Nothing but Poverty, Want, and Emptiness

Robert Traill (Stedfast Adherence to the Profession of our Faith), Works 3:89:

De zieke vrouw Rijksmuseum SK-C-230Faith gives glory to God because it brings nothing to him but poverty, want, and emptiness. All graces bring something to God, but faith brings nothing. Love brings a flaming, burning heart to God; repentance brings a bleeding, broken heart to God; obedience brings a working hand to God; patience brings, as it were, a broad back to God, let him lay on what he will. Poor faith brings just nothing, but the poor man’s bare hand and empty dish. The poorer man comes to God, the more glory to God. It is remarkable, that in those cases wherein we bring something to God, we are very apt to carry away something of the glory that belongs to him: faith brings nothing at all to God; it brings no more than broken bones and sores to the great Physician.

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Mercies Should Be Treasured Up

Robert Traill (Sermons from 1 Peter 1:1-4), Works 4:141:

Sapphire colourchanging 1.40ctsIt is impossible that we can remember all God’s mercies, but it is a very sinful thing to forget his special mercies. They should be treasured up in our memories as the most precious jewels that we can lodge there. Our memory is a kind of room, in which we must lay up what we would keep safe; and a marvellous house our memory is. Now meditation is nothing else, if I may so say, but a man’s going from one chamber to another in this house, and to compare together, and to examine all God’s loving kindness towards us. When the Psalmist charges it on himself not to forget all his benefits, the man is far from meaning that he could remember them all; but he was desirous to charge himself with them as well as he could, and laboured to remember them as well as he could. This is the first thing that we should mind in praising the Lord; for unless the mind be well employed, fixedly and seriously employed, in thinking upon the Lord’s mercies, we shall never pay the debt of thankfulness and praise honestly and heartily.

Source:, Comment 1

Spiritual Attention in an Age of Distraction

Ferdinand Hodler - Der Lesende (ca.1885)

“We live in an age of distraction. Apparently, the average long-term attention span is only 5 minutes. The average short-term attention span is only 8 seconds due to the influence of social media. Constant skimming content online means that we can struggle to read books closely. Yet the most important subjects require extended attention span. With this we must disengage from distractions to give exclusive attention to something. Nothing is more significant for the good of our soul than sustained attention. Scripture emphasises this constantly.”

Source:, Comment 1

True Christians Come Unto God


He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. — Hebrews 7:25

True Christians come unto God. They are not as many, who turn their backs upon him: —who ‘go into a far country,’ like the prodigal son: —’who go out,’ like Cain, ‘from the presence of the Lord:’—who are ‘alienated, strangers, and enemies in their mind by wicked works’ (Col. 1:21). They are reconciled to God and friends of God. They are not as many, who dislike everything that belongs to God, —his Word, his day, his ordinances, his people, his house. They love all that belongs to their Master. The very footprints of his steps are dear unto them. ‘His name is as ointment poured forth’ (Song of Sol. 1:3). —They are not as many, who are content with coming to church, or with coming to chapel, or with coming to the Lord’s table. They go further than that. They ‘come unto God,’ and in communion with God they live.

But, more than this, true Christians come unto God in a certain peculiar way. They come unto God by Christ, —pleading no other plea, mentioning no other name, trusting in no other righteousness, resting on no other foundation than this, —that Jesus hath lived, Jesus hath died, Jesus hath risen again for their souls:

I the chief of sinners am, but Jesus died for me.

This is the way by which the true Christian draws near to God.

—from J.C. Ryle, Old Paths, pp. 410-11.

There Are Some Benefits Enjoyed By The Wicked

Beautiful misty view of Pillar Rocks of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India

“There are many things under the power of Christ besides which are the immediate objects of his purchase. Angels, devils, reprobate men, and things irrational and inanimate, are all put under the feet of the Mediator; yet not one of these can be said to have been redeemed by his blood. There are some benefits enjoyed by the wicked of the world, which, as they result from the mediatorial economy, may be said to be, indirectly at least, the fruits of Christ’s death. Such is the case with the divine forbearance, with temporal favors, and with the outward dispensation of gospel ordinances, of which the wicked partake, but which, bur for the scheme of salvation, they could never have enjoyed.”

~William Symington

Source:, Comment 3

Every Major Tenet Had Considerable Support


Jaroslav Pelikan, from his chapter on “The Tragic Necessity of the Reformation”:

Not a new “Protestant” gospel, then, but the gospel of the true church, the catholic church of all generations, is what the Reformers claimed to be espousing. Substantiation for this understanding of the gospel came principally from the Scriptures; but whenever they could, the reformers also quoted the fathers of the catholic church. There was more to quote than their Roman opponents found comfortable. Every major tenet of the Reformation had considerable support in the catholic tradition.

~Jaroslav Pelikan, The Riddle of Roman Catholicism (New York: Abingdon Press, 1959), pp. 48-49.

Source:, Comment 13

Faith and God’s Faithfulness are Relatives


Robert Traill (Stedfast Adherence to the Profession of our Faith), Works 3:70:

Faith and God’s faithfulness are relatives; they are necessarily related one to another. There were no use for divine faithfulness declared, no promise in time had been made, unless for some that should believe, John 17:20; there were no use in this world for faith, if there were not some appearance of divine faithfulness for faith to act upon. God’s faithfulness is revealed on purpose that it may be believed. Faith is given on purpose that divine faithfulness may be trusted in, and rested on, and applied. They relate one to another as necessarily as the eye and light do, and these are mighty like. If God had created creatures with eyes, and colours, or any other visible things, and no light to see by, it might be said, Wherefore gave he them eyes? The case is just so here: All the breakings forth of divine faithfulness are for faith’s sake, that it may work upon it; and all the giving of faith is for faithfulness sake, that it may act upon it.

Source:, Comment 1