Showing the state of our nation in the light of God’s Holy Word

10th June

“My soul, wait thou only upon God;
for my expectation is from him.”
Psalm 62:5

I believe that the Lord, before ever he communicates a real blessing to the souls of his poor and needy children, not merely convinces them by the Spirit of the depth of their poverty, of their truly ruined and lost state by nature, of the destitution of everything good in them; but he opens their eyes in a mysterious manner to see certain blessings which are stored up in Christ; for instance, righteousness to cover their nakedness, blood to atone for their transgressions, grace to superabound over all the aboundings of sin, faith to be the evidence of things not seen, hope to anchor within the veil, and love to be a foretaste of eternal bliss.

These and similar blessings the Lord presents before their eyes, and gives them a spiritual understanding that these mercies are stored up in Christ; and as he gives them this perception of what the blessing is, and shews them that these blessings are not in the creature, but in Christ, he draws forth the desires and sighs and ardent affections of their souls after these blessings, so that nothing but these special mercies can really satisfy them, ease their minds, assuage their troubles, bind up their wounds, and pour oil and wine into their conscience.

And thus he brings them to be suppliants, he lays them at his feet as beggars. Yet, base though they feel themselves to be, black though they know they are, there is that mysterious attraction of the Spirit, as well as that mysterious fitting together of their poverty and Christ’s righteousness, their nakedness and Christ’s justifying robe, their helplessness and his almighty strength, that they never can be satisfied, unless an experienced and enjoyed union of the two takes place in their conscience.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

9th June

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9

Has the Lord made sin your burden? Has he ever made you feel guilty before him? Has he ever pressed down your conscience with a sight and sense of your iniquities, your sins, your backslidings? And does the Lord draw, from time to time, honest, sincere, unreserved confession of those sins out of your lips? What does the Holy Ghost say to you? What has the blessed Spirit recorded for your instruction, and for your consolation? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”

Not merely on a footing of mercy; still less because you confess them. It is not your confessing them, but it is thus—your confessing them is a mark of divine light; your confessing them springs from the work of grace upon your heart. If, then, you possess divine life, if you have grace in your soul, you are a child of God, Jesus obeyed for you—Jesus suffered for you—Jesus died for you—Jesus has put away your sin. And, therefore, you being a child of God, and Jesus having done all these things for you, God is now “faithful” to his promise that he will receive a confessing sinner; and “just” to his own immutable and veracious character. And thus, from justice as well as mercy, from faithfulness as well as compassion, he can, he will, and he does pardon, forgive, and sweetly blot out every iniquity and every transgression of a confessing penitent.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

8th June

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
2 Corinthians 4:17

O ye suffering saints of God! ye tried and afflicted children of the most High! raise up your thoughts as God may enable you—lift up your eyes, and see what awaits you. Are you tried, tempted, exercised, afflicted? It is your mercy. God does not deal so with every one. It is because you are his children, that he lays on you his chastening hand. He means to conform you to the image of his Son in glory, and therefore he now conforms you to the image of his Son in suffering. ‘O but,’ you say, ‘I cannot believe it is so!’ No; if you could, it would not be much of a trial.

This is the trial of faith—to go groaning on, struggling on, sorrowing on, sighing on; believing against unbelief, hoping against hope; and still looking to the Lord, though there is everything in nature to damp the hopes and expectations of your waiting souls. Yet all will end well with the people of God. Their life here is a life of temptation, of suffering and trial; but heaven will make amends for all. And if our faith is now tried as “with fire,” it will one day “be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” In that day when the secrets of all hearts will be brought to light, the faith of thousands will be found to be little else than presumption; but the faith of God’s dear family will then be crowned with “praise and honour and glory;” and they shall see the Lamb as he is face to face, when all tears are wiped away from all faces.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

7th June

“Ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
John 14:1

To believe in God is to believe in him as he has manifested himself in his dear Son in all the fulness of his love, in all the riches of his grace, and in all the depth of his mercy. God must be seen, not in the terrors of a holy law, but in the mercy and truth of the glorious gospel of the Son of God, and thus be approached and believed in as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our Father in him. How few see and realise this, and yet how sorely exercised are many of the living family upon this point! To believe in God in such a way as to bring pardon and peace into their conscience; to believe in God so as to find manifest acceptance with him; to believe in God so as to call him Abba, Father, and feel that the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are his children; to believe in God so as to find him a very present help in trouble; to receive answers to prayer, to walk in the light of his countenance, to have his love shed abroad in the heart, to be manifestly reconciled to him, and feel a sense of his manifested goodness and mercy— this is to believe in God through Jesus Christ.

And O how different is this from merely believing about God from what we see in nature that he is the Creator of all things, or from what we may have realised of his footsteps in providence that he watches over us as regards the things that perish, or from seeing in the letter of the word that he is the God of all grace to those who fear his name!

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

6th June

“Though I be nothing.”
2 Corinthians 12:11

Paul did not mean to say that he had no religion, but none in himself. ‘What! could not Paul stand against temptation?’ Not more than you or I, unassisted by the grace of God. ‘Could not Paul pray more than I can?’ No, not at all, except so far as the spirit of grace and supplications was given to him. ‘Could not Paul love more than I do?’ Not a bit more, nor think a spiritual thought more, as far as self was concerned. I do not mean to say that Paul did not pray, believe, and love more than any of us do; but he did not perform these actions in himself one whit more than we can. He says, expressly, “In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing;” and therefore not the good thing of faith, or love, or divine communion.

Now when the Lord has brought a soul down to be nothing, he then makes his strength perfect in that nothingness; he communicates strength to pray, strength to believe, strength to hope, to love, to receive the gospel. Just like the poor man with the withered hand, to whom Jesus said, “Stretch forth thine hand.” It was withered, he could not do it of himself. But Christ’s strength was made perfect in weakness: when he spake the word, the withered hand was stretched forth, and became whole as the other. So with the dead Lazarus—he was asleep in death; but when the voice of love and power penetrated into the tomb, “Lazarus, come forth,” life was made perfect in the dead corpse. So with the Old Testament worthies, who “out of weakness were made strong” (Heb. 11:34). And so, each in our measure, it is with us; our weakness, helplessness, and inability are the very things which
draw forth the power, the strength, and the grace of Jesus.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

5th June

“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it:
it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble;
but he shall be saved out of it.”
Jeremiah 30:7

This “day of trouble” is when sin is laid as a heavy burden upon a man’s conscience; when guilt presses him down into the dust of death, when his iniquities stare him in the face, and seem more in number than the hairs of his head; when he fears he shall be cast for ever into the bottomless pit of hell, and have his portion with the hypocrites.

This “day of trouble” is not literally a day, a portion of time meted out by the rising or setting sun, a space of twenty-four hours. The hands of a clock, or the shadow of a dial, cannot regulate spiritual troubles. A day here means a season, be it long or short; be it a day, week, month, or year. And as the season cannot be measured in length, so the trouble cannot be measured in depth.

The only wise God deals out various measures of affliction to his people. All do not sink to the same depth, as all do not rise to the same height. All do not drink equally deep of the cup; yet all, each in their measure, pass through this day of trouble, wherein their fleshly religion is pulled to pieces, their self-righteousness marred, their presumptuous hopes crushed, and they brought into the state of the leper, to cry, “Unclean, unclean.” Until a man has passed through this day of trouble, until he has experienced more or less of these exercises of soul, and known guilt and condemnation in his conscience; until he has struggled in this narrow pass, and had his rags of creature righteousness torn away from him, he can know nothing experimentally of the efficacy of Jesus’ atoning blood, nor feel the power of Christ’s resurrection.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

4th June

“I lead in the way of righteousness.”
Proverbs 8:20

How does the Lord Jesus—who speaks here under the name of Wisdom— lead his saints “in the way of righteousness?” By casting a mysterious light into their souls, whereby they see what the word of God has revealed, and shedding abroad a mysterious power in their hearts, whereby faith is created, to receive, lay hold of, and credit that which God has made known.

We may read the word of God for ever in vain, unless that word is made life and light to our souls; but when the Lord the Spirit, whose covenant office and work it is to take of the things of Jesus and reveal them to the heart, sheds a mysterious and blessed light upon those Scriptures which speak of Jesus as the law-fulfiller, as having brought in a glorious righteousness, and at the same moment is pleased to raise up faith and power in the heart to receive, credit, embrace, and handle what he has thus revealed, then by his own persuasive power he leads the soul “in the way of righteousness.” And O what a wonderful way it is! that God should ever find out such a way, as to make all his people righteous, by imputing to them another’s righteousness! It will be the wonder, the song of saints through all eternity; it will exhaust all the depths of their finite wisdom to look into these secrets of wisdom, love, and power.

Yea, the angels themselves, who so far exceed men in wisdom, are represented as “desiring to look into” these things, and therefore when the ark was made, and the mercy seat put over the tables which were inclosed therein, the seraphim were framed as looking down upon this golden mercy seat, representing how the height, breadth, length, and depth of these mysteries overpass even the faculties of the angels themselves.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

3rd June

“Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight;
yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.”
Jonah 2:4

When poor Jonah spake these words he uttered them in the very bitterness of his heart; he felt that he was cast out of God’s gracious presence. But he must have known something experimentally of the sweetness of God’s manifested presence; he must have tasted that heaven was in it, and that all his happiness centered there. He must have enjoyed this in order to know if God’s presence were not felt in the soul, there was but one barren scene of gloom and death; and that to be “cast out of his sight” was the commencement of hell upon earth.

Now here a living soul differs from all others, whether dead in sin, or dead in a profession. The persuasion that in God alone is true happiness; the feeling of misery and dissatisfaction with everything else but the Lord, and everything short of his manifested presence, is that which stamps the reality of the life of God in a man’s soul. Mere professors of religion feel no misery, dissatisfaction, or wretchedness, if God shine not upon them. So long as the world smiles, and they have all that heart can wish, so long as they are buoyed up by the hypocrite’s hope, and lulled asleep by the soft breezes of flattery, they are well satisfied to sail down the stream of a dead profession.

But it is not so with the living soul; he is at times panting after the smiles of God; he is thirsting after his manifested presence; he feels dissatisfied with the world, and all that it presents, if he cannot find the Lord, and does not enjoy the light of his countenance. Where this is experienced, it stamps a man as having the grace of God in his heart.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

2nd June

“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world,
but was manifest in these last times for you.”
1 Peter 1:20

By “these last times” is meant this present dispensation, the dispensation of grace under which we live, and they are called the last times chiefly for two reasons:

1. Because Christ was manifested in the last days of the legal dispensation of the old covenant, which now, as decaying and waxing old, was ready to vanish away (Heb. 8:13), which it did when at the destruction of Jerusalem the whole of the temple service, including the sacrifices offered there, was brought to an end. But

2. Another reason why the dispensation under which we live is called “the last days” is because it is the final revelation of God. It is “the time accepted,” “the day of salvation,” of which all the prophets have spoken (2 Cor. 6:2; Acts 3:24).

Christ is now upon his throne of grace; the great, the glorious, the only Mediator between God and men is now at the right hand of the Father; the Intercessor who is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them, still lives to plead, as an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, as the great High Priest over the house of God. But he will leave the throne of grace to take his seat on the throne of judgment; and then “these last days” will close in all the glories of salvation to his friends, in all the horrors of destruction to his foes.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

1st June

“Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”
Psalm 81:10

When the Lord favours your soul with sweet access at a throne of grace, make the most of it. What should we think of the master of a vessel coming up the river, if, when the wind was favourable and the tide served, he would not heave her anchor, or hoisted but her fore-sail to the breeze, and would not take full advantage of wind and tide? Now it is so sometimes with our souls; a gale blows, a gale of grace on the soul, and the tide of faith rises. Is it not our wisdom, and is it not our mercy, at such a rare season, to make the most of it? If the Lord deign to give us an ear, is it not our mercy to tell him all that our souls desire?

Do you recollect what the prophet said to the king who only struck his arrows three times on the ground, and then stayed? “The man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it; whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice” (2 Kings 13:19). Sometimes it is so with us. When the Lord gives us some little access unto himself, we do not make the most of it. Satan casts in some fiery dart, some worldly circumstance distracts our mind, some filthy imagination rises up in our bosom; and instead of resisting the devil that he may flee from us, we give way to him; the opportunity is gone, the sweet moment is lost, and it may be months before we get the ear of the King again. It will, therefore, be your wisdom and your mercy, when the gale blows, and the tide rises, to spread every sail, and to get as far as you can on your course to the haven of eternal rest and joy.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869