Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Sunday, October 15, 2017

I praise His holy name!!!

IT behoved this Immanuel in all things to be made like unto his brethren; therefore he went down into Egypt. All he did upon earth had some use and meaning. By some facts he testified what he was doing, and by others, what he would continually do, for his people.
"Out of Egypt have I called my Son," saith the Lord. His redeemed were spiritually in Egypt, the house of bondage. They were there under the service of a cruel king, a prince. who rules in the world by usurpation till the time appointed. Grievous are the tasks, and sad are the wages, of this tyrant of souls. Jesus went down, and came up again for a sign. As the head of his people, he did this, preaching their redemption from bondage in himself. In their order and times, they come up out of Egypt too, by the strong hand of this Captain of salvation. He is great in might, and therefore not one of them faileth. The prince of the air loses his dominion over them; and though he follow them like Pharoah’s mob, and chase them all the way, he cannot hinder their course of faith, nor rob them of their Canaan in glory.
Oh marvellous love of my Savior! Was it not enough for you to take up my nature in its best estate, without submitting to a manger, to contempt, to persecution, to banishment, and all the wrongs of men? Oh how low must I be fallen, that it should be needful for you, (for, if it had not been needful, this act had been spared,) to endure poverty, wretchedness, and shame, that I might be delivered from all! I was in Egypt, and you tamest to me. Your grace preached liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound. Your power performed what your love proclaimed; and you brought the prisoners from the prison, and those that sat in darkness out of the prisonhouse! Oh wonderful to tell! I, among your ransomed, have followed you in the regeneration out of this dismal Egypt, and have tasted a little of the glorious liberty of your children. Not unto me, my dear Savior, not unto me, but unto your name be all the praise. I was wallowing in the mire of Egypt, and in the mud of the Nile; I was entirely given up to the filth and pollutions of this world, and should have remained therein, till I had been sunk for ever in its woe; unless your mighty arm had worked my deliverance, and set me free. Glory to you, Jehovah-Jesus, you Savior all-divine, for mercy unmeasurable like this, for grace and glory yet before me, to which there is no end! Oh how shall I shew forth your praise for all which you have done for my soul?

Ambrose Serle

The souls difficulty in embracing mercy

I know not how it is with others, but I find myself very unable, nay, most unable when I have the greatest occasion, to lay hold upon this mighty mercy of God; to rest upon it, and make it my own; and to use it for my consolation and support. I long for this with the full purpose of my heart; and my groans and tears in secret are well known unto God. But I have also an evil heart of unbelief, which suggests a thousand doubts and fears, sometimes of God's willingness to save me particularly, who am so very vile and faithless; and sometimes of my own reality of desire towards him, which is often dreadfully mixed with the desire of other things, and overwhelmed with cares and sorrows, difficulties and temptations. 0 what great troubles and adversities has God shown me! How shall I be delivered from the body of this death? How shall I lay hold on eternal life? How shall I know that I have fast hold; or be assured, that none shall be able to pluck me from it? 0 Lord, to be assured of this your favor, is, both in life and death, of more worth to me than a thousand times ten thousand worlds. For I might have these, and be wretched; but, with you, I can have nothing but life and peace for evermore.

Ambrose Serle

Friday, October 13, 2017

A true believer is like Rebecca...

Faith is the gift and the operation of God. It comes by the Holy Spirit’s power, moving and strengthening the sublimest faculties of the soul, and is really a regeneration, a rebegetting, a revival of life from the dead. Thus the believer is said to be born of the Spirit, because it is the Spirit’s office in the covenant of grace to regenerate, and because it is the promise concerning the Spirit to all, even as many as God shall call. And thus also the Christian is said to be born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. When this principle of divine life and light is given to the soul, it enables the soul to feel its own loss and misery, and to see its own sin and darkness. A man can have no true sight of the nature of sin but by this grace. He is, therefore, in some sense, a believer before he knows himself to be one. Faith acts in him, before he can be sensible of the reflex act of faith. He first lives; and then he feels his misery; and then he cries for mercy. He cries for mercy, and then is enlightened to see the way of mercy in the word of mercy. He is next enlightened to behold the free welcome and rich bounty of this mercy to all returning sinners. He is enabled to contemplate upon himself, and to view the fitness of God’s mercy for him, and his fitness, as a convinced sinner, for it. He is then strengthened to embrace it, like a poor creature who must perish without it, but who shall never perish with it. And at length God’s grace seals itself upon the soul, by giving a true taste of joy and peace in believing, insomuch that the broken drooping heart revives, and is able to say, “I do humbly venture to believe that Christ died for me, and will save me for evermore.” 
Now, through all the course of this gracious work, which, according to the will of God, is slower in some than in others, there is often much doubting and disputing in the man’s own conscience. It is a sore struggle, at times, to quell the clamours of unbelief, and the suggestions of Satan; and at last, perhaps, the soul embraces the reality of God’s love in Christ, with a trembling kind of hopeless hope, and doubting believing. These things often puzzle the understanding, and perplex the whole will and affections. A true believer is like Rebecca labouring with twins, a faithless Esau and a trusting Jacob; and so, like her, he cries out, If it be so, why am I thus? Whereas, if it were not so, if he were not of God, it would not be thus. Nature alone could not struggle; nor can what is dead strive against the stream. The bent of nature is against grace. So again, if he were all grace and no sin, he would feel no trouble; for the opposition of grace is to nature and to the sin which is in it. And it is a good sign, though not a pleasant feeling, that there is this conflict; it demonstrates the life of God to be within. In this way, the Christian embraces the gospel. He is enabled in hope against hope to believe it, as the grand charter of his salvation. And this very act of believing is the evidence within, concurring with the evidence of the written word without, that his name is enrolled in the charter, and that he is consequently entitled to all its blessings. 
Take heart, therefore, thou child of God, and fear not. Thou hast the promise, the power, the mercy, and the truth of Jehovah on thy side; and who can prevail against him? If thou dost not wholly believe, or art not perfectly cleared from all doubts, be not, however, dismayed. The faithfulness of thy Lord is not grounded upon the perfect exercise of thy faith, but upon his own sovereign grace and love. Thou desirest to trust him with thy whole heart; but thou never couldest have desired this, if he had not wrought that disposition within thee. He was the Author, and he will be the Finisher, of all in thee, as well as of all for thee. If God did not spare his own Son for thy sake, what will he spare beside? Who shall, or who can, lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God himself, with whom there is neither evil nor folly, that justifieth thee from both. Who can condemn thee! It is Christ who blotteth out thy sins by his precious blood, or rather is risen again to present thee faultless in his righteousness before the throne, and to plead for thee as that Advocate who never lost a cause. Who shall separate thee from the love of Christ? Shall the evils of life, all the distresses of time, and all the rage of the devil? Nay, in all these things thine Almighty Saviour will render thee a conqueror, and more than a conqueror, because he hath loved thee. O divine words that follow! From thine inmost affections, from the very ardour and spirit of faith, mayest thou breathe them forth! “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus my Lord.”

Ambrose Serle

The Christian Remembrancer

The Word and Work of God in Man’s Redemption by Jesus Christ 

 On Entrance into Spiritual Life 

Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? How shall I, a sinner, approach the eyes of that Majesty, which cannot look upon sin without abhorrence? My iniquities are more in number than the hairs of my head, and my heart sinketh within me on their remembrance. My affections are naturally all inclined to the world and worldly things. My judgment is depraved; my will is perverse; my understanding is darkened; my knowledge vain; and I see nothing in me or about me but what by guilt is altogether defiled. I have sore proof of that scripture, that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually, and that from the sole of the foot, even to the head, there is no soundness in my nature; but only the wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores of sin. How then can I please God? How shall such a worm, such a lump of perverse ungodliness, obtain his favour? Shall I seek to deserve it by my own good thoughts? Alas! I am not sufficient of myself to think even one. Shall I by excellency of words approach my offended Maker? He regardeth not words, but the spirit and the heart; and my spirit and heart are wholly defiled. Shall I then by good works attempt to render him propitious? O my God, where shall I find them! How can I begin to act, before I have begun to think, what is right? How can the exercises of the body be pure and free, when the soul is unholy and enslaved by sin? And if, from this day, I could cease from evil, and do perfectly what is just and right, which the experience of all men tells me is impossible, yet, what will become of the long black catalogue of iniquities, both in heart and life, which are already written against me? How shall I wipe off the sins of my nature and my life, respecting the times that are past? O Lord, thou hast revealed thyself as a holy God, and a just. Thou hast declared that thou wilt not spare the guilty. And I have offended thy righteous law in every hour and every action of my life. How then can I be saved? How is it possible for me to escape the wrath to come? My anxieties, like my sins, might justly overwhelm me; and I ought to tremble at the righteous judgment which I know I deserve. There are but a few days at the most for me to live upon the earth; and I am not sure of one. O how shall I flee from the wrath to come? How shall I avoid eternal burnings, in which no man can dwell but with misery, and of which no man can think strictly but with horror? Lord, can such a sinner as I escape? Canst thou have mercy upon me? Such are the breathings of the heart when it first begins to awake, and live, and feel that there is an evil and a curse in sin, and that sin, with all its evil, lieth at the door. 

The Method of Mercy 

Such a flowing from the heart, as that just mentioned, gladdens all heaven. It is the motion of the divine Spirit upon the troubled deep, and will ere long produce both life and peace. Soul, dost thou feel the power of thy own corruption? Are these thy meek, yet bitter cries? O hear, and may thy God enable thee to believe, the glad tidings of his own salvation! Thou art a sinner, it is true; and thy mercy it is to see, in due measure, how great a sinner thou art. It is the first line in the large book of humiliation, which thou must be reading all thy life long. But Christ died for sinners such as thee; for all sinners that come unto God by him; for the vilest of sinners that see the vileness of sin, and bemoan it, as thou dost. He saved Mary Magdalene the harlot, Matthew the publican, Paul the persecutor, Peter, the swearer, liar, and denier of his Master, the malefactor on the cross, who had been a thief and a murderer, and ten thousand more like these; and he hath just the same power, means, and mercy to save thy soul, even thine. He saves graciously, that is, freely; because no wisdom nor worth of man have contrived, or could have obtained his greatness of salvation. It was planned in grace, and performed by grace. It is all of grace, and bounty, and love, from beginning to end. For this purpose he came into the world and took our nature upon him. He took it in its meanest and humblest form; and was content to be born in a stable, to be brought up by a labouring man, to labour with him too, to suffer the worst evils of human life, and the sorest pains of human death, that so he might be an oblation or sacrifice in the stead of his people, and render an atonement to the justice of God for them. These sufferings and this atonement are the debt due to the law and holiness of God, without which, consistent with his attributes, he could not spare the sinner, but by which he can be both just, and yet the justifier of him who taketh refuge in Jesus. Yea, this dear Saviour having paid the penalty due to his transgressions, God is now faithful and just to forgive him his sins, or rather more faithful and just to forgive them than he could be in laying on the punishment again, which Christ endured in that behalf. Christ also lived upon earth to fulfil all righteousness; and he fulfilled it completely for his redeemed. He makes himself over to them; and all he hath is theirs, through faith in him. Thus they have a right to call him, what he is, the Lord our righteousness. God is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake, and beholds every poor sinner who trusts in Christ, and lives in him, as unblameable and unreprovable in his own most piercing sight, yea, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. This righteousness is that garment of salvation, which covers them wholly, and fits them perfectly for the kingdom of heaven. Contrite soul, believest thou this? Is this good news, the very gospel or good news, of God? Search and see. Read and pray over thy bible, and thou wilt find, that it is the very voice and will of thy Lord. O that the fallow, the hard, and barren ground of thy heart may be so broken up by his power, as to welcome this joyful news, like the thirsty soil receiving the showers from the skies! 

Ambrose Serle, from 'the Christian Remembrancer'

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Perfect peace

by Arthur W. Pink
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee" (Isa. 26:3). What is signified by a mind "stayed on" the Lord? At least three things. First, to make the Lord the Portion of my soul. All around us are those vainly seeking contentment in things: such as money, and what it can buy, social prestige, fame, pleasures, etc.—all of which are broken cisterns which hold no water. Only the One who made us can satisfy the heart; only as our affection is set upon "things above" do we drink of the Fountain of living waters. Just in proportion as "Delight thyself also in the LORD" (Psa. 37:4) will "perfect peace" be mine now.
Second, to receive from God's hand whatsoever enters my life. I need to cultivate the habit of looking beyond all secondary causes, all intermediary agents and human instruments, recognising that "of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are ALL things" (Rom. 11:36). "Cease ye from man" (Isa. 2:22); conclude no more it is Satan who is seeking to disturb your rest; but say, "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it!" (John 18:11). Just in proportion as we are enabled to say from the heart "It is the LORD: let Him do what seemeth Him good" (1 Sam. 3:18) will "perfect peace" be ours in this world of sin and turmoil.
Third, to leave the future entirely with God. And why not? Are not my "times" in His hand (Psa. 31:15)? Has He not graciously cared for me and faithfully supplied my every need hitherto? Then why be fearful of what lies ahead? Has He not promised never to leave nor forsake me! Just in proportion as I live a day at a time, and "Take therefore no anxious thought for the morrow" (Matt. 6:34) will "perfect peace" be mine even now. But each of these three things is dependent upon the exercise of FAITH; as the text says "because he trusteth in Thee." O to know more of this experimentally.