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9th September

“For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty.”
Isaiah 44:3

Thirst, as a feeling of the soul, in a spiritual sense, is certainly indicative of divine life. It is as impossible, spiritually viewed, for a man dead in sin to thirst after a living God, as for a corpse in the graveyard to thirst after a draught of cold water from the well. I know for myself that such a feeling as thirsting after God had no place in my bosom until the Lord was pleased to quicken my soul into spiritual life. I had heard of God by the hearing of the ear. I had seen him in creation, in the starry sky, in the roaring sea, in the teeming earth; I had read of him in the Bible; I had learnt his existence by education and tradition; and I had some apprehensions of his holiness in my natural conscience; but as to any spiritual thirsting after him, any earnest desire to fear him, know him, believe in him, or love him,— no such experience or feeling, I can say for myself, ever dwelt in my bosom. I loved the world too dearly to look to him who made it, and myself too warmly and affectionately to seek him who would bid me crucify and mortify it.

A man, therefore, I am well convinced, must be made alive unto God by spiritual regeneration before he can experience any such sensation as is here conveyed by the figure “thirst,” or know anything of the Psalmist’s feelings when he cried, “As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1, 2). Now wherever God has raised up in the soul this spiritual thirst after himself, he certainly will answer that desire, “the desire of the righteous shall be granted” (Prov. 10:24). His own invitation is, “Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters” (Isaiah 55:1); and Jesus himself says with his own blessed lips, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink” (John 7:37). Nay, he opened his ministry by pronouncing a blessing on such, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

8th September

“For it became him,
for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,
in bringing many sons unto glory,
to make the captain of their salvation perfect
through sufferings.”
Hebrews 2:10

When, with believing eyes, we can view God the Son as the eternal salvation of all whom the Father gave unto him; when we can see him, by the eye of faith, coming down into this lower world, taking our nature into union with his own Divine Person; when, by faith, we can accompany the Man of Sorrows into the gloomy garden of Gethsemane, or behold him groaning, bleeding, and dying on the cross, an object of ignominy and shame, and believe that in this way, and this alone, salvation could be wrought out, O, what a view it gives us of the demerit and awful nature of sin, that nothing short of the incarnation of God’s only begotten Son, nothing short of such a tremendous sacrifice could put away sin, and bring the elect back unto God!

On the one hand, as we take a glance at the suffering and dying Lamb of God, how it shews us the awful and abominable nature of sin; and, on the other hand, when we can see by the eye of faith what that work is, by whom that work was wrought out, and how glorious and efficacious that work must be which the Son of God, equal with the Father in glory and majesty, undertook and went through to the uttermost,— how it exalts salvation in our eyes!

Thus a believing sight of the Lord Jesus hanging upon Calvary’s tree, not only, on the one hand, shews us the awful nature of sin, but, on the other, how full, how complete, how glorious, and how effectual must that salvation be, of which the expiring Son of God could say, “It is finished!”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

7th September

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Philemon 25

It is the regenerating breath of the Lord Jesus Christ which makes the soul alive unto himself. This is manifest from his own language: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Then for the first time “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is with our spirit.” For you will observe that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is not with our carnal mind: that ever remains the same, a body of sin and death, flesh, corrupt flesh, “in which dwelleth no good thing,” and therefore not the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

His grace is with our spirit, that “new man” of which we read that “it is after God, [that is, after the image of God] created in righteousness and true holiness.” This is called our “spirit,” because it is born of the Spirit, as the Lord himself unfolded the solemn mystery to Nicodemus: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This is no subtle, wire-drawn distinction, but a very important truth; for unless we see the difference between the two natures, the spirit and the flesh, the law in the members and the law of the mind, we shall always be in bondage, as looking for holiness in the flesh.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ being thus with our spirit, it breathes from time to time upon that spirit, moves and acts in it and upon it; for there is what I may call a gracious or spiritual union between the two. Thus we can no more live without the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ than the earth can live without the sun. He must shine, or we have no light; he must revive, or we have no warmth; and he must fertilise, or we bring forth no fruit. Thence time after time there is an outgoing of the single desire of the soul to the Lord Jesus Christ that his grace would be with our spirit; that this grace may be ever flowing forth into us, so as to make us new creatures, dispel all doubt and fear, break to pieces all bonds and fetters, fill us with love and humility, conform us to his suffering image, produce in us every fruit that shall redound to his praise, be with us in life and death, and land us safe in eternity.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

6th September

“Exercise thyself unto godliness.”
1 Timothy 4:7

“The Lord trieth the righteous” (Ps. 11:5). In fact, a righteous life is for the most part a tried life. There is not a child of God, whose graces are lively and active, that is not tried in his soul. I have no more belief that the soul can live without exercise than that the body can. The more the soul is exercised, the healthier it will be. Trial is one main source of exercise. If you are tried as to your standing; tried as to your state; tried as to the reality of the work of grace upon your soul; tried as to your experience; tried as to your manifestations, deliverances, and evidences; tried by your sins; tried by Satan; tried by professors; tried by profane; and above all tried by your own heart, and that continually—it will keep your soul in exercise. And this is “exercise unto godliness.”

If these exercises are unto godliness, they lead to godliness, they take you on your way to godliness, they bring you near to godliness, they bring you into godliness; and, above all things, they bring godliness into your soul. And thus, there is an exercise of the soul unto godliness. Does not your heart at times seem without a grain of it? You see what godliness is in its nature, in its branches, in its fruits, in its graces, in what a Christian should be, practically, experimentally, and really—outwardly and inwardly—in the church, and in the world. You say, “I a Christian! I a godly man or woman! Let me compare myself with godliness.

Am I godly? Is there grace in my heart? Do I live? do I speak? do I think? do I act? do I walk? do I suffer as becomes a Christian? Is my life, my profession, my conduct—in the family, in the world—in the business, in the church—at home, abroad—openly, secretly—privately, publicly—is it such that I can take it and lay it down, step by step, with vital, real, experimental, scriptural godliness? “O,” say you, “I shrink back from the test. There are many things in me, inwardly and outwardly, which will not bear to be weighed up with godliness as revealed in the Scriptures of truth.”

Well, your mind is exercised, I suppose, when you have these workings. Now, what is the result? It is an “exercise unto godliness.” You want it; you strive for it; you cry for it; you press after it; you know that none but the Lord can work it in your soul; you feel needy, naked, and destitute; you know that without it you can neither happily live nor die; yet have it you must, or perish body and soul for ever.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

5th September

“Bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me:
for I am poor and needy.”
Psalm 86:1

Whatever deliverance a man may have experienced, let him have been delivered from the lowest hell, and have had his feet placed upon a rock, yet all his life long he will have this experience wrought in him by the Holy Ghost,—to be “poor and needy.” And only so far as he is poor and needy, will he want to know anything experimentally of the riches of Jesus Christ, or to taste the consolations which the Spirit of God alone can communicate to the parched and thirsty soul. How many we find in our day, who are “rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing,” and yet they are always speaking and boasting of the riches of Christ. But what can they know of Christ’s riches? His riches are for “the poor and needy;” his blood is for the guilty; his righteousness is for the naked; his perfect work and finished salvation is for those who continually stand in need of his powerful arm to save them from the lowest hell. And, therefore, whatever notions men may have about Christ’s riches, and Christ’s blood and righteousness, and Christ’s glorious salvation; there are none that prize it, that pant with unutterable longings after it, that really desire to live upon it as the very food of their heart, that are crying unto God continually for the sweet manifestations of it, that are restless and uneasy and dissatisfied without the sweet enjoyment of it, there are none that thus breathe and thus feel, except those who are spiritually “poor and needy,” being stripped and emptied and despoiled of everything that the flesh can boast of, and everything that nature can exalt itself with.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

4th September

“”I will make darkness light before them,
and crooked things straight.”
Isaiah 42:16

What is the mind of man—of any man—of your mind, my mind, under affliction? Let him be tried with pain of body, poverty of circumstances, sickness in his family, guilt of conscience, hard bondage in his own soul, without any beam of divine light upon his path, and what is he? A murmuring, rebellious wretch, without a grain of resignation, without a particle of contentment or submission to the will of God.

But let the glory of the Lord be revealed; let him have a view by faith of a suffering Jesus; let some ray of light shine upon his path; let there be some breaking in of the exceeding weight of glory that is to be manifested at Christ’s appearing; where are all his crooked things now? All made straight. But how? By his crooked will—crooked because it did not lie level with the Lord’s—being made to harmonise with the promise and precept, the footsteps and example of the blessed Jesus. The crook is not taken out of the lot, but straightened in the lot; the cross is not removed from the shoulder, but strength—that strength which is “made perfect in weakness”—is given to bear it. So it was with Christ himself in the garden and on the cross; so it is with the believing followers of the crucified One.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

3rd September

“Because thine heart was tender,
and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD,
when thou heardest what I spake against this place,
and against the inhabitants thereof,
that they should become a desolation and a curse,
and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me;
I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.”
2 Kings 22:19

This tenderness of heart was a mark in Josiah, on which the Lord, so to speak, put his finger; it was a special token for good which God selected from all the rest, as a testimony in his favour. The heart is always tender which God has touched with his finger; this tenderness being the fruit of the impression of the Lord’s hand upon the conscience. You may know the difference between a natural conscience and a heart tender in God’s fear by this, that the natural conscience is always superstitious and uncertain; as the Lord says, it “strains out a gnat, and swallows a camel.” It is exceedingly observant of self-inflicted austerities, and very fearful of breaking through self-imposed rules; and whilst it will commit sin which a man who has the fear of God in his heart would not do for the world, it will stumble at mere unimportant trifles at which an enlightened soul would not feel the least scruple.

But here is the mark of a heart tender in God’s fear; it moves as God the Spirit works upon it. It is like the mariner’s compass, which having been once touched by the magnet, always turns toward the north; it may indeed oscillate and tremble backwards and forwards, but still it will return to the pole, and ultimately remain fixed at the point whence it was temporarily disturbed. So when the heart has been touched by the Spirit, and has been made tender in God’s fear, it may for a time waver to the right hand or to the left, but it is always trembling and fluctuating till it points towards God, as the only and eternal centre of its happiness and holiness.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

2nd September

“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others;
but let us watch and be sober.”
1 Thessalonians 5:6

Here sobriety is opposed to sleepiness, and is connected with walking in the light and in the day, as sleepiness and its frequent cause, drunkenness, are connected with darkness and night. One of the greatest curses God can send on a people and its rulers, its prophets and seers, is a spirit of deep sleep, as the prophet speaks: “For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.” But to be sober is to be awaked out of this sleep, and, as a consequence, to walk not only wakefully but watchfully. It implies, therefore, that careful, circumspect walking, that daily living, moving, speaking, and acting in the fear of God, whereby alone we can be kept from the snares spread for our feet at every step of the way. How many have fallen into outward evil and open disgrace from want of walking watchfully and circumspectly, and taking heed to their steps. Instead of watching the first movements of sin and against, as the Lord speaks, “the entering into temptation,” they rather dally with it until they are drawn away and enticed of their own lust which, as unchecked, goes on to conceive and bring forth sin, which, when it is finished or carried out and accomplished in positive action, bringeth forth death.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

1st September

“This is his name whereby he shall be called,
The Lord our Righteousness.”
Jeremiah 23:6

What a sweet view does this give of Jesus! We look sometimes at Christ’s righteousness as distinct from Christ. Shall I use a figure? We look at the garment as distinct from the maker and wearer of the garment. We look at the righteousness so much, that we scarcely look at him who wrought out that righteousness. Now, we must not separate Jesus from his righteousness. We must not look merely at the garment, the imputed robe, and forget him that wrought it out, that puts it on, and that keeps it to this day in firm possession. But when we can see, that not only the obedience of Christ, but Christ himself—all that Jesus is—all that Jesus has, as head of his Church, as the risen Mediator, as the great High Priest over the house of God—when we can see that this God-man, Immanuel, is made unto his people righteousness, how it expands the prospect! Then we look, not merely at the robe itself, beautiful, comely, and glorious; we look farther—we look at Him that made it. We do not look merely at the robe as distinct from him. We look at him who made that robe what it is—Jesus, who ever lives at the right hand of the Father to make intercession for us. This, to my mind, is a sweet view.

If I sink down into creature sinfulness, shame, and guilt, and see Jesus made of God unto me righteousness, what need I more? Has God made him so? Who can unmake him so? Has God made the Son of his love righteousness to my soul, that I may stand in him without spot, speck, or blemish? Who is to alter it? Can sin alter it? That is atoned for. Can the devil alter it? He is chained down unto the judgment of the great day. Can the world alter it? They cannot stretch forth their finger to touch one thread of that robe, to touch one lineament of the Redeemer’s countenance. If he is made unto me righteousness, what more do I want? If I can find a shield, a shelter, and a refuge in him as my righteousness, what more can I want to preserve me from the charge of men or devils?

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

31st August

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Romans 8:18

What is to be compared with the salvation of the soul? What are riches, honours, health, long life? What are all the pleasures which the world can offer, sin promise, or the flesh enjoy? What is all that men call good or great? What is everything which the outward eye hath seen, or natural ear heard, or hath entered into the carnal heart of man, put side by side with being saved in the Lord Jesus Christ with an everlasting salvation?

For consider what we are saved from, as well as what we are saved unto. From a burning hell to a blissful heaven; from endless wrath to eternal glory; from the dreadful company of devils and damned spirits, mutually tormenting and tormented, to the blessed companionship of the glorified saints, all perfectly conformed in body and soul to the image of Christ, with thousands and tens of thousands of holy angels, and, above all, to seeing the glorious Son of God as he is, in all the perfection of his beauty, and all the ravishments of his presence and love.

To have done for ever with all the sorrows, troubles, and afflictions of this life; all the pains and aches of the present clay tabernacle; all the darkness, bondage, and misery of the body of sin and death; to be perfectly holy in body and soul, being in both without spot, or blemish, or any such thing, and ever to enjoy uninterrupted union and communion with the Father, Son, and blessed Spirit—O what a heaven lies before the believing saints of God as the end of their faith in the salvation of their souls!

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869