Archive for the ‘Christian character’ Category

People will never set their faces decidedly towards heaven and live like pilgrims until they really feel that they are in danger of hell

October 21, 2009

Now I believe the likeliest way to cure and mend…defective… religion is to bring forward more prominently the old scriptural truth about the sinfulness of sin. People will never set their faces decidedly towards heaven and live like pilgrims until they really feel that they are in danger of hell. Let us all try to revive the old teaching about sin in nurseries, in schools, in training colleges, in universities. Let us not forget that “the law is good if we use it lawfully” and that “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (1 Tim. 1:8; Rom. 3:20; 7:7). Let us bring the law to the front and press it on men’s attention. Let us expound and beat out the Ten Commandments and show the length and breadth and depth and height of their requirements. This is the way of our Lord in the sermon on the mount. We cannot do better than follow His plan. We may depend upon it, men will never come to Jesus and stay with Jesus and live for Jesus unless they really know why they are to come and what is their need. Those whom the Spirit draws to Jesus are those whom the Spirit has convinced of sin. Without thorough conviction of sin, men may seem to come to Jesus and follow Him for a season; but they will soon fall away and return to the world.

J.C.Ryle, Holiness, ch.1, ‘Sin’

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In 1942, Wladyslaw Misiuna, a teenager from Poland, was recruited by the Germans to help inmates at the concentration camp start a rabbit farm to supply furs for soldiers at the Russian front

October 17, 2009

In 1942, Wladyslaw Misiuna, a teenager from Poland, was recruited by the Germans to help inmates at the concentration camp start a rabbit farm to supply furs for soldiers at the Russian front.  Misiuna felt responsible for the thirty young women he supervised.  He stuffed his coat pockets with bread, milk, carrots and potatoes and smuggled in food for them.

But one day, one of his workers, Deborah Salzberg, contracted a mysterious infection.  Misiuna was beside himself.  He knew if the Germans discovered the open lesions on her arms they would kill her.  He had to cure her, but how?  He took the simplest route.  He infected himself with her blood and when the lesions appeared, he went to a doctor in town.  The doctor prescribed a medication, which Misiuna then shared with Deborah Salzberg.  Both were cured and both survived the war.

Eva Fogelman, Conscience and Courage, p.70

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows.

Isaiah 53.4a

The plain exhibition of the doctrines of the Gospel was exceedingly offensive to many of (Henry Martyn’s) hearers

October 9, 2009

The plain exhibition of the doctrines of the Gospel was exceedingly offensive to many of (Henry Martyn’s) hearers. Nor did the ferment thus excited subside quickly, as it often does, into pity or contempt. He had the pain very shortly after, of being personally attacked from the pulpit by some of his brethren, whose zeal hurried them into the violation, not only of an express canon of the Church, but of the yet higher law of Christian charity, and led them to make an intemperate attack upon him and upon many of the truths of the Gospel. Even when he was himself present at Church, Mr. ______ spoke with sufficient plainness of him and of his doctrines, calling them inconsistent, extravagant and absurd; drawing a vast variety of false inferences from them, and thence arguing against them — declaring, for instance, that to affirm repentance to be the gift of God— and to teach that nature is wholly corrupt, was to drive men to despair — that to suppose the righteousness of Christ sufficient to justify, is to make it unnecessary to have any of our own. Though compelled to listen to this downright heresy; to hear himself described as knowing neither what he said, nor whereof he affirmed — and as speaking only to gratify self-sufficiency, pride, and uncharitableness, — “I rejoiced,” said this meek and holy man thus unjustly aspersed, “to receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper afterwards — as the solemnities of that blessed ordinance sweetly tended to soothe any asperity of mind; and I think that I administered the cup to ______ and _______, with sincere good-will.”

The Life and Letters of Henry Martyn, John Sargent, Banner, 1985, p.154-155

Wang Jie was training a group of young soldiers to throw live hand grenades. One recruit was nervous and dropped his as he pulled out the pin.The seconds ticked by as he stared, transfixed, at the grenade lying just inches from his feet…

October 3, 2009

Wang Jie was training a group of young soldiers to throw live hand grenades. One recruit was nervous and dropped his as he pulled out the pin.The seconds ticked by as he stared, transfixed, at the grenade lying just inches from his feet. The other trainees threw themselves to the ground, but Wang Jie flung himself forward and covered the grenade with his body just before it exploded. His chest was blown to bits, but his action saved his comrades and the young recruit was unharmed. In his diary he had written, ‘Soldiers armed with Mao-Tse Tung thought are all conquering. For the revolution I fear neither hardships nor death. We must regard Mao-Tse Tung thought as our food, our weapon and our steering wheel and always act according to Mao’s instructions in our daily life.

Gao Anhua, To the Edge of the Sky, p.121

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ

September 30, 2009

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

MARTIN LUTHER

My feelings were those of a man who should suddenly be told, that every friend he had in the world was dead

September 28, 2009

In a letter to Charles Simeon, Henry Martyn recounted the moment when the full realisation of leaving England to be a missionary in India hit him:

It was a very painful moment to me when I awoke, on the morning after you left us, and found the fleet actually sailing down the channel. Though it was what I had anxiously been looking forward to so long, yet the consideration of being parted forever from my friends, almost overcame me. My feelings were those of a man who should suddenly be told, that every friend he had in the world was dead. It was only by prayer for them that I could be comforted ; and this was indeed a refreshment to my soul, because by meeting them at the throne of grace, I seemed to be again in their society.

Henry Martyn, missionary, translator of the Bible into Hindi and New Testament into Persian. His memoir is highly recommended to inspire spiritual devotion.

From, John Sargent, The Life and Letters of Henry Martin, Banner of Truth, 1985, p.91

All our conversation on the subject of religion ended in nothing. He was convinced that he was right, and all the texts I produced were, according to him, applicable only to the times of the Apostles

September 28, 2009

A certain person, though well-intentioned, tried to dissuade Henry Martyn from going to India as a missionary. Martyn remarked:

“All our conversation on the subject of religion ended in nothing. He was convinced that he was right, and all the texts I produced were, according to him, applicable only to the times of the Apostles.”

 …When called to encounter the ridicule of those who, not knowing the hope of Christ’s calling, nor the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, nor the exceeding greatness of his power towards those who believe, despised all labors of love amongst the heathen as wild and visionary ; the Lord helped (Martyn) to keep his ground, and to bear his testimony. “With my Bible in my hand, and Christ at my right hand,” said he, “I can do all things: what though the whole world believe not, God abideth true, and my hope in him shall be steadfast.

From, John Sargent, The Life and Letters of Henry Martin, Banner of Truth, 1985, p.60

The essence of evangelical humiliation, consists in a mean esteem of himself, as nothing, and as altogether contemptible and odious, attended with a mortification of a disposition to exalt himself, and a free renunciation of his own glory

September 28, 2009

The essence of evangelical humiliation, consists in such humility as becomes a creature under a dispensation of grace, consisting in a mean esteem of himself, as nothing, and as altogether contemptible and odious, attended with a mortification of a disposition to exalt himself, and a free renunciation of his own glory. — He that has much grace, apprehends, much more than others, that great height to which his love ought to ascend, and he sees better than others how little a way he has risen towards that height, and, therefore, estimating his love by the whole height of his duty, it appears astonishingly little and low in his eyes. —It most demonstratively appears that true grace is of that nature, that the more a person has of it, with remaining corruption, the less does his goodness and holiness appear, in proportion, not only to his past deformity, but to his present deformity, in the sin that now appears in his heart and in the abominable defects of his highest affections and brightest experience.

Jonathan Edwards

If I had the true love of souls, I should long and labor for those around me, and afterwards for the conversion of the Heathen

September 28, 2009

I may reasonably doubt the reality of every gracious affection, they are so like the morning cloud, and transient as the early dew. If I had the true love of souls, I should long and labor for those around me, and afterwards for the conversion of the Heathen.

Henry Martyn, missionary, translator of the Bible into Hindi and New Testament into Persian. His memoir is highly recommended to inspire spiritual devotion

From, John Sargent, The Life and Letters of Henry Martin, Banner of Truth, 1985, p.31

God grant us the ‘true love of souls’ that ‘should long and labor for those around’ us.

I used to think I was poor.

September 16, 2009

I used to think I was poor. Then they told me I wasn’t poor, I was needy. They told me it was self-defeating to think of myself as needy, I was deprived. Then they told me underprivileged was overused. I was disadvantaged. I still don’t have a dime. But I have a great vocabulary.

Jules Feiffer

This reminds me of the politically correct brigade who change the words of (usually negative) things (e.g. ‘fat’, ‘self-indulgent’, ‘greedy’ etc.) to cover reality – rather like the Emperor’s New Clothes.