Saved By the Quivering Of an Eye-Lid

F.B. Meyer used to tell a story that, while it sounds perhaps just a little far-fetched, makes a great point. He would use it when appealing to unbelievers to repent of their sin and believe the gospel—he would use it to encourage them not to delay until they were sure they possessed a great measure of faith, but to instead simply look to the Lord with what faith they had. Here is what he would say: I was told the …

When Calvin and Wesley Shake Hands

It’s Reformation Day today, and the occasion got me thinking about some words I had run across earlier this year when reading the works of De Witt Talmage and Theodore Cuyler. Both reflected on Calvin and Wesley, one standing in as the chief Reformed theologian and the other as an avowedly Arminian evangelist. Here is what they said, beginning with Talmage. As individuals we are fragments. God makes the race in part, and then he gradually puts us together. What …

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Prayer for the Unconverted

Buried deep in an old, mostly-forgotten anthology of poetry, I found this little gem from Newman Hall—a poem that expresses in rhyme and meter the longing of many a Christian heart. May it give you words to pray for “those who do not pray, who waste away salvation’s day.” We pray for those who do not pray!Who waste away salvation’s day;For those we love who love not Thee—Our grief, their danger, pitying see. Those for whom many tears are shedAnd …

God’s Pop-Up Book

With a group of friends, I am reading Sinclair Ferguson’s Devoted To God, a book about holiness and the ways in which God instructs us to be holy even as he is holy. In this week’s reading I found a helpful illustration of the Old Testament rites and ceremonies and thought you might benefit from it as I did. Ferguson describes them as acting like pop-up picture books… The Lord unfolded it at first through liturgical rites and ceremonies prescribed …

When Blooming Youth Is Snatched Away

Anne Steele knew suffering and sorrow. She also knew rhyme, meter, and sound doctrine. In this poem, titled “At the Funeral of a Young Person,” she puts all on full display and so powerfully directs mourners to ensure they do not miss the opportunity to consider the state of their own souls. When blooming youth is snatched away By death’s resistless hand, Our hearts the mournful tribute pay Which pity must demand. While pity prompts the rising sigh, O may …

The Blessings Lent Us for a Day…

I have often remarked that past generations of Christians relied on poetry far more than we do today. As I read authors from previous centuries, perhaps especially the nineteenth, I see how often they weave poetry into their prose. Sometimes the verses are quoted from the poets of the day and, just as often, freshly-written. I found this little example, clearly inspired by the book of Job, in a work titled “Brief Notice of a Short Life.” What’er we fondly …

Richer Blood Than Ours

De Witt Talmage was considered a great preacher in his day, though it is rare to see him quoted or referenced in modern times. Still, I have benefited a lot by reading his sermons, and perhaps especially one he preached on Isaiah 52:3. He preached it at a time when many were objecting to the notion of atonement and to the necessity of an atonement of blood. Here is a brief, beautiful excerpt. It’s well worth reading it aloud. Money …

The Stranger in Smokeland

In his book Lessons from the Upper Room, Sinclair Ferguson provides an allegory he titles “The Stranger in Smokeland”—an allegory he says needs little interpretation. For that reason, I will provide it as-is, without commentary. I think you’ll enjoy it. The Stranger had lived all his life in the Highlands. Here streams of crystal-clear water run; the flowers and vegetation are luxuriant; the mountain air is pure; the atmosphere is unpolluted. No one who lives here has ever died. But …

I’m Not All That Awesome

It must be difficult to live out the gospel of self-esteem, the “gospel” that insists I’m nothing short of awesome. It is, however, delightful to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ that insists that I’m not all that awesome and don’t need to be. Here’s a short quote from Adam Ramsey that explains. The gospel means that I’m not all that awesome. But I am loved. And that’s awesome. The gospel frees me to be honest about the ways …

A Prayer for the Dying Day

I recently came across a wonderful prayer penned by Archibald Alexander many years ago. In it he prays that God would bless and protect him through the years of old age and into the gates of heaven. May his prayer be ours! O most merciful God, cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength declineth. Now, when I am old and grey-headed, forsake me not; but let Thy grace be sufficient for …