Category Archives: Old-Time Sermons

Waiting at Wisdom’s Gates

Waiting at Wisdom’s Gates
John Gadsby

“Blessed is the man who hears Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at the posts of My doors” (Proverbs 8:34). In the Scriptures, no more than two classes of people are declared to be in the world. The one class is called “the blessed of the Lord,” and the other “the cursed of the Lord,” or “the people of God’s curse.”

This latter class contains all the “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”; all “the generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet are not washed from their filthiness”; all the “generation of vipers that cannot escape the damnation of hell”; in short, all “whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life,” who are not among those whom Jesus has “redeemed unto God out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”

The former class, to which the characters spoken of in the text belong, contains all who are “chosen by God the Father in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love”; all whom He “predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace wherein He has made them accepted in the Beloved; in whom they have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:3-7); all whom the Lord the Spirit “quickens into spiritual and eternal life” (Eph. 2:1); and all to whom Jehovah says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you” (Jer. 31:3). Continue reading

Directions for Hating Sin

Directions for Hating Sin
by Richard Baxter

Direction 1. Labor to know God, and to be affected with his attributes, and always to live as in his sight.

No man can know sin perfectly, because no man can know God perfectly. You can no further know what sin is than you know what God is, whom you sin against; for the malignity of sin is against the will and attributes of God. The godly have some knowledge of the malignity of sin, because they have some knowledge of God who is wronged by it. The wicked have no practical knowledge of the malignity of sin, because they have no such knowledge of God. Those who fear God, will fear sinning. Those who in their hearts are bold irreverently with God, will, in heart and life, be bold with sin. The atheist, who thinks there is no God, thinks there is no sin against him. Nothing in world will tell us so plainly and powerfully of the evil of sin, as the knowledge of the greatness, wisdom goodness, holiness, authority, justice, truth, etc. of God. The sense of his presence, therefore, will revive our sense of sin’s malignity.

Direction 2. Consider well of the office, the bloodshed, and the holy life of Christ.

His office is to expiate sin, and to destroy it. His blood was shed for it. His life condemned it. Love Christ, and you will hate that which caused his death. Love him, and you will love to be made like him, and hate that which is so contrary to Christ. These two great lights will show the odiousness of darkness.

Direction 3. Think well both how holy the office and work of the Holy Spirit is, and how great a mercy it is to us. Continue reading

More than a Calvinist

More than a Calvinist
by John Newton

To be enabled to form a clear, consistent, and comprehensive judgment of the truths revealed in the Scripture, is a great privilege; But they who possess it are exposed to the temptation of thinking too highly of themselves, and too meanly of others, especially of those who not only refuse to adopt their sentiments, but venture to oppose them. We see few controversial writings, however excellent in other respects, but are tinctured with this spirit of self-superiority; and they who are not called to this service (of writing), if they are attentive to what passes in their hearts, may feel it working within them, upon a thousand occasions; though so far as it prevails, it brings forcibly home to ourselves the charge of ignorance and inconsistence, which we are so ready to fix upon our opponents.

I know nothing as a means more likely to correct this evil, than a serious consideration of the amazing difference between our acquired judgment, and our actual experience: or, in other words, How Little Influence Our Knowledge and Judgment Have upon Our Own Conduct. This may confirm to us the truth and propriety of the apostle’s observation, “If any man think that he knows any thing, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” Not that we are bound to be insensible that the Lord has taught us what we were once ignorant of; nor is it possible that we should be so; yet because, if we estimate our knowledge by its effects, and value it no farther than it is experimental and operative (which is the proper standard whereby to try it) we shall find it so faint and feeble as hardly to deserve the name. Continue reading

Abusing of the Doctrine of Free Grace

Abusing of the Doctrine of Free Grace
By F. W. Krummacher

What is the principle thing in Christianity? On what does all finally depend, and what is the surest sign of a state of grace? These questions, my brethren, are not difficult to answer. The principal thing, and the surest touchstone of Christianity, is this: that our godliness should shine forth in our life, business, and all our walk and conversation; in our sufferings, in avoiding of evil, in patience, in meekness, in peacefulness, in compassion, in industry, and in a faithful discharge of our daily calling. “Let your light so shine before men,” said the Lord, “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” “Not everyone that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven.” “By their fruit you shall know them.” “Show me your faith by your works,” says James. And Paul says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” “You are,” exclaimed Peter, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

In these, and many other passages of Holy Scripture, all our boasted godliness and fancied merit, are pronounced worthless and hypocritical; yes, even judged and condemned, when they do not so affect our hearts, as to produce a virtuous life, fruitful in good works. “Without holiness,” says God “no man shall see the Lord.” And in the first epistle of John we find, “He that commits sin, is of the devil; and whoever is born of God, does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot commit sin, because he is born of God.” “Whoever is born of God, sins not.” This is a remarkable passage; how are we to understand it? Are they who are born again really free from all sin? Need they no longer daily renew the complaints and sighs of a contrite heart, that they have been so remiss in their most sacred obligations; in love to their God, and to their brethren? Does not John himself declare, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”; yes, we make God a liar. How then can we bring these two passages, which seem to contradict each other, into unison? This will not be so difficult, my brethren, if we look more closely at the context. John tells us explicitly why the regenerated do not sin. He says, “He does not commit sin, because His seed (the seed of God, the seed of the new life from God, Christ Jesus, who is the true life) remains in him. Continue reading

The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper
by
John Angell James

My dear friends, I propose in this address to make some remarks on the Lord’s Supper, and to lay down some rules for the right observance of this solemn and affecting ordinance. You cannot fail to be struck with the truly spiritual nature of the Christian religion, and the contrast to Judaism, which, in this view of it, is presented to the careful observer. Speaking of the law of Moses, the apostle says, “They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order.” Hebrews 9:10. Hence also the terms of depreciation in which he speaks of the ceremonial law, calling it the “flesh,” “the elements of this world,” “beggarly elements,” “the letter,” and other designations of similar import, 2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:5. These rites and ceremonies, with all the visible pomp and splendor of the legal worship, were solemnly obligatory upon the Jews, because enjoined by God, and were proper for the church at that time, for it was then in a state of infancy and childhood, Gal. 4:1-3, and was not prepared for the full and clear revelation of unveiled truth it was taught by these shadows—as by a kind of hieroglyphic Bible in the hands of a schoolmaster.

But when Christ came, who was the substance of this shadowy system, truth was no longer to be principally taught by ceremony—but by doctrine; not by rites, which, however gorgeous, were still obscure—but by explicit and plain declaration. This is the true distinction between Judaism and Christianity; the truths taught are the same in both—but the manner of teaching is essentially different. This is the meaning of the expression, “The law was given by Moses—but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” John 1:17. The word, “truth,” here stands opposed, not to falsehood—but to shadow. So again, our Lord in his discourse with the woman of Samaria, tells her that the hour was coming when ‘sanctity of place’, as the seat of Divine worship, would be abolished—and men would every where worship God, who is a Spirit, “in Spirit and in truth,” John 4:23, 24; that is, he would be worshiped not only in sincerity with the heart, for such worship God required under the law—but with spiritual offerings of truth, instead of ceremonial and shadowy ones. Continue reading

The Mind of Christ

The Mind of Christ
by John Angell James

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 2:5

You know full well, that the seat of all true religion is in the soul; and that it forms the character and guides the conduct by the power of an inward principle of spiritual life. True godliness is, in short, being right-minded. A question, however, arises as to what a right mind really is, and what kind of prevailing disposition the gospel requires in those who profess to believe it. This is answered by the apostle, where he says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” Phil. 2:5-9. And he then goes on to show what Christ’s mind was. This whole passage deserves your closest attention, both on account of its doctrinal truth and its practical bearing, for it shows in a very striking manner the intimate connection between Christian truth and Christian practice—and how the truth is employed by the sacred writers to enforce Christian practice. The most sublime doctrines of our holy Christian religion, are all practical in their design and tendency—they are not mere theory or academics—but are all of them “the truth which is according to godliness.” If there is any mystery of religion which is great and high above the thoughts of men and angels, it is, without doubt, the incarnation of the Son of God; and if there be any place where this important truth is clearly and magnificently represented, it is this passage. The terms are at once so sublime and majestic, that it is impossible anything more sublime or majestic could be said; the meaning is so noble and so well established, that nothing more powerful could be imagined. Continue reading

The Duty of Meditation

The Duty of Meditation
By John Angell James

The subject I call you now to consider is the duty and benefits of MEDITATION. This is frequently either alluded to, or enjoined in the Scriptures. In describing the good man, David observes, that “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law does he meditate day and night,” Psalm 1:2. In giving his instructions to Joshua, Jehovah thus addressed him: “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein,” Joshua 1:8. What was Joshua’s duty is ours: the very possession of the Scriptures implies an obligation, not only to read them, but to meditate upon them. Meditation means close and continuous thought upon some selected subject. It is much the same as contemplation, musing, or what, in popular language, is called turning over a subject in our mind. Pious meditation, then, is a devout pondering upon some religious topic. This, it must be at once confessed and lamented, is in exercise of religion, to which, however important it may be, few addict themselves.

“And it is a very great cause of the dryness and expiration of men’s devotion, because our souls are so little refreshed with the waters and holy dews of meditation. We go to our prayers by chance, or order, or by determination of accidental occurrences; and we recite them us we read a book, and sometimes we are sensible of the duty; and a flash of heavenly light makes the room bright—but our prayers end, and the light is gone, and we are as dark as ever. We draw our water from stagnant pools, which never are filled but with sudden showers, and therefore we are dry so often; whereas, if we would draw water from the fountains of our Savior, and derive them through the channel of diligent and prudent meditations, our devotion would be a continual current, and safe against the barrenness of frequent droughts.” Continue reading