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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: September 25th
“Take up the cross.”
An inquiry which had been put to him before, but this time it came from one who thought that he had already done all that would entitle him to eternal bliss. The question was not “What is the way of salvation?” but, “How can I merit heaven?”
The questioner did not know that Jesus was God, and therefore he ought not to have called him good.
If a man would win heaven by works he must keep these commands and more.
Mark 10:20 , Mark 10:21
If he loved God supremely, as the law required, here was a test for him. We are not all called to relinquish our property; but if Jesus bade us do so, and we refused, it would prove that we loved the world better than God, and therefore were very far from keeping the commandments.
He could not stand the test. He thought that he loved God best, but soon discovered that he did not.
And the disciples were astonished at his words.
For the Rabbis gave the rick all the advantage, and thought the salvation of the poor almost hopeless.
Trusting in riches is the great evil rather than the having of them, though the two things of ten go together.
But it was a poor little all an old ship and a few worn out nets. Peter’s usual rashness led him to mention the sacrifice he and his friends had made; in after years he was more modest.
Mark 10:29 , Mark 10:30
Even here the Lord Jesus is to us a hundredfold more than houses or relatives could be, and when he is near we rejoice to suffer for his sake.
Ye glittering toys of earth, adieu,
A nobler choice be mine;
A real prize attracts my view,
A treasure all divine.
Jesus to multitudes unknown,
Oh, name divinely sweet!
Jesus, in thee, in thee alone,
Wealth, honour, pleasure, meet.
Should both the Indies at my call,
Their boasted stores resign,
With joy I would renounce them all,
For leave to call thee mine.
Should earth’s vain treasures all depart,
Of this dear gift possess’d,
I’d clasp it to my joyful heart,
And be for ever bless’d.
“Why stand ye here all the day idle?”
Matthew 20:1 , Matthew 20:2
Each man is called upon to work for the Lord, and in doing so he will find an abundant reward. The penny promised was sufficient maintenance for the day, and was regarded as a fair wage. No man shall ever have cause to complain that he served God for nought. Those are happiest who enter his service early in the morning.
Matthew 20:3 , Matthew 20:4
Till we serve God we are idlers. However busy we may be we do nothing till we live for God.
The half of the day was gone, yea, three-fourths of it, and yet this patient householder engaged the labourers. If half our life, or even three-fourths, be gone, the Lord will still receive us, for his hirings are not after the manner of men.
This showed that the hiring of labourers in this case was not an act of necessity but of bounty, or surely the householder would not have hired men just as the sun was setting. In the Lord’s vineyard grace alone chooses, calls, hires, and pays the workers.
However late in life a man may be converted he shall enjoy the same privileges and promises as others. Free grace gives freely and does not upbraid.
This ungenerous spirit will creep in even among the servants of God, but it deserves to be cast out with detestation. We ought to rejoice in the richness of divine love to aged converts. Envy of another’s spiritual privileges is most unseemly in a child of God.
The sovereignty of God is vindicated as much in the enjoyments and privileges of saints as in their election to eternal life. In making all his people equally dear to his heart, equally safe in Christ, and equal in justification and adoption, the Lord as much displays his undoubted right to do as he wills with his own, as when he chooses a certain number of sinners, and allows others to continue in their sins.
Those who start in religion and promise great things frequently disappoint us, while others of whom we despaired bring forth good fruit. Many are called by the Gospel, but few are really elect of God, and so obey the call from the heart; and out of these only a remnant become eminent for grace. Choice men are rare even among the chosen.
While our days on earth are lengthen’d,
May we give them, Lord, to thee;
Cheer’d by hope, and daily strengthen’d,
May we run, nor weary be;
Till thy glory,
Without clouds in heaven we see.
the Sixth Week after Easter
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