The heart of Christ became like a reservoir in the midst of the mountains. All the tributary streams of iniquity, and every drop of the sins of His people–ran down and gathered into one vast lake–as deep as Hell and as shoreless as eternity. All these met, as it were, in Christ’s heart–and He endured them all!
Sin is horrible to a believer–because it crucified his Savior! He sees the nails and spear in every iniquity!
We cannot bear sin. When it is near us, we feel like a wretch chained to a rotting carcass–we groan to be free from the hateful thing.
A very little sin, as the world calls it–is a very great sin to a true Christian!
One of the softest pillows upon which the Christian can lay his head!
I am persuaded that the doctrine of predestination is one of the softest pillows upon which the Christian can lay his head–and one of the “strongest staffs” upon which he may lean, in his pilgrimage along this rough road.
“For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will–to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves!” Ephesians 1:4-6
“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will!” Ephesians 1:11
(John Newton’s Autobiography, “Out of the Depths!”)
All true believers walk by the same rule, and mind the same things:
the Word of God is their compass,
Jesus is both their polar star and their sun of righteousness,
their hearts and faces are all set Zion-ward.
Thus far they are as one body, animated by one spirit. Yet their experience, formed upon these common principles–is far from being uniform.
The Lord, in His first call, and His following dispensations, has a regard to the situation, temper, and talents of each–and to the particular services or trials which He has appointed them for. Though all believers are tried at times–yet some pass through the voyage of life much more smoothly than others. But he “who walks upon the wings of the wind, and measures the waters in the hollow of His hand,” will not allow any of whom He has taken charge, to perish in the storms–though, for a season, perhaps, many of them are ready to give up all hopes.
We must not, therefore, make the experience of others, in all respects–a rule to ourselves.
Nor are we to make our own experience–a rule to others.
I am sure they would not admit you to their fellowship!
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
If you wait until you find a perfect church–then you must wait until you get to Heaven.
Even if you could find a perfect assembly on earth, I am sure they would not admit you to their fellowship, for you are not perfect yourself.
Find out those people who are nearest to the Scriptures, who hold the truth in doctrine and in practice, and are most like the New Testament church–and then cast in your lot with them, and you will be blessed in the deed.
No matter what your wealth, if you have not Christ–you are miserably poor. “The rich man also died and was buried. In Hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.So he called to him: Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire!” Luke 16:22-24
But with Christ–you are rich to all eternity! “We have a priceless inheritance–an inheritance that is kept in Heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay!” 1 Peter 1:4
It is infinitely benevolent of God, I will venture to say, to cast evil men into hell. If that be thought to be a hard and strange statement, I reply that inasmuch as there is sin in the world, it is no benevolence to tolerate so great an evil; it is the highest benevolence to do all that can be done to restrain the horrible pest. It would be far from benevolent for our government to throw wide the door of all the jails, to abolish the office of the judge, to suffer every thief and every offender of every kind to go unpunished; instead of mercy it would be cruelty; it might be mercy to the offending, but it would be intolerable injustice towards the upright and inoffensive. Gods very benevolence demands that the detestable rebellion of sin against his supreme authority should be put down with a firm hand, that men may not flatter themselves that they can do evil and go unpunished. The necessities of moral government require that sin must be punished (from Individual Sin Laid on Jesus, a sermon delivered on April 10, 1870).