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echoes of thought in love with God through Christ crucified

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That God should be reconciled after such a dreadful breach as the fall of man made, is wonderful; no sin, all things considered, was ever like to this sin: other sins, like a single bullet, kill particular persons, but this, like a chain-shot, cuts off multitudes as the sand upon the sea-shore, which no man can number.

If all the posterity of Adam in their several generations, should do nothing else but bewail and lament this sin of his, whilst this world continues, yet would it not be enough lamented; for a man so newly created out of nothing, and admitted the first moment into the highest order, crowned a king over the works of God’s hands, Psal. 8:5. a man perfect and upright, without the least inordinate motion, or sinful inclination: a man whose mind was most clear, bright, and apprehensive of the will of God, whose will was free, and able to have easily put by the strongest temptation: a man in a paradise of delights, where nothing was left to desire for advancing the happiness of soul or body: a man understanding himself to be a public, complexive person, carrying not only his own, but the happiness of the whole world in his hand: so soon, upon so slight a temptation, to violate the law of his God, and involve himself and all his posterity with him, in such a gulf of guilt and misery; all which he might so easily have prevented! O wonderful amazing mercy, that ever God should think of being reconciled, or have any purposes of peace towards so vile an apostate creature as man.

—John Flavel
Works, 2:54.

Who shall lead me through the wilderness? There are many ways, many false ways, many cross ways, and but one that is the right way: How shall I hit my way to heaven, the right way that leads [there]? And who will show me and lead me in this way? Here Trust answers, Christ will do it; I lean upon Him to be my Moses to lead me in the way that I should go: “You will guide me with Your counsel” (Psalm 73:24). Christ has gone the way before His saints, and He will show them His steps to direct them. Therefore the apostle exhorts, “Run the race—looking to Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2), as for encouragement, so for direction; follow not the footsteps of the sheep only, but follow the footsteps of the Shepherd, and walk on as He walked before you. But how shall I find the way, or the steps wherein Christ walked? “It is not in name that walketh, to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). “How can a man understand his own ways?” (Proverbs 20:24). There are many hard and intricate cases, where I may be at a stand, and not know which way to take: their answer is, as Psalm 143:8, “In thee do I trust; cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my soul to thee,” and v. 10: “Thy Spirit is good, lead me into the land of uprightness”; I trust that “thou wilt guide me by thy counsel, and bring me to glory” (Psalm 73:24).

—Richard Alleine
A Rebuke to Backsliders and a Spur for Loiterers (London: John Hancock, 1684), 57-58.

When we come to pray, we must remember not only what we want, but what we have received, acknowledging we have all from him; he is our father: Deut. 32:6, ‘Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people, and unwise? Is not he thy father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee and established thee? ‘We must acknowledge the good we have, as well as that we expect to come from him. Therefore, if we would have a praying frame, and be eased of our solicitude, and that anxious care which is a disparagement to providence, it is good to take up God under the notion of a father, which makes us rest upon him for all things: Mat. 6:25, ‘Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.’ Why? ‘For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.’ You that are able fathers would think yourselves disparaged if that your children should filch and steal for their living, and beg and be solicitous, and go up and down from door to door for their maintenance and support, and not trust to your care and provision. A. believer which knoweth he hath a heavenly Father will not be negligent in his calling, but be active and industrious in his way, and use those lawful means which, by the providence of God, he hath been brought up in; and then, ‘be careful for nothing,’ as the apostle’s advice is, Phil. 4:6, and ‘in everything, by prayer and supplication, make your request known unto God.’ Oh, could we turn carking into prayer, and run to our Father, it would be happy for us. Care, and diligence, and necessary provision, that is our work and labour: but, for the success and event of things, leave it to God. When we are carking in the world with such anxiousness, and troubled with restless thoughts, how we should be provided for in old age, and what will become of us and ours, we take God’s work out of his hands. This is a disparagement to our heavenly Father, and a reproach to his providence and fatherly care.

—Thomas Manton
The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 1:48–49.

How excellent a change will death make upon the soul’s leaving the body, if it pass into a glorious paradise, and hear a voice from Him that sits upon the throne, “Enter into thy Master’s joy” (Matthew 25:21). Poor Lazarus was lately very miserable at the rich man’s door; now very happy in Abraham’s bosom. Lately covered with sores and ulcers; now clothed with glory. Lately pining with hunger; now all his wants are supplied. His extreme poverty made him the other day despised by the rich man; he could find no entrance at his gates, no admission, no relief. But now he is envied for his happiness. The difference which departed souls will feel of their happy state, from what they lately were, and the sense they have of the evils they are delivered from, will give an account of their happiness. The fresh remembrance of what they were in this world will help their joyful sense of the happy change. And to compare their own condition with that of lost, miserable souls; to think of the hell they deserved, and others suffer; and they themselves did sometimes fear; and compare it with the rest, and peace, and joy, and glory that they now partake of, will add to their felicity. And who can tell how great that is, even before the resurrection?

—John Shower
Heaven and Hell (London: J. Heptinstall, 1700), 10-11.

Some see pride as only that which manifests itself in costly apparel and bodily ornaments, beyond the degree and rank of the person. Some look no further than the treatment of one man towards another. Now consider with me that the greatest pride in the world is man’s undue esteem of himself toward God, and this is in the heart of everyone by nature. Everyone by nature lifts up himself against God, goes about to dethrone God, and to crown himself. Everyone takes counsel in his heart against the Lord, saying, “Let us break His bands asunder, and cast His cords from us” (Psalm 2:3). This is the voice of everyone that dares willfully to sin. This is the working of the pride of a man against God, to thrust God out of the throne of His majesty, and to set himself in. For what is God’s glory and respect among His creatures? Is it not that He, being the beginning and Author of all, should be likewise the end of all?

This is the very purpose for which God made man, that having received himself from God, he should have what he might freely give up to God. All man is, and all that he has, is to be offered to God, as the end and center of all. But a sinning creature brings God under to serve him, to provide for him. And though this pride of man against God is not always so easily noticed, it is the very daring sin of the world. …

Consider how far man’s pride is from his true excellency in his union with God. We must therefore distinguish between the high esteem that man is to have of himself, and pride. For man to look on himself as a noble being, of rank above all the natural world, is not pride, for in this way he is (being a spiritual understanding agent) in a capacity of being acquainted with God and of being united to God.

—James Janeway
Heaven upon Earth (London: Dilbourn, 1673), 38-39.

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