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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: September 6th
“Set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God.”
It was a sign of stormy weather when these ill birds came together.
These were the ancestors of our modern Ritualists, who are fast bound with idle forms and vain ceremonials, and make a great matter of the cut of a garment, or the colour of a robe.
The keeping of human commands always leads to the neglect of the divine. Superstition strangles true religion.
If an ungrateful son did not care to give his parents what they asked, he had only to say that he had made an offering of it, and he was free from all obligation to succour his parents. This was a forcible example of the way in which tradition made void the law of God; but many such might have been quoted, for the Rabbis openly exalted their precepts above the law of Moses. In their Talmud we read, “The words of the scribes are more noble than the words of the law; for the words of the law are both hard and easy, but the words of the scribes are all easy to be understood.”
John 7:14 , John 7:15
Godliness does not consist in meats or drinks, in feasting or fasting. No food, unless it be the means of gluttony or drunkenness, has a defiling effect. Tradition makes much of externals, the gospel makes very little.
Thus did he set forth the true spiritual religion, wherein holy hearts are everything, and peculiar meats are nothing; obedient lives are acceptable, and rigid abstinences little worth. We do not need salt fish, but salt in ourselves; not unleavened cakes, but hearts free from malice and hypocrisy.
Not different food, nor different dress,
Compose the kingdom of our Lord;
But peace, and joy, and righteousness,
Faith, and obedience to his word.
“Lord, help me.”
Though he did not go out of Palestine, which was the sphere of his ministry, he took care to go to the very edge of it.
Matthew 15:22 , Matthew 15:23
His silence tried her faith, but did not conquer it; she pleaded still.
He seemed to deny her, and to give a reason for the denial; yet she would not be put off.
Short, urgent, and to the point was this petition. As we grow more earnest our words usually become fewer.
The miracles were for the Jews, the favoured children, and not for Gentile dogs.
As much as to say, the boon which I ask, though very great to me, is but as a crumb to thee. Favour me with a dogs portion, since thou hast called me a dog. She broke the hard bone of our Lord’s apparently harsh speech, and speedily found marrow of comfort in it. Oh, blessed faith which will not be repulsed!
This was an acted sermon suitable for a deaf and dumb man. He took him aside for grace makes men feel their personality, and sets them as units before God; he put his fingers into his ears and touched his tongue to let him know where the evil lay, for we must know something of the disease, or we shall not value the remedy; he spit for the means of grace are simple, and to some even disgusting; he looked up to heaven, for thence our help must come; he sighed, for he heals us by bearing our sorrows in his own person. The whole gospel is set forth in this deaf and dumb mans alphabet.
When a beggar is relieved at any door he tells others, and so many more come; thus the crowds around our Lord increased daily, but he was able to meet all their needs. Blessed be his name, he is still quite as able and willing to supply all our necessities. Let us tell him at this time all our wants and woes, and we too shall soon be astonished by his wonders of grace.
The men of a place where Jesus hath been,
Acknowledge his grace which saves them from sin,
To others discover the power of his word,
And all the land over they publish their Lord.
The cure we have found through faith in his name,
The country around we gladly proclaim,
The worst, if he pleases, to Christ may draw near,
Who heals our diseases, and hushes our fear.
To those that believe salvation is sure,
Come all and receive immediate cure.
Ye now may approach him, and calling him Lord,
The moment ye touch him your souls are restored.
the First Week of Advent
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