Tuesday, 29 November 2011

"SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE"

“But speaking the truth (being sincere) in love”
(Ephesians 4:15)

Sincerity lies at the root of all gracious profession. If a man cannot be sincere he is nothing.

God makes a man sincere by planting His truth in his heart; and whenever God does make a man sincere, the truth which he has implanted will grow.

Truth does not lie in a man’s soul dead and motionless, like a stone in the street; it is a living, active, expansive principle. If the truth be in the soul it will be ever pushing out error, because the two principles cannot exist together; and as Isaac thrust out Ishmael, and Jacob proved stronger than Esau, so will simplicity and godly sincerity be ever mightier than craft and deception.

The truth of God in the heart will not wither and die, but will be shined upon by the smiles of God; and as truth becomes day by day more and more precious, so will error and evil become day by day more hateful. A sincere soul stands “girt about with truth”, and truth forms its shield and buckler.

He adds, therefore, “in love”. It is not enough to be “sincere” we must be “sincere in love”. Mark that. It is not receiving God’s truth as a certain orderly system; it is not furnishing our heads with a sound doctrinal creed and compact Calvinistic scheme which will avail us in the trying hour; but it is to have the truth of God brought into our soul by a divine power and realizing such unutterable sweetness in it as communicates a firm abiding love, both to the truth itself and to Him of whom it testifies and from whom it comes. It is through “speaking the truth in love” that we are made “sincere in love.”

By J.C. Philpot

Thursday, 17 November 2011

WAS JUDAS, WHO BETRAYED JESUS A DISCIPLE, AND DID HE PARTAKE OF THE LORD'S SUPPER?

Judas was most certainly "a disciple" of the Lord Jesus, if by that term be meant, as is usually understood, the twelve whom he chose to be constantly with him. This is most plain from Matthew 10:1, Luke 6:13, and Luke 9:1; from which places it is undeniable that Judas was not only a disciple, but an apostle, and was sent by the Lord himself to cast out devils, cure diseases, and preach the gospel.

We well know that he was not a "disciple indeed" (John 8:31); but as regards his outward mission he was as much a disciple as John, and as much an apostle as Peter.

But there is no reason to believe that Judas was present at the Lord's supper. He was present at the eating of the Passover, and it was most probably in the sauce eaten with the paschal lamb, which was made thick, as an emblem of the clay of Egypt, of which the bricks were made, that the Lord dipped the sop which he gave to Judas.

Directly he had taken the sop, Judas went out (John 13:30); and then it was, immediately after his departure, that the Lord instituted the Lord's supper, by blessing and breaking the bread, and afterwards blessing and distributing the wine.

By J.C. Philpot

Sunday, 30 October 2011

EVEN YOUR OWN RELATIVES WILL THINK YOU ARE ALMOST INSANE

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
(John 14:17)

The world — that is, the world dead in sin, and the world dead in profession — men destitute of the life and power of God — must have something that it can see. And, as heavenly things can only be seen by heavenly eyes, they cannot receive the things which are invisible.

Now this explains why a religion that presents itself with a degree of beauty and grandeur to the natural eye will always be received by the world — while a spiritual, internal, heartfelt and experimental religion will always be rejected.

The world can receive a religion that consists of forms, rites, and ceremonies. These are things seen. Beautiful buildings, painted windows, pealing organs, melodious choirs, the pomp and parade of an earthly priesthood, and a whole apparatus of 'religious ceremony,' carry with them something that the natural eye can see and admire. The world receives all this 'external religion' because it is suitable to the natural mind and intelligible to the reasoning faculties.

But the quiet — inward — experimental — divine religion — which presents no attractions to the outward eye, but is wrought in the heart by a divine operation — the world cannot receive this — because it presents nothing that the natural eye can rest upon with pleasure, or is adapted to gratify their general idea of what religion is or should be.

Do not marvel, then, that worldly professors despise a religion wrought in the soul by the power of God.

Do not be surprised if even your own relatives think you are almost insane, when you speak of the consolations of the Spirit, or of the teachings of God in your soul.

They cannot receive these things, for they have no experience of them — and being such as are altogether opposed to the carnal mind, they reject them with enmity and scorn.

By J.C. Philpot

Saturday, 22 October 2011

DEAD AND DARK SEASONS

All Christians, even the most eminent servants of God, have their dead and dark seasons—when the life of God seems sunk to so low an ebb as to be hardly visible—so hidden is the stream by the mud-banks of their fallen nature.

By these very dark and dead seasons, the people of God are instructed. They see and feel what 'the flesh' really is—how alienated from the life of God; they learn in whom all their strength and sufficiency lie; they are taught that in them, that is, in their flesh, dwells no good thing; that no exertions of their own can maintain in strength and vigor the life of God; and that all they are, and have—all they believe, know, feel, and enjoy—with all their ability, usefulness, gifts, and grace—flow from the pure, sovereign grace—the rich, free, undeserved, yet unceasing goodness and mercy of God!

They learn in this hard school of painful experience, their emptiness and nothingness—and that without Christ they can do nothing. They thus become clothed with humility, that rare, yet lovely garb; cease from their own strength and wisdom; and learn experimentally that Christ is, and ever must be, all in all to them, and all in all in them.

By J. C. Philpot

JOHN BERRIDGE

The middle and latter end of the last century was a remarkable period. A chain of ministers, commencing with Whitefield, and embracing in its links Toplady, Berridge, Newton, Romaine, Huntington, and Hawker, extends itself down to our degenerate days. However differing in gifts, all these men were evidently taught by the same Spirit, and preached the same gospel. Toplady, like a lamp fed with spirit, flamed forth, blazed, and died, from shortness of wick, not from lack of supply. Newton, snatched from Africa's burning shore, and from worse than African servitude, united to much sound wisdom great tenderness of spirit, and an experience of divine things which, if not very deep, was sound and varied. He knew much of his own heart, was singularly frank and sincere, had much sympathy with the tried and afflicted, and, being gifted with an easy, fluent style, has left behind him many useful and excellent letters. Romaine was a burning and shining light, who lived the faith which he preached, and in the midst of the metropolis for half a century had but one theme, one subject, one object—Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

In many points widely differing, but united by the same faith to the same glorious Head of influence, light, life, liberty, and love, was John Berridge. As all the lines of a circle radiate towards the center, all necessarily meet in one point. So, however the servants of Christ may differ in ability, gifts, time, place, and usefulness, yet all meet in one point the central Sun of the system—the crucified, risen, ascended, and glorified Son of God. We hear of "the music of the spheres." But without harmony, music there is none. If there be music in the revolving spheres, it is because each planet preserves its circuit, rolling round the sun at the appointed distance, and with the appointed velocity. And what are the servants of God but planets to the Sun of Righteousness, each having his appointed orbit, fixed as definitely by decree, as the orbit of the earth, and enjoying only light, warmth, and motion in proportion to his proximity to the glorified Immanuel? Shall they then jar and quarrel, and seek to mingle orbits, envying each other's grace, gifts, or usefulness? The light of each and all is but reflected light, the light of the Sun of Righteousness shining into their hearts; "for what have they which they have not received?"

Pride, cursed pride, is the root of that jealousy which is cruel as the grave. Did ministers but view themselves, and did others but view them, as mere instruments, they could and would no more quarrel on the ground of superiority and inferiority than the flute would quarrel with the violin, or the chisel with the saw. Romaine poring over Hebrew roots in his study at Lambeth, and Berridge preaching from a horse-block at Potton, mingling smiles and tears, and the quaintest humour with the deepest pathos, were as different in natural disposition and constitution as can well be imagined. But each sighed and groaned under a body of sin and death, each dearly loved, and each highly exalted the dying Friend of sinners, each was honored and blessed in his work, and each is now in the bosom of his Lord and God. Of Berridge we now propose a slight sketch.

John Berridge was the eldest son of a wealthy farmer and grazier, and was born at Kingston, Nottinghamshire, March 1st, 1716. His father's intention was to bring him up to his own business, but partly through some early religious impressions and partly through an innate love to study, the youthful farmer could never learn how to hold a plough or handle a bullock. He was sent therefore to the University of Cambridge, his father probably thinking that his first-born might have sufficient talent to read prayers and preach a sermon, if not to learn the mysteries of a four-shift course or sell a broken-mouthed ewe. To Cambridge, therefore, John went; and when his father was asked what had become of the youthful student, he is said to have jocularly replied that "he was gone to be a light to the Gentiles." At the University he studied hard, but lost much of his early religious impressions, so much so as to give up almost entirely secret prayer for ten years, and to have drunk deeply into Arian and Socinian views, which at that time were widely prevalent. These last sentiments, however, he abandoned, from seeing that they lowered God the Father, as well as God the Son, and were destructive of all vital religion.

The experience of Berridge is best seen in his hymns. In them his whole heart is open. They were written in the furnace of a long and trying illness, and the fruits of the furnace are seen in them.

1. What honesty and sincerity are stamped upon them! Berridge knew himself. The Holy Spirit had taken him into the chambers of imagery, and shown him "The creeping things portrayed upon the walls round about." The veil of self-righteousness and self-complacency had been taken from off his heart, and he had seen light in God's light. This made him honest. No disguise, he knew, could shroud him from the eyes of Omniscience. "You God see me" was engraved on his heart. And to this we owe the transparency of his character, his freedom from deceit and hypocrisy.

2. Though a man of learning, his language was simplicity itself. Simplicity is always beautiful. God's works in nature, how beautifully simple! From a blade of grass to an oak; from a fly to an elephant; from the sand under our feet to the stars in the sky! Wherever the fingers of God are there is simplicity. And his word how simple! The parables of Jesus, the sermon on the mount, the farewell chapters with his disciples in the Gospel of John, what beauty! what simplicity shine throughout! True religion, real experience, vital godliness, wants no rouge upon its cheek. It shines forth with the luster of God, as the face of Moses when he came down from the mount of communion. It is falsehood and hypocrisy that want disguise. Truth needs no adventitious ornaments to set off its intrinsic beauty. To adorn it is to spoil it—to array the virgin in the garb of a harlot. This beautiful simplicity was a marked feature in the character of Berridge, and is stamped on all his writings. He could afford to be sincere, as he alone can in whom the fear and grace of God dwell.

3. We admire, too, in Berridge the emptiness and self-destitution which form such prominent features in his character. He knew what Pharisaism was from a long experience of it in his own heart; and he abhorred the resident.

4. With this feature of destitution, poverty, and soul-emptiness which characterize Berridge, we see combined its inseparable companion, self-abhorrence. How feelingly he says,
"Self-condemned and abhorred,
How shall I approach the Lord."

And again,
"I drop my vile heart in the dust."

5. But Berridge knew also the gospel of the grace of God. Here he preeminently shines. The gospel flowed purely into his soul, and thence pure out of his mouth, not turbid and tainted like a ditch with the rotting leaves that Adam would gladly have covered himself with, but bright and sparkling as the river of life. Christ was indeed his all in all.

6. One point more we would call attention to lest we dwell too long upon this part of our subject. We mean the sweet and indescribable savor that rests upon Berridge's Hymns. They are "seasoned with salt," and are thus preserved from corruption. How many thousands of sermons, hymns, and tracts lave been written and published within this last century! And who reads them now? They lacked that which God commanded never to be lacking from the meat offering, (Lev. 2:13) "salt." Their sacrifice was not seasoned with salt, (Mark 9:46; Col. 4:6,) and therefore lacked both savor and preservation. Not so with Berridge. His hymns are seasoned with salt; have therefore savor and flavor; have been preserved to our time, and will go down to all generations.

By J.C. Philpot

Sunday, 9 October 2011

THE WORD MADE FLESH

"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men."
(Philippians 2:6-7)

The humanity of our blessed Lord was actual flesh and blood from the moment of its conception, a perfect human body, to which was united a perfect human soul ~ both without sin, or else He could not be the Lamb without blemish; both without sin, or His pure humanity would not have been that "holy thing" born of the virgin, which should be called the Son of God.

Thus He came forth as the Lamb of God, without spot or blemish. Well indeed might the
apostle say, "Great is the mystery of godliness" (1 Timothy 3:6).

Here as in a glass we see the wonderful love of Jesus, that He who is the Son of God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, a sharer of the Father's essence, of the Father's glory, should stoop so low to lift us up so high: that He should condescend to unite to His glorious Person our nature, flesh and blood: to wear a human body like our own; to feel as we do, to speak as we do, to walk as we do, to eat and drink and hunger and thirst and weep and sigh and mourn as we do; yet all the while be the Son of God, and should have a divine nature in as close union with human nature as our soul has with our bodily frame.

We cannot tell how our soul is in union with our body. We know it is so, but how we cannot tell. We only know the fact, but we cannot explain the mode. So we cannot tell how Christ's divine nature is in union with His human nature; we know it is so by the testimony of God, by the express revelation of His Word. That revelation to a believer answers all inquiry.

But if any man say to me, "Can you explain the mystery of the two natures in Christ?", I ask in my turn, "Can you explain the mystery of your own existence? Can you explain to me how you are able to lift up your own hand, see with your own eye, hear with your own ear, move with your own foot? No man has ever yet been able to explain this apparently simple thing; a feat which every child can perform, but a fact which no philosopher can understand. Can you tell me how mind can act upon matter? How you wish to do a thing with your mind, and can do it instantaneously with your body? When, then, you can explain your own existence and unravel the mystery of your soul acting in union with your body, then I will allow that you may unravel the mystery of the union of Deity and humanity in the Person of the Son of God, as He lived upon earth, and as He now lives in heaven."

Beautiful upon this mystery are the words of Hart:

"How it was done we can't discuss;
But this we know, 'twas done for us."


Happy are those who can use these words without a wavering tongue!

By J.C. Philpot

Saturday, 8 October 2011

GRACE - NOT WORKS

As it is eminently desirable to have clear views upon every subject which we attempt to consider in the momentous things of God, and this from the very outset, that we may make straight paths for our feet, let us first examine the Scriptural meaning of the word "grace".

I need not tell you how again and again it meets our eye in every page of the New Testament. By "grace," then, as a New Testament term, is meant the pure favour of God. This is its distinct and peculiar meaning. In whatever way then that grace may be manifested, through whatever channel it may flow, to whomsoever it may come, whatever effects it may produce, the pure favour of God is intended thereby.

It may be thus compared to the "pure river of water of life, clear as crystal," seen by John in vision as "proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Revelation 22:1).

It is, therefore, opposed to human merit of every shape and shade, of every form, hue and colour. Thus it stands in contradistinction to works - in such contradistinction that the one, so to speak, would destroy and annihilate the other.

Is not this the apostle's argument: "And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work"? (Romans 11:6)

Nothing can be more plain, according to the apostle's reasoning, than that these two things are so diametrically opposed to each other that if a man were to be saved by works, grace could have no part; and if saved by grace, then works could have no part. If this, at least, be not his meaning, words can have no clear or positive signification.

We lay this down, then, at the very outset as a foundation which cannot be moved, that grace signifies the pure favour of God, without any regard to human merit, without any intermixture of anything in the creature, be it little or much, be it good or bad according to human view or intention.

By J.C. Philpot

Thursday, 22 September 2011

WHAT IS IT TO WALK TOGETHER?

There was a time, child of God, when the world held in your heart the chief place.

It was not so in God's heart.

You and he were therefore at variance. But now, through grace, you are brought to make eternity your chief concern. You and God are agreed there; for in the mind of God eternity as much outweighs time as the stars in the midnight sky outweigh a grain of dust.

There was a time when you loved the world and the things of time and sense; and earth and earthly things were your element and home. You and God disagreed upon that matter; because the Lord saw that the world was full of evil, whilst you saw it full of good.

The Lord saw the world under His curse, and you loved its favour and its blessing-seeking madly and wickedly to enjoy that which God had denounced; therefore you could not agree.

Thus you see that in order to be agreed with God, we must have God's thoughts in our heart, God's ways in our soul, and God's love in our affections.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord."
(Isaiah 55:8)

But they must become such; and when once God's thoughts become our thoughts and God's ways our ways; when once we have the mind of Christ and see with the eyes of God, then God and we become agreed, and being agreed, we can walk together.

What is it to walk together?

Why, it is to enjoy union, communion, fellowship, and friendship.

Now as we are brought to agree with God, we walk with God.

He has set up a mercy-seat on high, and when they thus agree, God and man may meet at the mercy-seat of the Redeemer.

As the eyes are enlightened to see the truth of God; as the heart is touched to feel the power of God; and as the affections are drawn forth to love the things of God, we meet at the mercy-seat.

It is sprinkled with blood; it contains and hides from view the broken tables of the law. There God meets man in gracious amity, and enables him to pour out his soul before him and to tell him his troubles, trials, and temptations.

And every now and then he sweetly relieves by dropping in a gracious promise, applying some portion of his sacred truth, encouraging him to believe in his dear Son, and still to hope in his mercy.

By J.C. Philpot

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

THE BLOOD AND THE WATER

QUESTION

Being a constant reader of the Standard, and I hope not without spiritual instruction, consolation and edification, I take the liberty of calling your attention to 1 John 5:6 (“This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth”), humbly begging the favour of a few remarks in the Standard, which I hope, under the teaching and blessing of God the Spirit, may comfort and strengthen some of the household of faith.



ANSWER

John here evidently refers to what his own eyes saw as Jesus hung on the cross.

“But one of the soldiers pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”
(John 19:34)

He therefore declares in the passage before us, “This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth” (1 John 5:6).

“Water” here, as elsewhere, signifies that which washes and purifies from defilement, and especially “the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” We read, therefore, that “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27).

The Apostle Paul in these words is speaking not of the work of Christ in redemption, but in sanctification, “the washing of water by the Word,” and this corresponds with the Lord’s own words: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3) and again, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17).

Thus Christ “came by water,” to regenerate and renew, to sanctify and cleanse His church. So says the apostle, “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

This is being “born of water and of the Spirit,” without which no man can see or enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5). And it is the fulfilment of the ancient promise, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you” (Ezekiel 36:25).

It is to do all this by virtue of His holy life and death, by His sufferings, resurrection and intercession, that Jesus Christ is said to come by water.

But the blessed Redeemer “came not by water only”!

He came to redeem as well as regenerate, to wash in His blood as well as cleanse by sanctifying grace.

“Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.”
(Revelation 1:5)

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
(Revelation 7:14)

Therefore holy John says, “He came not by water only.” Something more than water, something distinct from and prior to the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5) was needed to save the church from her sins. The Son of God, therefore, came by blood, that precious blood which “cleanseth from all sin.”

In order clearly to understand the apostle’s peculiar and powerful language here, we must see that his object is most positively to insist that redemption and regeneration necessarily and unalterably go together, and must not be separated; that those whom Christ regenerates He redeemed, and those whom He redeemed He regenerates; that He did not come to wash and sanctify by His grace those whom He left under the curse of the law and the guilt of sin; nor to save by His blood from the punishment of their sins those whom He would never regenerate by His Spirit.

In His day, as in ours, heretics and erroneous men laboured to separate these two vital blessings. “Christ came by water only,” say the self-righteous, and those who feel no need of atoning blood. “A holy life is the main thing. His life and death are our example, and if we are holy and do the things which are right, we shall be saved.” Such, whether open or secret Socinians, allow the water, but slight the blood. Others again, of an Antinomian turn, exalt the blood, but slight the water. “If Christ died for you,” say they, “you will be saved, let your life be what it may. What is all this talk about a godly life, a tender conscience, and walking in the ordinances of the Lord’s house? What do they mean by all this legal stuff? If I am redeemed, that is enough.”

But out of the same pierced side came both blood and water; blood to redeem, water to regenerate; blood for justification (Romans 5:9), water for sanctification; blood to cleanse from guilt, water to wash from filth; blood to give a title to heaven, water to produce a meetness for heaven (Colossians 1:12); blood to purge the conscience (Hebrews 9:14), water to shed the love of God abroad in the heart. Thus Moses, the typical mediator, washed Aaron and his sons with water, and sprinkled them with blood when he consecrated them as priests unto God (Leviticus 8:6; Leviticus 8:30) And so Jesus, the true Mediator, in consecrating His people “a royal priesthood,” redeemed them by His blood, and washed them, in the time appointed, by His regenerating grace.

Nay more, holy John would show by these striking words that from the same cross, from the same pierced side of Jesus, at the same moment, though in two separate streams, came sanctification as well as redemption; that not only does His precious blood atone for sin, but that His dying love supplies motives and strength to all godliness; that pardon and peace, salvation from the guilt of sin and deliverance from the power of sin, are linked together; that at the foot of the cross, from the heart of Jesus, the stream of sanctification flows; that true repentance comes from looking to Him whom we have pierced; and that as the blood of His heart sufficed for full atonement, so the water of His heart suffices for full sanctification.

We feel that we have expressed our views and feelings but feebly and imperfectly. We close, therefore, with a verse which seems to embody the whole truth in a short compass:

“This fountain so dear, He’ll freely impart;
Unlocked by the spear, it gushed from His heart,
With blood and with water; the first to atone,
To cleanse us the latter; the fountain’s but one.”


By J.C. Philpot

UNITY OF THE SPIRIT

“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
(Ephesians 4:3)

“The unity of the Spirit” signifies that secret bond of divine union which knits together all the living members of Christ’s mystical body, not only to Him as their risen Head, but to each other also by virtue of the same indwelling Spirit.

It is, therefore, not a mere unity of opinion, of church membership, of outward profession, or any mere external bond; for all these may subsist in the highest degree, and yet there be no spiritual union.

The word translated “unity” means literally “oneness,” and therefore implies that oneness of faith, hope and love which pervades every member of the mystical body. It is, therefore, called “the oneness of the Spirit,” that is, that oneness of heart and soul, love and affection, of which the Holy Ghost is the sole and immediate Author.

This oneness of Spirit is, so to speak, kept together and maintained in its place by “the bond of peace,” which is wrapped round it. All strife and contention tend to break this oneness of Spirit; but when “the bond of peace” is twined round it, it is not only preserved from outward assaults, but like the blood within the artery, or like the marrow within the spine, is free to move and act.

As therefore this “oneness of spirit” can only be maintained in living exercise as surrounded by “the bond of peace,” the apostle bids us to endeavour “to keep” it within this bond.

It is in itself a thing so tender, and yet so essential to the comfort of the church, that we should never, so to speak, take that bond off which preserves it uninjured.

By “peace,” therefore, we may understand not only peace of conscience, peace with God through the atoning blood of the Lamb, but peace also with the brethren.

In other words, a quiet, peaceable, affectionate and loving spirit manifested to the people of God, and especially to those with whom we are brought into church fellowship, is indispensable to the lively maintenance of spiritual union. It is true that spiritual union, once felt, can never be utterly lost, but it may be sadly weakened.

Next then to our own soul’s peace and establishment in the truths of the gospel, next to our own union with Christ as sensibly realised and spiritually maintained, should we seek to keep up oneness of spirit with the saints of God; and so far as we aim at this by showing a quiet, peaceable and affectionate spirit, do we fulfil the apostolic injunction, and “endeavour,” for we cannot always or often succeed, “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

By J.C. Philpot

Saturday, 10 September 2011

THE ASCENDED SAVIOUR

“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”
(Mark 16:19)

The right hand of God means the right hand of power, of dominion, of authority and of acceptance. When our blessed Lord went back to the courts of bliss, and the gates of heaven lifted up their heads, and the everlasting doors were lifted up, and the King of glory went in, He sat down at once at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

But what did this place of pre-eminence imply?

It certified to principalities and powers, and the whole bright and glorious throng of angelic hosts, that God had accepted His work and given Him for His reward that exalted place of power, of honour and of dignity. For remember this, that our gracious Lord went up to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God in His human nature.

He did not go up to heaven as He came down from heaven only as the Son of God. He went up to heaven as the Son of man as well as the Son of God. He went up to heaven in a human nature united to the divine, and therefore entered the courts of bliss as the God-man, Immanuel, God with us.

It is a point of great importance, and to be ever borne in mind by every spiritual worshipper, and by every true believer in the Son of God, that our blessed Lord sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high in the same human body which He wore upon earth – glorified indeed beyond all thought or utterance, but the same pure, spotless, holy, and immortal humanity which He assumed in the womb of the virgin, and which He offered as a sacrifice upon the cross.

To this point the apostle would specially direct our thoughts, and bring it before us as the object and food of our faith (Romans 8:34). And what an object of faith it is, for, as viewing Jesus at the right hand of God, we see there a Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; we see an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; we see a Brother, a Friend, a Husband enthroned in glory, there ever living, ever reigning, ever ruling, until God shall have put all enemies under His feet.

By J.C. Philpot

Thursday, 19 May 2011

OUR MERCIFUL AND FAITHFUL HIGH PRIEST

"Therefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."
(Hebrews 2:17)

God gave the persons of the elect into the hands of his dear Son, as Jacob committed Benjamin into the hands of Judah; and as Judah accepted Benjamin, so Christ accepted the Church and undertook to bring it unto God, or he himself would bear the blame forever.

But how this faithfulness was tried!

Men tried it; devils tried it; God tried it; but it came gloriously through all.

Yet what loads were laid upon it!

How the very knees of Jesus, so to speak, staggered beneath it!

How, as Deer says, he had – "Strength enough, and none to spare!"

How he had to sustain the curse of the law and the load of imputed sin!

How he had to drink up a very hell of inward torment!

How he had to be agonized in body, and more than agonized in soul!

What bloody sweat in the garden, what tears, what sore amazement, what heaviness of spirit, what sorrowfulness even unto death; what pangs of body upon the cross, what grief of mind, what distress of soul, did the Holy Lamb endure in being faithful unto God!

How he might have prayed, and his Father would have sent him twelve legions of angels!

He had but to speak, and he might have soared to heaven and left the cross and all its shame and suffering behind.

But he was faithful to God and to the work which he had undertaken. Six weary hours he hung upon the cross. Six weary hours he endured the wrath of God, and that most cutting stroke of all, reserved to the last as the bitterest drop in the whole cup, the hiding of his Father's countenance, which wrung from his bosom that cry, such as neither earth nor heaven had heard before - "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

And yet not until he had finished the work did he give up his spirit. So he was faithful "in all things pertaining to God."

And he is faithful, also, in all things pertaining to man. He could say to the Father, "Of all whom you have given me" – except the son of perdition, Judas; he had no charge to save him from death and hell; but of all the others whom he had received as his Father's gift, he could say, "I have lost none." Thus he was faithful while he was on earth. And how faithful he is now!

The high priest under the law had two offices to execute; he had to OFFER SACRIFICE for the people, and to offer prayer and INTERCESSION for them. Upon earth Jesus fulfilled the first; in heaven he fulfils the second, as there making by virtue of his presence continual intercession for us.

By J.C. Philpot

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

SANCTIFICATION

As from the cross flows all salvation, so from the cross flows all sanctification. What have not men done, to make themselves holy; and by this means render themselves, as they have thought, acceptable to God!

What tortures of body, what fastings, scourgings, self-imposed penances to sanctify their sinful nature, and conform their rebellious flesh to the holiness demanded by the law!

And with what success?

They have landed either in self-righteousness or despair—though at opposite points of the compass.

The flesh cannot be sanctified. It is essentially and incurably corrupt; and therefore, if we are to possess that inward holiness, "without which no man shall see the Lord," it must be by Christ being "of God, made unto us sanctification," as well as righteousness — sanctifying us not only "with his own blood," (Hebrews 13:13,) but by his Spirit and grace.

If we believe in Him, we shall love him ("unto you which believe, he is precious;") if we love him, we shall seek to please, and fear to displease him; if we believe in Him, by the gift and work of God, this divine and living faith will purify our heart, overcome the world, produce that spiritual mindedness which is life and peace, give union and communion with the Lord of life and glory; and every believing view of him, every act of faith upon him, and every visit from him, will conform us to his likeness, as the Apostle speaks: "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18.)

If, then, we are to feel an inward power sanctifying our hearts, drawing up our minds to heavenly things, subduing our sins, meekening and softening our spirit, separating us from the world, filling us with holy thoughts, gracious desires, and pure affections, and thus making us "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light," this inward sanctification must flow wholly and solely from the Blessed Spirit, as the gift of a risen Jesus: as he himself said, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 16:7). "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you" (John 16:14).

It is not, then, the hair-shirt, the monk's cell, the midnight vigil, the protracted fast; no, nor the soothing strains of the swelling organ, the melodious chant of surpliced choristers, the "dim religious light" of the stained Gothic window; no, nor the terrors of the Law, the accusations of conscience, the tears, cries and resolutions of a heart that still loves sin, though professing to repent of it; no, nor gloomy looks, neglected apparel, softly uttered words, slow walk, holiness of face, manner, and gesture, hollow voice, demure countenance, a choice assortment of Scripture words and phrases on every occasion, or no occasion; no, nor all the array of piety and sanctity which Satan, transformed into an angel of light, has devised to deceive thousands, that can purge the conscience from the guilt, filth, love, power and practice of sin, or raise up that new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Like the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, they may, and even that very imperfectly, sanctify to the purifying of the flesh; but it is the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, which can alone purge the conscience from filth, guilt, and dead works, to serve the living God; and it is the work of the blessed Spirit alone which, by revealing Christ, and forming him in the heart, "the hope of glory," can create and bring forth that new man of grace which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him who created him.

By J.C. Philpot

THE TWO NATURES IN A BELIEVER

Among those branches of divine truth which, without special teaching, we cannot enter into, is, that of the two natures in a believer. And yet, though every child of God must in all ages have been experimentally acquainted with the inward conflict between flesh and spirit, nature and grace; and though authors innumerable have written on such subjects as sanctification, the trial of faith, the strength of grace, the power of sin, the deceitfulness of the heart, the commencement and progress, decline and restoration, of the life of God in the soul, yet how few even of these really spiritual and experimental writers have laid out the truth of the case as made known in the Scriptures, and felt in the experience of the saints!

How blind have many writers, as, for instance, Dr. Owen, and most of the Puritan authors, been to the distinctness of flesh and spirit!

In fact, as it seems to us, many good men have been afraid of the real, actual truth. Our Puritan ancestors especially, living in a day when profanity and ungodliness ran down the streets like water, and holiness, therefore, of heart and life was powerfully urged as the distinctive feature of the children of God, intuitively shrank from anything that seemed in its faintest coloring opposed to their view of gospel sanctification.

They feared to believe, and dreaded to proclaim, that "the carnal mind is enmity against God; that it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed could be."

They seemed to think, if they once admitted that the flesh, the carnal mind, underwent no spiritual change; in other words, could not be sanctified; it was opening a wide and open door to the worst Antinomianism.

There is a distinction between "the flesh" and "the carnal mind." The flesh is the corrupt principle itself: the carnal mind is the breathing, moving, and acting of the corrupt principle. The flesh is, as it were, the body, the carnal mind the soul of sin; the flesh is the still atmosphere, pregnant with disease and death; the carnal mind is the same air in motion, carrying with it the noisome pestilence; the flesh is a giant, but lying down or asleep; the carnal mind is the giant awake and hurling his weapons of defiance against heaven and earth.

On no one point, it may be remarked, are the minds of men professing some measure of truth so sensitive as upon that of the believer's personal sanctification.

You may be three parts an Arminian, and four-fifths of a Pharisee, and men will speak well of you and of your religion. But be in their eyes one-tenth of an Antinomian, and they will unchristianise you in a moment, if you had the experience of Hart, the gifts of Huntington, the godly life of Romaine, and the blessed death of Toplady.

Now, nothing so much exposes a man to the suspicion of secret Antinomianism as his denying the sanctification of the flesh. The cry is at once raised, "You are an enemy to holiness; you turn the grace of God into licentiousness; you allow people to live as they list; you encourage men under a profession of religion to continue in sin."

Who does not know the charges which they ring on this peal of bells against all who assert that the flesh is incurably corrupt, and cannot be molded afresh, or new modeled, or sanctified, or conformed to the image of Christ, but remains to the last what it was at the first, "the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts"?

We may oppose to these clamorous reproaches a godly life, a gospel walk, a spiritual mindedness, a heavenly conversation, a filial fear, a tender conscience, a separation from evil, a liberality to the poor and needy, and a deadness to the world of which our opponents profess little and manifest less; but all in vain. The very suspicion that we deny the holiness of the flesh, present or possible, makes us viewed by most of the "very religious" people of our day much as the Protestant heretic is looked upon by the staunch Papist—a kind of horrid being, who may, perhaps, by a death-bed conversion to their views, and a full recantation of his own, escape hell, but who, at present, is in a very awful and dangerous condition.

But leaving these poor ignorant creatures who speak evil of things that they know not, and who are actuated by much the same principle and spirit as those of old who said of the Lord himself, "He has a devil, and is mad; why hear you him?" let us look for a few moments at a very different class of people to whom the mystery of the two natures is but little known. These are the honest and sincere, the tender in conscience and broken in heart of the children of God, who, for want of divine light on this point, are often deeply tried and perplexed, and sometimes almost at their wit's end from what they feel of the inward workings and strength of sin. They are told, and their naturally religious mind, their traditionary creed, and their unenlightened understanding, all fully fall in with what they hear enforced on their conscience, that the sanctification of the soul, without which there is no salvation, is a gradual progress from one degree of holiness to another, until, with the exception of a few insignificant "remains" of sin, which, from some unknown cause, obstinately resist the sanctifying process, the believer becomes thoroughly holy, in body, soul, and spirit. Sin, they are told, may occasionally stir up a bad thought or two, or now and then a carnal desire may most unaccountably start up; but its power is destroyed, the rebellious movement is immediately subdued, the hasty spark, which straight is cool again, is put out at once without further damage, and the process of sanctification keeps going on as harmoniously and uninterruptedly as before, until the soul is almost as fit for heaven as if it were already there.

Beautiful theory! but as deceptive and as unsubstantial as the mirage of the desert, or the summer evening cloud bathed in the golden glow of the sinking sun. And so those sincere, honest-hearted children of God find and feel when "the motions of sin which are by the law," stirred and roused from their torpid inactivity by its application, work in their members to bring forth fruit unto death.

The doctrine of progressive sanctification, implying, as it does, in the mouth of its strenuous advocates, the gradual extirpation of sin and the molding of the carnal mind into the image of Christ, is to the honest and tender conscience a torturing doctrine, pregnant with guilt, bondage, and despair.

To a man who merely plays with religion, all doctrines are pretty much alike. None cause him trouble, and none cause him joy. The holiness of God, the spirituality and curse of the law, the evil of sin, the helplessness of the creature, the sinfulness of the flesh, the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of the heart, as long as they are mere doctrines, have no more effect upon the conscience than a narrative of the battle of Alma or an account of the fight at Inkermann. To a professor of religion dead in his unregeneracy, the fall of man is nothing like so stirring as the fall of Sebastopol; and the recovery by Christ does not give him half so much pleasure as the recovery from a bad cold. These are the men to preach progressive sanctification; and none urge it so continually, and press it so forcibly, except, perhaps, those that are living in sin, who are usually the greatest advocates for holiness, either as a mask of their practice, or on the principle of a set off, that, having none of their own, they may get as much as they can of other people's. "In for a penny, in for a pound," is the maxim of a man who runs into debt without meaning to pay.

And so, if a man means to pay God nothing of the obedience and holiness which he urges upon others, he thinks he cannot do better than get into debt as deep as he can. None set the ladder so high as the master who stops at the foot, and urges his man on to the topmost round. None lay such heavy burdens on men's shoulders as those who themselves never touch them with one of their fingers; and none wield so unmercifully the whip as those who have never felt the end of the lash. To all such miserable taskmasters the tried and distressed in soul may well say, "What is play to you is death to us; you are in jest, but we are in earnest; you are at your ease, we are laboring to attain unto what you only talk about. The holiness that you are preaching we are striving to practice. Your flashes of exhortation are but summer lightning, and your denunciations but stage thunder; while we are at the foot of the mount that burned with fire, and where there was blackness and darkness and tempest.

The sanctification of the flesh that you urge may do for you who have learned your lesson at the academy, and preach what you neither know, nor understand, nor feel—blind leaders of the blind, as you and your tutors are. Such a doctrine lies with no more weight on your conscience than the preacher's gown upon your back, or the gold ring upon your little finger; but it is not so with us, who are daily and hourly groaning beneath a body of sin and death. It is the load of sin that so deeply tries us, and our utter inability to bring forth the holiness that you urge upon our sore and bleeding consciences. It is our base backslidings, our sins against love and blood, our barrenness and deadness; the dreadful depravity of our hearts; our getting every day worse instead of getting every day better, that so deeply tries us: and your doctrine rubs salt into our bleeding, gaping wounds."


To such tried and distressed souls as these, who have been harassed almost to death by the doctrine of progressive sanctification, how reviving and encouraging it is when the mystery of the two natures is opened up to their spiritual understanding, and sealed upon their conscience by the Blessed Spirit!

By J.C. Philpot

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT PREACHES THE GOSPEL

We often know the theory of the gospel, before we know the experience of the gospel.

We often receive the doctrines of grace into our judgment, before we receive the grace of the doctrines into our soul.

We therefore need to be brought down, humbled, tried, stripped of every prop — that the gospel may be to us more than a sound, more than a name, more than a theory, more than a doctrine, more than a system, more than a creed—that it may be soul enjoyment — soul blessing — and soul salvation.

When the Holy Spirit preaches the gospel to the poor in spirit, the humbled, stripped, and tried — it is a gospel of glad tidings indeed to the sinner's broken heart.

By J.C. Philpot

THE LORD'S SECRET POWER IN OUR SOULS

"He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength."
(Isaiah 40:29)

The Lord's people are often in the state that they have no might. All their power seems exhausted, and their strength completely drained away — sin appears to have gotten the mastery over them — and they feel as if they had neither will nor ability to run the race set before them, or persevere in the way of the Lord.

Now what has kept us to this day?

Some of you have made a profession ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years.

What has kept us?

When powerful temptations were spread for our feet, what preserved us from falling headlong into them?

When we felt the workings of strong lusts, what kept us from being altogether carried captive by them?

When we look at the difficulties of the way, the perplexities which our souls have had to grapple with, the persecutions and hard blows from sinners and saints that we have had to encounter — what has still kept in us a desire to fear God, and a heart in some measure tender before Him?

When we view the infidelity, unbelief, carnality, worldly-mindedness, hypocrisy, pride, and presumption of our fallen nature — what has kept us still believing, hoping, loving, longing, and looking to the Lord?

When we think of our deadness, coldness, torpidity, rebelliousness, perverseness, love to evil, aversion to good, and all the abounding corruptions of our nature — what has kept us from giving up the very profession of religion, and swimming down the powerful current that has so long and so often threatened to sweep us utterly from the Lord?

Is it not the putting forth of the Lord's secret power in our souls?

Can we not look back, and recall to mind our first religious companions — those with whom we started in the race — those whom we perhaps envied for their greater piety, zeal, holiness, and earnestness — and with which we painfully contrasted our own sluggishness and carnality — admiring them, and condemning ourselves?

Where are they all, or the greater part of them?

Some have embraced soul-destroying errors — others are buried in a worldly religious system — and others are wrapped up in delusion and fleshly confidence.

Thus, while most have fallen into the snares of the devil, God, by putting forth His secret power in the hearts of His fainting ones, keeps His fear alive in their souls — holds up their goings in His paths that their footsteps slip not — brings them out of all their temptations and troubles — delivers them from every evil work — and preserves them unto His heavenly kingdom. He thus secures the salvation of His people by His own free grace.

How sweet and precious it is to have our strength renewed — to have fresh grace brought into the heart — to feel the mysterious sensations of renovated life — to feel the everlasting arms supporting the soul — fighting our battles for us, subduing our enemies, overcoming our lusts, breaking our snares, and delivering us out of our temptations!

By J.C. Philpot

THE MONSTROUS CREATURE WITHIN

"I abhor the pride of Jacob."
(Amos 6:8)

O cursed pride, that is ever lifting up its head in our hearts!

Pride would even pull down God that it might sit upon His throne.

Pride would trample under foot the holiest things to exalt itself!

Pride is that monstrous creature within us, of such ravenous and indiscriminate gluttony, that the more it devours, the more it craves!

Pride is that chameleon which assumes every colour — that actor which can play every part — and yet which is faithful to no one object or purpose — but to exalt and glorify self!

"I will make the pride of the strong to cease."
(Ezekiel 7:24)

"He shall bring down their pride."
(Isaiah 25:11)

God means to kill man's pride!

And oh, what cutting weapons the Lord will sometimes make use of to kill a man's pride!

How He will bring him sometimes into the depths of temporal poverty, that He may make a stab at his worldly pride!

How He will bring to light the iniquities of his youth, that He may mortify his self-righteous pride!

How He will allow sin to break forth, if not openly, yet so powerfully within, that piercing convictions shall kill his spiritual pride!

And what deep discoveries of internal corruption will the Lord sometimes employ, to dig down to the root, and cut off the core of that poisonous tree, pride!

The Searcher of hearts dissects and anatomizes this inbred evil, cuts down to it through the quivering and bleeding flesh, and pursues with His keen knife its multiplied windings and ramifications.

"The lofty looks of man will be brought low, the haughtiness of men will be bowed down, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day."
(Isaiah 2:11)

"And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day."
(Isaiah 2:17)

"The LORD of hosts has purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth."
(Isaiah 23:9)

By J.C. Philpot

THE BEST TEACHER

"Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
(John 1:17)

The way to learn truth is to be much in prayer to the Lord Jesus Christ. Beg of Him to teach you Himself — for He is the best teacher. The words which He speaks, they are spirit and life. What He writes upon our hearts is written in characters which will stand every storm and live at last. We forget what we learn from 'man' — but we never forget what we learn from Jesus. 'Men' may deceive—Christ cannot.

Though you may receive truth from a minister's lips, it is always mixed with human infirmity. But what you get from the lips of Jesus, you get in all its purity and power. It comes warm from Him — it comes cold from 'men.' It drops like the rain and distills like the dew from His mouth—it comes only second-hand from men. If I preach to you the truth, I preach indeed as the Lord enables me to speak. But it is He who must speak with power to your souls to do you any real good. Look then away from me — look beyond me — to Him who alone can teach us both. By looking to Jesus in the inmost feelings of your soul, you will draw living truth from out of His bosom into your own—from His heart into your heart—and thus will come feelingly and experimentally to know the blessedness of His own declaration — 'I am the truth.'

By J.C. Philpot

Sunday, 8 May 2011

FAMILIARITY OF SACRED THINGS

"Take heed unto yourselves!"
(Acts 20:28)

This was Paul's public warning to the elders of the church at Ephesus. It was Paul's private warning to his friend and disciple, his beloved son, Timothy.

And do not all who write or speak in the name of the Lord need the same warning?

Familiarity with sacred things has a natural tendency to harden the conscience, where grace does not soften and make it tender.

Men may preach and pray until both become a mere mechanical habit; and they may talk about Christ and His sufferings until they feel as little touched by them as a 'tragic actor' on the stage, of the sorrows which he impersonates.

Well, then, may the Holy Spirit sound this note of warning, as with trumpet voice, in the ears of the servants of Christ. "Take heed unto yourselves!"

By J.C. Philpot

OUR CHIEF AIM AS MINISTERS OF CHRIST

If we can throw any light on the word of truth, if we can enable our readers more clearly to understand, more firmly to believe, and more experimentally to feel the power of what God has revealed in the Scriptures for their instruction, edification, and consolation, that will be our chief reward, as, we hope, it is our chief aim.

By J. C. Philpot

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

EXHORTATIONS TO HOLINESS

It is a very significant circumstance, and no less sad than significant, that the very words "holy" and "holiness" seem almost lost out of the churches of truth.

If the correctness of this assertion be doubted, let us appeal to our readers' own experience, and ask them how often in the course of a year do they hear the words in the mouth of the ministers of truth under whom they usually sit.

Or if such a word as "holiness" is ever sounded in their ears, is it not more as a term of reproach, and an arrow aimed against what is termed "progressive sanctification," than brought before them and insisted on as a part of the gospel of the grace of God, and in harmony with the Scriptures of truth and the work of grace upon the heart?

The cause, however, of this omission is not far to seek. One extreme often leads to another; and thus, as in other cases, because ignorant men have erred in one direction, the advocates of truth have been tempted to err in another, and to overlook or ignore the express language of Scripture, lest it should seem to countenance views to which they are opposed.

And what has been the necessary consequence?

That it has come to pass, lest they should be thought to favour a fleshly holiness, men of truth have almost dropped the word altogether.

But because men ignorant of the depths of the Fall, and of the distinction of the two natures in those born of God, advocate what every child of God knows from his own experience to be false as to the gradual sanctification of what in itself is and ever will be deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, is it right, is it consistent with faithful stewardship of the mysteries of God, and the solemn trusteeship of the gospel, that not only the Scriptural language "holy" and "holiness" should be tacitly dropped, but what is worse, the thing itself should be neglected and passed by?

We need not be surprised that, as the neglect of any important part of God's truth must always bear evil fruit, such has been the actual consequence of this omission.

Thus as regards hearers as well as preachers, it has come to pass that all such exhortations to holiness in heart, lip and life, as we meet with in the Scriptures, were they found in the mouth of ministers, would be viewed by many of their people as legal and bondaging, and inconsistent with the purity of gospel truth in its doctrine, if they dare not altogether say with its experience and power.

But if we are brought to this pass, that plain and positive Scripture precepts and exhortations are to be set aside, or thrust out of pulpit and pew, because they do not suit our views and feelings, may we not justly suspect that there is
something wrong somewhere?

And should we not search and examine to see whether such an omission may not be founded on some misconception of the truth, even in those cases where there would not be a willing or wilful neglect of the revealed will and Word of God?

According to our view, the exhortations in the Scriptures to holiness are in perfect harmony with the doctrines of grace and the teaching of the blessed Spirit in the soul; indeed so much so that they grow upon the gospel tree as necessarily as good grapes upon the vine of the Lord's right-hand planting.

In these exhortations, rightly understood, spiritually received and interpreted, there is nothing legal, nothing that genders to bondage, nothing inconsistent with the liberty of the gospel, the freedom of truth, and the blessedness of the love which casteth out fear which hath torment: for they are all fully impregnated with the dew, the unction, and the power of the Spirit of Life, and are full of sweetness and blessedness to those who can receive them in the power of that grace out of which they spring, and of which they form the crowning fruits.

By J. C. Philpot

Sunday, 17 April 2011

REMARRIAGE IS ADULTERY


We assert, therefore, that neither by the law of God or man can a woman marry again in the lifetime of her first Husband, without committing adultery.
(J.C. Philpot)

Friday, 1 April 2011

ALL THINGS YOURS

1 Corinthians 3:21
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;

1 Corinthians 3:22
Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;

1 Corinthians 3:23
And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.

And “the world,” is that ours too?

What! the world?

May a child of God stand upon London Bridge and say, “All the ships in the
river are mine”
?

May he go to the Bank of England and say, “All the bullion in the cellars is mine”?

Not in a worldly sense. But if he feels that his soul is worth a thousand worlds, and that it is saved in Christ with an everlasting salvation, then he may stand upon London Bridge and say, “O ye mighty ships that crowd the stream laden with all the world’s wealth, what are ye compared to my soul? O ye cellars, full to overflowing with millions of yellow gold, what is the value of all compared with that eternity to which I am fast hastening? O Stamford, with all the houses and all the property and all the people in it, could you purchase a drop of water to cool the tongue of a miserable soul in hell? And is not my soul to me worth you all?”

So though he cannot lay a temporal claim to all the world, yet when he feels that his soul in his bosom is worth a thousand worlds, that that soul has been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, and will live in a happy and glorious eternity when earth and all its works under his feet will lie buried in the ashes of the general conflagration, the world is his because he is the master of it.

He can put his foot upon it and say, “O earth, I only want enough of thee to take me safely and honourably through life; enough of thy bread to feed me; enough of thy wool and flax to clothe me; enough of thy stones to shelter me; enough of thy timber to make my coffin; enough of thy ground to give me a grave. I would not have thee for my portion, my master, or my idol.”

When in faith and feeling he can thus speak, is not the world his?

For faith makes him master of that which is master of all. It is true he is not here often in feeling, but fact remains when feeling fails. Nay, more, the Lord makes “the world” to serve him, and thus makes it his.

Nobody can harm him but by God’s permission, and this very permitted harm works for his good. God can make the world lie at his very feet so that not a dog shall move his tongue against him (Exodus 11:7); the ravens shall feed him and he shall eat the riches of the Gentiles. For the gold and the silver are the Lord’s, and the cattle upon a thousand hills; and He can give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert to His people, His chosen (Isaiah 43:20).

When, too, you can look around you upon the fields and meadows, trees and rivers, and meekly say, “My Father made them all,” they are all yours because they are your heavenly Father’s. I often walk in the beautiful park, and I have sometimes thought I enjoy it more than its noble owner, for I have had many a secret prayer and sweet meditation there, and I have the additional pleasure of admiring its beauties without the anxiety of proprietorship.

Is not the park, then, mine – the trees, the avenues, the lake and the walks, all my own?

By J.C. Philpot

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

THREE BOOKS

There are three books which, if a man will read and study, he can dispense with most others.

1. The book of Providence - and this he reads to good purpose, when he sees written down line by line the providential dealings of God with him, and a ray of Divine light gilds every line.

2. The Word of God - and this he reads to profit, when the blessed Spirit applies it with power to his soul.

3. The book of his own heart - and this he studies with advantage, when he reads in the new man of grace the blessed dealings of God with his soul-- and in the old man of sin and death, enough to fill him with shame and confusion of face, and make him loathe and abhor himself in dust and ashes.

By J.C. Philpot

PRECIOUS AND GLORIOUS

All that Jesus is and has, all that He says and does is precious and glorious.

His miracles of mercy, while here below;

His words so full of grace, wisdom, and truth;

His going about doing good;

His sweet example of patience, meekness and submission;

His sufferings and sorrows in the garden and on the cross;

His spotless holiness and purity;

His tender compassion to poor lost sinners;

His atoning blood and justifying obedience;

His dying love, so strong and firm;

His lowly, yet honourable burial;

His glorious resurrection;

His ascension and present reign and rule;

His constant intercession for His people.


What beauty and glory shine forth in all these divine realities!

A view of His glory and a foretaste of the bliss and blessedness it communicates has a transforming effect upon the soul.

We are naturally proud, easily elated by prosperity, soon dejected by adversity, peevish under trials, rebellious under heavy strokes, unthankful for daily mercies of food and clothing, and in other ways ever manifesting our base nature.

To be brought from under the power of these abounding evils, we need to be conformed to the image of Christ. Now, this can only be by beholding His glory by faith.

"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory!"
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

It is this believing view of the glory of Christ which supports under heavy trials, producing meekness and resignation to the will of God.

By Joseph Philpot

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

MY PATH

My path has been, and is, one mainly of trial and temptation, having a heart so evil, a tempter so subtle, and so many crosses and snares in which my feet are continually caught and entangled.

All here on earth, is labour and sorrow. Our own sins, and the sins of others, will always make it a scene of trouble.

Oh, you hideous monster, sin!

What a mighty power it has--a power which grace alone can subdue. It seems sometimes subdued, and then rises up worse than before. Well may we cry out, "Oh, wretched man that I am!"

"Hold me up, and I shall be safe!"
(Psalm 119:117)

By Joseph Philpot

THE END WILL MAKE AMENDS FOR ALL

What a world it is of sin and sorrow!

How everything serves to remind us that we are all passing away!

I feel for you in your trials and afflictions, so various, painful, and multiplied.

But dare I wish you free from what the all-wise, all-gracious Lord lays upon you?

Could He not in a moment remove them all?

Our Father sees fit in His wisdom and mercy to afflict His children, and we know that He would not do so unless it were for the good of their soul.

What can we say then?

All we can do is to beg of the Lord that He would support, comfort, and bless them. It is in the furnace that we learn our need of realities, and our own helplessness and inability. The furnace also brings to our mind the shortness of life, and how vain all things are here below.

Affliction are sent to wean from this world, make life burdensome, and death desirable. I well know that the poor coward flesh is fretful and impatient under afflictions, and would gladly have a smoother, easier path. But we cannot choose our own trials, nor our own afflictions. All are appointed in fixed weight and measure; and the promise is that all things shall work together for good to those who love God.

Wherever we go, and wherever we are, we must expect trials to arise. But it will be our wisdom and mercy to submit to what we cannot alter, and not fret or repine under the trial--but accept it as sent for our good. We need trial upon trial, and stroke upon stroke to bring our soul out of carnality. We slip insensibly into carnal ease; but afflictions and trials of body and mind stir us up to some degree of earnestness in prayer, show us the emptiness and vanity of earthly things, make us feel the suitability and preciousness of the Lord Jesus. The path in which you have been led so many years is a safe way, though a rough and rugged way. The end will make amends for all!

By Joseph Philpot