The one who bows to the solemn and searching teaching of God’s Word, the one who there learns the awful wreckage which sin has wrought in the human constitution, the one who sees the exalted standard of holiness which God has set before us, cannot fail to discover what a vile wretch he is. If he is given to behold how far short he falls of attaining to God’s standard; if, in the light of the divine sanctuary, he discovers how little he resembles the Christ of God; then will he find this language most suited to express his godly sorrow. If God reveals to him the coldness of his love, the pride of his heart, the wanderings of his mind, the evil that defiles his godliest acts, he will cry, “O wretched man that I am.”
“Jesus often met there with His disciples.” (John 18:2)
Would it not be well if disciples often met there with Jesus? Is there not, indeed, a sense in which Gethsemane ought to be regarded as the very oratoire of the Church, the closet, spiritually, where we may, with many precious aids to faith, pray to our Father who sees in secret and rewards openly, as we shall see He rewarded the Man of Sorrows?
The most settled and general part of my unbelief may appear by the following hints, viz. I cannot view Jesus Christ in that loveliness, excellency, and preeminence, as I find him set forth in the word of truth. I cannot find sufficient ability in my soul to believe in him, wholly and unfeignedly ; and how can I believe in him, without a right view of him ? Sometimes I can set him forth to others, in the words and light of Scripture, so that I believe many of the children of God have their very souls nourished and fed by what I say: and upon certain times I myself am much delighted in, and with the work ; but when I retire into myself, and consider the barrenness of my soul, my strangeness to, and alienation from God, Jesus Christ?
One way of sin is exception enough against the man’s salvation. Though the sin that he lives in be but small: such persons will not be guilty of perjury. stealing, drunkenness, fornication; they look upon them to be heinous things, and they are afraid of them; but they do not much matter it, if they oppress a little in a bargain, if they commend a thing too much when they are about to sell it, if they break a promise, if they spend the Sabbath unprofitably, if they neglect secret prayer, if they talk rudely and reproach others; they think these are but small things, if they can keep clear of great transgressions, they hope that God will not insist upon small things. — But indeed all the commands of God are established by divine authority: a small shot may kill a man, as well as a cannon bullet: a small leak may sink a ship.
The Way to Know Sincerity Hypocrisy Cleared Up
There was a time, if “time” is could be called, when God, in the unity of His nature (though subsisting equally in three Divine Persons), dwelt all alone. “In the beginning, God.” There was no heaven, where His glory is now particularly manifested.
But perhaps it may be said, ‘I believe this, but I do not find peace in my conscience.’ Nay, but you do not believe it: if you did, it would certainly bring present relief; for guilt comes from the broken law, and from the apprehension of punishment deserved : but the law has been restored to its dignity, and made infinitely honorable by the righteousness of Jesus—how can you believe this, and yet be under guilt? The punishment was laid upon Jesus, and he suffered all that was due to his people, as their atoning sacrifice—how can you believe this, and yet fear that justice will punish you? A debtor would not fear to be arrested, if his surety had paid the sum, and got him a full discharge. A felon, with the king’s pardon in his pocket, would dishonor it greatly, if he was to live in continual dread and terror of suffering for his crime. Examine carefully, and pray for the right understanding of your case: and depend upon it, you will find that either you do not believe the matter of fact, or the record concerning it.
When the Holy Spirit has convinced a sinner of his being in this unrighteous state, then it becomes an important inquiry — how can the Judge of all the earth ever look upon and treat a sinner, as if he was a righteous person ? To which the gospel answers direct- ly — " God hath made Christ to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Published in 1847…. One of the best commentaries on Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress written.
Though we cannot be always thinking of God, we may be always employed in his service. There must be intervals of our communion with him, but there must be no intermission of our attachment to him. The tender father who labors for his children does not always employ his thoughts about them: he cannot be always conversing with them or concerning them, yet he is always engaged in promoting their interests.