“The throne of God’s saving grace” by Robert Traill

“I know no true religion but Christianity. I know no true Christianity but the doctrine of Christ: of His divine person, (the image of the invisible God, Col. 1:15); of His divine office, (the Mediator betwixt God and men, 1 Tim. 2:5); of His divine righteousness, (He is the Lord our Righteousness, Jer. 23:6; which name is also called upon His church, Jer. 38:16) and of His divine Spirit, (which all that are His receive, Rom. 8:9).

I know no true ministers of Christ, but such as make it their business, in their calling, to commend Jesus Christ, in His saving fulness of grace and glory, to the faith and love of men; no true Christian, but one united to Christ by faith, and abiding in Him by faith and love, unto the glorifying of the name of Jesus Christ, in the beauties of gospel-holiness.

Ministers and Christians of this spirit, have for many years been my brethren and companions, and, I hope, shall ever be, whithersoever the hand of God shall lead me.

Through the Lord’s mercy to me, (as to many in London), I have often heard what is far more worthy of the press, than anything I can publish.

Whatever you may think of my way of managing this subject, (and indeed there is nothing in that, either as designed or expected by me, or that in itself deserveth any great regard); yet the theme itself, all must judge, who have spiritual senses, is of great importance, and always seasonable.

It is concerning the throne of God’s saving grace, reared up in Jesus Christ, and revealed unto men in the gospel; with the application all should make to that throne, the great blessings to be reaped by that application, and mens great need of those blessings.

May the Lord of the harvest, who ministered this seed to the sower, make it bread to the eater, and accompany it with His blessing on some that are called to inherit a blessing, and I have my end and desire; the reader shall have the benefit; and the Lord shall have the glory; for of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things; to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Robert Traill
London
March 25, 1696″

–Robert Traill, “Preface to The Throne of Grace,” The Works of Robert Traill, vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1810), ix-x.

“God hath not laid the comfort of His people in the doing of external duties but in believing, loving, and fearing God” by John Bunyan

“Another encouragement for those that have this grace of fear (Ps. 147:11) is this: this grace can make that man, that in many other things is not capable of serving of God, serve Him better than those that have all without it.

Poor Christian man, thou hast scarce been able to do anything for God all thy days, but only to fear the Lord.

Thou art no preacher, and so canst not do Him service that way.

Thou art no rich man, and so canst not do him service with outward substance.

Thou art no wise man, and so canst not do anything that way.

But here is thy mercy: thou fearest God. Though thou canst not preach, thou canst fear God. Though thou hast no bread to feed the belly, nor fleece to clothe the back of the poor, thou canst fear God.

O how blessed is the man that feareth the Lord (Ps. 112:1)! Because this duty of fearing of God is an act of the mind, and may be done by the man that is destitute of all things but that holy and blessed mind.

Blessed therefore is that man, for God hath not laid the comfort of His people in the doing of external duties, nor the salvation of their souls, but in believing, loving, and fearing God.

Neither hath he laid these things in actions done in their health nor in the due management of their most excellent parts, but in the receiving of Christ, and fear of God.

That which, good Christian, thou mayest do, and do acceptably, even though thou shouldest lie bedridden all thy days.

Thou mayest also be sick and believe; be sick and love, be sick and fear God, and so be a blessed man.

And here the poor Christian hath something to answer them that reproach him for his ignoble pedigree, and shortness of the glory of the wisdom of the world.

‘True,’ may that man say, ‘I was taken out of the dunghill, I was born in a base and low estate, but I fear God. I have no worldly greatness, nor excellency of natural parts, but I fear God.'”

–John Bunyan, “A Treatise on the Fear of God,” in The Works of John Bunyan, ed. George Offer, 3 vols. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1991), 1: 490.

“His mercy will live longer than thy sin” by John Bunyan

“Child of God, thou that fearest God, here is mercy nigh thee, mercy enough, everlasting mercy upon thee.

This is long-lived mercy. It will live longer than thy sin, it will live longer than temptation, it will live longer than thy sorrows, it will live longer than thy persecutors.

It is mercy from everlasting to contrive thy salvation, and mercy to everlasting to weather it out with all thy adversaries.

Now what can hell and death do to him that hath this mercy of God upon him? And this hath the man that feareth the Lord.

Take that other blessed word, and O thou man that fearest the Lord, hang it like a chain of gold about thy neck—’As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him’ (Psalm 103:11).

If mercy as big, as high, and as good as heaven itself will be a privilege, the man that feareth God shall have a privilege.

Dost thou fear God?—’Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him’ (Psalm 103:13).”

–John Bunyan, “A Treatise on the Fear of God,” in The Works of John Bunyan, ed. George Offer, 3 vols. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1991), 1: 470.

“He takes the weak hand of the sinner and places it in His own strong, nail-pierced hand” by Ole Hallesby

“To pray is to open our hearts to Jesus. And Jesus is all that we sinners need both for time and eternity.

He “was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). This gives us the Biblical view of the purpose of prayer, its place and significance in the divine dispensation of salvation.

Jesus said once, “Apart from me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). He knew how literally true these words are, how entirely helpless we are without Him. But at the same time He said, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” All that you need and more besides.

He never grew tired of inviting, prompting, encouraging, exhorting, even commanding us to pray.

The many and various admonitions to prayer in the Bible shed remarkable light upon prayer. They show us that prayer is the heart-throb in the life of a saved person.

Permit me to cite a few of the gracious admonitions to prayer which the Lord has given us:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone; or if he shall ask for a fish will give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (Matthew 7:7-11).

“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

“In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

These three passages from Scripture alone, it appears to me, should be sufficient to show what Jesus meant prayer to be.

If I were to give expression to this meaning in my own words, I would put it about as follows:

Jesus comes to a sinner, awakens him from his sleep in sin, converts him, forgives him his sins and makes him His child. Then He takes the weak hand of the sinner and places it in His own strong, nail-pierced hand and says:

‘Come now, I am going with you all the way and will bring you safe home to heaven. If you ever get into trouble or difficulty, just tell me about it. I will give you, without reproach, everything you need, and more besides, day by day, as long as you live.’

My friend, do you not also think that that is what Jesus really meant when He gave us prayer?

And that is the way we should make use of it. That is the way He desires to answer our prayer, graciously and abundantly.

Prayer should be the means by which I, at all times, receive all that I need, and, for this reason, be my daily refuge, my daily consolation, my daily joy, my source of rich and inexhaustible joy in life.”

–Ole Hallesby, Prayer, trans. C.J. Carlsen (London: InterVarsity Fellowship, 1948), 28-29.

“A Prayer for Spiritual Reformation” by D.A. Carson

“And now, Lord God, I ask your blessing on all who read this book, for without it there will be no real benefit.

We may have education, but not compassion; we may have forms of praying, but no fruitful adoration and intercession; we may have oratory, but be lacking in unction; we may thrill your people, but not transform them; we may expand their minds, but display too little wisdom and understanding; we may amuse many, but find few who are solidly regenerated by your blessed Holy Spirit.

So we ask you for Your blessing, for the power of the Spirit, that we may know You better and grow in our grasp of Your incalculable love for us.

Bless us, Lord God, not with ease or endless triumph, but with faithfulness.

Bless us with the right number of tears, and with minds and hearts that hunger both to know and to do your Word.

Bless us with a profound hunger and thirst for righteousness, a zeal for truth, a love of people.

Bless us with the perspective that weighs all things from the vantage point of eternity.

Bless us with a transparent love of holiness.

Grant to us strength in weakness, joy in sorrow, calmness in conflict, patience when opposed or attacked, trustworthiness under temptation, love when we are hated, firmness and farsightedness when the climate prefers faddishness and drift.

We beg of You, holy and merciful God, that we may be used by You to extend Your kingdom widely, to bring many to know and love You truly.

Grant above all that our lives will increasingly bring glory to Your dear Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip us with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

–D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992), 225-226.

“We come to a God sitting upon a throne of grace” by Stephen Charnock

“Little comfort can be sucked from a ‘perhaps.’

But when we come to seek covenant mercies, God’s faithfulness to His covenant puts mercy past a ‘perhaps.’

We come to a God sitting upon a throne of grace, upon Mount Zion, not upon Mount Sinai.

We come to a God that desires our presence, more than we desire His assistance.”

–Stephen Charnock, “Delight in Prayer,” The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 5 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2010), 5: 376.

“Ministers need many prayers” by J.C. Ryle

“It is a serious responsibility to be a minister of the gospel! Ministers need many prayers.

We are taught, in the next place, that the great work of a minister of Christ is to do good.

He is to sent to seek ‘lost sheep,’– to proclaim good tidings– to relieve those who are suffering,– to diminish sorrow,– and to increase joy. His life is meant to be one of ‘giving,’ rather than receiving.

This is a high standard, and a very peculiar one. Let it be well weighed, and carefully examined.

It is plain, for one thing, that the life of a faithful minister of Christ cannot be one of ease. He must be ready to spend body and mind, time and strength, in the work of his calling.

Laziness and frivolity are bad enough in any profession, but worst of all in that of a watchman for souls.

It is plain, for another thing, that the position of the ministers of Christ is not that which ignorant people sometimes ascribe to them, and which they unhappily sometimes claim for themselves. They are not so much ordained to rule as to serve.

They are not intended so much to have dominion over the Church, as to supply its wants, and wait upon its members. (2 Cor. 1:24.) Happy would it be for the cause of true religion, if these things were better understood!

Half the diseases of Christianity have arisen from mistaken notions about the minister’s office.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthew (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 77-78. Ryle is commenting on Matthew 10:1-15.