An Exposition Upon the Epistle of Jude, pp. 50-51 The sanctification of none is in this life so complete, but it admits of multiplication. Mercy, peace, love, even to you (saith the apostle) be multiplied. There is no plenary perfection on this side heaven; the highest saint in this life is not come to the fullness of his measure, Eph. iv. 13. Blessed Paul thought not himself to have apprehended, Phil. iii.13. The most perfect Christian is perfectly imperfect when he begins, imperfectly perfect when he ends; when we have done all, we are unprofitable servants. The fullest vessel may have more wine poured into it, without any fear of bursting; none must bid God stay his hand. They who think have need of nothing, have truly received nothing. Till the sabbath comes, we must daily be gathering manna: he that rests in time of labour, shall labour, though in vain, in the time of rest. A Christian is not like a top, that moves by going round, and not by going forward: not like the sun in Hezekiah’s time, that stood still; but like the sun in its natural course, that goes forward to the perfect day. we must go from strength to strength, till we appear before the Lord in Zion, Psal. lxxxiv.7. Where there is no growing, there is some decaying. While we neglect to gain, we spend upon the stock. Sin is continually making breaches in our graces, and we must be daily making them up; our garment has daily rents, and therefore it wants constant mending; the dust daily falls in our houses, and therefore they want frequent cleansing; our hearts are like to children’s faces, after every washing, they soon grow foul again. Sanctification is nothing but a return to our first estate, to which we cannot attain till death. When the sting of sin is gone, the stain cleaves close, and we had need wash seven times daily to get it out.
The primitive institution of the Sabbath—as the sign of that rest into which spiritually and by faith we enter now, as well as the foretaste of the rest which remaineth for us in the world to come—is surely a delightful truth; and its observance cannot but be a precious privilege. This world, with all that it contains, was made for man. Man himself was made for God, for entering into God’s rest. And that he might all the better do so, the Sabbath was made for him. “God blessed the Sabbath-day and hallowed it.” The blessing is not recalled, the consecration is not repealed. There remaineth a rest unto the people of God—and a day of rest. Let us not fall short of the rest hereafter. Let us not despise the day of rest now. Studies in Genesis, Chapter 2
Robert Smith Candlish discusses the proper approach to the use of creature-comforts (Studies in Genesis; Genesis 1.1) [I]f, on the instant when we were about to use, as we have been wont, any of the creatures of God provided for our accommodation, God himself were to appear personally present before us, and were to say, Son—Daughter—I created this thing which you are about to use—this cup of wine which you are about to drink, this piece of money that you are about to spend, this brother or sister with whom you are now conversing—and I testify this to you, at this particular moment—I, your Lord and your God—I created them—such as they are—for those ends which they are plainly designed to serve;—would we go on to make the very same use of the creature that we intended to make? Or would not our hand be arrested, and our mouth shut, and our spirit made to stand in awe, so that we would not sin?
The Rev. Thomas Manton disabusing preachers of the notion that preaching moral duty is necessarily not preaching Christ.
“Concerning [creation] the pagan philosophers wretchedly blundered, and became vain in their imaginations, some asserting the world’s eternity and self-existence, others ascribing it to a fortuitous concourse of atoms: thus “the world by wisdom knew not God,” but took a great deal of pains to lose him. The holy scripture therefore, designing by revealed religion to maintain and improve natural religion, to repair the decays of it and supply the defects of it, since the fall, for the reviving of the precepts of the law of nature, lays down, at first, this principle of the unclouded light of nature, That this world was, in the beginning of time, created by a Being of infinite wisdom and power, who was himself before all time and all worlds.” Matthew Henry (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994, 3.)
Psalm 101 has been on my mind today, and I thought how it makes for an excellent overview of good resolutions (with obvious adjustments on application between David’s duties of a king, and ours, as citizens of our local chaptersd of Zion). Here are a few of mine for 2022, should the Lord grant me breath and health: Psalm 101 as Resolutions v. 1 – I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. 1. Resolved, to my personal Psalm-singing -the alone songbook describing infallible mercy and judgment- and reduce the recreational music. 2. Resolved, to improved my direction of thinking when singing, that is, unto the LORD. v. 2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. 1. Resolved, to endeavor -according to place & station- always to walk perfectly, according to God’s commandments. 2. Resolved, as is the Psalmist, to cry out to the LORD for such help, acknowledging that it must be His visitation to me for strength and wherewithal to walk within my house with a perfect heart, acknowledging that complete perfection will not be attained in this life, but that my best efforts must be exhausted thereunto (by faith). v. 3a I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes. 1. Resolved, not only that I forwardly will guard against setting that which is explicitly evil before mine eyes (or before my thoughts, in my esteem, etc.), but also 2. Resolved, not to set before myself that which tends toward vanity & emptiness, or that which is not of excellent or praiseworthy use. 3. Resolved, to make better use of my thoughts, words, and actions, stewarding time as a faithful servant. vv. 3b-5 I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. Froward hearts, wicked persons, slanderers, high-lookers, proud-hearted. 1. Resolved, not to allow my affections extensive time or exhaustive effort -outside of necessary interaction, or being salt & light, giving a word in season- with those with froward hearts, gossiping mouths, those with too high an esteem of themselves (including that idol self that yet resides in my own breast!). 2. Resolved, according to place & station, to love others enough -especially those of the household of faith- not to suffer sin upon them, whether it be my own, or theirs. That I might hate sin generally, and my own especially such that rivers of waters would run down mine eyes because God’s law is not kept. 3. Resolved, faithfully to take up reproof, receive reproof, and lovingly confront, or avoid (as circumstances dictate), those described by the Psalmist. To cut it out of my own life, where its ugly head is reared. v. 6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: He that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. 1. Resolved, for my best efforts […]