Categories
Prayers

Bless the Lord

O Lord, I bless you, not only for your pardon of those sins I have committed, but also for your goodness in preserving me from those many thousands of other sins I was prone to fall into.

If I could repent to the highest degree, or achieve the holiness of men and angels, it could not make up the damage sin has made upon me.

Who was more plunged into sin than I? Whose diseases were greater than mine? It may be that thousands and thousands of other souls are now taking their place in hell, for less and fewer sins than I have committed.

I do not call upon you to repeal any threat or nullify your word. I do not ask you to become unjust. But your wisdom has found out a way that I may be pardoned and you may be satisfied.

Your overflowing goodness overcomes me. If only I had the hearts of all men and angels to praise you. Amen.

Anthony Burgess (1600-1663) taken from Piercing Heaven, 217.

Categories
Excerpts

For His Name’s Sake

God’s name is, in like manner, spoken of as the end of his acts of goodness towards the good part of the moral world, and of his works of mercy and salvation towards his people. As 1 Samuel 12:22, “The Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3, “He restoreth my soul, he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake.” Psalm 31:3, “For thy name’s sake, lead me, and guide me.” Psalm 109:21, “But do thou for me … for thy name’s sake.” The forgiveness of sin in particular, is often spoken of as being for God’s name’s sake. 1 John 2:12, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” Psalm 25:11, “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.” Psalm 79:9, “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.” Jeremiah 14:7, “O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake.” …

When God, from time to time, speaks of showing mercy, and exercising goodness, and promoting his people’s happiness for his name’s sake, we cannot understand it as of a merely subordinate end. How absurd would it be to say, that he promotes their happiness for his name’s sake, in subordination to their good; and that his name may be exalted only for their sakes, as a means of promoting their happiness! especially when such expressions as these are used, “For mine own sake, even for mine own sake will I do it; for how should my name be polluted?” and “Not for your sakes do I this, but for my holy name’s sake.”

Jonathan Edwards, WJE 1:112.

Categories
Excerpts Quotes

Do All to God’s Glory and Praise

The whole life of a Christian should be nothing but praises and thanks to God. We should neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, but eat to God, and sleep to God, and work to God, and talk to God; do all to his glory and praise.

—Richard Sibbes
The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, 7:185.

Categories
Excerpts

The Joy of God-centered Praise

We all despise the man who demands continued assurance of his own virtue, intelligence or delightfulness; we despise still more the crowd of people round every dictator, every millionaire, every celebrity, who gratify that demand. Thus a picture, at once ludicrous and horrible, both of God and of His worshippers, threatened to appear in my mind. The Psalms were especially troublesome in this way—”Praise the Lord,” “O praise the Lord with me,” “Praise Him.” … It was extremely distressing. It made one think what one least wanted to think. Gratitude to God, reverence to Him, obedience to Him, I thought I could understand; not this perpetual eulogy. …

But the most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything—strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or  the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise

The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game—praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars.

I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praised least. … Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible. …

I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. …

To see what the doctrine really means, we must suppose ourselves to be in perfect love with God—drunk with, drowned in, dissolved by, that delight which, far from remaining pent up within ourselves as incommunicable, hence hardly tolerable, bliss, flows out from us incessantly again in effortless and perfect expression, our joy no more separable from the praise in which it liberates and utters itself than the brightness a mirror receives is separable from the brightness it sheds. The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.

—C. S. Lewis
Reflections on the Psalms, 89–96.

Categories
Meditations Quotes

Saved to Praise the Savior

We are saved to praise the Savior, not salvation.