SEEKING GOD’S SMILE OR APPROVAL IN ALL THINGS

Angry little girl isolated on white background

SEEKING GOD’S SMILE OR APPROVAL IN ALL THINGS

J.C. Philpot

“The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” [Number 6:26]

When we offend a person, his face is not toward us as at other times. It was so with Laban towards Jacob; and if we have in any way incurred a friend’s or superior’s displeasure, we watch instinctively his countenance. Is it down or up? Does it wear a frown or a smile? Is it looking upon us with the eye of affection, or are the eyes averted? We can tell in a moment if we know the countenance.

Thus is the blessing asked, “The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee,” as a kind and affectionate parent upon an obedient child, as a fond husband upon a loving, devoted wife; for such is God to his children—Father and Husband. And do we not, as children, often provoke Him to look upon us with frowning brow, or rather, not to look upon us at all, to “hide His face,” as we read, “that we cannot see Him?”

The prayer then is, “The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee,” with a smile upon it; free, open, forgiving, merciful, and mild, that thou mayest advance therein.

When a disobedient child comes home and sees its father’s face not towards it as before, it shrinks away; there is no pressing forward to get upon the knee, no throwing the little arms round the neck and snatching a kiss, but a shrinking away through guilt and shame.

So it is in the things of God. When conscience tells us how in this and that instance we have disobeyed, been inconsistent, transgressed, and done amiss, when we go into God’s presence there is a hanging back, a shrinking away, through fear of an ill reception. But oh, the change in the child when the frown disappears and the smile succeeds; when the little one is taken once more into the arms and the tears are kissed away!
How much more so in the things of God when He kisses away the tears of the disobedient child, as in the case of the returning prodigal! There are no kisses like those kisses of forgiveness, of mercy, and of restoring grace.

“And give thee peace.” Oh, what a blessing! As Hart says, “I’ll lay me down and sweetly sleep, For I have peace with God.”

It is THIS that makes the pillow easy in life, and will alone make that pillow easy in death – peace with God through Jesus Christ, peace through the reconciliation, peace through the blood of sprinkling, “the peace of God which passeth all understanding.” Many covet great things, high things. But what said the Lord to Baruch? “Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not!”

Ministers often seek great gifts, great eloquence, great knowledge of mysteries, great congregations, great popularity and influence. They are wrong in seeking these so-called great things. Let them rather seek real things, gracious things, things that will make their souls blessed here and hereafter.

The blessing that the gracious soul most earnestly covets is peace; for this is the sweetest honey-drop in God’s cup. It is true that it does not make the heart overflow like joy, nor to dance with exultation like the first beaming in of the rays of hope, nor melt it down like the visits of love; but it is in some respects sweeter than all, because it so settles down the soul into sweet assurance; it is the realisation of the Saviour himself, for “He is our peace,” and may thus be called the crowning blessing.

 

MANS DEVICES AND THE LORD’S COUNSEL

many-devices

MANS DEVICES AND THE LORD’S COUNSEL

J.C. Philpot

“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, THAT shall stand.” [Proverbs 19:21]

The devices of our heart are generally to find some easy, smooth, flowery path. Whatever benefits we have derived from affliction, whatever mercies we have experienced in tribulation, the flesh hates and shrinks from such a path with complete abhorrence.

And, therefore, there is always a secret devising in a man’s heart . . .
to escape the cross,
to avoid affliction, and
to walk in some flowery meadow,
away from the rough road which cuts
his feet, and wearies his limbs.

Another “device in a man’s heart” is, that he shall have worldly prosperity; that his children shall grow up around him, and when they grow up, he shall be able to provide for them in a way which shall be best suited to their station in life; that they shall enjoy health and strength and success; and that there shall not be any cutting affliction in his family, or fiery trial to pass through.

Now these devices the Lord frustrates. What grief, what affliction, what trouble, is the Lord continually bringing into some families! Their dearest objects of affection removed from them, at the very moment when they seemed clasped nearest around their hearts!

And those who are spared, perhaps, growing up in such a searedness of conscience and hardness of heart, and, perhaps, profligacy of life, that even their very presence is often a burden to their parents instead of a blessing; and the very children who should be their comfort, become thorns and briars in their sides!

Oh, how the Lord overturns and brings to nothing the “devices of a man’s heart” to make a paradise here upon earth.

When a man is brought to the right spot, and is in a right mind to trace out the Lord’s dealings with him from the first, he sees it was a kind hand which “blasted his gourds, and laid them low;” it was a kind hand that swept away his worldly prospects; which reduced him to natural as well as to spiritual poverty; which led him into exercises, trials, sorrows, griefs, and tribulations; because, in those trials he has found the Lord, more or less, experimentally precious.

“There are many devices in a man’s heart.” Now you have all your devices; that busy workshop is continually putting out some new pattern; some new fashion is continually starting forth from the depths of that ingenious manufactory which you carry about with you; and you are wanting this, and expecting that, and building up airy castles, and looking for that which shall never come to pass; for “there are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”

And so far as you are children of God, that counsel is a counsel of wisdom and mercy. The purposes of God’s heart are purposes of love and affection toward you, and therefore you may bless and praise God, that whatever be the devices of your hearts against God’s counsel, they shall be frustrated, that He may do His will and fulfill all His good pleasure.

GOD’S BANNER OVER HIS ELECT IS LOVE

 

Spring Forest Nature Flowers Wallpaper Mobile

GOD’S BANNER OVER HIS ELECT IS LOVE

J.C. Philpot

“In the light of the king”s countenance is life; and his favor is as a cloud of the latter rain.” Proverbs 16:15

What is religion without a living faith in, and a living love to the Lord Jesus Christ? How dull and dragging, how dry and heavy, what a burden to the mind, and a weariness to the flesh, is a “round of forms” where the heart is not engaged and the affections not drawn forth! Reading, hearing, praying, meditation, conversation with the saints of God, what cold, what heartless work where Jesus is not! But let him appear, let his presence and grace be felt, and his blessed Spirit move upon the heart, then there is a holy sweetness, a sacred blessedness in the worship of God and in communion with the Lord Jesus that makes, while it lasts, a little heaven on earth.
 

It is this inward sense of the blessedness of his presence and the misery of his absence, the heaven of his smile and the hell of his frown, that makes the sheep of Christ seek communion with him. He has won their heart to himself by discovering to them his beauty and his love, and they having once seen the glory of his Person, heard the sweetness of his voice, and tasted the grace of his lips, follow him wherever he goes, seeking to know him and the power of his resurrection, and counting all things rubbish and loss that they may win him, and have some manifestation of his love.

What is to support the soul under those trials and temptations that at times press it so sore, relieve those cruel doubts which so disquiet, take away those fears of death which so alarm, subdue that rebelliousness which so condemns, wean from the world which so allures, and make it look beyond life and time, the cares of the passing hour, and the events of the fleeting day, to a solemn and blessed eternity, but those visitations of the blessed Lord to the soul which give it communion with himself? Thus were the saints of God led and taught in days of old, as the Holy Spirit has recorded their experience in the word of truth.

Remembering the past, one says, “Your visitation has preserved my spirit.” Longing for a renewal, another cries, “O when will you come unto me?” and under the enjoyment of his presence the Church speaks, “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

can-two-walk-together

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3

J.C. Philpot

There was a time, child of God, when the world held in your heart the chief place. It was not so in God’s heart. You and He were therefore at variance. But now, through grace, you are brought to make eternity your chief concern. You and God are agreed there; for in the mind of God eternity as much outweighs time as the stars in the midnight sky outweigh a grain of dust. 

There was a time when you loved the world and the things of time and sense; and earth and earthly things were your element and home. You and God disagreed upon that matter; because the Lord saw that the world was full of evil, whilst you saw it full of good. The Lord saw the world under His curse, and you loved its favour and its blessing–seeking madly and wickedly to enjoy that which God had denounced; therefore you could not agree.

Thus you see that in order to be agreed with God, we must have God’s thoughts in our heart, God’s ways in our soul, and God’s love in our affections. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.” But they must become such; and when once God’s thoughts become our thoughts and God’s ways our ways; when once we have the mind of Christ and see with the eyes of God, then God and we become agreed, and being agreed, we can walk together.

What is it to walk together? Why, it is to enjoy union, communion, fellowship, and friendship. Now as we are brought to agree with God, we walk with God. He has set up a mercy-seat on high, and when they thus agree, God and man may meet at the mercy-seat of the Redeemer. As the eyes are enlightened to see the truth of God; as the heart is touched to feel the power of God; and as the affections are drawn forth to love the things of God, we meet at the mercy-seat. It is sprinkled with blood; it contains and hides from view the broken tables of the law.

There God meets man in gracious amity, and enables him to pour out his soul before him and to tell him his troubles, trials, and temptations. And every now and then he sweetly relieves by dropping in a gracious promise, applying some portion of His sacred truth, encouraging him to believe in His dear Son, and still to hope in His mercy.

THE DAUGHTER OF THE KING

kings-daughhter

THE DAUGHTER OF THE KING

J.C. Philpot

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:20]

There are three kinds of righteousness, or at least three kinds of righteousness which bear that name. There is inherent righteousness, of which we have none. There is imputed righteousness, which is all our justification. And there is imparted righteousness, when God the Spirit makes us new creatures, and raises up in the heart that “new man, which after God” (that is, “after the image of God”) “is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

When the Lord, therefore, said, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven,” he did not mean only an external righteousness wrought out by his obedience to the law for them, but an internal righteousness wrought out by the Holy Spirit in them. Thus we read of the inward as well as the outward apparel of the Church, “The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold.”

Two kinds of righteousness belong to the Queen; her imputed righteousness is her outward robe, “the clothing of wrought gold;” but imparted righteousness is her inward adorning, which makes her “all-glorious within.” This inward glory is the new man in the heart, with all his gifts and graces, what Peter calls “the divine nature,” “Christ in the heart, the hope of glory.” [Hallelujah!]

P.S. “This must be so if the Church is conformed to her Head, for He was “without spot” externally, and “without blemish” internally.” – A.W. Pink

SALVATION IS ALL OF GRACE FROM THE FIRST TO THE LAST!

all-of-grace

SALVATION IS ALL OF GRACE FROM THE FIRST TO THE LAST!

J.C. Philpot

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28

Grace is the very foundation of the kingdom which cannot be moved. It is all of grace, from first to last. By grace we are saved; by grace we are called; by grace we are what we are. In order, therefore, to maintain our interest clear in the kingdom which cannot be shaken, we must hold grace fast; for as soon we cease to do this, we lose our comfortable prospects of this kingdom, and of our own participation in it and its heavenly blessings. It is a kingdom of present grace and of future glory, therefore built wholly upon grace and not upon merit; wholly upon the favor of God and not upon the works of the creature. As long, then, as we hold fast grace, we hold the kingdom; for the kingdom stands in grace.

But why should this exhortation be needed? Is it not very easy to hold fast grace? Yes, very, when there is nothing to test it; and that is the way that most hold it–in the head, not in the heart. But the real partakers of the life of God are tempted on every hand to renounce their hold of grace, through the power of the world, the strength of sin, the subtlety of their unwearied adversary, the unbelief, infidelity, and despondency of their wretched heart. Thus sometimes we are tempted to look away from the kingdom which cannot be shaken, and descend to lower things; to stand either upon that earth which has been shaken under our feet, or that heaven, that Pharisee’s heaven which has been shaken over our heads, and thus get lost and bewildered among the wreck and ruin of those things which have been shaken and are removed.

The Apostle therefore exhorts us to hold fast that grace whereby in the first instance we came to have a saving interest in the kingdom not to be shaken; whereby we were introduced into an experimental knowledge and possession of it; and whereby alone we can maintain a firm hold of it to the end. Whatever you do, then, however low you may sink and fall, never relinquish your firm hold of grace. It will never be more precious than when clasped by a dying hand, and clung to with expiring breath.

CHRISTIAN, WE KNOW ONLY IN PART

child-on-beach

CHRISTIAN, WE KNOW ONLY IN PART

J.C. Philpot

“Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” —Luke 24:45

Blessed opening, when He that has the key of David puts in his hand by the hole of the door, and opens our heart to receive his own word. Then when we go to the Word of Truth, after it has come to us, our fingers drop with sweet-smelling myrrh upon the handles of the lock. It is said that “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” O, to hear the voice of the Son of God in our hearts! Surely it shall make our dead hearts, cold frames, withering hopes, drooping love, dying faith, languishing prayers, and fainting minds live; yes, revive as the grain, and grow as the vine.

What is all religion without a divine beginning, middle, and end—commencing, carried on, and accomplished with a heavenly power, supernatural life, and spiritual unction?

Well may we be ashamed and sick of, and sorry for, all our thoughts, words, and works, all our knowledge and profession that have not stood, or do not stand, in the power, teaching, and wisdom of God. All our talk has been but vain babbling, our prayers lip-service, our preaching wind and vanity, our profession hypocrisy, our knowledge the worst kind of ignorance, and all our religion carnality or delusion, if they have not been divinely communicated.

Sir Isaac Newton, the wisest philosopher, is said to have remarked to one who congratulated him on his knowledge, “I have been like a little child on the sea-shore taking up a little water in a shell when the vast ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me.” Much more may a spiritual man feel how little, how nothing he knows of the unsearchable riches of Christ, and the boundless stores of wisdom hid in them.

IF YOU ARE PATIENT, MEEK AND SUBMISSIVE IT IS BECAUSE GOD HAS MADE YOU SO

striving-against-god

IF YOU ARE PATIENT, MEEK AND SUBMISSIVE IT IS BECAUSE GOD HAS MADE YOU SO

J. C. Philpot

“Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” – Psalm 68:18

What a painful thing it is to be rebellious! There is hardly any feeling worse than rebellion to a man whose conscience is made tender in God’s fear. To have rebellion against a holy and wise God; rebellion against His dealings with us in providence; against His teachings in grace; because we have not more of the light of His countenance; because we have not more and clearer testimonies and manifestations!

We know in our judgment that God cannot err in any of His dealings, and yet to find at times such dreadful rebellion against God, O how painful it is! The least trifle can work up rebellion. It does not need a storm or a gale to lift up its proud waves. The slightest breath, the faintest breeze that blows, will at times stir up the billows of the rebellious heart, and make it swell with tumultuous heavings.

But what a mercy it is to the poor souls that groan and grieve under a rebellious heart, that this ascended Mediator has received gifts for them! It is not YOUR patience, meekness, and good temper, nor YOUR gentle and quiet disposition, that bring down grace into your hearts; but GOD the Father has lodged all the graces and gifts of the Spirit in His dear Son, and they are given to you because you have a saving interest in His blood and righteousness. The Lord teaches us this.

If we were always patient, meek, holy, submissive, never harassed by the devil, and never felt the workings of corruption, we would begin to think WE had some power to please God in ourselves, and would slight and neglect a precious Savior. But when taught by painful experience what a depraved nature and rebellious heart we carry in our bosom, when the Lord lets down a little mercy and grace into our soul, we then know the blessed quarter whence it comes, and learn to abhor ourselves and bless His holy Name.

‘THE HEALTHY’ AND ‘THE SICK’?

Doctor girl final

‘THE HEALTHY’ AND ‘THE SICK’?

J.C. Philpot

“They that are whole (healthy) have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance!” [Mark 2:17]

Let us look, then, at the character pointed out in the text by the expression, “THE WHOLE.” I need scarcely say, that the word naturally means a person healthy, strong, and vigorous; one untainted by sickness or disease; one in all the enjoyment of robust health, without any constitutional ailment or bodily affliction. Now it is a truth, naturally, that such people “need not a physician.” They are not in circumstances to require such aid; their vigorous health, their robust constitution, their freedom from all disease, give them perfect liberty to dispense with the services of medical skill.

From this comparison we may easily gather who are “the whole,” in a spiritual sense. Those who have never received any wound in their conscience, who have never felt sick unto death, WHO HAVE NEVER GROANED AND SUFFERED UNDER THE DISEASE OF SIN.

But who are these hearty and healthy people? All men in a state of unregeneracy; all in whose hearts the Spirit of God has not begun His quickening work. These are called “whole,” – not as really and actually free from taint or infection – for in the sight of God they are one mass of disease; but they are called “whole” in the text, because they feel and know nothing, spiritually and experimentally, of sickness. They are not healthy in the sight of God, but in their own sight – for “their eyes stand out with fatness,” and they are not “plagued with sickness like other men.” Psalm 73:5,7

If we look a little more closely at these characters, we shall find them divided into two grand classes – THOSE DEAD IN SIN, and those dead in a profession. As never plagued with the sickness of sin, both of these characters may be said to be “whole.”

Look, for instance, at men generally – say, those you have daily to associate with, whose conscience God has not touched with His finger. Is there any sigh, any cry, any groan, any sorrow for sin ever manifested by them? Are they not light, trifling, and frivolous; or, if settled and sober, altogether buried in the things of time and sense? Do you ever witness anything in them, that shows they have the least concern for their immortal souls? Are they not evidently dead in sin – so dead as not to have one thought for the future, one solemn feeling of eternity?

And is there not a large class of PROFESSORS, who are as DEAD IN FORMALITY as the others in transgression, though they may have a name to live? But what is the grand distinguishing mark of both? Is it not that they are “whole?” They have never felt any inward sickness or running sore; they have never been wounded by the arrows of God shot into their conscience; they have never had the ill-conditioned ulcers and deep abscesses of human nature laid open by the keen dissecting knife of the great Anatomist; nor have they ever been brought down to sigh and groan under a body of sin and death. “Their strength is firm.” Their “face is covered with fatness, and the bundles of fat are on their flanks;” their “breasts are full of milk, and their bones are moistened with marrow.” Psalm 73:4 Job 15:27 Job 21:24

Now, however heady, high-minded, presumptuous people may despise the groans and sighs of God’s sin-sick people, and the feeling acquaintance that each rightly-taught man has with his own sore, and his own grief; or whatever ridicule may be poured out upon the trials which God’s children experience when the internal plague of corruption is felt, it is a solemn truth, in spite of all contempt or ridicule, that “the whole need not a physician.” And it is equally true, let them speak of Christ as much as they may, that there can be no spiritual communion with the great Physician, Jehovah-rophi (the Lord, the Healer), unless there be some inward wound or sickness of soul felt, so as to make them desire healing from His blessed hands.

“The whole need not a physician;” they need no visits from Jesus, no smile from His loving countenance, no balm from His tender hands, no cure from His gracious lips. They may know from the Bible that there is such a Person as Christ, just as a healthy man may know that some celebrated physician lives in such a street; but as to any personal application to Him, any sighing at His gracious footstool, any showing before Him their sickness, any laying down their broken bones or bruised consciences at His door, they can know nothing of it, because they are “whole.” Still less can they know the efficacy of His balmy blood sprinkled on their conscience; still less the spiritual experience contained in those words, “He makes sore, and binds up; he wounds, and his hands make whole” Job 5:18; “Who heals all your diseases.” Psalm 103:3 And how can those who despise or ridicule all experience, know anything spiritually of Jesus? For they are “whole;” and being “whole” they “need not a physician.”

No one knows anything spiritually and experimentally of soul sickness, until God the Spirit quickens him from a death in sin. Then for the first time a wound is made in his conscience by an arrow shot from the bow of the Almighty. Now spiritually, as well as naturally, when a man is groaning and languishing under a wound, will he not anxiously desire a surgeon to bind it up? Let a man meet with what is called an accident; let him fall from a ladder, or be run over by a carriage. Will not the bystanders gather together in a moment, and take him off to a hospital? And even the poor man himself, if he retains his senses, is glad to be taken there as soon as possible. But what has made the laborer, who just before was standing careless upon the scaffold, now all pale and trembling upon a stretcher, crying to be taken to the surgeon? Is it not the broken rib or fractured limb that in a moment has produced the change?

So spiritually, there was a time when the vessel of mercy ridiculed spiritual things, cared for neither heaven nor hell, nor had one pang of concern about his immortal state; but the wound came, the bones were broken, distress of mind followed, and the soul pined and languished away, fearing the “second death.” But no sooner was this felt, than a Physician was wanted, one able and willing to heal. At first, perhaps, through ignorance, he looked out and sought after “physicians of no value,” running here and there for ease, and not seeking only to the Lord. But, sooner or later, being baffled in all his attempts to find relief from human help, he is brought to apply to “Jehovah, who heals you” Ex 15:26; and finds there is “balm in Gilead,” and a “physician there.”

But the Lord’s people are not merely wounded by the arrows of God sticking in their conscience; THEY HAVE ALSO TO BE LED INTO THE DEEP DEPRAVITY OF THEIR FALLEN NATURE, THE DESPERATE WICKEDNESS OF THEIR EVIL HEART. We may class spiritual patients under two heads – those that are wounded and need the surgeon – and those that are sick and need the physician. And generally speaking, we need the first before the second, and have to go to the surgeon before we go to the dispensary. Thus usually, we know but little of our dreadful depravity, when the Lord first takes us in hand; the fountains of the great deep are not then broken up; the desperate unbelief, enmity, rebellion, perverseness, pride, hypocrisy, uncleanness, and all the other vile corruptions of our heart are not at first opened up and brought to light.

But as the Lord leads the soul on, He opens up by degrees the desperate corruption and depravity of our nature, and unfolds the hidden evils of our heart, which before were covered from our view. It is with us as it was with the Prophet. The Lord led him into one chamber after another; and when his astonishment increased at what he saw there, He said unto him, “Turn yet again, and you shall see greater abominations than these.” Ezekiel 8:15 But as the Lord leads us into a knowledge of our depravity, He makes us to feel sick at heart, and thus we come into the state of feeling described by the prophet Isaiah – “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores.” Isaiah 1:5,6 And as we are led into a knowledge of our sinfulness, and groan under it, we feel more and more a burden of shame and sorrow on account of it; and the more deeply and daily that this is felt, the more deeply and daily do we find our need of the great Physician.

All the Lord’s dealings with our souls are that He may exalt His dear Son in our hearts, that we may have all the shame, and Jesus all the glory; and therefore, all this deep and daily discovery of our depravity is eventually to bring greater glory to the Son of God. The deeper we sink into shame and guilt, under the knowledge of the depravity of our nature, the more do we seek unto, feel the power, and prize the love, blood, grace, and preciousness of the Lord Jesus. Every fresh discovery of our vile nature, when the Lord is pleased to bring the savor of Jesus’ name, like the ointment poured forth, into the conscience, serves only instrumentally to increase our faith and affection towards Him; and thus the deeper we sink in self, the higher the Lord Jesus rises in our soul’s admiration and adoration.

But to make us more and more dependent upon Jesus, the Lord, by His teachings, leads us usually into a knowledge of our backsliding and idolatrous nature. And O, what a backsliding and idolatrous heart do we carry in our bosom, and how perpetually does it make us sigh and groan! Is there anything too vile for our depraved nature not to lust after? Is there anything too base which our hearts will not imagine? Are there any puddles, which, if God left us to ourselves, we would not grovel in? As we are brought more to feel the workings of this base backsliding heart, and have the burden of it more laid upon our conscience, the more sick are we at heart, and the more is the disease felt to be in the very vitals. We sigh and groan because we are so vile – for we would be far otherwise. In our right mind, we would be in the fear of the Lord all the day long, and would never do a single thing inconsistent with the precepts of the gospel – we would never say a word that the Lord would disapprove of – would always walk in faith, hope, and love – and would continually be spiritual and heavenly-minded.

But alas, this is what we cannot attain unto. Our eye is caught by every passing vanity, our carnal minds rove after forbidden things, and our vile heart will still commit villainy. And as the conscience is made tender – and if it be not so, the fear of God is not there – and as the soul is led into a deeper acquaintance with the spirituality of God’s character and the purity of His nature, and as a deeper and clearer knowledge of Jesus in all His covenant relationship is gained, the more it is felt to be an evil and bitter thing to depart from “the Fountain of living waters.”

But there is, after all, one class only of people that this great Physician admits as patients. In this metropolis, you know, there are hospitals for different diseases; and a man afflicted with one disease must not go to an infirmary intended for another. The consumptive patient must go to the hospital for diseases of the chest; the man suffering from typhus fever must be taken to the fever hospital – and the sufferer from inflamed eyes must go to the Opthalmic institution. So spiritually, the Lord’s Hospital,”Christ’s Hospital” – if I may use the expression without irreverence – IS ONLY FOR INCURABLES; and until every other hospital refuses us admission, or turns us out as hopeless cases, the Lord does not admit us as patients. It is like a man with a fever going for admittance to the consumptive hospital. They would say, “You are not the patient for us; people with your disease are not admitted here.” So spiritually, THE LORD’S DISPENSARY IS ONLY FOR INCURABLES, whom every other hospital rejects; and as long as we, like Asa, seek to other physicians, we are not admitted into His sick wards.

The leprosy was an incurable disease. So experimentally, until the disease of sin gets so desperate as to be past the help of all human skill, past our own healing, and all healing from others, we will not seek unto, and I am sure we cannot find, the great Physician. A great part, an important part of the Spirit’s work, is to bring men into this state; for we read, “The Lord kills, and makes alive; he brings down to the grave, and brings up.” 1 Sam 2:6,7 And what is “to kill,” and “bring down to the grave,” but to render a man incurable? Not that God is the author of sin – God forbid. He does not work sin in us, but discovers it as already there; and shows us what we are, by bringing light and life into the conscience; so that in His light we see, and in His life we feel, and groan over the malady of sin thus made manifest.

Now many of God’s people are on the way to this free hospital; but they are not admissible yet; not deeply sunk enough into the disease yet; it has not yet laid hold of their vitals, not yet spread its deep roots into their conscience. Like the first commencement of a cancer, or of a consumption, the symptoms may be discoverable, but the disease has as yet not spread into the whole constitution. But like the two fatal diseases I have named, the felt malady of sin will spread and extend until the soul becomes incurable – and the more this is seen and experienced, the more urgently will a man seek, and the sooner will he find, the great Physician.

Read the full sermon – http://www.gracegems.org/sin_sick_soul.htm

THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT AND THE ASSURANCE OF FAITH

My Jesus is mine

THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT AND THE ASSURANCE OF FAITH

J.C. Philpot

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” [Romans 8:16]

You may not perhaps, for the most part, enjoy a strong or clear assurance of your interest in Christ; you may be frequently much exercised whether you are a child of God; and yet you may at times have had a sweet testimony that grace is in your heart.

You may have heard the servants of God so describe the feelings of your soul, so enter into your exercises, and bring forward such evidences of grace, that, in spite of all your unbelief, you were convinced that if these men spake agreeably to the mind of God, which you could not well doubt from the power which accompanied it, you were one of his children; and as you felt this inward witness, your heart was softened and moved within you, and you could not help lifting up your soul in praise and adoration to the God of all your mercies.

You might sink again almost as low as before; but whilst that heavenly feeling lasted, you had a testimony in your conscience that you were a child of God, and could then and there believe that he was your Father and heavenly friend. This text does not, therefore, cut off those who have not reached the full assurance of faith; it does not imply, much less say, that everybody shall be cut off and sent into everlasting perdition who cannot clearly and boldly declare that the Spirit itself beareth witness with their spirit that they are the children of God. On the contrary, it opens its benign arms to everyone who has in any degree or at any time received any deliverance, felt any measure of spiritual consolation, or been favoured with any testimony of his acceptance in the Beloved.

It does not come as a two-edged sword to kill all who do not enjoy the full assurance of faith, but still have felt the power of the truth in their hearts. It does not say to such, “You have neither part nor lot in the matter.” It would rather draw them forward into the sheltering arms of eternal mercy, and encourage them to press on to know more and more of that inward witness which alone can cheer them in hours of darkness and distress, support them upon a dying bed, and enable them to walk without doubt and fear through the gloomy valley of the shadow of death.

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God; that YE MAY KNOW that ye HAVE eternal life, and that ye may (continue to) believe on the Name of the Son of God.” [1John 5:13]