Classical Writers · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Robert M’Cheyne

Robert M’Cheyne was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in May, 1813, the youngest child in a family of five. His father was a prosperous lawyer and a man of social importance. They lived well in a large home with a fine view of the shores of Fife.

He was a good student through High School and entered the Arts Faculty of the University in Fall of 1827. His father said of his son, “he was of a lively turn and, during the first two or three years of his attendance at the University, he turned his attention to elocution and poetry and the pleasures of society.” M’Cheyne became an eager participant in the city’s fashionable entertainments, and scenes of gaiety – card playing, dancing, music – which occupied his leisure time. 

Robert had been in the prayers of his elder brother. The early death of this brother in 1831 due to a stroke became a catalyst to awaken Robert…”the first overwhelming blow to my worldliness.” He began to be serious, and to sit under an evangelical ministry. In the winter of 1831 after following his desire to go into the ministry, he did enter the Divinity Hall of the University. Under the leadership of men like Chalmers and Welsh there was a change in the spiritual life at the College and proved to also whip up the Church of Scotland. 

The last entry of his student days is  “March 29, 1835.  College finished on Friday last. My last appearance there. Life is vanishing fast, make haste for eternity.” 

M’Cheyne was licensed by the presbytery of Annan on July 1st, 1835 and became “a preacher of the Gospel an honour to which I cannot name an equal.” 

He was ordained minister of St. Peter’s, Dundee, I November, 1836. It was a new church built in a neglected area of “some 4,000 souls. A city given to idolatry and hardness of heart,” was his first impression. “He has set me down among the noisy mechanics and political wavers of this godless town,” M’Cheyne wrote. 

When Robert M’Cheyne spoke to his parishioners, the words were urgent: “The most, I fear, in all congregations, are sailing easily down the stream into an undone eternity, unconverted and unawakened.” …

“God help me to speak to you plainly! The longest lifetime is short enough. It is all that is given you to be converted in. In a very little, it will be all over; and all that is here is changing – the very hills are crumbling down – the loveliest face is withering away – the finest garments rot and decay. Every day that passes is bringing you nearer to the judgment-seat. Not one of you is standing still. You may sleep; but the tide is going on bringing you nearer death, judgment, and eternity.”

M’Cheyne was able to walk with continual awareness of God’s truths – “I think I can say, I have never risen a morning without thinking how I could bring more souls to Christ.” “As I was walking in the fields, the thought came over me with almost overwhelming power, that every one of my flock must soon be in heaven or hell.” 

But late in 1838, he fell ill to violent palpitations of the heart to which his medical advisers insisted on a total cessation of work. Accordingly M’Cheyne, with deep regret, returned to his parents home in Edinburgh, to rest until he could resume his ministry.

In the spring of 1839, it was proposed in Edinburgh that he should accompany a group of ministers who were going to visit Palestine…to inquire into the state of Israel. The voyage and climate, it was thought, might be beneficial for him. He accepted, traveling to Jerusalem and Galilee over a six-month period. And M’Cheyne was interested in the Jews, in Israel.

As the party began the return towards home through Asia Minor, M’Cheyne turned dangerously ill. While in Smyrna, he thought he was dying, but would be able to return to Scotland and live a bit longer.

While “far from Scotland, the spiritual prosperity of M’Cheyne’s people in Dundee was uppermost in his heart. After surveying the barren spot in Galilee where Capernaum once stood, he wrote to them, “If you tread the glorious Gospel of the grace of God under your feet, your souls will perish; and I fear Dundee will one day be a howling wilderness like Capernaum.” “Ah! would my flock from thee might learn, How days of grace will flee; How all an offered Christ who spurn, shall mourn at last, like thee.” 

William Chalmers Burns – a young man of twenty-four – was supplying in M’Cheyne’s place at Dundee in his absence. It was under his preaching on July 23, 1838 that the great Revival at Kilsyth took place. “All Scotland heard the glad news that the sky was no longer brass. The Spirit in mighty power began to work from that day forward in many places of the land.” 

The truth pierced hearts in an overwhelming manner – “tears were streaming from the eyes of many, and some fell on the ground groaning, and weeping, and crying for mercy.” Services were held every night for many weeks – often lasting till late hours. The whole town was moved. The fear of God fell upon the ungodly. Anxious multitudes filled the churches.  This revival was to continue through the remaining years of M’Cheyne’s life. 

It was M’Cheyne’s constant aim to avoid any hurry which prevents “the calm working of the Spirit on the heart. The dew comes down when all nature is at rest – when every leaf is still. A calm hour with God is worth a whole lifetime with man.”

Robert Murray M’Cheyne died on Saturday, March 25th, 1843. 

“Over six thousand people attended the funeral and immediately after M’Cheyne’s death, Andrew Bonar, a close friend and colleague, wrote ‘The Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray McCheyne.’ We have finished our outlines of the life of one who declared he was ‘just a common man.’ But our impression must surely be that such a ministry is very uncommon in our times.” Andrew Bonar

A brief life indeed…Robert M’Cheyne. Only thirty years old.

The M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan is one used across many different avenues @ https://www.mcheyne.info/mcheyne-reading-plan/

He wrote many books: “A Basket of Fragments,” “Pastoral Letters,” “Songs of Zion,” “More Precious Than Gold,” “Familiar Letters,” “The Seven Churches of Asia,” “The Believer’s Joy,” “God Makes a Path,” and more. Many others have written books using his work, creating devotionals. The biography that is most familiar is by Andrew A. Bonar, a close friend, “Memoir and Remains of Robert M’Cheyne.”

“Oh! brethren, be wise. ‘Why stand ye all the day idle?’ In a little moment it will be all over. A little while and the day of grace will be over – preaching, praying will be done. A little while, and we shall stand before the great white throne – a little while, and the wicked shall not be; we shall see them going away into everlasting punishment. A little while, and the work of eternity shall be begun. We shall be like Him – we shall see Him day and night in His temple – we shall sing the new song, without sin and without weariness, for ever and ever.”

May we learn from those in the past and see the way a little clearer, Lord.

Quotes are from quote fancy

Black & white sketch of M’Cheyne @ Faith for Living

Picture with signature – https://biblereadingpodcast.com/readingplan/

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering · prayer

Classic Works Woven – Oswald Chambers – 2

I know I posted Oswald Chambers last week, but he has been vital to my Christian growth. I want to spend a bit more time on him this week.

“Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only—My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.” —Oswald Chambers

“We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be.”

“Solitude with God repairs the damage done by the fret and noise and clamour of the world.”

We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.

On the morning of March 9, 2022, as I read from “My Utmost for His Highest”, I could not have been gifted a more perfect devotional reading for ‘such a time as this’ in my walk with Jesus. I have much to ponder until Jesus returns:

“Turning Back or Walking with Jesus?”

By Oswald Chamber
Do you also want to go away?” —John 6:67

“What a penetrating question! Our Lord’s words often hit home for us when He speaks in the simplest way. In spite of the fact that we know who Jesus is, He asks, “Do you also want to go away?” We must continually maintain an adventurous attitude toward Him, despite any potential personal risk.

“’From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more’ (John 6:66). They turned back from walking with Jesus; not into sin, but away from Him. Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him. One thing God constantly requires of us is a oneness with Jesus Christ. After being set apart through sanctification, we should discipline our lives spiritually to maintain this intimate oneness. When God gives you a clear determination of His will for you, all your striving to maintain that relationship by some particular method is completely unnecessary. All that is required is to live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ. Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead is the secret of walking with Jesus.

“Peter saw in Jesus only someone who could minister salvation to him and to the world. But our Lord wants us to be fellow laborers with Him.

“In John 6:70 Jesus lovingly reminded Peter that he was chosen to go with Him. And each of us must answer this question for ourselves and no one else: ‘Do you also want to go away?‘”

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS: Jesus Christ reveals, not an embarrassed God, not a confused God, not a God who stands apart from the problems, but One who stands in the thick of the whole thing with man.   (Disciples Indeed, 388 L)

Oh, Lord, I do not wish to walk away, yet I have certainly toyed with that idea due to this world pulling and pushing me away. Satan has had his grasp upon me, upon my feet and arms and even my neck, so it seems. I watch how others, who call themselves Christians, walk and talk. They have so disappointed and dismayed me. The behaviors of some have made me doubt the faith which I have been steadfastly walking now for 29 years now. YET…Lord, You, the love that emanates from You, calls me back. I pray that I walk in diligence, spending time in Your Word, on my knees, finding a church home now that Covid is mellowing out here, in order to know You more and more, and to remind me of Whose I am. Pull me towards You should I stray. Pull me towards You should I doubt, question my faith, question even You in my ‘rearranged mind.’ Please pull me towards You should I not desire to be in Your sphere, for I really….REALLY…do love You and want to be in the same orbit as You. I do not really want to be far away. Guide my steps. Please keep me close, Lord. In Your Beautiful and Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Oswald Chambers/quote @ AZ Quotes

“Spiritual maturity” quote @ quotefancy.com

Obedience @ quote fancy

Book Cover/”My Utmost for His Highest” @ utmost.org

Devotional @ https://utmost.org

“Whenever the conviction…” @ quote fancy

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers (24 July 1874 – 15 November 1917) was an early-twentieth-century Scottish Baptist evangelist and teacher who was aligned with the Holiness Movement. He is best known for the daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest. 

Holiness, not happiness, is the chief end of man.”

Born to devout parents in Aberdeen, Scotland, Chambers moved with his family in 1876 to Stoke-on-Trent when his father, Clarence Chambers, became Home Missions evangelist for the North Staffordshire Baptist Association, then to Perth, Scotland when his father returned to the pastorate, and finally to London in 1889, when Clarence was appointed Traveling Secretary of the Baptist Total Abstinence Association. At 16, Oswald Chambers was baptized and became a member of Rye Lane Baptist Chapel.  Even as a teenager, Chambers was noted for his deep spirituality, and he participated in the evangelization of poor occupants of local lodging houses.  Chambers also demonstrated gifts in both music and art.

“The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone”

From 1893 to 1895, Chambers studied at the National Art Training School, now the Royal College of Art and was offered a scholarship for further study, which he declined. For the next two years he continued his study of art at the University of Edinburgh while being greatly influenced by the preaching of Alexander Whyte, pastor of Free St. George’s Church.  While at Edinburgh, he felt called to ministry, and he left for Dunoon College, a small theological training school near Glasgow, founded by the Rev. Duncan MacGregor. Chambers was soon teaching classes at the school and took over much of the administration when MacGregor was injured in 1898.

While teaching at Dunoon, Chambers was influenced by Richard Reader Harris, a prominent barrister(attorney) and founder of the Pentecostal League of Prayer. In 1905, Harris introduced Chambers as “a new speaker of exceptional power.” Through the League, Chambers also met Juju Nakada, a Holiness evangelist from Japan, who stimulated Chambers’ growing interest in world evangelism. In 1906, Nakada and Chambers sailed for Japan via the United States.  In 1907, Chambers spent a semester teaching at God’s Bible School, a Holiness institution in Cincinnati, then spent a few months in Japan working with Charles Cowman, a co-founder of the Oriental Missionary Society.

Arriving back in Britain by the end of the year, Chambers found the Holiness movement divided by the advocates and opponents of founding a new denomination and by supporters and detractors of the tongues movement. Chambers did not oppose glossolalia but criticized those who made it a test of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Sailing back to the United States in 1908, Chambers became better acquainted with Gertrude Hobbs, the daughter of friends. They married in May 1910; and on 24 May 1913, Gertrude (whom Chambers affectionately called “Biddy”) gave birth to their only child, Kathleen.  Even before they married, Chambers considered a partnership in ministry in which Biddy—who could take shorthand at 250 words per minute—would transcribe and type his sermons and lessons into written form.

In 1911 Chambers founded and was principal of the Bible Training College in London, in an “embarrassingly elegant” property that had been purchased by the Pentecostal League of Prayer.  Chambers accommodated not only students of every age, education, and class but also anyone in need, believing he ought to “give to everyone who asks.” “No one was ever turned away from the door and whatever the person asked for, whether money, a winter overcoat, or a meal, was given.”  Between 1911 and 1915, 106 resident students attended the Bible Training College. By July 1915, forty were serving as missionaries.

Seeing is never believing: we interpret what we see in the light of what we believe. Faith is confidence in God before you see God emerging; therefore the nature of faith is that it must be tried.

In 1915, a year after the outbreak of World War I, Chambers suspended the operation of the school and was accepted as a YMCA chaplain. He was assigned to Egypt, where he ministered to Australian and New Zealand troops. Chambers raised the spiritual tone of a center intended by both the military and the YMCA to be simply an institution of social service providing wholesome alternatives to the brothels of Cairo. When he told a group of fellow YMCA workers that he had decided to abandon concerts and movies for Bible classes, they predicted the exodus of soldiers from his facilities. “What the skeptics had not considered was Chamber’s unusual personal appeal, his gift in speaking, and his genuine concern for the men.” Soon his wooden-framed “hut” was packed with hundreds of soldiers listening attentively to messages such as “What Is the Good of Prayer?” Confronted by a soldier who said, “I can’t stand religious people,” Chambers replied, “Neither can I.” Chambers irritated his YMCA superiors by giving away refreshments that the organization believed should be sold so as not to raise expectations elsewhere. Chambers installed a contribution box but refused to ask soldiers to pay for tea and cakes.

Chambers was stricken with appendicitis on October 17, 1917, but resisted going to a hospital on the grounds that the beds would be needed by men wounded in the long-expected Third Battle of Gaza. On October 29, a surgeon performed an emergency appendectomy; however, Chambers died November 15, 1917 from a pulmonary hemorrhage. He was buried in Cairo with full military honors.

For the remainder of Mrs. Chambers, she transcribed and published books and articles edited from the notes she had taken in shorthand during the Bible College years and later. Most successful of the thirty books was My Utmost for His Highest (1924), a daily devotional composed of 365 selections of Chamber’s talks, each of about 500 words. The work has never been out of print and has been translated into 39 languages.

We pray when there’s nothing else we can do; Jesus wants us to pray before we do anything at all.”

Father, men and women such as the Chambers were so filled with love for You and for reaching others. We are still able to read his works due to the diligence of many others after them. Mr. Chamber’s widow took the reins to edit and type so much of her husband’s writings. Thank You for each one who steps forward to Your call to guide and reach future generations, then and now. During the narrow span between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Oswald Chambers came to be used by You in order to reach many in his lifetime and then to continue to reach us all the way into the twenty-first century (and possibly beyond). As one of my favorite devotionals, “My Utmost for His Highest” is filled with daily readings that tend to dive to new depths in me. Thank You for this gift even still today. I praise You, Lord, for blessing me with the words of a man who so loved You and so loved those who came to listen to him. Ever so grateful, I pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray was the second child of Andrew Murray Sr. (1794–1866), a Dutch Reformed Church missionary sent from Scotland to South Africa. He was born in Graaff Reinet, South Africa. His mother, Maria Susanna Stegmann, was of French Huguenot and German Lutheran descent.

Murray was sent with his elder brother, John, to the University of Aberdeen in Scotland for their college education. Both remained there until they obtained their master’s degrees in 1845. During this time they were influenced by Scottish revival meetings and the ministry of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Horatius Bonar, and William Burns.  From there, they both went to the University of Utrecht, in The Netherlands, where they studied theology. Both brothers were ordained by The Hague Committee of the Dutch Reformed Church on 9 May 1848 and returned to the Cape.

Murray married Emma Rutherford in Cape Town, South Africa, on 2 July 1856. They had eight children together (four boys and four girls).

Murray pastored churches in South Africa. He was a champion of the South African Revival of 1860.

Through his writings, Murray was also a key “Inner Life” or “Higher Life” or Keswick movement leader, and his theology of faith healing and belief in the continuation of the apostolic gifts made him a significant forerunner of the Pentecostal movement.

Murray died on 18 January 1917.

There are many, many books authored by Mr. Murray. They continue to be read to this day. Here are just a few:

Abide in Christ – 1882

With Christ in the School of Prayer – 1885

Holy in Christ – 1887

The Power of the Blood of Christ – 1894

Absolute Surrender – 1895

Humility – 1895

“Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!” 
― Andrew Murray

Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.

A dead Christ I must do everything for, a living Christ does everything for me.”

“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” 

“Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust.”

“Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.”

“Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all.”

“I need to spend time with God even when I do not know what to pray.”

Father God, thank you for men such as Mr. Murray who has left us with a library of profound and deeply-rooted-in-You books. I am overwhelmed at times when I read his works, many needing to be reread in order to gain the depth of the meaning. Yet, I am so grateful to have them to read. Guide and guard me as I read others’ works for I want You to teach me as I grow in You. May I walk rightly in You, my Lord. In the beautiful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Picture of Andrew Murray with quote @ QuotesGram

“Salvation” quote @ ChristianQuotesInfo

“Just as” quote @ ChristianQuotesInfo

“It is the root…” quote @ pinterest

“Answered Prays…” quote @ quotefancy

Prayer by A. Murray @ Pinterest

Classical Writers · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – John Bunyan

“I will add one word more, notwithstanding there is such a revelation of Him in his word, in the book of creatures, and in the book of providences; yet the scripture says, “Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him?” (Job 26:14) So great is God above all that we have read, heard, or seen of Him, either in the bible, in heaven, or earth, the sea, or what else is to be understood. But now, That a poor mortal, a lump of sinful flesh, or, as the scripture-phrase is, poor dust and ashes, should be in the favour, in the heart, and wrapped up in the compassions of SUCH a God! O amazing! O astonishing consideration! And yet “This God is our God for ever and ever; and He will be our guide even unto death” (Psa 48:14).” **

John Bunyan (1628-88) was one of the most influential writers in human history. We most often know this man as the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come is a 1678 Christian allegory.

John Bunyan was born in Elstow, near Bedford, England in 1628, the son of Thomas Bunyan and Margaret Bentley. After learning to read at a grammar school he became a brazier or tinker like his father. (This was a semi-skilled occupation. Few people could afford to purchase new pots when old ones became holed, so they were mended time and time again. The arrival of a tinker was therefore often a welcome sight, although the semi-nomadic nature of their life led to tinkers being regarded by some in the same poor light as gypsies.)

1644 was an eventful year for the Bunyan family: in June, John lost his mother and, in July, his sister Margaret died. Following this, his father married (for the third time) to Anne Pinney (or Purney) and a half-brother, Charles, was born. It may have been the arrival of his stepmother that, following his 16th birthday, led John to leave the family home and enlist in the Parliamentary army, Cromwell’s New Model Army, but continued his rebellious ways. His life was saved on one occasion when a fellow-soldier took his place at the siege of Leicester, and ‘as he stood sentinel he was shot in the head with a musket bullet and died’. After the civil war was won by the Parliamentarians, Bunyan returned to his former trade.

After being discharged from the army, Bunyan married a God-fearing woman (whose name is unknown) in 1648, who brought two books to the marriage: The Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven (Arthur Dent) and The Practice of Piety (Lewis Bayly). These convicted Bunyan of his sin and he made attempts to reform his life. But he realised that he was lost and without Christ when he came into contact with a group of women whose ‘joyous conversation about the new birth and Christ deeply impressed him’. In 1651 the women introduced him to their pastor in Bedford, John Gifford, who was instrumental in leading Bunyan to repentance and faith. Due to this new friend and pastor, Bunyan moved to Bedford with his wife and four children. He was baptized by immersion in the River Ouse in 1653. Appointed a deacon of Gifford’s church, Bunyan’s testimony was used to lead several people to conversion.

Gifford was a remarkable pastor who greatly assisted Bunyan’s progress toward spiritual stability and encouraged him to speak to the congregation. After Gifford’s death in 1655 Bunyan began to preach in public, and his ministrations were so energetic that he gained the nickname “Bishop Bunyan.” Hundreds came to hear him. John Owen said of him that he would gladly exchange all his learning for Bunyan’s power of touching men’s hearts.

Bunyan’s wife died in 1658, leaving four children, including a daughter who had been born blind and whose welfare remained a constant worry. He remarried the following year; it is known that his second wife was named Elizabeth, that she bore two children, and that she spoke eloquently on his behalf when he was in prison.

Once the Stuart monarchy had been reestablished in 1660, it was illegal for anyone to preach who was not an ordained clergyman in the Church of England, and Bunyan spent most of the next twelve years in Bedford Gaol because he would not give up preaching, although the confinement was not onerous and he was out on parole on several occasions.

During imprisonment, Bunyan was not idle. He made shoelaces to raise support for his family and preached to the inmates. Bunyan read and reread Foxe’s Book of Martyrs while in prison.

Bunyan’s first book, Some Gospel Truths Opened According to the Scriptures, had attacked Quaker beliefs. Ironically it was Quakers who freed him. Told by the king to prepare a list of names for pardon, they included Bunyan’s with their own members.

His spiritual autobiography, “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners,” was written at that time, it becoming one of Bunyan’s several classics. However his magnum opus, The Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegory, was also written while a prisoner, and then, following his release in 1672, was published in 1678.

After 1672 the political situation changed, and except for a six-month return to prison in 1677, Bunyan was relatively free to travel and preach, which he did with immense energy and goodwill.

John Bunyan wrote many books and papers still available today.

In August 1688, after successfully mediating in a disagreement between a father and son, as he was riding from Reading in Berkshire to London, Bunyan caught a cold and developed a fever. He died at the house of his friend John Strudwick, a grocer and chandler on Snow Hill in Holborn.

Father, may I continually be willing to lay down my life before You that I may diligently learn and grow to be more Christlike. I love You, Lord, and find this period of my life to be walking an odd road. I certainly do not wish to return to what I was before Christ, but I am feeling so very lost right now. Hold me dear, Lord. Thank You, for showing me Mr. Bunyan and his walk with You once he came to You. He walked rough paths and yet, once he was Your’s he did not waver. Praise be to You, Father God. You have given me Your Holy Spirit to guide my every step. Peter and others taught us in Your Word about the value of gaining knowledge of You. May I continue to grow and dwell in You. Thanks for holding me close. In the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Picture of John Bunyan and quote @ freecdtracts

** from “The Saint’s Knowledge of Christ’s Love or The Unsearchable Riches of Christ” by John Bunyan @ BunyanMinistries.org

“Fruitless” quote @ quote fancy

“Be Not Afraid…” quote @ Banner of Truth

“I will Stay…” quote @ quote fancy

“In prayer…” quote @ quote fancy

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Richard Sibbes

Richard Sibbes was born in 1577 at Tostock, Suffolk, England. As a child, Richard loved books. His father, Paul Sibbes, a wheelwright, was “a good, sound-hearted Christian,” but became irritated with his son’s interest in books. He tried to cure his son of book-buying by offering him wheelwright tools, but the boy was not dissuaded. With the support of others, Sibbes was admitted to St. John’s College in Cambridge at the age of eighteen. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1599, a fellowship in 1601, and a Master of Arts degree in 1602. In 1603, he was converted under the preaching of Paul Baynes, whom Sibbes called his “father in the gospel.”

Sibbes was ordained to the ministry in the Church of England in Norwich in 1608. He was chosen as one of the college preachers in 1609 and earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1610. From 1611 to 1616, he served as lecturer at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge. His preaching made a difference in many lives. A gallery had to be built to accommodate visitors in the church. John Cotton was converted under Sibbes’s preaching. (John Cotton would travel to America to pastor in the new Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1632.)

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), one of the most influential figures in the Puritan movement during the earlier years of the seventeenth century, was renowned for the rich quality of his ministry. 

From “A Bruised Reed:”

“HOW CHRIST PURSUES HIS CALLING

“This is here said to be done modestly, without making a noise, or raising dust by any pompous coming, as princes are accustomed to do. `His voice shall not be heard.’ His voice indeed was heard, but what voice? `Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden’ (Matt. 11:28). He cried, but how? `Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters’ (Isa. 55:1). And as his coming was modest, so it was mild, which is set down in these words: `A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.’

“We see, therefore, that the condition of those with whom he was to deal was that they were bruised reeds and smoking flax; not trees, but reeds; and not whole, but bruised reeds. The church is compared to weak things: to a dove amongst the fowls; to a vine amongst the plants; to sheep amongst the beasts; to a woman, which is the weaker vessel.

“God’s children are bruised reeds before their conversion and oftentimes after. Before conversion all (except such as, being brought up in the church, God has delighted to show himself gracious to from their childhood) are bruised reeds, yet in different degrees, as God sees fit. And as there are differences with regard to temperament, gifts and manner of life, so there are in God’s intention to use men in the time to come; for usually he empties such of themselves, and makes them nothing, before he will use them in any great services.

“Those that look to be happy must first look to be holy.” RICHARD SIBBES

“Self-emptiness prepares us for spiritual fullness.” RICHARD SIBBES

This man has written much but the most recommended book is “The Bruised Reed.” It is online in pdf format at no cost and is sold in many bookstores.

LORD, I pray that we are able to look upon these men who preached Your Truth many years ago with open eyes to see the ways that You used them and still do in this day, centuries later. May Your Truth be firmly planted, no matter how long ago it was taught. And may we absorb and learn from these truths today. In Your Son’s Holy and beautiful Name, I pray. Amen.

First quote @ AZ quotes

“The Bruised Reed” by Richard Sibbes, ISBN-13: 978-0851517407

“God’s Truth…” @ quote fancy

“The winter…” @ quote fancy

“Satan gives…” @ PictureQuotes

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It shall regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. Exodus 28:38

From Morning By Morning (and Morning and Evening) by Charles H. Spurgeon:

January 8th:

What a veil is lifted up by these words, and what a disclosure is made! It will be humbling and profitable for us to pause awhile and see this sad sight. The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there! Our private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr. Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many of my desires for the melioration of both, proceed either from pride or vanity or indolence. I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself, ‘In what fine order is my garden kept!’ This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbours may look over the wall and say, ‘How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity. Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence.” So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them. How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest bore the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow the words, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD:” and even so while Jesus bears our sin, he presents before his Father’s face not our unholiness, but his own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34

“Charles Spurgeon, a 19th century English Baptist minister, was one of the most influential and extraordinary preachers of his era. Spurgeon’s theology could best be summarized as evangelical Calvinism. Today he is remembered as the “Prince of Preachers.”

“Spurgeon was only 16 when he preached his first sermon as pastor of Waterbeach Baptist Chapel near Cambridge. Within two years, the little congregation grew from 40 to 400. He spoke in chapels, cottages, and open-air meetings in the countryside surrounding Cambridge. Spurgeon’s energy, enthusiasm, and preaching skill earned him so much attention that he was eventually invited to speak in London. On December 18, 1853, the 19-year-old Spurgeon delivered his first sermon at the famous New Park Street Chapel in London. Soon he was called to be the pastor. From then on, Spurgeon stayed in London.

“Spurgeon married Susanna Thompson in 1856 and within a year had twin sons, Charles and Thomas. Both became Baptist ministers.

“Practically overnight Spurgeon became a preaching sensation, drawing multitudes in the tens of thousands. By age 22, he was quite possibly the most famous orator in the world. His youthful appearance contrasted startlingly with his mature sermons, which were published regularly in the London Times and newspapers around the world. In 1861, at the famous Crystal Palace, Spurgeon preached to the largest enclosed gathering ever recorded. The event was the national day of fasting and prayer, and the crowd numbered nearly 24,000. In March of that same year, the Metropolitan Tabernacle in Newington opened. The new building, with its seating capacity of 6,000, would be home to Spurgeon’s flock and the hub of his preaching ministry until his death in 1892.”

Photo/quote @ Heartlight.org

Photo of .H. Spurgeon with quote @ Quotes Gram

“” – Partial bio of C.H. Spurgeon @ Learn Religions

Poster at time of Spurgeon’s death @ Getty Images/LearnReligion

Last Photo with quote @ quotefancy

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven — Octavius Winslow

Octavius Winslow (1808-78) was born in Pentonville, England, a village near London. He was the eighth of thirteen children. Though he grew up in New York, he spent most of his life in England. Winslow was one of the best-known Nonconformist ministers of the 19th century in England, and held pastorates at Leamington Spa, Bath and Brighton. He was one of the preachers at the opening of Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

by Mr. Winslow: “Dear reader, let your first thought be of God, and your first incense be to Jesus, and your first prayer be to the Holy Spirit, and thus anointed with fresh oil, you will glide serenely and safely through the day, beginning, continuing, and ending it with God. 

“Direct, control, suggest, this day, 
All I design, or do, or say, 
That all my powers, with all their might, 
In Your sole glory may unite.”

from “Morning Thoughts, or Daily Walking with God” — by Octavius Winslow

JANUARY 3. 

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.”  Colossians 1:19 

All wisdom to guide, all power to uphold, all love to soothe, all grace to support, all tenderness to sympathize, dwells in Christ. Let us, then, gird ourselves to a fresh taking hold of Christ. We must walk through this year not by sight, but by faith- and that faith must deal simply and directly, with Jesus. “Without me you can do nothing.” But with His strength made perfect in our weakness, we can do all things. Oh, be this our course and our posture- “coming up from the wilderness leaning on her Beloved.” Living in a world of imperfection and change, we must expect nothing perfect, nothing stable, in what we are, in what we do, or in what we enjoy. But amid the dissolving views of the world that “passes away,” let us take firm hold of the unchangeableness of God. The wheels may revolve, but the axle on which they turn is immoveable. Such is our covenant God. Events may vary- providences may change- friends may die- feelings may fluctuate- but God in Christ will know “no variableness, neither the shadow of a turning.” “Having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” 

May we seek the One Who is steadfast and consistent. May we spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word. To the glory of God, I lift my hands in praise. In the Name of His Son, I pray. Amen

Octavius Winslow quote @ QuoteFancy

photo of cart, wheels/axle @ FreeImages.com

Octavius Winslow quote @ pinterest

Classical Writers · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Thomas Brooks

Thomas Brooks (1608–1680) was an English non-conformist Puritan preacher and author. Much of what is known about Thomas Brooks has been ascertained from his writings. Born, likely to well-to-do parents, in 1608, Brooks entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1625, where he was preceded by such men as Thomas Hooker, John Cotton, and Thomas Shepard. He was licensed as a preacher of the Gospel by 1640. Before that date, he appears to have spent a number of years at sea, probably as a chaplain with the fleet.

Thomas Brooks
Thomas Brooks

After the conclusion of the First English Civil War, Thomas Brooks became minister at Thomas Apostle’s, London, and was sufficiently renowned to be chosen as preacher before the House of Commons on December 26, 1648. His sermon was afterwards published under the title, ‘God’s Delight in the Progress of the Upright’, the text being Psalm 44:18: ‘Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from Thy way’. Three or four years afterwards, he transferred to St. Margaret’s, Fish-street Hill, London. 

As a writer C. H. Spurgeon said of him, ‘Brooks scatters stars with both hands, with an eagle eye of faith as well as the eagle eye of imagination’.

In 1662, he fell victim to the Act of Uniformity, but he appears to have remained in his parish and to have preached as opportunity arose. Treatises continued to flow from his pen.

Brooks’ Works:

  • Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh (Puritan Paperbacks), first published 1652
  • The Secret Key to Heaven: The Vital Importance of Private Prayer, Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh (Puritan Paperbacks), first published as ‘The Privie Key of Heaven’ 1665
  • Heaven on Earth: A Treatise on Christian Assurance, Banner of Truth Trust (Puritan Paperbacks), first published 1654
  • A Mute Christian Under the Rod by Thomas Brooks, Old Paths Gospel Press, Choteau, MT USA
  • The Works of Thomas Brooks, Banner of Truth Trust
  • Smooth Stones taken from Ancient Brooks, by Thomas Brooks and C.H. Spurgeon, Banner of Truth Trust

“If the prayers of God’s children are so faint that they can not reach up as high as heaven, then God will bow the heavens and come down to their prayers.” – Thomas Brooks – 1608-1680

“Repentance is a flower that does not grow in nature’s garden. It is not in the power of man to repent at leisure. Repentance is a turning from darkness to light. It effects the sinner’s whole heart and life. It changes the heart from the power of sin unto God. Every sin strikes at the honor of God, the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of man’s conscience. A truly penitent soul strikes at all sin, hates all, and will labor to crucify all.”
-Thomas Brooks

May we grow in knowledge and understanding through the words of one from long ago. May we look upon those who walked with Christ before us and know that the Christ they sought is still the same Christ Whom we too seek today in our walks. May we trust You, O Lord, each and every day. In Your Powerful Name, I pray. Amen.

Pictures 3 & last @ QuotesPub

Pictures of Old drawing of Thomas Brooks, other quotes from LibQuotes

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Mover

From The Valley of Vision…

O SUPREME MOVING CAUSE, 

May I always be subordinate to thee, be dependent upon thee, be found in the path where thou dost walk, and where thy Spirit moves, take heed of estrangement from thee, of becoming insensible to thy love. 

Thou dost not move men like stones, but dost endue them with life, not to enable them to move without thee, but in submission to thee, the first mover. O Lord, I am astonished at the difference between my receivings and my deservings, between the state I am now in and my past gracelessness, between the heaven I am bound for and the hell I merit. Who made me to differ, but thee? for I was no more ready to receive Christ than were others; I could not have begun to love thee hadst thou not first loved me, or been willing unless thou hadst first made me so.

O that such a crown should fit the head of such a sinner! such high advancement be for an unfruitful person! such joys for so vile a rebel! 

Infinite wisdom cast the design of salvation into the mould of purchase and freedom; Let wrath deserved be written on the door of hell, But the free gift of grace on the gate of heaven. I know that my sufferings are the result of my sinning, but in heaven both shall cease; Grant me to attain this haven and be done with sailing, and may the gales of thy mercy blow me safely into harbour. Let thy love draw me nearer to thyself, wean me from sin, mortify me to this world, and make me ready for my departure hence. Secure me by thy grace as I sail across this stormy sea.

In the Holy Name of Jesus…Amen

Valley of Vision quote @ Banner of Truth

“The Valley of Vision” A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions” Edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975