“The happiness of the Christian is a serious happiness” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“For the Christian man who mourns because of sin and because of the state of the world, there is this comfort—the comfort of the blessed hope, the glory that yet remains.

So that even here, though he is groaning, he is happy at the same time because of the hope that is set before him. There is this ultimate hope in eternity.

In that eternal state we shall be wholly and entirely blessed, there will be nothing to mar life, nothing to detract from it, nothing to spoil it.

Sorrow and sighing shall be no more; all tears shall be wiped away; and we shall bask for ever and ever in the eternal sunshine, and experience joy and bliss and glory unmixed and unspoiled. ‘Happy are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.’

How true it is. Unless we know that, we are not Christian.

If we are Christian, we do know it, this joy of sins forgiven and the knowledge of it; the joy of reconciliation; the joy of knowing that God takes us back when we have fallen away from Him; the joy and contemplation of the glory that is set before us; the joy that comes from anticipation of the eternal state.

Let us, then, try to define this man who mourns. What sort of a man is he?

He is a sorrowful man, but he is not morose.

He is a sorrowful man, but he is not a miserable man.

He is a serious man, but he is not a solemn man.

He is a sober-minded man, but he is not a sullen man. He is a grave man, but he is never cold or prohibitive.

There is with his gravity a warmth and attraction. This man, in other words, is always serious; but he does not have to affect the seriousness.

The true Christian is never a man who has to put on an appearance of either sadness or joviality. No, no; he is a man who looks at life seriously; he contemplates it spiritually, and he sees in it sin and its effects.

He is a serious, sober-minded man. His outlook is always serious, but because of these views which he has, and his understanding of truth, he also has ‘a joy unspeakable and full of glory’.

So he is like the apostle Paul, ‘groaning within himself’, and yet happy because of his experience of Christ and the glory that is to come.

The Christian is not superficial in any sense, but is fundamentally serious and fundamentally happy.

You see, the joy of the Christian is a holy joy, the happiness of the Christian is a serious happiness.

None of that superficial appearance of happiness and joy! No, no; it is a solemn joy, it is a holy joy, it is a serious happiness; so that, though he is grave and sober-minded and serious, he is never cold and prohibitive.

Indeed, he is like our Lord Himself, groaning, weeping, and yet, ‘for the joy that was set before him’ enduring the cross, despising the shame.

That is the man who mourns; that is the Christian. That is the type of Christian seen in the Church in ages past, when the doctrine of sin was preached and emphasized, and men were not merely urged to take a sudden decision.

A deep doctrine of sin, a high doctrine of joy, and the two together produce this blessed, happy man who mourns, and who at the same time is comforted.

The way to experience that, obviously, is to read the Scriptures, to study and meditate upon them, to pray to God for His Spirit to reveal sin in us to ourselves, and then to reveal to us the Lord Jesus Christ in all His fullness.

‘Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.’(Matt. 5:4)”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Second edition. (England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1976), 65-66.

“The picture of a father” by Charles Spurgeon

“Survey the picture of a father who sees his child returning from the error of his way. In the New Testament, you see the portrait Divinely drawn.

When the prodigal was a great way off, his father saw him. Oh, to have quick eyes to spy out the awakened!

The father ran to meet him. Oh, to be eager to help the hopeful!

He fell upon his neck, and kissed him. Oh, for a heart overflowing with love, to joy and rejoice over seeking ones!

As that father was, such should we be; ever loving, and ever on the outlook.

Our eyes, and ears, and feet should ever be given to penitents. Our tears and open arms should be ready for them.

The father in Christ is the man to remember the best robe, and the ring, and the sandals.

He remembers those provisions of grace because he is full of love to the returning one.

Love is a practical theologian, and takes care to deal practically with all the blessings of the covenant, and all the mysteries of revealed truth.

It does not hide away the robe and ring in a treasury of theology; but brings them forth, and puts them on.

O my brethren, as you are the sons of God, be also fathers in God!

Let this be the burning passion of your souls.

Grow to be leaders and champions. God give you the honour of maturity, the glory of strength!”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1900/1960), 193-194.

“Did He set about it by organizing a monster Conference, or by publishing a great book?” by Charles Spurgeon

“Let me remind you how the Saviour lived. He never settled down in desires and resolves, but girded Himself for constant service.

He said, ‘My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.’ (John 4:34)

Soul-winning must be meat and drink to us. To do the Lord’s work must be as necessary as food to us.

His Father’s work is that in which we also are engaged, and we cannot do better than imitate our Lord. Tell me, then, how Jesus set about it.

Did He set about it by arranging to build a huge Tabernacle, or by organizing a monster Conference, or by publishing a great book, or by sounding a trumpet before Him in any other form?

Did He aim at something great, and altogether out of the common line of service?

Did He bid high for popularity, and wear Himself out by an exhausting sensationalism?

No. He called disciples to Him one by one, and instructed each one with patient care.

To take a typical instance of His method, watch Him as He paused in the heat of the day. He sat upon a well, and talked with a woman,– a woman who was none of the best.

This looked like slow work, and very common-place action. Yet we know that it was right and wise.

To that single auditor, He did not deliver a list of clever maxims, like those of Confucius, or profound philosophies, like those of Socrates.

But He talked simply, plainly, and earnestly with her about her own life, her personal needs, and the living water of grace by which those needs could be supplied.

He won her heart, and through her many more; but He did it in a way of which many would think little. He was beyond the petty ambitions of our vain-glorious hearts.

He cared not for a large congregation; He did not even ask for a pulpit.

He desired to be the spiritual Father of that one daughter; and, for that purpose, He must needs go through Samaria, and must, in His utmost weariness, tell her of the water of life.

Brethren, let us lay aside vanity. Let us grow more simple, natural, and father-like as we mature; and let us be more and more completely absorbed in our life-work.

As the Lord shall help us, let us lay our all upon the altar, and only breathe for Him.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1900/1960), 194-196.

“We shall bring our Lord most glory if we get from Him much grace” by Charles Spurgeon

“One thing is past all question; we shall bring our Lord most glory if we get from Him much grace.

If I have much faith, so that I can take God at His word; much love, so that the zeal of His house eats me up; much hope, so that I am assured of fruit from my labour; much patience, so that I can endure hardness for Jesus’ sake; then I shall greatly honour my Lord and King.

Oh, to have much consecration, my whole nature being absorbed in His service; then, even though my talents may be slender, I shall make my life to burn and glow with the glory of the Lord!

This way of grace is open to us all. To be saintly is within each Christian’s reach, and this is the surest method of honouring God.

Though the preacher may not collect more than a hundred in a village chapel to hear him speak, he may be such a man of God that his little church will be choice seed-corn, each individual worthy to be weighed against gold.

The preacher may not get credit for his work in the statistics which reckon scores and hundreds; but in that other book, which no secretary could keep, where things are weighed rather than numbered, the worker’s register will greatly honour his Master.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1900/1960), 233.

“I’m talking about Charles Haddon Spurgeon” by John Piper

“Mountains are not meant to envy. In fact they are not meant even to be possessed by anyone on earth. They are, as David says, ‘the mountains of God’ (Psalm 36:6).

If you try to make your Minnesota hill imitate a mountain, you will make a fool of your hill.

Hills have their place. So do the plains of Nebraska. If the whole world were mountains, where would we grow bread? Every time you eat bread say, ‘Praise God for Nebraska!’

I’m talking about Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I am warning my wavering self that he is not to be imitated.

Spurgeon preached as a Baptist pastor in London from 1854 until 1891—thirty-eight years of ministry in one place.

He died January 31, 1892, at the age of fifty-seven.

His collected sermons fill sixty-three volumes equivalent to the twenty-seven-volume ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica and stand as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of Christianity.

He read six serious books a week and could remember what was in them and where.

He read Pilgrim’s Progress more than one hundred times.

He added 14,460 people to his church membership and did almost all the membership interviews himself.

He could look out on a congregation of 5,000 and name the members.

He founded a pastors’ college and trained almost 900 men during his pastorate.

Spurgeon once said he had counted as many as eight sets of thoughts that passed through his mind at the same time while he was preaching.

He often prayed for his people during the very sermon he was preaching to them.

He would preach for forty minutes at 140 words a minute from a small sheet of notes that he had worked up the night before.

The result? More than twenty-five thousand copies of his sermons were sold each week in twenty languages, and someone was converted every week through the written sermons.

Spurgeon was married and had two sons who became pastors.

His wife was an invalid most of her life and rarely heard him preach.

He founded an orphanage, edited a magazine, produced more than 140 books, responded to 500 letters a week, and often preached ten times a week in various churches as well as his own.

He suffered from gout, rheumatism, and Bright’s disease, and in the last twenty years of his ministry he was so sick that he missed a third of the Sundays at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

He was a politically liberal, conservative Calvinistic Baptist who smoked cigars, spoke his mind, believed in hell, and wept over the perishing, tens of thousands of whom were saved through his soul-winning passion.

He was a Christian hedonist, coming closer than anyone I know to my favorite sentence: “’God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.’

Spurgeon said, ‘One thing is past all question; we shall bring our Lord most glory if we get from Him much grace.’

What shall we make of such a man? Neither a god nor a goal. He should not be worshiped or envied.

He is too small for the one and too big for the other. If we worship such men, we are idolaters. If we envy them, we are fools.

Mountains are not meant to be envied. They are meant to be marveled at for the sake of their Maker. They are the mountains of God.

More than that, without envy, we are meant to climb into their minds and hearts and revel in what they saw so clearly and what they felt so deeply.

We are to benefit from them without craving to be like them. When we learn this, we can relax and enjoy them.

Until we learn it, they may make us miserable, because they highlight our weaknesses. Well, we are weak, and to be reminded of it is good.

But we also need to be reminded that, compared with our inferiority to God, the distance between us and Spurgeon is as nothing. We are all utterly dependent on our Father’s grace.

Spurgeon had his sins. That may comfort us in our weak moments.

But let us rather be comforted that his greatness was a free gift of God—to us as well as him. Let us be, by the grace of God, all that we can be for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 15:10).

In our smallness, let us not become smaller by envy, but rather larger by humble admiration and gratitude for the gifts of others.

Do not envy the mountain; glory in its Creator.

You’ll find the air up there cool, fresh, and invigorating and the view stunning beyond description.

So don’t envy. Enjoy!”

–John Piper, “Mountains Are Not Meant to Envy: Awed Thoughts on Charles Spurgeon,” A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All Life (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1997), 263–265.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834.

“We stand in the righteousness of Christ” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“This is a painful subject, and so far we have looked only at the injunction. We have not yet considered the reason which our Lord adds to the injunction.

We have just taken the two words, and I trust we shall always remember them. ‘Judge not’. (Matt. 7:1)

As we do so let us thank God that we have a gospel which tells us that ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’, (Rom. 5:8) that not one of us stands in his own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ.

Without Him we are damned, utterly lost. We have condemned ourselves by judging others.

But then God the Lord is our Judge, and He has provided a way whereby we pass ‘from judgment unto life’. (John 5:24)

The exhortation is that we should live our lives in this world as people who have passed through the judgment ‘in Christ’, and who now live for Him and live like Him, realizing that we have been saved by His wondrous grace and mercy.”

–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Second edition. (England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1976), 485–486.

“This is our pattern when we speak and write for God” by John Newton

“Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines, as well as upon works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature and the riches of free grace.

Yea, I would add, the best of men are not wholly free from this leaven; and therefore are too apt to be pleased with such representations as hold up our adversaries to ridicule, and by consequence flatter our own superior judgments.

Controversies, for the most part, are so managed as to indulge rather than to repress this wrong disposition; and therefore, generally speaking, they are productive of little good. They provoke those whom they should convince, and puff up those whom they should edify.

I hope your performance will savour of a spirit of true humility, and be a means of promoting it in others.

This leads me, in the last place, to consider your own concern in your present undertaking. It seems a laudable service to defend the faith once delivered to the saints; we are commanded to contend earnestly for it, and to convince gainsayers.

If ever such defences were seasonable and expedient, they appear to be so in our day, when errors abound on all sides, and every truth of the Gospel is either directly denied, or grossly misrepresented. And yet we find but very few writers of controversy who have not been manifestly hurt by it.

Either they grow in a sense of their own importance, or imbibe an angry contentious spirit, or they insensibly withdraw their attention from those things which are the food and immediate support of the life of faith, and spend their time and strength upon matters which at most are but of a secondary value.

This shews, that, if the service is honourable, it is dangerous. What will it profit a man if he gains his cause, and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of His presence is made!

Your aim, I doubt not, is good. But you have need to watch and pray, for you will find Satan at your right hand to resist you: he will try to debase your views; and though you set out in defence of the cause of God, if you are not continually looking to the Lord to keep you, it may become your own cause, and awaken in you those tempers which are inconsistent with true peace of mind, and will surely obstruct communion with God.

Be upon your guard against admitting anything personal into the debate.

If you think you have been ill treated, you will have an opportunity of showing that you are a disciple of Jesus, who, ‘when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not.’ (1 Pet. 2:23) This is our pattern, thus we are to speak and write for God, ‘not rendering railing for railing, but, contrariwise, blessing; knowing that hereunto we are called.’ (1 Pet. 3:9)

The wisdom that is from above is not only pure, but peaceable and gentle; and the want of these qualifications, like the dead fly in the pot of ointment, will spoil the savour and efficacy of our labours. If we act in a wrong spirit, we shall bring little glory to God, do little good to our fellow-creatures, and procure neither honour nor comfort to ourselves.

If you can be content with shewing your wit, and gaining the laugh on your side, you have an easy task. But I hope you have a far nobler aim, and that, sensible of the solemn importance of Gospel truths, and the compassion due to the souls of men, you would rather be a means of removing prejudices in a single instance, than obtain the empty applause of thousands.

Go forth, therefore, in the name and strength of the Lord of Hosts, speaking the truth in love; and may He give you a witness in many hearts, that you are taught of God, and favoured with the unction of His Holy Spirit.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 1: 272-274.