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FLEEING TO CHRIST Rev G B Cheever

Let us flee to Christ, and, by His Grace, live the life of righteousness, and so our last end shall be like His !

Of true peace in death there is no possibility but by being in Christ: but even the peace of a true Christian may be greatly obscured and troubled if he has been willing to live at a distance from His Saviour.

But where the soul is in Christ, relying on His precious blood and righteousness, and the affections are habitually fixed upon the things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God, then indeed dying is but going home; and such blessedness is worth all the daily watchfulness in life, that can possible be given for it.

Such blessedness makes the soul live on the borders of Heaven, in the Land Beulah; for to be in the land Beulah is to be spiritually minded, and that is the secret of all the blessed visions to be seen in that land.

“To be spiritually minded is life and peace;”  and they who are eminently so, are eminently happy. Nor is any labour to be accounted painful, in comparison to the sweetness of so resting upon God.

The way of blessedness may be trying, the steps taken may cost much self denial, but the results are unspeakably glorious and delightful.

Nor is there any happiness to be compared with that which is to be enjoyed by a growing Christian, a saint, whose life is truly hid with Christ in God. The happiness of walking with God daily is very great.

It is blessedness to breathe after God, to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and to long for the communication of His Spirit. It is blessed to feel with the Psalmist that the soul thirsts for God, thrice blessed to cry out  “As the hart pants for the water-brook so pants my soul after Thee, O God !”

If the experience of such desires be blessed, much more is the fruition of them, when God reveals himself to the soul that waits on Him. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

A watchful earnest attention to the increase of one’s personal piety, makes every part of the Christian’s experience animated and delightful . There is a divine relish in all the exercises of the Christian life, a savour of Heaven, a foretaste of the enjoyments of the saints in glory.

The Word of God is precious, the duty of prayer is precious, the vision of faith is clear and strong, and heavenly realities come in with vivid power upon the soul, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keeps the heart and mind through Christ Jesus.

The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. He will hold it up to their view, unfold its rich blessings in their sight, and show them that they have a part and a place in it. He will open and expound its glories, its glories of wisdom and knowledge in the revelation of Christ, its glories of spiritual things, into which the angels desire to look, its glories in the purchased possession of the saints and the riches of their heavenly inheritance, amid the wonders of that infinite love, by which such celestial, everlasting treasures were procured.

All this, and infinitely more than can be described, is the heritage of them that fear the Lord, that rest upon the Saviour, and who earnestly endeavour, renouncing every sin, to maintain daily that close walk with him which he requires, and to follow on after that perfection, which he has exhibited as the only right standard of the soul.

Is not this a life to be chosen, to be greatly desired, to be laboured after with exceeding great diligence, perseverance and earnestness ? Is it not worth a great deal of self-denial and fervent energy in prayer, and a great deal of time given to the, Word of God, and to all the secret exercises of the Christian life ?

Is it not worth a great many sacrifices of external ease and comfort, if that were necessary, and of external business, if that presses too urgently ? Is it not worth every thing, and are not all things else laid in the balance with it empty and worthless ?

Is it not the pearl of great price which he that is wise will readily sell all that he hath to be master of; the one thing needful, for the attainment of which all other things may well be given up, and forgotten as of no moment?

Yea, it is the kingdom of God and his righteousness, without which the universe cannot make you happy, but with which all things else shall be added unto you. Give what God will, without that you are poor, but with that rich, take what He will away. For when He gives himself, He gives all blessings.

Who would not rather be the poorest wanderer that walks the earth, the most down trodden and despised outcast of creation, and have his daily meals at God’s spiritual table, his daily walks with his Redeemer, his daily visits of refreshment at the full fountain of his love, than without that refreshment to possess the riches of all kingdoms, or be the worshipped idol of the world .

Yea, who would not rather be perishing for want of daily bread, or begging from door to door, if that were necessary, and yet daily faithful in prayer, growing in grace, and having his life hid with Christ in God, than surrounded with all affluence and at ease amidst all luxuries, and yet living in that worldly frame and at that distance from the Saviour, and in that gloomy coldness of spirit, which worldly prosperity, without great secret diligence in walking with God, so invariably produces !

 

Rev G B Cheever.  

Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress (Bunyan)

Extracted and typed by Jeff Maxwell

 

 

 

 

RECENTLY READ AND RIPE FOR CONTEMPLATION

RECENTLY READ AND RIPE FOR CONTEMPLATION

COUNTING THE COST

If any reader of this paper really feels that he has counted the cost, and taken up the cross, I bid him persevere and press on. I dare say you often feel your heart faint, and are sorely tempted to give up in despair. Your enemies seem so many, your besetting sins so strong, your friends so few, the way so steep and narrow, you hardly know what to do. But still I say, persevere and press on.

The time is very short. A few more years of watching and praying, a few more tossing’s on the sea of this world, a few more deaths and changes, a few more winters and summers, and all will be over. We shall have fought our last battle, and shall need to fight no more.

The presence and company of Christ will make amends for all we suffer here below. When we see as we have been seen, and look back on the journey of life, we shall wonder at our own faintness of heart. We shall marvel that we made so much of our cross, and thought so little of our crown. We shall marvel that in “counting the cost” we could ever doubt on which side the balance of profit lay. Let us take courage. 

We are not far from home. It may cost much to be a true Christian and a  consistent believer; but it pays. 

J C RYLE   (Holiness page 81/82 James Clark & Co. Edition 1956)

FOOD OF LOVE

The food of love is a sense of sin,

and a grateful sense of forgiveness.  

If you and I felt more deeply the guilt of our past lives, we should love Jesus Christ better.

If we had but a clearer sense that our sins deserve the deepest hell, that Christ suffered what we ought to have suffered in order to redeem us from our iniquities, we should not be the cold hearted creatures we are.

We are perfectly monstrous in our want of love to Christ, but the true secret of it is a forgetfulness of our ruined and lost estate, and a forgetfulness of the sufferings by which we have been redeemed from that condition.

O that our love might feed itself and find renewal of its strength in remembering what Sovereign Grace has done.

C H Spurgeon

( Flashes of Thought No:508 1880)

DIFFICULT TIMES

Steadiness of mind and heart under trial, is one of the highest attainments of faith. There is little exercise of faith when all things go well. But if God raises a storm, permits the enemy to send wave after wave, and seemingly stands aloof from our prayers, then, still to hang on and trust God, when we cannot trace Him, this is the patience of the saints.

Matthew Henry

When in prosperity, we are ready to think our mountain will never be brought low; so when in adversity, we are ready to think that our valley shall never filled up. But to conclude that tomorrow must be as this day, is absurd as to think that the weather, when fair or foul, will be always so.

Matthew Henry

Oh, He is a sweet Master! One smile from Jesus sustains my soul amid all the storms and frowns of this passing world. Pray to know Jesus better. Have no other righteousness, no other strength, but only Jesus. Soon we shall see Him coming in the clouds of heaven. May you be kept faithful to death. 

Robert Murray M’Cheyne

TEARS FOR SIN

Let your tears fall because of your sins;

but,

at the same time,

let the eye of faith steadily behold the Son of Man lifted up,

as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

those that are bitten by the old serpent  my look unto Jesus and live.

Our sinnership is that emptiness into which our Lord pours His Mercy.

C H Spurgeon

 From Breaking the Silence   ( A Letter written from Menton  31/12/1891 approx 1 month before his death on 31/1/1892)

Adversity

Adversity is the best University.

Schola crucis est Schola lucis. 

School of the Cross is the School of Light.
Or

The School of Affliction is the School of Instruction.

Afflictions teach us to know God, not only in His power and greatness, in His anger, and His hatred for sin, but also in His Goodness and Mercy: For God so sweetens the bitter cup of affliction that a Child of God will taste more of God’s love in one month’s affliction than in many years of prosperity.

Add to this – afflictions teach us to know God experimentally and affectionately not just cerebrally but cordially (not just with the mind but the heart) so to know Him, as to love and fear  Him, and to fly to Him as our Rock and Hiding place in the day of our distress.

He that seeks after God in the night of adversity does not seek Him to see Him, to know Him formally or superficially, but to embrace Him, lean on Him, and know Him experimentally.

Here is rich comfort for the Children of God, under the greatest afflictions.
For the best of  Saints are subject to the worst afflictions.
This is the lot of all God’s children, Christ Himself was not excepted or exempt.

Let us labour that we may reap good by our afflictions and that “the good” may abide upon us after our recovery from the afflictions.

Let us labour that the good we get by afflictions may not vanish away with our afflictions after we are recovered; so we may be able to say with David ” It was good that I was afflicted” and to say that it was good; not only after the event but to say “it is good that I am afflicted now and it will be good if I am afflicted in the future.”

We need to be good Scholars in the School of Afflictions; for if we are, God will either deliver us out of affliction with much blessing or send us to Heaven by our afflictions to our eternal blessing. Amen

Extracted, edited and compiled by Jeff Maxwell ©

© Jeff Maxwell 2014

Encouragement and Challenge

Encouragement and Challenge 

I read this this evening and would like to share it with as many as possible,  please……….

ABIDE IN HIM, little children, who I have always preached unto you, that when He shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. Let every new sight of your wicked heart, and every new wave of trouble, drive your soul to hide in Him, the Rock of your salvation. There is no true peace but in a present hold of the Lord our Righteousness.

ENJOY THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS — keep yourself in the Love of God. If you abide in Christ, you shall abide in His love — your joy, let no man take from you. “These things write we unto you that your joy may be full.”

BE YE CLEAN  that bear the vessels of the Lord” ” He that says he abides in Him should walk as He walked.” Ah, how many falls will I have to mourn over when I return, if my God send me back to you ! — how many unseemly quarrellings and miscarriages among you that are God’s own ! — how many unlovely tempers among those that follow Him, who is altogether lovely !  Oh take heed ; do not give the enemy cause to blaspheme ;  naming the name of Christ, depart from all iniquity.

CONTINUE IN PRAYER. How many messages have been carried to you publicly and from house to house, and yet how little success !  I bless God for all the tokens He has given that the Spirit of God has not departed. Still the Spirit has not yet been shed on us abundantly. The many absentees on the Sabbaths — the thin meetings on Thursday evenings — the absence of men from all the meetings for the worship of God — the few private prayer meetings — the little love and union among Christians — all show that the plentiful rain has not yet fallen, to refresh our corner of the heritage. Why is this ? This is the day of Christ’s Power ; why are the people not made willing ?  Let James give the answer : “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” ” Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

Robert Murray M’Cheyne

(2nd Pastoral letter to the people of God among his flock. Quoted in “Burning and Shining Lights: Rev Robert Steel 1868  page 155.)

Typed and lightly edited by J Maxwell 2013

Consider this question !

When we sin against God and know His forgiveness.. we are so often, and rightly so, taken up with sorrowful thoughts concerning that sin, that we fail to “ENJOY THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS” as R M M’Cheyne encourages us to.

How do we keep these two things in proper balance ? i.e. Enjoy the forgiveness of our sins with a due sense of Godly sorrow for those sins.

Your Comments please !

CHRIST IS ABOVE ALL

CHRIST JESUS

Christ has come to us that we might come to Him.

Christ has many joint heirs, but no successors.

Christ in the heart is better than corn in the barn.

Christ in the heart is Heaven on earth.

Christ is a great Saviour for great sinners.

Christ is a physician who asks no fees.

Christ is all in all to all His people.

                   “My Christ, he is the heaven of heavens:

                          My Christ what shall I call?

                  My Christ is first, my Christ is last,

                         My Christ is all in all ………………………………………… Mason

Christ has gone from our sight, but abides in our hearts.

Christ is in all believers and all believers are in Christ.

Christ is not loved at all, if not loved, above all.

Christ is our adornment, as well as our atonement.

Christ is the hope of our glory, and the glory of our hope.

Christ is our mercy, merit, myrrh, and our mirror.

Christ is our patron and our pattern.

Christ is preparing saints for heaven, and heaven for saints.

Christ is the souls sole solace.

                 “I have heard the voice of Jesus,

                       Tell me not of ought beside;

                 I have seen the face of Jesus.

                        All my soul is satisfied.

Christ sends none away empty but those who are full of themselves.

Christ sweetens our comforts and sanctifies our crosses.

Christ’s crimson blood cleanses crimson sins.

Christ was born a man that we might be born again.

Christ’s merit covers our demerit.

Christ pleads for us above, let us plead for him bellow..

Christ receives the Devil’s castaways.

Christ may wait long, but he will not wait forever.

C H Spurgeon ( The Salt Cellars 1889  vol 1 A-L  page 111 Et seq.)

x

HEAVEN LONGED FOR …….

Long after heaven ! –  your God is present there, unveiled in Glory – God your Father, God  your Saviour, God  your everlasting Comforter.

Long after heaven ! – it is full of holiness. Sin has never sullied it ! No evil shall pollute it ! All its inhabitants are pure : the Angels and the Redeemed are without fault before the Throne of God

Long after heaven ! – it is the “rest that remains for the people of God” –  it shall remain a their rest for ever ! There  pain, trouble, and weariness are never felt ! There  Satan, sin, and sorrow cannot enter ! There peace and prosperity continually abide. There God is worshiped in perfection forever.

Long after heaven ! – it is the end of groaning for all creation; – it is the paradise of  your perfection in soul and body ! There you shall know even as you are known ! There you shall reach the manhood of  your being, regain once and for ever the lost likeness of your Creator, and hear again the voice of the Lord God walking with you in the tenderness of His amazing love and the plenitude of His everlasting friendship !

Long after heaven ! – it is a glorious home !   It is the house of Lord Jehovah !   The created home of thy Eternal Father !   The purchased home of thy Elder Brother !    The holy home of the Lord  your Saviour !   It is the safe and happy home of Angels !   It is the eternal home of all pure and holy beings !    It is the everlasting home of the whole family of the Redeemed !  It is the inheritance of your brothers and sisters in the Faith !
There are they gathered together in safety;
there they are all joined together in love;
there they all “dwell” together in unity,
there they give full expression of the love, joy, and peace of Salvation,
there they delight to fully worship, honour, and glorify the Triune God;
There they abide forever and go no more out of “the house of the Lord .”

Edited, adapted, and modernised by Jeff Maxwell ©2013
(From:  Anon.   From Christian’s Penny Magazine vol. 2 1847)

NO MEANS OF ESCAPE

England’s Duty under the present Gospel Liberty

Behold I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me. Rev 3:20

THIS day hath our compassionate Redeemer opened unto us a door of liberty ; liberty for us to preach, and liberty for you to hear the glad tidings of the gospel……….

 

Every offer of Christ to the souls of sinners is recorded and witnessed with respect to the day of account and reckoning.

Who are God’s witnesses to all the offers made of Christ by the gospel?

1 His Ministers,

by whom he makes them, are all witnesses as well as officers of Christ to the people. .

“I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness.” Acts 26:16 

Here you see ministers have a double office, to propose and offer Christ, and then to bear witness for or against those to whom he is thus offered: they are expressly called God’s witnesses, Rev. 11:6-7.

Their labours witness, their sufferings witness, their solemn appeals to God witness; yea, the very dust of their feet shaken off against the refusers of Christ, turns to a testimony against them, Mark 6:11. Every groan and sigh, every drop of sweat, much more of blood, are placed in God’s book of marginal notes by all their sermons and prayers, and will be produced and read in the great day against all the refusers and despisers of Christ.

2. The Gospel itself,

which is preached to you, is a testimony or witness for God, against every one that hears it;

“He that rejecteth me, and received not my words, hath one that judges him; the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” John 12:48

And this is the sense of Christ’s word,

 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come.” Matt. 24:14.

Ah, Lord, what a solemn record is here! Every sermon you hear, yea, every reproof, persuasion, and conviction, is a witness for God to cast and condemn every soul in judgment that complies not immediately with the calls of the gospel: so many sermons, so many witnesses.

3. Every man’s conscience is a witness for God,

that he hath a fair offer once made to him: the very consciences of the Heathens that never saw a Bible, that had no other preachers but the sun, moon, and stars, and other works of nature; yet of them the apostle saith, 

” they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing them witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”   Rom. 2:15

Certainly if such vigour and activity was put into the consciences of Heathens, who could only read the will of God by the dim moon-light of natural reason ; how much more vigorous and active will conscience be in its accusing office against all that live under the bright beams of gospel-light? Their consciences will be swift witnesses, and will ring sad peals in their ears another day, 

” You shall know that there hath been a prophet among you.”   Ezek. 2:5 

This single witness is instead of a thousand witnesses for God. 

4. The examples of all those that do believe and obey the gospel,

are so many witnesses for God against the despisers and neglecters of the great salvation. Every mourning, trembling soul among you is a witness against all the dead-hearted, unbelieving, disobedient ones, that sit with them under the same ordinances.

Hence it is said,

” Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?”  1 Cor. 6:2

They shall be assessors with Christ in the great day, and condemn the world for their examples, as Noah did the old world. Thus..

“John, came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not, but the publicans and harlots believed him; and ye when ye had seen it, repented not afterwards that ye might believe him” Matt. 21:32

What shift do you make to quiet your consciences, and stifle your convictions, when you saw publicans, the worst of men, and harlots, the worst of women, repenting, believing, and hungering after Christ! their examples shall be your judges.

These are God’s witnesses. 

You are without any means of escape if you neglect so great a salvation  freely offered in the Gospel !!!

John Flavel  Sermon 1 (1689) Vol 4 page 20
Extracted and adapted by Jeff Maxwell 2012
These sermons are well worth reading for our encouragement and admonition !

THE PASTOR IN PRAYER

I was very privileged to to read this prayer this morning and
thought it deserves to be in the public eye again. Jeff

A Prayer of C H Spurgeon.

Holy Father, keep Thy people we beseech Thee, for Jesus’ sake: though
they are in the world let them not be of it; but may there be a marked
distinction between them and the rest of mankind. Even as their Lord was
“holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners,” so may it be with
believers in Christ. May they follow Him; and may they not know the voice
of strangers, but come out from the rest, that they may follow Him without
the camp.

We cry to Thee this morning for the preservation of Thy church in the
world, and especially for her purity. Oh Father, keep us, we beseech Thee,
with all keeping, that the Evil one touch us not. We shall be tempted, but
let him not prevail against us. In a thousand ways he will lay snares for our
feet, but, oh, deliver us as a bird from the snare of the fowler. May the
snare be broken that we may escape.

Let not the church suffer dishonour at any time, but may her garments be
always white. Let not such as come in among her, that are not of her,
utterly despoil her. Oh Christ, as Thou didst groan concerning Judas, so
may Thy children cry to Thee concerning any that have fallen aside into
crooked ways, lest the cause of Christ in the earth should be dishonoured.
Oh God, cover we beseech Thee, with Thy feathers, all the people of
Christ, and keep Thy church even until He shall come who, having loved
His own that were in the world, loveth them even to the end.

We would each one of us ask this morning that we may be washed as to
our feet: we trust Thou hast bathed us once for all in the sin-removing
fountain. Thou hast also washed us in the waters of regeneration, and given
us the renewing of our minds through Jesus Christ. But oh for daily
cleansing! Dost Thou see any fault in us? — oh we know that Thou dost
— wash us that we may be clean.

Are we deficient in any virtue? Oh supply it, that we may exhibit a perfect
character, to the glory of Him who hast made us anew in Christ Jesus. Or,
is there something that would be good, carried to excess? Be pleased to
modify it lest one virtue should slaughter another, and we should not be the
image of Christ completely.

Oh Lord and Master, Thou who didst wash Thy disciples’ feet of old, still
be very patient toward us, very condescending towards our provoking
faults, and go on with us, we pray Thee, till Thy great work shall be
completed, and we shall be brethren of the First-born, like unto Him.

Gracious Master, we wish to conquer self in every respect; we desire to
live for the glory of God and the good of our fellow men.
Wilt Thou enable us especially to overcome the body with all its affections
and lusts; may the flesh be kept under; let no appetite of any kind, of the
grossest sort, prevail against our manhood, lest we be dishonoured and
unclean. And let not even the most refined power of the natural mind be
permitted to come so forward as to mar the dominion of the Spirit of God
within us.

Oh help us not to be so easily moved, even by pain may we have much
patience; and let not the prospect of death ever cause us any fear, but may
the Spirit get the mastery of the body. We know nothing can hurt the true
man — the inner, new born, cannot be smitten; nor is it to die: it is wholly
incorruptible, and liveth and abideth for ever in the life that is in Christ
Jesus.

Oh for a complete conquest of self especially render us insensible to praise,
lest we be too sensitive to censure. Let us reckon that to have the
approbation of God, and of our own conscience, is quite enough; and may
we be content, gracious God, to hear the cavilling of unreasonable men;
yea, and to hear the misrepresentations of our own brethren. Those that we
love, if they love not us, yet may we love them none the less; and if by
mistake they misjudge us, let us have no hard feelings towards them and
God grant we may never misjudge one another. Doth not our Judge stand
at the door:

Oh keep us like little children who do not know, but expect to know
hereafter, and are content to believe things which they do not understand.
Lord keep us humble, dependent, yet serenely joyful. May we be calm and
quiet even as a weaned child, yet may we be earnest and active.

Oh Saviour, make us like Thyself; we wish not so much to do, as to be. If
Thou wilt make us to be right, we shall do right. We have often to put a
constraint upon ourselves to be right; but oh, that we were like Thee,
Jesus, so that we had but to act out ourselves to act out perfect holiness.
We shall never rest till this is the case, till Thou hast made us to be
inwardly holy; and then words and actions must be holy as a matter of
course.

Now here we are, Lord, and we belong to Thee. We caught at that word as
we read it — “Having loved His own.” Oh, it is because we are Thine own,
that we have hope. Thou wilt make us worthy of Thee. Thy possession of
us is our hope of perfection. Thou dost wash our feet because we are
Thine own. Oh how sweet is the mercy which first took us to its heart, and
made us all its own, and now continues to deal tenderly with us that, being
Christ’s own, we may have that of Christ within us which all may see and
which proves us to be the Lord’s.

Now this morning, we would bring before Thee all Thy saints, and ask
Thee to attend to their trials and troubles. Some we know here are afflicted
in person, others are afflicted in their dear friends; some are afflicted in
their temporal estate, and are brought into sore distress. Lord, we do not
know the trials of all Thy people, but thou dost; for Thou art the Head, and
the pains of all the members are centered in Thee. Help all Thy people even
to the end.

Now we pray Thee to grant us the Sabbath blessing which we have already
sought; and let it come upon all the churches of our beloved country.
May the Lord revive true and undefiled religion here, and in all the other
lands where Christ is known and preached and let the day come when
heathendom shall become converted. Let the blessed gospel of the Eternal
God prevail, let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Oh that we may live to
see that day!

The Lord bless our country have pity upon it in all its present afflicted condition.
Oh, let the people see Thy hand, and understand why it is laid upon them, that they
may turn from wrong-doing, and seek righteousness and follow peace.
The Lord hear us as, in secret, we often cry to Thee on behalf of our beloved land,
the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon it yet again, for Jesus’ sake.
Amen.

C H Spurgeon Pastor at Prayer
(Extracted and lightly edited by Jeff Maxwell)

FOR SERMON: No. 1499. (October 12, 1879.
SCRIPTURE: John 13:1-17. HYMNS: 186, 262, 263.
 

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