the First Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Who hath believed our report?”
Mark the honesty of Jesus; he never flinched from declaring the truth concerning the highest in the land. No fear of man ever fettered his speech. The object of his rebuke was pride, pride of dress and rank, and the outward display of religion. Let us avoid these things, for the Lord abhors them. Shall pardoned sinners be proud? God forbid.
How often do we hear persons speak of “giving their mite,” when they know that they are doing no such thing. This poor woman gave her all; where do we find such givers now-a-days? We must measure our generosity not by what we give, but by what remains. Jesus sat over against the treasury, and he is sitting there still. He knows what we bring to him, and he sees whether it is a fair proportion of our means. He measures our offerings not by their amount, but by the will of the giver.
John 12:39 , John 12:40
Continued sin and pride brought on a judicial blindness, so that the plainest truth was not seen by them. Have we believed in Jesus? If not, is there not great danger that we shall be blinded too?
We shall find a description of the prophet’s vision in the sixth chapter of Isaiah. It is worthy of note that the prophet says, “I saw also the Lord, sitting upon his throne” and that he heard the seraphim adore him. Yet the passage is here used in reference to Jesus, who is therefore Lord and God.
John 12:42 , John 12:43
Alas, that men should be such shameful cowards as to be ashamed of the Lord of glory.
Most gracious Lord, what can we pay
For favours so divine?
We consecrate our every power,
To be for ever thine.
Had we ten thousand hearts and lives,
We’d give them all to thee;
Had we ten thousand tongues, they all
Should join the harmony.
“Do not your alms before men to be seen of them.”
Matthew 23:1-12 , Matthew 23:23-31
In what a sad plight is the teacher concerning whom such advice must be given ”do as he says and not as he does.” From such teachers may the Lord save our country.
The love of applause is a very common sin, and we may easily fall into it. Let us pray to be kept from seeking honour from men in our religious or charitable acts, for the influence of such a motive will be most pernicious. Self-seeking makes virtue itself a vice.
Matthew 23:9 , Matthew 23:10
All titles and honours in the church which exalt men and give occasion for pride are here forbidden. In the Christian church we should seek to realise a truer “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,” than that for which the world clamours in vain.
A strong expression setting forth the fact that they regarded trifles and neglected weighty duties; they strained out gnats from their wine, but cared nothing for huge sins.
Here we have much the same teaching as we have read before. The faults denounced are hard to remove, hence the Saviour exposes them again and again. He was not ashamed to preach many times upon the same topic when there was need to do so. Let us learn from this passage to avoid all self-seeking and hypocrisy in religion. May the Lord make us true and humble.
O Lord, if I have not begun
To tread the sacred road,
Now teach my wandering feet the way
To reach thy blest abode.
Or if I’m truly in the path,
Assist me with thy strength,
That I may swift advances make,
And reach thy house at length.
My care, my hope, my sole request,
Are all comprised in this,
Truly to follow Christ my Lord,
And then to share his bliss.