Daily Blessings

“For your Maker is your husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”

~ Isa 54:5

As in the marriage union man and wife become one flesh, and, God having joined them together, no man may put them asunder, so when the Lord Jesus Christ, in “the everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure,” betrothed the Church unto himself, they became before the face of heaven, one in indissoluble ties. As he undertook in “the fullness of time” to be “made of a woman,” she became one with him in body by virtue of a common nature; and becomes one with him in spirit when, as each individual member comes forth into a time state, the blessed Spirit unites it to him by regenerating grace. Such is the testimony of the word of truth. “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones;” “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” Her union, therefore, with his flesh ensures to her body conformity in the resurrection morn to the glorified body of Jesus; and her union with his spirit ensures to her soul an eternity of bliss in the perfection of knowledge, holiness, and love. Thus the union of the Church with Christ commenced in the councils of eternal wisdom and love, is made known upon earth by regenerating grace, and is perfected in heaven in the fullness of glory.

The Church, it is true, fell in Adam from that state of innocence and purity in which she was originally created. But how the Adamic fall, in all its miserable consequences, instead of canceling the bond and disannulling the everlasting covenant, only served more fully and gloriously to reveal and make known the love of Christ to his chosen bride in all its breadth and length and depth and height! She fell, it is true, into unspeakable, unfathomable depths of sin and misery, guilt and crime; but she never fell out of his heart or out of his arms.

Yet what without the fall would have been known of dying love or of the mystery of the cross! Where would have been the song of the redeemed, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood?” Where the victory over death and hell, or the triumphs of super-abounding grace over the aboundings of sin, guilt, and despair? Where would have been the “leading captivity captive,” the “spoiling principalities and powers, and making a show of them openly, triumphing over them in himself?” What would have been known of that most precious attribute of God, mercy? What of his forbearance and long-suffering; what of his pitiful compassion to the poor, lost children of men?

As then the Church’s head and husband could not and would not dissolve the union, break the covenant, or alter the thing that had gone out of his lips, and yet could not take her openly unto himself in all her filth, and guilt, and shame, he had to redeem her with his own heart’s blood, with agonies and sufferings such as earth or heaven never before witnessed, with those dolorous cries under the hidings of his Father’s face, which made the earth to quake, the rocks to rend, and the sun to withdraw its light. But his love was strong as death, and he endured the cross, despising the shame, bearing her sins in his own body on the tree, and thus suffering the penalty due to her crimes, reconciled her unto God “in the body of his flesh, through death, to present her holy; and unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight.”

Having thus reconciled her unto God, as she comes forth from the womb of time, he visits member after member of his mystical body with his regenerating grace, that “he may sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” and thus eventually “present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.”

Daily Wisdom

“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

~  John 3:3

True religion begins with an entrance into the soul of supernatural light and supernatural life. How or why it comes, the soul knows not; for “the wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell whence it comes or where it goes, so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” The wind itself is not seen, but its effects are felt. The sound of the wind is heard in the tops of the mulberry trees, where God himself is not seen. “The voice of the Lord, powerful and full of majesty. You heard his words but didn’t see his form; there was only a voice,” (Deut. 4:12). Thus effects are felt, though causes are unknown.

Streams flow into the heart from a hidden source; rays of light beam into the soul from an unrisen sun; and kindlings of life awaken in us a new existence out of an unseen fountain. The new-born babe feels life in all its limbs, though it knows not yet the earthly father whence that natural life sprang. And thus new-born souls are conscious of feelings hitherto unpossessed, and are sensible of a tide of life, mysterious and incomprehensible, ebbing and flowing in their heart, though “Abba, Father,” has not yet burst from their lips.

A man’s body is alive to every feeling, from a pin’s scratch to a mortal wound, from a passing ache to an incurable disease. The heart cannot flutter or intermit for a single second its customary beat, without a peculiar sensation that accompanies it, notices it, and registers it. Shall feelings, then, be the mark and evidence of natural life, and not of spiritual? Shall our ignoble part, the creature of a day, our perishing body, our dust of dust, have sensations to register every pain and every pleasure, and be tremblingly alive to every change without and every change within; and shall not our immortal souls be equally endowed with a similar barometer to fluctuate up and down the scale of spiritual life? We must lay it down, then, at the very threshold of vital godliness, that if a man has not been conscious of new feelings, and cannot point out, with more or less precision, some particular period, some never-to-be-forgotten season, when these feelings came unbidden into his heart, he has not yet passed from death unto life. He is not in Christ, if he is not a new creature (2 Cor.5:17).

Daily Blessings

“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

~ 1 Pet 2:5

God’s people require many severe afflictions, harassing temptations, and many powerful trials to hew them into any good shape, to chisel them into any conformity to Christ’s image. For they are not like the passive marble under the hands of the sculptor, which will submit without murmuring, and indeed without feeling, to have this corner chipped off, and that jutting angle rounded by the chisel; but God’s people are living stones, and, therefore, they feel every stroke. We are so tender-skinned that we cannot bear a thread of trouble to lie upon us, we shrink from even the touch of the chisel. To be hewed, then, and squared, and chiseled by the hand of God into such shapes and forms as please him, O what painful work it is!

But if the stone could know—if could it tell what the sculptor was doing, would it not see that not a single stroke was made in vain? The sculptor, we know, must not make a single hair’s breadth too little or too much in some parts of the marble, or he will spoil the statue. He knows perfectly well where to place the chisel, and in what direction, and with what force to strike it with the mallet. And does not God, who fixes the spiritual pillars each in its destined spot, that they may be “like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace.” (Ps. 144:12), know where to inflict the stroke, what ‘carnal jutting angle’ to chip off, and how to chisel the whole column, from the base to the top, so that it shall wear the very shape and the very same proportion which he designs that it should wear?

If the Lord, then, is at work upon our souls, we have not had, we are not now having, we shall never have, one stroke too much, one stroke too little, one stroke in the wrong direction, but there shall be just sufficient to work in us that which is pleasing in God’s sight, and to make us that which he would have us to be. What a great deal of trouble would we be spared if we could only patiently submit to the Lord’s afflicting stroke and know no will but his.

Daily Wisdom

“Accepted in the Beloved.”

~  Eph 1:6

We are ever looking for something in SELF to make ourselves acceptable to God, and are often sadly cast down and discouraged when we cannot find that holiness, that obedience, that calm submission to the will of God, that serenity of soul, that spirituality and heavenly-mindedness which we believe to be acceptable in his sight. Our crooked tempers, fretful peevish minds, rebellious thoughts, coldness, barrenness and death, our alienation from good, and headlong proneness to evil, with the daily feeling that we get no better but rather worse, make us think that God views us just as we view ourselves. And this brings on great darkness of mind and bondage of spirit, until we seem to lose sight of our acceptance in Christ, and get into the miserable dregs of SELF, almost ready to quarrel with God because we are so vile, and only get worse as we get older.

Now the more we get into these dregs of SELF, and the more we keep looking at the dreadful scenes of wreck and ruin which our heart presents to daily view, the farther do we get from the grace of the gospel, and the more do we lose sight of the only ground of our acceptance with God. It is “in the Beloved” alone, that we are accepted, and not for any good words, or good works, good thoughts, good hearts, or good intentions of our own.

And a saving knowledge of our acceptance “in the Beloved,” independent of everything in us either good or bad, is a firm foundation for our faith and hope, and will keep us from sinking altogether into despair.

Daily Blessings

“A time to weep.”

~ Eccl 3:4

Does a man only WEEP once in his life? Does not the time of weeping run, more or less, through a Christian’s whole life? Does not mourning run parallel with his existence in this tabernacle of clay? for “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards.” Then “a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up” must run parallel with a Christian’s life, just as much as “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Living souls will know many times to weep; they will have often to sigh and cry over their base hearts; to mourn with tears of godly sorrow their backslidings from God; to weep over their broken idols, faded hopes, and marred prospects; to weep at having so grieved the Spirit of God by their disobedience, carnality, and worldliness; to be melted into contrition at the feet of a dying Lord, so as in some measure to be led into the path in which Jesus walked as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” They will have to bewail the falling off of those friends whom once they looked upon as bidding fairer for the kingdom of God than themselves; to weep at the cruel arrows of calumny which are shot against them by professors; to mourn over the low state of Zion, how few there are who really serve the Lord acceptably with reverence and godly fear, and adorn the doctrine in all things.

But above all things will they have to weep over the inward idolatries of their filthy nature; to weep that they ever should have treated with such insult that God whom they desire to love and adore; that they should so neglect and turn their backs upon that Savior who crowns them with loving-kindness and tender mercies; and that they bear so little in mind the instruction that has been communicated to them by the Holy Spirit.

There is many a weeping time for God’s children; and if there be one frame of mind in soul experience more to be coveted than another, it is to be weeping at Jesus’ feet. We have two sweet instances of the Lord’s manifesting himself to those who were weeping—one to “the woman who was an immoral sinner,” who stood behind him, and washed his feet with her tears; the other was to Mary Magdalene, who “stood outside the sepulcher weeping.”

Oh, how different is the weeping, chastened spirit of a living soul from the hardened, seared presumption of a proud professor! How different are the feelings of a broken-hearted child of God from the lightness, the frivolity, the emptiness, and the worldliness of hundreds who stand in a profession of religion! How different is a mourning saint, weeping in his solitary corner over his base backslidings, from a reckless professor who justifies himself in every action, who thinks sin a light thing, and who, however inconsistently he acts, never feels conscience wounded thereby! “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Daily Blessings

“The entrance of your words gives light.”

~ Ps 119:130

The blessed Spirit is pleased sometimes to give some testimony concerning Jesus, to open up some passage of Scripture which speaks of Jesus, to cast a divine light before the astonished eyes, and to throw some of the blessed beams of gospel truth into our souls, whereby we see Jesus. We are brought sometimes in soul feeling to the desires of those Greeks who came up to worship at the feast, and went to Philip, saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus;” and from some apprehension of his beauty and loveliness, we pour out our soul before God, and say, “We would see Jesus.” We want to feel his love, to have our eyes anointed to behold his glory, to look upon him as crucified for us and bearing our sins in his own body on the tree, that we may have a sweet and blessed fellowship with him as our suffering Surety, and thus, by faith, enter into the length and breadth and depth and height of that love of his “that passes knowledge.”

Wherever there is a work of grace upon the soul, there will be this pining after Christ. The soul that is really taught of God can never rest satisfied short of Jesus. “There remains a rest to the people of God,” and they can never be satisfied short of that rest, which consists in an experimental knowledge of the Son of God, as revealed by the Holy Spirit to their souls. But before the enjoyment of this spiritual rest, there is often long delay; clouds of darkness for months and years together often envelope the mercy-seat; the cross of Christ cannot be seen; the Holy Spirit does not fulfill his covenanted office in taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to the soul; and in the absence of these heavenly manifestations, we cannot realize our saving interest in the things of salvation, nor can we feel our hearts sweetly composed and settled down in the blessed assurance, that when this life shall come to a close, we shall inhabit mansions prepared for us before the foundation of the world. When “with clouds he covers the light, and commands it not to shine by the cloud that comes between,” there are many doubts and fears, suspicions, surmises, and jealousies whether we are not deceived and deluded altogether. At such seasons, everything seems to be against us, and to stamp us as being nothing but nominal professors.

It is in such dark and gloomy seasons as these that “the entrance of God’s words gives light.” For instance, some such promise as this is made sweet to the soul—“Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” As that promise is brought home with power to the heart, and is shed abroad with some sweetness in the soul, it draws forth and strengthens faith, and the toiling pilgrim comes to the Lord, feeling himself “weary and heavy laden,” and as he comes, he is indulged sometimes with a few sweet moments of rest. He is enabled to look out of fallen self, with all its miseries, and to look upon Jesus in his grace and beauty. He is favored to cast himself simply, as he is, upon Jesus, and some sense of his atoning blood, dying love, and complete atoning sacrifice for sin is opened up to his heart. Faith springs up to lay hold of and embrace it, and he begins to taste the savor and sweetness and healing efficacy of a Savior’s blood and love.

Thus “the entrance of God’s words gives light,” and he feels by the divine coming in of what God has externally revealed, that inward light is shed abroad in the recesses of his soul, and he can, in some measure, realize the power of the cross of Jesus in his heart.

Daily Wisdom

“He had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”

~ Heb 2:17

What heart can conceive or tongue express, the infinite depths of the Redeemer’s condescension in thus being made like unto his brethren—that the Son of God should assume a finite nature, subject to the sinless infirmities necessarily connected with a time-state and a dwelling on earth; that he should leave the bosom of his Father in which he had lain before all worlds, and should consent to become a inhabitant of this world of tears; to breathe earthly air; to be an eye-witness of, and himself share in human sorrows; to have before his eyes the daily spectacle of human sins; to be banished so long from his native home; to endure hunger, weariness, and thirst; to be subject to the persecutions of men, the flight of all his disciples, and the treachery of one among them whose hand had been with him on the table; not to hide his face from shame and spitting, but to be mocked, struck, buffeted, and scourged, and at last to die an agonizing death between two malefactors, amid scorn and infamy, and covered, as men thought, with everlasting confusion and disgrace! O what infinite condescension and mercy are displayed in these sufferings and sorrows of an incarnate God! The Lord give us faith to look to him as suffering them for our sake!

Daily Wisdom

“He had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”

~ Heb 2:17

What heart can conceive or tongue express, the infinite depths of the Redeemer’s condescension in thus being made like unto his brethren—that the Son of God should assume a finite nature, subject to the sinless infirmities necessarily connected with a time-state and a dwelling on earth; that he should leave the bosom of his Father in which he had lain before all worlds, and should consent to become a inhabitant of this world of tears; to breathe earthly air; to be an eye-witness of, and himself share in human sorrows; to have before his eyes the daily spectacle of human sins; to be banished so long from his native home; to endure hunger, weariness, and thirst; to be subject to the persecutions of men, the flight of all his disciples, and the treachery of one among them whose hand had been with him on the table; not to hide his face from shame and spitting, but to be mocked, struck, buffeted, and scourged, and at last to die an agonizing death between two malefactors, amid scorn and infamy, and covered, as men thought, with everlasting confusion and disgrace! O what infinite condescension and mercy are displayed in these sufferings and sorrows of an incarnate God! The Lord give us faith to look to him as suffering them for our sake!

Daily Wisdom

“For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.”

~ Heb 10:36

Why is patience needed? Because if we are the Lord’s people, we are sure to have many trials. The Lord sends us afflictions that he may give us the grace of patience to bear them. But O, what a rebellious heart do we carry in our bosom! What perverseness, peevishness, and self-will dwell in us! How soon our temper is stirred up, and our irritable minds roused in a moment by the smallest trifle! How little patience have we under the trials that God sees fit to lay upon us! We thus learn our need of patience, and that it is not a fruit of nature’s soil. The lack of it makes the soul follow after it; and when the Lord does give submission to his will, and enables his children to see how profitable these trials are for their souls, and how, but for this heavy ballast, they would certainly have been carried away into the world, they can see his merciful hand in their heavy afflictions.

Thus sometimes by feeling peevish and rebellious, and thus knowing their need of patience; and sometimes by feeling submissive, and enjoying the sweetness of it, they see what a blessed grace patience is. Scarcely any grace do we more daily need. We need it toward God, when he crosses us in our schemes, thwarts us in our desires, and instead of showing why he afflicts us, hides himself behind a thick cloud that neither faith nor prayer can pierce through.

We need patience with each other, with the world, with our relations in life, and with the Church of God. We need patience when anything is said or done to hurt our minds, wound our feelings, irritate our tempers, and stir us up to revenge. And what a mercy it is, under these sharp trials, to have patience, and thus follow the example of the blessed Lord, “who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to Him who judges righteously.”

Daily Wisdom

“That I may win Christ.”

~ Phil 3:8

What is it to “win Christ?” It is to have him sweetly embraced in the arms of our faith. It is to feel him manifesting his heavenly glory in our souls. It is to have the application of his atoning blood, in all its purging efficacy, to our conscience. It is to feel our heart melted and swooning with the sweet ravishments of his dying love, shed abroad even to overpowering. This is winning Christ. Now, before we can thus win Christ, we must have a view of Christ, we must behold his glory, “the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” We must see the matchless dignity of his glorious Person, the atoning efficacy of his propitiating blood, the length and breadth, the depth and height of his surpassing love. We must have our heart ready to burst with pantings, longings, and ardent desires that this blessed Immanuel would come down from the heaven of heavens in which he dwells beyond the veil, into our heart, and shed abroad his precious dying love there.

Now, is not this your feeling, child of God? It has been mine over and over again. Is it not your feeling as you lie upon your bed, sometimes, with sweet and earnest pantings after the Lord of life and glory? As you walk by the way, as you are engaged in your daily business, as you are secretly musing and meditating, are there not often the goings forth of these longings and breathings into the very bosom of the Lord? But you cannot have this, unless you have seen him by the eye of an enlightened understanding, by the eye of faith, and had a taste of his beauty, a glimpse of his glory, and a discovery of his eternal preciousness. You must have had this gleaming upon your eyes, as the beams of light gleam through the windows. You must have had it dancing into your heart, as the rays of the sun dance upon the waves of the sea. You must have had a sweet incoming of the shinings of eternal light upon your soul, melting it, and breaking it down at his footstool, as the early dawn pierces through the clouds of night. When you have seen and felt this you break forth—‘O that I might win Christ!’ Like the ardent lover who longs to win his bride, you long to enjoy his love and presence shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit.