“If you do not think of God, or think otherwise of him than he is, you are serving an idol instead of the true God. If you think of him as merciful, but not just; if you think of him as compassionate, but not holy; if you think of him as loving, but not sovereign, then you are thinking of God differently than he has revealed himself. This is idolatry.”
Soul Idolatry Excludes Men Out of Heaven
“Every reigning lust is an idol, and every person in whom it reigns is an idolater. ‘The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.’ These are the three great idols of humanity. We are quick to prostrate our souls before them, and give to them that which is due only to God.”
Soul Idolatry Excludes Men Out of Heaven
“Our minds are apt by their troubles to be cast into disorder, to be tossed up and down, and disquieted…And indeed, the mind on all such occasions is its own greatest troubler. It is likely to let loose its passions of fear and sorrow, which then multiply into innumerable perplexing thoughts, until it is carried utterly out of its own power. But in this state a due contemplation of the glory of Christ will restore and compose the mind–bring it into a sedate, quiet frame, where faith will be able to say to the winds of our soul, ‘Peace, be still,’ and they shall obey.”
The Works of John Owen, Vol.1
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…” (Rom.5:2-4). “Christians, do not envy the world’s happiness and success. You have advantages they do not. You have joy in your sorrows; in the midst of sorrows, you may have joy.” Christians have something that unbelievers do not: joy in suffering. In the midst of suffering, we can be joyful because (1) we know Christ and can draw nearer to him and become like him now; and (2) we have the promise that our suffering will soon end in unmatched, limitless joy. No unbeliever will ever know such joy.
“So then I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand” (Rom.7:21). “Sin is always acting, always conceiving, and always seducing and tempting. This battle will last more or less all our days. If sin is always acting, we are in trouble if we are not always putting it to death. He that stands still and allows his enemies to exert double blows upon him without resistance will undoubtedly be conquered in the end.”
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable…” (2Tim.3:16). “Everyone should work to make the best use of what they hear and read. All Scripture is profitable; therefore, everyone should make a good use of every sermon they hear” What have you done with the message you last heard?
Ralph Venning, 1675
“Take heed to yourselves, lest your example contradict your doctrine, and lest you lay such stumbling blocks before the blind, that it may lead to their ruin. Be careful, or you may un-say with your life, what you say with your tongue.”
“Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin…The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me” (Rom.7:7,10). “Then he took him by the hand, and led him into a very large Parlor that was full of dust, because it had never been swept…Then he called for a man to sweep it. When he swept, the dust began to fly, so much that Christian was almost choked. Then Interpreter said, ‘Bring some water and sprinkle the room.’ Christian asked, ‘What does this mean?’ And Interpreter answered, ‘This Parlor is the heart of man…the dust is original sin and inward corruption, which have defiled the whole person. The one who began to sweep is the Law of God. The one who brought the water and cleansed the room is the Gospel of God. The Law, instead of cleansing the heart, stirs up sin, revives it, gives it strength, and increases it in our souls. It can never give us the power to subdue sin. But when the Gospel comes, as in the water that washed the room, our sin is conquered and our soul is made clean.'”
“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph.5:25). “Tremble to think that you should ever sin against Christ, who loves you so much. View your sins in the light of the Savior’s love…let this word of exhortation sink deeply into your hearts; weep, and weep tears of blood, to think that ever you should sin against Jesus Christ, who has written by his own blood this truth, that he loves you with a love passing knowledge.”
A Discovery of Glorious Love (1655)
“As the deer pants for flowing streams, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Ps.42:1-2). “Do you desire God? Be covetous Christians…Say with the psalmist, ‘This one thing I desire; nothing but God…’ Look often heavenward; get a sight of God and his glorious treasures; live more in the contemplation of his glory and goodness…You who have cold hearts heavenward, it is a sign that your eye is little on heaven…Some clearer views of the love, the goodness, the holiness, the kindness, and the glory of the Lord would whet your appetite, would put life into those dull desires, would make you hungry souls, and thirsty souls, and longing souls.”