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Desiring God

With my soul have I desired thee in the night; Yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: For when thy judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

Isaiah 26:9

The bent of Isaiah’s very soul was towards God, and his desires were kept up in vehemence both night and day. The Lord humbles Himself to behold things done in heaven, yet He looks down upon the children of men upon the earth to see if there is any that understand and seek Him. And if He seeks after these seekers, how ready is He to be found of them! The command is that we should seek the Lord, His strength, and His face evermore (Psalm 105:4). God is to be sought unto for Himself. When the all-sufficient Jehovah gives Himself to any, He gives infinitely more than if He gave them many thousand such worlds as this is. His strength is of absolute necessity, to secure us from evil and to assist us in the doing of good. And the shining of His face makes our work easy and pleasant. It makes our life, and even death itself, comfortable. No wonder, therefore, when God said, “Seek ye my face,” one of His attendants heard presently, as the echo answers the voice, said, “Thy face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8). To seek to any else is vain. It is seeking for water in a broken cistern that can hold none. Those of low degree, though never so great a multitude, are vanity, and those of highest degree are a lie (Psalm 62:9). But God’s power, mercy, and truth are an evident proof that He is forward and sufficient to satiate the souls of all that charge their souls to wait only upon Him, and to have their expectations from Him.

Nathaniel Vincent, The Cure of Distractions in Attending upon God (1695), 26-27.

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Better Things

It should be the Christian’s chief care to obtain from God the choicest mercies. The worldly are indeed easily put off with the meanest, because their inquiry is only who will show them any good. But O Christian! Let nothing please or satisfy you, but the light of God’s countenance and do so receive from God here, as that you may be received to God hereafter. Desire not gifts, but mercies from God; not pebbles but pearls, and always labor for that which God never bestows but in love. Luther, when he had a rich present sent to him, professed with a holy boldness to God that such things should not serve his turn. Always desire the favor of God rather than outward felicity. O desire from God that your portion may not be in this life, but that what you enjoy here may be a pledge of better things hereafter.

William Jenkyn, Dying Thoughts, 1.

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Quotes

Do You Love the World?

Do You Love the World?

That will be seen by observing the bent of our heart, how it is swayed towards God and his service, and how towards things below. When two masters are parted, their servants will be known whom they serve, by following their own master.

Blessed be God, in these times we enjoy both religion and the world together; but if times of suffering should approach, then it would be known whose servants we are. Consider therefore beforehand what thou wouldst do. If trouble and persecution should arise, wouldst thou stand up for Christ, and set light by liberty, riches, credit, all in comparison of him?

Yet we must know it is not the world simply that draws our heart from God and goodness, but the love of the world. Worldly things are good in themselves, and given to sweeten our passage to heaven. They sweeten the profession of religion, therefore bring not a false report upon the world. It is thy falseness that makes it hurtful, in loving it so much. Use it as a servant all thy days, and not as a master, and thou mayest have comfort therein. It is not the world properly that hurts us, but our setting our hearts upon it; whenas God should be in our thoughts, our spirits are even drunk with the cares below. Thorns will not prick of themselves, but when they are grasped in a man’s hand they prick deep.

So this world and the things thereof are all good, and were all made of God for the benefit of his creature, did not our immoderate affection make them hurtful, which indeed embitters every sweet unto us. This is the root of all evil. When once a man’s heart is set upon the world, how doth he set light by God, and the peace of his conscience, to attain his ends! How doth he break with God, his truth, religion, and all, to satisfy a lust! And indeed as we fasten our love, so we are either good or bad.

We are not as we know, but as we love. If we set our love on earthly things, we ourselves become base and earthly; but if we love heavenly things, our conversations will be spiritual and divine. Our affections are those things which declare what we are. If we do not love God, it is no matter what we know or talk of religion.

—Richard Sibbes
Adapted from The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, 7:412–413.

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Quotes

Thirsting After God

The hart longs after nothing else but waterbrooks. There may have been other times when the poor stag had other natural desires: she may have desired the grassy plains or the shady woods, but now, hunted, wearied, steaming, panting, it must drink or die: it has but one only thought—the waterbrooks, the cool rippling rills, the refreshing pools.

Now, beloved brother or sister, if you are about to get a blessing from the Lord, you will have but one desire—your God, your God. You will have gathered up all your affections into one affection, and they will all be ascending towards your Lord you will make no conditions, no stipulations with him; if he will but come, even though he bring a rod with him, you will be contented if he will but come. If you may but have his company, you will accept poverty, or the weary bed of sickness, or bereavement, or anything and everything which he may allot to you, if you may but have fellowship with Jesus.

Let others ask for the bursting wine vat, or the barn that is filled with corn; for you it will be enough if you find your Beloved, and may but hold him and not let him go, for this is the one only all-absorbing longing of your hungering and thirsting spirit, that you may find your God, and be comforted with his eternal consolation.

—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flashes of Thought (Passmore and Alabaster, 1874).

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Quotes

Longing to be with God

There is but a very imperfect union with God to be had in this world

—A very imperfect knowledge of him in the midst of much darkness; a very imperfect conformity to God, mingled with abundance of estrangement.

Here we can serve and glorify God but in a very imperfect manner; our service being mingled with sin, which dishonours God.

But when we get to heaven (if ever that be), we shall be brought to a perfect union with God, and have more clear views of him. There we shall be fully conformed to God, without any remaining sin; for “we shall see him as he is.” There we shall serve God perfectly; and glorify him in an exalted manner, even to the utmost of the powers and capacity of our nature. Then we shall perfectly give up ourselves to God; our hearts will be pure and holy offerings, presented in a flame of divine love.

—Jonathan Edwards
The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:244.

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