Bro. Mark's Daily Thought
Oh! it must have been sweet to have lived with Christ. Surely, sorrows were then but joys in masks, because they gave an opportunity to go to Jesus to have them removed. Oh! would to God, some of us may say, that we could have lain our weary heads upon the bosom of Jesus, and that our birth had been in that happy era, when we might have heard His kind voice, when he said, "Let the weary ones come unto me." But hear how kindly Jesus speaks: "I will not leave you comfortless, for I will pray the Father, and He will send you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever."
Our world has two forces; it has one tendency to run off at a tangent from its orbit; but the sun draws it by a centripetal power, and attracts it to itself. Oh! Christian, thou wilt never walk aright, and keep in the orbit of truth, if it be not for the influence of Christ perpetually attracting thee to the center. Christ is drawing thee to himself, to his likeness, to his character, to his love, to his bosom, and in that way thou art kept from thy natural tendency to fly off and to be lost in the wide fields of sin. Bless God, that Christ lifted up draws all his people unto him.
Better have two lights than only one. The light of creation is a bright light. God may be seen in. the stars; his name is written in gilt letters on the brow of night; you may discover his glory in the ocean waves, yea, in the trees of the field; but it is better to read it in two books than in one. You will find it here more clearly revealed; for he has written this book himself, and he has given you the key to understand it, if you have the Holy Spirit. Ah, beloved, let us thank God for this Bible; let us love it; let us count it more precious than much fine gold.
If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes the common pebbles of God's temporal bounties more precious than diamonds; and spiritual prayer cuts the diamond, and makes it glisten more. When thou art wrestling, like Jacob with the angel, and are nearly thrown down, ask the Holy Spirit to nerve thine arm. Consider how the Holy Spirit is the chariot-wheel of prayer. Prayer may be the chariot, the desire may draw it forth, but the Spirit is the very wheel whereby it moveth.
There are moments when the eyes glisten with joy: and we can say, "we are persuaded, confident, certain." I do not wish to distress anyone who is under doubt. Often gloomy doubts will prevail; there are seasons when you fear you have not been called, when you doubt your interest in Christ. Ah! what a mercy it is that it is not your hold of Christ that saves you, but his hold of you! What a sweet fact that it is not how you grasp his hand, but his grasp of yours, that saves you. The Lord's promise once given is never recalled.
The gospel is the sum of wisdom; an epitome of knowledge; a treasure-house of truth; and a revelation of mysterious secrets. Our meditation upon it enlarges the mind; and as it opens to our soul in successive flashes of glory, we stand astonished at the profound wisdom manifest in it. Ah, dear friends! if ye seek wisdom, ye shall see it displayed in all its greatness. But turn aside and see this great sight—an incarnate God upon the cross; a substitute atoning for mortal guilt: a sacrifice satisfying the vengeance of Heaven, and delivering the rebellious sinner. Here is essential wisdom; enthroned, crowned, glorified.
Dost thou know, O saint, how much the Holy Spirit loves thee? Canst thou measure the love of the Spirit? Dost thou know how great is the affection of his soul towards thee? Go measure heaven with thy span; go weigh the mountains in the scales; go take the ocean's water, and tell each drop; go count the sand upon the sea's wide shore; and when thou hast accomplished this, thou canst tell how much he loveth thee. He has loved thee long, he has loved thee well, he loved thee ever, and he still shall love thee; surely he is the person to comfort thee, because he loves.
Some people say they cannot bear to be an hour in solitude; they have got nothing to do, nothing to think about. No Christian will ever talk so, surely; for if I can but give him one word to think of, Christ, let him spell that over forever; let me give him the word Jesus, and only let him try to think it over, and he shall find that an hour is naught, and that eternity is not half enough to utter our glorious Saviour's praise.From a sweet fountain of thought we shall have sweet waters of talk. It is sweet to live in the thoughts of those we love.
The canon revelation is closed; there is no more to be added; God does not give a fresh revelation, but he rivets the old one. When it has been forgotten, and laid in the dusty chamber of our memory, he brings it forth and cleans the picture, but does not paint a new one. It is not by any new revelation that the Spirit comforts. He does so by telling us old things over again; he brings a fresh lamp to manifest the treasures hidden in Scripture; he unlocks the strong chests in which the truth has long lain, and he points to secret chambers filled with untold riches; but he coins no more, for enough is done.
Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them. No man is competent to judge in matters of the kingdom, until first he has been tried; since there are many things to be learned in the depths which we can never know in the heights. He shall best meet the wants of God's people who has had those wants himself; he shall best comfort God's Israel who has needed comfort; and he shall best preach salvation who has felt his own need of it.
If I desired to put myself in the most likely place for the Lord to meet with me, I should prefer the house of prayer, for it is in preaching, that the Word is most blessed; but still I think I should equally desire the reading of the Scriptures; for I might pause over every verse, and say, "Such a verse was blessed to so many souls; then, why not to me? I am at least in the pool of Bethesda; I am walking amongst its porches, and who can tell but that the angel will stir the pool of the Word, whilst I lie helplessly by the side of it, waiting for the blessing?"
Oh! it is a happy way of smoothing sorrow when we can say, "We will wait only upon God." Oh, ye agitated Christians, do not dishonor your religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden up on the Lord. I see ye staggering beneath a weight which He would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to him but as the small dust of the balance. See! the Almighty bends his shoulders, and he says, ''Here, put thy troubles here." "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest."
Christ is the chariot in which souls are drawn to heaven. The people of the Lord are on their way to heaven; they are carried in everlasting arms; and those arms are the arms of Christ. Christ is carrying them up to his own house, to his own throne; by-and-by his prayer, "Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am," shall be wholly fulfilled. The cross is the great covenant transport which will weather out the storms, and reach its desired heaven. This is the chariot, the pillars wherewith are of gold; it is lined with the purple of the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What! is Christ thy Brother, and does he live in thine house, and yet thou hast not spoken to him for a month? I fear there is little love between thee and thy Brother, for thou hast had no conversation with him for so long. What! is Christ the Husband of his Church, and has she had no fellowship with him for all this time? Prayer is the outcome of that sense of need which arises from the new life; a man would not pray to God if he did not feel that he had urgent need of blessings which only the Lord can bestow. Prayer is the autograph of the Holy Ghost upon the renewed heart.
To know one's self to be foolish is to stand upon the door-step of the temple of wisdom; to understand the wrongness of any position is half way towards amending it; to be quite sure that our self-confidence is sin and folly, and an offense towards God, is a great help towards the absolute casting of our self-confidence away, and the bringing of our souls, in practice as well as in theory, to rely wholly upon the power of God's Holy Spirit. Nobody will err about the way to God if he really resolves to follow that way. The Spirit of God will guide those whose hearts are set upon coming to God.
You cannot, though you may think you can, preserve a moderation in sin. If you commit one sin, it is like the melting of the lower glacier upon the Alps; the others must follow in time. As certainly as you heap one stone upon the cairn today, the next day you will cast another, until the heap, reared stone by stone, shall become a very pyramid. Set the coral insect at work, you cannot decree where it shall stay its work. It will not build its rock just as high as you please; it will not stay until there shall be soil upon it, and an island shall be created by tiny creatures. Sin cannot be held in with bit and bridle.
From the cross of Calvary, where the bleeding hands of Jesus drop mercy; from the garden of Gethsemane, the cry comes, "Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth." From Calvary's summit, where Jesus cries, "It is finished," I hear a shout, "Look, and be saved." But there comes a cry from our soul, "Nay, look to yourself!" Ah, look to yourself, and you will be lost. As long as you look to yourself there is no hope for you. It is not a consideration of what you are, but a consideration of what God is, and what Christ is, that can save you.
If you know these two things, yourself a sinner and Christ a Saviour it is looking from yourself to Jesus. Oh! there be men that quite misunderstand the gospel; they think that righteousness qualifies them to come to Christ; whereas sin is the only qualification for a man to come to Jesus. Good old Crisp says, "Righteousness keeps me from Christ: the whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. Sin makes me come to Jesus, when sin is felt; and in coming to Christ, the more sin I have the more cause I have to hope for mercy."