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Justification and Grace

Grace gives a Christian his form and being, his work and his working, for all working is from the inward being and form of things. By grace we are what we are in justification, and work what we work in sanctification.

Richard Sibbes

(Works, 6:245)
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We Remain in Need

Let us not dream that true Christians can ever attain such a state of perfection in this world as not to need the mediation and intercession of Jesus. Sinners we are in the day we first come to Christ. Poor needy sinners we continue to be so long as we live, drawing all the grace we have every hour out of Christ’s fullness. We shall find ourselves sinners in the hour of our death, and shall die as much indebted to Christ’s blood as on the day when we first believed.

J. C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts, 1:65.
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Signs of Growing in Grace

Question: What are the signs of our growing in grace?

Answer: When we have a more spiritual frame of heart.

  1. When we are more spiritual in our principles; when we oppose sin out of love to God, and because it strikes at his holiness.
  2. When we are more spiritual in our affections. We grieve for the first rising of corruption, for the bubbling up of vain thoughts, and for the spring that runs underground. We mourn not only for the penalty of sin, but for its pollution. It is not a coal only that burns, but blacks.
  3. When we are spiritual in the performance of duty. We are more serious, reverent, fervent; we have more life in prayer, we put fire to the sacrifice. ‘Fervent in spirit’ (Romans 12:2): We serve God with more love, which ripens and mellows our duty, and makes it come off with a better relish.

—Thomas Watson
A Body of Divinity

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Delightful Duty of Divine Love

The severities of a holy life, and that constant watch which we are obliged to keep over our hearts and ways, are very troublesome to those who are only ruled and acted by an external law, and have no law in their minds inclining them to the performance of their duty; but where divine love possesseth the soul, it stands as centinel to keep out every thing that may offend the beloved, and doth disdainfully repulse those temptations which assault it: it complieth cheerfully, not only with explicit commands, but with the most secret notices of the beloved’s pleasure, and is ingenious in discovering what will be most grateful and acceptable unto him: it makes mortification and self-denial change their harsh and dreadful names, and become easy, sweet, and delightful things.

—Henry Scougal
The Works of the Rev. H. Scougal (London: Ogle, Duncan, and Co., 1822), 29.

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Habits Strengthen Habits

If we desire to have our souls moulded to [a] holy frame, to become partakers of the divine nature, and have Christ formed in our hearts, we must seriously resolve, and carefully endeavour to avoid and abandon all vicious and sinful practices. There can be no treaty of peace, till once we lay down those weapons of rebellion wherewith we fight against heaven; nor can we expect to have our distempers cured, if we be daily feeding on poison. Every wilful sin gives a mortal wound to the soul, and puts it at a greater distance from God and goodness; and we can never hope to have our hearts purified from corrupt affections, unless we cleanse our hands from vicious actions. Now in this case we cannot excuse ourselves by the pretence of impossibility; for sure our outward man is some way in our power; we have some command of our feet, and hands, and tongue, nay, and of our thoughts and fancies too; at least so far as to divert them from impure and sinful objects, and to turn our mind another way: and we should find this power and authority much strengthened and advanced, if we were careful to manage and exercise it. In the mean while, I acknowledge our corruptions are so strong, and our temptations so many, that it will require a great deal of stedfastness and resolution, of watchfulness and care, to preserve ourselves.

—Henry Scougal
The Works of the Rev. H. Scougal (London: Ogle, Duncan, and Co., 1822), 43–44.