Category Archives: Evening

Evening, June 14th

“O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.”— Daniel 9:8

A deep sense and clear sight of sin, its heinousness, and the punishment which it deserves, should make us lie low before the throne.

We have sinned as Christians. Alas! that it should be so. Favoured as we have been, we have yet been ungrateful: privileged beyond most, we have not brought forth fruit in proportion.

Who is there, although he may long have been engaged in the Christian warfare, that will not blush when he looks back upon the past?

As for our days before we were regenerated, may they be forgiven and forgotten; but since then, though we have not sinned as before, yet we have sinned against light and against love—light which has really penetrated our minds, and love in which we have rejoiced.

Oh, the atrocity of the sin of a pardoned soul! An unpardoned sinner sins cheaply compared with the sin of one of God’s own elect ones, who has had communion with Christ and leaned his head upon Jesus’ bosom.

Look at David! Many will talk of his sin, but I pray you look at his repentance, and hear his broken bones, as each one of them moans out its dolorous confession! Mark his tears, as they fall upon the ground, and the deep sighs with which he accompanies the softened music of his harp!

We have erred: let us, therefore, seek the spirit of penitence.

Look, again, at Peter! We speak much of Peter’s denying his Master. Remember, it is written, “He wept bitterly.” Have we no denials of our Lord to be lamented with tears?

Alas! these sins of ours, before and after conversion, would consign us to the place of inextinguishable fire if it were not for the sovereign mercy which has made us to differ, snatching us like brands from the burning.

My soul, bow down under a sense of thy natural sinfulness, and worship thy God. Admire the grace which saves thee–the mercy which spares thee–the love which pardons thee!

Evening, June 13th

“Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:”— Proverbs 30:8

     “O my God, be not far from me.”
       —Psalm 38:21

Here we have two great lessons—what to deprecate and what to supplicate.

The happiest state of a Christian is the holiest state. As there is the most heat nearest to the sun, so there is the most happiness nearest to Christ. No Christian enjoys comfort when his eyes are fixed on vanity—he finds no satisfaction unless his soul is quickened in the ways of God.

The world may win happiness elsewhere, but he cannot. I do not blame ungodly men for rushing to their pleasures. Why should I? Let them have their fill. That is all they have to enjoy.

A converted wife who despaired of her husband was always very kind to him, for she said, “I fear that this is the only world in which he will be happy, and therefore I have made up my mind to make him as happy as I can in it.”

Christians must seek their delights in a higher sphere than the insipid frivolities or sinful enjoyments of the world. Vain pursuits are dangerous to renewed souls.

We have heard of a philosopher who, while he looked up to the stars, fell into a pit; but how deeply do they fall who look down. Their fall is fatal.

No Christian is safe when his soul is slothful, and his God is far from him. Every Christian is always safe as to the great matter of his standing in Christ, but he is not safe as regards his experience in holiness, and communion with Jesus in this life.

Satan does not often attack a Christian who is living near to God. It is when the Christian departs from his God, becomes spiritually starved, and endeavours to feed on vanities, that the devil discovers his vantage hour.

He may sometimes stand foot to foot with the child of God who is active in his Master’s service, but the battle is generally short: he who slips as he goes down into the Valley of Humiliation, every time he takes a false step invites Apollyon to assail him.

O for grace to walk humbly with our God!

Evening, June 12th

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, ”— 2 Timothy 1:9

The apostle uses the perfect tense and says, “Who hath saved us.”

Believers in Christ Jesus are saved. They are not looked upon as persons who are in a hopeful state, and may ultimately be saved, but they are already saved. Salvation is not a blessing to be enjoyed upon the dying bed, and to be sung of in a future state above, but a matter to be obtained, received, promised, and enjoyed now.

The Christian is perfectly saved in God’s purpose; God has ordained him unto salvation, and that purpose is complete. He is saved also as to the price which has been paid for him: “It is finished” was the cry of the Saviour ere he died.

The believer is also perfectly saved in his covenant head, for as he fell in Adam, so he lives in Christ. This complete salvation is accompanied by a holy calling.

Those whom the Saviour saved upon the cross are in due time effectually called by the power of God the Holy Spirit unto holiness: they leave their sins; they endeavour to be like Christ; they choose holiness, not out of any compulsion, but from the stress of a new nature, which leads them to rejoice in holiness just as naturally as aforetime they delighted in sin.

God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but he called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by his workmanship in them. The excellencies which we see in a believer are as much the work of God as the atonement itself.

Thus is brought out very sweetly the fulness of the grace of God. Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord is the author of it: and what motive but grace could move him to save the guilty?

Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord works in such a manner that our righteousness is forever excluded. Such is the believer’s privilege–a present salvation; such is the evidence that he is called to it–a holy life.

Evening, June 11th

“There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah.”— Psalm 76:3

Our Redeemer’s glorious cry of “It is finished,” was the death-knell of all the adversaries of his people, the breaking of “the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle.”

Behold the hero of Golgotha using his cross as an anvil, and his woes as a hammer, dashing to shivers bundle after bundle of our sins, those poisoned “arrows of the bow;” trampling on every indictment, and destroying every accusation.

What glorious blows the mighty Breaker gives with a hammer far more ponderous than the fabled weapon of Thor! How the diabolical darts fly to fragments, and the infernal bucklers are broken like potters’ vessels!

Behold, he draws from its sheath of hellish workmanship the dread sword of Satanic power! He snaps it across his knee, as a man breaks the dry wood of a fagot, and casts it into the fire.

Beloved, no sin of a believer can now be an arrow mortally to wound him, no condemnation can now be a sword to kill him, for the punishment of our sin was borne by Christ, a full atonement was made for all our iniquities by our blessed Substitute and Surety.

Who now accuseth? Who now condemneth?

Christ hath died, yea rather, hath risen again. Jesus has emptied the quivers of hell, has quenched every fiery dart, and broken off the head of every arrow of wrath; the ground is strewn with the splinters and relics of the weapons of hell’s warfare, which are only visible to us to remind us of our former danger, and of our great deliverance.

Sin hath no more dominion over us. Jesus has made an end of it, and put it away forever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end.

Talk ye of all the wondrous works of the Lord, ye who make mention of his name, keep not silence, neither by day, nor when the sun goeth to his rest. Bless the Lord, O my soul.

Evening, June 10th

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”— John 5:39

Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages; from first to last they testify of him.

At the creation we at once discern him as one of the sacred Trinity; we catch a glimpse of him in the promise of the woman’s seed; we see him typified in the ark of Noah; we walk with Abraham, as he sees Messiah’s day; we dwell in the tents of Isaac and Jacob, feeding upon the gracious promise; we hear the venerable Israel talking of Shiloh; and in the numerous types of the law, we find the Redeemer abundantly foreshadowed.

Prophets and kings, priests and preachers, all look one way—they all stand as the cherubs did over the ark, desiring to look within, and to read the mystery of God’s great propitiation. Still more manifestly in the New Testament we find our Lord the one pervading subject.

It is not an ingot here and there, or dust of gold thinly scattered, but here you stand upon a solid floor of gold; for the whole substance of the New Testament is Jesus crucified, and even its closing sentence is bejewelled with the Redeemer’s name.

We should always read Scripture in this light; we should consider the word to be as a mirror into which Christ looks down from heaven; and then we, looking into it, see his face reflected as in a glass—darkly, it is true, but still in such a way as to be a blessed preparation for seeing him as we shall see him face to face.

This volume contains Jesus Christ’s letters to us, perfumed by his love. These pages are the garments of our King, and they all smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Scripture is the royal chariot in which Jesus rides, and it is paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem.

The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the holy child Jesus; unroll them and you find your Saviour. The quintessence of the word of God is Christ.

Evening, June 9th

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”— John 5:39

The Greek word here rendered search signifies a strict, close, diligent, curious search, such as men make when they are seeking gold, or hunters when they are in earnest after game.

We must not rest content with having given a superficial reading to a chapter or two, but with the candle of the Spirit we must deliberately seek out the hidden meaning of the word. Holy Scripture requires searching–much of it can only be learned by careful study.

There is milk for babes, but also meat for strong men. The rabbis wisely say that a mountain of matter hangs upon every word, yea, upon every title of Scripture. Tertullian exclaims, “I adore the fulness of the Scriptures.”

No man who merely skims the book of God can profit thereby; we must dig and mine until we obtain the hid treasure. The door of the word only opens to the key of diligence.

The Scriptures claim searching. They are the writings of God, bearing the divine stamp and imprimatur–who shall dare to treat them with levity? He who despises them despises the God who wrote them.

God forbid that any of us should leave our Bibles to become swift witnesses against us in the great day of account. The word of God will repay searching. God does not bid us sift a mountain of chaff with here and there a grain of wheat in it, but the Bible is winnowed corn–we have but to open the granary door and find it.

Scripture grows upon the student. It is full of surprises. Under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to the searching eye it glows with splendour of revelation, like a vast temple paved with wrought gold, and roofed with rubies, emeralds, and all manner of gems.

No merchandise is like the merchandise of Scripture truth. Lastly, the Scriptures reveal Jesus: “They are they which testify of me.” No more powerful motive can be urged upon Bible readers than this: he who finds Jesus finds life, heaven, all things. Happy he who, searching his Bible, discovers his Saviour.

Evening, June 8th

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD’S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.”— Numbers 11:23

God had made a positive promise to Moses that for the space of a whole month he would feed the vast host in the wilderness with flesh. Moses, being overtaken by a fit of unbelief, looks to the outward means, and is at a loss to know how the promise can be fulfilled.

He looked to the creature instead of the Creator. But doth the Creator expect the creature to fulfil his promise for him? No; he who makes the promise ever fulfils it by his own unaided omnipotence.

If he speaks, it is done–done by himself. His promises do not depend for their fulfilment upon the co-operation of the puny strength of man. We can at once perceive the mistake which Moses made. And yet how commonly we do the same!

God has promised to supply our needs, and we look to the creature to do what God has promised to do; and then, because we perceive the creature to be weak and feeble, we indulge in unbelief.

Why look we to that quarter at all? Will you look to the north pole to gather fruits ripened in the sun? Verily, you would act no more foolishly if ye did this than when you look to the weak for strength, and to the creature to do the Creator’s work.

Let us, then, put the question on the right footing. The ground of faith is not the sufficiency of the visible means for the performance of the promise, but the all-sufficiency of the invisible God, who will most surely do as he hath said.

If after clearly seeing that the onus lies with the Lord and not with the creature, we dare to indulge in mistrust, the question of God comes home mightily to us: “Has the Lord’s hand waxed short?”

May it happen, too, in his mercy, that with the question there may flash upon our souls that blessed declaration, “Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.”

Evening, June 7th

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”— Revelation 3:19

If you would see souls converted, if you would hear the cry that “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord;” if you would place crowns upon the head of the Saviour, and his throne lifted high, then be filled with zeal.

For, under God, the way of the world’s conversion must be by the zeal of the church. Every grace shall do exploits, but this shall be first; prudence, knowledge, patience, and courage will follow in their places, but zeal must lead the van.

It is not the extent of your knowledge, though that is useful; it is not the extent of your talent, though that is not to be despised; it is your zeal that shall do great exploits. This zeal is the fruit of the Holy Spirit: it draws its vital force from the continued operations of the Holy Ghost in the soul.

If our inner life dwindles, if our heart beats slowly before God, we shall not know zeal; but if all be strong and vigorous within, then we cannot but feel a loving anxiety to see the kingdom of Christ come, and his will done on earth, even as it is in heaven.

A deep sense of gratitude will nourish Christian zeal. Looking to the hole of the pit whence we were digged, we find abundant reason why we should spend and be spent for God. And zeal is also stimulated by the thought of the eternal future.

It looks with tearful eyes down to the flames of hell, and it cannot slumber: it looks up with anxious gaze to the glories of heaven, and it cannot but bestir itself. It feels that time is short compared with the work to be done, and therefore it devotes all that it has to the cause of its Lord.

And it is ever strengthened by the remembrance of Christ’s example. He was clothed with zeal as with a cloak. How swift the chariot-wheels of duty went with him! He knew no loitering by the way. Let us prove that we are his disciples by manifesting the same spirit of zeal.

Evening, June 6th

“Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.”— 2 Corinthians 11:22

We have here a personal claim, and one that needs proof.

The apostle knew that his claim was indisputable, but there are many persons who have no right to the title who yet claim to belong to the Israel of God. If we are with confidence declaring, “So am I also an Israelite,” let us only say it after having searched our heart as in the presence of God.

But if we can give proof that we are following Jesus, if we can from the heart say, “I trust him wholly, trust him only, trust him simply, trust him now, and trust him ever,” then the position which the saints of God hold belongs to us–all their enjoyments are our possessions; we may be the very least in Israel, “less than the least of all saints,” yet since the mercies of God belong to the saints as saints, and not as advanced saints, or well-taught saints, we may put in our plea, and say, “Are they Israelites? so am I; therefore the promises are mine, grace is mine, glory will be mine.”

The claim, rightfully made, is one which will yield untold comfort. When God’s people are rejoicing that they are his, what a happiness if they can say, “So am I !” When they speak of being pardoned, and justified, and accepted in the Beloved, how joyful to respond, “Through the grace of God, so am I.”

But this claim not only has its enjoyments and privileges, but also its conditions and duties. We must share with God’s people in cloud as well as in sunshine. When we hear them spoken of with contempt and ridicule for being Christians, we must come boldly forward and say, “So am I.”

When we see them working for Christ, giving their time, their talent, their whole heart to Jesus, we must be able to say, “So do I.” O let us prove our gratitude by our devotion, and live as those who, having claimed a privilege, are willing to take the responsibility connected with it.

Evening, June 5th

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”— 1 John 4:8

The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in the love of Christ, and the yielding of his affections to Christ in return.

First, faith sets her seal upon the man by enabling the soul to say with the apostle, “Christ loved me and gave himself for me.” Then love gives the countersign, and stamps upon the heart gratitude and love to Jesus in return.

“We love him because he first loved us.”

In those grand old ages, which are the heroic period of the Christian religion, this double mark was clearly to be seen in all believers in Jesus; they were men who knew the love of Christ, and rested upon it as a man leaneth upon a staff whose trustiness he has tried.

The love which they felt towards the Lord was not a quiet emotion which they hid within themselves in the secret chamber of their souls, and which they only spake of in their private assemblies when they met on the first day of the week, and sang hymns in honour of Christ Jesus the crucified, but it was a passion with them of such a vehement and all-consuming energy, that it was visible in all their actions, spoke in their common talk, and looked out of their eyes even in their commonest glances.

Love to Jesus was a flame which fed upon the core and heart of their being; and, therefore, from its own force burned its way into the outer man, and shone there. Zeal for the glory of King Jesus was the seal and mark of all genuine Christians.

Because of their dependence upon Christ’s love they dared much, and because of their love to Christ they did much, and it is the same now. The children of God are ruled in their inmost powers by love–the love of Christ constraineth them; they rejoice that divine love is set upon them, they feel it shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto them, and then by force of gratitude they love the Saviour with a pure heart, fervently.

My reader, do you love him? Ere you sleep give an honest answer to a weighty question!

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