PRAYER OF THE REPENTENT SINNER

PRAYER OF THE REPENTENT SINNER

C.H. Spurgeon

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” [Psalm 51:10]

CREATE. What! has sin so destroyed us, that the Creator must be called in again? What ruin then doth evil work among mankind! CREATE IN ME. I, in my outward fabric, still exist; but I am empty, desert, void. Come, then, and let thy power be seen in a new creation within my old fallen self. Thou didst make a man in the world at first; Lord, make a new man in me! A CLEAN HEART. In the seventh verse he asked to be clean; now he seeks a heart suitable to that cleanliness; but he does not say, “Make my old heart clean” he is too experienced in the hopelessness of the old nature. He would have the old man buried as a dead thing, and a new creation brought in to fill its place.

NONE BUT GOD CAN CREATE EITHER A NEW HEART OR A NEW EARTH.

Salvation is a marvellous display of supreme power; the work IN us as much as that FOR us is wholly of Omnipotence. The affections must be rectified first, or all our nature will go amiss. The heart is the rudder of the soul, and till the Lord take it in hand we steer in a false and foul way. O Lord, thou who didst once make me, be pleased to new make me, and in my most secret parts renew me. RENEW A RIGHT SPIRIT WITHIN ME. It was there once, Lord, put it there again. The law on my heart has become like an inscription hard to read: new write it, gracious Maker.

Remove the evil as I have entreated thee; but, O replace it with good, lest into my swept, empty, and garnished heart, from which the devil has gone out for a while, seven other spirits more wicked than the first should enter and dwell. The two sentences make a complete prayer. CREATE what is not there at all; RENEW that which is there, but in a sadly feeble state.

THE NEED TO BE ESTABLISHED IN SOUND DOCTRINE

THE NEED TO BE ESTABLISHED IN SOUND DOCTRINE

C.H. SPURGEON

IT IS A GREAT THING to begin the Christian life by believing good solid doctrine. Some people have received twenty different “gospels” in as many years; how many more they will accept before they get to their journey’s end, it would be difficult to predict. I thank God that He early taught me THE gospel, and I have been so perfectly satisfied with it, that I do not want to know any other. 

Constant change of creed is sure loss. If a tree has to be taken up two or three times a year, you will not need to build a very large loft in which to store the apples. When people are always shifting their doctrinal principles, they are not likely to bring forth much fruit to the glory of God.

It is good for young believers to begin with a firm hold upon those great fundamental doctrines which the Lord has taught in His Word. Why, if I believed what some preach about the temporary, trumpery salvation which only lasts for a time, I would scarcely be at all grateful for it; but when I know that those whom God saves He saves with an everlasting salvation, when I know that He gives to them an everlasting righteousness, when I know that He settles them on an everlasting foundation of everlasting love, and that He will bring them to His everlasting kingdom, oh, then I do wonder, and I am astonished that such a blessing as this should ever have been given to me!

“Pause, my soul! adore, and wonder!
Ask, ‘Oh, why such love to me?’
Grace hath put me in the number
Of the Saviour’s family: Hallelujah!
Thanks, eternal thanks, to Thee!”

THE CHRISTIAN A HEAVENLY CITIZEN

THE CHRISTIAN A HEAVENLY CITIZEN

C.H. Spurgeon

“For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ!” [Philippians 3:20]

There can be no comparison between a soaring seraph and a crawling worm. Christians ought so to live that it were idle to speak of a comparison between them and the men of the world. It would not be a comparison but a contrast. No scale of degrees should be possible; the believer should be a direct and manifest contradiction to the unregenerate. The life of a saint should be altogether above and out of the same list as the life of a sinner. We should compel our critics not to confess that moralists are good, and Christians a little better; but while the world is darkness, we should manifestly be light; and while the world lies in the wicked one, we should most evidently be of God, and overcome the temptations of that wicked one. Wide as the poles asunder, are life and death, light and darkness, health and disease, purity and sin, spiritual and carnal, divine and sensual!

If we were what we profess to be, we should be as distinct a people in the midst of this world, as a white race in a community of Ethiopians; there should be no more difficulty in detecting the Christian from the worldling than in discovering a sheep from a goat, or a lamb from a wolf!

Alas, the Church is so much adulterated, that we have to abate our glorying, and cannot exalt her character as we would. “The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!” O for the time when “our citizenship shall be in heaven,” and the ignoble life of the man, whose god is his belly and whose end is destruction, shall be rebuked by our unworldly, unselfish character! There should be as much difference between the worldling and the Christian as between hell and heaven, between destruction and eternal life. As we hope at last that there shall be a great gulf separating us from the doom of the impenitent, there should be here a deep and wide gulf between us and the ungodly! The purity of our character should be such, that men must take knowledge of us that we are of another and superior race. God grant us more and more to be most clearly a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that we may show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light!

Brothers and sisters, tonight I exhort you to holiness, not by the precepts of the law; not by the thunders from Sinai; not by the perils or punishments which might fall upon you if you are unholy; but by the privileges to which you have been admitted! Gracious souls should only be urged by arguments from divine grace. Whips are for the backs of fools, and not for heirs of heaven! By the honorable citizenship which has been bestowed upon you, I shall beseech you to let your citizenship be in heaven, and I shall urge that most prevailing argument, that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming, and therefore we should be as men and women who watch for our Lord, diligently doing service unto Him, that when He comes He may say unto us, “Well done, good and faithful servants.” I know that the grace which is in you will freely answer to such a plea.

Our text, I think, might be best translated thus—“Our citizenship is in heaven.” The French translation renders it, “As for us, our burgessship is in the heavens.” Doddridge paraphrases it, “But we converse as citizens of heaven, considering ourselves as denizens of the New Jerusalem, and only strangers and pilgrims upon earth.”

THE FIRST IDEA which is suggested by the verse under consideration is this—if our citizenship is in heaven, then WE ARE ALIENS HERE; we are strangers and foreigners, pilgrims and sojourners in the earth, as all our fathers were. In the words of Sacred Writ, “Here we have no continuing city,” but, “we desire a better country, that is a heavenly.”

SECONDLY, although aliens on earth, WE ARE CITIZENS IN HEAVEN. What is meant by our being citizens in heaven? Why, first that we are under heaven’s government! Christ, the King of heaven, reigns in our hearts; the laws of glory are the laws of our consciences; our daily prayer is, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The proclamations issued from the throne of glory are freely received by us, the decrees of the great King we cheerfully obey. We are not without law to Christ. The Spirit of God rules in our mortal bodies, divine grace reigns through righteousness, and we wear the easy yoke of Jesus! O that He would sit as King in our hearts, like Solomon upon his throne of gold. We are Yours, Jesus, and all that we have; You rule without a rival.

As citizens of the New Jerusalem, we share heaven’s honors. The glory which belongs to beatified saints belongs to us, for we are already sons of God, already princes of the blood imperial! Already we wear the spotless robe of Jesus’ righteousness; already we have angels for our servitors, saints for our companions, Christ for our Brother, God for our Father, and a crown of immortality for our reward. We share the honors of citizenship, for we have come to the general assembly and Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like He is; for we shall see Him as He is.”

We must now come to our THIRD POINT, which is OUR CONVERSATION IS IN HEAVEN. Our walk and acts are such as are consistent with our dignity as citizens of heaven. Among the old Romans, when a dastardly action was proposed, it was thought a sufficient refusal to answer, “Romanus sum—I am a Roman.” Surely it should be a strong incentive to every good thing if we can claim to be freemen of the Eternal City! Let our lives be conformed to the glory of our citizenship. In heaven they are holy, so must we be—so are we if our citizenship is not a mere pretense. They are happy, so must we be, always rejoicing in the Lord!

In heaven they are obedient—so must we be, following the faintest monitions of the divine will. In heaven they are active, so should we be, both day and night praising and serving God. In heaven they are peaceful, so should we find a rest in Christ, and be at peace even now. In heaven they rejoice to behold the face of Christ, so should we be, always meditating upon Him, studying His beauties, and desiring to look into the truths of God which He has taught.

In heaven they are full of love, so should we love one another as brethren. In heaven they have sweet communion, one with another, so should we, who though many, are one body, be every one members one of the other. Before the throne they are free from envy and strife, ill-will, jealousy, emulation, falsehood, anger, so should we be—we should, in fact, seek while we are here, to keep up the manners and customs of the good old fatherland, so that, as in Paris, the Parisian soon says, “There goes John Bull,” so they should be able to say in this land, “There goes a heavenly citizen, one who is with us and among us, but is not of us.” Our very speech should be such that our citizenship should be detected! We should not be able to live long in a house without men finding out what we are.

The text says, “Our conversation is in heaven,” and I think we may also read it, as though it said, “OUR COMMERCE IS IN HEAVEN.” We are trading on earth, but still the bulk of our trade is with heaven. We trade for trinkets in this land, but our gold and silver are in heaven. We commune with heaven, and how? Our trade is with heaven by meditation; we often think of God, our Father, and Christ, our Brother; and, by the Spirit, the Comforter, we are brought in contemplative delight to the general assembly and Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven.

Time has gone; those clocks will strike when you ought not. There is a great reason why we should live like aliens and foreigners here, and that is because CHRIST IS COMING SOON! The early Church never forgot this. Did they not pant and thirst after the return of their ascended Lord? Like the 12 tribes, day and night they instantly watched for Messiah. But the Church has grown weary of this hope. There have been so many false prophets who tell us that Christ is coming, that the Church thinks He never will come; and she begins to deny, or to keep in the background the blessed doctrine of the second advent of her Lord from heaven. I do not think the fact that there have been many false prophets, should make us doubt our Lord’s true Word. Perhaps the very frequency of these mistakes may show that there is truth at the bottom! You have a friend who is ill, and the doctor says he cannot last long. He must die; you have called a great many times expecting to hear of his departure, but he is still alive. Now the frequent errors of the physicians do not prove that your friend will not die one of these days, and that speedily, too! And so, though the false prophets have said, “Lo, here,” and “Lo, there,” and yet Christ has not come—that does not prove that His glorious appearing will never arrive.

He may appear tonight, while we stand here; just when we think that he will not come, the thief shall break into the house. We ought, therefore, to be always watching! Since the gold and silver that you have will be worthless at His advent; since your lands and estates will melt to smoke when He appears; since, then the righteous shall be rich, and the godly shall be great, lay not up your treasure here, for it may at any time vanish, at any time disappear, for Christ at any moment may come!

I think the Church would do well to be always living as if Christ might come today. I feel persuaded she is doing ill if she works as if He would not come till 1866, because He may come before, and He may come this moment! Let her always be living as if He would come NOW, still acting in her Master’s sight, and watching unto prayer.

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” [Revelation 22:20]

HARD WORK AND ITS REWARD

HARD WORK AND ITS REWARD

C.H. Spurgeon

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” [Gal 6:9,10]

DO you not think that at times our getting lax in Christian work arises from our being very low in grace? As a rule, you cannot get out of a man that which is not in him. You cannot go forth yourself to your class and do your work vigorously if you have lost inward vigor. You cannot minister before the Lord with the unction of the Holy One if that unction is not upon you.

If you are not living near to God and in the power of God, then the power of God will not go forth through you to the children of your care; so that I think we should judge, when we become discontented and down-hearted, that we are out of sorts spiritually. Let us say to ourselves, “Come! my soul! What aileth thee? This faint heart is a sign that thou art out of health.

Go to the great Physician, and obtain from Him a tonic which shall brace thee. Come, play the man. Have none of these whims! Away with your idleness! The reaping-time will come, therefore thrust in the plow.” ‘Is not another reason why we become down-hearted to be found in the coldness and indifference of our fellow-Christians? We see others doing the Lord’s work carelessly and when we are all on fire ourselves we find them to be cold as ice: we get among people in the church who do not seem to care whether the souls of the children are saved or not, and thus we are apt to be discouraged.

The idleness of others should be an argument for our being more diligent ourselves. If our Master’s work is suffering at the hands of our fellow-servants should we not try to do twice as much ourselves to make up for their deficiencies? Ought not the laggards to be warnings to us lest we also come into the same lukewarm condition? To argue that I ought to be a sluggard because others loiter is poor logic.

Sometimes, too — I am ashamed to mention it — I have heard of teachers becoming weary from want of being appreciated. Their work has not been sufficiently noticed by the pastor, and praised by the superintendent, and sufficient notice has not been taken of them and their class by their fellow teachers.

I will not say much about this cause of faintness, because it is so small an affair that it is quite below a Christian. Appreciation! Do we expect it in this world?

The Jewish nation despised and rejected their King, and even if we were as holy as the Lord Jesus we might still fail to be rightly judged and properly esteemed. What matters it? If God accepts us we need not be dismayed, though all should pass us by.

Perhaps, however, the work itself may suggest to us a little more excuse for being weary. It is hard work to sow on the highway, and amidst the thorns — hard work to be casting good seed upon the rock year after year.

Well, if I had done so for many years, and was enabled by the Holy Ghost, I would say to myself: “I shall not give up my work because I have not yet received a recompense in it, for I perceive that in the Lord’s parable three sowings did not succeed, and yet the one piece of good ground paid for all.

Perhaps I have gone through my three unsuccessful sowings, and now is my time to enjoy my fourth, in which the seed will fall upon good ground.”

It is a pity, when you have had some years of rough work, to give all up now. Why, now you are going to enjoy the sweets of your former labor. It would be a pity, just when you have mastered your class, and prepared the way for a blessing, for you to run away from it. There is so much less of difficulty for you to overcome by as much as you have already overcome.

He who has passed so many miles of a rough voyage will not have to go over those miles again: do not let him think of going back. To go back, indeed, in this pilgrimage were shameful and as we have no armor for our back, it would be dangerous. Putting our hand to this plow and looking back will prove that we were unworthy of the kingdom. If there be a hundred reasons for giving up your work of faith, there are fifty thousand for going on with it. Though there are many arguments for fainting, there are far more arguments for persevering. Though we might be weary, and do sometimes feel so, let us wait upon the Lord and renew our strength, and we shall mount up with wings as eagles, forget our weariness, and be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

We have abundant encouragement in the prospect of reward. “In due season we shall reap, if we faint not!”

A LESSON FROM THE OX

A LESSON FROM THE OX

C.H. Spurgeon notes

“The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel doth not know, My people doth not consider,” [Isaiah 1:3]

The Spirit of God can make use of any agency to bring sinners to repentance and faith in the Redeemer. Commenting once upon the words, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider,” [Isaiah 1:3] the speaker sought to impress upon his people how strangely guilty the human heart is, despising the goodness of God, and forgetting his very existence.

Three or four days after, a farmer, who had been present, was giving provender to his cattle, when one of his oxen, evidently grateful for his care, fell to licking his bare arm. Instantly, with this simple incident, the Holy Spirit flashed conviction on the farmer’s mind. He burst into tears, and exclaimed, “Yes, it is all true. How wonderful is God’s word! This poor dumb brute is really more grateful to me than I am to God, and yet I am in debt to him for everything. What a sinner I am! ” The lesson had found its way to his heart, and wrought there effectually to lead him to Christ.

Praise the Lord!

FREE AGENCY WE BELIEVE IN BUT FREE-WILL IS NONSENSE

FREE AGENCY WE BELIEVE IN BUT FREE-WILL IS NONSENSE

C.H. Spurgeon

It has already been proved beyond all controversy that FREE-WILL IS NONSENSE. Freedom cannot belong to will any more than ponderability can belong to electricity. They are altogether different things. Free agency we may believe in, but free-will is simply ridiculous. The will is well known by all to be directed by the understanding, to be moved by motives, to beguided by other parts of the soul, and to be a secondary thing. Philosophy and religion both discard at once the very thought of free-will; and I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, “If any man doth ascribe aught of salvation, even the very least, to the free-will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.

“And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.”—John 5:40.

The gist of the text lies here, that NO MAN BY NATURE EVER WILL COME TO CHRIST, for the text says, “Ye will NOT come to me, that ye might have life.” So far from asserting that men of their own wills ever do such a thing, it boldly and flatly denies it, and says, “Ye WILL NOT come to me, that ye might have life.”

Why, beloved, I am almost ready to exclaim, Have all free-willers no knowledge that they dare to run in the teeth of inspiration? Have all those that deny the doctrine of grace no sense? Have they so departed from God that they wrest this to prove free-will; whereas the text says, “Ye WILL NOT come to me that ye might have life.”

[Excerpt from Spurgeon’s sermon ‘Free Will – A Slave’]

LONGING FOR CHRIST

LONGING FOR CHRIST

C.H. Spurgeon

We know that death is not the end of our being. By a confident faith we are persuaded that better things await us in another state. We are speeding onwards through our brief life like an arrow shot from a bow, and we feel that we shall not drop down at the end of our flight into the dreariness of annihilation, but we shall find a heavenly target far across the flood of death.

The force which impels us onwards is too mighty to be restrained by death. We have that within us which is not to be accounted for, if there be not a world to come, and especially, as believers, we have hopes, and desires, and aspirations, which cannot be fulfilled, and which must have been given us purposely to make us miserable, and to tantalize us, if there be not a state in which every one of these shall be satisfied and filled to the brim with Joy.

We know, too, that the world into which we shall soon be ushered is one which shall never pass away. We have learned full well by experience that all things here are but for a season. They are things which shall be shaken, and, therefore, will not remain in the day when God shall shake both heaven and earth. But equally certain are we that the inheritance which awaits us in the world to come is eternal and unfailing, that the cycles of ages shall never move it; that the onflowing of eternity itself shall not diminish its duration.

We know that the world to which we go is not to be measured by leagues, nor is the life thereof to be calculated by centuries. Well does it become every one of us, then, professing the Christian name, to be questioning ourselves as to the view which we take of the world to come. lt may be there are some of you now present who call yourselves believers, who look into a future state with shuddering and awe. Possibly there may be but few here who have attained to the position of the apostle, when he could say, that he had a desire to depart and to be with Christ. I take it that our view of our own death is one of the readiest tokens by which we may judge of our own spiritual condition.

When men fear death it is not certain that they are wicked, but it is quite certain that if they have faith it is in a very weak and sickly condition. When men desire death we may not rest assured that they are therefore righteous, for they may desire it for wrong reasons; but if for right reasons they are panting to enter into another state, we may gather from this, not only that their minds are right with God, but that their faith is sanctified and that their love is fervent.

GOD’S UNCHANGING LOVE TOWARDS HIS ELECT

GOD’S UNCHANGING LOVE TOWARDS HIS ELECT

C.H. Spurgeon

“As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you.” [John 15:9]

As the Father loves the Son, in the same manner Jesus loves his people. What is that divine method? He loved him without beginning, and thus Jesus loves his members. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” You can trace the beginning of human affection; you can easily find the beginning of your love to Christ, but his love to us is a stream whose source is hidden in eternity.

God the Father loves Jesus without any change. Christian, take this for your comfort, that there is no change in Jesus Christ’s love to those who rest in him. Yesterday you were on Tabor’s top, and you said, “He loves me:” today you are in the valley of humiliation, but he loves you still the same. On the hill Mizar, and among the Hermons, you heard his voice, which spake so sweetly with the turtle-notes of love; and now on the sea, or even in the sea, when all his waves and billows go over you, his heart is faithful to his ancient choice.

The Father loves the Son without any end, and thus does the Son love his people. Saint, thou needest not fear the loosing of the silver cord, for his love for thee will never cease. Rest confident that even down to the grave Christ will go with you, and that up again from it he will be your guide to the celestial hills. Moreover, the Father loves the Son without any measure, and the same immeasurable love the Son bestows upon his chosen ones. The whole heart of Christ is dedicated to his people. He “loved us and gave himself for us.” His is a love which passeth knowledge.

Ah! we have indeed an immutable Saviour, a precious Saviour, one who loves without measure, without change, without beginning, and without end, even as the Father loves him! There is much food here for those who know how to digest it. May the Holy Ghost lead us into its marrow and fatness!

CHRISTIAN MONUMENTS

CHRISTIAN MONUMENTS

C.H. Spurgeon 

EVERY man should leave a monument behind in the recollection of his life by his neighbors. There’s something very much amiss about a man who is not missed when he dies. A good character is the best tombstone. Those why loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered; Carve your name on hearts and not on marble. So live towards others that they will keep your; memory green when the grass grows on your grave. Let us hope there will be something better to be said about us than of the man whose epitaph is:

“Here lies a man who did no good, And if he’d lived he never would; Where he’s gone, and how he fares, Nobody knows and nobody cares.”

May our friends never remember us as; great gormandizers of meat and drink, like this glutton over whose grave is written:

“Gentle reader, gentle reader, Look on the spot where I do lie, I always a very good feeder, But now the worms do feed on I.”

As much as that might be said of a prize; pig or a fat bullock if it died of disease. Some men are nothing better than walking bee barrels while they live; when death staves in the cask, they deserve to rot out of notice.

However, a plain-speaking tombstone better than downright lying. To put flattery a grave is like pouring melted butter down a stone sink. What queer tastes those must have; who puff up the departed as if they wanted to blow the trumpet of the dead before the last angel makes his appearance! Here’s an apple out of their basket:

“Here lies the body of Martha Gwyn, who was so very pure within; She cracked the outer shell of sin, And hatched herself a cherubim.”

Where do they bury the bad people? Everywhere in our churchyard, they seem all to have been the best of folks, a regular nest of saints. Some of them were so precious good, it is no wonder they died: they were too fine to live in such a wicked world as this. Better give bread to the poor than stones to the dead. Better kind words to the living than fine speeches over the grave. Some of the lavish stuff on monuments is enough to make a dead man blush.

What heaps of marble are stuck over many people’s tombs, half enough to build a house with! What a lift they will have at the resurrection! It makes me feel as if I could not get my breath to think of all those stones being: heaped on my bones – not that there’s any fear of it. Let the earth which I have tuned over so often lie light upon my corpse when it is turned over me. Let John Ploughman be buried somewhere under the boughs of a spreading beech with a green grass mound above him, out of which primroses and daisies peep in their season – a quiet shady spot where the leaves fall, and the robins play, and the dewdrops gleam in the sunshine. Let fee wind blow fresh and free over my grave, and if there must be aid line about me, let it be:

HERE LIES THE BODY OF JOHN PLOUGHMAN WAITING FOR THE APPEARING OF HIS LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.

I’ve often heard tell of patience on a monument, but I have never seen it sitting there when I have gone through churchyards. I have a good many times seen stupidity on a monument, and I have wondered why the parson, or the churchwarden, or the deacon, or whoever else has the ruling of things let people cut such rubbish on the stones. Why, a Glostershire man told me that at Dymock graveyard there’s a writing like this:

“Two sweeter babes you ne’er did see – Than God’s grace gave to we; But they were taken with ague fits, And here they lie as dead as nits.

I’ve read pretty near enough silly things myself in our Surrey burying grounds to fill a book. Better leave the grave alone than set up a monument to your own ignorance.

Of all places for jokes and fun, the strangest are tombstones. Yet many a time grave stones have had such oddities carved upon them that one is led to surmise that the nearer the church, the further from common decency. This is a cruel verse, but I dare say a true one:

“Here lies, returned to clay, Miss Arabella Young, Who on the first day of May – Began to hold her tongue.”

This is not much better:
Upjohn Adams lies here, of the parish of Southwell, A carrier who carried his can to his mouth well; He carried so much, and he carried so fast, He could carry no more, so was carried at last; For the liquor he drunk was too much for the one, He could not carry off, so he’s now carrion.”

Why could not these people poke their fun somewhere else? A man’s wit must be nearly dead when he can find no place for it but the grave. The body of the most ragged beggar is too sacred a thing to crack jokes upon. What an odd fish must Roger Martin have been, who lived in Walworth, and put on his wife’s tomb:

“Here lies the wife of Roger Martin, She was a good wife to Roger – that’s sartin.”

And whoever was the foolish creature at Ockham, one of the prettiest spots in these parts, who wrote these outrageous lines?

“The Lord saw good, I was topping off wood, And down fell from the tree; I met with a check, And I broke my blessed neck, And so death topped off me.”

There, that’s enough, and quite as good as a feast. Here’s proof positive that some fools are left alive to write on the monuments of those who are buried. Well may there be ghosts about. No wonder the sleepers get out of bed when they are so badly tucked in. I say let us have a law to let nobody put nonsense over the dead unless he likes to take out a certificate to be an ass, just like the license to shoot partridges and pheasants. At the same time, let all puffery be saved for dressmakers’ shops, quack doctors, and none be allowed at grave. I say as our minister does:

Let no proud stone with sculptured virtues rise, To mark the spot wherein a sinner lies, Or if some boast must deck the sinner’s grave, Boast of His love who died lost man to save.

One more Surrey rhyme, and John Ploughman leaves the churchyard to go about work and turn up other sods. It is at Saviours, Southwark, and is, I think a rare good one.

“Like to the damask rose you see, Or like the blossom on the tree, Or like the dainty flower of May, Or like the sun of the day, Or like the sun, or like the shade, Or like the gourd which Jonah had; Even so is man, Whose thread is spun, Draw out, and cut, and so is done: The rose withers, the blossom blasteth, The flower fades, the morning hasteth, The sun sets, the shadow flies, The gourd consumes, and man he dies.”

“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever!” [1John 2:17]

MEDITATING ON THE WORD OF GOD

MEDITATING ON THE WORD OF GOD

C.H. Spurgeon

“O how love I Thy Law!” It is a note of exclamation. He loves so much that he must express his love, and express it to God in rapturous devotion. In making the attempt he perceives that his emotion is inexpressible, and therefore he cries, “O how I love!” We not only reverence but love the Law, we obey it out of love, and even when it chides us for disobedience we love it none the less. The law is God’s Law, and therefore it is our love. We love it for its holiness, and pine to be holly; we love it for its wisdom, and study to be wise; we love it for its perfection, and long to be perfect. Those who know the power of the gospel perceive an infinite loveliness in the Law as they see it fulfilled and embodied in Christ Jesus.

“It is my meditation all the day” This was both the effect of his love to the law and the cause of that love. He meditated in God’s word because he loved it, and loved it the more because he meditated in it. He could not have enough of it, so ardently did he love it; all the day was not too long for his converse with it. His morning prayer, his noonday thought, his evensong were all out of Holy Writ; yea, in his worldly business he still kept his mind saturated with the Law of the Lord. It is said of some men that the more you know them the less you admire them; but the reverse is true of God’s word. Familiarity with the word of God breeds affection, and affection seeks yet greater familiarity.

When “Thy law” and “my meditation” are together all the day, the day grows holy, devout, and happy, and the heart lives with God in love to His Word, and delight therein. David turned away from all else but the word and will of the Lord, for in the preceding verse he tells us that he had seen an end of all perfection; but he turned in unto the law and tarried there the whole day of his life on earth, growing henceforth wiser and holier.