Monday, February 18, 2008

An Unsound Heart

"'The heart of a wicked man is little worth' Proverbs 10:20
"Sound actions cannot spring from a corrupt heart, so more than sweet water from a bitter fountain. He that considers not how his heart stands, whether it were wound up, whether it were in tune, whether it were melted, or whether it were frozen, that doth not care how drowsy and unsavoury his spirit was, doth not anything as a friend to Christ" (Stephen Charnock, Works, Vol. 4, pg. 590)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Puritan's Exhortation to Witnessing

"Woe to us, that we know so much to so little purpose; that we should be bushels to hide, and not candlesticks that hold forth the candle of the Lord which He has lit up in us! Oh, how many dark souls may might our candle lead onto the sun! The light that is in Israeel might do much to turn Egypt into a Goshen. Speak , Christians; speak what you have seen, and testify what you believe; bring forth out of your treasure; pity the blind world, or at least be more helpful to one another. Instruct as you have been instructed; convince as you have been convinced, comfort as you have been comforted by God" (Richard Alleine, Heaven Opened, pg 98).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Puritan's Look at Sin

"The Psalmist in the fourteenth Psalm notably sets forth the corrupt estate of man by nature; and again he sets it forth in the fifty-third Psalm almost in the same words, pointing out to us the great necessity and utility of this doctrine, which admirably tends to undeceive and deliver us from that fascinating (i.e. overinflated) opinion of our own righteousness and worthiness, which too much charms the hearts of all men; and withal to prepare and make us ready to accept a cure from Christ and his regenerating grace" pg 52, Works of Edward Polhill

In this always remember what the Lord says in 1 John 2:1-2:
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
Increase our faith in this precious promise and truth.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some Help From Thomas Manton

"The great business of the Christian religion is to dispossess us of the brutish nature which is begotten in us" Works Volume 12, pg 41

"The more you indulge the flesh, the more it is your enemy, and the more your slavery and bondage is increased; so that you grow more brutish, forgetful of God, and unapt for any spiritual use" Works Volume 12, pg 47

"We are all debtors, and this duty taketh place as soon as we come to the use of reason; we all then begin to feel the corruption and imperfection of nature; and we are bound to look after the cure of it, and to use all Christ's healing means that it may be affected" Works Volume 12, pg 47

"Your first enemy is the old man; and it is the last, for it is not extinguished in us till death, therefore as soon as we pass out of infancy into youth, we must look upon ourselves as under this obligation, not to live after the flesh , but after the Spirit, to weaken the corruption of nature more and more" Works, Volume 12, pg 48

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ralph Erskine on Applying the Blood of Christ (Part 1of 8)

Ralph and Ebenezer Erskine are among the shining stars of ministers in Scottish Church History. In this first instalment of eight I am going to give you a taste of Erskine preaching at its finest in the area of applying the blood of Christ. He is utilizing the analogy of Christ's blood and water:
"Water, being liquid when poured out, it runs abroad and spreads; even so the blood of Christ that was poured out upon the cross at Jerusalem, it spread about, and spread abroad, as it is said, Zechariah 14:8, "And it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of this way and half of them that way." This blood spreads abroad as far as the gospel-dispensation doth, of which Christ says, "Go, preach the gospel to every creature: publish remission of sin in my blood" (Works of Ralph Erskine, Volume 4, 121).

Saturday, December 29, 2007

John Bunyan on sin.

Sayings of John Bunyan on sin:
Sin is the great block and bar to our happiness, the Procurer of all miseries to man, both here and hereafter. Take away sin, and nothing can hurt us; for death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, is the wages of it.

Sin, and man for sin, is the object of the wrath of God. How dreadful, therefore, must his case be who continues in sin! For who can bear or grapple with the wrath of God?

No sin against God can be little, because it is against the great God of heaven and earth; but if the sinner can find out a little god, it may be easy to find out little sins.

Sin turns all God's grace into wantonness; it is the dare of his justice, the rape of his mercy, the jeer of his patience, the slight of his power, and the contempt of his love.

Take heed of giving thyself liberty of committing one sin, for that will lead thee to another; till, by an ill custom, it become natural.

To begin a sin, is to lay a foundation for a continuance; this continuance is the mother of custom, and impudence at last the issue.

The death of Christ giveth us the best discovery of ourselves, in what condition we were, in that nothing could help us but that; and the most clear discovery of the dreadful nature of our sins.

For if sin be so dreadful a thing as to wring the heart of the Son of God, how shall a poor wretched sinner be able to bear it?

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Battle Must Be On.....

As Christians united to Christ and engrafted in Him we are engaged in a war. We must war against the flesh, sin, Satan, and the world. These are terrible enemies and will stop at nothing to destroy the vital communion we have with our Triune God. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the heart is desperately wicked and Proverbs 4:23 states that we must keep the heart with all diligence for from it flow the issues of life. John Flavel, the Presbyterian Puritan, in connecting these two vital truths says, ""The heart of man is the worst part before it be regenerate, and the best afterwards: it is the seat of principles, and the fountain of actions" (Works, 5, 423). The four enemies mentioned above have their most powerful influence through the heart of man. It must be kept like one would keep all enemies out of a castle. How does your castle compare to the requirements of God's word?
Indeed, this battle would look quite impossible if we did not have the gift of the Holy Spirit from the ascended and reigning Christ to assist us. Christopher Love is quite right when he states, "A single man can as soon destroy a whole army of men with his own hand as subdue one sin by his own power," (pg 7, The Mortified Christian). We must be good soldiers in the army of God. What do these soldiers look like? They do not speak in tongues, they do heal the sick, or slay people in the Spirit. John Owen is helpful for a description of a soldier in God's army. "To labor to be acquainted with the ways, wiles, methods, advantages, and occasions of its success (i.e. of sin) is the beginning of this warfare. So do men deal with enemies" Works, 6, 31).
One of the best means to fight these enemies is to constantly keep in your thoughts Him who is so precious to the saving and preserving of your soul:t the Lord Jesus Christ. The words of William Gurnall are helpful, "And thus Jesus Christ (when you are being tempted), whom Satan thought to bring out of the soul's favour and liking, comes in the end to sit higher and surer in the saint's affections than ever" (pg 109, The Christian In Complete Armour).