Monday, January 23, 2006

Victorious enemy?

Why the enemy seems victorious--

To understand this, we should remember, firstly, that God's children usually, in their troubles, overcome by suffering. Here lambs overcome lions, and doves eagles, by suffering, that herein they may be conformable to Christ, who conquered most when he suffered most.
Together with Christ's kingdom of patience there was a kingdom of power.
Secondly, this victory is by degrees, and therefore they are too hasty-spirited that would conquer as soon as they strike the first stroke, and be at the end of their race at the first setting forth. The Israelites were sure of their victory in the journey to Canaan, yet they must fight it out. God would not have us quickly forget what cruel enemies Christ has overcome for us.
"Slay them not, lest my people forget," says the Psalmist (Psa. 59:11 ), so that, by experience of that annoyance we have by them, we might be kept in fear to come under their power.
God often works by contraies: when he means to give victory, he will allow us to be foiled at first; when he means to comfort, her will terrify first; when he means to justify, he will condemn us first; when he means to make us glorious, he will abase us first. A Christian conquers, even when he is conquered. When he is conquered by some sins, he gets victory over others more dangerous, such as spiritual pride and security."
Richard Sibbes 1620

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ulcers, Sores and Dropsies

“ If there should spring up in any hospital a disposition of criticism, and men with fevers should gibe men with dropsies, and men with dropsies should revenge themselves by pointing to men with ulcers and sores, it would fitly represent the harsh judgment of men upon each other.” H.W.Beecher

When I read that...... well, you know.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Hawthorne, -- “As a general rule, Providence seldom vouchsafes to mortals any more than just that degree of encouragement which suffices to keep them at a reasonably full exertion of their powers.”

Sad but true..

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Some good thing.

I've been enjoying the work of Richard Sibbes, one of the most influential figures in the Puritan movement during the seventeenth century.
This piece on continuing duty during weakness, is a section I like.

"It should encourage us to duty that Christ will not quench the smoking flax, but blow on it till it flames. Some are loathe to do good because they feel their hearts rebelling, and duties turn out badly. We should not avoid good actions because of the infirmities attending them.
Christ looks more at the good in them which he means to cherish than the ill in them which he means to abolish.
Let us not be cruel to ourselves when Christ is thus gracious. There is a certain meekness of spirit whereby we yield thanks to God for any ability at all, and rest quiet with the measure of grace received, seeing it is God's good pleasure it should be so, who gives the will and the deed, yet not so as to rest from further endeavors. But when, with faithful endeavour, we come short of what we would be, and short of what others are, then know for our comfort, Christ will not quench the smoking flax, and that sincerity and truth, as we said before, will endeavour of growth, is our perfection.
What God says of Jeroboam's son is comforting, 'He only shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel' ( 1 Kings 14:13) though only 'some good thing'.
'Lord I believe' Mark 9:24 with a weak faith, yet with faith; love thee with a faint love, yet with love; endeavour in a feeble manner, yet endeavour. A little fire is fire, though it smokes. Since thou hast taken me into thy covenant to be thine from being an enemy, wilt thou cast me off for these infirmities, which, as they displease thee, so are they the grief of my own heart?"