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Resolved by Resurrection

“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”

John 6:39

This promise is highly necessary for us, who miserably groan under so great weakness of the flesh, of which every one of us is sufficiently aware; and at every moment, indeed, the salvation of the whole world might be ruined, were it not that believers, supported by the hand of Christ, advance boldly to the day of resurrection. Let this, therefore, be fixed in our minds, that Christ has stretched out his hand to us, that he may not desert us in the midst of the course, but that, relying on his goodness, we may boldly raise our eyes to the last day.

There is also another reason why he mentions the resurrection. It is because, so long as our life is hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3) we are like dead men. For in what respect do believers differ from wicked men, but that, overwhelmed with afflictions, and like sheep destined for the slaughter (Romans 8:36), they have always one foot in the grave, and, indeed, are not far from being continually swallowed up by death? Thus there remains no other support of our faith and patience but this, that we keep out of view the condition of the present life, and apply our minds and our senses to the last day, and pass through the obstructions of the world, until the fruit of our faith at length appear.

John Calvin, Commentaries, 253–254

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Day by Day with Christ

The sight of the excellency of Jesus Christ is to continue, and thy calling out of the creature, and thy casting of thy soul upon Christ as a King, still receive him day by day; and the subduing of thy heart, and the surrendring of thy self up to God in a way of Covenant; now if this were but dayly continued, there would be no space nor time for murmuring to work upon thy heart

Jeremiah Burroughs
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Pilgrims

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.

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Those Who Fall Away

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
—1 John 2:19

By saying, They went out from us, he means that they had previously occupied a place in the Church, and were counted among the number of the godly. He, however, denies that they were of them, though they had assumed the name of believers, as chaff though mixed with wheat on the same floor cannot yet be deemed wheat.

He plainly declares that those who fell away had never been members of the Church. And doubtless the seal of God, under which he keeps his own, remains sure, as Paul says, (2 Tim 2:19.) But here arises a difficulty, for it happens that many who seemed to have embraced Christ, often fall away. To this I answer, that there are three sorts of those who profess the Gospel:

  1. There are those who feign piety, while a bad conscience reproves them within.
  2. The hypocrisy of others is more deceptive, who not only seek to disguise themselves before men, but also dazzle their own eyes, so that they seem to themselves to worship God aright.
  3. The third are those who have the living root of faith, and carry a testimony of their own adoption firmly fixed in their hearts.

The two first have no stability; of the last John speaks, when he says, that it is impossible that they should be separated from the Church, for the seal which God’s Spirit engraves on their hearts cannot be obliterated; the incorruptible seed, which has struck roots, cannot be pulled up or destroyed. …

Where the calling of God is effectual, perseverance would be certain. He, in short, means that they who fall away had never been thoroughly imbued with the knowledge of Christ, but had only a light and a transient taste of it.

—John Calvin
Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 191-192.

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Excerpts Poems

Fear Not Amid Dangers

THIS world’s a forest, where, from day to day,
Bears, wolves, and lions, range and seek their prey;
Amidst them all poor harmless lambs are fed,
And by their very dens in safety led.
They roar upon us, but are held in chains;
Our shepherd is their keeper, he maintains
Our lot. Why then should we so trembling stand?
We meet them, true, but in their keeper’s hand.
He that to raging seas such bounds hath put,
The mouths of rav’nous beasts can also shut.
Sleep in the woods, poor lambs, yourselves repose
Upon his care, whose eyes do never close.
If unbelief in you don’t lose their chain,
Fear not their struggling, that’s but all in vain.
If God can check the waves by smallest sand,
A twined thread may hold these in his hand.
Shun ṣin, keep close to Christ; for other evils
You need not fear, tho’ compass’d round with devils.

—John Flavel
The Whole Works of the Reverend John Flavel, 5:255.

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