Tag Archives: Adoration

“Speak and think and live God’s praises” by Jonathan Edwards

“Let those who have been made partakers of the free and glorious grace of God, spend their lives much in praises and hallelujahs to God, for the wonders of His mercy in their redemption.

To you, O redeemed of the Lord, doth this doctrine most directly apply itself; you are those who have been made partakers of all this glorious grace of which you have now heard.

’Tis you that God entertained thoughts of restoring after your miserable fall into dreadful depravity and corruption, and into danger of the dreadful misery that unavoidably follows upon it.

’Tis for you in particular that God gave His Son, yea, His only Son, and sent Him into the world;

’Tis for you that the Son of God so freely gave Himself;

’Tis for you that He was born, died, rose again and ascended, and intercedes;

’Tis to you that there the free application of the fruit of these things is made: all this is done perfectly and altogether freely, without any of your desert, without any of your righteousness or strength.

Therefore, let your life be spent in praises to God.

When you praise Him in prayer, let it not be with coldness and indifferency; when you praise Him in your closet, let your whole soul be active therein; when you praise Him in singing, don’t barely make a noise, without any stirring of affection in the heart, without any internal melody.

Surely, you have reason to shout, cry, “Grace, grace, be the topstone of the temple!” (Zech. 4:7) Certainly, you don’t want mercy and bounty to praise God; you only want a heart and lively affections to praise him with.

Surely, if the angels are so astonished at God’s mercy to you, and do even shout with joy and admiration at the sight of God’s grace to you, you yourself, on whom this grace is bestowed, have much more reason to shout.

Consider that great part of your happiness in heaven, to all eternity, will consist in this: in praising of God, for His free and glorious grace in redeeming you; and if you would spend more time about it on earth, you would find this world would be much more of a heaven to you than it is.

Therefore, do nothing while you are alive, but speak and think and live God’s praises.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Glorious Grace,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720–1723 (ed. Wilson H. Kimnach and Harry S. Stout; vol. 10; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1992), 10: 399.

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“Adoration in infinitesimals” by C.S. Lewis

“It’s comical that you, of all people, should ask my views about prayer as worship or adoration. On this subject you yourself taught me nearly all I know.

On a walk in the Forest of Dean. Can you have forgotten? You first taught me the great principle, ‘Begin where you are.’

I had thought one had to start by summoning up what we believe about the goodness and greatness of God, by thinking about creation and redemption and ‘all the blessings of this life’.

You turned to the brook and once more splashed your burning face and hands in the little waterfall and said: ‘Why not begin with this?’ And it worked.

Apparently you have never guessed how much. That cushiony moss, that coldness and sound and dancing light were no doubt very minor blessings compared with ‘the means of grace and the hope of glory’. But then they were manifest.

So far as they were concerned, sight had replaced faith. They were not the hope of glory, they were an exposition of the glory itself. Yet you were not– or so it seemed to me– telling me that ‘Nature’, or ‘the beauties of Nature’, manifest the glory.

No such abstraction as ‘Nature’ comes into it. I was learning the far more secret doctrine that pleasures are shafts of the glory as it strikes our sensibility.

As it impinges on our will or our understanding, we give it different names– goodness or truth or the like. But its flash upon our senses and mood is pleasure.

But aren’t there bad, unlawful pleasures? Certainly there are. But in calling them ‘bad pleasures’ I take it we are using a kind of shorthand. We mean ‘pleasures snatched by unlawful acts’.

It is the stealing of the apple that is bad, not the sweetness. The sweetness is still a beam from the glory. That does not palliate the stealing. It makes it worse.

There is sacrilege in the theft. We have abused a holy thing. I have tried, since that moment, to make every pleasure into a channel of adoration.

I don’t mean simply by giving thanks for it. One must of course give thanks, but I mean something different. How shall I put it? We can’t– or I can’t– hear the song of a bird simply as a sound.

Its meaning or message (‘That’s a bird’) comes with it inevitably– just as one can’t see a familiar word in print as a merely visual pattern. The reading is as involuntary as the seeing.

When the wind roars I don’t just hear the roar; I ‘hear the wind’. In the same way it is possible to ‘read’ as well as to ‘have’ a pleasure. Or not even ‘as well as’.

The distinction ought to become, and sometimes is, impossible; to receive it and to recognise its divine source are a single experience. This heavenly fruit is instantly redolent of the orchard where it grew.

This sweet air whispers of the country from whence it blows. It is a message. We know we are being touched by a finger of that right hand at which there are pleasures for evermore.

There need be no question of thanks or praise as a separate event, something done afterwards. To experience the tiny theophany is itself to adore. Gratitude exclaims, very properly: ‘How good of God to give me this.’

Adoration says: ‘What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!’ One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.

If I could always be what I aim at being, no pleasure would be too ordinary or too usual for such reception; from the first taste of the air when I look out of the window– one’s whole cheek becomes a sort of palate– down to one’s soft slippers at bed-time.

I don’t always achieve it. One obstacle is inattention. Another is the wrong kind of attention. One could, if one practised, hear simply a roar and not the roaring-of-the-wind.

In the same way, only far too easily, one can concentrate on the pleasure as an event in one’s own nervous system—subjectify it—and ignore the smell of Deity that hangs about it.

A third obstacle is greed. Instead of saying: ‘This also is Thou’, one may say the fatal word Encore.

There is also conceit: the dangerous reflection that not everyone can find God in a plain slice of bread and butter, or that others would condemn as simply ‘grey’ the sky in which I am delightedly observing such delicacies of pearl and dove and silver.

You notice that I am drawing no distinction between sensuous and aesthetic pleasures. But why should I? The line is almost impossible to draw and what use would it be if one succeeded in drawing it?

If this is Hedonism, it is also a somewhat arduous discipline. But it is worth some labour: for in so far as it succeeds, almost every day furnishes us with so to speak, ‘bearings’ on the Bright Blur.

It becomes brighter but less blurry. William Law remarks that people are merely ‘amusing themselves’ by asking for the patience which a famine or a persecution would call for if, in the meantime, the weather and every other inconvenience sets them grumbling.

One must learn to walk before one can run. So here. We– or at least I– shall not be able to adore God on the highest occasions if we have learned no habit of doing so on the lowest.

At best, our faith and reason will tell us that He is adorable, but we shall not have found Him so, not have ‘tasted and seen’. Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy.

These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience. Of course one wants the books too.

One wants a great many things besides this ‘adoration in infinitesimals’ which I am preaching. And if I were preaching it in public, instead of feeding it back to the very man who taught it me (though he may by now find the lesson nearly unrecognisable?), I should have to pack it in ice, enclose it in barbed-wire reservations, and stick up warning notices in every direction.

Don’t imagine I am forgetting that the simplest act of mere obedience is worship of a far more important sort than what I’ve been describing.

To obey is better than sacrifice.”

–C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (San Diego, CA: Harvest, 1964), 88-91.

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“God’s triune name” by Scott Swain

“We were baptized into God’s triune name so that we might learn to praise God’s triune name.”

–Scott R. Swain, The Trinity: An Introduction (ed. Graham A. Cole and Oren R. Martin; Short Studies in Systematic Theology; Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 27.

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“Our place is on our faces before Him in adoration” by John Stott

“It is of great importance to note from Romans 1–11 that theology (our belief about God) and doxology (our worship of God) should never be separated.

On the one hand, there can be no doxology without theology. It is not possible to worship an unknown god. All true worship is a response to the self-revelation of God in Christ and Scripture, and arises from our reflection on who He is and what He has done.

It was the tremendous truths of Romans 1–11 which provoked Paul’s outburst of praise. The worship of God is evoked, informed and inspired by the vision of God.

Worship without theology is bound to degenerate into idolatry. Hence the indispensable place of Scripture in both public worship and private devotion. It is the Word of God which calls forth the worship of God.

On the other hand, there should be no theology without doxology. There is something fundamentally flawed about a purely academic interest in God.

God is not an appropriate object for cool, critical, detached, scientific observation and evaluation. No, the true knowledge of God will always lead us to worship, as it did Paul. Our place is on our faces before Him in adoration.

As I believe Bishop Handley Moule said at the end of the last century, we must ‘beware equally of an undevotional theology and of an untheological devotion’.”

–John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today; Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 311–312.

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“They that pray, and read, and sing do best of all” by Charles Spurgeon

“I agree with Matthew Henry when he says:

‘They that pray in the family do well.

They that pray and read the Scriptures do better.

But they that pray, and read, and sing do best of all.’

There is a completeness in that kind of family worship which is much to be desired.

Whether in the family or not, yet personally and privately, let us endeavour to be filled with God’s praise and with His honour all the day.

Be this our resolve— ‘I will extol Thee, my God, O King. And I will bless Thy name forever and ever. Every day will I bless Thee. And I will praise Thy name forever and ever‘ (Psalm 145:1-2).”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Happy Duty of Daily Praise,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Volume 32 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1886), 32: 289.

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“You have much more reason than angels to shout with joy” by Jonathan Edwards

“Let those who have been made partakers of this free and glorious grace of God, spend their lives much in praises and hallelujahs to God, for the wonders of His mercy in their redemption.

To you, O redeemed of the Lord, doth this doctrine most directly apply itself: you are those who have been made partakers of all this glorious grace of which you have now heard.

’Tis you that God entertained thoughts of restoring after your miserable fall into dreadful depravity and corruption, and into danger of the dreadful misery that unavoidably follows upon it.

’Tis for you in particular that God gave His Son, yea, His only Son, and sent Him into the world.

’Tis for you that the Son of God so freely gave Himself.

’Tis for you that He was born, died, rose again and ascended, and intercedes.

’Tis to you that there the free application of the fruit of these things is made: all this is done perfectly and altogether freely, without any of your desert, without any of your righteousness or strength.

Therefore, let your life be spent in praises to God.

When you praise Him in prayer, let it not be with coldness and indifferency.

When you praise Him in your closet, let your whole soul be active therein.

When you praise Him in singing, don’t barely make a noise, without any stirring of affection in the heart, without any internal melody. Surely, you have reason to shout and cry, ‘Grace, grace, be the topstone of the temple!’

Certainly, you don’t lack mercy and bounty to praise God; you only lack a heart and lively affections to praise Him with.

Surely, if the angels are so astonished at God’s mercy to you, and do even shout with joy and admiration at the sight of God’s grace to you, you yourself, on whom this grace is bestowed, have much more reason to shout.

Consider that great part of your happiness in heaven, to all eternity, will consist in this: in praising of God, for His free and glorious grace in redeeming you.

And if you would spend more time about it on earth, you would find this world would be much more of a heaven to you than it is. Wherefore, do nothing while you are alive, but speak and think and live God’s praises.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Glorious Grace,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720–1723 (ed. Wilson H. Kimnach and Harry S. Stout; vol. 10; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1992), 10: 399. Edwards preached this sermon on Zechariah 4:7 when he was 19 years old.

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“Meditating day and night” by William Plumer

“Another positive sign of a renewed man is that he meditates in the law of the LORD day and night. ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’

Vain thoughts lodge in all ungodly men. But the righteous hate sinful imaginings. What the wicked would be ashamed to act or speak out, the righteous is ashamed to think or desire.

Yet the mind of the righteous is full of activity. He meditates. The power of reflection chiefly distinguishes a man from a brute.

The habit of reflection chiefly distinguishes a wise man from a fool. Pious reflection on God’s word greatly distinguishes a saint from a sinner.

Without meditation grace never thrives, prayer is languid, praise dull, and religious duties unprofitable.

Yet to flesh and blood without divine grace this is an impossible duty.

It is easier to take a journey of a thousand miles than to spend an hour in close, devout, profitable thought on divine things.

Like prayer (Luke 18:7), meditation is to be pursued day and night, not reluctantly, but joyously, not merely in God’s house, or on the Lord’s day, but whenever other duties do not forbid.

Nor does the true child of God slight part of divine truth. He loves it all.

A saint is therefore described by his ‘meditating in the law of God day and night,’ which is the natural and necessary effect of his delight in it.”

–William Plumer, Psalms: A Critical and Expository Commentary with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, originally published in 1867; reprinted 2016), 28.

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