“His special instruments of revival” by Arnold Dallimore

“Yea, this book is written in the desire— perhaps in a measure of inner certainty— that we shall see the great Head of the Church once more bring into being His special instruments of revival, that He will again raise up unto Himself certain young men whom He may use in this glorious employ.

And what manner of men will they be?

Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace.

They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labour and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat.

They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives.”

–Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1970), 1: 16.

“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
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.

“There are more Simeons in the world than we suppose” by J.C. Ryle

“We have in these verses the history of one whose name is nowhere else mentioned in the New Testament, ‘a just and devout man’ named Simeon. We know nothing of his life before or after the time when Christ was born.

We are only told that he came by the Spirit into the temple, when the child Jesus was brought there by His mother, and that he ‘took him up in his arms and blessed God’ in words which are now well-known all over the world.

We see, in the case of Simeon, how God has a believing people even in the worst of places, and in the darkest times. Religion was at a very low ebb in Israel when Christ was born.

The faith of Abraham was spoiled by the doctrines of Pharisees and Sadducees. The fine gold had become deplorably dim. Yet even then we find in the midst of Jerusalem a man ‘just and devout,’– a man ‘upon whom is the Holy Ghost.’

It is a cheering thought that God never leaves Himself entirely without a witness. Small as His believing church may sometimes be, the gates of hell shall never completely prevail against it.

The true church may be driven into the wilderness, and be a scattered little flock, but it never dies.

There was a Lot in Sodom and an Obadiah in Ahab’s household, a Daniel in Babylon and a Jeremiah in Zedekiah’s court; and in the last days of the Jewish Church, when its iniquity was almost full, there were godly people, like Simeon, even in Jerusalem.

True Christians, in every age, should remember this and take comfort. It is a truth which they are apt to forget, and in consequence to give way to despondency.

‘I only am left,’ said Elijah, ‘and they seek my life to take it away.’ But what said the answer of God to him, ‘Yet have I left me seven thousand in Israel.’ (1 Kings 19:14, 18.)

Let us learn to be more hopeful.

Let us believe that grace can live and flourish, even in the most unfavorable circumstances.

There are more Simeons in the world than we suppose.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 51-52. Ryle is commenting on Luke 2:25-35.

“The hand of the Lord is a thousand times better than the hand of Herod” by J.C. Ryle

“We see in the early history of John Baptist the nature of the blessing that we should desire for all young children. We read that “the hand of the Lord was with him.’ (Luke 1:66)

We are not told distinctly what these words mean. We are left to gather their meaning from the promise that went before John before his birth, and the life that John lived all his days.

But we need not doubt that the hand of the Lord was with John to sanctify and renew his heart– to teach and fit him for his office– to strengthen him for all his work as the forerunner of the Lamb of God– to encourage him in all his bold denunciation of men’s sins—and to comfort him in his last hours, when he was beheaded in prison.

We know that he was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb. We need not doubt that from his earliest years the grace of the Holy Ghost appeared in his ways. In his boyhood as well as in his manhood the constraining power of a mighty principle from above appeared in him.

That power was the ‘hand of the Lord.’ This is the portion that we ought to seek for our children.

It is the best portion, the happiest portion, the only portion that can never be lost, and will endure beyond the grave. It is good to have over them ‘the hand’ of teachers and instructors; but it is better still to have ‘the hand of the Lord.’

We may be thankful if they obtain the patronage of the great and the rich. But we ought to care far more for their obtaining the favor of God.

The hand of the Lord is a thousand times better than the hand of Herod. The one is weak, foolish, and uncertain; caressing today and beheading tomorrow.

The other is almighty, all-wise, and unchangeable. Where it holds it holds for evermore. Let us bless God that the Lord never changes.

What He was in John the Baptist’s day, He is now.

What He did for the son of Zacharias, He can do for our boys and girls.

But He waits to be entreated. If we would have the hand of the Lord with our children, we must diligently seek it.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 32-33. Ryle is commenting on Luke 1:57-66.

“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.

“Be sure to ask for very great things” by Charles Spurgeon

“Christ’s promise is, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’

If you ask only for temporal mercies, and can be satisfied with them, you may get what you ask. There are gushing springs from which you might drink if you would, but the muddy waters of Sihor are evidently good enough for you.

But if you ask the Lord for spiritual blessings, He is sure to give them to you. It is more natural for God to give great things than little things; they are more in His line,—more in His way.

You know that certain men have certain ways. There are men whom you can get to do anything if it is in their way, but they will not act in another way. Well, now, the Lord’s ways are as high above our ways as the heavens are above the earth; yet David knew what God’s ways were, for he said, ‘Then will I teach transgressors thy ways.’

One of the ways of God is to do great things for His people. Some of them sang, ‘The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.’ So you are more sure of getting blessings from God if you ask him for great things.

Therefore, be sure to ask for very great things. When you do get to the mercy-seat, do not begin asking for littles, and go home with trifles; but ask for as big things as ever your soul can desire, and as big things as the promises of God cover.

There you have a task before you that will tax your greatest powers, but give your heart and soul to it, and you will find it to be a very pleasant and profitable one.

Ask great things for yourselves, brethren.

Ask to know all the truth of God.

Ask to know the fulness of God.

Ask to know the riches of his grace.

Ask to know ‘the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.

And when you have asked for all that, ask for holiness, and do not ask for anything less than perfect holiness.

Continue to open your mouth wide, that every grace may be given to you, adding ‘to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love.’

And do not rest satisfied until you have all these Christian virtues.

You may ask also for joy. And, oh, what an ocean of bliss is before you in the joy of the Lord! In ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,’ what a wondrous depth of joy there is laid up in store for you!

Our Lord Jesus said to his disciples, ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’ It may be the same with you; therefore, ask for great things.

Do not be satisfied with being little Christians. Seek to come to the full stature of men in Christ Jesus. I will be thankful to get just inside the gate of heaven.

But if I can sing more sweetly, and if I can have more fellowship with Christ, nearer His throne, why should I not get there? God grant that we may all have that high privilege!

Once more, I think that this exhortation, ‘Open thy mouth wide,’ means attempt great things for God as well as ask great things from God.

Brethren, go in for something great.

Go in for saving one soul; that is something great.

Go in for preaching the whole truth of God; that is something great.

Go in to be faithful to the teaching of the whole Word of God; that is something great. It is not sufficient if you have filled your own place;—a good many of you have not done that yet.

Go in to preach the gospel somewhere else as well. Open some other building for worship; penetrate into some region where the gospel is not yet known.

I wish that our College would open its mouth so wide as to include the whole world in the sphere of its operations. Brother Wigstone tells us that, if we open our mouth wide, we shall swallow up the whole of Spain and Portugal.

Other brethren want us to open our mouth wide enough to absorb France, and Germany, and Russia, and all Europe. Some of our brethren have gone to India; there is a mouthful for us.

If we open our mouth wide, India may be evangelized, and China, and the new world of America, and the far-distant world of Australia, will feel the power of the gospel that we take there in the name of the Lord.

Let us pray, as David did, long ago, that the whole earth may be filled with God’s glory.

What is the whole earth, after all, compared with the greatness of God, and with the infinite sacrifice that Christ has offered? Well may the Lord say to each one of us, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Wide-Open Mouth Filled,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons (vol. 50; London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1904), 50: 186–188.

“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.