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Horatius Bonar

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Lord’s Day 16, 2008
0 Comments · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · Lord’s Day

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1 Geneva Bible)

HOW LONG?
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

MY God, it is not fretfulness
   That makes me say “how long?”
It is not heaviness of heart
   That hinders me in song;
’Tis not despair of truth and right,
   Nor coward dread of wrong.

But how can I, with such a hope
   Of glory and of home ;
With such a joy before my eyes,
   Not wish the time were come,—
Of years the jubilee, of days
   The Sabbath and the sum?

These years, what ages they have been!
   This life, how long it seems!
And how can I, in evil days,
   ’Mid unknown hills and streams,
But sigh for those of home and heart,
   And visit them in dreams?

Yet peace, my heart, and hush, my tongue;
   Be calm my troubled breast;
Each restless hour is hastening on
   The everlasting rest:
Thou knowest that the time thy God
   Appoints for thee, is best.

Let faith, not fear nor fretfulness,
   Awake the cry, “how long?”
Let no faint-heartedness of soul
   Damp thy aspiring song:
Right comes, truth dawns, the night departs
   Of error and of wrong.

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

Psalme 134
(Geneva Bible)
A song of degrees.
1 Behold, praise ye the Lord, all ye seruants of the Lord, ye that by night stande in the house of the Lord.
2 Lift vp your hands to the Sanctuarie, and praise the Lord.
3 The Lord, that hath made heauen and earth, blesse thee out of Zion.

Sermons


Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W. Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M. Way
R.C. Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 16, 2008
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Lord’s Day 22, 2008
0 Comments · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · Lord’s Day

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1 Geneva Bible)

BE STILL
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

BE still, my soul; Jehovah loveth thee;
   Fret not nor murmur at thy weary lot;
Though dark and lone thy journey seems to be,
   He ever loves; then trust him, trust Him still;
Let all thy care be this, in doing his will.

Thy hand in His, like fondest, happiest child,
   Place thou, nor draw it for a moment thence;
Walk thou with Him, a Father reconciled
   Till in His own good time He call thee hence.
Walk with Him now; so shall thy way be bright,
And all thy soul be filled with His most glorious light.

Fight the good fight of faith, nor turn aside
   Though fear of peril from or earth or hell;
Take to thee now the armour proved and tried,
   Take to thee the spear and sword; oh, wield them well;
So shall thou conquer here, so win the day,
So wear the crown when this hard live has passed away.

Take courage! Faint not, though the foe be strong;
   Christ is thy strength; He fighteth on thy side.
Swift be thy face; remember, ’tis not long,
   The goal is near; the prize He will provide.
And then from earthly toil thou restest ever;
Thy home on the fair banks of life’s eternal river!

He comes with His reward; ’tis just at hand;
   He comes in glory to His promised throne.
My soul, rejoice; ere long thy feet shall stand
   Within the city of the Blessed One.
Thy perils past, thy heritage secure,
Thy tears all wiped away, thy joy for ever sure!

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

Psalme 67
(Geneva Bible)
To him that excelleth on Neginoth. A Psalme or song.

1 God be mercifull vnto vs, and blesse vs, and cause his face to shine among vs. Selah.
2 That they may know thy way vpon earth, and thy sauing health among all nations.
3 Let the people prayse thee, O God: let all the people prayse thee.
4 Let the people be glad and reioyce: for thou shalt iudge the people righteously, and gouerne the nations vpon the earth. Selah.
5 Let the people prayse thee, O God: let all the people prayse thee.
6 Then shall the earth bring foorth her increase, and God, euen our God shall blesse vs.
7 God shall blesse vs, and all the endes of the earth shall feare him.

Sermons


Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W. Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M. Way
R.C. Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 22, 2008
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Same Old Errors, Different Century
0 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin

While today’s heretics insist that they are, like, so totally not whatever anyone says they are, and definitely not anything like the liberals (or anyone else) of the past, I keep seeing them pop up whenever I read the objections of dead theologians to the errors of their day. Consider these words from Horatius Bonar (1808–1889):

Horatius BonarSome well-meaning theological literateurs, or rather amateur theologians, who patronize religion in their own way, are fain to warn us of the danger of not “keeping abreast of the age,” as if we were imperiling Christianity by not by not being quite so learned in modern speculations as they are. We should like, certainly, to keep abreast of all that is true and good, either in this age or any other; but as to doing more than that, or singling out this age as being pre-eminently worthy of being kept abreast of, we hesitate. To be “up to” all the errors, fallacies, speculations, fancies, mis-criticisms of the age, would be an achievement of no mean kind; to require us to be “up to” all this under threat of endangering Christianity, or betraying the Bible, is an exaction which could only be made by men who think that religion is much beholden to them for their condescending patronage; and will only be accepted by men who are timid about the stability of the cross of Christ if left unpropped by human wisdom; and who, besides, have three or four lifetimes to spare. We may be in a condition for believing, and even for defending the Bible, without having mastered the whole deistical literature of the last century, or the present. We may be qualified to accept the doctrine of sacrificial substitution even though we are not “up to” everything that has been spoken against it . . .
   In attempting to “keep abreast of the age,” there is some danger of falling short of other ages; and we are not sure but that the object of those who shake this phrase so complacently in our faces, both as a taunt and a threat, is to draw us off from the past altogether, as if the greater bulk of all its literature were rude lumber, a mere drag upon progress. . . . Old theological terms and Scripture phraseology are set aside . . . Sharp adhesion to old doctrines is imbecility; and yet defined expression of the new is avoided, the mind of the age being in a transition state, unable to bear the whole of what the exact and honest exhibition of “advanced” Christianity would require to utter. . . . They shrink from bold and definite statements of Reformation doctrine, lest they should be pronounced “not abreast of the age”—stereotyped, if not imbecile. Indefinite language, mystical utterances, negative or defective statements, which will save the speaker’s or writer’s orthodoxy without compromising his reputation for “intellect” and “liberality”—these are becoming common. . . .

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 31–32.

Sound familiar?

Holiness and Peace
1 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin
Horatius Bonar. . . it is evident that in proportion to our holiness will be the abundance of our peace. Not that we are to draw our peace from our holiness. That cannot be. Personal holiness can never be the foundation of our peace. But still in may be perfectly true that as our holiness increases our peace will deepen and grow more intense. The light of the body does not come from the eye, though it comes through the eye. It comes from the sun. The eye merely admits it. But if the eye be dim there will be less light admitted; and just as the eye becomes clearer more light will be let in. Yet still it is true that the light does not come from the eye but from the sun. So with holiness. In proportion as the soul becomes holy, in that proportion does it admit new peace, and in that proportion is it in a fitter condition for enjoying peace. A healthy body enjoys the beauties of the bright scenes of earth, more than a pained or sickly one, and just as it is healthy, so has it a capacity for the enjoyment of these things. Even so with the soul and holiness. While we utterly disclaim the Christ-dishonouring thought, that our holiness is the foundation of our peace, or forms any qualification on account of which peace is conferred upon us, it is yet true that just as we become holier men, we shall be the more abundantly filled with the peace of God that passeth all understanding.

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, ), 55–56..
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Bonar on Prayer
2 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin
Horatius Bonar   Be much alone with God. Do not put Him off with a quarter of an hour morning and evening. Take time to get thoroughly acquainted. Converse over everything with Him. Unbosom yourself wholly—every thought, feeling, wish, plan, doubt—to Him. He wants to converse with His creatures; shall His creatures not want to converse with Him? He wants, not merely to be on “good terms” with you, if one may use man’s phrase, but to be intimate; shall you decline the intimacy, and be satisfied with mere acquaintance? What! Intimate with the world, with friends, with neighbors, with politicians, with philosophers, with naturalists, or with poets, but not with God! That would look ill indeed. Folly, to prefer the clay to the potter, the marble to the sculptor, this little earth and its lesser creatures to the mighty Maker of the universe, the great “All and in all!”

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 62–63
continue reading Bonar on Prayer
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Christian, dwell alone!
2 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin
Horatius Bonar   Christian, dwell alone! Seek not the society of the world. Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? If you have any sympathies with the world—if it contains attractions for you—if God and the things of God are not enough for you—there is something wrong. Love not the world! Seek not its society. Seek the things above. Beware of the fascinations of company,the spells which gaiety throws over the young. Stand your ground. Be not whirled away into the tossing current of gay society on any pretext whatever.
   Church of the living God, be separate—dwell alone! That is your security, your strength, your influence. Let the world see that you are not of it; that you do not need it. And you will serve it best by dwelling alone. Not by coldness, sourness, distance; but by love, geniality, gentleness, patience, by all acts of benevolence and words of peace. These are things which are only to be found by “dwelling alone.”

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 83–84.
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No Grace without Sovereignty
1 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin
Horatius Bonar   There can be no grace where there is no sovereignty. Deny God’s right to choose whom he will and you deny his right to save whom he will. Deny his right to save whom he will, and you deny that salvation is of grace. If salvation is made to hinge upon any desert or fitness in man, seen or foreseen, grace is at an end. . . .
   Men may call these speculations. They may condemn them as unprofitable. To the law and to the testimony! Of such speculations, the Bible is full. There man is a helpless worm, and salvation from first to last, is of the Lord. God’s will, and not man’s, is the law of the universe. If we are to maintain the gospel—if we are to hold fast to grace—if we are to preserve Jehovah’s honor—we must grasp these truths with no feeble hand. For if there be no such being as a Supreme, pre-determining Jehovah, then the universe will soon be chaos: and if there be no such thing as free electing love, every minister of Christ may close his lips, and every sinner upon earth sit down in mute despair.

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 89.
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Christ Our Substitute
1 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin
Horatius Bonar   It is not by incarnation but by blood-shedding that we are saved. . . . If Christ be not the Substitute, He is nothing to the sinner. If He did not die as a Sin-bearer, He has died in vain. Let us not be deceived on this point, nor misled by those who, when they announce Christ as the Deliverer, think they have preached the gospel.
   If I throw a rope to a drowning man, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more than that? . . . The very essence of Christ’s deliverance is the substitution of Himself for us, His life for ours. . . . He did not redeem us by a little loss, a little sacrifice, a little labour, a little suffering, “He redeemed us to God by His blood;” “the precious blood of Christ.”

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 111–113.
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Lord’s Day 28, 2008
0 Comments · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · Lord’s Day

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1 Geneva Bible)

LET US DRAW NEAR
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Horatius Bonar

WHY stand I lingering about,
In fear, and weariness, and doubt,
   When all is light within?
Thou, the new and living way,
The trembler’s Guide, the sinner's Stay,
   My High Priest, lead me in!

I know the mercy-seat is there,
On which thou sitt’st to answer prayer;
   I know the blood is shed;
The everlasting covenant sealed,
The everlasting grace revealed,
   And life has reached the dead!

Not the mere Paradise below;
The heaven of heavens is opened now,
   And we its bliss regain.
Guarded so long by fire and sword,
The gate stands wide, the way restored,
   The veil is rent in twain!

Without the cloud and gloom appear,
The peril and the storm are near,
   The foe is raging round;
Then let me boldly enter in,
There end my danger, fear, and sin,
   And rest on holy ground.

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

Psalme 109
(Geneva Bible)
To him that excelleth. A Psalme of David.

1 Holde not thy tongue, O God of my praise. 2 For the mouth of the wicked, and the mouth full of deceite are opened vpon me: they haue spoken to me with a lying tongue. 3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. 4 For my friendship they were mine aduersaries, but I gaue my selfe to praier. 5 And they haue rewarded me euil for good, and hatred for my friendship. 6 Set thou the wicked ouer him, and let the aduersarie stand at his right hand. 7 Whe he shalbe iudged, let him be condemned, and let his praier be turned into sinne. 8 Let his daies be fewe, and let another take his charge. 9 Let his children be fatherlesse, and his wife a widowe. 10 Let his children be vagabonds and beg and seeke bread, comming out of their places destroyed. 11 Let the extortioner catch al that he hath, and let the strangers spoile his labour. 12 Let there be none to extend mercie vnto him: neither let there be any to shewe mercie vpon his fatherlesse children. 13 Let his posteritie be destroied, and in the generation following let their name be put out. 14 Let the iniquitie of his fathers bee had in remembrance with the Lord: and let not the sinne of his mother be done away. 15 But let them alway be before the Lord, that he may cut off their memorial from ye earth. 16 Because he remembred not to shew mercie, but persecuted the afflicted and poore man, and the sorowfull hearted to slay him. 17 As he loued cursing, so shall it come vnto him, and as he loued not blessing, so shall it be farre from him. 18 As he clothed himselfe with cursing like a rayment, so shall it come into his bowels like water, and like oyle into his bones. 19 Let it be vnto him as a garment to couer him, and for a girdle, wherewith he shalbe alway girded. 20 Let this be the rewarde of mine aduersarie from the Lord, and of them, that speake euill against my soule. 21 But thou, O Lord my God, deale with me according vnto thy Name: deliuer me, (for thy mercie is good) 22 Because I am poore and needie, and mine heart is wounded within me. 23 I depart like the shadowe that declineth, and am shaken off as the grashopper. 24 My knees are weake through fasting, and my flesh hath lost all fatnes. 25 I became also a rebuke vnto them: they that looked vpon me, shaked their heads. 26 Helpe me, O Lord my God: saue me according to thy mercie. 27 And they shall know, that this is thine hand, and that thou, Lord, hast done it. 28 Though they curse, yet thou wilt blesse: they shall arise and be confounded, but thy seruant shall reioyce. 29 Let mine aduersaries be clothed with shame, and let them couer themselues with their confusion, as with a cloke. 30 I will giue thankes vnto the Lord greatly with my mouth and praise him among ye multitude. 31 For he will stand at the right hand of the poore, to saue him from them that woulde condemne his soule.

Sermons


Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W. Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M. Way
R.C. Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 28, 2008
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Buy the Truth
1 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin
Horatius Bonar   It is truth that makes us free, for all error is bondage. If, then, you would be free men, grasp the truth tenaciously, bravely, calmly; bind it round you as a girdle, treasure it in your heart of hearts. “Buy the truth and sell it not;” that is, get it at any cost, part with it never. Error is sin, for which every man shall give an account to God; and sin is no mischance or misfortune that claims pity only, but not condemnation or punishment; else what means the fiery law? What means the cross of the sin-bearer? What means the great white throne? What means the everlasting fire? . . .
   Let neither your words nor your lives give any uncertain sound. Every man to whom the Bible comes is responsible for believing all the truth which the revelation proclaims, and for rejecting all the error which it condemns. Cleave, then, to the Word of the living God; and sit, as teachable disciples, at the feet of Him who has said, “Learn of me.”

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 109–110.
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“his head contains a creed of error”
0 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin
Horatius Bonar   There is a tendency among some to undervalue doctrine, to exact morality at the expense of theology, and to deny the importance of a sound creed. I do not doubt that a sound creed has often covered an unsound life, and that “much creed, little faith,” is true of multitudes. But when we hear it said, “Such a man is far gone in error, but his heart is in the right place; he disbelieves the substitution on the cross, but he rests on Christ Himself,” we wonder, and ask, “What then was the Bible written for?” it may be (if this be the case) a book of thought . . . , but it is no standard of truth, no infallible expression of the mind of an infallible being! The solemnity with which that book affirms the oneness of truth, and the awful severity with which it condemns every departure from the truth, as a direct attack on God Himself, shows us the danger of saying that a man’s heart may be in its right place though his head contains a creed of error.

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 115.
True Spiritual Discernment
1 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin

I have come to the conclusion that Horatius Bonar could never have written a book called A Generous Orthodoxy*.

Horatius BonarBe discriminating. Do not call error truth for the sake of charity. Do not praise earnest men merely because they are earnest. To be earnest in truth is one thing; to be earnest in an error is another. The first is blessed, not so much because of the earnestness, but because of the truth; the second is hateful to God, and ought to be shunned by you. Remember how the Lord Jesus from heaven spoke concerning error: “which thing I hate” (Rev. 2:6–15; 1 Tim. 6:4, 5). True spiritual discernment is much lost sight of as a real Christian grace; discernment between the evil and the good, the false and the true. “Beloved, believe not every spirit; but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). This “discernment,” which belongs to every one who is taught of God, is the very opposite of that which is called in our day by the boastful name of “liberality.” Spiritual discernment and “liberal thought” have little in common with each other. “Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good” (Rom. 12:9). The “liberality which puts bitter for sweet. And sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20), is a very different thing from the “charity which thinketh no evil” (1 Cor. 13:5).
   Truth is a mighty thing in the eyes of God, whatever it may be in those of men. All error is, more or less, whether directly or indirectly,. A misrepresentation of God’s character, and a subversion of his relation (Rev. 22:18, 19).

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 123–124.

*Read reviews of A Generous Orthodoxy by Tim Challies, Albert Mohler, Gary Gilley, Bob DeWaay, Roger Overton, Randy Brandt, and John Hendryx.

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“thinking out a Bible for himself”
0 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin

More evidence from the pen of Horatius Bonar that there is nothing new under the sun:

Horatius BonarThe religious atmosphere of the present time is much changed from what it was in my younger days . . .
. . . Man is now thinking out a Bible for himself; framing a religion in harmony with the development of liberal thought; constructing a worship on the principles of taste and culture; shaping a god to suit the expanding aspirations of the age. The process of evolution on all these points is so satisfactory and so well advanced that disguise is no longer needful. Faith and certainty, in things outside our senses, are, in the meantime at least, not to be taken into account. . . .
   Amid all this dazzling confusion, it is well to keep in mind that the way leading to life is narrow, the way leading to death is broad. The danger arising from want of spiritual discrimination is more serious than many think. For one authentic light there are a thousand spurious ones. The false christs are many, the true Christ is but one; and whilst glorying in the vitality of truth we must stand in awe of the marvelous fecundity of error. Discrimination is not censorious.

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 125–126.
Dogma and Life
4 Comments · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin

These words by Horatius Bonar, though written around one hundred and fifty years ago, have never been more true than they are today. While those who would call themselves “the church” today are always looking for something fresh and innovative, they continually fall back on the same errors that have been common in ages past. The good news, then, is that we need no fresh answers. The saints who have gone before us and, indeed, Scripture itself, have said all that needs to be said.

Horatius BonarChristianity, say many among us, is a life, not a dogma; and they reckon this the enunciation of a great and unappreciated truth. It is, however, a mere truism, or it is an unmeaning antithesis, or it is an absolute falsehood. It sounds oracular and great; it is only pompous.
   Christianity is both life and dogma; quite as much one as the other.
   But it is a dogma before it is life; it cannot be the latter till it has been the former. It is out of the dogma that the life emerges; not the dogma out of the life; and the importance that is attached in Scripture to knowledge—right knowledge—should make us cautious in disparaging doctrine, as if it were harmless when wrong, and impotent or uninfluential when right. The mystics of different ages have tried hard to depreciate doctrine, to praise what they call “the spirit” at the expense of “the letter”; And it is somewhat remarkable that infidelity has generally taken their side . . .
. . . doctrine in general, at least if precise and defined, is inconsistent with liberty of thought and expansion of intellect. “Life” is a pliable thing; it is unfenced and common; it may mean anything a man likes to call it or to fancy it; there is no imperiling of human liberty in calling Christianity a life; the men of “progress” and “freshness” are safe in making their standard; for Christianity = life may mean just Christianity = 0; at least it is an equation capable of being manipulated as to bring out any result which the theological algebraist may desire.
   And then there is the advantage of having a popular and high-sounding watchword. “Christianity a life, not a dogma” sounds noble. . . . it is an axiom rather than a proposition. It takes largely; it convinces hundreds without further inquiry or argument . . . it would enable us to believe anyone to be pious—Moslem, Hindoo, Romanist, Pantheist, or Sceptic—who could produce a worthy and earnest life.
. . . Religion without creed, religion without truth, religion without the Bible, religion without Christianity, religion without Christ—is set down now, not simply among things possible, but amongst things desirable. . . . “Unconditioned” religion is to be accepted as not inconsistent with philosophy or liberty, but conditioned or defined religion is to be regarded as imbecility.

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 145–146.
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The one true resting-place
0 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin
Horatius BonarThis one true goal or resting-place where doubt and weariness, the stings of a pricking conscience, and the longings of an unsatisfied soul would all be quieted, is Christ Himself. Not the church, but Christ. Not doctrine, but Christ. Not forms, but Christ. Not ceremonies, but Christ. Christ the God-man, giving his life for ours; sealing the everlasting covenant, and making peace for us through the blood of His cross; Christ the divine storehouse of all light and truth, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” [Col 2:3]; Christ the infinite vessel, filled with the Holy Spirit, the enlightener, the teacher, the quickened, the comforter, so that “out of his fullness we may receive, and grace for grace” [John 1:16]. This, this alone is the vexed soul’s refuge, its rock to build on, its home to abide in till the great temper be bound and every conflict ended in victory.

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 171.
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Living Sacrifices
1 Comments · Christ Is All · Darrin Brooker · Horatius Bonar · Michael Haykin
Horatius BonarLearn self-denying Christianity. Not the form or name, but the living thing. “Even Christ pleased not himself” [Romans 5:3]. Let us in this respect be His true followers; bearing burdens for Him; doing work for Him; not grudging effort, or cost, or sacrifice, or pain; spending and being spent for Him; abjuring the lazy, luxurious, self-pleasing, fashionable religion of the present day.
   A self-indulgent religion has nothing to do with the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; or of that cross of ours which He has commanded us to take up and carry after him, renouncing ease and denying self. Our time, our gifts, our money, our strength, are all to be laid upon the altar. We are to be “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1).

—Horatius Bonar, Christ Is All, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 197.
continue reading Living Sacrifices
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Lord’s Day 34, 2008
0 Comments · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · Lord’s Day

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1 Geneva Bible)

WHO ARE THESE, AND WHENCE CAME THEY?
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

“Et de Hierosolymis et de Britannia aequaliter patet aula coelestis.”—Jerome. Ep. ad Paulinum.

Horatius Bonar

Not from Jerusalem alone,
   To heaven the path ascends;
      As near, as sure, as straight the way
      That leads to the celestial day,
   From farthest realms extends;
Frigid or torrid zone.

What matters how or whence we start?
   One is the crown to all;
      One is the hard but glorious race,
      Whatever be our starting-place;—
   Kings round the earth the call
That says, Arise, Depart!

From the balm-breathing, sun-loved isles
   Of the bright Southern Sea,
      From the dead North‘s cloud-shadow‘d pole,
      We gather to one gladsome goal,—
   One common home in Thee,
City of sun and smiles!

The cold rough billow hinders none;
   Nor helps the calm, fair main;
      The brown rock of Norwegian gloom,
      The verdure of Tahitian bloom,
   The sands of Mizraim‘s plain,
Or peaks of Lebanon.

As from the green lands of the vine,
   So from the snow-wastes pale,
      We find the ever open road
      To the dear city of our God;
   From Russian steppe, or Burman vale,
Or terraced Palestine.

Not from swift Jordan‘s sacred stream
   Alone we mount above;
      Indus or Danube, Thames or Rhone,
      Rivers unsainted and unknown;—
   From each the home of love
Beckons with heavenly gleam.

Not from gray Olivet alone
   We see the gates of light;
      From Morven‘s heath or Jungfrau‘s snow
      We welcome the descending glow
   Of pearl and chrysolite,
And the unsetting sun.

Not from Jerusalem alone
   The Church ascends to God;
      Strangers of every tongue and clime,
      Pilgrims of every land and time,
   Throng the well-trodden road
That leads up to the throne.

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

Psalme 122
(Geneva Bible)
A song of degrees, or Psalme of David.

1 I rejoiced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. 2 Our feete shall stand in thy gates, O Ierusalem. 3 Ierusalem is builded as a citie, that is compact together in it selfe: 4 Whereunto the Tribes, euen the Tribes of the Lord go vp according to the testimonie to Israel, to prayse the Name of the Lord. 5 For there are thrones set for iudgement, euen the thrones of the house of Dauid. 6 Pray for the peace of Ierusalem: let them prosper that loue thee. 7 Peace be within thy walles, and prosperitie within thy palaces. 8 For my brethren and neighbours sakes I will wish thee now prosperitie. 9 Because of the House of the Lord our God, I will procure thy wealth.

Sermons


Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W. Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M. Way
R.C. Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 34, 2008
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Lord’s Day 40, 2008
0 Comments · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · Lord’s Day

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1 Geneva Bible)

PRAISE
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Horatius Bonar

Praises to Him who built the hills;
Praises to Him the streams who fills;
Praises to Him who lights each star
That sparkles in the blue afar!

Praises to Him who wakes the morn,
And bids it glow with beams new-born;
Who draws the shadows of the night,
Like curtains, o’er our wearied sight!

Praises to Him whose love has given,
In Christ His Son, the life of heaven;
Who for our darkness gives us light,
And turns to day the deepest night!

Praises to Him, in grace who came
To bear our woe, and sin, and shame;
Who lived to die, who died to rise,
The God-accepted sacrifice!

Praises to Him the chain who broke,
Opened the prison, burst the yoke,
Sent forth its captives, glad and free,
Heirs of the endless liberty!

Praises to Him who shed abroad
Within our hearts the love of God;
The Spirit of all truth and peace,
Fountain of joy and holiness!

To Father, Son and Spirit now
The hands we lift, the knees we bow;
To Jah-Jehovah thus we raise
The sinner’s endless song of endless praise!

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

Psalme 14
(Geneva Bible)
To him that excelleth. A Psalme of Dauid.

1 The foole hath said in his heart, There is no God: they haue corrupted, and done an abominable worke: there is none that doeth good. 2 The Lord looked downe from heauen vpon the children of men, to see if there were any that would vnderstand, and seeke God. 3 All are gone out of the way: they are all corrupt: there is none that doeth good, no not one. 4 Doe not all the workers of iniquitie know that they eate vp my people, as they eate bread? they call not vpon the Lord. 5 There they shall be taken with feare, because God is in the generation of the iust. 6 You haue made a mocke at the counsell of the poore, because the Lord is his trust. 7 Oh giue saluation vnto Israel out of Zion: when the Lord turneth the captiuitie of his people, then Iaakob shall reioyce, and Israel shall be glad.

Sermons


Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W. Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M. Way
R.C. Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 40, 2008
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Lord’s Day 46, 2008
0 Comments · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · Lord’s Day

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1 Geneva Bible)

PRAISE TO CHRIST
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Horatius Bonar

Jesus, the Christ of God,
   The Father’s blessed Son,
The Father’s bosom Thine abode,
   The Father’s love Thine own.

Jesus, the Lamb of God,
   Who us from hell to raise,
Hast shed Thy reconciling blood;
   We give Thee endless praise.

God, and yet man, Thou art,
   True God, true man art Thou;
Of man, and of man’s earth a part,
   One with us Thou art now.

Great sacrifice for sin,
   Giver of life for life,
Restorer of the peace within,
   True ender of the strife.

To Thee, the Christ of God,
   Thy saints exulting sing,
The bearer of our heavy load,
   Our own anointed King!

True lover of the lost,
   From heaven Thou camest down,
To pay for souls the righteous cost,
   And claim them for Thine own.

Rest of the weary, Thou!
   To Thee, our rest, we come;
In Thee to find our dwelling now,
   Our everlasting home.

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

Psalme 56 (Geneva Bible) To him that excelleth. A Psalme of David on Michtam, concerning the dumme doue in a farre countrey, when the Philistims tooke him in Gath.

1 Be mercifull vnto me, O God, for man would swallow me vp: he fighteth continually and vexeth me. 2 Mine enemies would dayly swallowe mee vp: for many fight against me, O thou most High. 3 When I was afrayd, I trusted in thee. 4 I will reioyce in God, because of his word, I trust in God, and will not feare what flesh can doe vnto me. 5 Mine owne wordes grieue me dayly: all their thoughtes are against me to doe me hurt. 6 They gather together, and keepe them selues close: they marke my steps, because they waite for my soule. 7 They thinke they shall escape by iniquitie: O God, cast these people downe in thine anger. 8 Thou hast counted my wandrings: put my teares into thy bottel: are they not in thy register? 9 When I cry, then mine enemies shall turne backe: this I know, for God is with me. 10 I will reioyce in God because of his worde: in the Lord wil I reioyce because of his worde. 11 In God doe I trust: I will not be afrayd what man can doe vnto me. 12 Thy vowes are vpon me, O God: I will render prayses vnto thee. 13 For thou hast deliuered my soule from death, and also my feete from falling, that I may walke before God in the light of the liuing.

Sermons


Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W. Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M. Way
R.C. Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 46, 2008
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Lord’s Day 1, 2009
0 Comments · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · Lord’s Day

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. (Psalme 122:1 Geneva Bible)

THE CROSS AND THE CROWN
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Horatius Bonar

NO blood, no altar now:
   The sacrifice is o‘er;
   No flame, no smoke, ascends on high;
      The Lamb is slain no more!
But richer blood has flowed from nobler veins,
To purge the soul from guilt, and cleanse the
         reddest stains.

   We thank Thee for the blood,
      The blood of Christ, Thy Son;
   The blood by which our peace is made,
      Our victory is won;
Great victory o’er hell, and sin, and woe,
That needs no second fight, and leaves no
         second foe.

   We thank Thee for the grace
      Descending from above,
   That overflows our widest guilt,
      The eternal Father’s love:
Love of the Father’s everlasting Son,
Love of the Holy Ghost, Jehovah, three in
         One.

   We thank Thee for the hope,
      So glad, and sure, and clear;
   It holds the drooping spirit up
      Till the long dawn appear:
Fair hope! with what a sunshine does it cheer
Our roughest path on earth, our dreariest desert
         here!

   We thank Thee for the crown
      Of glory and of life;
   ’Tis no poor with’ring wreath of earth,
      Man’s prize in mortal strife:
’Tis incorruptible as is the throne,
The kingdom of our God and his Incarnate
         Son.

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

Psalme 119:1–8
(Geneva Bible)
Aleph.

1 Blessed are those that are vpright in their way, and walke in the Lawe of the Lord.

2 Blessed are they that keepe his testimonies, and seeke him with their whole heart. 3 Surely they woorke none iniquitie, but walke in his waies. 4 Thou hast commanded to keepe thy precepts diligently. 5 Oh that my waies were directed to keepe thy statutes! 6 Then should I not be confounded, when I haue respect vnto all thy commandements. 7 I will praise thee with an vpright heart, when I shall learne the iudgements of thy righteousnesse. 8 I will keepe thy statutes: forsake mee not ouerlong.

Sermons


Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W. Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M. Way
R.C. Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 1, 2009
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Lord’s Day 7, 2009
0 Comments · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · Lord’s Day

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1 (Geneva Bible)

THE END OF THE DAY
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

COME, for thy day, thy wasted day, is closing,
   With all its joy and sun;
Bright, loving hours have passed thee by unheeded;
   Thy work on earth undone,
   And all thy race unrun.

Folly and pleasure hast thou still been chasing,
   With the world’s giddy throng,
Beauty and love have been thy golden idols;
   And thou hast rushed along,
   Still list’ning to their song.

Sorrow and weeping thou hast cast behind thee,
   For what were tears to thee?
Life was not life without the smile and sunshine;
   Only in revelry
   Did wisdom seem to be.

Unclasp, O man, the syren hand of pleasure,
   Let the gay folly go!
A few quick years will bring the unwelcome ending;
   Then whither dost thou go,
   To endless joy or woe?

Clasp a far truer hand, a kinder, stronger,
   Of Him the crucified;
Let in a deeper love into thy spirit,
   The love of Him who died,
   And now is glorified!

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

Psalme 119:49–56
(Geneva Bible)
Zain.

49 Remember the promise made to thy seruant, wherein thou hast caused me to trust.

50 It is my comfort in my trouble: for thy promise hath quickened me. 51 The proude haue had me exceedingly in derision: yet haue I not declined from thy Lawe. 52 I remembred thy iudgements of olde, O Lord, and haue bene comforted. 53 Feare is come vpon mee for the wicked, that forsake thy Lawe. 54 Thy statutes haue beene my songes in the house of my pilgrimage. 55 I haue remembred thy Name, O Lord, in the night, and haue kept thy Lawe. 56 This I had because I kept thy precepts.

Sermons


Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W. Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M. Way
R.C. Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lorde Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 7, 2009
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Lord’s Day 13, 2009
0 Comments · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · Lord’s Day

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1 (Geneva Bible)

CONFESSION
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Horatius Bonar

O this soul, how dark and blind!
O this foolish, earthly mind;
This ever froward, selfish will,
Which refuses to be still!

O these ever roaming eyes,
Upward that refuse to rise;
These still wayward feet of mine,
Found in every path but thine!

O these pulses felt within,
Beating for the world and sin,
Sending round the fevered blood,
In a fierce and carnal flood!

O this stubborn, prayerless knee,
Hands so seldom clasped to Thee,
Longings of the soul, that go,
Like the wild wind, to and fro;

To and fro without an aim,
Returning idly whence they came,
Bringing in no joy, no bliss,
Adding to my weariness!

Giver of the heavenly peace,
Bid, O bid, these tumults cease;
Minister Thy holy balm,
Fill me with Thy Spirits calm!

Thou the life, the truth, the way,
Leave me not in sin to stray;
Bearer of the sinners guilt,
Lead me, lead me, as thou wilt!

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

Psalme 119:97–104
(Geneva Bible)
Mem.

97 Oh howe loue I thy Lawe! it is my meditation continually.
98 By thy commandements thou hast made mee wiser then mine enemies: for they are euer with mee.
99 I haue had more vnderstading then all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100 I vnderstoode more then the ancient, because I kept thy precepts.
101 I haue refrained my feete from euery euil way, that I might keepe thy word.
102 I haue not declined from thy iudgements: for thou didest teach me.
103 Howe sweete are thy promises vnto my mouth! yea, more then hony vnto my mouth.
104 By thy precepts I haue gotten vnderstanding: therefore I hate all the wayes of falshoode.

Sermons


Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W. Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M. Way
R.C. Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lorde Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 13, 2009
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Lord’s Day 19, 2009
0 Comments · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · Lord’s Day

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalm 122:1 (Geneva Bible)

THE MEETING-PLACE.
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Horatius Bonar

Where the faded flower shall freshen,—
   Freshen never more to fade;
Where the shaded sky shall brighten,—
   Brighten never more to shade:
Where the sun-blaze never scorches;
   Where the star-beams cease to chill;
Where no tempest stirs the echoes
   Of the wood, or wave, or hill:
Where the morn shall wake in gladness,
   And the moon the joy prolong,
Where the daylight dies in fragrance,
   ’Mid the burst of holy song:
      Brother, we shall meet and rest
      ’Mid the holy and the blest!

Where no shadow shall bewilder,
   Where life’s vain parade is o’er,
Where the sleep of sin is broken,
   And the dreamer dreams no more:
Where the bond is never severed;—
   Partings, claspings, sob and moan,
Midnight waking, twilight weeping,
   Heavy noontide,— all are done:
Where the child has found its mother,
   Where the mother finds the child,
Where dear families are gathered.
   That were scattered on the wild:
      Brother, we shall meet and rest
      ’Mid the holy and the blest!

Where the hidden wound is healed,
   Where the blighted light re-blooms.
Where the smitten heart the freshness
   Of its buoyant youth resumes:
Where the love that here we lavish
   On the withering leaves of time,
Shall have fadeless flowers to fix on
   In an ever spring bright clime:
Where we find the joy of loving,
   As we never loved before,—
Loving on, unchilled, unhindered,
   Loving once and evermore:
      Brother, we shall meet and rest,
      ’Mid the holy and the blest!

Where a blasted world shall brighten
   Underneath a bluer sphere,
And a softer, gentler sunshine
   Shed its healing splendor here:
Where earth’s barren vales shall blossom,
   Putting on their robe of green,
And a purer, fairer Eden
   Be where only wastes have been:
Where a King in kingly glory,
   Such as earth has never known,
Shall assume the righteous sceptre,
   Claim and wear the holy crown:
      Brother, we shall meet and rest,
      ’Mid the holy and the blest.

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

Psalme 119:145–152
(Geneva Bible)
Koph.

145 I haue cried with my whole heart: heare me, O Lord, and I will keepe thy statutes.
146 I called vpon thee: saue mee, and I will keepe thy testimonies.
147 I preuented the morning light, and cried: for I waited on thy word.
148 Mine eyes preuent the night watches to meditate in thy word.
149 Heare my voyce according to thy louing kindenesse: O Lord, quicken me according to thy iudgement.
150 They drawe neere, that follow after malice, and are farre from thy Lawe.
151 Thou art neere, O Lord: for all thy commandements are true.
152 I haue knowen long since by thy testimonies, that thou hast established them for euer.

Sermons


Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W. Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M. Way
R.C. Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace be with you, and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lorde Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 19, 2009
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Lord’s Day 25, 2009
0 Comments · Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

THE HOME SICKNESS.
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

   “civitas sancta, civitas speciosa, de longinquo te saluto,
ad te clamo, te requiro.”—Augustine, De Spir. et Anim.

Horatius Bonar

And whence this weariness,
      This gathering cloud of gloom?
   Whence this dull weight of loneliness,
      These greedy cravings for the tomb?
   These greedier cravings for the hopes that lie
   Beyond the tomb, beyond the things that die;
   Beyond the smiles and joys that come and go,
   Fevering the spirit with their fitful flow;
   Beyond the circle where the shadows fall;
   Within the region where my God is all.

It is not that I fear
      To breast the storm or wrestle with the wave,
      To swim the torrent or the blast to brave,
      To toil or suffer in this day of strife
      As He may will who gave this struggling life,—
But I am homesick!

It is not that the cross
      Is heavier than this drooping frame can bear,
      Or that I find no kindred heart to share
      The burden, which, in these last days of ill,
      Seems to press heavier, sharper, sorer still,—
But I am homesick!

It is not that the snare
      Is laid around for my unwary feet.
      And that a thousand wily tempters greet
      My slippery steps and lead me far astray
      From that safe guidance of the narrow way,—
But I am homesick!

It is not that the path
      Is rough and perilous, beset with foes,
      From the first step down to its weary close,
      Strewn with the flint, the briar, and the thorn.
      That wound my limbs and leave my raiment torn,
But I am homesick!

It is not that the sky
      Is darkly sad, and the unloving air
      Chills me to fainting; and the clouds that there
      Hang over me seem signal clouds unfurled,
      Portending wrath to an unready world,—
But I am homesick!

It is not that the earth
      Has grown less bright and fair,—that these grey hills,
      These ever-lapsing, ever-lulling rills,
      And these breeze-haunted woods, that ocean clear,
      Have now become less beautiful, less dear,—
But I am homesick!

   Let me, then, weary be!
      I shrink not, murmur not;
   In all this homelessness I see
      The Church’s pilgrim-lot;
   Her lot until her absent Lord shall come,
   And the long homeless here, shall find a home.

   Then no more weariness!
      No gathering cloud of gloom;
   Then no dull weight of loneliness,
      No greedy cravings for the tomb:
   For death shall then be swallowed up of life,
   And the glad victory shall end the strife!

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

imgJohn 1:14
   14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

imgThe passage of Scripture now before us is very short, if we measure it by words. But it is very long, if we measure it by the nature of its contents. The substance of it is so immensely important that we shall do well to give it separate and distinct consideration. This single verse contains more than enough matter for a whole exposition.
   The main truth which this verse teaches is the reality of our Lord Jesus Christ’s incarnation, or being made man. St. John tells us that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”
   The plain meaning of these words is, that our divine Saviour really took human nature upon Him, in order to save sinners. He really became a man like ourselves in all things, sin only excepted. Like ourselves, he was born of a woman, though born in a miraculous manner. Like ourselves, He grew from infancy to boyhood, and from boyhood to man’s estate, both in wisdom and in stature. (Luke ii. 52.) Like ourselves, he hungered, thirsted, ate, drank, slept, was wearied, felt pain, wept, rejoiced, marvelled, was moved to anger and compassion. Having be come flesh, and taken a body, He prayed, read the Scriptures, suffered being tempted, and submitted His human will to the will of God the Father. And finally, in the same body, He really suffered and shed His blood, really died, was really buried, really rose again, and really ascended up into heaven. And yet all this time He was God as well as man!
   This union of two natures in Christ’s one Person is doubtless one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian religion. It needs to be carefully stated. It is just one of those great truths which are not meant to be curiously pried into, but to be reverently believed. . . .
   But while we do not pretend to explain the union of two natures in our Lord Jesus Christ’s Person, we must not hesitate to fence the subject with well-defined cautions. While we state most carefully what we do believe, we must not shrink from declaring boldly what we do not believe. We must never forget, that though our Lord was God and man at the same time, the divine and human natures in Him were never confounded. One nature did not swallow up the other. The two natures remained perfect and distinct. The divinity of Christ was never for a moment laid aside, although veiled. The manhood of Christ, during His life-time, was never for a moment unlike our own, though by union with the Godhead, greatly dignified. Though perfect God, Christ has always been perfect man from the first moment of His incarnation. He that is gone into heaven, and is sitting at the Father’s right hand to intercede for sinners, is man as well as God. Though perfect man, Christ never ceased to be perfect God. He that suffered for sin on the cross, and was made sin for us, was “God manifest in the flesh.” The blood with which the Church was purchased, is called the blood “of God.” (Acts xx. 28.) Though He became “flesh” in the fullest sense, when He was born of the Virgin Mary, He never at any period ceased to be the Eternal Word. To say . . . that at any instant of His earthly ministry He was not fully and entirely God, is nothing less than heresy.
   The cautions just given may seem at first sight needless, wearisome, and hair-splitting. It is precisely the neglect of such cautions which ruins many souls. This constant undivided union of two perfect natures in Christ’s Person is exactly that which gives infinite value to His mediation, and qualifies Him to be the very Mediator that sinners need. Our Mediator is One who can sympathize with us, because He is very man. And yet, at the same time, He is One who can deal with the Father for us on equal terms, because He is very God.—It is the same union which gives infinite value to His righteousness, when imputed to believers. It is the righteousness of One who was God as well as man.—It is the same union which gives infinite value to the atoning blood which He shed for sinners on the cross. It is the blood of One who was God as well as man.—It is the same union which gives infinite value to His resurrection. When He rose again, as the Head of the body of believers, He rose not as a mere man, but as God.—Let those things sink deeply into our hearts. The second Adam is far greater than the first Adam was. The first Adam was only man, and so he fell. The second Adam was God as well as man, and so He completely conquered.
   Let us leave the subject with feelings of deep gratitude and thankfulness. It is full of abounding consolation for al who know Christ by faith, and believe on Him.
   Did the Word become flesh? Then He is One who can be touched with the feeling of His people’s infirmities, because He has suffered Himself, being tempted. He is almighty because He is God, and yet He can feel with us, because He is man.
   Did the Word become flesh? Then He can supply us with a perfect pattern and example for our daily life. Had He walked among us as an angel or a spirit, we could never have copied Him. But having dwelt among us as a man, we know that the true standard of holiness is to “walk even as He walked.” (1 John ii. 6.) He is a perfect pattern, because He is God. But He is also a pattern exactly suited to our wants, because He is man.
   Finally, did the Word become flesh? Then let us see in our mortal bodies a real, true dignity, and not defile them by sin. Vile and weak as our body may seem, it is a body which the Eternal Son of God was not ashamed to take upon Himself, and to take up to heaven. That simple fact is a pledge that He will raise our bodies at the last day, and glorify them together with His own.

—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007), 3:24–28

A
udio Sermons
Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 25, 2009
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Lord’s Day 31, 2009
0 Comments · Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

THE LAND OF LIGHT.
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

That clime is not this dull clime of ours;
   All, all is brightness there;
A sweeter influence breathes around its flowers,
   And a far milder air.
No calm below is like that calm above.
No region here is like that realm of love;
Earth’s softest spring ne’er shed so soft a light.
Earth’s brightest summer never shone so bright.

imgThat sky is not like this sad sky of ours,
   Tinged with earth’s change and care:
No shadow dims it, and no rain-cloud lowers,—
   No broken sunshine there!
One everlasting stretch of azure pours
Its stainless splendor o’er these sinless shores;
For there Jehovah shines with heavenly ray,
There Jesus reigns dispensing endless day.

Those dwellers there are not like these of earth.
   No mortal stain they bear;
And yet they seem of kindred hlood and hirth,—
   Whence, and how came they there?
Earth was their native soil, from sin and shame,
Through tribulation they to glory came;
Bond-slaves delivered from sin’s crushing load.
Brands plucked from burning by the hand of God.

Those robes of theirs are not for these below;
   No angel’s half so bright!
Whence came that beauty, whence that living glow?
   Whence came that radiant white?
Washed in the blood of the atoning Lamb,
Fair as the light those robes of theirs became,
And now, all tears wiped off from every eye,
They wander where the freshest pastures lie,
Through all the nightless day of that unfading
   sky!

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

imgThe Gospel According to John
Christ Changes Water to Wine

2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, 10 and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.

imgThese verses describe a miracle which should always possess a special interest in the eyes of a true Christian. It is the first, in order of time, of the many mighty works which Jesus did, when He was upon earth. We are distinctly told, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee.”—Like every other miracle which John was inspired to record, it is related with great minuteness and particularity. And, like every other miracle in John’s Gospel, it is rich in spiritual lessons.
   We learn, firstly, from these verses, how honourable in the sight of Christ is the estate of matrimony. To be present at a “marriage” was almost the first public act of our Lord’s earthly ministry.
   Marriage is not a sacrament, as the Church of Rome asserts. It is simply a state of life ordained by God for man’s benefit. But it is a state which ought never to be spoken of with levity, or regarded with disrespect. The Prayerbook service has well described it, as “an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, and signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church.” Society is never in a healthy condition, and true religion never flourishes in that land where the marriage tie is lightly esteemed. They who lightly esteem it have not the mind of Christ. He who “beautified and adorned the estate of matrimony by His presence and first miracle that He wrought in Cana of Galilee,” is One who is always of one mind. “Marriage,” says the Holy Spirit by Paul, “is honourable in all.” (Heb. xiii. 4.)
   One thing, however, ought not to be forgotten. Marriage is a step which so seriously affects the temporal happiness and spiritual welfare of two immortal souls, that it ought never to be taken in hand “unadvisedly, lightly, wantonly, and without due consideration.” To be truly happy, it should be undertaken “reverently, discreetly, soberly, and in the fear of God.” Christ’s blessing and presence are essential to a happy wedding. The marriage at which there is no place for Christ and His disciples, is not one that can justly be expected to prosper.
   We learn, secondly, from these verses, that there are times when it is lawful to be merry and rejoice. Our Lord Himself sanctioned a wedding-feast by His own presence. He did not refuse to be a guest at “a marriage in Cana of Galilee.” “A feast,” it is written, “is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry.” (Eccles. x. 19.) Our Lord, in the passage before us, approves both the feast and the use of wine.
   True religion was never meant to make men melancholy. On the contrary, it was intended to increase real joy and happiness among men. The servant of Christ unquestionably ought to have nothing to do with races, balls, theaters, and such-like amusements, which tend to frivolity and indulgence, if not to sin. But he has no right to hand over innocent recreations and family gatherings to the devil and the world. The Christian who withdraws entirely from the society of his fellow-men, and walks the earth with a face as melancholy as if he was always attending a funeral, does injury to the cause of the Gospel. A cheerful, kindly spirit is a great recommendation to a believer. It is a real misfortune to Christianity when a Christian cannot smile. A merry heart, and a readiness to take part in all innocent mirth, are gifts of inestimable value. They go far to soften prejudices, to take up stumbling-blocks out of the way, and to make way for Christ and the Gospel.
   The subject no doubt is a difficult and delicate one. On no point of Christian practice is it so hard to hit the balance between that which is lawful and that which is unlawful, between that which is right and that which is wrong. It is very hard indeed to be both merry and wise. High spirits soon degenerate into levity. Acceptance of many invitations to feasts soon leads to waste of time, and begets leanness of soul. Frequent eating and drinking at other men’s tables, soon lowers a Christian’s tone of religion. Going often into company is a heavy strain on spirituality of heart. Here, if anywhere, God’s children have need to be on their guard. Each must know his own strength and natural temperament, and act accordingly. One believer can go without risk where another cannot. Happy is he who can use his Christian liberty without abusing it! It is possible to be sorely wounded in soul at marriage feasts and the tables of friends.
   One golden rule on the subject may be laid down, the use of which will save us much trouble. Let us take care that we always go to feasts in the spirit of our divine Master, and that we never go where He would not have gone. Like Him, let us endeavour to be always “about our Father’s business.” (Luke ii. 49.) Like Him, let us willingly promote joy and gladness, but let us strive that it may be sinless joy, if not joy in the Lord. Let us endeavour to bring the salt of grace into every company, and to drop the word in season in every ear we address. Much good may be done in society by giving a healthy tone to conversation. Let us never be ashamed to show our colours, and to make men see whose we are and whom we serve. We may well say, “Who is sufficient for these things?” But if Christ went to a marriage feast in Cana there is surely something that Christians can do on similar occasions. Let them only remember that if they go when their Master went, they must go in their Master’s spirit.
   We learn lastly, from these verses, the Almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are told of a miracle which He wrought at the marriage feast, when the wine failed. By a mere act of will He changed water into wine, and so supplied the need of all the guests.
   The manner in which the miracle was worked deserves especial notice. We are not told of any outward visible action which preceded or accompanied it. It is not said that He touched the waterpots containing the water that was made wine. It is not said that He commanded the water to change its qualities, or that He prayed to His Father in Heaven. He simply willed the change, and it took place. We read of no prophet or apostle in the Bible who ever worked a miracle after this fashion. He who could do such a mighty work, in such a manner, was nothing less than very God.
   It is a comfortable thought that the same almighty power of will which our Lord here displayed is still exercised on behalf of His believing people. They have no need of His bodily presence to maintain their cause. They have no reason to be cast down because they cannot see Him with their eyes interceding for them, or touch Him with their hands, that they may cling to Him for safety. If He “wills” their salvation and the daily supply of all their spiritual need, they are as safe and well provided for as if they saw Him standing by them. Christ’s will is as mighty and effectual as Christ’s deed. The will of Him who could say to the Father, “I will that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am,” is a will that has all power in heaven and earth, and must prevail. (John xvii. 24.)
   Happy are those who, like the disciples, believe on Him by whom this miracle was wrought. A greater marriage feast than that of Cana will one day be held, when Christ Himself will be the bridegroom and believers will be the bride. A greater glory will one day be manifested, when Jesus shall take to Himself His great power and reign. Blessed will they be in that day who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! (Rev. xix. 9.)

—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007), 3:88–92

A
udio Sermons
Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 31, 2009
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Lord’s Day 37, 2009
0 Comments · Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Advent.
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Horatius Bonar

The Church has waited long
   Her absent Lord to see;
And still in loneliness she waits,
   A friendless stranger she.
Age after age has gone,
   Sun after sun has set,
And still in weeds of widowhood
   She weeps a mourner yet.
      Come, then, Lord Jesus, come!

Saint after saint on earth
   Has lived, and loved, and died;
And as they left us one by one,
   We laid them side by side;
We laid them down to sleep,
   But not in hope forlorn;
We laid them but to ripen there,
   Till the last glorious morn.
      Come, then, Lord Jesus, come!

The serpent’s brood increase,
   The powers of hell grow bold,
The conflict thickens, faith is low,
   And love is waxing cold.
How long, O Lord our God,
   Holy and true, and good,
Wilt the not judge Thy suffering Church,
   Her sighs and tears and blood?
      Come, then, Lord Jesus, come!

We long to hear Thy voice,
   To see Thee face to face,
To share Thy crown and glory then,
   As now we share thy grace.
Should not the loving bride
   The absent bridegroom mourn?
Should she not wear the weeds of grief
   Until her Lord return?
      Come, then, Lord Jesus, come!

The whole creation groans,
   And waits to hear that voice,
That shall restore her comeliness,
   And make her wastes rejoice.
Come, Lord, and wipe away
   The curse, the stain, the sin,
And make this blighted world of ours
   Thine own fair world again.
      Come , then, Lord Jesus, come!

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

imgJohn 4:7–26

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
   15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” 16 He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

imgThe history of the Samaritan woman, contained in these verses, is one of the most interesting and instructive passages in St. John’s Gospel. John has shown us, in the case of Nicodemus, how our Lord dealt with a self-righteous formalist. He now shows us how our Lord dealt with an ignorant, carnal-minded woman, whose moral character was more than ordinarily bad. There are lessons in the passage for ministers and teachers, which they would do well to ponder.
   We should mark, firstly, the mingled tact and humility of Christ in dealing with a careless sinner.
   Our Lord was sitting by Jacob’s well when a woman of Samaria came thither to draw water. At once He says to her, “Give me to drink.” He does not wait for her to speak to Him. He does not begin by reproving her sins, though He doubtless knew them. He opens communication by asking a favour. He approaches the woman’s mind by the subject of “water,” which was naturally uppermost in her thoughts. Simple as this request may seem, it opened a door to spiritual conversation. It threw a bridge across the gulf which lay between her and Him. It led to the conversion of her soul.
   Our Lord’s conduct in this place should be carefully remembered by all who want to do good to the thoughtless and spiritually ignorant. It is vain to expect that such persons will voluntarily come to us, and begin to seek knowledge. We must begin with them, and go down to them in the spirit of courteous and friendly aggression. It is vain to expect that such people will be prepared for our instruction, and will at once see and acknowledge the wisdom of all we are doing. We must go to work wisely. We must study the best avenues to their hearts, and the most likely way of arresting their attention. There is a handle to every mind, and our chief aim must be to get hold of it. Above all, we must be kind in manner, and beware of showing that we feel conscious of our own superiority. If we let ignorant people fancy that we think we are doing them a great favour in talking to them about religion, there is little hope of doing good to their souls.
   We should mark, secondly, Christ’s readiness to give mercies to careless sinners. He tells the Samaritan woman that if she had asked, “He would have given her living water.” He knew the character of the person before Him perfectly well. Yet He says, “If she had asked, He would have given,”—He would have given the living water of grace, mercy, and peace.
   The infinite willingness of Christ to receive sinners is a golden truth, which ought to be treasured up in our hearts, and diligently impressed on others. The Lord Jesus is far more ready to hear than we are to pray, and far more ready to give favours than we are to ask them. All day long He stretches out His hands to the disobedient and gainsaying. He has thoughts of pity and compassion towards the vilest of sinners, even when they have no thoughts of Him. He stands waiting to bestow mercy and grace on the worst and most unworthy, if they will only cry to Him. He will never draw back from that well known promise, “Ask and ye shall receive: seek and ye shall find.” The lost will discover at the last day, that they had not, because they asked not.
   We should mark, thirdly, the priceless excellence of Christ’s gifts when compared with the things of this world. Our Lord tells the Samaritan woman, “He that drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but he that drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.”
   The truth of the principle here laid down may be seen on every side by all who are not blinded by prejudice or love of the world. Thousands of men have every temporal good thing that heart could wish, and are yet weary and dissatisfied. It is now as it was in David’s time—”There be many that say who will show us any good.” (Psalm iv. 6.) Riches, and rank, and place, and power, and learning, and amusements, are utterly unable to fill the soul. He that only drinks of these waters is sure to thirst again. Every Ahab finds a Naboth’s vineyard near by his palace, and every Haman sees a Mordecai at the gate. There is no heart satisfaction in this world, until we believe on Christ. Jesus alone can fill up the empty places of our inward man. Jesus alone can give solid, lasting, enduring happiness. The peace that He imparts is a fountain, which, once set flowing within the soul, flows on to all eternity. Its waters may have their ebbing seasons; but they are living waters, and they shall never be completely dried.
   We should mark, fourthly, the absolute necessity of conviction of sin before a soul can be converted to God. The Samaritan woman seems to have been comparatively unmoved until our Lord exposed her breach of the seventh commandment. Those heart-searching words, “Go, call your husband,” appear to have pierced her conscience like an arrow. From that moment, however ignorant, she speaks like an earnest, sincere inquirer after truth. And the reason is evident. She felt that her spiritual disease was discovered. For the first time in her life she saw herself.
   To bring thoughtless people to this state of mind should be the principal aim of all teachers and ministers of the Gospel. They should carefully copy their Master’s example in this place. Until men and women are brought to feel their sinfulness and need, no real good is ever done to their souls. Until a sinner sees himself as God sees him, he will continue careless, trifling, and unmoved. By all means we must labour to convince the unconverted man of sin, to pierce his conscience, to open his eyes, to show him himself. To this end we must expound the length and breadth of God’s holy law. To this end we must denounce every practice contrary to that law, however fashionable and customary. This is the only way to do good. Never does a soul value the Gospel medicine until it feels its disease. Never does a man see any beauty in Christ as a Saviour, until he discovers that he is himself a lost and ruined sinner. Ignorance of sin is invariably attended by neglect of Christ.
   We should mark, fifthly, the utter uselessness of any religion which only consists of formality. The Samaritan woman, when awakened to spiritual concern, started questions about the comparative merits of the Samaritan and Jewish modes of worshiping God. Our Lord tells her that true and acceptable worship depends not on the place in which it is offered, but on the state of the worshiper’s heart. He declares, “The hour cometh when you shall neither in this place nor at Jerusalem worship the Father.” He adds that “the true worshipers shall worship in spirit and in truth.”
   The principle contained in these sentences can never be too strongly impressed on professing Christians. We are all naturally inclined to make religion a mere matter of outward forms and ceremonies, and to attach an excessive importance to our own particular manner of worshiping God. We must beware of this spirit, and especially when we first begin to think seriously about our souls. The heart is the principal thing in all our approaches to God. “The Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. xvi. 7.) The most gorgeous cathedral-service is offensive in God’s sight, if all is gone through coldly, heartlessly, and without grace. The feeblest gathering of three or four poor believers in a lowly cottage to read the Bible and pray, is a more acceptable sight to Him who searches the heart than the fullest congregation which is ever gathered in St. Peter’s at Rome.
   We should mark, lastly, Christ’s gracious willingness to reveal Himself to the chief of sinners. He concludes His conversation with the Samaritan woman by telling her openly and unreservedly that He is the Saviour of the world. “I that speak to thee,” He says, “am the Messiah.” Nowhere in all the Gospels do we find our Lord making such a full avowal of His nature and office as He does in this place. And this avowal, be it remembered, was made not to learned Scribes, or moral Pharisees, but to one who up to that day had been an ignorant, thoughtless, and immoral person!
   Dealings with sinners, such as these, form one of the grand peculiarities of the Gospel. Whatever a man’s past life may have been, there is hope and a remedy for him in Christ. If he is only willing to hear Christ’s voice and follow Him, Christ is willing to receive him at once as a friend, and to bestow on him the fullest measure of mercy and grace. The Samaritan woman, the penitent thief, the Philippian jailor, the tax-collector Zacchæus, are all patterns of Christ’s readiness to show mercy, and to confer full and immediate pardons. It is His glory that, like a great physician, He will undertake to cure those who are apparently incurable, and that none are too bad for Him to love and heal. Let these things sink down into our hearts. Whatever else we doubt, let us never doubt that Christ’s love to sinners passes knowledge, and that Christ is as willing to receive as He is almighty to save.
   What are we ourselves? This is the question, after all, which demands our attention. We may have been up to this day careless, thoughtless, sinful as the woman whose story we have been reading. But yet there is hope. He who talked with the Samaritan woman at the well is yet living at God’s right hand, and never changes. Let us only ask, and He will “give us living water.”

—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007), 3:201–206

A
udio Sermons
Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 37, 2009
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Lord’s Day 43, 2009
0 Comments · Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

REST YONDER.
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Horatius Bonar

This is not my place of resting,
   Mine’s a city yet to come;
Onward to it I am hasting—
   On to my eternal home.

In it all is light and glory,
   O’er it shines a nightless day;
Every trace of sin’s sad story,
   All the curse, has passed away.

There the Lamb, our Shepherd, leads us,
   By the streams of life along;
On the freshest pastures feeds us,
   Turns our sighing into song.

Soon we pass this desert dreary,
   Soon we bid farewell to pain;
Never more be sad or weary,
   Never, never sin again.

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

imgJohn 5:24–29

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

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The passage before us is singularly rich in weighty truths. To the minds of Jews, who were familiar with the writings of Moses and Daniel, it would come home with peculiar power. In the words of our Lord they would not fail to see fresh assertions of His claim to be received as the promised Messiah.
   We see in these verses that the salvation of our soul depends on hearing Christ. It is the man, we are told, who “hears Christ’s word,” and believes that God the Father sent Him to save sinners, who “has everlasting life.” Such “hearing” of course is something more than mere listening. It is hearing as a humble learner,—hearing as an obedient disciple,—hearing with faith and love,—hearing with a heart ready to do Christ’s will,—this is the hearing that saves. It is the very hearing of which God spoke in the famous prediction of a “prophet like unto Moses:”—“Unto him shall you hearken.”—“Whoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” (Deut. xviii. 15—19.)
   To “hear” Christ in this way, we must never forget, is just as needful now as it was eighteen hundred years ago. It is not enough to hear sermons, and run after preachers, though some people seem to think this makes up the whole of religion. We must go much further than this,—we must “hear Christ.” To submit our hearts to Christ’s teaching,—to sit humbly at His feet by faith, and learn of Him,—to enter His school as penitents, and become His believing scholars,—to hear His voice and follow Him,—this is the way to heaven. Until we know something experimentally of these things, there is no life in us.
   We see, secondly, in these verses, how rich and full are the privileges of the true hearer and believer. Such a man enjoys a present salvation. Even now, at this present time, he “hath everlasting life.”—Such a man is completely justified and forgiven. There remains no more condemnation for him. His sins are put away. “He shall not come into condemnation.”—Such a man is in an entirely new position before God. He is like one who has moved from one side of a gulf to another: “He has passed from death unto life.”
   The privileges of a true Christian are greatly underrated by many. Chiefly from deplorable ignorance of Scripture, they have little idea of the spiritual treasures of every believer in Jesus. These treasures are brought together here in beautiful order, if we will only look at them. One of a true Christian’s treasures is the “presentness” of his salvation. It is not a far distant thing which he is to have at last, if he does his duty and is good. It is his own in title the moment he believes. He is already pardoned, forgiven, and saved, though not in heaven.—Another of a true Christian’s treasures is the “completeness” of his justification. His sins are entirely removed, taken away, and blotted out of God’s book, by Christ’s blood. He may look forward to judgment without fear, and say, “who is he that condemneth?” (Rom. viii. 34.) He shall stand without fault before the throne of God.—The last, but not the least, of a true Christian’s treasures, is the entire change in his relation and position toward God. He is no longer as one dead before Him,—dead, legally, like a man sentenced to die, and dead in heart. He is “alive unto God.” (Rom. vi. 11.) “He is a new creature. Old things are passed away, and all things are become new.” (2 Cor. v. 17.) Well would it be for Christians if these things were better known! It is lack of knowledge, in many cases, that is the secret of want of peace.
   We see, thirdly, in these verses, a striking declaration of Christ’s power to give life to dead souls. Our Lord tells us that “the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.” It seems most unlikely that these words were meant to be confined to the rising of men’s bodies, and were fulfilled by such miracles as that of raising Lazarus from the grave. It appears far more probable that what our Lord had in view was the quickening of souls, the resurrection of conversion. (Ephes. ii. 1.; Colos. ii. 13.)
   The words were fulfilled in not a few cases, during our Lord’s own ministry. They were fulfilled far more completely after the day of Pentecost, through the ministry of the Apostles. The myriads of converts at Jerusalem, at Antioch, at Ephesus, at Corinth, and elsewhere, were all examples of their fulfillment. In all these cases, “the voice of the Son of God” awakened dead hearts to spiritual life, and made them feel their need of salvation, repent, and believe.—They are fulfilled at this very day, in every instance of true conversion. Whenever any men or women among ourselves awaken to a sense of their soul’s value, and become alive to God, the words are made good before our eyes. It is Christ who has spoken to their hearts by His Spirit. It is “the dead hearing Christ’s voice, and living.”
   We see, lastly, in these verses, a most solemn prophecy of the final resurrection of all the dead. Our Lord tells us that “the hour is coming when all that are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.”
   The passage is one of those that ought to sink down very deeply into our hearts, and never be forgotten. All is not over when men die. Whether they like it or not, they will have to come forth from their graves at the last day, and to stand at Christ’s judgment bar. None can escape His summons. When His voice calls them before Him, all must obey.—When men rise again, they will not all rise in the same condition. There will be two classes,—two parties—two bodies. Not all will go to heaven. Not all will be saved. Some will rise again to inherit eternal life, but some will rise again only to be condemned. These are alarming things! But the words of Christ are plain and unmistakable. Thus it is written, and thus it must be.
   Let us make sure that we hear Christ’s quickening voice now, and are numbered among His true disciples. Let us know the privileges of true believers, while we have life and health. Then, when His voice shakes heaven and earth, and is calling the dead from their graves, we shall feel confidence, and not be “ashamed before Him at his coming.” (1 John ii. 28.)

—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007), 3:289–293

A
udio Sermons
Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 43, 2009
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Lord’s Day 49, 2009
2 Comments · Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

The Kingdom.
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Horatius Bonar

Peace! earth’s last battle has been won;
   Its days of conflict now are o’er;
The Prince of peace ascends the throne,
   And war has ceased from shore to shore.

Rest! the world’s day of toil is past;
   Each storm is hushed above, below,
Creation’s joy has come at last,
   After six thousand years of woe.

Messiah reigns! earth’s king has come!
   Its diadems are on his brow,
Its rebel kingdoms have become
   His everlasting kingdom now.

This earth again is Paradise;
   The desert blossoms as the rose;
Clothed in its robes of bridal bliss,
   Creation has forgot its woes.

O, long-expected, absent long.
   Star of creation’s troubled gloom!
Let heaven and earth break forth in song,
   Messiah! Saviour! art thou come?

For thou hast bought us with thy blood.
   And thou wast slain to set us free;
Thou mad’st us kings and priests to God,
   And we shall reign on earth with thee!

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

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John 6:28–34

Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 30 So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”

imgThese verses form the beginning of one of the most remarkable passages in the Gospels. None, perhaps, of our Lord’s discourses has occasioned more controversy, and been more misunderstood, than that which we find in the Sixth Chapter of John.
   We should observe, for one thing, in these verses, the spiritual ignorance and unbelief of the natural man. Twice over we see this brought out and exemplified. When our Lord instructed his hearers to “labour for the food which endures to eternal life,” they immediately began to think of works to be done, and a goodness of their own to be established. “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” Doing, doing, doing, was their only idea of the way to heaven. Again, when our Lord spoke of Himself as One sent of God, and the need of believing on Him at once, they turn round with the question, “What sign showest thou? what dost thou work?” Fresh from the mighty miracle of the loaves and fishes, one might have thought they had had a sign sufficient to convince them. Taught by our Lord Jesus Christ himself, one might have expected a greater readiness to believe. But alas! there are no limits to man’s dulness, prejudice, and unbelief in spiritual matters. It is a striking fact that the only thing which our Lord is said to have “marvelled” at during His earthly ministry, was man’s “unbelief.” (Mark vi. 6.)
   We shall do well to remember this, if we ever try to do good to others in the matter of religion. We must not be cast down because our words are not believed, and our efforts seem thrown away. We must not complain of it as a strange thing, and suppose that the people we have to deal with are peculiarly stubborn and hard. We must recollect that this is the very cup of which our Lord had to drink, and like Him we must patiently work on. If even He, so perfect and so plain a Teacher, was not believed, what right have we to wonder if men do not believe us? Happy are the ministers, and missionaries, and teachers who keep these things in mind! It will save them much bitter disappointment. In working for God, it is of first importance to understand what we must expect in man. Few things are so little realized as the extent of human unbelief.
   We should observe, for another thing, in these verses, the high honour Christ puts on faith in Himself. The Jews had asked Him,—“What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” In reply He says,—“This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” A truly striking and remarkable expression! If any two things are put in strong contrast, in the New Testament, they are faith and works. Not working, but believing,—not of works, but through faith,—are words familiar to all careful Bible-readers. Yet here the great Head of the Church declares that believing on Him is the highest and greatest of all “works!” It is “the work of God.”
   Doubtless our Lord did not mean that there is anything meritorious in believing. Man’s faith, at the very best, is feeble and defective. Regarded as a “work,” it cannot stand the severity of God’s judgment, deserve pardon, or purchase heaven. But our Lord did mean that faith in Himself, as the only Saviour, is the first act of the soul which God requires at a sinner’s hands. Until a man believes on Jesus, and rests on Jesus as a lost sinner, he is nothing.—Our Lord did mean that faith in Himself is that act of the soul which specially pleases God. When the Father sees a sinner casting aside his own righteousness, and simply trusting in His dear Son, He is well pleased. Without such faith it is impossible to please God.—Our Lord did mean that faith in Himself is the root of all saving religion. There is no life in a man until he believes.—Above all, our Lord did mean that faith in Himself is the hardest of all spiritual acts to the natural man. Did the Jews want something to do in religion? Let them know that the greatest thing they had to do was, to cast aside their pride, confess their guilt and need, and humbly believe.
   Let all who know anything of true faith thank God and rejoice. Blessed are those who believe! It is an attainment which many of the wise of this world have never yet reached. We may feel ourselves to be poor, weak sinners. But do we believe?—We may fail and come short in many things. But do we believe?—He that has learned to feel his sins, and to trust Christ as a Saviour, has learned the two hardest and greatest lessons in Christianity. He has been in the best of schools. He has been taught by the Holy Spirit.
   We shall observe, lastly, in these verses, the far greater privileges of Christ’s hearers than of those who lived in the times of Moses. Wonderful and miraculous as the manna was which fell from heaven, it was nothing in comparison to the true bread which Christ had to bestow on His disciples. He himself was the bread of God, who had come down from heaven to give life to the world.— The bread which fell in the days of Moses could only feed and satisfy the body. The Son of man had come to feed the soul.—The bread which fell in the days of Moses was only for the benefit of Israel. The Son of man had come to offer eternal life to the world.—Those who ate the manna died and were buried, and many of them were lost forever. But those who ate the bread which the Son of man provided, would be eternally saved.
   And now let us take heed to ourselves, and make sure that we are among those who eat the bread of God and live. Let us not be content with lazy waiting, but let us actually come to Christ, and eat the bread of life, and believe to the saving of our souls. The Jews could say,—”Evermore give us this bread.” But it may be feared they went no further. Let us never rest until, by faith, we have eaten this bread, and can say, “Christ is mine. I have tasted that the Lord is gracious. I know and feel that I am His.

—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007), 3:355–358

A
udio Sermons
Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 49, 2009
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Lord’s Day 3, 2010
0 Comments · Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Strength by the Way
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Horatius Bonar

Jesus, while this rough desert-soil
   I tread, be Thou my guide and stay;
Nerve me for conflict and for toil;
   Uphold me on my stranger-way.

Jesus, in heaviness and fear,
   ’Mid cloud, and shade, and gloom I stray
For earth's last night is drawing near;
   O cheer me on my stranger-way.

Jesus, in solitude and grief,
   When sun and stars withhold their ray,
Make haste, make haste to my relief;
   O light me on my stranger-way.

Jesus, in weakness of this flesh,
   When Satan grasps me for his prey;
O give me victory afresh;
   And speed me on my stranger-way.

Jesus, my righteousness and strength,
   My more than life, my more than day;
Bring, bring deliverance at length;
   O come and end my stranger-way.

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

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The Gospel According to John

Christ’s Brothers Do Not Believe

7 After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For not even His brothers were believing in Him. So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.

Christ Secretly Goes to the Feast

   10 But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret. 11 So the Jews were seeking Him at the feast and were saying, “Where is He?” 12 There was much grumbling among the crowds concerning Him; some were saying, “He is a good man”; others were saying, “No, on the contrary, He leads the people astray.” 13 Yet no one was speaking openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

imgThe chapter we now begin is divided from the preceding one by a wide interval of time. The many miracles which our Lord wrought, while He “walked in Galilee,” are passed over by St. John in comparative silence. The events which he was specially inspired to record are those which took place in or near Jerusalem.
   We should observe in this passage the desperate hardness and unbelief of human nature. We are told that even our Lord’s “brethren did not believe in Him.” Holy and harmless and blameless as He was in life, some of his nearest relatives, according to the flesh, did not receive Him as the Messiah. It was bad enough that His own people, “the Jews sought to kill Him.” But it was even worse that “His brethren did not believe.”
   That great Scriptural doctrine, man’s need of preventing and converting grace, stands out here, as if written with a sunbeam. It becomes all who question that doctrine to look at this passage and consider. Let them observe that seeing Christ’s miracles, hearing Christ’s teaching, living in Christ’s own company, were not enough to make men believers. The mere possession of spiritual privileges never yet made any one a Christian. All is useless without the effectual and applying work of God the Holy Ghost. No wonder that our Lord said in another place, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” (John vi. 44.)
   The true servants of Christ in every age will do well to remember this. They are often surprised and troubled to find that in religion they stand alone. They are apt to fancy that it must be their own fault that all around them are not converted like themselves. They are ready to blame themselves because their families remain worldly and unbelieving. But let them look at the verse before us. In our Lord Jesus Christ there was no fault either in temper, word, or deed. Yet even Christ’s own “brethren did not believe in Him.”
   Our blessed Master has truly learned by experience how to sympathize with all his people who stand alone. This is a thought “full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort.” He knows the heart of every isolated believer, and can be touched with the feeling of his trials. He has drunk this bitter cup. He has passed through this fire. Let all who are fainting and cast down, because brothers and sisters despise their religion, turn to Christ for comfort, and pour out their hearts before Him. He “has suffered Himself being tempted” in this way, and He can help as well as feel. (Heb. ii. 18.)
   We should observe, for another thing, in this passage, one principal reason why many hate Christ. We are told that our Lord said to His unbelieving brethren, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”
   These words reveal one of those secret principles which influence men in their treatment of Christ. They help to explain that deadly enmity with which many during our Lord’s earthly ministry regarded Him and His Gospel. It was not so much the high doctrines which He preached, as the high standard of practice which He proclaimed, which gave offence. It was not even His claim to be received the Messiah which men disliked so much, as His witness against the wickedness of their lives. In short, they could have tolerated His opinions if He would only have spared their sins.
   The principle, we may be sure, is one of universal application. It is at work now just as much as it was eighteen hundred years ago. The real cause of many people’s dislike to the Gospel is the holiness of living which it demands. Teach abstract doctrines only, and few will find any fault. Denounce the fashionable sins of the day, and call on men to repent and walk consistently with God, and thousands at once will be offended. The true reason why many profess to be infidels, and abuse Christianity, is the witness that Christianity bears against their own bad lives.—Like Ahab, they hate it, “because it does not prophesy good concerning them, but evil.” (1 Kings xxii. 8.)
   We should observe, lastly, in this passage, the strange variety of opinions about Christ, which were current from the beginning. We are told that “there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man others said, Nay, but he deceiveth the people.” The words which old Simeon had spoken thirty years before were here accomplished in a striking manner. He had said to our Lord’s mother, “This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel: and for a sign which shall be spoken against;—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke ii. 34, 35.) In the diversities of opinion about our Lord which arose among the Jews, we see the good old man’s saying fulfilled.
   In the face of such a passage as this, the endless differences and divisions about religion, which we see on all sides, in the present day, ought never to surprise us. The open hatred of some toward Christ,—the carping, fault-finding, prejudiced spirit of others,—the bold confession of the few faithful ones,—the timid, man-fearing temperament of the many faithless ones,—the unceasing war of words and strife of tongues with which the Churches of Christ are so sadly familiar,—are only modern symptoms of an old disease. Such is the corruption of human nature, that Christ is the cause of division among men, wherever He is preached. So long as the world stands, some, when they hear of Him, will love, and some will hate,—some will believe, and some will believe not. That deep, prophetical saying of His will be continually verified: “Do not think that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matt. x. 34.)
   What do we think of Christ ourselves? This is the one question with which we have to do. Let us never be ashamed to be of that little number who believe on Him, hear His voice, follow Him, and confess Him before men. While others waste their time in vain jangling and unprofitable controversy, let us take up the cross and give all diligence to make our calling and election sure. The children of this world may hate us, as it hated our Master, because our religion is a standing witness against them. But the last day will show that we chose wisely, lost nothing, and gained a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007).

A
udio Sermons
Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

continue reading Lord’s Day 3, 2010
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Lord’s Day 9, 2010
0 Comments · Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · Gospel of John · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Horatius BonarThe Feast.
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Love strong as death, nay stronger,
   Love mightier than the grave;
Broad as the earth, and longer
   Than ocean’s widest wave.
This is the love that sought us,
This is the love that bought us,
This is the love that brought us
   To gladdest day from saddest night,
   From deepest shame to glory bright,
   From depths of death to life’s fair height,
   From darkness to the joy of light:
This is the love that leadeth
   Us to his table here,
This is the love that spreadeth
   For us this royal cheer.

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

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John 8:21–30

Then He said again to them, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews were saying, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” 25 So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning? 26 I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” 27 They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.

imgThis passage contains deep things, so deep that we have no line to fathom them. As we read it we should call to mind the Psalmist’s words,—“Thy thoughts are very deep.” (Psalm xcii. 5.) But it also contains, in the opening verses, some things which are clear, plain, and unmistakable. To these let us give our attention and root them firmly in our hearts.
   We learn, for one thing, that it is possible to seek Christ in vain. Our Lord says to the unbelieving Jews, “Ye shall seek Me, and shall die in your sins.” He meant, by these words, that the Jews would one day seek Him in vain.
   The lesson before us is a very painful one. That such a Saviour as the Lord Jesus, so full of love, so willing to save, should ever be sought “in vain,” is a sorrowful thought. Yet so it is! A man may have many religious feelings about Christ, without any saving religion. Sickness, sudden affliction, the fear of death, the failure of usual sources of comfort—all these causes may draw out of a man a good deal of “religiousness.” Under the immediate pressure of these he may say his prayers fervently, exhibit a strong spiritual feelings, and profess for a season to “seek Christ,” and be a different man. And yet all this time his heart may never be touched at all! Take away the peculiar circumstances that affected him, and he may possibly return at once to his old ways. He sought Christ “in vain,” because he sought Him from false motives, and not with his whole heart.
   Unhappily this is not all. There is such a thing as a settled habit of resisting light and knowledge, until we seek Christ “in vain.” Scripture and experience alike prove that men may reject God until God rejects them, and will not hear their prayer. They may go on stifling their convictions, quenching the light of conscience, fighting against their own better knowledge, until God is provoked to give them over and let them alone. It is not for nothing that these words are written,—“Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me: for they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord.” (Prov. i. 28, 29.) Such cases may not be common; but they are possible, and they are sometimes seen. Some ministers can testify that they have visited people on their deathbeds who seem to seek Christ, and yet to seek in vain.
   There is no safety but in seeking Christ while He may be found, and calling on Him while He is near,—seeking Him with a true heart, and calling on Him with an honest spirit. Such seeking, we may be very sure, is never in vain. It will never be recorded of such seekers, that they “died in their sins.” He that really comes to Christ shall never be “cast out.” The Lord has solemnly declared that “He hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth,”—and that “He delighteth in mercy.” (Ezekiel xviii. 32; Micah vii. 18.)
   We learn for another thing, how wide is the difference between Christ and the ungodly. Our Lord says to the unbelieving Jews,—“Ye are from beneath, I am from above: ye are of this world, I am not of this world.”
   These words, no doubt, have a special application to our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In the highest and most literal sense, there never was but One who could truly say, “I am from above,—I am not of this world.” That One is He who came forth from the Father, and was before the world,—even the Son of God.
   But there is a lower sense, in which these words are applicable to all Christ’s living members. Compared to the thoughtless multitude around them, they are “from above,” and “not of this world,” like their Master. The thoughts of the ungodly are about things beneath; the true Christian’s affections are set on things above. The ungodly man is full of this world; its cares, and pleasures, and profits, absorb his whole attention. The true Christian, though in the world, is not of it; his citizenship is in heaven, and his best things are yet to come.
   The true Christian will do well never to forget this line of demarcation. If he loves his soul, and desires to serve God, he must be content to find himself separated from many around him by a gulf that cannot be passed. He may not like to seem peculiar and unlike others; but it is the certain consequence of grace reigning within him. He may find it brings on him hatred, ridicule, and hard speeches; but it is the cup which his Master drank, and of which his Master forewarned all His disciples.—“If ye were of the world the world would love His own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John xv. 19.)—Then let the Christian never be ashamed to stand alone and show his colors. He must carry the cross if he would wear the crown. If he has within him a new principle “from above,” it must be seen.
   We learn, lastly, how awful is the end to which unbelief can bring man. Our Lord says to his enemies, “If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.”
   These solemn words are invested with peculiar solemnity when we consider from whose lips they came. Who is this that speaks of men dying “in their sins,” unpardoned, unforgiven, unfit to meet God,—of men going into another world with all their sins upon them? He that says this is no other than the Saviour of mankind, who laid down His life for His sheep,—the loving, gracious, merciful, compassionate Friend of sinners. It is Christ Himself! Let this simple fact not be overlooked.
   They are greatly mistaken who suppose that it is harsh and unkind to speak of hell and future punishment. How can such people get over such language as that which is before us? How can they account for many a like expression which our Lord used, and specially for such passages as those in which He speaks of the “worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched”? (Mark x. 46.) They cannot answer these questions. Misled by a false charity and a morbid amiability, they are condemning the plain teaching of the Scripture, and are wise above that which is written.
   Let us settle it in our minds, as one of the great foundation truths of our faith, that there is a hell. Just as we believe firmly that there is an eternal heaven for the godly, so let us believe firmly that there is an eternal hell for the wicked. Let us never suppose that there is any lack of charity in speaking of hell. Let us rather maintain that it is the highest love to warn men plainly of danger, and to beseech them to “flee from the wrath to come.” It was Satan, the deceiver, murderer, and liar, who said to Eve in the beginning, “Ye shall not surely die.” (Gen. iii. 4.) To shrink from telling men, that except they believe they will “die in their sins,” may please the devil, but surely it cannot please God.
   Finally, let us never forget that unbelief is the special sin that ruins men’s souls. Had the Jews believed on our Lord, all manner of sin and blasphemy might have been forgiven them. But unbelief bars the door in mercy’s face, and cuts off hope. Let us watch and pray hard against it. Immorality slays its thousands, but unbelief its tens of thousands. One of the strongest sayings ever used by our Lord was this,—“He that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark xvi. 16.)

—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007).

A
udio Sermons
Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 9, 2010
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Lord’s Day 16, 2010
0 Comments · Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · Gospel of John · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Horatius BonarThe Sleep of the Beloved.
“So he giveth his beloved sleep.” —Psalm cxxvii. 2.
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Sunlight has vanished, and the weary earth
   Lies resting from a long day’s toil and pain,
And, looking for a new dawn’s early birth,
   Seeks strength in slumber for its toil again.

We too would rest, but ere we close the eye
   Upon the consciousness of waking thought,
Would calmly turn it to yon star-bright sky,
   And lift the soul to him who slumbers not.

Above us is thy hand with tender care,
   Distilling over us the dew of sleep:
Darkness seems loaded with oblivious air,
   In deep forgetfulness each sense to steep.

Thou hast provided midnight’s hour of peace,
   Thou stretchest over us the wing of rest;
With more than all a parent’s tenderness,
   Foldest us sleeping to thy gentle breast.

Grief flies away; care quits our easy couch,
   Till wakened by thy hand, when breaks the day—
Like the one prophet by the angel’s touch,—
   We rise to tread again our pilgrim-way.

God of our life! God of each day and night!
   Oh, keep us till life’s short race is run!
Until there dawns the long, long day of light,
   That knows no night, yet needs no star nor sun.

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

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John 9:25–41

He then answered, “Whether He is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 So they said to him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen; why do you want to hear it again? You do not want to become His disciples too, do you?” 28 They reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.” 30 The man answered and said to them, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.
   35 Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” 38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. 39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

imgWe see in these verses how much wiser the poor sometimes are than the rich. The man whom our Lord healed of his blindness was evidently a person of very humble condition. It is written that he was one who “sat and begged.” (See v. 8.) Yet he saw things which the proud rulers of the Jews could not see, and would not receive. He saw in our Lord’s miracle an unanswerable proof of our Lord’s divine commission. “If this Man were not of God,” he cries, “He could do nothing.” In fact, from the day of his cure his position was completely altered. He had eyes, and the Pharisees were blind.
   The same thing may be seen in other places of Scripture. The servants of Pharaoh saw “the finger of God” in the plagues of Egypt, when their master’s heart was hardened. The servants of Naaman saw the wisdom of Elisha’s advice, when their master was turning away in a rage. The high, the great, and the noble are often the last to learn spiritual lessons. Their possessions and their position often blind the eyes of their understanding, and keep them back from the kingdom of God. It is written that “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” (1 Cor. i. 26.)
   The Christian poor man never need be ashamed of his poverty. It is a sin to be proud, and worldly-minded, and unbelieving; but it is no sin to be poor. The very riches which many long to possess are often veils over the eyes of men’s souls, and prevent their seeing Christ. The teaching of the Holy Ghost is more frequently to be seen among men of low degree than among men of rank and education. The words of our Lord are continually proved most true, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God.”—“Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” (Mark x. 23; Matt. xi. 25.)
   We see, secondly, in these verses, how cruelly and unjustly unconverted men will sometimes treat those who disagree with them. When the Pharisees could not frighten the blind man who had been cured, they expelled him from the Jewish Church. Because he manfully refused to deny the evidence of his own senses, they excommunicated him, and put him to an open shame. They cast him out “as a heathen man and a publican.”
   The temporal injury that such treatment did to a poor Jew was very great indeed. It cut him off from the outward privileges of the Jewish Church. It made him an object of scorn and suspicion among all true Israelites. But it could do no harm to his soul. That which wicked men bind on earth is not bound in heaven. “The curse causeless shall not come.” (Prov. xxvi. 2.)
   The children of God in every age have only too frequently met with like treatment. Excommunication, persecution, and imprisonment have generally been favourite weapons with ecclesiastical tyrants. Unable, like the Pharisees, to answer arguments, they have resorted to violence and injustice. Let the child of God console himself with the thought that there is a true Church out of which no man can cast him, and a Church-membership which no earthly power can take away. He only is blessed whom Christ calls blessed; and he only is accursed whom Christ shall pronounce accursed at the last day.
   We see, thirdly, in these verses, how great is the kindness and condescension of Christ. No sooner was this poor blind man cast out of the Jewish Church than Jesus finds him and speaks words of comfort. He knew full well how heavy an affliction excommunication was to an Israelite, and at once cheered him with kind words. He now revealed Himself more fully to this man than He did to any one except the Samaritan woman. In reply to the question, “Who is the Son of God?” He says plainly, “Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee.”
   We have here one among many beautiful illustrations of the mind of Christ. He sees all that His people go through for His sake, and feels for all, from the highest to the lowest. He keeps account of all their losses, crosses, and persecutions. “Are they not all written in His book?” (Psal. lvi. 8.) He knows how to come to their hearts with consolation in their time of need, and to speak peace to them when all men seem to hate them. The time when men forsake us is often the very time when Christ draws near, saying, “Fear not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isai. xli. 10.)
   We see, lastly, in these verses, how dangerous it is to possess knowledge, if we do not make a good use of it. The rulers of the Jews were fully persuaded that they knew all religious truth. They were indignant at the very idea of being ignorant and devoid of spiritual eyesight. “Are we blind also?” they cried. And then came the mighty sentence, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.”
   Knowledge undoubtedly is a very great blessing. The man who cannot read, and is utterly ignorant of Scripture, is in a pitiable condition. He is at the mercy of any false teacher who comes across him, and may be taught to take up any absurd creed, or to follow any vicious practice. Almost any education is better than no education at all.
   But when knowledge only sticks in a man’s head, and has no influence over his heart and life, it becomes a most perilous possession. And when, in addition to this, its possessor is self-conceited and self-satisfied, and imagines he knows everything, the result is one of the worst states of soul into which man can fall. There is far more hope about him who says, “I am a poor blind sinner and want God to teach me,” than about him who is ever saying, “I know it, I know it, I am not ignorant,” and yet cleaves to his sins.—The sin of that man “remaineth.”
   Let us use diligently whatever religious knowledge we possess, and ask continually that God would give us more. Let us never forget that the devil himself is a creature of vast head-knowledge, and yet none the better for it, because it is not rightly used. Let our constant prayer be that which David so often sent up in the hundred and nineteenth Psalm. “Lord, teach me thy statutes: give me understanding: unite my heart to fear Your name.”

—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007).

A
udio Sermons
Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 16, 2010
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Lord’s Day 23, 2010
0 Comments · Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · Gospel of John · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Horatius BonarThe Name of Names.
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Father, Thy Son hath died
   The sinner’s death of woe;
Stooping in love from heaven to earth,
   Our curse to undergo;
   Our curse to undergo,
      Upon the hateful tree.
Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord,
Put honour on that name of names,
      By blessing me!

Father, Thy Son hath borne
   The sinner’s doom of shame;
Bearing his cross without the gate,
   He met the law’s full claim;
   He met the law’s full claim,
      Sin’s righteous penalty.
Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord,
Put honour on that name of names,
      By pardoning me!

Father, Thy Son hath poured
   His life-blood on this earth,
To cleanse away our guilt and stains,
   To give us second birth;
   To give us second birth,
      From sin to set us free.
Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord,
Put honour on that name of names,
      By cleansing me!

Father, Thy Son hath risen.
   Overcoming hell’s dark powers;
His surety-death was all for us,
   His surety- life is ours;
   His surety life is ours,
      Ours, ours eternally.
Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord,
Put honour on that name of names,
      By quickening me!

Father, Thy Son to thee
   Is now gone up on high,
Enthroned in heaven at Thy right hand,
   He reigns eternally;
   He reigns eternally,
      In might and majesty.
Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord,
Put honour on that name of names,
      By raising me!

Father, Thy Son on earth,
   No one to own Him found,
He passed among the sons of men
   Rejected and disowned;
   Rejected and disowned,
      That we received might be!
Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord,
Put honour on that name of names,
      By owning me!

Father, Thy Son is king.
   Heaven’s crown and earth’s is his;
For us, for us, he bought the crown,
   For us he earned the bliss;
   For us he earned the bliss,
      Amen, so let it be!
Give glory to Thy Son, O Lord,
Put honour on that name of names,
      By crowning me!

Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope.

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John 11:17–29

So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20 Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. 21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
   28 When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him.

imgThere is a grand simplicity about this passage, which is almost spoiled by any human exposition. To comment on it seems like gilding gold or painting lilies. Yet it throws much light on a subject which we can never understand too well; that is, the true character of Christ’s people. The portraits of Christians in the Bible are faithful likenesses. They show us saints just as they are.
   We learn, firstly, what a strange mixture of grace and weakness is to be found even in the hearts of true believers.
   We see this strikingly illustrated in the language used by Martha and Mary. Both these holy women had faith enough to say, “Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother would had not died.” Yet neither of them seems to have remembered that the death of Lazarus did not depend on Christ’s absence, and that our Lord, had He thought fit, could have prevented his death with a word, without coming to Bethany.—Martha had knowledge enough to say, “I know, that even now, whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God wilt give it to Thee,—I know that my brother shall rise again at the last day,—I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God.”—But even she could get no further. Her dim eyes and trembling hands could not grasp the grand truth that He who stood before her had the keys of life and death, and that in her Master dwelt “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colos. ii. 9.) She saw indeed, but through a glass darkly. She knew, but only in part. She believed, but her faith was mingled with much unbelief. Yet both Martha and Mary were genuine children of God, and true Christians.
   These things are graciously written for our learning. It is good to remember what true Christians really are. Many and great are the mistakes into which people fall, by forming a false estimate of the Christian’s character. Many are the bitter things which people write against themselves, by expecting to find in their hearts what cannot be found on this side of heaven. Let us settle it in our minds that saints on earth are not perfect angels, but only converted sinners. They are sinners renewed, changed, sanctified, no doubt; but they are yet sinners, and will be until they die. Like Martha and Mary, their faith is often entangled with much unbelief, and their grace compassed round with much infirmity. Happy is that child of God who understands these things, and has learned to judge rightly both of himself and others. Rarely indeed shall we find the saint who does not often need that prayer, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.”
   We learn, secondly, what need many believers have of clear views of Christ’s person, office, and power. This is a point which is forcibly brought out in the well-known sentence which our Lord addressed to Martha. In reply to her vague and faltering expression of belief in the resurrection at the last day, He proclaims the glorious truth, “I am the resurrection and the life;”—“I, even I, your Master, am He that has the keys of life and death in His hands.” And then He presses on her once more that old lesson, which she had doubtless often heard, but never fully realized: “He that believeth in Me will live, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”
   There is matter here which deserves the close consideration of all true Christians. Many of them complain of want of sensible comfort in their religion. They do not feel the inward peace which they desire. Let them know that vague and indefinite views of Christ are too often the cause of all their perplexities. They must try to see more clearly the great object on which their faith rests. They must grasp more firmly His love and power toward those who believe, and the riches He has laid up for them even now in this world. We are, many of us, sadly like Martha. A little general knowledge of Christ as the only Saviour is often all that we possess. But of the fullness that dwells in Him, of His resurrection, His priesthood, His intercession, His unfailing compassion, we have tasted little or nothing at all. They are things of which our Lord might well say to many, as he did to Martha, “Believest thou this?”
   Let us take shame to ourselves that we have named the name of Christ so long, and yet know so little about Him. What right have we to wonder that we feel so little sensible comfort in our Christianity? Our slight and imperfect knowledge of Christ is the true reason of our discomfort. Let the time past suffice us to have been lazy students in Christ’s school; let the time to come find us more diligent in trying to “know Him and the power of His resurrection.” (Philip. iii. 10.) If true Christians would only strive, as St. Paul says, to “comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,” they would be amazed at the discoveries they would make. They would soon find, like Hagar, that there are wells of water near them of which they had no knowledge. They would soon discover that there is more heaven to be enjoyed on earth than they had ever thought possible. The root of a happy religion is clear, distinct, well-defined knowledge of Jesus Christ. More knowledge would have saved Martha many sighs and tears. Knowledge alone no doubt, if unsanctified, only “puffeth up.” (1 Cor. vii. 1.) Yet without clear knowledge of Christ in all His offices we cannot expect to be established in the faith, and steady in the time of need.

—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007).

A
udio Sermons
Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

continue reading Lord’s Day 23, 2010
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