Christian Love 41:The Blessed Poor

By Hugh Binning

 

The first week of creation, as it were, afforded two individual examples of this wise arrangement of divine justice, angels cast out of heaven, and man out of paradise, a high and terrible aim at wisdom brought both as low as hell. The pride of angels and men was only the rising up to a height, or climbing up a steep to the pinnacle of glory, that they might catch the lower fall.  But the last week of the creation, to speak so, will afford us rare and eminent demonstrations of the other, poor, bad, and miserable sinners lifted up to heaven by humility, when angels were thrown down from heaven for pride. What a strange sight, an angel, once so glorious, so low, and a sinner, once so bad and miserable, so high!

Truly may any man conclude within himself, “Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud,”.  (Proverbs 16:19) Happy lowliness, that is the foundation of true highness! But miserable highness that is the beginning of eternal lowness. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,”. (Matthew 5:3)  Blessedness begins low, in poverty of spirit.  And Christ’s sermon upon blessedness begins at it, but it arises in the end to the riches of a kingdom, a heavenly kingdom.

Grace is the seed of glory, and poverty of spirit is the seed, first dead before it be enlivened to grow up in fruits. And indeed the grain “is not made alive except it die,” (1st Corinthians 15:36) and then it gets a body, and “brings forth much fruit,”. (John 7:24) Even so, grace is sown into the heart, but it is not made alive except it die in humility, and then God gives it a body, when it springs up in other beautiful graces, of meekness, patience, love, and so on.  But these are never ripe til the day that the soul get the warm beams of heaven, being separated from the body, and then the harvest is a rich crop of blessedness.  Holiness is the ladder to go up to happiness by, or rather our Lord Jesus Christ as adorned with all these graces.

 


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R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:17

By Robert C. Chapman

 

“Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my Beloved, and be like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether”. (Song of Solomon 2:17)

 

Lord, You have brought me out of darkness into marvelous light! In Your light! Old things have passed away, all things have become new! (2nd Corinthians 5:17) My soul, admiring the glories of Your grace, sees a new heaven and a new earth, which I once had no eyes to see!

What shall I render to You because of Your rising upon my soul that was covered by darkness? Calling to mind my former time of ignorance and hatred, says my soul, it is now no more night, but noonday! You are the brightness of the glory of God! Your light is infinite! No clouds surround You, nor shadows of the law.  I do not come to Sinai, the mountain of blackness and tempest, but to Mount Zion, to God the judge of all, and Jesus the Mediator of the new Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaks better than that of Abel!

The way into holiness is now made clear, and I have boldness of access there by the blood of my Lord! But if I take account of my profiting and knowledge of You, alas! I am of yesterday, and know nothing.

I chide you, my soul, and ask, why so dull of understanding, why so little you know of the glorious One and altogether lovely? O pity, Lord! Your needy one! Yes, You know my nature, and You pity me! You see, that while caged in this house of clay, I could not endure to behold You face to face: at such a sight I should, like him who once leaned on Your heart, fall at Your feet as dead!

So long as I sojourn here, (detained a little while for Your glory) You will not oppress me with Your brightest beams, the shadows still hide You in part, and I see through a glass darkly.  Lord! I wait for the time, I wait for it more than they that watch for the morning, when I will behold You face to face! I long for Your glorious appearing; but my waiting is patient, for You are indeed swift to help me: as a roe and a young hart leaping over the mountains of separation.

Your Spirit make me triumph now in You, and to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory! And I know, when the vision will come, I will say, “It did not tarry or lie.”

 

[This has completed R.C. Chapman’s book on the Song of Solomon]

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:12

By R.C. Chapman

 

“The Flowers appear on the earth; and the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon 2:12)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted! And Your people, Lord Jesus are all mourners, but their sorrow is turned into joy.  You pursue Your lost ones in love to their soul; You wound them: Your arrows are sharp in their heart.

Then their groaning is not hid from You; their cry, because of affliction and hard bondage, enters your ears, and You come down to deliver! You have obtained eternal redemption for them! Ah, Lord! Your prisoners of hope are but slow to conceive rightly the grace which is in Thee, of the unsearchable sea of Your heart’s love.  To their drooping spirits the heavens gather blackness desolation is round about them.  But You observe Your set time, appointed of the Father, “to favor Zion.”

Soon as Your needful arrows are spent, You bind up the broken in heart.  You don’t wound to kill, but to heal; Your heart yearns over Your mourners; You wait with longing for the good time to speak peace; Your heart breaks with desire to make Yourself known to Your brethren, to fall upon their necks, and give them the kiss of Your love.

You say, “Fear not, I have redeemed you; you are mine”.—(Isaiah 43:1) You multiply words of the, highest stooping to comfort the lowest, to our weakness, saying “Comfort, comfort my people,” …”Speak comfortably to Jerusalem”; and call out to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned”.—(Isaiah 40:1-2)

How glorious are the revelations of Your Spirit! When he declares Your name to mourners, Your cross becomes their joy and salvation.  And shouldn’t they sing and be glad, and take their harp from the willows?  For Your coming by Your Spirit turns earth into heaven; You make the wilderness like Eden. We would not exchange our Paradise for the garden of the first Adam; for in You we have the Second Adam, the Lord from Heaven: Your grace lifting us above earth, and giving us to sit down with You in heavenly places.  You put a crown upon our heads, making us kings and priests unto God Your Father!  You impart skill to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb; and whether sung by travelers on earth, or by those with You in heaven, the song is melody in Your ears. You, Yourself join us; singing praises in the midst of Your church.  And the Father listens, resting in His love: delighting in You and in Your members, who by His Spirit are one with You.

Lord! Be forever the fountain of all my joys! Daily may I behold Your glory, and see how it springs from Your shame and spitting, from Your agony and cross.  So I will keep myself pure from carnal joys and carnal griefs—so shall the Dove which sat on You, sit likewise on me! And though I be small and despised, and do not lift up, or cry, or cause my voice to be heard in the streets, yet shall my ways and spirit please You, and You will incline Your ear while I sing the Lord’s song in a strange land!

 


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Life of Faith 21: Turn the Valve

By Richard Sibbes

 

Two things are opposite to this life of faith.

One, Despair.  This cuts the pillars of hope.  Against many, as Luther for one, have been tempted to despair, but yet setting on the work, have overcome.  So the Israelites were afraid, upon the evil report of the spies of Canaan; but when they went on, they overcame and beat down their enemies.  So we say, Oh, I will never overcome such a sin, or such a corruption, or do such a duty.  This is not true, go on, look to Christ, join his strength with your endeavor, be out of love with it, resolve thoroughly, set on it strongly, and down it will go before you.

Second, is presumption; for this know, that in his own strength shall no man be strong.  In St Paul’s speech. “By grace I am what I am.” (1st Corinthians 15:10).  So, again, he says, “in him” to think, in Christ “we live, and move, and have our being,” (Acts 17:28).  If we presume, it is just with Christ to forsake us, as he did Peter.  Take heed also of spiritual self-sufficiency, or else we rest on ourselves, and do not go to Christ.  Our moving to all good duty is by him.  It is but a word for him to help us, either in things tending to a spiritual or a natural life.  Therefore, for the summing up of all, do not leave him.  In your emptiness go to his fullness.  If your cistern is dry, turn the valve of your faith, and his fountain will fill again.  Take him still along with you, and you cannot not choose but to live this life of faith in growing in holiness and obedience.

 


This is the End of Life of Faith, by Richard Sibbes ; modernized in places by this site.

Life of Faith 20: Faith and Prayer

By Richard Sibbes

Let’s set upon all Goliaths, therefore, by the word and Spirit, and with everything set our will against them, that we strongly desire and endeavor to be rid of such hindrances and encumbrances, and we will in the end find a notable victory over them; and so in all troubles and frustrations, as in (Luke 17:3-4), the disciples beg of God for the increase of their faith.  This will help us out in all storms and tempests; help faith and help all.  This will set heaven and earth to working for our good.

We see in, (Hebrews 11), that all is attributed to faith.  Why? Many other things came together in those excellent actions for doing them; but all is attributed to faith, because faith is the great wheel which sets all the rest to working, and stirs up all, as in (1st Corinthians 13:4) it is said of love, that it does all: for the same reason, because in those things there mentioned it stirs up the rest.  So in any grace that which is lacking in us, go to Christ and say, Lord, I lack wisdom, counsel, strength, understanding, prudence in your holy fear.  The fullness of these are in you; Lord, it is for your glory to help your poor servant, and give some measure of these upon me to do your own work with.  Look! I Lord,  lay myself down to you to work through me.  I have an angry spirit, full of tossing and turning, but you are the Prince of peace, abounding in meekness.  Oh give me such a meek and peaceable spirit, as, learning of you, I may be meek and lowly in heart.

I have written you only a few things; make use of them, and think on these, yourselves.  In all things let’s with confession of our needs, have an eye to his fullness, and then we will find more of abundance, when we do not attempt these duties in our own strength only.

 

 

 


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R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:7

By R.C. Chapman

 

“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken my Love, until He pleases.” (Song of Solomon 2:7)

You know, my soul, how good and how pleasant it is to lay down at the feet of Jesus, as Ruth at the feet of Boaz, covered with the skirt of His love.  In this sweet reverence and humbleness you obtain precious tokens of His favor: He blesses you, and takes it kindly (in His wondrous humility) that you should regard Him, and suffer Him to captivate your heart, while thousands around you count Him “a root out of dry ground, without form or attractiveness”. (Isaiah 53:2)

He found you poor and naked; but in His blood he washed you, he adorned you, he presented you to Himself.  And how amiable, how glorious the smile of Jesus! Truly in the light of the King’s countenance is life, and His favor is a cloud of latter rain.  Lord, while I sit at Your feet in shame-faced poverty of spirit, make my cup to run over; and then my heart trembles within me, fearing that any misbehavior of mine should grieve Your Holy Spirit.  You yourself I cannot lose, for my life is bound up in Yours, neither will You part with me.  Let me, then, since You are so faithful and tender in Your love; let me, my Lord, be jealous over myself with godly jealousy! Keep my heart Your own self, or it will not be kept; but some base idol, some vanity of word or deed, will grieve Your Holy Spirit.

If indeed, for trial of faith, You hide Yourself, not in displeasure at my ways, but to purge a fruitful branch that it may be yet more fruitful,let it be so, what time soever You please, awake and rise up from Your rest in the bed of my soul! Send me forth to encounter temptation, for You are with me; my heart is fixed, and boasts that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. (Isaiah 54:17)

Lord, hear my prayer! You say: “What is your petition, and what is your request?” (Esther 5:6, 7:2, 9:12).  Do not let pride rise up within me, do not let Your cross at any time be hid, and let me never cease to triumph in You, my robe of righteousness.  Then, though desertion come, all shall be well: there shall be no loss but of things whose loss is gain; and temptations shall prepare me for yet richer communion with my Lord.

 


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Life of Faith 19: His Promises, Life, and Victory

By Richard Sibbes

 

Therefore he will take courage for any duty, to encounter and resist any sin; on this ground, as he should say,

“Don’t I have a storehouse of strength to go to? Isn’t he full of grace and goodness? Aren’t all his works done for us ? Don’t I have so many, great, rich, and precious promises of help? Isn’t he the truth itself? Is there not then supply enough in Christ to help me out in all things?”

It would be Pharaoh-like to set us to work without strength and ability to go through with our work.  There is light and heat in the sun to direct and cherish, much more in Christ their Maker.  It is grace that leads us through all. We are justified freely through his grace, and by his grace we have continual strength supplied to enable us in all things. It is grace, grace! A sanctified one who lives by faith will therefore cheerfully set upon every duty.

Again, in this case, all is lively in a man.  As we see a lively fountain, the water of it will sparkle and leap, so there will be living joys, words, delights, encouragements, being sensible of good and evil.

He will trust God, rely on his word and promise, because Christ cannot touch the soul, but the soul will be lively.  As the man who as soon as touched Elisha’s bones, he stood up and revived, (2nd kings 13:21), so a touch of Christ makes alive and makes energetic.  As Christ’s promise is, John 4:14, “Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up to everlasting life.” Let’s make use of all of this, On this discovery remember to go to Christ for help, and labor to live plentifully and abundantly in him this life of faith.

But, some may say,

“how should I go on to finish this great work of grace? It is a mighty thing to attain to, so many sins to overcome, so many temptations to fight with, so many right hands and eyes to cut off and pull out.”

I answer: Faith teaches us to go to Christ to receive all from him, to beg his Spirit to help us in the course of growing in holiness and obedience, that by his might we may prevail; and so in all mastering sin beg strength of Christ, and then set upon the walls of Jericho, and they will fall before you.

How shall this be done?

As they did; they believed the promise, that circling it seven times it should fall to the ground.  So we, having the subduing of sin in us, let’s set upon them, look up to Christ, believe the promise; and our walls of sin will fall so far before us, as they will neither hinder our comfort nor our salvation.  Eclipse it they may for a little while, but the sun will shine again, break through and dispel all those clouds and mists

 


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R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:6

By R.C. Chapman

“His left hand is under my head, and His right hand embraces me.” (Song of Solomon 2:6)

Tenderly, my Lord, is how You deal with me; in love You cherish me, even as a man loves and cherishes his own body; for in reality Your church and Yourself are not two, but one Spirit.  Yes, You account me as of your flesh and of Your bones.

By the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, I am joined to my Lord; and sweet and melting are my thoughts of Your Holy Spirit’s love, as You reveal Yourself to me, You, the Son of the Living God, embracing me in Your everlasting arms.

And as I ponder Your majesty and Your glory, You strengthen my heart, showing me that You are the mighty God.  My Maker is my Husband; Jehovah Jesus is His name.  Be glad then, O my soul, and rejoice with holy triumph, because of Your Husband’s arm of power embracing and defending you!

Who will separate you from the love of Christ? He is Jehovah, the Son of God, the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of His person, Your Lord and Your God.  He has all things under His feet.  He finished His work in His own blood on the tree, ascended up on high, and led captivity captive, having slain the enmity of the law, and blotted out the handwriting that was against me, nailing it to His cross.  And how, my soul, will the cancelled bond be enforced? A bare word of my Lord scatters and confounds all enemies; and my enemies are all Yours, O my Savior.

Be strong then, my soul, in the Lord, and in the power of His might, and be melted, my heart, because of His kindness, which knows no change.  He lays His left hand under my head-His left hand of gentleness and consolation; He makes me safe in His power, and gives me rest in the bosom of His love.

I charge you, O my soul, behave yourself as being worthy as the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.  Yield yourself to Him, for your are His, and He calls you Hephzibah, for His delight is in you.  Reverence and love Him; yes, be swallowed up in Him, for He bought you with His blood.  Let no idol have part in you with Him.


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R.C. Chapmans S.O.S. 2.4-5

By R.C. Chapman

 

Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.   Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.” (Song of Solomon 2:4-5)

Have you been left, O my soul, to your own will, and the way of your own wisdom, could you ever have known Jesus or desired to know Him? It was the Spirit of God who led you, opening your eyes, convincing your conscience, drawing you to Christ, whose grace He showed you and caused you to believe.

Lord Jesus, Your grace is true grace.  In You, my soul makes her boast; and while You gird Yourself, and make me sit down in Your house of wine, a sweet sadness steals over my spirit.  I was at one time in darkness, one time an alien and enemy, before Your love was set on me and my name was in Your book.

These solemn memories do not mar my joys; they are needed so long as I live in this earthly house, to give me richer communion with Your love!

O Crowned King, Jesus of Nazereth, the mighty and glorious One, who made Yourself of no reputation, You rule me with Your Almighty love.  For if Your sceptor was not a sceptor of grace You could indeed, by a word destroy me; but You could not win my heart.

Now You show me Your wounds, and say: “Peace to you.” You hold me with the cords of Your love.  Lord, You open to me the gates of glory, bringing me into Your banqueting house, to sustain and cheer me on my way; and the wine of Your house fills me with longing for those things which are above.

My soul surveys Your glory, O King of Zion, Beloved One, and altogether lovely! I sit down with You on Your throne, sin, death, the law, hell, and the world under my feet.  Your fullness satisfies me.  In You I see the Father’s heart; He is Your God and my God; Your Father and my Father.  Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.

Lord, You sit down with me at Your own table, delighting Yourself in my soul’s afffections to You and admirtion of You, and my song and triumph of faith.  Your love to me is my soul’s strength and joy; it engages You to take up spear and shield against my enemies, draw me to my hiding place, and lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.  In the light of Your love I see my foes, hate their baits, and avoid their snares.

To idols I say,”Depart, my soul is the temple of my Lord.”

Lord Jesus, You have said, “Behold I come quickly (Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20).  O keep Your word! Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, and let my soul, with Your gathered saints, without enemies to frustrate us, rest in Your presence, and be filled with Your glory, and feast forever in Your love.

 

 


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