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Charles Spurgeon – Living Epistles

10 Mar

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13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. – Acts 4:13 ESV

BEHOLD! what a change divine grace will work in a man, and in how short a time! That same Peter, who so lately followed his Master afar off, and with oaths and curses denied that he knew his name, is now to be found side by side with the loving John, boldly declaring that there is salvation in none other name save that of Jesus Christ, and preaching the resurrection of the dead, through the sacrifice of his dying Lord. The Scribes and Pharisees soon discover the reason of his boldness. Rightly did they guess that it rested not in his learning or his talents, for neither Peter nor John had been educated; they had been trained as fishermen; their education was a knowledge of the sea—of the fisherman’s craft: none other had they; their boldness could not therefore spring from the self-sufficiency of knowledge, but from the Spirit of the living God. Nor did they acquire their courage from their station; for rank will confer a sort of dignity upon a man, and make him speak with a feigned authority even when he has no talent or genius; but these men were, as it says in the original text, “ιδιωται” private men, who stood in no official capacity; men without rank or station. When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and private individuals, they marvelled, and they came to a right conclusion as to the source of their power—they had been dwelling with Jesus. Their conversation with the Prince of light and glory, backed up, as they might also have known, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, without which even that eminently holy example would have been in vain, had made them bold for their Master’s cause. Oh! my brethren, it were well if this commendation, so forced from the lips of enemies, could also be compelled by our own example. If we could live like Peter and John; if our lives were “living epistles of God, known and read of all men;” if, whenever we were seen, men would take knowledge of us, that we had been with Jesus, it would be a happy thing for this world, and a blessed thing for us. It is concerning that I am to speak to you this morning; and as God gives me grace, I will endeavour to stir up your minds by way of remembrance, and urge you so to imitate Jesus Christ, our heavenly pattern, that men may perceive that you are disciples of the holy Son of God.


~Charles Spurgeon~




The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, vol. 1 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855), 157. Vol. 1, Sermon No. 20; Titled: Christ’s People – Imitators of Him; Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 29th, 1855.

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Herman Bavinck – The Comfort In Election

1 Mar

1854-1921. Dutch Reformed Theologian and Churchman. Professor at Free University in Amsterdam.

Both for unbelievers and believers, the doctrine of election is a source of inexpressibly great comfort. If it were based on justice and merit, all would be lost. But now that election operates according to grace, there is hope even for the most wretched. If work and reward were the standard of admission into the kingdom of heaven, its gates would be opened for no one. Or if Pelagius’s doctrine were the standard, and the virtuous were chosen because of their virtue, and Pharisees because of their righteousness, wretched publicans would be shut out. Pelagianism has no pity. But to believe in and to confess election is to recognize even the most unworthy and degraded human being as a creature of God and an object of his eternal love. The purpose of election is not—as it is so often proclaimed—to turn off the many but to invite all to participate in the riches of God’s grace in Christ. No one has a right to believe that he or she is a reprobate, for everyone is sincerely and urgently called to believe in Christ with a view to salvation. No one can actually believe it, for one’s own life and all that makes it enjoyable is proof that God takes no delight in his death. No one really believes it, for that would be hell on earth. But election is a source of comfort and strength, of submissiveness and humility, of confidence and resolution. The salvation of human beings is firmly established in the gracious and omnipotent good pleasure of God.

~Herman Bavinck~




Reformed Dogmatics Vol. 2: God and Creation John Bolt and John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Academic; 2004) p. 402.

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Charles Spurgeon: Are You Eager For Real Joy?

22 Feb

If you are eager for real joy, such as you may think over and sleep upon, I am persuaded that no joy of growing wealthy, no joy of increasing knowledge, no joy of influence over your fellow-creatures, no joy of any other sort, can ever be compared with the rapture of saving a soul from death, and helping to restore our lost brethren to our great Father’s house. Talk of ten thousand pounds reward! It is nothing at all, one might easily spend that amount; but one cannot exhaust the unutterable delights which come from the gratitude of souls converted from the error of their ways.

~Charles Spurgeon~


The Soul Winner (Rosshire, Scotland; Christian Focus; 2008) p. 199-200

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John Newton – God Can Use Anyone

28 Dec

Though we can but lisp a little word about the Lord’s goodness, yet when He is pleased to be near us, his presence and blessing can work by the meanest instrument, and cause our hearts to burn within us.

~John Newton~





The Letters of John Newton – To Miss Medhurst (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 46.

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Charles Spurgeon – A Plea to Believe in Jesus

26 Nov

But no! it cannot be; it cannot be. And whilst you lie there, if there be one thing in hell worse than another, it will be seeing the saints in heaven. Oh, to think of seeing my mother in heaven while I am cast out! Oh, sinner, only think, to see thy brother in heaven–he who was rocked in the selfsame cradle, and played beneath the same roof-tree–yet thou art cast out. And, husband, there is thy wife in heaven, and thou art amongst the damned. And seest thou, father! thy child is before the throne; and thou! accursed of God and accursed of man, art in hell. Oh, the hell of hells will be to see our friends in heaven, and ourselves lost. I beseech you, my hearers, by the death of Christ–by his agony and bloody sweat–by his cross and passion–by all that is holy–by all that is sacred in heaven and earth–by all that is solemn in time or eternity–by all that is horrible in hell, or glorious in heaven–by that awful thought, “for ever,”–I beseech you lay these things to heart, and remember that if you are damned, it will be unbelief that damns you. If you are lost, it will be because ye believed not on Christ; and if you perish, this shall be the bitterest drop of gall–that ye did not trust in the Saviour.


~Charles Spurgeon~


Spurgeon’s Sermons Vol. 1 (Southwark, England; New Park Street Chapel, 1855) No. 3; A Sermon titled: The Sin of Unbelief. Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 14, 1855

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Jonathan Edwards – Speaking Against the Grain

15 Aug

Monday, Jan. 20. I have been very much to blame, in that I have not been as full, and plain, and downright, in my standing up for virtue and religion, when I have had fair occasion, before those who seemed to take no delight in such things. If such conversation would be be agreeable to them, I have in some degree minced the matter, that I might not displease, and might not speak against the grain, more than I should have loved to have done with others, to whom it would be agreeable to speak for religion. I ought to be exceedingly bold with such persons, not talking in a melancholy strain, but in one confident and fearless, assured of the truth and excellence of the cause.


~Jonathan Edwards~



The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Peabody, Massachusetts; Hendrickson Publishers; 2007) p. lxxvi.

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John Newton – May You Be Added To the Trophies of Rich, Free, and Sovereign Grace

17 May

[Pleading with his brother-in-law who had just recovered from a sickness]

I used a wrong word when I spoke of your recovery. Dear brother, look upon it as no more than a REPRIEVE; for you carry the sentence of death about with you still; and unless you should be cut off (which God of his infinite mercy prevent) by a sudden stroke, you will as surely lie on a dying bed as you have now got up from a bed of sickness. And remember, too (I can hardly bear to write it), that should you neglect my admonitions, they will all tend to render you more inexcusable. I have delivered my own soul by faithfully warning you. But if you will not examine the matter with that seriousness which it deserves,–if you will not look up to God, the former of your body and the preserver of your spirit, for direction and assistance how to please Him,–if you will have your reading and your conversation only on one side of the question,–if you will suffer mercies and providences, afflictions and deliverances, to pass unimproved and unacknowledged, and live in the world as though you were created only to eat, sleep, and play, and after a course of years to be extinguished like the snuff of a candle,–why then, you must abide by the consequences. But, assuredly, sooner or later, God will meet you. My hearty, daily, constant prayer is, that it may be in a way of mercy, and that you may be added to the number of the trophies of rich, free, and sovereign grace. Amen.

~John Newton~



The Letters of John Newton – To Mr. John Catlett (Edinburgh, Scotland; The Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 28.

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