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

17th July

“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience
by the things which he suffered.”
Hebrews 5:8

Our gracious Lord had to learn obedience to the will of God by a personal experience of suffering, and especially by an implicit submission to his heavenly Father’s will. And what was this will? That he should take upon himself the huge debt which his bride had incurred by original and actual transgression; that he should offer himself as a ransom price to discharge and put it away; that he should bear our sins in his own body on the tree, with everything which was involved in being made a curse for us; that he should by death overcome Satan, who had the power of death, and deliver them who all their life, through fear of death, were subject to bondage; and that, whatever sorrows and sufferings should lie in his path, he should bear them all, and learn, in and by them, implicit submission to the will of God. This was the will of God, for he was determined that his law should be magnified, his justice glorified, his infinite purity and holiness revealed and established; and yet, amid all and through all his displeasure against sin, that his infinite wisdom, tender pity, everlasting love, and sovereign grace might shine and reign in the happiness of millions through a glorious eternity. This, also, was the joy that was set before Christ, for which he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

J C Philpot 1802-1869

16th July

“For there is one God,
and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 2:5

That he is God, is the very foundation of his salvation; for it is his eternal Godhead that gives virtue, efficacy, and dignity to all that as man he did and suffered for his chosen people. If he were not God, God and man in one glorious Person, what hope would there be for our guilty souls? Could his blood atone for our sins, unless Deity gave it efficacy? Could his righteousness justify our persons, unless Deity imparted merit and value to all the doings and sufferings of his humanity? Could his loving heart sympathize with and deliver us, unless “as God over all,” he saw and knew all that passes within us, and had all power, as well as all compassion, to exert on our behalf?

We are continually in circumstances where no man can do us the least good, and where we cannot help or deliver ourselves; we are in snares, and cannot break them; we are in temptations, and cannot deliver ourselves out of them; we are in trouble, and cannot comfort ourselves; are wandering sheep, and cannot find the way back to the fold; we are continually roving after idols, and hewing out “broken cisterns,” and cannot return to “the fountain of living waters.” How suitable, then, and sweet it is, to those who are thus exercised, to see that there is a gracious Immanuel at the right hand of the Father, whose heart is filled with love, and whose affections move with compassion; who has shed his own precious blood that they might live; who has wrought out a glorious righteousness, and “is able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by him.”

J C Philpot 1802-1869

15th July

“But we see Jesus.”
Hebrews 2:9

Did your eyes ever see him? Do look into conscience–did your eyes ever see Jesus? I do not mean your natural, your bodily eyes; but the eye of faith, the eye of the soul. I will tell you what you have felt, if you ever saw Jesus. Your heart was softened and melted, your affections drawn heavenward, your soul penetrated with thankfulness and praise, your conscience sprinkled with atoning blood, your mind lifted up above all earthly things to dwell and center in the bosom of the blessed Immanuel. Do you think, then, you have seen Jesus by the eye of faith? Then you have seen the perfection of beauty, the consummation of pure loveliness; you have seen the image of the invisible God; you have seen all the perfections and glorious character of the Godhead shining forth in him who was nailed to Calvary’s tree.

I am sure such a sight as that must melt the most obdurate heart, and draw tears from the most flinty eyes; such a sight by faith of the beauty and glory of the only-begotten Son of God must kindle the warmest, holiest stream of tender affection. It might not have lasted long. These feelings are often very transitory. The world, sin, temptation, and unbelief soon work; infidelity soon assails all; the things of time and sense soon draw aside; but while it lasted, such, in a greater or lesser degree, were the sensations produced.

Now, if you have ever seen Jesus by the eye of faith, and ever had a tender affection going out toward him, you will see him in glory. But you will never see him in glory, if you have not seen him in grace; you will never see him eye to eye in the open vision of eternal bliss, unless you have seen him now upon earth by the faith of God’s elect in your heart.

J C Philpot 1802-1869

14th July

“Look unto me, and be ye saved,
all the ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is none else.”
Isaiah 45:22

Till in soul feeling, we are at “the ends of the earth,” we have no eyes to see, no ears to hear, no hearts to feel what a glorious Mediator there is at the right hand of the Father. And the more we feel to be at “the ends of the earth,” the deeper is our need of him; and as the Spirit unfolds the mystery of the glorious Person of Christ, and reveals his beauty, the more does he become the object of the soul’s admiration and adoration. And O what a Mediator is held out in the word of truth to living faith! What a subject for spiritual faith to look to, for a lively hope to anchor in, and for divine love to embrace! That the Son of God, who lay in the bosom of the Father from all eternity, equal with the Father and the Holy Ghost, the second Person in the glorious Trinity, should condescend to take upon him our nature, that he might groan, suffer, bleed, and die for guilty wretches, who, if permitted, would have ruined their souls a thousand times a day—what a wonder of wonders!

But we cannot enter into, nor feel the power of this mystery till we are reduced to such circumstances, that none but such a Saviour can save our souls. Can we do anything to save ourselves? Then we want not help from that mighty One on whom God has laid help; and we secretly reject him. Can we heal ourselves? Then we want not the good Physician. But when our eyes are opened to see our own thorough ruin and helplessness, and to view the glorious Person of the Son of God, faith is drawn out to flee to and rest upon that glorious Object.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

13th July

“And I will make thy windows of agates,
and thy gates of carbuncles,
and all thy borders of pleasant stones.”
Isaiah 54:12

Upon Zion in her time-state “the Sun of righteousness” does not shine in all his brightness; the “windows of agate,” whilst she is in the flesh, temper his rays. Her prospects, too, are not fully bright and clear; as the Apostle speaks, “We see through” (or in) “a glass darkly;” we have not those clear views which the saints have in glory, where they see Jesus face to face. We have prospects sometimes, I hope, in our souls, of God, and Christ, and heavenly glory; but still these views are but semi-transparent, streaked and clouded like a window of agate, not bright and clear as a pane of plate glass. But as Daniel opened his windows toward Jerusalem, that he might see by faith what he could not see by sight, so should we aim to look towards the heavenly Jerusalem, that by faith we may there “see him who is invisible.”

But the Lord speaks of Zion’s “gates.” “And thy gales of carbuncles.” The carbuncle is of a blood-red colour; and why should the Lord have chosen that Zion’s gates should be of this peculiar hue? May we not, without wresting the figure too closely, believe that there is some mystic allusion here to the blood of the Lamb? As scarlet wool was taken by Moses, when he sprinkled the people, and as Rahab’s house was marked by a scarlet thread, may there not be something here significant in the colour of the gates?

But “gates,” or doors, not only give exit, but admission. How does God hear prayer, and answer it too? Only through the “gate of carbuncle.” Prayer ascends through Jesus, and answers descend through Jesus; groans through Jesus enter the ears of the God of Sabaoth, and through the same bleeding gate of mercy do answers drop into the soul. Our poor self-righteous hearts can hardly comprehend this; we think we must have a good frame, or bring a good deed, or something good in ourselves, to make our prayers acceptable to God. Perish the thought! It is nothing but the spawn of self-righteousness. The “gates of carbuncle,” the open wounds of the Lamb, through these every prayer ascends, through these every answer comes down; and if we set up anything else, or make a gate of human merit, we do despite to the Spirit of God, and pour contempt upon the grace and blood of the Lamb.

“And all thy borders of pleasant stones.” God’s providential dealings, which often form the outer setting of his inward mercies, are of pleasant stones. North, south, east, west, all Zion’s borders are of precious materials. The daily events of life, the circumstances of family, station, employment, success, or the contrary, the ties of domestic affection, with all those varied circumstances which seem rather the borders and outer courts than the inner sanctuary of gracious experience—yet all these are of divine material and workmanship. Viewed by faith, every event and circumstance of life, however apparently grievous, is a pleasant stone; for Zion is a king’s daughter, and the meanest of all her courts is made of pleasant stones. For of wisdom, that is, vital godliness, we read, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

12th July

“I will lay thy foundations with sapphires.”
Isaiah 54:11

Before we can stand firmly in the things of God we must have a good foundation, something solid for our faith, our hope, our love, our all, to rest upon. This God promises to lay for his afflicted Zion: “I will lay thy foundations with sapphires.” “A gift,” we read, “is a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it.” Every testimony, then, that God gives to the soul, every promise brought into the heart, every manifestation of mercy, every visit of love, or application of truth, we may call, in a spiritual sense, a sapphire; for it is indeed a precious stone, radiant with heaven’s own hue. When God thus lays his sapphires in the soul, they afford a solid foundation for faith. And as they are laid by the hand of God himself, they must be firm; as they are sapphires, they must be indestructible.

These sapphires, it is true, may every one of them be buried in the dust of carnality and worldlymindedness; the filth and sewage, the mud and slush, of our fallen nature may roll over them flood after flood. But are they injured thereby? is their nature changed, their value impaired, their hue tarnished, their lustre faded and gone? They may be hidden from view, their setting be obscured, and their faces for a while be dimmed, but one ray from the Sun of righteousness will bring them again to light; one touch of the Polisher’s hand will restore all their beauty. Grace has no more communion with sin than a diamond with a dunghill.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

11th July

“Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours.”
Isaiah 54:11

By these “stones,” which the Lord has promised to “lay with fair colours,” I think we may understand the blessed truths of the gospel which are laid into the soul by the hand of God. The fair colours are deeply ingrained and embedded in the very substance of the stone, not artificially laid on. They are like beautiful marbles, in which every bright hue and vein penetrate into the deepest substance of the material. Such are the truths of God, beautiful throughout, penetrated with grace and glory into their inmost depths.

But these colours are hidden from view till brought out and laid into the soul by the hand of God. However fair or beautiful any word of God be in itself, it only experimentally becomes so as inlaid by his own divine hand into the soul. This brings out the fair colours. How often we read the word of God without seeing the least beauty in it! But let the very same portion come home with sweetness and power to the soul, then beauty, inexpressible beauty, is seen in it immediately; it becomes “a stone of fair colours.” Salvation full and free, the pardoning love of God, the precious blood of the Lamb, justification by Christ’s imputed righteousness, “wine and milk without money and without price,” superabounding grace, eternal mercy, everlasting life—these are some of the precious stones with fair colours which God the Spirit with his own hand lays into the conscience.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

10th July

“O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted.”
Isaiah 54:11

The Lord here compares his suffering Church to a ship at sea, under bare poles, labouring in a heavy storm, driven out of her course by contrary winds, as was Paul’s case in the Adriatic, and doubtful whether she will ever reach the harbour; as the hymn says, “Half a wreck by tempests driv’n.”

What a picture of a tempest-tossed soul! Sun and stars beclouded, compass lost, chart useless, pilot absent, and breakers ahead! Many, very many of the Lord’s dear family are thus “tossed with tempest;” some with a tempest of doubts and fears; others with a tempest of lust and corruptions; some with a tempest of rebellion and fretfulness; others with a storm of guilt and despondency, or with gloomy forebodings and dismal apprehensions. Thus they are driven from their course, their sun and stars all obscured; no clear evidences, no bright manifestations; darkness above, and a raging sea beneath; no harbour in sight, and hope of reaching the desired haven almost gone.

But it is further said of Zion, that she is “not comforted;” that is, not comforted by, nor capable of comfort from, any other than God. This I look upon as a very decisive mark of a work of grace upon the soul. When a man is so distressed in his feelings, so cast down in his mind, and so troubled in his conscience, that none but God can comfort him, we seem to be at once on the footsteps of the Spirit. We do not find hypocrites on this ground. False professors can easily take comfort; they can steal what God does not give, and appropriate what he does not apply. But Zion’s special mark is that she is “not comforted,” that her wounds are too deep for human balsams, her sickness too sore for creature medicines. God has reserved her comfort in his own hands; from his lips alone can consolation be spoken into her soul.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

9th July

“What man is he that feareth the Lord?
him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.”
Psalm 25:12

In all the multiplicity and variety of circumstances that have distressed the children of God, has the Lord ever taken a wrong step? Though he has baffled nature, though he has disconcerted reason, though he has turned our plans upside down, though perhaps he has done the thing that we most feared, and thwarted every natural purpose and inclination of our heart— can we say that he has erred? that he has made a mistake? that he has acted unwisely? that he has not done that which is for our spiritual good?

Murmuring, rebellious, unbelieving heart, hold thy peace! Shall man, foolish man, a worm of the earth, a creature of a day, lift up his puny voice and say, that God can mistake? Your path is very dark, very intricate, very perplexed; you cannot see the hand of God in the trial that is now resting upon you; you cannot believe that it will work together for your good. I admit it. I have felt it. I have known it. But the time will come, when this dark path in which you are now walking, shall be seen full of radiancy and light, when you will prove the truth of these words, “He brought the blind by a way that they knew not.”

When we know God to be infinitely wise, that he cannot err, that all his dealings must be stamped with his own eternal wisdom, we are silenced, we hold our peace, we have nothing to say, we are where Aaron was. When Nadab and Abihu were smitten by the Lord, Aaron knew that God could not err; he held his peace (Lev. 10:3). This is our right spot. If we know anything of the folly of the creature—if we know anything of the wisdom of God—this is our spot. When our dear Nadabs and Abihus are smitten before our face, our spot is to hold our peace, to put our mouth in the dust; for God is still accomplishing his object, in the face, and in spite of nature, sense, and reason.

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869

8th July

“There is therefore now no condemnation
to them which are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1

There is not a more blessed declaration than this in the whole word of truth. It is the sweetest note sounded by the gospel trumpet, for it is the very crown of the whole jubilee. Is not condemnation the bitterest drop in the cup of trembling? the most thrilling, piercing note of that terrible trumpet which sounded so long and so loud from Sinai’s blazing top that all the people that were in the camp trembled? (Exod. 19:13, 16.) Condemnation is the final execution of God’s righteous law, and therefore carries with it all that arms death with its sting and the grave with its terror.

The apprehension of this; the dread and fear of being banished for ever from the presence of God; of being lost, and that without remedy; of sinking under the blazing indignation of him who is a consuming fire, has filled thousands of hearts with horror. And it must be so as long as the law speaks in its thunders, as long as conscience re-echoes its verdict, and as long as the wrath of God burns to the lowest hell. O the blessedness, then, of that word of grace and truth, worthy to be sounded through heaven and earth by the voice of cherubim and seraphim, “There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!”

J. C. Philpot 1802-1869