Archive for the ‘testing of character’ Category

Young Christians are by and by, like their Master led into the wilderness

December 7, 2009

Young Christians are by and by, like their Master led into the wilderness…At this time we think that we are not God’s child, that we are not justified nor pardoned, that we are mistaken with ourselves…After the devil has tried us thus for a season, he then assaults us with evil imaginations and blasphemous thoughts, doubts about the authority of the holy Scriptures, scruples about the divinity of our Saviour…At these times we are apt to reason with ourselves, saying, Surely we are not born again; surely we are not Sons of God, for if we were, why are we thus?

William Grimshaw, quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.485-6, n.24

Advertisements

A tree that is planted in a rain forest is never forced to extend its roots downward in search of water. Consequently, it remains poorly anchored and can be toppled by even a moderate wind

November 11, 2009

A tree that is planted in a rain forest is never forced to extend its roots downward in search of water. Consequently, it remains poorly anchored and can be toppled by even a moderate wind. By contrast, a mesquite tree that’s planted in a dry desert is threatened by its hostile environment. It can survive only by sending its roots down 30 feet or more into the earth, seeking cool water. But through this adaptation to an arid land, the well-rooted tree becomes strong and steady against all assailants.

Dr James Dobson, Raising Children, Kingsway 1987, p.209

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

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

I’d rather be with God against men, than with men against God

September 12, 2009

Aristides de Sousa Mendes was, in 1940, Consul General for Portugal in Bordeaux, France. He was a graduate of the University of Coimbra, a wealthy lawyer from an old aristocratic family and he had represented Portugal in diplomatic posts in Brazil, Zanzibar and the United States. Hitler’s Nazi forces had marched into Paris and a flood of humanity had departed for the south, hoping to leave France. Their destination was Bordeaux where a Portuguese visa could assure them passage through Spain into Portugal, which was nominally neutral; from there they could perhaps hope to obtain a passport or a visa to America. Salazar had ordered his embassies not to issue exit visas to Russians, Portuguese political exiles or any Jews.

Thousands of refugees reaching Bordeaux had found the Portuguese Consul General’s apartment and had congregated outside, hoping for visas de Sousa Mendes, with great compassion, decided to disobey the Salazar orders and he, with his two sons, wrote by hand some 30,000 visas in order to save as many refugees as possible from the Nazis. 10,000 of these refugees were Jews. He was quoted as saying, “I have to save these people, as many as I can. If I am disobeying orders I’d rather be with God against men, than with men against God.”

The result of this magnificent action was that he was recalled to Lisbon in disgrace, but on the way he stopped in Bayonne and wrote out more visas by hand, thus saving another thousand refugees. When he reached Lisbon he was fined and prohibited from practicing law. He was reduced to selling off all his personal possessions to procure food for his family. He died in 1954 penniless and still in disgrace.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes’ name has been honored by the United States Congress, the Government of Israel, and has been recently restored to a place of honor and respect by the President of Portugal, Mario Soares.

source

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5.29

Character and Power

August 3, 2009

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Abraham Lincoln

(Because power allows corrupt nature to be exposed unless it is restrained by God’s Spirit -whether in common or special grace.)