Category Archives: Evening

Evening, April 1st, 2020

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”— Hosea 10:12

This month of April is said to derive its name from the Latin verb aperio, which signifies to open, because all the buds and blossoms are now opening, and we have arrived at the gates of the flowery year.

Reader, if you are yet unsaved, may your heart, in accord with the universal awakening of nature, be opened to receive the Lord. Every blossoming flower warns you that it is time to seek the Lord; be not out of tune with nature, but let your heart bud and bloom with holy desires.

Do you tell me that the warm blood of youth leaps in your veins? then, I entreat you, give your vigour to the Lord.

It was my unspeakable happiness to be called in early youth, and I could fain praise the Lord every day for it. Salvation is priceless, let it come when it may, but oh! an early salvation has a double value in it.

Young men and maidens, since you may perish ere you reach your prime, “It is time to seek the Lord.” Ye who feel the first signs of decay, quicken your pace: that hollow cough, that hectic flush, are warnings which you must not trifle with; with you it is indeed time to seek the Lord.

Did I observe a little grey mingled with your once luxurious tresses? Years are stealing on apace, and death is drawing nearer by hasty marches, let each return of spring arouse you to set your house in order.

Dear reader, if you are now advanced in life, let me entreat and implore you to delay no longer. There is a day of grace for you now–be thankful for that, but it is a limited season and grows shorter every time that clock ticks.

Here in this silent chamber, on this first night of another month, I speak to you as best I can by paper and ink, and from my inmost soul, as God’s servant, I lay before you this warning, “It is time to seek the Lord.”

Slight not that work, it may be your last call from destruction, the final syllable from the lip of grace.

Evening, March 31st, 2020

“And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.”— 2 Samuel 21:10

If the love of a woman to her slain sons could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period, shall we weary of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord?

She drove away the birds of prey, and shall not we chase from our meditations those worldly and sinful thoughts which defile both our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied?

Away, ye birds of evil wing! Leave ye the sacrifice alone! She bore the heats of summer, the night dews and the rains, unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes: her heart was too full for slumber.

Behold how she loved her children! Shall Rizpah thus endure, and shall we start at the first little inconvenience or trial?

Are we such cowards that we cannot bear to suffer with our Lord? She chased away even the wild beasts, with courage unusual in her sex, and will not we be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus’ sake?

These her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched: what ought we to do who have by our sins crucified our Lord?

Our obligations are boundless, our love should be fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should be our business, to protect his honour our occupation, to abide by his cross our solace.

Those ghastly corpses might well have affrighted Rizpah, especially by night, but in our Lord, at whose cross-foot we are sitting, there is nothing revolting, but everything attractive. Never was living beauty so enchanting as a dying Saviour.

Jesus, we will watch with thee yet awhile, and do thou graciously unveil thyself to us; then shall we not sit beneath sackcloth, but in a royal pavilion.

Evening, March 30th, 2020

“Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.”— Lamentations 3:40

The spouse who fondly loves her absent husband longs for his return; a long protracted separation from her lord is a semi-death to her spirit: and so with souls who love the Saviour much, they must see his face, they cannot bear that he should be away upon the mountains of Bether, and no more hold communion with them.

A reproaching glance, an uplifted finger will be grievous to loving children, who fear to offend their tender father, and are only happy in his smile.

Beloved, it was so once with you. A text of Scripture, a threatening, a touch of the rod of affliction, and you went to your Father’s feet, crying, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me?”

Is it so now? Are you content to follow Jesus afar off? Can you contemplate suspended communion with Christ without alarm? Can you bear to have your Beloved walking contrary to you, because you walk contrary to him? Have your sins separated between you and your God, and is your heart at rest?

O let me affectionately warn you, for it is a grievous thing when we can live contentedly without the present enjoyment of the Saviour’s face. Let us labour to feel what an evil thing this is–little love to our own dying Saviour, little joy in our precious Jesus, little fellowship with the Beloved!

Hold a true Lent in your souls, while you sorrow over your hardness of heart. Do not stop at sorrow! Remember where you first received salvation. Go at once to the cross. There, and there only, can you get your spirit quickened.

No matter how hard, how insensible, how dead we may have become, let us go again in all the rags and poverty, and defilement of our natural condition.

Let us clasp that cross, let us look into those languid eyes, let us bathe in that fountain filled with blood–this will bring back to us our first love; this will restore the simplicity of our faith, and the tenderness of our heart.

Evening, March 29th, 2020

“I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.”— Song of Solomon 5:6

Prayer sometimes tarrieth, like a petitioner at the gate, until the King cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings which she seeketh. The Lord, when he hath given great faith, has been known to try it by long delayings.

He has suffered his servants’ voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained immovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges.

Like Jeremiah, they have cried, “Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” Thus have true saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not because their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased him who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to his own pleasure.

If it pleases him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall he not do as he wills with his own! Beggars must not be choosers either as to time, place, or form. But we must be careful not to take delays in prayer for denials: God’s long-dated bills will be punctually honoured; we must not suffer Satan to shake our confidence in the God of truth by pointing to our unanswered prayers.

Unanswered petitions are not unheard. God keeps a file for our prayers–they are not blown away by the wind, they are treasured in the King’s archives.

This is a registry in the court of heaven wherein every prayer is recorded. Tried believer, thy Lord hath a tear-bottle in which the costly drops of sacred grief are put away, and a book in which thy holy groanings are numbered.

By and by, thy suit shall prevail. Canst thou not be content to wait a little? Will not thy Lord’s time be better than thy time?

By and by he will comfortably appear, to thy soul’s joy, and make thee put away the sackcloth and ashes of long waiting, and put on the scarlet and fine linen of full fruition.

Evening, March 28th, 2020

“I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.”— Ezekiel 20:41

The merits of our great Redeemer are as sweet savour to the Most High. Whether we speak of the active or passive righteousness of Christ, there is an equal fragrance. There was a sweet savour in his active life by which he honoured the law of God, and made every precept to glitter like a precious jewel in the pure setting of his own person.

Such, too, was his passive obedience, when he endured with unmurmuring submission, hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, and at length sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane, gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked out the hair, and was fastened to the cruel wood, that he might suffer the wrath of God in our behalf.

These two things are sweet before the Most High; and for the sake of his doing and his dying, his substitutionary sufferings and his vicarious obedience, the Lord our God accepts us.

What a preciousness must there be in him to overcome our want of preciousness! What a sweet savour to put away our ill savour!

What a cleansing power in his blood to take away sin such as ours! and what glory in his righteousness to make such unacceptable creatures to be accepted in the Beloved!

Mark, believer, how sure and unchanging must be our acceptance, since it is in him! Take care that you never doubt your acceptance in Jesus. You cannot be accepted without Christ; but, when you have received his merit, you cannot be unaccepted.

Notwithstanding all your doubts, and fears, and sins, Jehovah’s gracious eye never looks upon you in anger; though he sees sin in you, in yourself, yet when he looks at you through Christ, he sees no sin. You are always accepted in Christ, are always blessed and dear to the Father’s heart.

Therefore lift up a song, and as you see the smoking incense of the merit of the Saviour coming up, this evening, before the sapphire throne, let the incense of your praise go up also.

Evening, March 27th, 2020

“And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters table.”— Matthew 15:27

This woman gained comfort in her misery by thinking great thoughts of Christ. The Master had talked about the children’s bread: “Now,” argued she, “since thou art the Master of the table of grace, I know that thou art a generous housekeeper, and there is sure to be abundance of bread on thy table; there will be such an abundance for the children that there will be crumbs to throw on the floor for the dogs, and the children will fare none the worse because the dogs are fed.”

She thought him one who kept so good a table that all that she needed would only be a crumb in comparison; yet remember, what she wanted was to have the devil cast out of her daughter.

It was a very great thing to her, but she had such a high esteem of Christ, that she said, “It is nothing to him, it is but a crumb for Christ to give.” This is the royal road to comfort.

Great thoughts of your sin alone will drive you to despair; but great thoughts of Christ will pilot you into the haven of peace.

“My sins are many, but oh! it is nothing to Jesus to take them all away. The weight of my guilt presses me down as a giant’s foot would crush a worm, but it is no more than a grain of dust to him, because he has already borne its curse in his own body on the tree. It will be but a small thing for him to give me full remission, although it will be an infinite blessing for me to receive it.”

The woman opens her soul’s mouth very wide, expecting great things of Jesus, and he fills it with his love.

Dear reader, do the same.

She confessed what Christ laid at her door, but she laid fast hold upon him, and drew arguments even out of his hard words; she believed great things of him, and she thus overcame him. She won the victory by believing in Him.

Her case is an instance of prevailing faith; and if we would conquer like her, we must imitate her tactics.

Evening, March 26th, 2020

“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”— Mark 8:38

If we have been partakers with Jesus in his shame, we shall be sharers with him in the lustre which shall surround him when he appears again in glory.

Art thou, beloved one, with Christ Jesus? Does a vital union knit thee to him? Then thou art today with him in his shame; thou hast taken up his cross, and gone with him without the camp bearing his reproach; thou shalt doubtless be with him when the cross is exchanged for the crown.

But judge thyself this evening; for if thou art not with him in the regeneration, neither shalt thou be with him when he shall come in his glory. If thou start back from the black side of communion, thou shalt not understand its bright, its happy period, when the King shall come, and all his holy angels with him.

What! are angels with him? And yet he took not up angels–he took up the seed of Abraham. Are the holy angels with him?

Come, my soul, if thou art indeed his own beloved, thou canst not be far from him. If his friends and his neighbours are called together to see his glory, what thinkest thou if thou art married to him?

Shalt thou be distant? Though it be a day of judgment, yet thou canst not be far from that heart which, having admitted angels into intimacy, has admitted thee into union. Has he not said to thee, O my soul, “I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness?”

Have not his own lips said it, “I am married unto thee, and my delight is in thee?” If the angels, who are but friends and neighbours, shall be with him, it is abundantly certain that his own beloved Hephzibah, in whom is all his delight, shall be near to him, and sit at his right hand.

Here is a morning star of hope for thee, of such exceeding brilliance, that it may well light up the darkest and most desolate experience.

Evening, March 25th, 2020

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”— John 3:13

How constantly our Master used the title, the “Son of man!” If he had chosen, he might always have spoken of himself as the Son of God, the Everlasting Father, the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Prince of Peace; but behold the lowliness of Jesus!

He prefers to call himself the Son of man. Let us learn a lesson of humility from our Saviour; let us never court great titles nor proud degrees.

There is here, however, a far sweeter thought. Jesus loved manhood so much, that he delighted to honour it; and since it is a high honour, and indeed, the greatest dignity of manhood, that Jesus is the Son of man, he is wont to display this name, that he may as it were hang royal stars upon the breast of manhood, and show forth the love of God to Abraham’s seed.

Son of man–whenever he said that word, he shed a halo round the head of Adam’s children. Yet there is perhaps a more precious thought still. Jesus Christ called himself the Son of man to express his oneness and sympathy with his people.

He thus reminds us that he is the one whom we may approach without fear. As a man, we may take to him all our griefs and troubles, for he knows them by experience; in that he himself hath suffered as the “Son of man,” he is able to succour and comfort us.

All hail, thou blessed Jesus! inasmuch as thou art evermore using the sweet name which acknowledges that thou art a brother and a near kinsman, it is to us a dear token of thy grace, thy humility, thy love.

    “Oh see how Jesus trusts himself
       Unto our childish love,
     As though by his free ways with us
       Our earnestness to prove!
     His sacred name a common word
       On earth he loves to hear;
     There is no majesty in him
       Which love may not come near.”

Evening, March 24th, 2020

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.”— Luke 10:21

The Saviour was “a man of sorrows,” but every thoughtful mind has discovered the fact that down deep in his innermost soul he carried an inexhaustible treasury of refined and heavenly joy.

Of all the human race, there was never a man who had a deeper, purer, or more abiding peace than our Lord Jesus Christ.

“He was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows.”

His vast benevolence must, from the very nature of things, have afforded him the deepest possible delight, for benevolence is joy. There were a few remarkable seasons when this joy manifested itself.

“At that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth.”

Christ had his songs, though it was night with him; though his face was marred, and his countenance had lost the lustre of earthly happiness, yet sometimes it was lit up with a matchless splendour of unparalleled satisfaction, as he thought upon the recompense of the reward, and in the midst of the congregation sang his praise unto God.

In this, the Lord Jesus is a blessed picture of his church on earth. At this hour the church expects to walk in sympathy with her Lord along a thorny road; through much tribulation she is forcing her way to the crown. To bear the cross is her office, and to be scorned and counted an alien by her mother’s children is her lot; and yet the church has a deep well of joy, of which none can drink but her own children.

There are stores of wine, and oil, and corn, hidden in the midst of our Jerusalem, upon which the saints of God are evermore sustained and nurtured; and sometimes, as in our Saviour’s case, we have our seasons of intense delight, for “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of our God.”

Exiles though we be, we rejoice in our King; yea, in him we exceedingly rejoice, while in his name we set up our banners.

Evening, March 23rd, 2020

“And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”— Luke 19:40

But could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if he who opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice. Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to testify in praise of him who created them by the word of his power; they could extol the wisdom and power of their Maker who called them into being.

Shall not we speak well of him who made us anew, and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham? The old rocks could tell of chaos and order, and the handiwork of God in successive stages of creation’s drama; and cannot we talk of God’s decrees, of God’s great work in ancient times, in all that he did for his church in the days of old?

If the stones were to speak, they could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry, and made them fit for the temple, and cannot we tell of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of his word, that he might build us into his temple?

If the stones should cry out they would magnify their builder, who polished them and fashioned them after the similitude of a palace; and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God?

If the stones could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time hath a great stone been rolled as a memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify of Ebenezers, stones of help, pillars of remembrance.

The broken stones of the law cry out against us, but Christ himself, who has rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, speaks for us. Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them: we will hush their noise with ours; we will break forth into sacred song, and bless the majesty of the Most High, all our days glorifying him who is called by Jacob the Shepherd and Stone of Israel.

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