The Choicest Mercy

Stephen Charnock (Works, Vol. 5, pp. 195-196):

The gospel is the choicest mercy, and therefore the removal of it the sharpest misery. The gospel is so much the best of blessings, as God is the best of beings. This is the sun that enlightens the mind, this is the rain that waters the heart. Without this, we should sink into an heathen, brutish, or devilish superstition. By this, the quickening Spirit renews the soul, and begins a gracious and spiritual life in order to a glorious and eternal one. It is by this our souls are refined and our lusts consumed. Without it we are without help, and without hope; without it we have no prospect of a world to come, nor any sight of the paths that lead to happiness. This is the foundation of the peace and joy of our spirits here, this is the basis of our hopes of happiness hereafter. This is a pearl of great price; this is the glory and honour of a church, people, or person. This only instructs us to save our souls. Your trades may gain and preserve an estate, your bread may nourish your bodies, this only can fatten and prop your souls; had we the law only, which yet is the law of God, we should still find it weak through the flesh, it cannot now save us, though the observance of it might have made our father Adam happy. It is the gospel only that is strong to save through the Spirit. The law could bless an innocent man, but the gospel only restores a guilty man. When the candlestick, the gospel, therefore, is removed, the light is removed which is able to direct us, the pearl is removed which is able to enrich us. In the want of this is introduced a spiritual darkness, which ends in an eternal darkness. As the gospel is compared to heaven, and so called the kingdom of heaven, and a people in the enjoyment of it are said to be ‘lifted up to heaven,’ Mat. 10:23, so in the want of it they are said to be cast down into hell, so that what resemblance there is between heaven and the means of grace, that there is between the want of them and hell, both are a separation from God by divorce between God and a people.​



How faith advances the Christian in his new life

Robert Traill (The Lord’s Prayer, John 17:24), Works 2:120:

Paul teacheth us how faith advanceth the Christian in his new life; 2 Cor. 3:18, “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.” We all: it is not only I, Paul, whom you may think singularly privileged: but all we, who under the dispensation of the gospel, have had the veil taken off our hearts and eyes, we all behold the same glory of Christ, and with the same sort of fruit. Though we do not all behold it in the same clearness and brightness, nor with the same measure of fruit; yet all that do truly behold his glory, are truly made conformable to him.


Gurnall: Satan plants his succeeding temptation in our very resistance in the former


Our judgments shall be one of these tests

John Brown of Edinburgh; “Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord”; page 252

Whatever our judgments of each other may be, his judgment of us all will be according to truth. The sentiment seems to be this-‘Beware of wrong judgments, especially false and hasty judgments, of your fellow-men, for all your judgments are to be reviewed, and by these judgments you are yourselves to be then judged.’ Not that the judgments we form of each other are to be the only, or the principal test by which our character is to be tried and our doom fixed, any more than our words are to be the only test, though it is said, “By the words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned;” but our judgments shall be one of these tests, and our words shall be another. ‘Take care that your judgments be such as will bear judgment, for if they will not, they must lead to condemnation.’


Can we prevent the judgment of God?

Question: What course shall we take to prevent the judgment of God, and keep it from us?

[extract from “The Church’s Visitation”, by Richard Sibbes, in his Works, I.381-382.]


Chrysostom on the Scriptures

John Chrysostom (349-407): Tell me how many people have been scandalized by the Scriptures? From them, how many heresies have derived the pretext for their own existence? Therefore, on account of those who were scandalized, should the Scriptures have been blotted out, or never given to begin with? Not at all! Rather, they should most certainly have been given, on account of those who would reap profit from them. As for those who are scandalized―again I will not stop saying the same things―let them impute the scandal to themselves. Those who were to derive exceedingly great profit from the Scriptures would have been wronged if the senselessness and heedlessness of the others had deprived them of this benefit from receiving the Scriptures. Therefore, do not tell me about those who are perishing. As I said in my earlier discourse, no one can be hurt by others who does not hurt himself―even if his very life is in danger.

St. John Chrysostom, On the Providence of God, trans. Monk Moses (Worcester) (Platina: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2015), chapter 15, p. 119.


Chilled affections

“The reason our affections are so chilled and cold in religion—is that we do not warm them with thoughts of God. Hold a magnifying glass to the sun, and the glass burns that which is near to it. So when our thoughts are lifted up to Christ, the Sun of righteousness, our affections are set on fire. No sooner had the spouse been thinking upon her Savior’s beauty—but she fell into love-sickness. (Song of Sol. 5:8). O saints, do but let your thoughts dwell upon the love of Christ, who passed by angels and thought of you; who was wounded that, out of his wounds, the balm of Gilead might come to heal you; who leaped into the sea of his Father’s wrath, to save you from drowning in the lake of fire! Think of this unparalleled love, which sets the angels wondering—and see if it will not affect your hearts and cause tears to flow forth!”

Thomas Watson

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