Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Thursday, November 26, 2015

I am chained to the chariot of rolling time!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Swiftness of Life!")
"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle!" Job 7:6
"My days are but a breath!" Job 7:16
"My days are swifter than a runner — they flee away!" Job 9:25
"My days pass by like swift ships — like an eagle swooping on its prey!" Job 9:26
"Are not my days few?" Job 10:20
"My days are cut short, the grave awaits me!" Job 17:1 
"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes!" James 4:14
Let me speak to you of . . .
  the frailty of human life,
  the fleeting nature of time,
  how swiftly time passes away,
  how soon we shall all fade as the leaf, and
  how speedily the place which knows us now, shall know us no more forever.
It is a great fact that life to the young man appears to be long.
Yet to the old man, life is ever short.
And to all men, life is really but a brief period!
Children sometimes blow bubbles, and amuse themselves thereby. Life is even as that bubble. You see it rising into the air; the child delights itself by seeing it fly about, but it is all gone in one moment! So uncertain is life!
Human life is not long. Compare it with the ages of the universe, and it becomes a span; and especially measure it by eternity — and how imperceptible does life appear! It sinks like one small drop into the ocean — and becomes as insignificant as one tiny grain of sand upon the sea-shore!
Life is swift!
Your pulses each moment beat the funeral marches to the tomb!
I am chained to the chariot of rolling time — there is no bridling the steeds, or leaping from the chariot. The wind of time bears me along — I cannot stop its motion. I am moving through time at an incalculable rate. Oh! what an idea it is, could I grasp it!
The wise man says, "For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he passes like a shadow?" Ecclesiastes 6:12. Now what can there be less substantial than a shadow? What substance is there in a shadow? Who can lay hold thereof? You may see it, but the moment the person passes by, it is gone.
Yes, and who can grasp his life? Many men reckon upon a long existence, and think they are going to live forever; but who can calculate upon a shadow? Go, O man, who say to your soul, "Eat, drink, and be merry; I have much goods laid up for many years!" Go, and store your barn with shadows; go and pile shadows up, and say, "These are mine, and they shall never depart." But, say you, "I cannot catch a shadow!" No and you can not reckon on a year, for it is as a shadow, which soon melts away and is gone!
"My days pass by like swift ships!" 
Like a swift ship, my life must speed on its way until it reaches its haven. But where is that haven to be? Shall it be found in the land of eternal bitterness and punishment — that dreary region of the lost? Or shall it be that sweet haven of eternal peace, where not a troubling wave can ruffle the quiescent glory of my spirit?
Wherever the haven is to be, that truth is the same, we are like "the swift ships."

"So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!" Psalm 90:12 

John Newton's tombstone

In his old age, when he could no longer see to read, John Newton, the author of "Amazing Grace" heard someone recite this verse, "By the grace of God — I am what I am." 1 Corinthians 15:10. He remained silent a short time, and then said: 
I am not what I ought to be. Ah! how imperfect and deficient.
I am not what I might be, considering my privileges and opportunities. 
I am not what I wish to be. God, who knows my heart — knows I wish to be like Him. 
I am not what I hope to be. Before long, I will drop this clay tabernacle, to be like Him and see Him as He is!
Yet, I am not what I once was — a child of sin, and slave of the devil!
Though not all these — not what I ought to be, not what I might be, not what I wish or hope to be, and not what I once was — I think I can truly say with the apostle, "By the grace of God — I am what I am!"

At the age of 82, Newton said, "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner — and that Christ is a great Savior!"

John Newton's tombstone reads: "John Newton, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy!"

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

My politics

(Letters of John Newton, 1778)

The whole system of my politics is summed up in this one verse, "The Lord reigns! Let the nations tremble!" Psalm 99:1

The times look awfully dark indeed; and as the clouds grow thicker — the stupidity of the nation seems proportionally to increase. If the Lord had not a remnant here, I would have very formidable apprehensions. But He loves His redeemed children; some are sighing and mourning before Him, and I am sure He hears their sighs, and sees their tears. I trust there is mercy in store for us at the bottom; but I expect a shaking time before things get into a right channel — before we are humbled, and are taught to give Him the glory.

The state of the nation, the state of the churches — both are deplorable! Those who should be praying — are disputing and fighting among themselves! Alas! how many professors are more concerned for the mistakes of government — than for their own sins!
"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!" Revelation 19:6

Dear Believer

Believer, open your eyes widely to your real position. Bright indeed are your hopes. The Lord, who bought you, watches you with unfailing love. The angels are your guards. The Spirit is your teacher. The Word is your text-book. Heaven is your final home. Your eternity is glory. You will not fail finally. "He who has begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil. 1:6. Your God will perfect that which concerns your soul. But still Satan never ceases to hate and tempt. Draw then nearer and nearer to the sheltering side of your beloved Lord. Let your eyes ever gaze upon the cross. The more you see redeeming blood, the more you will abhor iniquity. Trust not, however, to previous grace. It was sufficient for its day. But each day needs its own supply. This help is ready. The treasury is open. Approach by faith. Go in by prayer. Receive heaven's bounty. Seek, also, in all things to be conformed to Jesus' image. He was "holy--harmless--undefiled--separate from sinners." Heb. 7:26. Above all, feast on the precious promises--so will you cleanse yourself "from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Cor. 7:1.
But still remember, that each day is full of peril. Therefore never cease to watch. Do not forget, that in one unguarded moment a terrible downfall may occur. Think, also, that one false step brings terrible disgrace on your good reputation, and causes hell to laugh, and all the enemies of God to revel in blaspheming sneers. Your sin may ruin multitudes. Therefore, for your soul's sake--as you love Jesus--as you desire the progress of His truth--as you would cause the Gospel to be honored, be very careful--abstain from evil's contact--let your light shine brightly.