THE ‘HOLE OF THE PIT FROM WHENCE YE WERE DIGGED’ [Isaiah 51:1]

THE ‘HOLE OF THE PIT FROM WHENCE YE WERE DIGGED’ [Isaiah 51:1]

C.H. Spurgeon

“He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will” Ephesians 1:5

“Beloved, now we are children of God!” 1 John 3:2

No man has any ‘right’ to be a child of God – it is an act of pure unmistakable grace!

If we are born into God’s family – it is a miracle of mercy. It is one of the ever-blessed exhibitions of the infinite love of God, that has set itself upon us.

If you are this day an heir of Heaven – remember, man, you were once the slave of Hell. Once you wallowed in the mire of sin!

If you would adopt a swine to be your child – you would not then have performed an act of greater compassion, than when God adopted you.

And if an angel could exalt a gnat to equal dignity with himself – yet this would not be as great a privilege as that which God has conferred on you.

He has taken you from the dunghill – and He has set you among princes!

Remember that this is pure grace! Look back to the hole of the pit from where you were dug, and the miry clay from where you were drawn.

Thank you Lord Jesus!

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WHEN GOD CALLS YOU BY NAME OR THE ‘GENERAL’ AND THE ‘SPECIAL CALL’

WHEN GOD CALLS YOU BY NAME OR THE ‘GENERAL’ AND THE ‘SPECIAL CALL’

C.H. Spurgeon

“UNTO THEM WHO ARE CALLED.” I received a note this week asking me to explain that word “called”; because in the passage it says, “Many are called but few are chosen,” while in another it appears that all who are called must be chosen. Now, let me observe that there are two calls. As my old friend, John Bunyan, says, the hen has two calls, the common cluck, which she gives daily and hourly, and the special one, which she means for her little chickens. So there is a general call, a call made to every man; every man hears it. Many are called by it; all you are called this morning in that sense, but very few are chosen.

The other is a special call, the children’s call. You know how the bell sounds over the workshop, to call the men to work—that is a general call. A father goes to the door and calls out, “John, it is dinner time”—that is the special call. Many are called with the general call, but they are not chosen; the special call is for the children only, and that is what is meant in the text, “Unto us who are called, both Jews and Greeks, the power of God and the wisdom of God.” That call is always a special one. While I stand here and call men, nobody comes; while I preach to sinners universally, no good is done; it is like the sheet lightning you sometimes see on the summer’s evening, beautiful, grand; but whoever heard of anything being struck by it? But the special call is the forked flash from heaven; it strikes somewhere; it is the arrow sent in between the joints of the harness.

The call which saves is like that of Jesus, when he said “Mary,” and she said unto him “Rabonni.” Do you know anything about that special call, my beloved? Did Jesus ever call you by name? Canst thou recollect the hour when he whispered thy name in thine ear, when he said, “Come to me”? If so, you will grant the truth of what I am going to say next about it—that it is an effectual call; there is no resisting it.

When God calls with his special call, there is no standing out. Ah! I know I laughed at religion; I despised, I abhorred it; but that call! Oh, I would not come. But God said, “Thou shalt come. All that the Father giveth to me shall come.” “Lord, I will not.” “But thou shalt,” said God. And I have gone up to God’s house sometimes almost with a resolution that I would not listen, but listen I must. Oh, how the word came into my soul! Was there a power of resistance? No; I was thrown down; each bone seemed to be broken; I was saved by effectual grace. I appeal to your experience, my friends. When God took you in hand, could you withstand him? You stood against your minister times enough. Sickness did not break you down; disease did not bring you to God’s feet; eloquence did not convince you; but when God puts his hand to the work, ah! then what a change.

Like Saul, with his horses going to Damascus, that voice from heaven said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” There was no going further then. That was an effectual call. Like that, again, which Jesus gave to Zaccheus, when he was up in the tree; stepping under the tree, he said, “Zaccheus, come down, today I must abide in thy house.” Zaccheus was taken in the net; he heard his own name; the call sank into his soul; he could not stop up in the tree, for an almighty impulse drew him down. And I could tell you some singular instances of persons going to the house of God and having their characters described, limned out to perfection, so that they have said, “He is painting me, he is painting me.” Just as I might say to that young man here, who stole his master’s gloves yesterday, that Jesus calls him to repentance.

It may be that there is such a person here; and when the call comes to a peculiar character, it generally comes with a special power. God gives his ministers a brush, and shows them how to use it in painting life-like portraits, and thus the sinner hears the special call. I cannot give the special call; GOD ALONE CAN GIVE IT, and I leave it with him. Some must be called. Jew and Greek may laugh, but still there are some who are called, both Jews and Greeks.

Praise the Lord!

IF GOD IS CONSTANTLY THINKING UPON YOU FOR GOOD, THEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY OR FEAR

IF GOD IS CONSTANTLY THINKING UPON YOU FOR GOOD, THEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY OR FEAR

C.H. Spurgeon

“But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me!” [Psalm 40:17]

It is not everybody who would like to apply to himself the first part of the text. Perhaps we, most of us, accept it because it happens to be Scriptural language—and yet we might not spontaneously say of ourselves, “I am poor and needy.” Some would even wish us to believe the very opposite, for if I read their hearts aright, they say, “I am not poor, nor needy.” They have enough of this world’s goods and as for spiritual matters, they are strong and self-reliant. All this comes of vainglory and, in the long run will end in vanity and vexation of spirit—for if a man can do without God, it is certain that God can do without him—and the day will come when God will do without him, according to His Word, “I will ease Me of My adversaries.” [Isa 1:24]

He who has tried throughout life to do without God will inherit remorse forever and ever. It is well to begin, continue and end in this life with God’s favor, that we may enjoy it world without end! I therefore trust that none among you would wish to say, “I am rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing,” for that would be tantamount to a proud resolve to do without God—and it will end in your eternal ruin!

There are some who cry, “I am poor and needy, woe is me that I should be so! But the Lord does not think of me. I have looked up to Heaven, but no eye of pity looks down upon me in the depth of my misery.” Many a wretched mind, many a bereaved spirit, many a downcast heart has cried, “The Lord has forgotten me! He counts the number of the stars and calls them by their names, but as for me, I am too little, too insignificant, too obscure—I cannot believe that God thinks upon me.” Dear Friend, I hope you will be converted from this unbelief! I pray that you may not only be able to join in one half of my text by saying, “I am poor and needy,” but that you may humbly unite in the second declaration, “Yet the Lord thinks upon me.” Despite your insignificance and unworthiness, you may yet learn that the Lord has thoughts of love towards you and is causing all things to work together for your external, internal and eternal good!

Do not let it surprise you that one of old should say, “I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinks upon me,” for God has often thought of poor and needy persons. Look at Joseph when he was in prison and the iron entered into his soul— his reputation was gone, he was reproached and even punished unjustly—yet we read that the Lord was with Joseph and, in due time He brought him out and set him on the throne of Egypt!

Ruth, the Moabitess, came penniless to Israel’s land and she went to glean among the sheaves as a poor and needy peasant woman. But the Lord was thinking upon her and so provided for her that she rose to an honorable estate and her name is written among the progenitors of our Lord Jesus!

To give you a more modern instance—the Apostles were poor fishermen with their little boats and well-worn nets, upon the Lake of Galilee—yet the Lord looked upon them—unlearned and ignorant men as they were, and made them to be the pioneers of His Kingdom! Never mind how poor and needy you are, you may yet be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ!

“Alas,” you say, “my trouble is not a poverty of gold and silver, but I am poor as to anything like goodness in the sight of God. I feel so guilty and so far from being what I ought to be.” Yet the Lord has oftentimes thought of such people as you! Look at the blessed Master sitting on the well at Sychar, talking with that wanton woman who had had five husbands and he whom she then had was not her husband—she was a woman whom none would honor—but the blessed Savior thought upon her! Remember, too, the thief dying upon the cross next to the Redeemer—with all his sins red upon him, for he had been a robber and probably a murderer, too—his prayer, “Lord, remember me,” touched the heart of Jesus and, “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise” was the gracious response! The Lord thought on him and yet there was never one more poor and needy than he!

There, too, was Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor, breathing out threats and slaughter against the Church of God! But the Merciful One in Heaven, who saw his sin, thought on him with love and said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Poverty of all merit and need of all Grace do not prevent the Lord from thinking upon men! Is not this fact as clear as the sun in the heavens?

However spiritually poor you may be, you may yet partake of the riches of His Grace and so become rich in faith—indeed, none but consciously needy ones ever obtain the privilege of saying, “Yet the Lord thinks upon me.”

Christ’s Distinguishing Love for His Elect – His Lily

Christ’s Distinguishing Love for His Elect – His Lily

C.H. Spurgeon

“As the lily among thorns, so is My darling among the daughters.” [Sos 2:2]

He styles her, “My darling.” An exquisitely sweet name; as if His love had all gone forth from Him, and had become embodied in her. The first point then of her relation to Christ is that she has His DARLING. Think of it, and let the blessed truth dwell long and sweetly in your meditations. The Lord of life and glory, the Prince of the kings of the earth, has such a loving heart that He must have an object upon which to spend His affection; and His people, chosen from among men, whom he calls His church, these are they who are His “love,” the object of His supreme delight. “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.”

He looked on His people and he exclaimed, “as the Father has loved me even so have I loved you.” Every believer, separated from mankind, and called unto the fellowship of Christ, is also the peculiar object of His love. Not in name only, but in deed and in truth, does Jesus love each one of us who have believed on Him. You may each one of you say with the apostle, “He loved me”; you may read it in any tense you please- He loved me; He loves me; He will love me, for He gave Himself for me. This shall be your song in heaven, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, to Him be glory.”

This love is DISTINGUISHING love, for in its light one special object shines as a lily, and the rest, “the daughters,” are as thorns. Love has fixed on its chosen object, and compared with the favored one all others are as nothing. There is a love of Jesus which goes forth to all mankind, for “the Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works”; but there is a special and peculiar love which He bears to His own.

As a man loves his neighbors but still he has a special affection for his own wife, so is the church Christ’s bride, beloved above all the rest of mankind, and every individual believer is the favored one of heaven. The saint is united to Christ by a mystical union, a spiritual marriage bond, and above all others, Christ loves the souls espoused to Him. He said once, “I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for them which you have given me;” thus indicating that there is a specialty about His intercession.

We rejoice in the largeness and the width of Jesus’ love, but we do not therefore doubt its specialty. The sun shines on all things, but when it is focussed upon one point, ah, then there is a heat about it of which you little dreamed! The love of Jesus is focussed on those whom the Father has given Him. Upon you, my brother or sister, if indeed you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the Lord’s heart is set, and he speaks of you in the words of the text as “my love,” loved above all the daughters, precious in His sight and honorable, so that he will give men for you and people for your life.

Observe that this is a love which he OPENLY AVOWS. The bridegroom speaks and says before all men, “As a lily among thorns, so is my darling among the daughters.” He puts it upon record in that book which is more widely scattered than any other, for he is not ashamed to have it published on the housetops. The love of Christ was at first hidden in His heart, but it soon revealed itself, for even of old His delights were with the sons of men, and he bent His steps downward to this world in divers forms before ever Bethlehem’s song was sung. And now, since the incarnate God has loved, and lived, and died, He has unveiled His love in the most open form, and astonished heaven and earth thereby.

On Calvary He set up an open proclamation, written in His own heart’s blood, that He loved His own people even unto the end. He bids His ministers proclaim it to the world’s end, that many waters could not quench His love, neither could the floods drown it; and that neither life, nor death, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. He would have it known, for he is not ashamed to call His people “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” He declares it that His adversaries may know it, that He has a people in whom His heart delights, and these he will have and hold as His own, when heaven and earth shall pass away.

Note, too, that He who gave the beauty is the first to see it. While they are unknown to the world Jesus knows His own. Long before anybody else sees any virtue or any praise in us, Jesus observes it, and is pleased therewith. He is quick to say, “Behold, he prays,” or “Behold, he repents.” He is the first to say, “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself.”

Love’s eyes are quick, and her ears are open. Love covers a multitude of faults, but it discovers a multitude of beauties. Can it be so, O my soul, can it be so that Christ has made you lovely in His loveliness? Has He shed a beauty upon you, and does He Himself look complacently upon it? He whose taste is exquisite, and whose voice is the truth, who never calls that beautiful which is not beautiful, can he see a beauty in your sighs and tears, in your desires after holiness, in your poor attempts to aid His cause, in your prayers and in your songs, and in your heart’s love towards Him.

Can He see a beauty in these? Yes, assuredly He can, or He would not speak as He does in this text. Let His condescending discernment have all honor for this generous appreciation of us. Let us bless and love Him because he deigns to think so highly of us who owe everything to Him. “You are,” says He, “my darling, as the lily.”

“As the lily among thorns” wears also another meaning. Dr. Thompson writes of a certain lily, “It grows among thorns, and I have sadly lacerated my hands in extricating it from them. Nothing can be in higher contrast than the luxuriant, velvety softness of this lily, and the withered, tangled hedge of thorns about it.” Ah, beloved, you know who it was that in gathering your soul and mine, lacerated not His hand only, but His feet, and His head, and His side, and His heart, yes, and His inmost soul. He spied us out, and said, “Yonder lily is mine, and I will have it”; but the thorns were a terrible barrier; our sins had gathered round about us, and the wrath of God most sharply stopped the way. Jesus pressed through all, that we might be His; and now when he takes us to Himself he does not forget the thorns which girded His brow, and tore His flesh, for our sakes.

This then is a part of our relationship to Christ, that we cost Him very dear. He saw us where we were, and He came to our deliverance; and now, even as Pharaoh’s daughter called the young child’s name “Moses,” “because,” said she, “I drew him out of the water,” so does Jesus call His chosen “the lily among thorns,” because such she was when he came to her rescue. Never will he forget Calvary and its thorns, nor should His saints allow the memory thereof to fade. Amen!

ALL THAT I CAN WISH FOR, ASK OR DESIRE I HAVE IN THAT ONE WORD – ABBA FATHER!

ALL THAT I CAN WISH FOR, ASK OR DESIRE I HAVE IN THAT ONE WORD – ABBA FATHER!

C.H. Spurgeon

How great is a Father’s love to his children! That which friendship cannot do, and mere benevolence will not attempt, a father’s heart and hand must do for his sons. 

God’s people are doubly his children, they are his offspring by creation, and they are his sons by adoption in Christ. Hence they are privileged to call him, “Our Father which art in heaven.” Father! Oh, what precious word is that!

They are his offspring, he must bless them; they are his children, he must show himself strong in their defence. If an earthly father watches over his children with unceasing love and care, how much more does our heavenly Father? Abba, Father!

He who can say this, hath uttered better music than cherubim or seraphim can reach. There is heaven in the depth of that word -Father! THERE is all I can ask; all my necessities can demand; all my wishes can desire. I have all in all to all eternity when I can say, “Father.”

IF GOD IS CONSTANTLY THINKING UPON YOU FOR GOOD, THEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY OR FEAR

IF GOD IS CONSTANTLY THINKING UPON YOU FOR GOOD, THEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY OR FEAR

C.H. Spurgeon

“How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with Thee!” [Psalm 139:17,18]

There never was a time when God did not think upon His people for good. He says, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee!” But the point here brought forward is that He still thinks of them. It would be possible for you to have thought out a plan of kindness towards a friend—and you might have so arranged it that it would henceforth be a natural fountain of good to him without your thinking any more about it. But that is not after the method of God! His eyes and His hands are continually towards His people. It is true He did so think of us that He has arranged everything about us and provided for every need and against every danger, but He has not ceased to think of us. His infinite mind, whose thoughts are as high above our thoughts as the heavens are above the earth, continues to exercise itself about us.

“I am poor and needy,” says David, “yet the Lord thinketh upon me.” We love to be thought of by our friends. Indeed, thought enters into the essence of love. Delight yourselves this morning, O you who believe your God, in this heavenly fact, that the Lord thinks upon you at this moment! “The Lord has been mindful of us,” and He is still mindful of us. The Lord not only thinks of you, but towards you. His thoughts are all drifting your way. This is the way the south wind of His thoughts of peace is moving—it is towards you. The Lord never forgets His own, for He has engraved them upon the palms of His hands. Never at any moment does Jehovah turn His thoughts from His beloved, even though He has the whole universe to rule. He says of His Church, “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.” [Isaiah 27:2,3]

HOW PRECIOUS ALSO ARE THY THOUGHTS UNTO ME, O GOD! He is not alarmed at the fact that God knows all about him; on the contrary, he is comforted, and even feels himself to be enriched, as with a casket of precious jewels. That God should think upon him is the believer’s treasure and pleasure. He cries, “How costly, how valued are thy thoughts, how dear to me is thy perpetual attention!” He thinks upon God’s thoughts with delight; the more of them the better is he pleased. It is a joy worth worlds that the Lord should think upon us who are so poor and needy: it is a joy which fills our whole nature to think upon God; returning love for love, thought for thought, after our poor fashion. How great is the sum of them! When we remember that God thought upon us from old eternity, continues to think upon us every moment, and will think of us when time shall be no more, we may well exclaim, “How great is the sum!”

Thoughts such as are natural to the Creator, the Preserver, the Redeemer, the Father, the Friend, are evermore flowing from the heart of the Lord. Thoughts of our pardon, renewal, upholding, supplying, educating, perfecting, and a thousand more kinds perpetually well up in the mind of the Most High. It should fill us with adoring wonder and reverent surprise that the infinite mind of God should turn so many thoughts towards us who are so insignificant and so unworthy! What a contrast is all this to the notion of those who deny the existence of a personal, conscious God! Imagine a world without a thinking, personal God! Conceive of a grim providence of machinery!—a fatherhood of law! Such philosophy is hard and cold. As well might a man pillow his head upon a razor edge as seek rest in such a fancy. But a God always thinking of us makes a happy world, a rich life, a heavenly hereafter.

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand. This figure shows the thoughts of God to be altogether INNUMERABLE; for nothing can surpass in number the grains of sand which belt the main ocean and all the minor seas. The task of counting God’s thoughts of love would be a never ending one. If we should attempt the reckoning we must necessarily fail, for the infinite falls not within the line of our feeble intellect. Even could we count the sands on the seashore, we should not then be able to number God’s thoughts, for they are “more in number than the sand.” THIS IS NOT THE HYPERBOLE OF POETRY, BUT THE SOLID FACT OF INSPIRED STATEMENT: God thinks upon us infinitely: there is a limit to the act of creation, but not to the might of divine love.

When I awake, I am still with Thee. Thy thoughts of love are so many that my mind never gets away from them, they surround me at all hours. I go to my bed, and God is my last thought; and when I wake I find my mind still hovering about his palace gates; God is ever with me, and I am ever with him. This is life indeed. If during sleep my mind wanders away into dreams, yet it only wanders upon holy ground, and the moment I wake my heart is back with its Lord. The Psalmist does not say, “When I awake, I return to Thee”, but, “I am still with Thee”; as if his meditations were continuous, and his communion unbroken. Soon we shall lie down to sleep for the last time: God grant that when the trumpet of the archangel shall waken us we may find ourselves still with Him. Amen!

NEVER GET OUT OF BED OR SEE ANY MAN’S FACE TILL YOU HAVE FIRST TALKED WITH YOUR GOD

NEVER GET OUT OF BED OR SEE ANY MAN’S FACE TILL YOU HAVE FIRST TALKED WITH YOUR GOD

C.H. Spurgeon

“O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.” [Psalm 63:1,2] 

A smile from Jesus in the morning will be sunshine all the day.”

On the first of May in olden times, according to annual custom, many inhabitants of London went into the fields to bathe their faces with the early dew upon the grass under the idea that it would render them beautiful. Some writers call the custom superstitious; it may have been so, but this we know, that to bathe one’s face every morning in the dew of heaven by prayer and communion, is a sure way to obtain true beauty of life and character.

The morning hour carries gold in its mouth

Early rising has the example of Old Testament saints to recommend it, and many modern saints having conscientiously practised it, have been loud in its praise. It is an economy of time, and an assistance to health, and thus it doubly lengthens life. Late rising is too often the token of indolence, and the cause of disorder throughout the whole day.

The old proverb declares that they who would be rich must rise early; surely those who would be rich towards God must do so.

A child of God should not leave his bedroom in the morning without being on good terms with his God.

Our first word should be with our heavenly Father. It is good for the soul’s health to begin the day by taking a satisfying draught from the river of the water of life. Very much more depends upon beginnings than some men think. How you go to bed to-night may be determined by your getting up this morning. If you get out of bed on the wrong side, you may keep on the wrong side all the day.

If your heart be right in the waking, it will be a help towards its being right till sleeping. Go not forth into a dry world till the morning dew lies on thy branch. Baptize thy heart in devotion ere thou wade into the stream of daily care. See not the face of man until thou hast first seen the face of God. Let thy first thoughts fly heavenward, and let thy first breathings be prayer.

 

STANDING IN AWE OF GOD’S WORD! [Psalm 119:161]

STANDING IN AWE OF GOD’S WORD! [Psalm 119:161]

C.H. Spurgeon

That man is blessed who trembles at God’s Word. This Book is not to be compared with other books; it is not of the same class and order. It is inspired in a sense in which they are not; it stands alone, and is not one among other books. As an Alp towers above the molehills of the meadow, so Holy Scripture rises above the purest, truest, and holiest literature of man’s composing.

Even could all those other books be purged of error, and be corrected to the highest degree of human knowledge, yet would they no more reach to the degree of the Book of God than man can become God. It is supreme, and of another quality from all the rest of them. Other writings we feel free to criticize, but “My heart standeth in awe of Thy Word!”

The man who loves God’s Word does not trifle with it; it is far too sacred to be toyed with. He does not cavil at it; for he believes it to be God’s Word. With a docility which comes of true sonship, it is enough for him that his Father says so. His one anxiety is, as far as possible, to know the meaning of his Father’s Words; and, that known, all debate is out of question.

“Thus saith the Lord!” is to every true child of God the end of the matter! I have often told you, my dear friends, that I view the difficulties of Holy Scriptures as so many prayer-stools upon which I kneel and worship the glorious Lord. What we cannot comprehend by our understandings we apprehend by our affections. Awe of God’s Word is a main element in that love of God’s law which brings great peace.

[From a sermon entitled “The Lover of God’s Law Filled With Peace,” delivered January 22, 1888.]

 

THE PRAYER TO PRAY BEFORE READING GOD’S WORD

THE PRAYER TO PRAY BEFORE READING GOD’S WORD

C.H. Spurgeon

Open THOU mine eyes, that l may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” [Psalm 119:18]

Some men can perceive no wonders in the gospel, but David felt sure that there were glorious things in the law: he had not half the Bible, but he prized it more than some men prize the whole. He felt that God had laid up great bounties in his word, and he begs for power to perceive, appreciate, and enjoy the same. We need not so much that God should give us more benefits, as the ability to see what he has given.

The prayer implies a conscious darkness, a dimness of spiritual vision, a powerlessness to remove that defect, and a full assurance that God can remove it. It shows also that the writer knew that there were vast treasures in the word which he had not yet fully seen, marvels which he had not yet beheld, mysteries which he had scarcely believed. The Scriptures teem with marvels; the Bible is wonder land; it not only relates miracles, but it is itself a world of wonders. Yet what are these to closed eyes? And what man can open his own eyes, since he is born blind? God himself must reveal revelation to each heart. Scripture needs opening, but not one half so much as our eyes do: the veil is not on the book, but on our hearts. What perfect precepts, what precious promises, what priceless privileges are neglected by us because we wander among them like blind men among the beauties of nature, and they are to us as a landscape shrouded in darkness!

The Psalmist had a measure of spiritual perception, or he would never have known that there were wondrous things to be seen, nor would he have prayed, “open thou mine eyes”; but what he had seen made him long for a clearer and wider sight. This longing proved the genuineness of what he possessed, for it is a test mark of the true knowledge of God that it causes its possessor to thirst for deeper knowledge.

David’s prayer in this verse is a good sequel to Psalms 119:10, which corresponds to it in position in its octave: there he said, “O let me not wander,” and who so apt to wander as a blind man? and there, too, he declared, “with my whole heart have I sought thee,” and hence the desire to see the object of his search. Very singular are the interlacings of the boughs of the huge tree of this Psalm 119, which has many wonders even within itself if we have opened eyes to mark them.

 

THE ‘HALF-BAKED’ CHRISTIAN

THE ‘HALF-BAKED’ CHRISTIAN

C.H. Spurgeon

“Ephraim is a cake not turned.” – [Hosea 7:8]

A cake not turned is uncooked on one side; and so Ephraim was, in many respects, untouched by divine grace: though there was some partial obedience, there was very much rebellion left. My soul, I charge thee, see whether this be thy case. Art thou thorough in the things of God? Has grace gone through the very centre of thy being so as to be felt in its divine operations in all thy powers, thy actions, thy words, and thy thoughts?

To be sanctified, spirit, soul, and body, should be thine aim and prayer; and although sanctification may not be perfect in thee anywhere in degree, yet it must be universal in its action; there must not be the appearance of holiness in one place and reigning sin in another, else thou, too, wilt be a cake not turned.

A cake not turned is soon burnt on the side nearest the fire, and although no man can have too much religion, there are some who seem burnt black with bigoted zeal for that part of truth which they have received, or are charred to a cinder with a vainglorious Pharisaic ostentation of those religious performances which suit their humour. The assumed appearance of superior sanctity frequently accompanies a total absence of all vital godliness. The saint in public is a devil in private. He deals in flour by day and in soot by night. The cake which is burned on one side, is dough on the other.

If it be so with me, O Lord, turn me! Turn my unsanctified nature to the fire of Thy love and let it feel the sacred glow, and let my burnt side cool a little while I learn my own weakness and want of heat when I am removed from Thy heavenly flame. Let me not be found a double-minded man, but one entirely under the powerful influence of reigning grace; for well I know if I am left like a cake unturned, and am not on both sides the subject of Thy grace, I must be consumed for ever amid everlasting burnings.