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!

 


Modernized in places by this site.

 

Advertisements

Christian Love 33: Love Speaks Goodness

By Hugh Binning

 

Where there is a purity of truth, but also accompanied with envying, bitter strife, rigid judging, wrangling, and such like, then it is defiled and corrupted by the mixture of vile and base affections, ascending out of the manure pile of the flesh.  The vapors of our lusts arising up to the mind, stain pure truth.  They put an earthly, sensual, and devilish face on it.

Charity, its conversation and discourse, is without judging, without censuring, because it contains much edification, I will speak more hereafter. “Without partiality, without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17) words in the original mean (without judging and wrangling, and without hypocrisy), revealing, that great censurers are often the greatest hypocrites, and sincerity always has much charity.  Truly, there is much idle time spent this way in discourses of one another, and venting our judgments of others, as if it were enough of commendation for us to condemn others, and much piety to charge another with impiety.  We should even be sparing in judging them that are without, (1st Corinthians 5:12-13) Ruminating on them or their ways, has more provocation than edification in it. A censorious disposition is certainly most partial to itself, and self indulgent. It can sooner endure a great beam in its own eye, than a little mote in its neighbor’s, and this shows evidently that it is not the hatred of sin, or the love of virtue, which is the single and simple principle of it, but self-love, shrouded under the veil of displeasure at sin, and delight in virtue.

I think one great help to prevent this, is to turn away from the excessive amount of discourse about others.  “In the multitude of words there is no lacking of sin,” and in the multitude of discourses about other men, there cannot miss the sin of rash judging.  I find the saints and God fearing commended for speaking often one to another, but not at all for speaking one of another.  The subject of their discourse (Malachi 3:16) certainly was of another strain, “how good it was to serve the Lord,” and the like, opposite to the evil communication of others there registered.

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:11

By R.C. Chapman

“For, look, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.” (Song of Solomon 2:11)

 

Lord, I remember Your dealings with me! When Your hand at first arrested me! When Your Spirit convinced me of sin, my cup was bitter with my guilt and the fruit of my doings; my joy was turned into mourning; my soul was like a salt land, accursed of God; the hail and storm swept away my refuge of lies!  I was alive without the commandment, once; ignorant of the Holy law of God, while I was still under it; but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.  Then all was dreary winter within, and therefore it was winter without.  I was sick of the world, hating it in frustration of spirit, while I was unable and unwilling to cast it out.  I found no city to live in, I wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way.

In the good and set time You spoke to me, saying, “This is the rest where you may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing”. (Isaiah 28:12) And how sweet are Your words: “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you”. (Matthew 9:2) How precious in the sight of the Lamb of God! And How how glorious the robe of righteousness, hiding all my sin and pollution from the holy eyes of my Judge!

Then the lame man leaped as a deer, and the tongue of those who could not speak sang.  In Jesus crucified, in You, my Lord, my soul found rest, and in the heart of Your love.

It is true, I still have griefs, and tears still stand in my eyes; but, Lord, I love my griefs and welcome my tears: for now I know You, my Brother born for adversity! And when, o when are You so near, as when Your tender heart takes part in Your peoples’ sorrow! Nor would I trade my bitter cup (which my Lord’s love makes so sweet) for a world of carnal joys.

If I did not know You, I would have no place of rest for my soul; my every cistern proven broken.  I’d have no faithful Friend such as You, almighty, all wise, unchangeable, to soothe my grief and bear my burden.  But in all that dismal path I now see Your hand! I was under the curse, but your truth has made me free.(John 8:32) The winter is past, for I am in Christ Jesus: walking no longer after the flesh, but after the Spirit, the rain is over and gone.

I don’t grieve as I once did, for You show me Your hands and feet! You make me that I don’t mourn with terrors and hopeless sorrow, but for You whom I pierced, and for sin which made for You Your crown of thorns! I am troubled in the troubles of my brothers, and because of the transgressions of the wicked.  Moreover, I ponder the unbelief of Israel, the seed of Abraham, Your friend; and look forward, with living hope, to the morning without clouds, to the day when Israel will say,”Look! This is our God; we have waited for Him”;(Isaiah 25:9) and You will say to Zion,”Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away”. (Song of Solomon 2:10) How Long, Lord? You will hasten in in Your time.

 


Modernized in places by this site.

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:10

By R.C. Chapman

 

“My Beloved Spoke, and said to me: Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” (Song of Solomon 2:10)

Don’t you hear, my soul, the voice of Jesus, the voice of the Beloved! He is able to speak in thunder, His word can shake heaven and earth; and can you despise His gentleness, His tender tones of love and grace?  Fie upon you, sluggish soul! What hinders you from rising up at His call, upon eagles’ wings of faith and hope? Are you hindered with much serving? Are idols of clay set up within you, Where you should be for your Beloved, and for Him alone?

If your heart is now divided and cold, consider the heart of Jesus toward you! It is full of the love he had for you before the world’s foundation, when he rejoiced in His Church, and His “delights were with the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:31).  He is the same Jesus who took your place and died for you on the tree! What a heart of mercy is His! What yearnings of His heart over you! What pity and countless number of displays of compassion!

Can you defile His temple with idols?  He sees you as all fair! He found you foul and made you clean by His own blood! He presents you to Himself without spot, or wrinkle, or blemish, or any such thing.

Let such love, of thy glorious Immanuel, your God, and your Brother; let such love stir and awaken you; fill you with repentance and self-loathing! Go, humble yourself to your Friend, and make sure the communion of His love.  “My love, my fair one;” so speaks my Lord Jesus to you.  Do not doubt it.  O, my soul! Know, it is your cunning enemy that whispers in your ear suspicions of your Lord.  The liar would cause you to become feeble in faith, that he may poison the spring of your peace, joy, and love.  But I will confound your unbelief! I tell you, Jesus, your “breaker”, has gone up before! He is risen, and in triumph ascended; your head and your Forerunner.  Flee to the blood of sprinkling with all your pollution! Take yourself to Him; and He will surely wash you, bind up your wounds, pour in the oil and wine, and cause you to rest in His love, and by faith to live together with Him in the heart of the Father.

 


Modernized in places by this site.

Christian Love 31: Love Makes Holy

By Hugh Binning

Charity by all means will avoid scandal, and live honestly in the sight of all men.  The apostle says, “Give no occasions for stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the assembly of God,” (1st Corinthians 10:32)  And he adds his own example, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved,” (verse 33). Charity is not self addicted.  It has no selfish will to please.  It can displease itself so that others profit.  I certainly think there is no point of Christianity less regarded.  Others we acknowledge, but we fail in practice.  This scarce has the esteem of the mind.  Few do conceive an obligation lying on them to it.

But Oh how is Christianity, the most of it, humanity?  Christ makes us men as well as Christians.  He makes us reasonable men when believers.  Sin transformed our nature into a wild, beastly, viperous, selfish thing.  Grace restores reason and natural affection in the purest and highest strain.  And this is reason and humanity, elevated and purified, to condescend to all men in all things for their profit and edification, to deny itself to save others.  Whatsoever is not necessary in itself, we ought not to impose a necessity on it by our imagination and preference, to the prejudice of a greater necessity, another’s edification.  Indeed charity will dare not sin to please men.  That were to hate God, to hate ourselves, and to hate our brethren, under a base pretended notion of love.  But I believe, addiction to our own desires in things not necessary, which have no worth but from our disposition, more often transports us beyond the bounds of charity than the apprehension of duty and conscience of sin.

Some will grant they should be tender of offending the saints.  But they do not conceive it is much matter what they do in relation to others, as if it were lawful to murder a Gentile more than a Christian.  That is a barbarous imagination, opposite to that innocent Christian, Paul, who says, we should be “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,” (Philippians 2:15) among whom we should shine “as lights.” And truly it is humanity elevated by Christianity, or reason purified by Christianity, that is the light that shines most brightly in this dark world.  And he says (Colossians. 4:5), “Walk in wisdom toward those who are without,” and (1st Thessalonians 4:12) “walk honestly toward those who are without,” avoiding all things, in our profession and life, which may alienate them from the love of the truth and godliness walking so, as we may insinuate into their hearts some apprehension of the beauty of Christianity.

Many conceive, if they do good, all is well, if it be a duty, it matters nothing.  But remember that caution, “Then don’t let your good be slandered,” (Romans 14:16) We would have our eyes on that too, so to carry out all our duties, as they may have least offence in them, and be exposed to least public disrepute of men, “having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1st Peter 2:12)

 


Modernized in places by this site.

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2:9

By R.C. Chapman

“My Beloved is like a roe, or a young hart: behold, He stands behind our wall, He looks forth at the windows, showing Himself through the lattice.”  (Song of Solomon 2:9)

The heavens have received my Lord! By His own blood He passed into them, and has set down at the right hand of power, waiting for the time when His enemies will be made His footstool.

My soul, triumph because of Him! For His triumph is yours, and Your sins were His!  No cause, no room for unbelief! He has all things under His feet, and his head is over all things to the Church (Ephesians 1:22).

Lord Jesus! I thank you for my security in You, and for Your word of promise, “Behold, I come quickly” (Revelation 3:11, 22:7,12,20) Soon I will sit down with all my gathered brethren, at the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Already I know in part what I then will be; You can bear witness, O my soul,that Jesus your beloved is mindful of you. The heavens have received Him out of your sight; yet he can as it were, make windows in the wall of separation, and show Himself through the lattice.

Your absent beloved One, O my soul, you see, Him who is invisible you see, the Comforter brings to remembrance the words of Jesus! The sight of Him your Lord and Friend and Brother, how precious! Filling the heart with holy admiration and joy unspeakable.  How glorious is He at the Father’s right hand! He had right by creation to be Lord of all; now he rules by a more excellent title, Immanuel, Head of the New Creation, King of Righteousness, the Lamb of God, the King of Peace.

He is the glory and the delight of the Father, and He rejoices daily with the Father, in Him and before Him! His Spirit, which He has without measure, anoints me, and I sit down in heavenly places, knowing that I am, with all saints, blessed with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3), in Christ exalted! With Him I am crucified, and with Him risen! Who will cast me down from this seat of mine with Christ? But, Lord, doesn’t fleshly boasting spoil me of my armor; let me be sober, and wisely consider why it is that my Beloved has shown me His glory.

You would by Your smile win my heart, and have the flower of my affections. Jesus would remind you, do not forget it, my soul, that to Him you are forever spoken for! Do not let idols, then, defile you, but keep yourself pure for Him, be only for Him, and not for another; wake up and be doing, fight the good fight of faith (1st Timothy 6:12), His compassion fails not, and He is swift to help!

While I don’t decline the battle, O my Lord, my heart longs for you!  And this well pleases You.  My soul desires Your glorious appearing, and would see You face to face; and now to me to live is Christ, to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).  But, Lord, Your first fruits cause me to long and thirst.  I do not count myself to have apprehended.  Hear, then, my prayer: fill me with the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You (Ephesians 1:17)! Let Your word be as the window where You will show Yourself; then let my soul grow in sweet fellowship with You, and know more Your beauty and glory.

 


Modernized in places by this site.

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.

Christian Love 30: Righteousness, Mercy, and Intercession

By Hugh Binning

We will not be curious in the ranking of the duties in which Christian love should exercise itself.  All the commandments of the second table are but branches of it: they might be reduced all to the works of righteousness and of mercy.  But truly these are interwoven through each other.  Though the understanding of mercy is usually restricted to the showing of compassion upon men in misery, yet there is a righteousness in that mercy, and there is mercy in most all acts of righteousness, as in not judging rashly, in forgiving, and so on.  Therefore we will consider the most eminent and difficult duties of love, which the word of God solemnly and frequently charges upon us in relation to others, especially those of the household of faith.

I conceive we would labor to enforce on our hearts, and persuade our souls to a love of all men, by often ruminating upon the words of the Apostle, which urge us to “abound in love towards all men,” (1st Thessalonians 3:12).  And this is so concerning, that he prays earnestly that the Lord would make them increase in it, and this we should pray for too. An affectionate disposition towards our common nature is not a common thing. Christianity presses it, and it is only true humanity, (Luke 6:36-37) “Be therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.  Don’t judge, and you will not be judged, don’t condemn, and you will not be condemned, forgive, and ye will be forgiven.”

Now in relation to all men, charity has an engagement upon it to pray for all sorts of men, from that Apostolic command, (1st Timothy 2:1) : “I exhort you therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” Prayers and supplications, earnest prayers out of affection, should be poured out even for them that cannot, or do not pray for themselves. Wherefore are we taught to pray this way, so that we may be the mouth of others? And since an intercessor is given to us above, how are we bound to be intercessors for others below, and so to be affected with the common mercies of the multitude, as to give thanks too! If man, by the law of creation, is the mouth of the stones, trees, birds, beasts, of heaven and earth, sun and moon and stars, how much more ought a Christian, a redeemed man, be the mouth of mankind to praise God for the abounding of his goodness, even towards these who are left still in that misery and bondage that he is delivered from?

 

 

R.C. Chapman’s S.O.S. 2.8

By R.C. Chapman

“The voice of my Beloved! Behold, He comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.” (Song of Solomon 2:8)

 

I know Your voice; Lord, You have made me know it: Your good Spirit gave me an ear to hear! It is by grace I differ from those whom the god of this world has blinded, lest the light should shine into their hearts.  Once I , with the rest, was his slave, his faithful servant, his captive; I hugged my chains! I would not, could not, hear the voice of Jesus!

But You, Lord taught me by Your strong hand! Gentle and gracious the still small whisper of Your love! And yet mighty! For it broke my bonds and melted my heart! The lawful captive was delivered, and the prey of the mighty and the terrible taken from him,

Other chain than I once wore are now upon me.  Lord, I am Yours! For with bands of a man, with cords of love, You have bound me to Yourself.  Your voice, O Beloved of my soul, brings heaven with it.  To hear it, to believe it, to ponder it, to store it in my soul, to hide it as my treasure in my heart: this is my business.  Give me, then, O One who has all grace and wisdom in all fullness! Give me to do this my work.  And let me from now on be wise to discern Your word and voice, for many are the wiles of Satan, who would charm me from the simplicity that is in You; would bring me again into bondage of the weak and beggarly elements of the law; and would puff me up with philosophy and vain deceit, after the principles of the world, after the doctrine and traditions of men, and not of Christ.

O, then, may I Harken diligently to the Bridegroom’s voice, keep His commandments, and walk in the way of the covenant of His love.  Lord, keep my heart and my understanding; keep me, body, soul, and spirit.  I tremble, O my Savior, at the subtlety and snares of the enemy; be, therefore, close to me.

I know Your step is swift; Your love and compassion add wings to Your feet, when Your trembling one cries to You, You are touched with a feeling of their weaknesses! Mountain and hill You leap over; before You they become a plain! The load of our iniquity was once laid upon You; by Your blood You have finished the transgression.  You have cast all my sins into the depths of the sea!

While I take my place with her who washed Your feet with tears and wiped them with her hair, You say, “Be of good comfort; your sins are forgiven you” (Matthew 9:2; 9:22; Luke 8:48).  In Your days of flesh this power was Yours, now You are exalted a Great High Priest, a Prince and a Savior; and You sweetly move me to roll my burden upon You.  As I behold Your wounds, You show me Your love, and magnify Yourself within me, by the Comforter whom You send from the Father.

Let me always listen to the voice of my Beloved; and in all tribulation patiently wait until You come, leaping upon the mountains, skipping on the hills, to turn my mourning into joy, and for the spirit of heaviness grant to me the garment of praise.