Sunday Meditation – The School of the Cross

“Nothing can render affliction so insupportable as the load of sin: would you, therefore, be fitted for afflictions, be sure to get the burden of your sins laid aside, and then what afflictions soever you may meet with will be very easy to you. If thou canst hear and bear the rod of affliction which God shall lay upon thee, remember this lesson – thou art beaten that thou mayest be better. The Lord useth his flail of tribulation to separate the chaff from the wheat. The school of the cross is the school of light; it discovers the world’s vanity, baseness, and wickedness, and lets us see more of God’s mind. Out of dark affliction comes a spiritual light. In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God. Did we heartily renounce the pleasures of this world, we should be very little troubled for our afflictions; that which renders an afflicted state so insupportable to many is because they are too much addicted to the pleasures of this life, and so cannot endure that which makes a separation between them.”

John Bunyan

Sunday Meditation – Sin Bars Our Happiness

“Sin is the great block and bar to our happiness, the procurer of all miseries to man, both here and hereafter: take away sin and nothing can hurt us: for death, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, is the wages of it. Sin, and man for sin, is the object of the wrath of God. How dreadful, therefore, must his case be who continues in sin! For who can bear or grapple with the wrath of God? No sin against God can be little, because it is against the great God of heaven and earth; but if the sinner can find out a little God, it may be easy to find out little sins. Sin turns all God’s grace into wantonness; it is the dare of his justice, the rape of his mercy, the jeer of his patience, the slight of his power, and the contempt of his love. Take heed of giving thyself liberty of committing one sin, for that will lead thee to another; till, by an ill custom, it become natural. To begin a sin, is to lay a foundation for a continuance; this continuance is the mother of custom, and impudence at last the issue. The death of Christ giveth us the best discovery of ourselves, in what condition we were, in that nothing could help us but that; and the most clear discovery of the dreadful nature of our sins. For if sin be so dreadful a thing as to wring the heart of the Son of God, how shall a poor wretched sinner be able to bear it?”

John Bunyan

Sunday Meditation – The Joys of Obedience

“Consider how unable and unfit you are to govern yourself. We are blind, ignorant and biased by a corrupted will and turbulent passions. Consider the rewards prepared for obedience and the punishment for disobedience. God is far from being indifferent whether you obey His laws or not. Consider the joys of full obedience. All is at ease within us, our food is pleasant, our sleep is sweet and our labor is easy and our life is a pleasure. God owns us and our conscience speaks peace and comfort to us. Consider our endless rewards: well done, good and faithful servant. God will rule whether you obey or not. Consent to be obedient or He will punish you without your consent.”

Richard Baxter

Sunday Meditation – Christ Our Prince

“Is Christ your Prince? This calls for your loyal and faithful service to Christ – who has saved you from Satan’s bondage. He has broken Satan’s power over you and is able to defend you from his wrath. In a word, who has a right over you besides Christ? He has given his life to redeem you and has delivered you from all your enemies that you may serve him without fear in holiness all your days. Let devils and men do their wicked work, but not your hand, O Christian! If you have any loyal blood running in your veins, your own heart will smite you when you break the least skirt of his holy law. You could as well carry burning coals in your bosom, as hide any treason in your heart against your dear Sovereign. No, I would have you desire to advance the name of Christ and be instrumental for God in your generation. He is not a good subject who only seeks what he can get out of his prince, but never thinks what service he can render. He is not a true Christian whose thoughts dwell more on his own happiness than on the honour of his God. Paul was willing to suffer for the furtherance of the gospel, and to wait for his reward later. This makes life worth living, to serve God as proof of our gratitude for his redeeming love. O Christian, since he has rescued us out of the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, lose no time; what you desire to do for God, do it quickly! Work zealously! If you have your new Prince’s sword in your hand, be sure to use it and take heed how you use it, that, when you give an account before God, your sheath will not be found rusty through sloth and cowardice. Be faithful, attend to your work and labour, for you are his ambassador and shall see his face with joy.”

William Gurnall

Sunday Meditation – The Spirit Strives

“God speaks with sinners through his messengers. They come for God’s purpose, and their words, counsels, exhortations, and reproofs are his. When sinners reject the words which God’s ministers bring in his name, they are actually striving with the Spirit. They are wrestling with Christ as if He were present. When God comes to reckon with sinners, it will prove just so. God will remind them of his striving and their unkind resistance. The Spirit strives with the consciences of men, debating in their own hearts the case against them, and shows man his sin in all its ugly colors. He does this so well that the creature can sometimes smell the very fire and brimstone about him, and makes him feel at present in a temporary hell. At other times, he parleys and works with them, and makes gracious overtures and offers of the gospel to them. He opens a door of hope and woos and beseeches them to throw down their rebellious arms and come to Christ for life.”

William Gurnall

Sunday Meditation – Continual Warfare

“The Christian’s state in this life is described as wrestling. It is a solitary battle, a one against one fight. The Christian’s life is a continual warfare and so he needs a sword as much as a trowel. The Christian is assailed on every side by the enemy. When he is praying, Satan and the flesh are pratting to drown out his cry. Bathe your soul with frequent meditations of Christ’s love; it will make you disdain the very offer of sin. Do not say you love him as long as you can lay sin in your bosom, which pierced his heart. It would be a strange thing for a child to keep and delight to use no other knife but the one with which his father was stabbed.”

William Gurnall

Sunday Meditation – True Grace

“Satan shall never vanquish a soul that is armed with true grace. True saints, who have been sifted by the enemy, will at last come off with an honourable victory. The Holy Spirit who led Christ into the wilderness also brought him off with victory. Satan seeks to defile the Christian’s conscience, and disfigure the image of God. God, however, uses the temptation of Satan in one sin, as a preventative against another. God is the saint’s true friend. He sits in the devil’s planning room and overrules Satan’s plan to the saint’s advantage. God also can use the fall of the saints as an encouragement, a drop of hope, to others from falling into utter despair. David’s sin was great, but he found mercy. Peter fell foully, yet is now in heaven. . . . God also allows Satan to trounce some of his saints by temptation in order to train them to help fellow-brethren in like conditions. He allows them to train under Satan’s lash, to get experience in the ways of Satan’s and their own hearts. No one handles poor souls so gently as those who remember the smart of their own heart-sorrows.”

William Gurnall