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An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith- Appendix Point 10

10. Though we be not now sent to the Law as it was in the hand of Moses, to be commanded thereby, yet Christ in His Gospel teacheth and commandeth us to walk in the same way of righteousness and holiness that God by Moses did command the Israelites to walk in, all the Commandments of the second Table being still delivered unto us by Christ, and all the Commandments of the first Table also (as touching the life and spirit of them) in this epitome or brief sum, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, &c. Matt. 22: 37, 38, 39, 40.. Rom. 13:8, 9, 10.

Benjamin Cox- An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith

An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith- Appendix Point 8

8. Though all our workings for life be in vain, irregular, and not accepted of God, (Jesus Christ being our life, Who is freely given to us of God,) yet we believe and know that being made partakers of Jesus Christ, we do, and shall, and must, through Him, and walking in Him, bring forth the fruit of good works, serving God (in true obedience, and love, and thankfulness unto Him) in holiness and righteousness, being His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which He hath before ordained that we should walk in them; Eph. 2:10; Luke 1:74,75.

Benjamin Cox- An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith

We are to cast away those doctrines that do not promote holiness in the soul

February 2, 2015 1 comment

Spurgeon 6We think, also, that we may judge of the soundness of doctrine by its tendency. We can never think a doctrine sound, when we see plainly upon its very surface that it has a tendency to create sin in men. Unless it be a doctrine according to godliness, we cannot conceive it to be a doctrine of God. Unless the believer of it, earnestly and truthfully believing it, doth give himself to virtue — unless that doctrine has in itself a natural tendency to promote in him a love to the right — we are at first sight suspicious of it; and if we find on examination that it is a licentious doctrine — it may have all the glitter and the glare of novelty, but we cast it away as not being the doctrine of Christianity, because it does not promote holiness in the soul.

Charles H. Spurgeon-The Form of Sound Words-Delivered on Sabbath, May 11, 1856

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers-Prayer 8

October 9, 2014 1 comment

A PRAYER FOR HOLINESS.

 

OUR Father, we worship and love Thee; and it is one point of our worship that Thou art holy. Time was when we loved Thee for Thy mercy; we knew no more; but now Thou hast changed our hearts and made us in love with goodness, purity, justice, true holiness; and we understand now why “the cherubim and seraphim continually do cry, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts,”

We adore Thee because Thou art holy, and we love Thee for Thine infinite perfection. For now we sigh and cry after holiness ourselves. Sanctify us wholly, spirit, soul and body. Lord, we mourn over the sins of our past life and our present shortcomings. We bless Thee Thou hast forgiven us; we are reconciled to Thee by the death of Thy Son. There are many who know that they have been washed, and that He that beareth away sin has borne their sin away. These are they who now cry to Thee to be delivered from the power of sin, to be delivered from the power of temptation without, but especially from indwelling sin within.

Lord, purify us in head, heart and hand; and if it be needful that we should be put into the fire to be refined as silver is refined, we would even welcome the fire if we may be rid of the dross. Lord, save us from constitutional sin, from sins of temperament, from sins of our surroundings. Save us from ourselves in every shape, and grant us especially to have the light of love strong within us.

May we love God; may we love Thee, O Savior; may we love the people of God as being members of one body in connection with Thee. May we love the guilty world with that love which desires its salvation and conversion; and may we love not in word only, but in deed and in truth. May we help the helpless, comfort the mourner, sympathize with the widow and fatherless, and may we be always ready to put up with wrong, to be long suffering, to be very patient, full of forgiveness, counting it a small thing that we should forgive our fellow-men since we have been forgiven of God. Lord, tune our hearts to love, and then give us an inward peace, a restfulness about everything.

May we have no burden to carry, because, though we have a burden, we have rolled it upon the Lord. May we take up our cross, and because Christ has once died on the cross may our cross become a comfort to us. May we count it all joy when we fall into divers trials, knowing that in all this God will be glorified, His image will be stamped upon us, and the eternal purpose will be fulfilled, wherein He has predestinated us to be conformed unto the image of His Son.

Lord, look upon Thy people. We might pray about our troubles. We will not; we will only pray against our sins. We might come to Thee about our weariness, about our sickness, about our disappointment, about our poverty; but we will leave all that, we will only come about sin. Lord, make us holy, and then do what Thou wilt with us.

We pray Thee help us to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. If we are fighting against: sin — “ the sin which doth so easily beset us “ — Lord, lend us heavenly weapons and heavenly strength that we may cut the giants down, these men of Anak that come against us. We feel very feeble. Oh! make us strong in the Lord, in the power of His might. May we never let sin have any rest in us, may we chase it, drive it out, slay it, hang it on a tree, abhor it, and may we “cleave to that which is good.”

Some of us are trying, striving after some excellent virtue. Lord, help stragglers; enable those that contend against great difficulties only to greater grace, more faith, and so to bring them nearer to God. Lord, we will be holy; by Thy grace we will never rest until we are. Thou hast begun a good work in us and Thou wilt carry it on. Thou wilt work in us to will and to do of Thine own good pleasure.

Lord, help the converted child to be correct in his relation to his parents; help the Christian father or mother to be right in dealing with children, “may they not provoke their children to anger lest they may discourage.” Take away willfulness from the young; take away impatience from the old. Lord, help Christian men of business. May they act uprightly; may Christian masters never be hard to their servants, to their workpeople; and may Christian workpeople, give to their masters that which is just and equal in the way of work in return for wage. May we as Christian men be always standing upon our rights, but always be willing each one to minister to the help of others.

And, oh that as Christians we might be humble! Lord, take away that stiffnecked, that proud look; take away from us the spirit of “stand by, for I am holier than Thou;” make us condescend to men of low estate; ay, and even to men of low morals, low character. May we seek them out, seek their good. Oh! give to the Church of Christ an intense love for the souls of men. May it make our hearts break to think that they will perish in their sin. May we grieve every day because of the sin of this City. Set a mark upon our forehead and let us be known to Thyself as men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst of the City.

O God, save us from a hard heart, an unkind spirit, that is insensible to the woes of others. Lord, preserve Thy people also from worldliness, from rioting, from drunkenness, from chambering and wantonness, from strife and envy, from everything that would dishonor the name of Christ that we bear. Lord, make us holy. Our prayer comes back to this. Make us holy; cleanse the inside and let the outside be clean too. Make us holy, O God: do this for Christ’s sake. Not that we hope to be saved by our own holiness, but that holiness is salvation. Then we are saved from sin.

Lord, help Thy poor children to be holy. Oh! keep us so if we are so; keep us even from stumbling, and present us faultless before Thy presence at last. We pray for friends that are ill, for many that are troubled because of the illness of others. We bring before Thee every case of trouble and trial known to us, and ask for Thy gracious intervention. We pray for Thy ministers everywhere; for Thy missionary servants. Remember brethren that are making great sacrifice out in the hot sun or in the cold and frozen north. Everywhere preserve those who for Christ’s sake carry their lives in their hands.

And our brethren at home, in poverty many of them, working for Christ, Lord, accept them and help us to help them. Sunday-school teachers, do Thou remember them; and the tract visitors from door to door, and the City missionaries, and the Bible women, all who in any way endeavor to bring Christ under the notice of men. O, help them all.

We will offer but one more prayer, and it is this. Lord, look in pity upon any who are not in Christ. May they be converted. May they pass from death to life, and they will never forget it; may they see the eternal light for the first time, and they will remember it even in Eternity. Father help us; bless us now for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers

Longings after God

July 16, 2014 1 comment

My dear Lord, I can but tell Thee that Thou knowest I long for nothing but Thyself, nothing but holiness, nothing but union with Thy will. Thou hast given me these desires, and thou alone canst give me the thing desired. My soul longs for communion with Thee, for mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride. How precious it is to have a tender sense and clear apprehension of the mystery of godliness, of true holiness! What a blessedness to be like Thee as much as it is possible for a creature to be like its creator! Lord, give me more of Thy likeness; enlarge my soul to contain fullness of holiness; engage me to live more for Thee. Help me to be less pleased with my spiritual experiences, and when I feel at ease after sweet communings, teach me it is far too little I know and do. Blessed Lord, let me climb up near to Thee, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle with Thee, and pant for deliverance from the body of sin, for my heart is wandering and lifeless, and my soul mourns to think it should ever lose sight of its beloved. Wrap my life in divine love, and keep me ever desiring Thee, always humble and resigned to Thy will, more fixed on Thyself, that I may be more fitted for doing and-suffering.

 

Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett. Reformatted by Eternal Life Ministries.

Question 72-Puritan Catechism

Spurgeon 3Q. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?

A. The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of convicting and converting sinners, (Psalm 19:7) and of building them up in holiness and comfort, (1 Thessalonians 1:6) through faith to salvation. (Romans 1:16)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Question 68-Puritan Catechism

April 24, 2014 1 comment

Spurgeon 6Q. How may we escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?

A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, we must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, (John 3:16) trusting alone to his blood and righteousness. This faith is attended by repentance for the past (Acts 20:21) and leads to holiness in the future.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Chapter 10-Holiness, Goodness, Love, and Truth

February 12, 2014 1 comment

Chapter 10-Holiness, Goodness, Love, and Truth

 

After the consideration of the wisdom and knowledge of God, which correspond to the characteristics of our mental organism, we take up that of those attributes sometimes called moral, because they correspond to those which form our moral character. These are holiness, goodness, truth and justice.

 

HOLINESS.

Holiness is, however, not a distinctive attribute, but rather the combination of all these attributes. We may suppose a being in whom there may be love without justice, or truth, or any one of these to the exclusion of the other two; but no being can be holy, who does not combine in himself all of these, and all other moral perfections. Nor, when we have such a combination, is there anything to be added to constitute holy character. It is evident, therefore, that holiness is the sum of all excellence and the combination of all the attributes which constitute perfection of character.

In the study of these constituents, we first consider

 

GOODNESS.

In one aspect of this word, it is merely equivalent to holiness. If we look at it as marking the excellence of God’s nature, as we often use it with reference to man, we mean by it simply holiness. Thus, when we say of any one, he is a good man, we mean to assert the combination of traits of character, such as have just been pointed out as constituting holiness. This is the goodness which terminates in God himself.

On the other hand, the goodness of God may be spoken of as kindness, benevolence, or beneficence towards others, in which it is seen to terminate outside of himself. Thus we speak of him, as being very good to us. Thus the Psalmist says: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Ps. 23: 6.

It is on account of this ambiguity in this word, that it is best to consider it, in its first aspect, as merely holiness, and, therefore, as disposed of in what we have said of that, and to refer it in this second respect to one of the divisions into which the love of God naturally falls.

We therefore take up next

 

LOVE.

Of this there are five kinds, which vary according to the object upon which love is exercised. The attribute in God is the same; but it is in its exit, or in its termination, that it assumes these different forms.

1. There is the love of complacency or approbation. This is exercised towards a worthy object in which excellencies are perceived. It is of the nature of tile love of the beautiful, or the good, or the useful in us. It complacently or approvingly regards, because there is in the object something worthy of’ such regard.

This is exercised by God, in its highest degree, in the love of himself, of his own nature and character, because the infinitely excellent must be to God the highest object of complacent love.

Were God but one person, in this way only could such love be exercised. But in the Trinity of the Godhead, there is found, in the love of the separate persons towards each other, another mode in which this love of complacency may in this highest sense be exercised.

Such love is also felt by God for his purposes. As he perceives them to be just, wise and gracious, he approves and regards them with complacent love.

But this love extends itself also to the creations, which result from this purpose.

This is true of inanimate creation. It is perfect, as far as conformed to his will, and fitted to accomplish his end, and as such God can regard it and pronounce it good. Thus we find that he did in the creation, Genesis, Chap. 1:10, 12.

The same record is made, in verse 25, as to the animal creation, before that of man; and after the creation, and investiture of man with the dominion over the earth, with its plants and animals, we are told, verse 31, “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

The complacent love of God, therefore, extends not only to himself and his will, but to all his innocent creation and even to inanimate nature.

This love of complacency, however, as it is exercised in its highest degree towards himself, so also is it exhibited, in the nearest approach to that, towards those beings who are most like himself, having been made in his nature and likeness. An innocent angel, or an innocent man is therefore by nature a joy to God, as is the child to the father who sees in it a peculiar likeness to himself.

But the guilty cannot thus be loved. Sinful man cannot receive such love, so long as sinful. Even the penitent believer in Jesus, until the time of his perfect sanctification in the life to come, and doubtless even then, has access to God only through Christ, and, of himself, can in no respect secure the approbation of God.

2. The second kind of love, is the love of benevolence, which corresponds to the idea of God’s goodness towards his creatures.

This is the product of his wishes for their happiness. It is not dependent on their character, as is the love of complacency, but is exercised towards both innocent and guilty.

It is general in its nature, not special, and exists towards all, even towards devils, and wicked men, because God’s nature is benevolent, and, therefore, he must wish for the happiness of his creatures

That that happiness is not attained, nor attainable, is due, not to him, but to their own sin.

When the benevolence of God is exercised actively in the bestowment of good things upon his creatures, it is called his beneficence. By the former, he wishes them happiness, by the latter, he confers blessings to make them so.

This is done to the wicked also, as well as to the righteous. It is to this that Christ refers, Matt. 5:45, “He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.”

3. The third form of love is the love of compassion.

This corresponds to our idea of pity. It is benevolent disposition to those who are suffering or in distress.

This also may be exercised towards the guilty or the innocent, if it be possible to suppose that guilt and suffering are separable.

It has been very commonly held that they are inseparable. Pain, suffering and distress have been believed to be the result of sin, and consequently inseparable from guilt.

But this is a mistaken notion. Man in a state of innocence was made capable of physical suffering. That capacity was necessary to the protection of his physical organism.

The lower animals also suffer.

Whatever addition to the capacity of suffering has, therefore, been made by the fall, and is the consequence of sin, we are not, on that account ,forced to the conclusion that there can be no suffering where there has been no sin.

The capacity to suffer may so belong to a higher organism, that we would naturally choose that organism, with that capacity, rather than a lower one without it. If so God can justly so create us.

If misery, then, may be the lot of the innocent, God’s love of compassion can be exercised toward such.

It can be and is also exercised toward the guilty. We see this in the forbearance with which he delays their punishment, in his constant offers of mercy, in his yearnings after their salvation, and most signally, in the gift of his only begotten Son, “that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

4. A fourth form of the love of God corresponds to what we call mercy.

This can be exercised only toward sinners.

Its very nature contemplates guilt in its objects.

It consists, not only in the desire not to inflict the punishment due to sin, and the neglect and refusal to do so, but in the actual pardon of the offender.

It cannot be exercised towards a righteous being, because in him is no sin or guilt to be pardoned.

It is, however, no new attribute in God, which has arisen because of the existence of sin, and which is, therefore, an addition to his attributes.

It is a virtue inherent in his nature, and is especially only one form in which his love exhibits itself, the same love as that benevolence which innocent creatures call forth, and the same love which in another form of complacency has been eternally exercised in the Godhead.

When we say that this mercy must be exercised in accordance with the truth and justice of God, we say no more than is true of every attribute of God. No one can be exercised in such a way as to destroy another. Every one must be in harmony with the others. Or, remembering what we have before stated, that these attributes are not separate faculties, all that is meant in this case, as in all others, is that God must act in harmony with his nature.

The objects of the exercise of this attribute are all those to whom God pardons offenses of any kind.

They are not to be confined to redeemed sinners, although this is the most signal exhibition.

Under the ancient economy, God ruled as theocratic ruler over Israel. Sins of the nation and sins of individuals in their capacity of citizens of the nation, were pardoned.

Under that dispensation God occupied to that people the position of an earthly ruler, and consequently could pardon sins against his government at will, upon repentance, and upon merely governmental principle–that is, such as would secure obedience to the law, and peace and order, and the welfare of the nation. These were offences against the mere person of the king or the laws of his state, and not against the fundamental principles of holiness and righteousness; hence sovereignty and expediency could decide in each case what might be done, and mercy was exercised and justice dispensed accordingly.

But this is very different from the case of God, the righteous judge, the dispenser, not of arbitrary law, but of a law based upon his own nature and that of man, essential obedience to which is necessary, not for maintaining government, but for preserving and maintaining the right and preventing the violation with impunity of eternal law.

In both cases God must act in harmony with his whole nature.

But in that of Israel no obstacle was presented by that nature to the pardon of individual and national sins against the theocratic king.

Hence mercy was extended, apparently at least, without compensation to justice.

Yet amid it all, there was, in the sacrificial offerings with which the people were required to approach God, seeking pardon for both individual and national political sins, such a typical relation to the atonement made by Christ as shows that in some way in that atonement, may, after all, be found the reason why God, even in those cases, could be just and yet justify the offenders.

5. The fifth form of love is that of affection.

This differs from that of complacency inasmuch as it does not always demand a worthy object. This is exhibited in the parable of the “Prodigal Son.”

It differs from that of benevolence, inasmuch as its object is not viewed in general with all others, but is one of special interest.

It differs from that of compassion and that of mercy, because the object may neither be in distress, nor sinful.

It arises from,

(1.) Mutual relationship; as of the Father to the Son, and of all the persons in the Trinity toward each other; of God to Israel, of Christ to his apostles, his disciples and his church, and of the adopted sons to God the Father.

(2.) From dependence; as of creatures on the creator, and of the redeemed upon the redeemer.

(3.) From ownership; as of God over man of God over Israel, and of Christ over the redeemed. This is illustrated in the lost coin in Luke 15:8, 9.

This kind of love originates in each of these ways in man, and, as the Scriptures show, is also found in God.

It is from this aspect of God’s love that proceeds grace, which is to be distinguished from love, and pity, and mercy.

Love, as we have seen, is the general characteristic, exhibiting itself in these five different forms.

Mercy is one of these, but is given to the guilty only.

Pity is given to guilty or innocent, who may be in distress, pain or suffering.

Grace is also given to guilty, or innocent, and does not necessarily suppose distress in the object, but involves an affectionate interest in it, arising either from peculiar relation to it, or ownership of it, or compassion for its dependence.

Grace is undeserved favour to innocent or guilty arising from affection.

Mercy is undeserved compassion to the guilty only.

 

THE TRUTH OF GOD.

The expression, “truth of God,” is ambiguous, and must be considered under the specific terms which set forth its various meanings.

I His Verity. He is True God. By this is meant, the exact correspondence of the nature of God with the ideal of absolute perfection. The foundation of that ideal may be indeterminable. But, whether it is in the nature of God himself, or in his will proceeding from his nature, or in eternal principles of the fit and the necessary and the right, which exactly coincide with that nature, God and that ideal must be perfect counterparts. That ideal can only be partially comprehended by any of his creatures, because of their imperfections; but it is known by God in all its supreme excellence, and his nature must fully correspond to it as thus known. Otherwise he would not be God.

It is in this aspect of God’s truth, that the Scriptures call him the true God. See 2 Chron. 15:3; Jer. 10:10; John 17:3; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 3:7.

II. His Veracity. By this is meant, God’s truthfulness or incapacity to deceive. It is an attribute of his nature, which, like his power, exists, and makes him what he is, even though there be no outward relation to it. By virtue of it, he is the source of all truth, not moral only, but even mathematical.

In its relation to God’s creatures, it is the foundation of their confidence in the knowledge obtained through the use of their own faculties, whether by intuition, observation or reason. Whatever imperfection there is in such knowledge, is perceived to be due to the creature, and not to God the creator. Upon it is also based belief in the revelations God makes to man of facts beyond the attainment of merely human power.

The Scriptures affirm the veracity of God in the strongest terms. In addition to its assertion in numerous passages, we are told, Ps. 108:4, that his “truth reacheth unto the skies.” In Titus 1:2, he is called “God, who cannot lie.”

III. His faithfulness. This consists in the truth of God viewed in its relation to his purposes whether secret, or revealed. When revealed, these become either promises, or threats. But as promises, the ground upon which these purposes must be fulfilled is, not any obligation to the creature, for God can come under none, but simply because of his own faithfulness to his purposes. Hence his faithfulness demands equally the performance of his threatenings, as of his promises.

This faithfulness is based upon the veracity of his nature considered above. It is by virtue of that veracity, that God must be faithful; yet the faithfulness is a new aspect, in which God’s truthfulness appears.

This faithfulness is the ground both of hope and of fear. In the Scriptures it is more frequently presented as a reason for hope and trust. But it is also the foundation of belief in future judgement and punishment. The faithful God has been true to his threatenings, as well as his promises. His faithfulness assures us that he will so continue.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887 

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-12-Regeneration and Sanctification

January 9, 2014 2 comments

Regeneration and Sanctification

 

1. What is the first work that the Spirit accomplished in those who are saved?

The work of Regeneration.

2. What is meant by our Regeneration?

Our being born again.

3. What does the Spirit do in the act of Regeneration?

He gives us a new heart, inclined to love and practice holiness.

4. How does Regeneration affect the mind?

It enlightens the mind to understand savingly the Word of God.

5. Is Regeneration necessary to salvation?

Yes, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

6. Are we made perfectly holy in Regeneration?

No, this is only attained in our perfect Sanctification.

7. What is meant by our Sanctification?

It means our being made holy or free from sin.

8. Is such perfection attained in this life?

It is not.

9. What, then, is the Sanctification which we have experienced?

It is a change produced by the influences of the Spirit, by which we gradually increase in the love and practice of holiness.

 

James P. Boyce-A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

Question 36-Puritan Catechism

September 12, 2013 2 comments

Spurgeon 3Q. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at their death?

A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, (Hebrews 12:23) and do immediately pass into glory, (Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Luke 23:43) and their bodies, being still united to Christ, (1 Thessalonians 4:14) do rest in their graves (Isaiah 57:2) till the resurrection. (Job 19:26)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism