Wednesday, 17 October 2012

DEATH ALONE DISSOLVES THE MARRIAGE TIE

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” (1 Corinthians 7:15) that is, to follow him and, press to live with him if he have deserted her. But does he say anything about or sanction her marrying again? Where does he say that desertion dissolves the marriage tie? On the contrary, in the very same chapter he decides the exact opposite: “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but,if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will, only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39) How clearly he decides the matter that death alone dissolves the marriage tie! By J.C. Philpot

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

"CAN TWO WALK TOGETHER, EXCEPT THEY BE AGREED?"

"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3) -------------------- 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

BLESSED IS HE, WHOSOEVER SHALL NOT BE OFFENDED IN ME"

"Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." (Matthew 6:6) -------------------- What is the feeling of your heart toward Jesus? What is the solemn desire of your soul? That He would come and make your heart His abode? That He would visit your soul with the light of His countenance? That He would sprinkle His blood upon your conscience? That He would make Himself very near, very dear, and very precious? Do you count one word from His lips worth a thousand worlds? A smile of His countenance worth thousands of gold and silver? Then you are blessed. You are not stumbling upon the dark mountains of error. You are not stumbling at the perfections of the Son of God. You are not offended at a free gospel, an unconditional salvation. No; the Lord in mercy has slaughtered your prejudices, subdued your enmity, and brought you to receive the gospel as a little child. But some may say,
"I believe all this; but, then, I have doubts and fears whether the Lord has begun his work in me, whether I am one of his family. I cannot enjoy the power of truth as I could wish."
But does not the Lord say, "Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me"? You are not offended and stumbled at Jesus. And He that is not offended in Him, but is enabled to receive Him as the Christ of God, to look to Him, to believe in Him, and at times to feel Him precious — He comes under the blessing which maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow with it. By J.C. Philpot

"THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH"

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." (Isaiah 40:31) -------------------- How different the religion of a living soul is from the religion of a dead professor! The religion of a dead professor begins in self, and ends in self; begins in his own wisdom, and ends in his own folly; begins in his own strength, and ends in his own weakness; begins in his own righteousness, and ends in his own damnation. There is in him never any going out of soul after God, no secret dealings with the Lord, no actings of faith upon the divine perfections. But the child of God, though he is often faint, weary, and exhausted with many difficulties, burdens and sorrows; yet when the Lord does shew Himself, and renews his strength, he soars aloft, and never ceases to mount up on the wings of faith and love till he penetrates into the very sanctuary of the most High. A living soul never can be satisfied except in living union and communion with the Lord of life and glory. Everything short of that leaves it empty. All the things of time and sense leave a child of God unsatisfied. Nothing but vital union and communion with the Lord of life, to feel His presence, taste His love, enjoy His favour, see His glory - nothing but this will ever satisfy the wants of ransomed and regenerated souls. This the Lord indulges His people with. "They shall renew their strength." They shall not be always lying groaning on the ground, not always swooning away through the wounds made by sin, not always chained down by the fetters of the world, not always hunted in their souls like a partridge upon the mountains. There shall be a renewal of their strength; and in their renewal, "they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." By J.C. Philpot

"I WAS ALIVE WITHOUT THE LAW ONCE..."

"I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." (Romans 7:9) -------------------- The Apostle describes in his own case how men are affected toward the law before it enters as a condemning sentence into their heart. "I was alive without the law once." The law was hanging over him as a condemning sentence, as a minister of death, as a messenger of wrath, as a consuming fire, but he felt it not. As with a thunderstorm in the remote distance, he might hear the low mutterings of the thunder which once rolled over Sinai's fiery mount, or might see from far the play of those lightnings which scorched its top. But at present the storm was in the distance. He went about without thinking, or feeling, or fearing, or caring whether the law was his friend or enemy. In fact he rather viewed it as his friend, for he was using it as a friendly help to build up his own righteousness. He had gone to it, but it had not come to him; he knew its letter, but not its spirit; its outward commands, but not its inward demands. He therefore speaks of himself as being "alive without the law," that is, without any knowledge of what it was as a ministration of condemnation and death. But in God's own appointed time and way, "the commandment came;" that is, it came with power into his conscience. He found that he could keep every one of the commandments [or so he thought] but the tenth; for according to his apprehension and his interpretation of them, they did not extend beyond an external obedience. But the tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet," struck into the very depth of his conscience, for it was a prohibition from the mouth of God of the inward lusts of the heart, and that prohibition attended with an awful curse. Under this stroke sin, which before lay seemingly dead in his breast, revived like a sleeping serpent; and what was the consequence? It stung him to death, for he says, "And I died;" for the commandment which was ordained unto life he found to be unto death! Sin could not brook to be thwarted or opposed; it therefore rose up in enmity against God, took advantage of the commandment to rebel against the authority of Jehovah, and its guilt in consequence falling upon his conscience, made tender in the fear of God, slew him. It would not have done so had there been no life in his soul; but there being light to see and life to feel the anger of God revealed in the commandment, when the law came into his conscience as a sentence from a just and holy Jehovah, the effect was to produce a sentence of death in himself. And this experience which the Apostle describes as his own is what the law does and ever must do when applied to the conscience by the power of God. It kills, it slays the condemned sinner; it is a sentence of death in a man's own conscience, which only awaits the hour of death and the day of judgment to be carried into execution. By J.C. Philpot

"WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE"

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." (I John 3:14) -------------------- The Lord's people in their early days have a measure of heavenly love. Love [is] manifested in them [for] God's word, God's people, God's servants, and God's truth. There is in them, in their weakest and tenderest days, a separation from the world, a casting-in of their lot amongst the people of God, a going-out in the tenderness of their heart and affection towards them. We see this in Ruth: though she was a poor heathen idolatress, no sooner was her heart touched by the finger of God, than she clave to Naomi. Divine love can only spring from the teachings and operations of God upon the heart. Our "carnal mind is enmity against God" — nothing but implacable, irreconcilable enmity. But when the Lord is pleased to make himself in some measure, known to the soul; when he is pleased, in some degree, to unveil his lovely face, and to give a discovery of his grace and glory — immediately love springs up. He is so lovely an Object! As the Bride says, He is "altogether lovely." His beauty is so surpassing, his grace so rich, his mercy so free — all that he is and has is so unspeakably glorious — that no sooner does he unveil his lovely face, than he wins over all the love of the heart, takes possession of the bosom, and draws every affection of the soul to centre wholly and solely in himself. By J.C. Philpot

"IF ANY MAN COME TO ME, AND HATE NOT HIS FATHER..."

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26-27) -------------------- There is no middle path to heaven — there is no intermediate state between hell and heaven; no purgatory for that numerous class who think themselves hardly good enough for heaven, yet hardly bad enough for hell. No; there is no intermediate road nor state. We must win Christ as our own most blessed Jesus, and with Him enjoy the happiness and glory of heaven, or sink down to hell with all our sins upon our head beneath His most terrible frown. The soul then that has been charmed with the beauty and blessedness of Jesus longs to win Him, and that not for a day, month, or year, but for eternity; for in obtaining Him, it obtains all that God can give the soul of man to enjoy as created immortal and for immortality. Under the influence of His grace, it feels at times, even here below, all its immortal powers springing forth into active, heavenly life, and looks forward in faith and hope to a glorious eternity, where it will be put into possession of the highest enjoyment which God can give to man, even union with Himself by virtue of union with His dear Son, according to those wonderful words of the Redeemer himself — "That they all may he one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us" (John 17:21). By J.C. Philpot

EXPERIMENTAL SALVATION

If salvation implies a previous state from which it is a deliverance, then I say that it is childish folly to talk of being saved if we know nothing experimentally of what we are saved from. All doctrines, notions, forms, creeds, ordinances and ceremonies short of this manifested salvation are as the dust of the balance, and as the driven stubble before the wind. What, for instance, is election, except it be revealed to my soul that I was elected before the foundation of the world? What is redemption to me, except the atoning blood of the Lamb be sprinkled on my conscience? What is the everlasting love of a Triune Jehovah, unless that eternal love be shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost? To see these things revealed in the Bible is nothing. To hear them preached by one of God's ministers is nothing. To receive the truth into our judgment and to yield to them an unwavering assent is nothing. Thousands have done this who are blaspheming God in hell. A man must have salvation as an internal reality, as a known, enjoyed, tasted, felt and handled possession, or he will never enter into the kingdom of heaven. By J.C. Philpot

FREE GRACE

I admire and love the grace of God; and the longer I live, the more do I love and admire it. My sins, my corruptions, my infirmities make me feel my deep and daily need of it; and as its freeness, fulness, suitability and inexpressible blessedness are more and more opened up to my heart and conscience, so do I more and more cleave to and delight in it. What, in fact, is there which you can substitute for it? I assume that you have some concern about religion; that the solemn realities of eternity press with more or less weight on your conscience, and that you are awakened to see the evil of sin and your own evil case as sinners. I speak not to stocks and stones; I speak to you who desire to fear God and to have your hearts right before Him. If you have no concern about the salvation of your soul, you will love many things far beyond free grace. Money, dress, amusements, the pleasures that present themselves on every side, though hollow as the tomb and vain as a drunkard's mirth, will so charm your mind and occupy your thoughts that Christ and His gospel will have no place in your conscience. But if you have any anxiety about your eternal condition, and are brought to cry, What shall I do to be saved? then I ask you, what can you put in the place of free grace? Surely, you cannot be so foolish as to put your own works in its stead. Surely, you cannot be so ignorant of your ruined condition before God, and of what is revealed in the Scriptures of the way of salvation by the atoning blood of Jesus, as to substitute the words and works of man for the words and works of the God-Man? You may doubt your own interest in His atoning blood; but you do not doubt that salvation is all of grace, and that if saved your soul can be saved by grace alone. And why not YOU be saved? What countless trophies has grace already at the Redeemer's feet! What hosts of ruined wretches, of souls sunk beyond all other help or hope, has free grace sought out, rescued from their destructions, plucked from the jaws of hell, and ransomed from the hand of him that was stronger than they, so that they have come and sung in the height of Zion, and flowed together to the goodness of the Lord! Look at Paul. Where can we find among the sons of men a parallel to the great Apostle of the Gentiles? What a large capacity! What a powerful intellect he naturally possessed, but how subdued and subjugated it became by grace, and how devoted to the glory of God and the advancement of His dear Son! How grace arrested him at Damascus' gate, cast him down body and soul at the Redeemer's feet, translated him from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son, and changed a bloodthirsty persecuter of the church of Christ into a minister and an apostle, the greatest ever seen. As such, what a deep humility, thorough disinterestedness, noble simplicity, godly zeal, unwearied labours distinguished him from first to last-a course of more than thirty years. How in his inspired writings he pours, as it were, from his pen the richest streams of heavenly truth! With what clearness, power, and savour he describes and enforces the way of salvation through the bloodshedding and obedience of the Son of God, the blessings of free grace, the glorious privileges of the saints, and the things that make for their happiness and holiness! How in every epistle it seems as if his pen could hardly drop a line without in some way setting forth the infinite grace, the boundless mercy, and unfathomable love of God, as displayed in the gift of His dear Son, and the blessings that flow to the church through His blood and love. But look not at Paul only. View the jewels on every side that grace has set in the Redeemer's crown out of the most depraved and abject materials! Who, for instance, were those Ephesians to whom Paul wrote that wonderful epistle? The most foolish and besotted of idolators, so infatuated with their image which fell down from Jupiter-most probably some huge meteoric stone, that had falled from the sky-that they spent two hours until they wearied out their throats with crying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians!; men debased with every lust, ripe and ready for every crime. How rich, how marvellous the grace that changed worshippers of Diana into worshippers of Jehovah, brutal howlers into singers who made melody in their heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19), and magicians, full of curious arts and Satanic witchcraft, into saints built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets! Now cannot the same grace, that did so much for them, do the same or similar things for us? Is the nature of man now less vile, or is the grace of Christ now less full and free? Has the lapse of 1800 years raised man out of the depths of the Fall, eradicated sin from his constitution, cleansed the foul leprosy of his nature, and purified it into holiness? Let the thin sheet of decent morality and civilization be taken off the corpse, and here it lies in all its hideous ghastliness. Human nature is still what it ever was dead in trespasses and sins. Or has time, which changes so many things on earth, changed things in heaven? Is not God the same gracious Father, Jesus the same compassionate Saviour, the Holy Spirit the same heavenly Teacher? Is not the gospel the same glad tidings of salvation, and the power of the gospel the same to every one that believeth? Then why should not we be blessed with the same spiritual blessings as the saints at Ephesus? Why may not the same Jesus be to us what He was to them the same Spirit to do for us and in us what He did for and in them and the same grace save and sanctify us which saved and sanctified them? Here and here alone is our strength, our help, our hope, our all. By J.C. Philpot

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

"VISIT ME WITH THY SALVATION"

"Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation." (Psalm 106:4) -------------------- How is a man brought and taught to want to be "visited with" God's salvation? He must know something first of condemnation. Salvation only suits the condemned. "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost;" (Matthew 18:11) and therefore salvation only suits the lost. A man must be lost-utterly lost-before he can prize God's salvation. And how is he lost? By losing all his religion, losing all his righteousness, losing all his strength, losing all his confidence, losing all his hopes, losing all that is of the flesh; losing it by its being taken from him, and stripped away by the hand of God. A man who is brought into this state of utter beggary and complete bankruptcy - to be nothing, to have nothing, to know nothing, he is the man, who in the midnight watches, in his lonely hours, by his fireside, and at times, well - nigh night and day, is crying, groaning, begging, suing, seeking, and praying after the manifestation of God's salvation to his soul. "O visit me with thy salvation." He wants a visit from God; he wants God to come and dwell with him, take up his abode in his heart, discover Himself to him, manifest and reveal Himself, sit down with him, eat with him, walk with him, and dwell in him as his God. And a living soul can be satisfied with nothing short of this. He must have a visit...something that shall do his soul good; he wants something that shall cheer, refresh, comfort, bless, and profit him, remove his burdens, and settle his soul into peace. And therefore he wants a visitation that the presence and power, the mercy and the love of God should visit his soul. By J.C. Philpot

PROFESSORS AND POSSESSORS

The religious professor receives doctrines because he sees them in the Bible. The believer not only sees them in the Book, but he feels them in his heart, put there by the Holy Spirit. The believer gets at truth through trouble. He arrives at the banquet of mercy through sharp pangs of hunger. He lays hold of the robe of righteousness, chilled by nakedness. He comes to the cross because he is guilty and there is nowhere else to go. Thus the religionist and the believer (however they may resemble one another) have an eternal distinction which the hand of God has drawn between the living and the dead. By J.C. Philpot

"THE DESIRE OF OUR SOUL"

"The desire of our soul is to thy Name, and to the remembrance of thee." (Isaiah 26:8) -------------------- How sweet and expressive is the phrase, "The desire of our soul"! How it seems to carry our feelings with it! How it seems to describe the longings and utterings of a soul into which God has breathed the spirit of grace and mercy! "The desire of our soul" - the breathing of our heart, the longing of our inmost being; the cry, the sigh, the panting of our new nature; the heavings, gaspings, lookings, longings, pantings, hungerings, thirstings, and ventings forth of the new man of grace - all are expressed in those sweet and blessed words, "The desire of our soul"! And what a mercy it is, that there should ever be in us "the desire" of a living soul; that though the righteous dealings of God are painful and severe, running contrary to everything nature loves; yet that with all these, there should be dropped into the heart that mercy, love, and grace, which draw forth the desire of the soul toward the Name of God. This is expressed in the words that follow, "With my soul have I desired thee in the night"! If you can say no more about the work of grace upon your heart than that - can you really use these words as descriptive of feelings experienced within, "With my soul have I desired thee in the night"? Is your soul longing after the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it ever in the night season panting after the manifestation of his presence? Hungering and thirsting after the dropping-in of some word from his lips, some sweet whisper of his love to your soul? These are marks of grace. The carnal, the unregenerate, the ungodly, have no such desires and feelings as these; there is nothing in their heart corresponding with "the desire of the soul" unto the Name of God. But it is the case with all the righteous; for "the desire of the righteous shall be granted." (Proverbs 10:24). By J.C. Philpot

Saturday, 29 September 2012

GOD'S METHOD OF ANSWERING PRAYER

There is sometimes in men's minds a kind of confusion in this matter. They are in a certain path, from which they want to be extricated; they are under a trial, from which they want to be delivered; they call upon the Lord to deliver them; and they ask some manifestation of Himself; some going forth of His hand, some divine leading which they are to follow. But the Lord may be working in a very different way from what they think; and they may really be inattentive to the internal voice of God in their conscience, because they are expecting the voice to come in some other way. It was just so with myself. When I was in the Establishment, burdened with all the things I had to go through, and troubled and distressed in my mind, I was calling upon the Lord to deliver me, to lead me out, to show me what to do, to make the path plain and clear. Now that was my sincere cry; but I expected some miraculous interposition — to hear some voice, to have some wonderful leading; and in waiting for that, I was waiting for what the Lord never meant to bestow. And I was brought at last to this internal conviction: suppose I were living in drunkenness, suppose I were living in adultery, suppose I were walking in known sin, should I want a voice from God to say to me, "Leave this drunkenness, come out from this adultery, give up this sin"? Should I want some divine manifestation to bring me out of a sin, when my conscience bore its solemn witness, and I was miserable under the weight and burden of it? No; the very conviction is the answer of God to the prayer; the very burden which the Lord lays on us is meant to press us out of that in which we are walking. So I reasoned with myself:
"If I am living in sin, if it be a sin to be where I am, if I must do things which my conscience tells me are sins, and by which my conscience is burdened as sins, the very conviction, the very distress, the very burden, is the answer. It is the voice of God in the conscience, not the voice of God in the air, not the appearance of God in the sky, but the voice of God in the conscience, and the appearance of the frown of God in the heart."
And on this simple conviction I was enabled to act, and never to this day have repented it. I have, therefore, been led to see by experience, that we are often expecting wonderful answers, mysterious answers, and the Lord does not mean to give those answers. By J.C. Philpot

THE CROSS

Who has not found, in the first approaches of God to his soul, in the first dealings of the blessed Spirit with his conscience, great mountains and hills in the way? Some of these are from natural, but not for that less trying, quarters. How our relatives and friends oppose, perhaps persecute us; how our temporal interests often stand in the way of our conscience, and how, as was particularly my own case, all our worldly prospects and all our long and deeply cherished plans stand as a mountain in the way of taking up the cross and following Christ. My first stroke was the cutting down of all my worldly prospects, for those who could and would have advanced me to emolument and honour were deadly enemies to the truths of the Gospel which I had embraced. The second was sharper still, for it took away my all, and almost stripped me to my last penny. When I was in the Church of England, I thought nothing could bring me out, for I dreaded the prospect of poverty and sickness, as I was at that time in a bad state of health. Oh, what a mountain this was before my eyes! The very thought of leaving, how it worked in my mind, until conscience knocked at the door again and again; and the voice of conscience at last obliged me to listen and obey. But so different was the prospect from the reality, that the day after I left was one of the most comfortable I ever had in my life; and truly wonderful, for more than twenty-three years since, have been the Lord's providential dealings with me. By J.C. Philpot

THE UTTER PROVERTY OF MAN

In the beginning of my experience in the things of God, which is now more than twenty-nine years ago, I had this truth impressed upon my conscience, as I have reason to believe, very powerfully and very distinctly, by the finger of God — that I could know nothing, but by divine teaching; have nothing, but by divine giving; and be nothing, but by divine making. And this truth thus impressed upon my conscience, so far from being erased by any subsequent experience, either of myself or of the Lord, has only been more and more deepened from that time to this. I think I can at times see the wisdom, as well as the goodness, of God, in tracing that truth on my heart in the first beginnings of grace; for I can perceive several benefits springing out of it. Just at that time my natural mind was very strongly bent upon human knowledge, for I had spent many years in various studies; and had it not been counteracted by divine teaching, I might have attempted to make myself a Christian, as I had previously made myself a linguist. Again, it set grace as a divine jewel in my heart's affections, and compared with it, everything else in my eyes was but dung and dross. A third benefit which I see at times to have sprung out of it, was, that it brought me to admire grace in others, where ever I might see it. It not only brought me down to stand on a level with the most ignorant and uneducated who possess grace, but very often in my soul's feelings sunk me very far below them; for I could see in them clearly that grace which darkness of mind had often hidden from myself. Grace, in the first instance, having thus been commended to my conscience, it has taught me ever since so to esteem, admire, and love it, wherever I can recognize it. Nor do I think that I should be very far from the mark, if I say that the apostle Paul, though I would not be so presumptuous as to compare myself for a moment with him, was not of a different mind; for who so much as he exalted the grace of God, and the teaching and testimony of the blessed Spirit? By J.C. Philpot

"I HAVE STUCK UNTO THY TESTIMONIES"

"I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame." (Psalm 119:31) -------------------- I know by soul experience that sticking to God's testimonies has kept me from many errors. When I have been placed, years back, before my mind was established in the truth, in circumstances of great trial; when I have seen dear friends fall around me, on the right hand and on the left, some into one error and some into another, and my own mind was driven to and fro by these winds and gusts, it was this solemn conviction that made me stick to that testimony which God had dropped into my heart, not to go into things which I had not known, nor to rush into doctrines which I was not spiritually taught. I have seen some friends dropping first into Arianism, then into Socinianism; others I have known to become Irvingites; some going into one error and some into another. And what then kept me? Why, this solemn conviction, which I trust the LORD Himself had implanted, to stick to God's testimony, to cleave to what I had felt, to abide by what I had known, and to hang upon that as the only link which held me up from making shipwreck altogether. And thus the LORD kept me by this powerful though invisible tie, when those who seemed to know more than I departed on the right hand and on the left. Therefore, by soul experience I can, in some measure, say, "I have stuck unto thy testimonies;" and since then I have felt the solid benefit of sticking to God's testimonies in my conscience, though it has cost me many sacrifices, and often made me on the right hand and on the left to encounter friend and foe. But to stick to God's testimonies will bring peace at last. By J.C. Philpot

Friday, 28 September 2012

AN ETERNAL DISTINCTION

The religious professor receives doctrines because he sees them in the Bible. The believer not only sees them in the Book, but he feels them in his heart, put there by the Holy Spirit. The believer gets at truth through trouble. He arrives at the banquet of mercy through sharp pangs of hunger. He lays hold of the robe of righteousness chilled by nakedness. He comes to the cross because he is guilty and there is nowhere else to go. Thus the religionist and the believer (however they may resemble one another) have an eternal distinction which the hand of God has drawn between the living and the dead. By J.C. Philpot

Sunday, 20 May 2012

YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE

"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (I Corinthians 6:20) How deep, how dreadful, of what awful magnitude, of how black a dye, of how ingrained a stamp must sin be, to need such an atonement - no less than the blood of Him who was the Son of God - to put it away. What a slave to sin and Satan, what a captive to the power of lust, how deeply sunk, how awfully degraded, how utterly lost and undone must guilty man be to need a sacrifice like this. "Ye are bought with a price." Have you ever felt your bondage to sin, Satan, and the world? Have you ever groaned, cried, grieved, sorrowed, and lamented under your miserable captivity to the power of sin? Has the iron ever entered into your soul? Have you ever clanked your fetters, and as you did so, and tried to burst them, they seemed to bind round about you with a weight scarcely endurable? But have you ever found any liberty from them, any enlargement of heart, any sweet going forth from the prison-house, any dropping of the manacles from your hands, and the fetters from your feet, so as to walk in some measure of gospel liberty? "Ye are bought with a price." Ye were slaves of sin and Satan - ye were shut up in the dark cell, where all was gloom and despondency; there was little hope in your soul of ever being saved. But there was an entrance of gospel light into your dungeon; there was a coming out of the house of bondage; there was a being brought into the light of God’s countenance, shining forth in His dear Son. Now, this is not only being bought with a price, but experiencing the blessed effects of it. By J.C. Philpot

TOYS AND PLAY-THINGS OF THE RELIGIOUS BABY HOUSE

"I will feed my flock." (Ezekiel 34:15) The only real food of the soul must be of God's own appointing, preparing, and communicating. You can never deceive a hungry child. You may give it a plaything but still it cries. It may serve for a few minutes; but the pains of hunger are not to be removed by a doll. A toy horse will not allay the cravings after the mother's breast. So with babes in grace. A hungry soul cannot feed upon playthings. Altars, robes, ceremonies, candlesticks, bowings, mutterings, painted windows, intoning priests, and singing men and women; these dolls and wooden horses; these toys and playthings of the religious baby house, cannot feed the soul that, like David, cries out after the living God (Psalm 42:23). Christ, the bread of life, the manna that came down from heaven, is the only food of the believing soul (John 6:51). By J.C. Philpot

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

"IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED AS WE ARE - YET WITHOUT SIN"

"For we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
(Hebrews 4:15)

Our gracious Lord experienced temptation in every shape and form, for the word of truth declares that "in all points he was tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

I wish to speak very cautiously upon this subject, for upon a point so difficult and so mysterious there is great risk of speaking amiss. So long as we keep strictly within the language of the Scripture we are safe, but the moment that we draw inferences from the word without special guidance by the Spirit of truth, we may greatly err. You may think then, sometimes, that your temptations are such as our gracious Lord never could have been tempted by; but that word of the Apostle decides the question, "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

It is a solemn mystery which I cannot explain, how temptation in every point, shape, and form could assail the holy soul of the immaculate Redeemer. I fully believe it. I see the grace and wisdom of it, and my faith acquiesces in it as most blessed truth. But I cannot understand it.

I know also and believe from the testimony of the word and that of my own conscience, that whatever temptations he was assailed with, not one of them COULD OR DID SULLY, STAIN, or SPOT HIS HOLY HUMANITY.

That was absolutely and perfectly a pure, unfallen, immortal nature, able to die by a voluntary act, but having in itself no seeds of sickness, mortality, or death.

And yet I read that, though thus possessed of a holy, pure, and spotless humanity, in everlasting union with his own eternal Deity, in all points He was tempted like as we are. I cannot explain the mystery--I do not wish to do so. I receive it as a mystery, in the same way as I receive that great mystery of godliness, "God manifested in the flesh."

But still I bless God that he was tempted in all points like as we are; for it makes him such a sympathizing High Priest with his poor, exercised, tried, tempted family here below. I have sometimes compared the temptations which beat upon the soul of the Lord to the waves of the sea that dash themselves against a pure, white marble rock. The rock may feel the shock of the wave; but it is neither moved by it nor sullied. It still stands unmoved, immovable in all its original firmness; it still shines in all the brightness of the pure, glittering marble when the waves recede and the sun breaks forth on its face.

So none of the temptations with which the Lord was assailed moved the Rock of ages, or sullied the purity, holiness, and perfection of the spotless Lamb of God.

By J.C. Philpot

Monday, 7 May 2012

THE UNIQUE EXPERIENCE OF THE LORD JESUS' SUFFERING UNDER THE FELT BURDEN OF IMPUTED SIN

The chief burden of the Lord’s living family is sin. This is the main cause of all their sighs and groans, from the first quickening breath of the Spirit of God in their hearts till they lay down their bodies in dust. But it may be asked, what experience could the blessed Lord have had of sin. Seeing he was perfectly free from it both in body and soul? It is indeed a most certain and a most blessed truth that our gracious Redeemer “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21); was “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19); and was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” (Hebrews 7:26) Still, sin was so imputed to Him, and the Lord so “laid on him the iniquities of us all,” that he felt them just as if they had been His own. “He was made sin for us;” its guilt and burden were laid on his sacred head, and so became by imputation His that it was as if He had committed the sins charged upon Him. Take the following illustration. View sin as a debt to the justice of God. Now, if you are a surety for another, and he cannot pay the debt, it becomes yours just as much as if you had yourself personally contracted it. The law makes no distinction between his debt and yours; and the creditor may sell the very bed from under you to pay the debt, just as if you were the original debtor. So the blessed Lord, by becoming Surety for His people, took upon Him their sins, and thus made them His own. How else can we explain those expressions in the Psalms, which are evidently the language of his heart and lips, such as the following? “For innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart faileth me.” (Psalm 40:12) Does not the Lord here speak of His iniquities taking hold upon Him, so that under their weight and burden He could not look up, and that they were more in number than the hairs of His head? With the burden and weight of sin comes the wrath of God into the sinner’s conscience; and this is the most distressing feeling that can be well experienced out of hell. So the blessed Lord, when He took the burden and weight of sin, came under this wrath. This was “the horrible pit” into which He sank, (Psalm 40:2), “the deep mire in which there was no standing,” “the deep waters where the floods overflowed him” (Psalm 69:2). This made Him say, “For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as a hearth. My heart is smitten and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread. For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, because of thine indignation and thy wrath; for thou hast lifted me up and cast me down.” (Psalm 102:3, 4, 9, 10.) None who read the word of truth with an enlightened eye can doubt that these Psalms refer to the blessed Lord, and that it is He who speaks in them. Then there is the curse of the law, which peals such loud thunders, and sinks so deeply into the heart and conscience of the awakened sinner. But did not Jesus endure this too? Surely He did, both in body and soul, as the apostle declares, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written. Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13). Then there are the hidings of God’s countenance, the withdrawings of His presence, and His forsakings of the soul that still hangs upon him and cleaves to him. But cannot our gracious Lord here deeply sympathise with His people who are mourning and sighing under the hidings of God’s countenance, for was not this the last bitter drop of the cup of suffering which He drank to the very dregs? Did heaven or earth ever hear so mournful a cry as when the darling Son of God, in the agony of His tortured soul, cried out, “My God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me?” Thus, whatever in number or degree be the spiritual griefs and sorrows of the Lord’s people; whatever convictions, burdens, sorrows, distresses, pangs of conscience, doubts, fears, and dismay under the wrath of God, the curse of the law, the hidings of His face, and the withdrawings of the light of His countenance they may grieve and groan under. Jesus, their blessed Forerunner, experienced them all in the days of His flesh, and to a degree and extent infinitely beyond all human conception. Can any heart conceive, or any tongue express what the dear Redeemer experienced in the garden of Gethsemane, when His soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; when he thrice prayed that the cup might pass from Him, and being in an agony, prayed more earnestly, so that His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground? Might He not truly say, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger” (Lamentations 1:12). An awakened sinner, under divine quickening, has to bear but the weight of his own sins; but Jesus had to bear the sins of millions. It is at best but a few drops of the wrath of, God, and that wrath as already appeased, that fall into a trembling sinner’s conscience; but Jesus had to endure all the wrath of God due to millions of ransomed transgressors. It is but the distant peals of the law which sound in a convinced sinner’s soul; but the whole storm burst upon the head of the Surety. In a little wrath God hides his face from his Zion for a moment; but in great wrath he hid His face from His dear Son. Thus, whatever be the spiritual sorrows and troubles of afflicted Zion, even though she be “tossed with tempest and not comforted,” in all she has a Head who suffered infinitely more than all the collective members. They do but “fill up what is behind of the afflictions of Christ;” (Colossians 1:24); but O how small is that measure of affliction compared with His! It was, then, his personal experience of these spiritual afflictions which makes the blessed Lord so sympathising a High Priest at the right hand of God. Though now exalted to the heights of glory, He can still feel for His suffering saints here below. The garden of Gethsemane, the cross of Calvary, are still in His heart’s remembrance, and all the tender pity and rich compassion of His soul melt towards His afflicted saints; for, His heart is touch’d with tenderness. His bowels melt with love. By J.C. Philpot

THE FLESH

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh." (John 3:6) There is no promise made that in this life, we shall be set free from the indwelling and the in-working of sin. Many think that their flesh is to become "progressively holier and holier" — that sin after sin is to be removed gradually out of the heart — until at last they are almost made perfect in the flesh. But this is an idle dream, and one which, sooner or later will be crudely and roughly broken to pieces! The flesh will ever remain the same — and we shall ever find that the flesh will lust against the Spirit. Our fleshly nature is corrupt to the very core. It cannot be mended. It cannot be sanctified. It is the same at the last, as it was at the first — inherently evil, and as such will never cease to be corrupt until we put off mortality — and with it the body of sin and death. All we can hope for, long after, expect, and pray for — is that this evil fleshly nature may be subdued, kept down, mortified, crucified, and held in subjection under the power of grace. But as to any such change passing upon the flesh — or taking place in the flesh as to make it holy — it is but a pharisaic delusion, which, promising a holiness in the flesh, leaves us still under the power of sin. The true sanctification of the new man of grace — which is wrought by a divine power — is utterly distinct from any imagined holiness in the flesh — or any vain dream of its progressive sanctification. By J.C. Philpot

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

"THE LORD WILL GIVE GRACE AND GLORY"

"The LORD will give grace and glory."
(Psalm 84:11)

Wherever the Lord gives grace, He in and with that grace gives glory.

We, therefore, read, "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them healso glorified."
(Romans 8:30)

Thus he has already made them, even while on earth, partakers of His glory; and this by making them partakers of His grace; for as in the bud is the bloom, and in the bloom the fruit, so in budding grace is blooming glory — grace being but glory begun, and glory being but grace finished.

But what is "glory"?

Viewed as future, in its full consummation, it is to be with Jesus in realms of eternal bliss, where tears are wiped from off all faces; it is to see Him as He is; to be conformed to His glorious likeness; to be delivered from all sin and sorrow; to be perfectly free from all temptations, trials, burdens, and exercises, and to dwell for ever in that happy land, "the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity;" (Isaiah 33:24) where a weary body, aburdened conscience, a troubled heart, a faint and weary mind, are utterly and for ever unknown.

In a word, it is to have a glorified body re-united to a glorified soul, and for both to be as full of happiness and holiness, bliss and blessedness, as an immortal spirit can hold, and an immortal frame can endure, drinking in to the full, with unutterable satisfaction but without satiety, the pleasures that are at God's right hand for evermore.

But no human heart can conceive, nor human tongue unfold in what the nature and fulness of this glory consist; for "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Yet all this glory will the Lord give to those upon whom He has already bestowed His grace. He gives them grace now, to bring them through this wilderness world, this vale of tears, this scene of temptation, sin, and sorrow; and when He lands them on that happy shore, he gives them there the fulness of His glory.

Then will be fully accomplished the Redeemer's prayer and will: "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).

Their right and title to the enjoyment of this predestinated inheritance are securely lodged in the hands of their covenant Head; and he living at God's right hand to save them to the uttermost, all their temptations, enemies, sins, and sorrows can never hinder them from reaching the shore on which God has decreed they shall safely land.

Satan may spread a thousand snares to entangle their feet; not a day or scarcely an hour may pass that they are not burdened with indwelling sin; a myriad of lusts may start up in arms from the depths of their carnal mind; and many a pang of guilt and thrill of despair may seem at times wholly to cut them off from eternal life. But yet, where the Lord has given grace He will give glory; for when He gives grace with the left hand, He gives glory with the right; yea, we may say that with both hands He gives at once both grace and glory; for as grace and glory flow out of the same loving heart, and are given by the same loving God, they maybe said to be given by both hands at one and the same time.

A portion or foretaste of this glory is given on earth in every discovery of the glory of Christ; as the Lord speaks in John 17:22 - "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them" — already given them; and this he did when "he manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him" (John 2:11).

By J.C. Philpot

Sunday, 25 March 2012

THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST

Take the doctrines of grace isolated from the Person of Christ; they are scattered limbs. There is no beauty in them alone.

But view the truth of the Gospel in connection with the Person and work of the Son of God, what a heavenly light, what a divine glory is cast upon every truth connected with His sacred Person, atoning blood, finished work, and dying love!

This is the way to receive the Gospel; not as a thing of shreds and patches, a mere collection or scheme of certain doctrines floating up and down God’s Word, as waifs and strays from a stranded ship; but as ONE HARMONIOUS GOSPEL, full of grace, mercy, and truth, impregnated with divine blessedness, and all connected with, all springing out of the Person of the God-Man.

By J.C. Philpot

Friday, 20 January 2012

CHOOSING A TEXT FOR A SERMON

I found upon the vestry table this morning a letter requesting me to preach from a certain text, "Jesus wept."

The writer of that letter must know very little of the perplexities and exercises that I and every minister of truth have with respect to the texts that we preach from.

I cannot take a text, and speak from it in the mere exercise of my judgment.

Before I can take a text, and preach from it, I must have three things.

First, I must see a vein of experience in it; in other words, I must have light upon it.

secondly, I must find a measure of sweetness and savour in it; I must know something personally of the experience contained in it, and feel a measure of dew and unction to rest upon it; in other words, I must have life from it.

And thirdly, I must find in it sufficient matter to form a tolerably full and connected discourse. I cannot run here, there, and everywhere all through the scriptures, nor deal in vague, loose generalities: but as far as the Lord gives me wisdom, strength, and ability, my path is to unfold the mind of the Spirit in such portions of the Scripture as are commended with some savour to my conscience.

In making these remarks, I wish not to condemn other gracious men who are led differently. Each has his own path and his own work: and God will bless each according to that line in which he leads him.

By J.C. Philpot