"The heart of fools is in the house of pleasure." Ecclesiastes 7:4
A fool prefers toys and trifles, above things of greatest worth.
Just so, wicked and ungodly men prefer their lusts, before the Lord. Upon choice, they prefer the honors, the riches and glory of this fleeting world—above their own souls and the great concerns of eternity.
I have read of the foolish people of Ceylon, who preferred a consecrated ape's tooth, above an incredible mass of treasure. Such fools are all unholy people, who prefer the toys and trifles of this world—above the eternal pleasures and treasures which are at God's right hand. The world is full of such fools.
Says one: "If you behold the lives of men, you will judge the whole world to be a house of fools!"
Ah, friends! What folly can be compared to that of men's spending their time, their strength, their lives, their souls—in getting the ephemeral things of this world, and neglecting that one thing necessary—the salvation of their souls! Oh, what vanity is it to prefer . . .
a puff of honor,
a blast of fame,
a dream of pleasure,
a wedge of gold,
a Babylonish garment,
and such like transitory trifles and trash
—before a blessed eternity!
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" Matthew 16:26
~ Thomas Brooks (1662)
Puritan Reading ~ Thomas Brooks
The blessed Scriptures are of infinite worth
and value! Here you may find . . .
a remedy for every disease,
balm for every wound,
a plaster for every sore,
milk for babes,
meat for strong men,
comfort for the afflicted,
support for the tempted,
solace for the distressed,
ease for the wearied,
a staff to support the feeble,
a sword to defend the weak.
The holy Scriptures are . . .
the map of God's mercy—and man's misery,
the touchstone of truth,
the shop of remedies against all maladies,
the hammer of vices,
the treasury of virtues,
the exposer of all sensual and worldly vanities,
the balance of equity,
the most perfect rule of all justice and honesty.
"Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all
day long!" Psalm 119:97
~ Thomas Brooks (1662)
As a wise, skilled pharmacist mixes medicine--so our heavenly Father wisely mixes exactly the right measure of bitter things and sweet, to do us good.
Too much joy would intoxicate us.
Too much misery would drive us to despair.
Too much sorrow would crush us.
Too much suffering would break our spirits.
Too much pleasure would ruin us.
Too much defeat would discourage us.
Too much success would puff us up.
Too much failure would keep us from doing anything.
Too much criticism would harden us.
Too much praise would exalt us.
Our great God knows exactly what we need.
His Providence is wisely designed and sovereignly sent for our good!
Let God send and do whatever He wills--by His grace, if we are His, we will face it, bow to it, accept it, and give thanks for it. God's Providence is always executed in the 'wisest manner' possible. We are often unable to see and understand the reasons and causes for specific events in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the history of the world. But our lack of understanding does not prevent us from believing God.
~ Don Fortner
The Death of Death in the Death of Christ
"To which I may add this dilemma to our Universalists:—God imposed His wrath due unto, and Christ underwent the pains of hell for, either all the sins of all men, or all the sins of some men, or some sins of all men. If the last, some sins of all men, then have all men some sins to answer for, and so shall no man be saved; for if God enter into judgment with us, though it were with all mankind for one sin, no flesh should be justified in His sight: ‘If the Lord should mark iniquities, who should stand?’ Ps. 130:3. We might all go to cast all that we have ‘to the moles and to the bats, to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty,’ Isa. 2:20-21. If the second, that is it which we affirm, that Christ in their stead and room suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the world. If the first, why, then, are not all freed from the punishment of their sins? You will say, ‘because of their unbelief; they will not believe.’ But this unbelief, is it a sin, or not? If not, why should they be punished for it? If it be, then Christ underwent the punishment due to it, or not. If so, then why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died from partaking of the fruit of His death? If He did not, then did He not die for all their sins. Let them choose which part they will.”
~ John Owen (1616-1683)
Take heed, therefore brethren [pastors], for the enemy hath a special eye upon you. You shall have his most subtle insinuations, and incessant solicitations, and violent assaults. As wise and learned as you are, take heed to yourselves, lest he outwit you. The devil is a greater scholar than you, and a nimbler disputant: he can transform himself into an angel of light to deceive: he will get within you, and trip up your heels before you are aware: he will play the juggler with you undiscerned, and cheat you of your faith or innocency, and you shall not know that you have lost it; nay, he will make you believe it is multiplied or increased, when it is lost. You shall see neither hook nor line, much less the subtle angler himself, while he is offering you his bait. And his bait shall be so fitted to your temper and disposition, that he will be sure to find advantages within you, and make your own principles and inclinations betray you; and whenever he ruineth you, he will make you the instruments of ruin to others.
~Excerpts from The Reformed Pastor
By Richad Baxter (1615-1691)
Sin will not only be striving, acting, rebelling, troubling, disquieting, but if left alone, if not continually mortified, it will bring forth great, cursed, scandalous, soul-destroying sins. The apostle tells us what the works and fruits of it are, Gal. 5 19-21, “the works of the flesh are manifest, which are, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” You know what it did in David and sundry others. Sin aims always at the utmost; every time it rises up to tempt or entice, might it have its own course, it would go out to the utmost sin in that kind. Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could; every covetous desire would be oppression, every thought of unbelief would be atheism, might it grow to its head… And herein lies no small share of the deceitfulness of sin, by which it prevails to the hardening of men, and so to their ruin, Heb. 3:13…
~Excerpts from Temptation and Sin
By John Owen (1616-1683)
In short, sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of his mercy, the jeer of his patience, the slight of his power, the contempt of his love, as one writer prettily expresses this ugly thing. We may go on and say, it is the upbraiding of his providence (Psalm 50), the scoff of his promise (2 Peter 3:3-4), the reproach of his wisdom (Isaiah 29:16). And as is said of the Man of Sin (i.e. who is made up of sin) it opposes and exalts itself above all that is called God (and above all that God is called), so that it as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing itself as if it were God (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
~Excerpts from The Sinfulness of Sin
By Ralph Venning (1621-1674)
“A godly man is very exact and careful about the worship of God.
The Greek word for ‘godly’ signifies a true worshipper of God. A godly man reverences divine institutions, and is more for the purity of worship than the pomp. Mixture in sacred things is like a dash in the wine, which though it gives it colour, yet only adulterates it. The Lord wanted Moses to make the tabernacle ‘according to the pattern shewed thee in the mount’ (Exod. 25:40). If Moses had left out anything in the pattern, or added anything to it, it would have been very provocative. The Lord has always given testimonies of his displeasure against such as have corrupted his worship. Nadab and Abihu offered ‘strange fire’ (other than God had sanctified on the altar), ‘and fire went out from the Lord, and devoured them’ (Lev.10:1,2)….
A godly man dare not vary from the pattern which God has shown him in the scripture. This is probably not the least reason why David was called ‘a man after God’s own heart’, because he kept the springs of God’s worship pure, and in matters sacred did not superinduce anything of his own devising.”
~Excerpts from The Godly Man’s Picture
By Thomas Watson (1620-1686)
[Contentment] is the quiet of the heart All is sedate and still there…. [Contentment is not opposed to] a due sense of affliction. God gives his people leave to be sensible of what they suffer. Christ does not say, ‘Do not count as a cross what is a cross’: he says, ‘Take up your cross daily’. It is like physical health: if you take medicine and cannot hold it, but immediately vomit it up, or if you feel nothing and it does not move you—in either case the medicine does no good, but suggests that you are greatly disordered and will hardly be cured. So it is with the spirits of men under afflictions: if they cannot bear God’s potions and bring them up again, or if they are insensitive to them and no more affected by them than the body is by a drought of small beer, it is a sad symptom that their souls are in a dangerous and almost incurable condition. So this inward quietness is not in opposition to a sense of afflictions, for, indeed, there would be no true contentment if you were not apprehensive and sensible of your afflictions, when God is angry.
~Excerpts from The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
by Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646)
Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.
[Contentment] is the inward submission of the heart…. Not only must the tongue hold its peace; the soul must be silent. Many may sit silently, refraining from discontented expressions, yet inwardly they are bursting with discontent. This shows a complicated disorder and great perversity in their hearts. And notwithstanding their outward silence, God hears the peevish, fretful language of their souls. A shoe may be smooth and neat outside, while inside it pinches the flesh. Outwardly there may be great calmness and stillness, yet within amazing confusion, bitterness, disturbance and vexation….
If the attainment of true contentment were as easy as keeping quiet outwardly, it would not need much learning.
~Excerpts from The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
By Jeremiah Burroughs
Pastor Dan Benitez
A proclaimer of the glories of God.
Location: 2007 Clement Rd. Lutz, FL 33549
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