The Poor Doubting Christian Drawn to Christ: 1

By Thomas Hooker

 

Chapter 1.

Impediments which hinder souls from coming to Christ removed.

There are divers impediments which hinder poor Christians from coming to Christ; all which I desire to reduce to these following heads,

I.  First, such hindrances as really keep men from coming to take hold of Christ at all; which are briefly these.

  1. Blind, careless, or presumptuous security; whereby men content themselves with their present condition, presuming all is well with them, when there is no such matter.
  2. Being convicted of this they bethink how to save themselves by their own strength; and thereupon set upon reformation of life, thinking to make God amends by reforming some sins which they hear themselves reproved of by ministers.
  3. The sinner being convinced of his utter inability to please God in himself, at length gets up a stair higher, and sees all his performances, and prayers, and duties to be of no power in themselves, but that he must leave all, and cleave only unto Christ by faith; and this he thinks he can do well enough, and so he thrusts himself upon Christ, thinking all the work is then done, and no more to be looked after.
  4. If he sees this fails him too, then he goes further, and confesseth he cannot come to Christ, except Christ give him his hand, and help him up; therefore now he will attend on the ordinances, and labour and bestir himself hard in the use of all good means, conceiving therefore to hammer  out at last a faith of his own to make him happy.  And here he rests, hanging as it were upon the outside of the ark so long, till at last the waves and winds growing fierce and violent, he is beaten off, and so sinks forever.

 


Note:  The writer is laying the ground work to which he will soon have an encouraging answer.

 

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. 2:9

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.

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

 


Modernized in places by this site.

 

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.


Modernized in places by this site.

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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Life of Faith 17: Praying for Strength

By Richard Sibbes

 

Thus we seek every day to live our lives, as we not only live the life of faith in justification, but also of sanctification; how out of Christ’s fullness to attain and give to us grace for grace. Therefore in all our wants we go to him still.  He is not only a sacrifice satisfactory for our sins, but he is a storehouse also and treasure of all good things. He is made unto us sanctification, therefore beg favor from him, and endowments of grace conformable to his grace. And again, when we lack fullness, let’s not despair, but get the large vessel of faith, and we will have a share of the great graces which are in Christ, according to the greatness of our faith.

One may ask, “What is the reason that so few find strength and comfort in Christianity?” I say,  they set on the getting of grace, and killing of corruptions by their own strength, and so are ever lacking; but if a man depends on God, he shall have fullness out of Christ. God has sanctified his nature for this purpose, that out of his fullness we might have grace for grace.

And so again, every day go to God, and plead for strength against sin, power to lead a holy life, and imputation of Christ’s righteousness, to supply the defects of our sanctification. St Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13).  These are magnificent words, and is a great thing to have a man ready to suffer all things, and overcome all things. This will make us work wonderfully, if we have this strength supplied.

See in (Luke 27:3-4).  Our Savior tells his disciples, that they must forgive their brother seven times, and seven times, as often as he confesses his fault.  They thought this a very hard duty, for nothing is so sweet to a man as revenge, for he would willingly be his own maker in all things, and do things in his own strength.  The disciples on this fall to praying,  “Lord, increase our faith”; as though they had said. “We had need of faith to believe the pardon of so many sins, and to enable us to forgive so often.”  And so I say for the subduing of sin, we are in need of faith to have so many sins subdued; yet faith will do it.  Now in this great work, first, go to God, and beg his Spirit, and repent of all kinds of sin ; Second, then beg for faith. This will set all other graces to working.

It is like the blood and spirits which run all the body over. So in our spiritual life, this faith must run along in all graces, and set them a-working, yes, it sets God and all his attributes to working.  It runs to Christ, and prays, Lord, increase my faith, that can bear nothing as I should, resist nothing, believe nothing, and trust nothing.

This indeed must be all our strength, to see nothing in ourselves, but all in Christ. Since Adam’s fall, it was appointed that Christ must keep all our joy, our strength, and ability, yes, to be our life. God will not since that time trust us with it, for we would quickly lose all again. This is Christ’s office.  He has these gifts, as man, given him, to furnish us with all things fitting to a spiritual life.  Faith will go get all from God in Christ, who is made the mediator of the New Testament, to convey all these things to us. Yet further, let’s see some trials to discern whether we live this life of faith in sanctification.

 

 


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Life of Faith 15: Reasons for Growing in Holiness

By Richard Sibbes

 

With justification of necessity comes sanctification.  What will stop God’s mercy?  His anger for sin committed; in that case, he would deny his Spirit.  With reconciliation also comes the Spirit: as in Ephesians 1:13, the apostle says, “In whom also, after you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”  Now the Spirit once given, is the seed of all graces.

Whoever is justified, has the Spirit of Christ: (Romans 8:9) “And if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Christ.”  Having the Spirit of Christ, faith goes and gets all strength from Christ.  Samson’s strength was in his locks; a Christian’s strength is in Christ.  This the devil knows well, and therefore labors especially to weaken faith, and draw us from strength.

Christ says, “Without me you can do nothing,” (John 15:5); and St. Paul affirms, that he “can do all things through Christ who strengthens him,” (Philippians 4:13).  The Spirit gives strength.

As by Christ and his Spirit we have strength, so by his Spirit we have strong convincing reasons to work strength from reason.  Why does a Christian carry himself in a holy just life answering his profession?  Oh, he says, “I have great reason; Christ has loved me, and given himself for me; and shouldn’t I give myself to him, deny my lusts, and live to him?”  for, indeed, the foundation of all Christian obedience is laid by faith in Christ.  So when a man looks to heaven, he has a reason to abstain from all pitfalls and hindrances of his safe and comfortable passage; to magnify the riches of Christ’s love, which has provided for him such an inheritance, and to live accordingly.

So when he looks to the pardon of sins past, he sees reason to hate them more and more, to strive against them in time to come, and to love Christ more, who has pardoned them.  And when he looks to God’s free love in Christ, he sees reason to be inflamed with divine love, to admire the riches of grace, and to be thankful.

 

 

 


This common domain work’s language has been modernized in places by this site.