The Illumination

Scripture can only be savingly understood by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel is a picture of God’s free grace to sinners. Now, were we in a room hung with the finest paintings, and adorned with the most exquisite statues, we could not see one of them if all light were excluded. The Spirit’s light is the same to the mind that outward light is to the bodily eyes. The most correct and lively description of the sun cannot convey either the light, the warmth, the cheerfulness, or the fruitfulness, which the actual shining of that luminary conveys; neither can the most labored and accurate dissertation on grace and spiritual things impart a true idea of them without an experience of the work of the Spirit upon the heart. The Holy Spirit must shine upon your graces, or you will not be able to see them; and your works must shine on your faith, or your neighbors will not be able to see it. — Augustus Toplady

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The Single Plank

When Mr. M’Laren of Edinburgh was dying, Mr. Gustart, his associate pastor, paid him a visit, and inquired of him, “What are you now doing, my brother?” The strong and earnest response of the dying minister was, “I’ll tell you what I am doing, brother; I am gathering together all my prayers, all my sermons, all my good deeds, all my ill deeds; and I am going to throw them all overboard, and swim to glory on the single plank of free grace.”

— from “Death-bed Scenes: Or, Dying With and Without Religion, Designed to Illustrate the Truth and Power of Christianity”, Edited by Davis Wasgatt Clark, 1851.

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Faith in the Night of Adversity

Faith is a grace which draws down from Heaven whatever blessing of God is most needful to the saint, and therefore does it stand him in as good stead in the night of adversity as in the day of prosperity. Faith is a new-creation principle in the soul, which not only energizes its possessor to perform exploits, but it also enables him to hold his head above the dark waters when floods threaten to drown him. Faith suffices the Christian to face danger calmly, to continue steadfast in duty when menaced by the most foreboding outlook, to stand his ground when threatened with sorest sufferings. Faith imparts a steadfastness of purpose, a noble courage, a tranquility of mind, which no human education or fleshly efforts can supply. Faith makes the righteous as bold as a lion, refusing to recant though horrible tortures and a martyr’s death be the only alternative.

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The Failure of Morality Teachers

“Their argument has been this: That what you need to do to confront this moral problem, this whole business of temptation and evil, is to instruct people. Instruct them in goodness. They believe (and still believe it obviously) that if you educate people, you’ll make them moral. If you only teach people philosophy and get them familiarized with the great thoughts, the moral maxims… Get them to rub their minds against these and gradually they will come to live a good life. That’s the basis of the teaching. Teach them about heroism; teach them about courage. Hold these great ideals before them and they will rise up to it…

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