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

14th June

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Philippians 2:12

None but God’s people under the teachings of the Spirit know what it is to “work out their own salvation.” And all who work out their own salvation will work it out “with fear and trembling.” For when a man is taught by God to know what he is; when he feels what a deceitful heart he carries in his bosom; when the various snares, temptations, and corruptions by which he is daily encompassed are opened up to him; when he knows and feels what a ruined wretch he is in self, then he begins to fear and tremble lest he should be damned at the last. He cannot go recklessly and carelessly on without “making straight paths for his feet,” without “examining himself whether he be in the faith.”

And whenever a man’s dreadfully deceitful heart is opened up to him; whenever the hollowness of an empty profession is unmasked; whenever he feels how strait is the path, how narrow the way, and how few there are that find it; whenever he is brought to see how easily a man is deceived, and how certainly he must be deceived unless God teach him in a special manner;—whenever a man is brought to this point, to see what a rare thing, what a sacred thing, and what a spiritual thing religion is, that God himself is the author and finisher of it in the conscience, and that a man has no more religion than God is pleased to give him, and cannot work a single grain of it in his own soul; when he stands on this solemn ground, and begins to work out that which God works in, it will always be “with fear and trembling;” with some “fear” lest he be deceived, until God assures him by his own blessed lips that he is not deluded; and “with trembling,” as knowing that he stands in the immediate presence of God, and under his heart-searching eye.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

13th June

“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself.”
Jeremiah 31:18

The spiritual feeling of sin is indispensable to the feeling of salvation. A sense of the malady must ever precede, and prepare the soul for, a believing reception and due apprehension of the remedy. Wherever God intends to reveal his Son with power, wherever he intends to make the gospel “a joyful sound” indeed, he makes the conscience feel and groan under the burden of sin. And sure am I that when a man is labouring under the burden of sin, he will be full of complaint.

The Bible records hundreds of the complaints of God’s people under the burden of sin. “My wounds stink and are corrupt,” cries one, “because of my foolishness. I am troubled: I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long” (Psalm 38:5, 6). “My soul,” cries another, is full of troubles, and my life draweth nigh unto the grave” (Psalm 88:3). “He hath led me,” groans out a third, “and brought me into darkness, but not into light” (Lam. 3:2). A living man needs must cry under such circumstances. He cannot carry the burden without complaining of its weight. He cannot feel the arrow sticking in his conscience without groaning under the pain. He cannot have the worm gnawing his vitals without complaining of its venomous tooth. He cannot feel that God is incensed against him without bitterly complaining that the Lord is his enemy.

Spiritual complaint then is a mark of spiritual life, and is one which God recognises as such. “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself.” It shews that he has something to mourn over, something to make him groan being burdened; that sin has been opened up to him in its hateful malignancy; that it is a trouble and distress to his soul; that he cannot roll it like a sweet morsel under his tongue, but that it is found out by the penetrating eye, and punished by the chastening hand of God.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869.

12th June

“Follow after righteousness.”
1 Timothy 6:11

We may understand two things by this expression. First, the discovery to the conscience of Christ’s imputed righteousness, in the way of justification; and secondly, the communication to the soul of a divine or righteous nature, whereby it brings forth the fruits of sincerity and uprightness before God. Both are to be followed after. But it may be asked, Why the first, if a man has a knowledge of his justification, and a sense of his acceptance with God? But may not a sense of interest in Jesus’ glorious righteousness, and the inward testimony of the Spirit be lost in the enjoyment of them, or at least considerably diminished, for a time? We read (Luke 15:8) of the woman who lost a piece of silver. Was there not a lighting of the candle, a sweeping of the house, and a diligent search into every corner till it was found again? The woman’s piece of money was not really lost; it was still in the house; but as to her feelings, it was as much lost as though she were never to receive it again into her possession.

So a sense of acceptance and justification by Christ’s righteousness, this precious coin from heaven’s mint may be lost for a time in feeling, though not really lost out of the heart. And what will the soul do that has lost it but diligently search the house in every corner, by the candle of the Spirit, till it find the piece of money again?

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

11th June

“In whom ye also are builded together
for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Ephesians 2:22

These words will apply both to the whole body of Christ viewed collectively, and to each separate member of that body viewed individually; and what the Church of God is in its completeness in Christ, as it will be in heaven above, and what it is in its visible and militant state on earth now, so is every individual member of that Church in this time state; and it is this solemn truth which makes the words before us to have such a forcible application to every individual believer. As we shall all have to answer for ourselves, “to die,” as one said, “alone,” and as religion is a personal matter, how careful should it make each individual believer so to walk before God and man that he may have both an inward and outward evidence that his body is the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 6:19), and that he is a habitation of God by the Spirit.

If he realise this, and live under its solemn weight and influence, how careful he will be not to defile that body which is the temple of the Holy Ghost; how desirous and anxious not to defile his eyes by wandering lusts, nor his ears by listening to worldly and carnal conversation, nor his lips by speaking guile, or indulging in light and frothy talk, nor his hands by putting them to anything that is evil, nor his feet by running on errands of vanity and folly; but to view his body as a member of Christ (1 Cor. 6:15), and therefore sanctified to his service and to his glory.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

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