“If I were to plead that the rose bud were the author of the root, well! I might indeed be laughed at. But were I to urge that any goodness in man is the ground of God’s choice, I should be foolish indeed.” Spurgeon
“There is this great difference between the works of men and the works of God, that the same minute and searching investigation, which displays the defects and imperfections of the one, brings out also the beauties of the other. If the most finely polished needle on which the art of man has been expended be subjected to a microscope, many inequalities, much roughness and clumsiness, will be seen. But if the microscope be brought to bear on the flowers of the field, no such result appears. Instead of their beauty diminishing, new beauties and still more delicate, that have escaped the naked eye, are forthwith discovered; beauties that make us appreciate, in a way which otherwise we could have had little conception of, the full force of the Lord’s saying, ‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.’ The same law appears also in comparing the Word of God and the most finished productions of men. There are spots and blemishes in the most admired productions of human genius. But the more the Scriptures are searched, the more minutely they are studied, the more their perfection appears; new beauties are brought into light every day; and the discoveries of science, the researches of the learned, and the labours of infidels, all alike conspire to illustrate the wonderful harmony of all the parts, and the Divine beauty that clothes the whole.” — Alexander Hislop
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
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.
We are generally desirous to have fair and well-printed Bibles; but the fairest and finest impression of the Bible is to have it well printed on the reader’s heart. — Dr. John Arrowsmith
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.
“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…