Thy Way Is Best

I have mentioned in the past that I have been exploring some of the Christian poetry of the nineteenth century—an era in which poetry was a prime devotional genre for the church. I was recently making my way through Christopher Newman Hall’s Pilgrim Songs in Cloud and Sunshine, and was taken by a number of works, including this one, titled “Thy Way Is Best.” I thought you might enjoy reading it as well, for it is a simple but moving …

The Penitential Tear

Few of us take the time to mine and appreciate the vast stores of poetry laid up by so many of our Christian forebears. Yet in centuries past poetry was the language of many a sorrowful and rejoicing believer. In the last several months I have been discovering some of treasures and particularly enjoying the work of the 19th-century American poet Hannah Flagg Gould. This work, “The Penitential Tear,” is representative of her spiritual meditations. Thou trembling, pure, and holy …

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This World Is Passing Away

The Apostle tells us that “the present form of this world is passing away.” Horatius Bonar once reflected on this and wrote a beautiful bit of writing that shows just what that means and how we should live accordingly. The world is passing away — like a dream of the night. We lie down to rest; we fall asleep; we dream; we awake at morn — and lo, all is fled, which in our dream seemed so stable and so pleasant! So …

Something Left Undone

I have been making my way through the works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, first through his shorter poems and eventually through his epics. One of his shorter works particularly resonated with me since it touched on a theme complementary to an article I wrote just last week. Friday’s article was titled “There Is Only Ever Today” and told of the importance of embracing each day’s duty. Longfellow’s “Something Left Undone” deals honestly with the reality that some things will always …

When Jesus Brags About You

Jesus promises that “everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.” As I continue my dabbling in nineteenth century devotional writers, I came across a neat passage from Charles Ebert Orr in which he imagines how Jesus may do that very thing. I share it in the hope you’ll find it encouraging. Jesus will gather his holy angels before him and address them thus: “Do you behold Brother—? He is a …

Great Occasions For Serving God

I have spent the past few months learning from nineteenth century writers. In the past I’ve read much of the best of the Puritans and much of the best of today’s writers. I’m now trying to catch up with some who fall between. I am benefitting tremendously. This reflection comes from George Everard who wrote in the second half of the century. He writes about that precious rule, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” and says… …

Threescore and Ten

As time passes, I find myself increasingly drawn to old authors and old books. I scour the used bookshops to look for lost treasures. At the back of one such nineteenth-century work I found this old poem by Edward Morris. I don’t know who Edward Morris was or when he lived, but I’m grateful for the sweet poem he left us, a poem which celebrates the days so many lament—the days when life has grown long and death draws near. …

You Are the Light!

A book I’ve come to much enjoy is Piercing Heaven, which shares favorite prayers from the Puritans (and a few others). Many of the prayers are ones I’ve been able to pray myself. This example comes from the pen of Robert Hawker. Precious Jesus, you are the Source, the Fountain, the Author, the Finisher of all. “Oh the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are your judgments, and your ways past finding …

For the Christian Who Is Afraid To Die

There is little we can know scientifically about what happens after we die. There are no experiments we can carry out that offer conclusive evidence of what happens when the eyes close for the final time, when the heart at last stops beating. We know, of course, that the body will immediately begin to decline and decay, but what of the consciousness, what of the soul, what of that part of a person that makes him what he most truly …

7 Things I Pray You Experience in 2021

A new year is now well underway, and at the beginning of this year I found myself reading and reflecting upon James Smith’s powerful new year’s address. (James Smith was one of Charles Spurgeon’s predecessors at New Park Street Chapel in London.) At the conclusion of his message he tells his church what he is praying on their behalf—seven things he longs for them to experience, to have, to do, to enjoy, and to be preserved from. I trust you’ll …