Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Lifting up for the Downcast - Conclusion

I completed this book last night, and it was quite a struggle. I outlined the reasons for my difficulties in previous posts, but conclude that it was all well worth the effort. Sometimes the most valuable gems lie deepest in the earth!

I haven't spent much time blogging this month, but feel that I should leave you with a little bit of Bridge for your edification:

Suppose you were invited to a great feast, and some of the dishes were not so well dressed or cooked as you might desire, would you find fault? would you complain? No; why? Because this feast costs you nothing. The master of the feast may find fault, but you are a guest and it costs you nothing, and therefore you have no reason to complain. Beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ is the great master of the feast, and of all the comforts which you have, and He has paid all your reckoning. There is nothing for you to pay; and if you bring your prayers, your tears, your obedience, as matter of payment, they will not be taken. No, saith Christ, I have paid all Myself; witness these empty purses, these empty veins of Mine. As for you, O my friends, you are welcome, but you have nothing to pay, not a penny, not a farthing. I say there is a condition that a godly man can fall into, but there is some mercy that is mixed with it, and Christ has paid the reckoning for the mercy too; surely then, the people of God have no reason to be discouraged by reason of their condition. (pg. 238)

But suppose I be in Christ or I be not in Christ, believe or not believe, what then? If yet you do not believe, if yet you be not in Christ, if yet you be not godly, this doctrine from the Lord holds forth an invitation to you to come unto Jesus Christ: for if a man be in Christ, and be godly, then he has no reason to be discouraged whatever his condition be. If a man be not godly, he has no reason to be encouraged, whatever his condition be. On the one hand there lie all encouragements, on the other hand there lie all discouragements. Now, therefore, in the name of the Lord, do I here, this morning, lay before this congregation life and death; encouragement on the one hand, and discouragement on the other hand. And if there be an adulterer, a swearer, a lying child, or a stealing servant; if there be a poor wanton, a sabbath breaker, an opposer of God here; I beseech you, in the Lord, come unto Jesus Christ. By all these encouragements that I have been speaking of, by all the mercies of the new covenant, and by the salvation of thine own soul, man or woman, I beseech you come unto Jesus Christ. Oh that, men and women would give no rest to themselves, till they have made their peace with God, and till they have gotten into Jesus Christ. (pg. 260)

And, what I read to our church prior to business meeting last night:

Faith gives a man the true prospect of things, past, present and to come, and of things as they are. All of our fears and discouragements arise from this, that men do not see things as they are. If evil be stirring, they think it is greater than it is. If good be stirring, they think it is less than it is. If a man be in temptation, then he loses sight of his former experiences, and so he is much discouraged. If a man be under a desertion, he loses sight of what is present, of what God is to him, and of what he is to God; and so he is discouraged. If a man be under an affliction, he loses the sight of the end and the issue of the affliction, and so he is disquieted. But now when faith comes, it opens a man's eyes to see things that are invisible; it is the evidence of things not seen: "By faith, Moses saw him that was invisible." (pg. 268-269)

Thirteen sermons, preached 360 years ago, by a preacher to a people all long since gone to eternity, all as "relevant" as ever, and all based on Psalm 42:11:

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

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