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John Calvin – Our Only Comfort In Light Of The Law

31 Jan

But just because the iniquity and condemnation of us all is sealed by the law’s testimony, this is no reason for us to fall into despair and with despondent heart to dash to destruction. That we have indeed been condemned by the law’ judgment the apostle testifies, “that every mouth may be stopped and the whole world may be subject to God.” He teaches the same thing elsewhere: “god has consigned all to unbelief,” not to lose them or even to let them perish, “but that he might have mercy on all.” The Lord, therefore, with the faithfulness of his power and mercy consoles us, having warned us through the law both of our weakness and our impurity. And this is in his Christ, through whom he shows himself a kindly and propitious Father to us. For in the law he is recompensed of perfect righteousness alone, of which we are all destitute. On the other hand, he appears as a severe judge of crimes. But in Christ his countenance shines full of grace and kindness even toward poor and unworthy sinners. For he has given this wonderful example of his boundless love, by showing us his own Son, and in him has disclosed all the treasures of his mercy and goodness.

~John Calvin~






Calvin’s Catechism (1538) – Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, Vol. 1: 1523-1552 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008), 418-419.

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Charles Spurgeon – The Sine Qua Non of Gospel Ministry

26 Jun

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That a teacher of the gospel should first be a partaker of it is a simple truth, but at the same time a rule of the most weighty importance… No amount of fees paid to learned doctors, and no amount of classics received in return, appear to us to be evidences of a call from above. True and genuine piety is necessary as the first indispensable requisite; whatever “call” a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry… Conversion is a sine qua non in a minister. Ye aspirants to our pulpits, “ye must be born again.”… Believe me, it is no child’s play to “make your calling and election sure.” The world is full of counterfeits, and swarms with panderers to carnal self-conceit, who gather around a minister as vultures around a carcass. Our own hearts are deceitful, so that truth lies not on the surface, but must be drawn up from the deepest well. We must search ourselves very anxiously and very thoroughly, lest by any means after having preached to others we ourselves should be castaways.

~Charles Spurgeon~




Lectures to My Students (Pasadena, TX; Pilgrim; 1990) p. 3-4

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John Owen: The Hardening Effect of Not Fighting Sin

13 Mar

There are two evils which certainly attend every unmortified professor— the first, in himself; the other, in respect of others…

To others. It has an evil influence on them on a twofold account: It hardens them, by begetting in them a persuasion that they are in as good condition as the best professors. Whatever they see in them is so stained for want of this mortification that it is of no value with them. They have a zeal for religion; but it is accompanied with want of forbearance and universal righteousness. They deny prodigality, but with worldliness; they separate from the world, but live wholly to themselves, taking no care to exercise lovingkindness in the earth; or they talk spiritually, and live vainly; mention communion with God, and are every way conformed to the world; boasting of forgiveness of sin, and never forgiving others. And with such considerations do poor creatures harden their hearts in their unregeneracy.

~John Owen~





Overcoming Sin & Temptation (Wheaton, IL; Crossway; 2006) p. 57.

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John Owen: Easily Swallowing Daily Sins

5 Mar

There are two evils which certainly attend every unmortified professor— the first, in himself; the other, in respect of others.

In himselfLet him pretend what he will, he has slight thoughts of sin; at least, of sins of daily infirmity. The root of an unmortified course is the digestion of sin without bitterness in the heart. When a man has confirmed his imagination to such an apprehension of grace and mercy as to be able, without bitterness, to swallow and digest daily sins, that man is at the very brink of turning the grace of God into lasciviousness and being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Neither is there a greater evidence of a false and rotten heart in the world than to drive such a trade. To use the blood of Christ, which is given to cleanse us (1 John 1:7; Titus 2:14); the exaltation of Christ, which is to give us repentance (Acts 5:31); the doctrine of grace, which teaches us to deny all ungodliness (Titus 2:11-12), to countenance sin is a rebellion that in the issue will break the bones. At this door have gone out from us most of the professors that have apostatized in the days wherein we live. For a while most of them were under convictions; these kept them unto duties, and brought them to profession; so they “escaped the pollutions that are in the world, through the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 2:20): but having got an acquaintance with the doctrine of the gospel, and being weary of duty, for which they had no principle, they began to countenance themselves in manifold neglects from the doctrine of grace. Now, when once this evil had laid hold of them, they speedily tumbled into perdition.

~John Owen~





Overcoming Sin & Temptation (Wheaton, IL; Crossway; 2006) p. 56-57.

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John Calvin – The Effect of the Majesty of God

28 Dec

What in us seems perfection itself corresponds ill to the purity of God.

Hence that dread and wonder with which Scripture commonly represents the saints as stricken and overcome whenever they felt the presence of God. Thus it comes about that we see men who in his absence normally remained firm and constant, but who, when he manifests his glory, are so shaken and struck dumb as to be laid low by the dread of death–are in fact overwhelmed by it and almost annihilated. As a consequence, we must infer that man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.

~John Calvin~






The Institutes of the Christian Religion (Louisville, KY; Westminster John Knox Press; 1974) Vol. 1.1.3. p. 38-39.

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John Calvin – The Masquerade’s End

20 Dec

It is certain that man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating him to scrutinize himself. For we always seem to ourselves righteous and upright and wise and holy — this pride is innate in all of us — unless by clear proofs we stand convinced of our own unrighteousness, foulness, folly, and impurity. Moreover, we are not thus convinced if we look merely to ourselves and not also to the Lord, who is the sole standard by which this judgment must be measured. For, because all of us are inclined by nature to hypocrisy, a kind of empty image of righteousness in place of righteousness itself abundantly satisfies us. And because nothing appears within or around us that has not been contaminated by great immorality, what is a little less vile pleases us as a thing most pure — so long as we confine our minds within the limits of human corruption. Just so, an eye to which nothing is shown but black objects judges something dirty white or even rather darkly mottled to be whiteness itself. Indeed, we can discern still more clearly from the bodily senses how much we are deluded in estimating the powers of the soul. For if in broad daylight we either look down upon the ground or survey whatever meets our view round about, we seem to ourselves endowed with the strongest and keenest sight; yet when we look up to the sun and gaze straight at it, that power of sight which was particularly strong on earth is at once blunted and confused by a great brilliance, and thus we are compelled to admit that our keenness in looking upon things earthly is sheer dullness when it comes to the sun. So it happens in estimating our spiritual goods. As long as we do not look beyond the earth, being quite content with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue, we flatter ourselves most sweetly, and fancy ourselves all but demigods. Suppose we but once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and to ponder his nature, and how completely perfect are his righteousness, wisdom, and power — the straightedge to which we must be shaped. Then, what masquerading earlier as righteousness was pleasing in us will soon grow filthy in its consummate wickedness. What wonderfully impressed us under the name of wisdom will stink in its very foolishness. What wore the face of power will prove itself the most miserable weakness. That is, what in us seems perfection itself corresponds ill to the purity of God.

~John Calvin~






The Institutes of the Christian Religion (Louisville, KY; Westminster John Knox Press; 1974) Vol. 1.1.2. p. 37-38.

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J.C Ryle – Thinking Rightly About Holiness

4 Sep

He that wishes to attain right views about Christian holiness, must begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin. He must dig down very low if he would build high. A mistake here is most mischievous. Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption.

~J.C. Ryle~




Holiness (Darlington, England; Evangelical Press; 1979) p. 173-174.

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Charles Spurgeon – The “Shoddy” Preacher

2 Aug

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For the herald of the gospel to be spiritually out of order in his own proper person is, both to himself and to his work, a most serious calamity; and yet, my brethren, how easily is such an evil produced, and with what watchfulness must it be guarded against!… It is a terrible thing when the healing balm loses its efficacy through the blunderer who admisters it. You all know the injurious effects frequently produced upon water through flowing along leaden pipes; even so the gospel itself in flowing through men who are spiritually unhealthy, may be debased until it grow injurious to their hearers… Moreover, when a preacher is poor in grace, any lasting good which may be the result of his ministry, will usually be feeble and utterly out of proportion with what might have been expected. Much sowing will be followed by little reaping; the interest upon the talents will be inappreciably small. In two or three of the battles which were lost in the late American war, the result is said to have been due to the bad gunpowder which was served out by certain “shoddy” contractors to the army, so that the due effect of a cannonade was not produced. So it may with us. We may miss our mark, lose our end and aim, and waste our time, through not possesing true vital force within ourselves, or not possesing it in such a degree that God could consitently bless us. Beware of being “shoddy” preachers.

~Charles Spurgeon~




Lectures to My Students (Pasadena, TX; Pilgrim; 1990) p. 2-3

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Charles Spurgeon – The Culture of the Inner Man

31 Jul

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It will be in vain for me to stock my library, or organise societies, or project schemes, if I neglect the culture of myself; for books, and agencies, and systems, are only remotely the instruments of my holy calling; my own spirit, soul, and body, are my nearest machinery for sacred service; my spiritual faculties, and my inner life, are my battle axe and weapons of war. M’Cheyne, writing to a ministerial friend, who was travelling with a view to perfecting himself in the German tongue, used language identical with our own:–“I know you will apply hard to German, but do not forget the culture of the inner man–I mean of the heart. How diligently the cavalry officer keeps his sabre clean and sharp; every stain he rubs off with the greatest care. Remember you are God’s sword, his instrument–I trust, a chosen vessel unto him to bear his name. In great measure, according to the purity and perfection of the instrument, will be the success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.”

~Charles Spurgeon~




Lectures to My Students (Pasadena, TX; Pilgrim; 1990) p. 2

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Charles Spurgeon: Loving Others by Being Mindful of Our Own Spiritual State

12 Jun

Brethren, let us look well to our own steadfastness in the faith, our own holy walking with God. Some say that such advice is selfish; but I believe that, in truth, it is not selfishness, but a sane and practical love of others which leads us to be mindful of our own spiritual state. Desiring to do its level best, and to use its own self in the highest degree to God’s glory, the true heart seeks to be in all things right with God. He who has learned to swim has fostered a proper selfishness, for he has thereby acquired the power of helping the drowning. With the view of blessing others, let us covet earnestly the best blessings for ourselves.

~Charles Spurgeon~


An All Around Ministry (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth Trust; 1960) What Would We Be? – Proposal

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