is known; and if we knew Him more, we would trust Him more: every discovery of God shows somewhat which renders Him more worthy of our trust.”
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us.”
“If God make the wound, it is not in the skill of man to give a plaster. When you have got a wound from God, you cannot get your cure from the creature; man tears, and God heals; man smites, and God binds up; but, if God tear and smite, He must bind up and heal, or else we can never be healed; our wound and our salve come from the same hand.”
“Thou understandest my thought afar off.”
“Our thoughts are evident to God, even before they are; our thoughts are said to be afar off when they are not actually thought, yet then they are as nigh to God as they are to us when we are thinking them, even actually present; our thoughts are as audible to God as our words are to men; He hears the language of our spirits; what our hearts say when our tongues are silent.”
THOMAS CASE (1600's)
THE SELECT WORKS OF…
“A man would say within himself, “Why what need had the Lord Jesus in invest Himself with a body of flesh that He might know the infirmities of our nature, since He is God, and knows all things?” Nay, but, my brethren, it seems the knowledge which Christ has as God, was different from that knowledge which He had as man; that which He had as God, was intuitive; that which He had as man, was experimental: experimental knowledge of misery is the heart-affecting knowledge; and therefore Christ Himself would intender His own heart, as Mediator, by His own sense and feeling. And if the Lord Jesus, who was mercy itself, would put Himself into a suffering condition, that He might the more sweetly and affectionately act those mercies towards His suffering members, how much more do we, that by nature are uncompassionate and cruel, need such practical teachings to work upon our own hearts! Certainly we cannot gain so much sense of the saints" sufferings by the most artificial and skilful relation that the tongue of men or angels is able to express, no nor by all our scripture knowledge, yea though sanctified, as we do by one day's experience in the school of affliction, when God is pleased to be the school-master. This is one end why God sends us thither—sympathy with, and compassion to our suffering brethren.”
THOMAS CHALMERS (1800's)
Sermons and Discourses
“The way in which God often manifests His protecting and fatherly care of us, is, not by obtaining for us the safety of a flight; but, better and nobler than this, the triumph of a victory. In plainer words, He may neither withdraw the calamity from us, nor us from the calamity; but, leaving it to bear with full weight upon our spirits, He pours a strength into our spirits which enables them to bear up under it. It is in this way frequently, that He makes good the promise of not suffering us to be tried beyond what we are able to bear. He does not lighten the suffering, but He adds to the strength; and, as it were, cradles us, by the education of a severe spiritual discipline into a state of spiritual maturity.”
JOHN CUMMING (1800's)
THE BLESSED LIFE
“Just as the hunger of the body can only be removed by food, and as the thirst of the body can only be removed by water, so this sensation of spiritual hunger, and spiritual thirst, created in the soul, and produced under God…can only be satisfied with that bread that cometh down from heaven, and that living water which evermore wells from the fountain of life, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He accepts the desire for the thing, and satisfies the desire that He Himself has implanted. God always gratifies the desire that He Himself implants. Whatever Satan has implanted in the human heart, God extirpates; but whatever God Himself has awakened in the human heart, that He nourishes. The passions of which Satan is the inspirer God will destroy; the appetite of which God is the author He Himself will gratify. He has made us hunger and thirst after Christ; He will fill us.”
SAMUEL DAVIES (1700's)
VOL. 3 “CHRISTMAS DAY SERMON”
“Glory to God in the highest!”—In the highest; that is, in the highest strains. Let the songs of men and angels be raised to a higher key, on this great occasion. The usual strains of praise are low and languid, to celebrate the birth of this illustrious prince. This is a more glorious event than ever has yet happened in heaven or earth; and therefore demands a new song, more exalted and divine than has ever yet employed even the voices of angels. At the birth of nature, the sons of God, the angels, sang together, and shouted for joy: but when the Author and Lord of nature is born, let them raise a loftier and a more ecstatic anthem of praise.
Or, “Glory to God in the highest,” may signify, let glory be given to God in the highest heaven by all the choirs of angels. This celestial squadron call upon their fellow-angels, whom they left behind them in their native heaven, to echo to their song, and fill those blessed regions with the melody of new ascriptions of praise, as if they had said—though men receive the benefit, let all the angels of heaven join in the song of gratitude. Though men be silent, and refuse to celebrate the birth of their Savior and Lord; though earth does not echo with His praise, though more intimately concerned; let the heavenly inhabitants sound aloud their ascriptions of glory, and supply the guilty defect of ungrateful mortals.
Or finally, “Glory to God in the highest,” may mean, glory to God who dwells in the highest heavens: glory to the high and lofty one, that inhabiteth eternity, and dwelleth in the high and holy place; Isaiah 57:15, and yet condescends to regard man that is a worm, Job 25:6, and sends His Son to assume his humble nature, to lie in a manger, and to die upon a cross for him. Glory to God for this astonishing condescension and grace! ”
EBENEZER and RALPH ERSKINE (1700's)
THE BEAUTIES OF EBENEZER ERSKINE
“There is a great difference betwixt the assurance of faith , and the assurance of sense , which follows upon faith. The assurance of faith is a direct , but the assurance of sense is a reflex act of the soul. The assurance of faith hath its object and foundation from without , but that of sense has them within . The object of the assurance of faith is a Christ revealed, promised, and offered in the word ; the object of the assurance of sense is a Christ formed within us by the Holy Spirit . The assurance of faith is the cause , that of sense is the effect ; the first is the root , and the other is the fruit . The assurance of faith eyes the promise in its stability , flowing from the veracity of the promiser; the assurance of sense, it eyes the promise in its actual accomplishment . By the assurance of faith, Abraham believed that he should have a son in his old age, because God who cannot lie had promised; but by the assurance of sense, he believed it when he got Isaac in his arms. Experimental sense and feeling is a foretaste of heaven and an important means of glorifying God on earth, but be warned against making the assurance of sense and experimental feelings the ground of faith. If we depend on our feelings rather than upon God's promises, the water in our cistern will soon be used up.”
THE BEAUTIES OF EBENEZER ERSKINE
“All conditions of the promises are already met by God. Either Christ meets those conditions for the sinner, or the condition of that promise is offered by God in some other promise. In every case, God meets the conditions for sinners who receive the promises by faith. Thus no sinner may reject any promise of God due to conditions he cannot meet. There is no conditional form put upon any promise in the Bible, to keep back a soul from applying and taking hold of the promise, but (rather) to draw it in to embrace the condition, either by taking Christ for the condition, or running to an absolute promise, where that condition is promised
THE BEAUTIES OF EBENEZER ERSKINE
“That you may see what strong consolation is here, I pray you consider, that this promise, “I am the Lord thy God,” it draws all the blessings of heaven and eternity with it. There is not one promise from the beginning of Genesis to the end of the Revelation, which thou mayest not confidently claim as thine own, if thou hast laid hold of God as thy God, thy only God, by virtue of this glorious grant of sovereign grace, “I am the Lord thy God.”
I might here, for the believer's consolation and the encouragement of his faith, show how this covenant-promise draws all the rest of the promises in its train, they being inseparably connected therewith. To instance only in a few, instead of many, “I am the Lord thy God:” therefore “I will give thee an heart to know me.” “I am the Lord thy God:” therefore “I will sprinkle thee with clean water, and thou shalt be clean: from all thy filthiness and from all thine idols will I cleanse thee.” “I am the Lord thy God:” therefore “I will be merciful to thy unrighteousness, and thy sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” “I am the Lord thy God:" therefore “I will put my Spirit within thee, and cause thee to walk in my statutes and thou shalt keep my judgments, and do them.” And so of all the other promises of the covenant; they are all “yea and amen in Him,” who is “the Lord thy God.” He who is so kind and good, as to make over Himself to thee as thy God, will infallibly make out and make good every promise; and thou mayest trust Him with assured confidence, that He will do it, because He hath said, “I am the Lord thy God.” O let not the frequent repetition of these words make them unsavory: for there is more than ten thousand millions of heavens of glory in them to the soul that views them with the eye of faith in the light of the Spirit.”
THE DUTY OF RECEIVING CHRIST
“Sovereign grace is a thing that can neither be promoted by our goodness, or hindered by our badness. Free grace that makes the offer looks neither to the worthiness, nor unworthiness of the receiver; neither to his merit, nor demerit; neither to the merit of his virtue, nor the demerit of his vice. It is the hand of the promise that offers Christ to the lost sinner, upon the ground of free grace alone: and here is the most inviting encouragement to a lost sinner that can be, that as he hath no worthiness to plead for him, (which if he had, grace would be no grace;) so his unworthiness is no bar against him; for, if it were, then grace would be no grace also in this respect: for if your worthiness did work it, then it would not be the work of grace; or, if your unworthiness did hinder it, then it would not be the doing of grace: Yea, grace would never do anything at all; for all are unworthy: here there is encouragement to all sinners to receive an offered Christ.”
The Practical Works of the Reverend Ralph Erskine
“The Saving Sight”
“The eye whereby Christ is seen, is the eye of faith. As before saving illumination we are dark, and without light; so, before saving faith, we are blind and without sight: therefore, as Christ, when He discovers Himself, does, with the one hand, reveal His glory; so, with the other, He gives the eye to see His glory. All men are born blind, and remain so till Christ open their eyes, and give faith; for, He is the Author and Finisher thereof. This faith is the only eye whereby Christ is now seen; He cannot be savingly seen otherwise.
The sight of Christ, however short and inconstant, yet it is always sweet and satisfying; sweet and ravishing; His mouth is most sweet, says the church: O how sweet and satisfying are the smiles of His mouth! It is enough to make a heaven in the soul. How sweet are the words of His mouth! Sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb. When He manifests Himself in a word of grace, the sweetness is such that all sweetness is but bitterness in comparison thereof. How sweet and satisfying is it when the Day-Spring from on high visits the soul, especially after a long dark night of temptation, desertion, and despondence, wherein the soul thought that God had forgotten to be gracious, and would never return. When the Sun of righteousness breaks out below the black clouds, even of sin and provocation, when the soul now sees the power and glory of God in the sanctuary, how it is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and the mouth praises Him with joyful lips!”
“ The Practical Works of the Reverend Ralph Erskine"
“CHRIST, HEAVEN'S GRAND REPOSITORY”
“Here is ground for faith and hope, that all things being given to Christ, there is nothi ng that sinners need , but what is here; bread enough and to spare . There is an overflowing ocean of all good in Christ for sinners, and that His grace doth infinitely exceed all our sins, and all our wants. It is unbelief that doth diminish and limit the fulness of Christ: it shows the soul a multitude of sins and wants, but it hides and conceals the fulness of Christ, and locks up His treasures. It is true, people pretend this, and that, as a hindrance and discouragement to their believing: but however the ground of their not closing with Christ is, it turns chiefly upon this, that they doubt of His fulness. Nay , say you, my doubt is of His WILLINGNESS; but I have no doubt of His FULNESS” I fear you mistake it, O sinner; and that your chief doubt is about His fulness; and that your doubt of His willingness flows from the doubt of His fulness. What! Is it possible that one can believe the immense fulness of Christ, as having all things in His hand, and yet, at the same time, believe that he is a niggard, and has nothing to spare? No, no: if you believe His fulness, you cannot but believe His willingness; and if ye doubt of His willingness, it flows from a doubt of His fulness; for these two go together. If you think there is nothing to spare for you, it is because you think there is not bread enough, and fulness enough in Christ; for, if you believe there is bread enough in Him, then you will believe that there is to spare also. Examine, therefore, your faith of His fulness again; if you do not see there is enough in Christ, no wonder you do not see what a free heart He hath, when you do not see what a free hand He hath. But, O sinner! As the fulness of the Godhead is in Him; so, if there were ten thousand millions of worlds, and as many heavens full of men and angels, Christ would not be pinched to supply all their wants, and to fill them all. Christ is the well of life; but, who knows how deep it is to the bottom? And the due consideration of this might provoke all the world to come, and draw water out of this well of salvation with joy, were it not that their eyes are shut, through unbelief; they see not the well, nor the overflowing fulness thereof.”
HEAVEN'S GRAND REPOSITORY
“See what a great want it is to want Christ; for, then they want all things: they have nothing that are without Christ; they have no wisdom; no strength; no righteousness. They are destitute of God; for God, and all His perfections, are in Him. They are all destitute of the Spirit; for, the Spirit, and all His graces are in Christ; they are destitute of all things; for all things are in Him; and He is all in all. Without Christ, ordinances are nothing but an empty shell; the sacramental supper, without Christ, is but an empty table; sermons, without Christ, are but an empty sound; heaven, without Christ, is but an empty void: heaven would be but darkness if the Lamb were not the light of the place. The sinner, then, that remains without Christ, is nothing but a hell full of wickedness; empty of all good, and cursed in the want of all things.
See what a great thing it is to have Christ, because they, who have Christ, have all things. When God gives Christ, He cannot but, with Him, freely give all things; for, He hath given all things into His hand. O how happy are believers! The believer's stock can never be spent; and he can never see himself in misery as long as he is looking to his Head. He can never lose any thing but it is well repaid in Christ; and so long as Christ is to the fore, he has all things in Him.”
JAMES HARRISON EVANS (1800's)
“The Spirit of Holiness”
“Holiness is of God. Excluding every one but God Himself, as a cause of such holiness— excluding fallen man , whether we regard the producing it in himself or in others— excluding , as it regards any such power, the highest angel and archangel . Yea, we may venture to add, excluding the means of grace themselves from any such virtue and efficacy. My brethren, I beg not to be misunderstood on so important a point as this. The means which God has appointed, God will bless—yea, He has appointed them, in order to bless them. In the sober and prayerful use of them, we may not only hope for, but humbly expect the promised blessing. But, that can never be their sober, prayerful use, which, instead of considering them as channels through which the blessing flows, regards them as the fountain from which it springs. God is Himself the only cause of all holiness. Holiness is but a reflection of Himself, and, as through whatever medium the light may come, the sun is the immediate cause thereof, so, whatever may be the means of holiness, God is its alone author. It is of God solely— of God exclusively— of God from first to last. It is of God to commence it, to sustain it, to perfect it.”
JOHN FLAVEL (1600's)
VOL 4 WORKS
“MYSTERY OF PROVIDENCE ”
“O how ravishing and delightful a sight is that! To behold, at one view the whole design of providence, and the proper place and use of every single act, which we could not understand in this world: For what Christ said to Peter, John XIII. 7. Is as applicable to some providences in which we are now concerned, as it was to that particular action; “What I do, thou knowest not now; but hereafter thou shalt know it.” All the dark, intricate, puzzling providences at which we were sometimes so stumbled, and sometimes amazed, which we could neither reconcile with the promise, nor with each other, nay, which we so unjustly censured and bitterly bewailed as if they had fallen out quite cross to our happiness, we shall then see to be unto us, as the difficult passage through the wilderness was unto Israel, “the right way to a city of habitation,” Psal. CVII. 7.
And though our present views and reflections upon Providence be so short and imperfect, in comparison of that in heaven; yet such as it is, under all its present disadvantages, it hath so much excellency and sweetness in it, that I may call it a little heaven. It is certainly an highway of walking with God in this world; and as sweet communion may a soul enjoy with Him in His providences.”
THE BALM OF THE COVENANT APPLIED TO AFFLICTED SAINTS
Vol. VI WORKS
“…afflictions passing through the covenant, receive from it a healing virtue to our souls. Afflictions can do the children of God no hurt. They may affright, but cannot hurt them: We may meet them with fear, but shall part from them with joy: An unsanctified rod never did any man good, and a sanctified rod never did any man hurt: He may afflict our bodies with sickness, deny, or cut off our comfort in children, impoverish our estates, let loose persecutors upon us; but in all this He really doth us no hurt. No more hurt than a skillful surgeon doth in saving his patient's life, by cutting off a mortified, gangrened member.
But that is not all. Afflictions once put into the covenant must promote the good of the saints; they are beneficial, as well as harmless things. “We know (saith the apostle) that all things work “together for good to them that love God.” This promise is the compass, which sets the course, and directs the motions of all the afflictions of the people of God; and no ship at sea obeys the rudder so exactly, as the troubles of the righteous do the direction of this promise. Possibly we cannot discern this at present, but rather prejudge the works of God, and say all these things are against us; but hereafter we shall see, and with joy acknowledge them to be the happy instruments of our salvation.”
Vol. 5 Works
“The Touchstone of Sincerity”
“Indwelling sin is to grace, what fire is to gold; the soundness and unsoundness of our hearts are discovered by our carriage towards it. Prosperity and adversity put sincerity to the trial; but nothing makes a deeper search into our bosoms, nothing sifts our spirits more narrowly, or tells us what our state is more plainly, than our behavior towards that corruption which dwells in us; the thorn is next neighbor to the rose: Sin and grace dwell not only in the same soul, but in the same faculties. The collier and fuller dwell in one room; what one cleanses the other blacks. Of all the evils God permits in this world, none is more grievous to His people than this: They sometimes wonder why the Lord will suffer it to be so.
They are left to try you, and to humble you: There is no intrinsic goodness in sin; but, however, in this it occasions good to us, that by our carriage towards it, we discern our sincerity. The touchstone is a worthless stone in itself, but it serves to try the gold. The children of God are manifest by their hatred of sin. This puts a clear distinction betwixt them and the children of the devil; for no false or unregenerate heart can hate sin. They may hate sin in another, but never in themselves. They may hate it in its effects and consequence, but not in its own nature.. They may hate it in a mood or pang, but not with a rooted habitual hatred.
So deep is the hatred that upright ones bear to sin, that nothing pleases them more than the thoughts of a full deliverance from it doth: Romans 7:34 “I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What doth he so heartily thank God for? O for a prospect of his final deliverance from sin, never to be entangled, defiled, or troubled with it any more: This is one thing that sweetens death to the saints as any thing in the world can do, except Christ's victory over it, and lying in the grave for us. To think of a grave, is not pleasant in itself; but to think of a parting-time with sin, that is sweet and pleasant indeed.”
WORKS: VOL 7
“In His sufferings there was a glorious display and manifestation of the divine wisdom; yea, such a glorious display, as was never made before to angels or to men, nor ever shall be any more in this world.
For though, the wisdom of God had made itself visible to men in the creation of the world, yet there it shone but in a faint and languishing beam, compared with this. Here divine wisdom put itself as it were into a visible form, and represented itself to the life. (I Cor.1:24; Eph. 3:10) Behold, in the death of Christ, the wisdom of God in its highest exaltation and glory: O the manifold wisdom of God! O the depth of His unsearchable wisdom!
Behold here the wisdom of God, raising more glory to Himself by occasion of the breach of the law, than could ever have risen to Him from the most punctual observation of its commands, or the most rigorous execution of its threatenings; from the occasion of the fall, which was our undoing, raising us to a far better estate, and with a much better security to enjoy it, than that from which we fell. Yea, behold and wonder, God by the death of Christ recovering His own from all the danger and mischief of sin, and yet making the way and manner of their recovery the fairest glass to represent the horror and evil of sin to them, that ever was shown them in this world. In love only God acted to the uttermost; whatever His power hath done, it can do more; but for His love, it can go no higher, He hath no greater thing to give than His Christ. Oh, the triumph of divine wisdom!”
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