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By His Good Providence


Then they were glad because they were quiet,
So He guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!

—Psalm 107:30–31


[W]hen [Moses and Joshua] were about to take their leave of the children of Israel, they recounted to them what great things God had done for them, as the best arguments and motives they could urge to engage them to obedience. And how can I copy after better examples? What fitter, what more noble motives, to holiness and purity of living, can I lay before you, than they did?

Indeed, I cannot say that we have seen the ‘pillar of a cloud by day, or a pillar of fire by night’, going visibly before us to guide our course. But this I can say, that the same God who was in that pillar of a cloud and pillar of fire, which departed not from the Israelites and who has made the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night, has, by his good providence, directed us in our right way, or else the pilot had steered us in vain.

Neither can I say that we have seen the ‘sun stand still’, as the children of Israel did in the days of Joshua. But surely God, during part of our voyage, has caused it to withhold some of that heat, which it usually sends forth in these warmer climates, or else it had not failed but some of you must have perished in the sickness that has been and does yet continue among us.

We have not seen the waters stand purposely on an heap, that we might pass through, neither have we been pursued by Pharaoh and his host and delivered out of their hands. But we have been led through the sea as through a wilderness and were once remarkably preserved from being run down by another ship; which had God permitted, the waters, in all probability, would immediately have overwhelmed us and like Pharaoh and his host, we should have sunk, as stones, into the sea.

We may, indeed, atheist-like, ascribe all these things to natural causes and say, ‘Our own skill and foresight has brought us hither in safety.’ But as certainly as Jesus Christ, the angel of the covenant, in the days of his flesh, walked upon the water and said to his sinking disciples, ‘Be not afraid, it is I,’ so surely has the same everlasting I AM, ‘who decketh himself with light as with a garment, who spreadeth out the heavens like a curtain, who claspeth the winds in his fist, who holdeth the waters in the hollow of his hands,’ and guided the wise men by a star in the east; so surely, I say, has he spoken and at his command the winds have blown us where we are now arrived. For his providence ruleth all things. ‘Wind and storms obey his word.’ He saith to it at one time, ‘Go’ and it goeth; at another, ‘Come’ and it cometh. And at a third time, ‘Blow this way’ and it bloweth.

It is he, my brethren and not we ourselves, that has of late sent us such prosperous gales and made us to ride, as it were, on the wings of the wind, into the haven where we would be.

‘O that you would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness,’ and by your lives declare, that you are truly thankful for the wonders he had shown to us; who are less than the least of the sons of men.

—George Whitefield, “Thankfulness for Mercies Received, a Necessary Duty” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:142–144.

The Sin of Ingratitude

Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! —Psalm 107:30–31 As Thanksgiving Day approaches . . . I say importance and neglect of the duty, for out of those many thousands that receive blessings from the Lord, how few give thanks in remembrance of his holiness? The account given us of the ungrateful lepers, is but too lively a representation of the ingratitude of mankind in general; who like them, when under any humbling providence, can cry, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ [Luke 17:13]. But when healed of their sickness, or delivered from their distress, scarce one in ten can be found ‘returning to give thanks to God.’ And yet as common as this sin of ingratitude is, there is nothing we ought more earnestly to pray against. For what is more absolutely condemned in holy scripture than ingratitude? Or what more peremptorily required than the contrary temper? Thus says the Apostle, ‘Rejoice evermore; in everything give thanks,’ and ‘Be careful for nothing. But in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God’. On the contrary, the Apostle mentions it as one of the highest crimes of the Gentiles, that they were not thankful. ‘Neither were they thankful’ [Romans 1:21]. As also in another place, he numbers the ‘unthankful’ amongst those unholy, profane persons who are to have their portion in the lake of fire and brimstone [2 Timothy 3:2 and Revelation 21:8]. —George Whitefield, “Thankfulness for Mercies Received, a Necessary Duty” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:141.

Lord’s Day 46, 2018

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. —Revelation 5:12 Hymn 29. (C. M.) Redemption by price and power. Jesus, with all thy saints above My tongue would bear her part, Would sound aloud thy saving love,. And sing thy bleeding heart. Bless’d be the Lamb, my dearest Lord, Who bought me with his blood, And quench’d his Father’s flaming sword In his own vital flood: The Lamb that freed my captive soul From Satan’s heavy chains, And sent the lion down to howl Where hell and horror reigns. All glory to the dying Lamb, And never-ceasing praise, While angels live to know his name, Or saints to feel his grace. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book II: Composed on Divine Subjects (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Come Down, O Love Divine

Come Down, O Love Divine DOWN AMPNEY Come down, O Love divine, seek Thou this soul of mine, and visit it with Thine own ardor glowing; O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear, and kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing. O let it freely burn, till earthly passions turn to dust and ashes in its heat consuming; and let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight, and clothe me round, the while my path illuming. Let holy charity mine outward vesture be, and lowliness become mine inner clothing: true lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part, and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing. And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long, shall far outpass the pow’r of human telling; no soul can guess its grace, till he become the place wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling. —Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, recently published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.

Another Dog Tale

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie A man was leaving the local café one morning when he noticed an ad on the bulletin board by the door that read: Dog for Sale Large mixed breed Good watchdog Loves children He had been thinking about getting a dog for his kids, so he decided to check it out. He drove to the address on the ad, went to the door, and knocked. “I’m here about the dog,” he said when the owner answered the door. “Sure, he’s out back. Follow me.” He led the man to the back yard, where the dog was lying in the sun. Just as they were stepping through the back door, the phone rang. “Excuse me,” said the owner, leaving the man in the yard with the dog. The dog hopped up and trotted toward him, wagging his tail. The man hunkered down and scratched his ears. “You’re a nice dog, aren’t you?” he said. “Kind of old, though. I was looking for a younger dog.” “Yeah, and I was hoping for a smarter owner, too,” said the dog. Astonished, the man stepped back. “You can talk?” he stammered. “Yep,” the dog replied. “How’d you learn that?” The dog settled back on his haunches, thought for a moment, and began, “Well, I discovered this gift pretty young. I suppose I learned it like anyone else, just from hearing it. Anyway, it’s led to some pretty great opportunities and interesting experiences. “I knew pretty early that I was unique, and figured I could cash in on it. I had some pretty high expectations, so I applied for work several places, including the military and NASA. Unfortunately, in spite of my unique talent, they turned me down. I suspect it was because of my mixed-breed heritage, but I can’t prove that. It was all for the best, though, because eventually I got connected with the CIA. In no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. “I was one of their most valuable assets for years. But, the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to settle down. So, I left the agency and took a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings there and was awarded a batch of medals. Had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.” The man was amazed. As the dog was finishing his story, his owner returned. “How much for the dog?” the man asked, willing to pay almost any price. The owner replied, “Fifty bucks.” “But this dog is incredible! Why would you sell him so cheap? Why are you selling him at all?” Shaking his head, the owner replied, “He’s such a liar. He never did any of that stuff.”

The Duty of Praise

Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! —Psalm 107:30–31 Numberless marks does man bear in his soul, that he is fallen and estranged from God. But nothing gives a greater proof thereof, than that backwardness, which every one finds within himself, to the duty of praise and thanksgiving. When God placed the first man in paradise, his soul no doubt was so filled with a sense of the riches of the divine love, that he was continually employing that breath of life, which the Almighty had not long before breathed into him, in blessing and magnifying that all-bountiful, all gracious God, in whom he lived, moved and had his being. And the brightest idea we can form of the angelical hierarchy above and the spirits of just men made perfect, is, that they are continually standing round the throne of God and cease not day and night, saying, ’Worthy art thou, O Lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing’ [Revelation 5:12]. That then, which was man’s perfection when time first began and will be his employment when death is swallowed up in victory and time shall be no more, without controversy, is part of our perfection and ought to be our frequent exercise on earth. And I doubt not but those blessed spirits, who are sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation, often stand astonished when they encamp around us, or find our hearts so rarely enlarged and our mouths so seldom opened, to show forth the loving-kindness of the Lord, or to speak of all his praise. Matter for praise and adoration can never be wanting to creatures redeemed by the blood of the Son of God and who have such continual scenes of his infinite goodness presented to their view, that were their souls duly affected with a sense of his universal love, they could not but be continually calling on heaven and earth, men and angels, to join with them in praising and blessing that ’high and lofty one, who inhabiteth eternity, who maketh his sun to shine on the evil and on the good’, and daily pours down his blessings on the whole race of mankind. —George Whitefield, “Thankfulness for Mercies Received, a Necessary Duty” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:139–140.

Infinite Condescending Kindness

Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father’s house; Then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. —Psalm 45:10–11 O admire, admire the rich and free grace, which hath brought you to this relation. Is not this an instance of the greatest of love, that you should be the spouse of the Lord Jesus Christ? You that had no beauty, you that had no comeliness, that was full of sin. That he should embrace such as you and I are; that we should be taken into the embrace of this Lord Jesus, O infinite condescending kindness! O amazing love! Reverence, reverence, I beseech you, this Lord Jesus Christ. He is your Lord and you must reverence him, love and be faithful unto him, be subject to him and careful to please him in everything. Endeavour to keep up a daily communion with him. Look, long and prepare for Christ’s second appearance, when the nuptials between you shall be solemnized and you live with him in mansions of everlasting joys, where you shall love and live with this king of glory forever and ever. —George Whitefield, “Christ the Best Husband; or, An Earnest Invitation to Young Women to Come and See Christ” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:121.

The Only Desirable Marriage
The Beautiful Image of God
Lord’s Day 45, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Behold the Glories of the Lamb
A Conversational Canine
Ready-Made Sermons
Sit Loose

Then Shall the Righteous Shine
Between Doing and Teaching
Lord’s Day 43, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor
Encouragement for “Faithful Nobodies”
Remember that Friends episode, in which Chewbacca, Hamlet, and Frodo . . .
George Whitefield, Theologian

True, Justifying Faith
Stupendous Love
Lord’s Day 44, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned
Walking in the Word
An Habitual Bent
Reformation Day, 2018


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