He Would Not Be God Were He Not Love

“God is essentially the God of love. The words which suggest our present meditation emphatically declare this: “God is love.” This is, perhaps, the most sublime sentence of the Bible. It is a sentence which only could arise from a divine mind. It is at once simple and grand, intelligible and affecting. It involves a truth in which an angel’s mind might expatiate, and which a child’s can grasp. It reaches to the highest, and descends to the lowest intellect. That the abstract term love, and not the concrete term loving, should be employed, expresses something beyond the ordinary meaning of the word. And what is the truth thus embodied? Just the one we are now attempting to vindicate: that God is essential love. Love is not so much an attribute of God as it is His very essence. It is not so much a moral perfection of His being as it is His being itself. He would not be God were He not love. To deny that He is love would be to deny that He is God. To unrobe Him of this essential quality of His nature would be tantamount to the unrobing Him of His essential Godhead. He would not be God were He not love!”

– Octavius Winslow, Our God, p.2-3

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My Lord Jesus Christ is Able to Save Me to the Uttermost

“He is able to save to the uttermost!” (Hebrews 7:25)

“My Lord Jesus Christ is able to save me to the uttermost!

He is able to save me the uttermost depth of my need. Science is now sounding the lowest abysses of the ocean; but there is no science, nor thought, nor imagination, which can send its plummet to the bottom of Christ’s unsearchable grace! 

Down to my sharpest sorrow He goes, down to my profoundest loneliness, down to my keenest temptation, 
down to my foulest sin! He traveled from Heaven to Calvary to atone for my sin; and I know of no descent which He will not make today.

He is able to save me the uttermost limit of my nature. And such a many-faceted nature mine is! The intellect has its demands, and the memory, and the conscience, and the imagination, and the will, and the heart–each of them cries out for a separate satisfaction. And each of them finds it in Jesus!
He answers the questions of my intellect. He plucks the deepest sorrows from my memory. He cancels the accusations of my conscience. He paints  the noblest pictures in my imagination. He renews and directs my will. He fills my heart with His love.

He is able to save me to the uttermost verge of my life. My various conditions and experiences, my conflict and my calm, my work and my rest, my gladness and my grief–He blesses me through them all. Lo, He is with me all the days, even unto the end, and through the end, and beyond the end forever and ever! Death cannot part me from Him. Eternity will only draw me closer to Him. To the ages of the ages–He is mine, and I am His!

Christ’s uttermost leaves me no more to desire!”

Alexander Smellie, The Hour of Silence

He Preached from the Bloody Tree

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news” (Isaiah 61:1)

“I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43).

“We may profitably note how earnestly our Lord kept to His work. It was His business to preach, and He did preach–He was always preaching! 

Even His miracles were sermons; they were acted discourses, full of instruction. 

All of His actions were sermons–He preached by every movement. 

He preached when He did not speak–His silence was as eloquent as His words! He preached from the bloody tree!With hands and feet fastened there, He delivered the most wonderful discourse on divine justice and on love, on divine vengeance and on grace, on death and on life, on damnation and on salvation–which was ever preached in this poor world!

Oh, yes, He preached–He was always preaching; with all His heart and soul He preached. He wept in secret, that He might the more compassionately preach the gospel which wipes men’s tears and sins away. As He walked the streets, He preached as He went along. This was His one calling; and this one calling, He pursued in the power of the eternal Spirit.

As our Lord ascended He said, ‘Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). His charge in brief was–preach, preach even as I have done before you!”

Charles Spurgeon

Directions for Reading Christian Books

“Because God has made the excellent, holy writings of his servants, the singular blessing of this land and age; and many may have a good book, even any day or hour of the week, who cannot at all have a good preacher — I advise all God’s servants to be thankful for so great a mercy, and to make use of it, and be much in reading. For reading, with most, does more conduce to knowledge than hearing does, because you may choose what subjects and the most excellent treatises you please; and may be often at it, and may peruse again and again what you forget, and may take time as you go to fix it on your mind. And with very many, reading does more than hearing also to move the heart — because lively books may be more easily accessed than lively preachers.

Especially these sorts of men should be much in reading:

1. Masters of families, who have more souls to care for than their own.

2. People who live where there is no preaching; or bad preaching — which is worse than none!

3. Poor people, and servants, and children, who are forced on many Lord’s days to stay at home, while others have the opportunity to hear the Word preached.

4. And non-working persons that have more leisure than others have.

To all these, but especially masters of families, I shall here give a few directions.

Direction 1. I presuppose that you keep the devil’s books out of your hands and house. I mean cards, and idle tales, and play-books, and romances or love-books, and false, bewitching stories, and the seducing books of all false teachers, and the railing or scorning books which the men of several sects and factions write against each other, on purpose to teach men to hate one another, and banish love. For where these are allowed to corrupt the mind — all grave and useful writings are forestalled; and it is a wonder to see how powerfully these poison the minds of children, and many other empty heads.

Also refrain from books that are written by the sons of Korah, to breed distastes and discontents in the minds of the people against their governors, both magistrates and ministers. For there is something in the best rulers, for the tongues of seditious men to fasten on, and to aggravate in the people’s ears; and there is something even in godly people, which tempts them too easily to take fire and be distempered before they are aware; and they foresee not the evil to which it tends.

Direction 2. When you read to your family, or others, let it be seasonably and gravely, when silence and attendance encourage you to expect success; and not when children are crying or talking, or servants bustling to disturb you. Distraction is worst, in the greatest businesses.

Direction 3. Choose such books as are most suitable to your state, or to those you read to. It is worse than unprofitable, to read books for comforting troubled minds, to those that are blockishly secure, and have hardened, obstinate, unhumbled hearts. It is as bad as to give medicines or remedies contrary to the patient’s need, and such as nourish the disease. So is it to read books of too high a style or subject, to dull and ignorant hearers. We use to say: That which is one man’s meat, is another man’s poison. It is not enough that the matter is good — but it must be agreeable to the case for which it is used.

Direction 4. To a common family begin with those books, which at once inform the judgment about the fundamentals, and awaken the affections to entertain them and improve them. Such as are treatises of regeneration, conversion, or repentance.

Remember that they are not the most learned, who read most — but those who read that which is most necessary and profitable.

Direction 5. Next these, read over those books which are most suited to the state of young Christians for their growth in grace, and for their exercise of faith, and love, and obedience, and for the mortifying of selfishness, pride, sensuality, worldliness, and other the most dangerous sins.

Direction 6. At the same time labor to methodize your knowledge; and to that end read first and learn some short catechism, and then some larger catechism. And let the catechism be kept in memory while you live, and the rest be thoroughly understood.

Direction 7. Next read (to yourselves or families) the larger expositions of the Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and Ten Commandments; such as Thomas Watson on the Commandments; that your understanding may be more full, particular, and distinct, and your families may not stop in generals, which are not understood.

Direction 8. Read much those books which direct you in a course of daily communion with God, and holy ordering your daily life.”

Richard Baxter, Christian Directory

How Pleasant to Lean Upon an Almighty Arm

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

“Oh, how pleasant to lean upon an almighty arm, and to commit ourselves without anxiety to the guidance of infinite wisdom and love!”

– John Newton, The Letters of John Newton

It Appears That Christians May Forget Christ

“Do this in remembrance of Me!” (1 Corinthians 11:24)

It appears that Christians may forget Christ! There would be no need for this loving exhortation–if there were not a fearful possibility that our memories might prove treacherous. Nor is this an empty notion. It is, sadly, too well confirmed in our experience; not as a possibility–but as a lamentable fact!

It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb, and loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God–could forget their gracious Savior! But if startling to the ear, sadly, it is too apparent to the eye to allow us to deny the crime.

Can we forget Him–who never forgot us! Can we forget Him–who poured His blood out for our sins! Can we forget Him–who loved us even to death! Can it be possible?

Yes, it is not only possible–but conscience confesses that is is too sadly a fault with all of us. Instead of Him being a permanent resident in our memories–we treat Him as a visitor. The cross–where one would expect that memory would linger–is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness.

Doesn’t your conscience say that this is true? Don’t you find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some other love steals away your heart–and you are unmindful of Him upon whom your chief affection ought to be set. Some earthly business engrosses your attention–when you ought to be fixed steadily upon the cross. It is the incessant turmoil of the world, the constant attraction of earthly things–which takes the soul away from Christ! While memory works to preserve a poisonous weed–it allows the rose of Sharon to wither!

Let us charge ourselves to tie a heavenly forget-me-not around our hearts for Jesus our Beloved, and whatever else we let slip, let us hold tight to Him!

– Charles Spurgeon