Serving the Lord from the Heart

To lead a discouraged people to the Holy War is as difficult as for Xerxes’ commanders to conduct the Persian troops to battle against the Greeks, The vassals of the great king were driven to the conflict by whips and sticks, for they were afraid to fight: do you wonder that they were defeated? A Church that needs constant exhorting and compelling accomplishes nothing.

The Greeks had no need of blows and threats, for each man was a lion, and courted the encounter, however great the odds against him. Each Spartan fought con amore (with love); he was never more at home than when contending for the altars and for the hearths of his country.

We want Christian men of this same sort, who have faith in their principles, faith in the doctrines of grace, faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; and who therefore contend earnestly for the faith in these days when piety is mocked at from the pulpit, and the gospel is sneered at by professional preachers. We need men who love the truth, to whom it is dear as their lives; men into whose hearts the old doctrine is burned by the hand of God’s Spirit through a deep experience of its necessity and of its power. We need no more of those who will parrot what they are taught, but we want men who will speak what they know. Oh, for a troop of men like John Knox, heroes of the martyr and covenanter stock! Then would Jehovah of hosts have a people to serve Him who would be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

—Charles H. Spurgeon,
The Metropolitan Tabernacle, (Banner of Truth Trust, 1876), Hag 2:4–5.


Not Another Paradise

God, says Bernard, has not cast us out of paradise to seek another paradise in this world.

No, we are born to labor. Why do you seek the living among the dead? Why do you seek for living comforts, when you must expect to die daily? It is only heaven that is above all winds, storms, and tempests; rest must be after labor. Our rest is the crown of our labor; to seek it here is to seek it preposterously.

Why do you require that in one place (says Ambrose) which is due in another? Why would you preposterously have the crown before you have overcome? Imagine the most settled condition you can in this world, and even if you had it, yet it would be but vanity. So says the psalmist in Ps 39:5; “Man in his best estate is vanity.” The original is, “In his settled estate he is vanity;” not only vain, but vanity itself. …

Let us take heed that we be not too hasty in seeking our rest, pleasure and delight; we may perhaps have a little for a while to the flesh, and because we will not be content with that condition that God hath appointed for His people, here we may lose our part in that glorious eternal rest which God has prepared for His people hereafter.

Seek for that which you do, namely for rest, but do not seek for it where you do.

If we seek our rest in this world even though we meet with so many troubles in it, what would we do if the Lord should let us prosper? Behold (saith an ancient), the world is troublesome, and yet it is loved; what would it be if it were peaceable? You embrace it though it is filthy; what would you do if it were beautiful? You cannot keep your hands from the thorns, how earnest would you be in gathering the flowers?

—Jeremiah Burroughs, 1599 – 1647

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