When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: “I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.”
“To Jerome Weller, July 1530,” in Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel (Vancouver: Regent College, 2003), 86-87.
Every man must serve somebody: we have no choice as to that fact. Those who have no master are slaves to themselves. Depend upon it, you will either serve Satan or Christ, either self or the Savior. You will find sin, self, Satan, and the world to be hard masters; but if you wear the livery of Christ, you will find him so meek and lowly of heart that you will find rest unto your souls.
He is the most magnanimous of captains. There never was his like among the choicest of princes. He is always to be found in the thickest part of the battle. When the wind blows cold he always takes the bleak side of the hill. The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on his shoulders. If he bids us carry a burden, he carries it also. If there is anything that is gracious, generous, kind, and tender, yea lavish and superabundant in love, you always find it in him. … His service is life, peace, joy. Oh, that you would enter on it at once! God help you to enlist under the banner of Jesus even this day! Amen.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
“The Statute of David for the Sharing of the Spoil,” Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (1891; repr., Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1970), 37:323-24.
Oh, when will men learn to be that heavenly-wise as to divorce from and free their soul of all idol-lovers, and make Christ the only, only One, and trim and make ready their lamps, while they have time and day! How soon will this house skail, and the inn, where the poor soul lodgeth, fall to the earth! How soon will some few years pass away! and then, when the day is ended, and this life’s lease expired, what have men of world’s glory but dreams and thoughts? Oh how blessed a thing is it to labour for Christ, and to make Him sure! Know and try in time your holding of Him, and the rights and charters of heaven, and upon what terms ye have Christ and the Gospel, and what Christ is worth in your estimation, and how lightly ye esteem other things, and how dearly Christ! I am sure, that if ye see Him in His beauty and glory, ye shall see Him to be all things, and that incomparable jewel of gold that ye should seek, howbeit ye should sell, wadset, and forfeit your few years’ portion of this life’s joys. O happy soul for evermore, who can rightly compare this life with that long-lasting life to come, and can balance the weighty glory of the one with the light golden vanity of the other!
Letters of Samuel Rutherford: With a Sketch of His Life and Biographical Notices of His Correspondents (Edinburgh; London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1891), 377–378.
Advent signifies, the act of approaching, or of coming. The members of Christ’s mystic body, the church, however they may differ in external and non-essential points; yet, are they all firmly united in this faith, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; and, consequently, very God, of very God:—that he came to visit us, in great humility:—that he will come again, in the last day, to judge both the quick and the dead:—and that life immortal is obtained for us, and shall be enjoyed by us, through him only.
—Augustus M. Toplady
The Works of Augustus M. Toplady, (London: Richard Baynes, 1825), 3:436.
Humility in fallen man implies a sense of a twofold meanness before God, natural and moral.
His natural meanness consisting in his being infinitely below God in natural perfection, or God’s being infinitely above him in greatness, in power, wisdom, majesty, and the like. So a humble man is sensible of the small extent of his own knowledge, he is sensible of his ignorance of what small extent his understanding is in comparison with the wisdom of God. …
But his natural meanness is become much greater since the Fall. That moral ruin under which his nature has fallen has greatly impaired his natural faculties, though it has not extinguished them. But this brings me to the kind of meanness of fallen man of which the humble man is sensible; and that is his moral meanness and vileness. This consists in his sinfulness. His natural meanness is his littleness; his moral meanness is his filthiness. Fallen man is infinitely different from God in both these respects; both as little and as filthy. …
And both together in a sense of our own littleness, and also a sense of our own moral vileness before God, are implied in that poverty of spirit which the Scripture speaks of in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” And this sense of our comparative meanness even more arises from a sense of God’s greatness and excellence. They who do not know God never can have any right knowledge of themselves and their own meanness and unworthiness. And in order to that sense of our own meanness and unworthiness, which is in humility, it is necessary that we should not only see God’s greatness, but also his excellence and holiness. The devils and damned spirits see a great deal of God’s greatness, his omnipotence and the like. God makes them sensible of it by what they feel of their sufferings. God shows them how much he is above them and makes them know it, however unwilling they are to know; and they shall see a great deal more of it at and after the Day of Judgment. But they have no humility nor ever will have, because though they see God’s awful greatness, yet they see nothing of his loveliness. There can be no true humility in any without the creature’s seeing his distance from God, not only with respect to greatness but also loveliness.
Ethical Writings, in WJE (Yale University Press, 1989), 235-237.