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Discussion Forum : General Topics : RASA ~ Duncan Campbell ~ STEADFASTNESS IN CONDUCT

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crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

{5}

Ah! mighty, to the most favored, are the temptations of life. Many belong to all periods; others mark some special season. Many are "common to man"; others belong to some particular condition or calling. "The heart knoweth its own bitterness"; yea, and its own trials, and its own weakness. Be this our support-our Saviour lives, he sympathizes with us, he intercedes for us; let us draw near unto God through him, unto God who has said, "As thy days, so shall thy strength be."

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake.



2. But many times, sad as is the confession, we yield to temptation, we sin; and "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Must we then despair? Must the hopes we had cherished be abandoned, and this new sin be the terror of our souls? Listen! The apostle John wrote an Epistle for the express purpose of restraining his brethren from sin; yet he does not cut off those who are conscious they have sinned from the hope of forgiveness and salvation. He says: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world."

Now we know what an advocate was, according to the usages of the Roman law, and is among ourselves, viz.: one who undertakes the management of another's case in court, and pleads his cause. So Jesus is our advocate with the Father. But, as in other cases where spiritual things are illustrated by temporal, the analogy is not perfect; there are differences. Our advocate does not argue that we are innocent, but confessing our guilt, pleads for mercy to us; and he does not present our merits as a reason why mercy should be shown us, but his merits. "He is the propitiation for our sins." His atoning death does, as it were, render God propitious, or favorable to sinners. Not that God is unwilling to show favor to poor sinners, and only prevailed on to do so by the death and intercession of his Son. Oh no! far from it. "Herein is love," says John in the same Epistle, "not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." It was because God loved us, and wanted us to be saved, that he devised this way of saving us. And God is made propitious, favorable to us, not when he is made willing to save, but when it is made right that he should save us, and therefore we need not die, but may have everlasting life.


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Mike Balog

 2004/9/12 12:22Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:


{6}

When a sinner is pardoned, simply for the sake of the atoning and interceding Saviour, there is in that no encouragement to God's creatures to sin, as if it were a little thing and could be readily passed over, but a most solemn and impressive exhibition of the dreadful evil of sin, since it was only through the atonement and intercession of the only-begotten Son of God that any sinner could be forgiven, an exhibition at once of God's love to the perishing, and of his justice, that "will by no means clear the guilty."

Bearing in mind the difference between the pleading of our great advocate and any parallel which human affairs presents, we may look at a story of Grecian history, which has been often used to illustrate the Saviour's intercession. The poet Aeschylus had incurred the displeasure of the Athenians. He was on trial before the great popular tribunal, consisting of many hundreds of citizens, and was about to be condemned. But Aeschylus had a brother, who had lost an arm in battle-in the great battle of Salamis, where the Greeks fought for their existence against the Persian aggressors. This brother came into the court, and did not speak words of entreaty, but letting fall his mantle, he showed the stump of his arm, lost in his country's defense, and there stood until the Athenians relented, and Aeschylus was suffered to go free. So, my brethren, imperfect and unworthy as is the illustration, so we may conceive that when we are about to be condemned, and justly condemned for our sins, our glorious Brother stands up in our behalf, and does not need to speak a word, but only to show where he was wounded on the cross,

Five bleeding wounds he bears,
Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers,
They strongly speak for me;
"Forgive him, 0 forgive," they cry,
"Nor let that ransomed sinner die!"


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Mike Balog

 2004/9/12 12:22Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:


{7}

Here, then, is hope for us. "If any man sin," much as he ought to deplore it, he need not despair. Our advocate with the Father ever liveth to make intercession for them that come unto God through him, and through him we may find mercy. And here is no encouragement to sin, but the very contrary. If we truly trust in, truly love our interceding Lord, we shall be supremely anxious for his dear sake to turn from sin, to live for him who died for us; yea, who ever lives as our Saviour.


3. This suggests another respect in which is seen our need of our Lord's perpetual intercession. We make such slow progress in attaining holiness-holiness, which is the noblest thing men can aspire to-holiness, "without which no man shall see the Lord." Many a Christian, as he sorrowfully sees how often he yields to temptation, how his character breaks down afresh where he thought it had grown most firm, is at times inclined to think it impossible that he should ever become really holy.

But remember how Jesus prayed the night before his atoning death, "Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth." "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." Think you that he, who ever lives to intercede for his people, does not still pray this prayer, that they may be sanctified and kept from the evil? Do you doubt that he prays for them still, as he did when on earth? His people's wants have not changed, and as for him, he is "the same yesterday and today and forever." Find me a young man far from his home whose mother used to pray for him when they were together, and try to make him believe that she does not pray for him still. "No, no," he would say, "if she is living, she prays for me."


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Mike Balog

 2004/9/12 12:24Profile
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 Re:


{8}

Brethren, he who prays for us "ever lives." When the Jews gathered at the temple on the great day of atonement, and the high priest went into the holy of holies to pray for the people and himself, did the people doubt whether he was praying? Why, for that very purpose he had withdrawn from their view. So for that very purpose our High Priest has entered "not into a holy place made with hands, like in pattern to the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us." And do not say that the Jewish high priest was absent but a few minutes, while it is long since Jesus went away. On the scale of the ages it is but a little while since he entered the heavenly sanctuary, having "been once offered to bear the sins of many," and any moment he may "appear a second time apart from sin unto salvation." Let us be sure that while absent he perpetually carries on his work of intercession.

Think of him, then, as still praying, "Sanctify them in the truth. Keep them from the evil." In all our disheartening failures to keep good resolutions, even when we may be tempted to think it scarce worth while for us to try to be holy, let us remember that Jesus prays for us, and, "forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, let us press toward the mark." Ah! brethren, though it might often seem to us the bitterest irony now for a man to call you and me the saints of the Lord, yet, if indeed we are in Christ, and thus are new creatures, we have but to trust in his intercession for the sanctifying Spirit, and earnestly strive to "grow in grace," and we shall make progress; yea, sadly imperfect as is now our conformity to the Saviour's beautiful image, "we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." O burdened spirit, crying, "Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" be sure to add, "I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." The Saviour will continue to intercede, the Spirit will help your infirmities, and you shall at last be pure from sin, and safe from temptation to sin, a saint of the Lord forever.


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Mike Balog

 2004/9/12 12:39Profile
crsschk
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Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:


{9}

4. When we are in sorrow it is a blessed thing that Jesus ever lives to pray for us. He was himself while on earth, "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." And he showed the truest, tenderest sympathy with the sorrows of others. Who does not think at once of that touching scene at Bethany? "Jesus wept," in affection for the departed, in sympathy with the bereaved. And presently, standing by the tomb, he said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." Then he had been praying, asking that he might be able to raise Lazarus from the dead. We do not expect him now to pray that miracles may be wrought in behalf of the bereaved. We do not expect him now to give back the buried brother to his sisters, or to the widowed mother her only son. But shall it not be a consolation to us all in our afflictions, to feel assured that he now intercedes for us; that now, too, the Father hears him, and that by the gracious influences of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, this affliction shall work for us glory? And though we cannot now see his tears, nor hear his loving voice, as did the mourners at Bethany, neither do we need to send a messenger many miles, and wait, day after day, and go forth into the suburbs to meet him; he is everywhere alike near, and ever ready to pray for us to his Father and our Father, to his God and our God.


5. When we come to die, he is "alive forevermore." One of his servants, when near to death, saw "heaven opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God," where he represents and intercedes for his people. And so in departing he committed his spirit to him, as now exalted and glorious and ready to receive it. And so, amid all the cruel injustice and suffering, he was calm and forgiving. And so, though they were stoning him to death, "he fell asleep." Oh, whenever you are called to die, brother, and however, whether among loving friends in your pleasant home, or far away in loneliness and want, whether with ample forewarning or in the suddenness of a moment, think of your interceding Saviour standing on the right hand of God, and say, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," and you too shall fall asleep.


6. Even this is not the end of his work for his people. There shall be a "redemption of the body." Many have been sad during the time of war, because the bodies of their loved ones lie so far away, lie perhaps undistinguished among the huge masses of the unnamed dead. But he who receives the departing spirit to himself will also care for the mouldering body. His resurrection is a pledge of the glorious resurrection of his people. "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also who through Jesus have fallen asleep, will God bring with him." "Who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory." Then, the spirit reunited with the risen and glorified body, "so shall we ever be with the Lord."


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Mike Balog

 2004/9/12 12:40Profile
crsschk
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 Re:

{10}

And he who saved them will be ever living to keep them safe, unto all eternity. My friends, how shall we think of Jesus? What conception shall we cherish of him whom "having not seen, we love," who ever liveth to intercede for us? Many centuries ago, on the eastern slope of Mount Olivet, toward Bethany, twelve men stood together, one talking to the others. Presently he lifted up his hands and blessed them; and with hands still uplifted, and words of blessing still lingering on his lips, he was parted from them and rose toward heaven, till a cloud received him out of sight. Years passed, and one of the eleven was an exile on a lonely island. It was the Lord's day, and he was in the Spirit. Hearing behind him a mighty voice that seemed to call him, he turned, and lo! one like unto the Son of Man, it was the Saviour who had parted from him long years before. He was arrayed in robes of majesty, and girt about with a golden girdle; his whole head shone white as snow with celestial glory; his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace; and his voice as the voice of many waters; and his countenance as the sun shineth in his strength. Yes, the feet that once wearily trod the dusty roads of Judea now shone like molten brass. The eyes that were full of tears as he gazed upon doomed Jerusalem now gleamed as a flame of fire. The countenance that writhed in agony as he lay prostrate on his face in the garden, that was streaked with the blood that fell from his thorn-pierced brow, was now as the sun shineth in his strength. And the voice as the voice of many waters-it was the same voice that in gentleness and love had so often encouraged the sinful and sorrowing to draw near-it is the same voice that now calls us to come unto God through him, and declares that he is able to save us completely, since he ever lives to intercede for us.

O my hearer, slight all the sounds of earth, all the voices of the universe; be deaf to the thunder's mighty tones, and stand careless amid "the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds"-but oh, slight not the loving voice of Jesus.

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=category&cid=130]John A. Broadus[/url]


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Mike Balog

 2004/9/12 12:42Profile
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 Re: Random Article strikes again!

[b][u]Beware of the pride of reasoning; The true guide to knowledge is love.[/u][/b]

LETTER XXX.
Beware of the pride of reasoning; the true guide to knowledge is love.

Your mind is too much occupied with exterior things, and still worse, with argumentation, to be able to act with a frequent thought of God. I am always afraid of your excessive inclination to reason; it is a hinderance to that recollection and silence in which He reveals Himself. Be humble, simple, and sincerely abstracted with men; be recollected, calm, and devoid of reasonings before God. The persons who have heretofore had most influence with you, have been infinitely dry, reasoning, critical, and opposed to a true interior life. However little you might listen to them, you would hear only endless reasonings and a dangerous curiosity, which would insensibly draw you out of Grace and plunge you into the depths of Nature. Habits of long standing are easily revived; and the changes which cause us to revert to our original position are less easily perceived, because they are natural to our constitution. Distrust them, then; and beware of beginnings which, in fact, include the end.

It is now four months since I have had any leisure for study; but I am very happy to forego study, and not to cling to anything, when providence would take it away. It may be that during the coming winter I shall have leisure for my library, but I shall enter it then, keeping one foot on the threshold, ready to leave it at the slightest intimation. The mind must keep fasts as well as the body. I have no desire to write, or speak, or to be spoken about, or to reason, or to persuade any. I live every day aridly enough, and with certain exterior inconveniences which beset me; but I amuse myself whenever I have an opportunity, if I need recreation. Those who make almanacs upon me, and are afraid of me, are sadly deceived. God bless them! I am far from being so foolish as to incommode myself for the sake of annoying them. I would say to them as Abraham said to Lot: Is not the whole land before thee? If you go to the east, I will go to the west. (Gen. xiii. 9.)

Happy he who is indeed free! The Son of God alone can make us free; but He can only do it by snapping every bond; and how is this to be done? By that sword which divides husband and wife, father and son, brother and sister. The world is then no longer of any account; but, as long as it is anything to us, so long our freedom is but a word, and we are as easily captured as a bird whose leg is fastened by a thread. He seems to be free; the string is not visible; but he can only fly its length, and he is a prisoner. You see the moral. What I would have you possess is more valuable than all you are fearful of losing. Be faithful in what you know, that you may be entrusted with more. Distrust your intellect, which has so often misled you. My own has been such a deceiver, that I no longer count upon it. Be simple, and firm in your simplicity. "The fashion of this world passeth away." (1 Cor. vii. 31.) We shall vanish with it, if we make ourselves like it by reason of vanity; but the truth of God remains forever, and we shall dwell with it if it alone occupies our attention.

Again I warn you, beware of philosophers and great reasoners. They will always be a snare to you, and will do you more harm than you will know how to do them good. They linger and pine away in discussing exterior trifles, and never reach the knowledge of the truth. Their curiosity is an insatiable spiritual avarice. They are like those conquerors who ravage world without possessing it. Solomon, after a deep experience of it, testifies to the vanity of their researches.
We should never study but on an express intimation of Providence; and we should do it as we go to market, to buy the provision necessary for each day's wants. Then, too, we must study in the spirit of prayer. God is, at the same time, the Truth and the Love. We can only know the truth in proportion as we love--when we love it, we understand it well. If we do not love Love, we do not know Love. He who loves much, and remains humble and lowly in his ignorance, is the well-beloved one of the Truth; he knows what philosophers not only are ignorant of, but do not desire to know. Would that you might obtain that knowledge which is reserved for babes and the simple-minded, while it is hid from the wise and prudent. (Matt. xi. 25.)

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=category&cid=434]Francois Fenelon[/url]


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Mike Balog

 2004/9/20 10:17Profile
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 Re: fenelon

Thanks Mike for this reminder! I love Fenelon. I have his little book "Let Go" and it always inspires me. I love his writing on the danger of always wanting to gain more "knowledge"(not God's wisdom). There is definitely a balance here and I find that if I am to study or read, the Lord will lead me to just the right thing. Sometimes I just get gluttonous for more knowledge just out of discontentment- and then I usually get led astray.

In His love, Chanin


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Chanin

 2004/9/20 10:48Profile









 Re:

The words of Fenelon are worth gold, especially amidst the theological reasoning and bitter critiques commonly found among us.
Hanna


 2004/9/20 13:43
lwpray
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Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re:


Dear Mike,
Thank you for digging up this treasure!

Dear Hanna,
You are absolutely right when you make the following statement:
“The words of Fenelon are worth gold, especially amidst the theological reasoning and bitter critiques commonly found among us”.

I would like to lift forth the following piece:
“Again I warn you, beware of philosophers and great reasoners. They will always be a snare to you, and will do you more harm than you will know how to do them good. They linger and pine away in discussing exterior trifles, and never reach the knowledge of the truth. Their curiosity is an insatiable spiritual avarice. They are like those conquerors who ravage world without possessing it. Solomon, after a deep experience of it, testifies to the vanity of their researches.”


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Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/20 14:23Profile





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