the Second Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.”
Luke 10:23 , Luke 10:24
Gospel times are happy times. Do we think enough of our privilege in being permitted to live in an age when salvation is fully revealed and plainly preached in all our streets? It is to be feared that the commonness of the blessing has made it cheap in our esteem.
Or, what is the way to heaven by my own doings and merits?
For “the man that doeth these things shall live in them;” but who has ever thus loved the Lord his God? Who among the fallen sons of men can thus honour his Maker? Our Lord thus laid open the impossibility of salvation by works. The labours of Hercules are nothing to the work which is required to merit heaven. To love God and our neighbour, according to the measure of the law, has never yet been accomplished by any mere man.
Expecting the Lord to tell him that his fellow Jew was such; instead of which, the Lord tells him that he ought to be a neighbour to any man and every man in need.
He had too much to do at the temple to act the part of a man. Official religiousness often kills common humanity.
Compassion is a great gospel duly, and it must be hearty and practical. When we see a man in distress, we must not pass him by as the priest and Levite did, for thus we shall show that our religion is only skin-deep, and has never affected our hearts. We must pity, go near, help, and befriend. All that is needed we must do, so far as it lies in our power, and never leave the needy one till we have seen the matter through. The good Samaritan has earned for himself immortal honour. Let us imitate him by manifesting a brother’s love to those who are in trouble, even though they should happen to be opposed to us in religion, or have been regarded as our enemies. Such conduct will bring glory to God, and go far to recommend the holy religion which we profess. The Lord help us to do so, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
How beauteous are their feet
Who stand on Zion’s hill!
Who bring salvation on their tongues,
And words of peace reveal!
How happy are our ears,
That hear this joyful sound,
Which kings and prophets waited for,
And sought but never found.
How blessed arc our eyes,
That see this heavenly light!
Prophets and kings desired it long,
But died without the sight.
“One thing is needful.”
Martha was not blamable for serving, nor for serving much, but for being distracted with care, when she should have been listening to her Lord. Mary wisely judged that it would better please the Lord for her to hearken to his teaching than to offer him a grand entertainment. What were joints and dishes to him! He had far rather receive an attentive ear than any or all the other attentions which the kindest hostesses could offer him.
Luke 10:41 , Luke 10:42
She was more spiritual than her sister, and was wise for so being. The active Christian must one day cease from his activity, but the contemplative spiritual believer may continue to sit at Jesus feet throughout the whole of life, and even in death itself. To learn of Jesus and live in communion with him is the highest privilege of saints.
This is the model for our prayers, and the more closely we copy its fulness, order, brevity, and spirituality, the better we shall pray.
Importunity will prevail where friendship fails; how much more will it succeed with our ever-faithful heavenly friend!
Luke 11:9 , Luke 11:10
Prayer is not a vain exercise; it is heard and answered. Where it fails there is a reason for that failure. “Ye have not because ye ask not, or because ye ask amiss.”
There were stones near the Saviour which looked like thin cakes of bread. Will a father deceive his child with these?
Some fishes may be mistaken for serpents. Will a father give his child a poisonous serpent instead of a fish?
We do not make mistakes and give our children deadly things when they ask for good things, neither will the Lord refuse us, or send us the counterfeits of blessings. We shall obtain real boons, and that which is the essence of all benedictions, the life of grace, and the soul of holiness, namely, the Holy Spirit. We may ask for him, and we may expect to Receive him in answer to our petition.