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The Imitation of Christ

Thomas Hemerken of Kempen, or Thomas À Kempis as he is now known.
This study can be found in it's entirty at http://fishermansnet.com/ImatationOfChrist/
Also below is a daily Bible Study from the Spurgeon Morning and Evening studies.
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Apr 17
Music on this page is from the Don Francisco site at
This song is by Annie Brooks
Song = On The Other Side

Apr 17

2. The Interior Life

2.9 Wanting No Share inComfort

IT IS not hard to spurn human consolation when we have thedivine. It is, however, a very great thing indeed to be able tolive without either divine or human comforting and for the honorof God willingly to endure this exile of heart, not to seekoneself in anything, and to think nothing of one’s ownmerit.

Does it matter much, if at the coming of grace, you arecheerful and devout? This is an hour desired by all, for he whomthe grace of God sustains travels easily enough. What wonder ifhe feel no burden when borne up by the Almighty and led on by theSupreme Guide! For we are always glad to have something tocomfort us, and only with difficulty does a man divest himself ofself.

The holy martyr, Lawrence, with his priest, conquered theworld because he despised everything in it that seemed pleasingto him, and for love of Christ patiently suffered the great highpriest of God, Sixtus, whom he loved dearly, to be taken fromhim. Thus, by his love for the Creator he overcame the love ofman, and chose instead of human consolation the good pleasure ofGod. So you, too, must learn to part with an intimate andmuch-needed friend for the love of God. Do not take it to heartwhen you are deserted by a friend, knowing that in the end wemust all be parted from one another.

A man must fight long and bravely against himself before helearns to master himself fully and to direct all his affectionstoward God. When he trusts in himself, he easily takes to humanconsolation. The true lover of Christ, however, who sincerelypursues virtue, does not fall back upon consolations nor seeksuch pleasures of sense, but prefers severe trials and hardlabors for the sake of Christ.

When, therefore, spiritual consolation is given by God,receive it gratefully, but understand that it is His gift and notyour meriting. Do not exult, do not be overjoyed, do not bepresumptuous, but be the humbler for the gift, more careful andwary in all your actions, for this hour will pass and temptationwill come in its wake.

When consolation is taken away, do not at once despair butwait humbly and patiently for the heavenly visit, since God canrestore to you more abundant solace.

This is neither new nor strange to one who knows God’sways, for such change of fortune often visited the great saintsand prophets of old. Thus there was one who, when grace was withhim, declared: "In my prosperity I said: ‘I shallnever be moved.’" But when grace was taken away, headds what he experienced in himself: "Thou didst hide Thyface, and I was troubled." Meanwhile he does not despair;rather he prays more earnestly to the Lord, saying: "ToThee, O Lord, will I cry; and I will make supplication to myGod." At length, he receives the fruit of his prayer, andtestifying that he was heard, says "The Lord hath heard, andhath had mercy on me: the Lord became my helper." And howwas he helped? "Thou hast turned," he says, "mymourning into joy, and hast surrounded me with gladness."{#Ps 30:7-12}

If this is the case with great saints, we who are weak andpoor ought not to despair because we are fervent at times and atother times cold, for the spirit comes and goes according to Hiswill. Of this the blessed Job declared: "Thou visitest himearly in the morning, and Thou provest him suddenly." {#Job7:18}

In what can I hope, then, or in whom ought I trust, save onlyin the great mercy of God and the hope of heavenly grace? Forthough I have with me good men, devout brethren, faithfulfriends, holy books, beautiful treatises, sweet songs and hymns,all these help and please but little when I am abandoned by graceand left to my poverty. At such times there is no better remedythan patience and resignation of self to the will of God.

I have never met a man so religious and devout that he has notexperienced at some time a withdrawal of grace and felt alessening of fervor. No saint was so sublimely rapt andenlightened as not to be tempted before and after. He, indeed, isnot worthy of the sublime contemplation of God who has not beentried by some tribulation for the sake of God. For temptation isusually the sign preceding the consolation that is to follow, andheavenly consolation is promised to all those proved bytemptation. "To him that overcometh," says Christ,"I will give to eat of the Tree of Life." {#Re 2:7}Divine consolation, then, is given in order to make a man braverin enduring adversity, and temptation follows in order that hemay not pride himself on the good he has done.

The devil does not sleep, nor is the flesh yet dead;therefore, you must never cease your preparation for battle,because on the right and on the left are enemies who neverrest.

April 17-Morning {Daily Reading: #2Sa 17:1-18:33} {Quick Study: #2Sa 23:1-24:25}

"We are come to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." {#Heb 12:24}

Reader, have you come to the blood of sprinkling? The question is not whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or to a certain form of experience, but have you come to the blood of Jesus? The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness. If you have truly come to Jesus, we know how you came—the Holy Spirit sweetly brought you there. You came to the blood of sprinkling with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and O! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! The dropping of his blood is as the music of heaven to the penitent sons of earth. We are full of sin, but the Saviour bids us lift our eyes to him, and as we gaze upon his streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, "It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness." O! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus! If you have come to that blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be "Looking unto Jesus." Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this—"To whom coming." Not to whom I have come, but to whom I am always coming. If thou hast ever come to the blood of sprinkling, thou wilt feel thy need of coming to it every day. He who does not desire to wash in it every day, has never washed in it at all. The believer ever feels it to be his joy and privilege that there is still a fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a present coming to Christ alone can give us joy and comfort. This morning let us sprinkle our doorpost fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by.

And Also

April 17-Evening

"We would see Jesus." {#Joh 12:21}

Evermore the worldling’s cry is, "Who will show us any good?" He seeks satisfaction in earthly comforts, enjoyments, and riches. But the quickened sinner knows of only one good. "Oh that I knew where I might find HIM!" When he is truly awakened to feel his guilt, if you could pour the gold of India at his feet, he would say, "Take it away: I want to find HIM." It is a blessed thing for a man, when he has brought his desires into a focus, so that they all centre in one object. When he has fifty different desires, his heart resembles a mere of stagnant water, spread out into a marsh, breeding miasma and pestilence; but when all his desires are brought into one channel, his heart becomes like a river of pure water, running swiftly to fertilize the fields. Happy is he who hath one desire, if that one desire be set on Christ, though it may not yet have been realized. If Jesus be a soul’s desire, it is a blessed sign of divine work within. Such a man will never be content with mere ordinances. He will say, "I want Christ; I must have him—mere ordinances are of no use to me; I want himself; do not offer me these; you offer me the empty pitcher, while I am dying of thirst; give me water, or I die. Jesus is my soul’s desire. I would see Jesus!"

Is this thy condition, my reader, at this moment? Hast thou but one desire, and is that after Christ? Then thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven. Hast thou but one wish in thy heart, and that one wish that thou mayst be washed from all thy sins in Jesus’ blood? Canst thou really say, "I would give all I have to be a Christian; I would give up everything I have and hope for, if I might but feel that I have an interest in Christ?" Then, despite all thy fears, be of good cheer, the Lord loveth thee, and thou shalt come out into daylight soon, and rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ makes men free.

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