Thursday, March 26, 2020

David's Digest: Satan's Devices & Biblical Remedies: The Glitter of the World, Part 4

This is continuing from part 3 from Puritan Thomas Brooks' book "Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices", where the devil draws people from holy duties and service using the allurements of the world.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download


The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt...

...or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks - Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices


From Thomas Brooks:

The first device that Satan hath to draw souls from holy duties, and to keep them off from religious services, is,

Device (1). By presenting the world in such a dress, and in such a garb to the soul, as to ensnare the soul, and to win upon the affections of the soul.

He represents the world to them in its beauty and bravery [finery], which proves a bewitching sight to a world of men.


Now the remedies against this device of Satan are these,

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the impotency and weakness of all these things here below.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the vanity of them as well as upon the impotency of all worldly good.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against the device of Satan is, To dwell much upon the uncertainty, the mutability, and inconstancy of all things under the sun.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the great things of this world are very hurtful and dangerous to the outward and inward man, through
the corruptions that be in the hearts of men.


Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That all the felicity of this world is mixed.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, To get better acquaintance and better assurance of more blessed and glorious things.


Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against tins device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That true happiness and satisfaction is not to be had in the enjoyment of worldly good.

True happiness is too big and too glorious a thing to be found in anything below but God that is a Christian's chiefest good.

(Footnote: True happiness lies only in our enjoyment of a suitable good, a pure good, a total good, and an eternal good ; and God is only such a good, and such a good can only satisfy the soul of man. Philosophers could say, that he was never a happy man that might afterwards become miserable.)

The blessed angels, those glistering courtiers, have all felicities and blessedness, and yet have they neither gold, nor silver, nor jewels, nor none of the beauty and bravery [livery] of this world. Certainly if happiness was to be found in these things, the Lord Jesus, who is the right and royal heir of all things, would have exchanged his cradle for a crown; his birth chamber, a stable, for a royal palace; his poverty for plenty; his despised followers for shining courtiers; and his mean [low] provisions for the choicest delicates, etc. Certainly happiness lies not in those things that a man may enjoy, and yet be miserable for ever.

Now a man may be great and graceless with Pharaoh, honourable and damnable with Saul, rich and miserable with Dives [the rich man in the rich man and Lazarus story], etc.: therefore happiness lies not in these things. Certainly happiness lies not in those things that cannot comfort a man upon a dying bed. Is it honours, riches, or friends, etc, that can comfort thee when you come to die?

Or is it not rather faith in the blood of Christ, the witness of the Spirit of Christ, the sense and feeling of the love and favour of Christ, and the hopes of eternally reigning with Christ? Can happiness lie in those things that cannot give us health, or strength, or ease, or a good night's rest, or an hour's sleep, or a good stomach? Why, all the honours, riches, and delights of this world cannot give these poor things to us, therefore certainly happiness lies not in the enjoyment of them, etc.

(Footnote: Gregory the Great used to say, He is poor whose soul is void of grace, not whose coffers are empty of money. The reasonable soul may be busied about other things, but it cannot be filled
with them.)

And surely happiness is not to be found in those things that cannot satisfy the souls of men. Now none of these things can satisfy the soul of man. 'He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase; this is also vanity,' said the wise man, Eccles. v. 10. The barren womb, the horse leech's daughter, the grave and hell, will as soon be satisfied, as the soul of man will by the enjoyment of any worldly good. Some one thing or other will be for ever wanting [lacking] to that soul that hath none but outward good to live upon. You may as soon fill a bag with wisdom, a chest with virtue, or a circle with a triangle, as the heart of man with anything here below. A man may have enough of the world to sink him, but he can never have enough to satisfy him, etc.


Remedy (8). The eighth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, Of the dignity of the soul.

Oh, the soul of man is more worth than a thousand worlds! It is the greatest abasing of it that can be to let it dote upon a little shining earth, upon a little painted beauty and fading glory, when it is capable of union with Christ, of communion with God, and of enjoying the eternal vision of God.

Seneca could say, 'I am too great, and born to greater things, than that I should be a slave to my body.' Oh! do you say my soul is too great, and born to greater things, than that I should confine it to a heap of white and yellow earth.

(Footnote: Plutarch tells of Themistocles, that he accounted it not to stand with his state to stoop down to take up the spoils the enemies had scattered in flight; but said to one of his followers, You may, for you are not Themistocles. Oh what a sad thing it is that a heathen should set his feet upon those very things that most professors [of religion] set their hearts, and for the gain of which, with Balaam, many run the hazard of losing their immortal souls for ever.)


I have been the longer upon the remedies that may help us against this dangerous device of Satan, because he doth usually more hurt to the souls of men by this device than he doth by all other devices.

For a close, I wish, as once Chrysostom did, that that sentence, Eccles. ii. 11, 'Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do, and behold all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun,' were engraven on the door-posts into which you enter, on the tables where you sit, on the dishes out of which you eat, on the cups out of which you drink, on the bed-steads where you lie, on the walls of the house where you dwell, on the garments which you wear, on the heads of the horses on which you ride, and on the foreheads of all them whom you meet, that your souls may not, by the beauty and bravery [livery] of the world, be kept off from those holy and heavenly services that may render you blessed while you live, and happy when you die; that you may breathe out your last into his bosom who lives for ever, and who will make them happy for ever that prefer Christ's spirituals and eternals above all temporal transitory things.


Amen, and may the Lord grant us all that protection from Satan's devices, and that the things of the world grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!

-- David

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

David's Digest: Satan's Devices & Biblical Remedies: The Glitter of the World, Part 3

This is continuing from part 2 from Puritan Thomas Brooks' book "Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices", where the devil draws people from holy duties and service using the allurements of the world.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download


The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt...

...or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks - Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices


From Thomas Brooks:

The first device that Satan hath to draw souls from holy duties, and to keep them off from religious services, is,

Device (1). By presenting the world in such a dress, and in such a garb to the soul, as to ensnare the soul, and to win upon the affections of the soul.

He represents the world to them in its beauty and bravery [finery], which proves a bewitching sight to a world of men.


Now the remedies against this device of Satan are these,

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the impotency and weakness of all these things here below.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the vanity of them as well as upon the impotency of all worldly good.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against the device of Satan is, To dwell much upon the uncertainty, the mutability, and inconstancy of all things under the sun.

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the great things of this world are very hurtful and dangerous to the outward and inward man, through
the corruptions that be in the hearts of men.



Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That all the felicity of this world is mixed.

Our light is mixed with darkness, our joy with sorrow, our pleasures with pain, our honour with dishonour, our riches with wants [lacks]. If our lights be spiritual, clear, and quick, we may see in the felicity of this world our wine mixed with water, our honey with gall, our sugar with wormwood, and our roses with prickles.

(Footnote: Hark, scholar, said the harlot to Apuleius, it is but a bitter sweet you are so fond of. Surely all the things of this world are but bitter sweets.)

Sorrow attends worldly joy, danger attends worldly safety, loss attends worldly labours, tears attend worldly purposes. As to these things, men's hopes are vain, their sorrow certain and joy feigned. The honours, profits, pleasures, and delights of the world are true gardens of Adonis, where we can gather nothing but trivial flowers, surrounded with many briers.


Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, To get better acquaintance and better assurance of more blessed and glorious things.

(Footnote: Let heaven be a man's object, and earth will soon be his abject. Luther being at one time in some wants, it happened that a good sum of money was unexpectedly sent him by a nobleman of Germany, at which, being something amazed, he said, I fear that God will give me my reward here, but I protest I will not be so satisfied.)

That which raised up their spirits, Heb. x. and xi., to trample upon all the beauty, bravery [livery], and glory of the world, was the acquaintance with, 'and assurance of better and more durable things.' 'They took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing in themselves that they bad in heaven a better and a more durable substance.' 'They looked for a house that had foundations, whoso builder and maker was God.' 'And they looked for another country, even an heavenly.' 'They saw him that was invisible, and had an eye to the recompence of reward.' And this made them count all the glory and bravery [livery] of this world to be too poor and contemptible for them to set their hearts upon.

The main reason why men dote upon the world, and damn their souls to get the world, is, because they are not acquainted with a greater glory. Men ate acorns, till they were acquainted with the use of wheat. Ah, were men more acquainted with what union and communion with God means, what it is to have 'a new name, and a new stone, that none knows but he that hath it,' Rev. ii. 17; did they but taste more of heaven, and live more in heaven, and had more glorious hopes of going to heaven, ah, how easily would they have the moon under their feet.

It was an excellent saying of Lewis of Bavyer, emperor of Germany, Such goods are worth getting and owning, as will not sink or wash away if a shipwreck happen, but will wade and swim out with us.

(Footnote: There is, saith Augustine, goods of the throne; and there are goods of the footstool. When Basil was tempted with money and preferment, saith he, Give me money that may last for ever, and glory that may eternally flourish; for the fashion of this world passes away, as the waters of a river that runs by a city.)

It is recorded of Lazarus, that after his resurrection from the dead, he was never seen to laugh, his thoughts and affections were so fixed in heaven, though his body was on earth, and therefore he could not but slight temporal things, his heart being so bent and set upon eternals. There are goods for the throne of grace, as God, Christ, the Spirit, adoption, justification, remission of sin, peace with God, and peace with conscience; and there are goods of the footstool, as honours, riches, the favour of creatures, and other comforts and accommodations of this life. Now he that hath acquaintance with, and assurance of the goods of the throne, will easily trample upon the goods of the footstool.

Ah that you would make it your business, your work, to mind more, and make sure more to your own souls, the great things of eternity, that will yield you joy in life and peace in death, and a crown of righteousness in the day of Christ's appearing, and that will lift up your souls above all the beauty and bravery [livery] of this bewitching world, that will raise your feet above other men's heads. When a man comes to be assured of a crown, a sceptre, the royal robes, etc., he then begins to have low, mean [low], and contemptible thoughts of those things that before he highly prized. So will assurance of more great and glorious things breed in the soul a holy scorn and contempt of all these poor, mean things, which the soul before did value above God, Christ, and heaven, etc.


Go on to Remedies 7-8!

-- David

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

David's Digest: Satan's Devices & Biblical Remedies: The Glitter of the World, Part 2

This is continuing from part 1 from Puritan Thomas Brooks' book "Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices", where the devil draws people from holy duties and service using the allurements of the world.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download


The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt...

...or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks - Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices


From Thomas Brooks:

The first device that Satan hath to draw souls from holy duties, and to keep them off from religious services, is,

Device (1). By presenting the world in such a dress, and in such a garb to the soul, as to ensnare the soul, and to win upon the affections of the soul.

He represents the world to them in its beauty and bravery [finery], which proves a bewitching sight to a world of men.


Now the remedies against this device of Satan are these,

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the impotency and weakness of all these things here below.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the vanity of them as well as upon the impotency of all worldly good.


Remedy (3). The third remedy against the device of Satan is, To dwell much upon the uncertainty, the mutability, and inconstancy of all things under the sun.

Man himself is but the dream of a dream, but the generation of a fancy, but an empty vanity, but the curious picture of nothing, a poor, feeble, dying flash. All temporals are as transitory as a hasty headlong current, a shadow, a ship, a bird, an arrow, a post that passes by. 'Why shouldst thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?' said Solomon, Prov. xxiii. 5. And said the apostle, 'The fashion of this world passeth away,' 1 1 Cor. vii. 31.

(Footnote: 1 Cor. vii. 31 intimates, that there is nothing of any firmness, or solid consistence, in the creature.)

Heaven only hath a foundation, earth hath none, 'but is hanged upon nothing,' as Job speaks, xxvi. 7. The apostle willed Timothy to 'charge rich men that they be not high-minded, nor put their trust in uncertain riches,' 1 Tim. vi. 17. 2

(Footnote: Riches were never true to any that trusted to them; they have deceived men, as Job's brook did the poor travelers in the summer season.)

They are like bad servants, whose shoes are made of running leather, and will never tarry long with one master.

(Footnote: A phrase meaning, he is given to rambling about.)

As a bird hops from tree to tree, so do the honours and riches of this world from man to man, Let Job and Nebuchadnezzar testify this truth, who fell from great wealth to great want [lack]. No man can promise himself to be wealthy till night; one storm at sea, one coal of fire, one false friend, one unadvised word, one false witness, may make you a beggar and a prisoner all at once. All the riches and glory of this world is but as smoke and chaff that vanishes; 'Asa dream and vision in the night, that tarrieth not', Job xx. 8. 'As if a hungry man dreameth, and thinketh that he eateth, and when he awaketh his soul is empty; and like a thirsty man which thinketh he drinketh, and behold when he is awaked, his soul is faint,' as the prophet Isaiah said, chap. xxix. 8.

Where is the glory of Solomon? the sumptuous buildings of Nebuchadnezzar? the nine hundred chariots of Sisera? the power of Alexander? the authority of Augustus, that commanded the whole world to be taxed? Those that have been the most glorious, in what men generally account glorious and excellent, have had inglorious ends; as Samson for strength, Absalom for favour, Ahithophel for policy, Haman for favour, Asahel for swiftness, Alexander for great conquest, and yet after twelve years poisoned. The same you may see in the four mighty kingdoms, the Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman: how soon were they gone and forgotten.

(Footnote: The most renowned Frederick lost all, and sued to be made but sexton of the church that himself had built. I have read of a poor fisherman, who. while his nets were a-drying, slept upon the rock, and dreamed that he was made a king, on a sudden starts up, and leaping for joy, fell down from the rock, and in the place of his imaginary felicities loses his little portion of pleasures.)

Now rich, now poor, now full, now empty, now in favour, anon out of favour, now honourable, now despised, now health, now sickness, now strength, now weakness. Oh, let not these uncertain things keep you from those holy services and heavenly employments, that may make you happy for ever, and render thy soul eternally blessed and at ease, when all these transitory things shall bid thy soul an everlasting fare-well.

(Footnote: The pomp of this world John compares to the moon, which increases and decreases, Apoc. xii. 1.)


Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the great things of this world are very hurtful and dangerous to the outward and inward man, through
the corruptions that be in the hearts of men.


Oh, the rest, the peace, the comfort, the content that the things of this world do strip many men of! Oh, the fears, the cares, the envy, the malice, the dangers, the mischiefs, that they subject men to!

(Footnote: Henry the Second hearing Mentz his chief city to be taken, used this blasphemous speech: I shall never, said he, love God any more, that suffered a city so dear to me to be taken from me.)

They oftentimes make men carnally confident.

(Footnote: When one presented Antipater, king of Macedonia, with a book treating on happiness, his answer was, I have no leisure.)

The rich man's riches are a strong tower in his imagination. 'I said in my prosperity I should never be moved,' Ps. xxx. 6. They often swell the heart with pride, and make men forget God, and neglect God, and despise the rock of their salvation. When Jeshurun 'waxed fat, and was grown thick, and covered with fatness, then he forgot God, and forsook God that made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation,' as Moses spake, Deut. xxxii. 15.

Ah, the time, the thoughts, the spirits, that the things of the world consume and spend! Oh, how do they hinder the actings of faith upon God! how do they interrupt our sweet communion with God! how do they abate our love to the people of God! and cool our love to the things of God! and work us to act like those that are most unlike to God! Oh, the deadness, the barrenness that doth attend men under great outward mercies!

(Footnote: That four good mothers beget four bad daughters: great familiarity begets contempt, truth hatred, virtue envy, riches ignorance; a French proverb.)

Oh, the riches of the world chokes the word; that men live under the most soul-searching, and soul-enriching means with lean souls. Though they have full purses, though their chests are full of silver, yet their hearts are empty of grace. In Genesis xiii. 2, it is said, that 'Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.' According to the Hebrew it is 'Abraham was very weary;' to shew that riches are a heavy burden, and a hindrance many times to heaven, and happiness.

(Footnote: Ponacrites bestowed five talents for a gift upon one Anacreon, who for two nights after was so troubled with care how to keep them, and how to bestow them, as he carried them back again to Ponacrites, saying, they were not worth the pains which he hud already taken for them.)

King Henry the Fourth asked the Duke of Alva if he had observed the great eclipse of the sun, which had lately happened; No, said the duke, I have so much to do on earth, that I have no leisure to look up to heaven. Ah, that this were not true of most professors [of religion] in these days. It is very sad to think, how their hearts and time is so much taken up with earthly things, that they have scarce any leisure to look up to heaven, or to look after Christ, and the things that belong to their everlasting peace.

Riches, though well got, yet are but like to manna; those that gathered less had no want [lack], and those that gathered more, it was but a trouble and annoyance to them. The world is troublesome, and yet it is loved; what would it be if it were peaceable? You embrace it, though it be filthy; what would you do if it were beautiful? You cannot keep your hands from the thorns; how earnest would you be then in gathering the flowers?

(Footnote: A recollection of Augustine. -editor)

The world, may be fitly likened to the serpent Scytale, whereof it is reported, that when she cannot overtake the flying passengers, she does with her beautiful colours so astonish and amaze them, that they have no power to pass away, till she hath stung them.

(Footnote: Sicily is so full of sweet flowers that dogs cannot hunt there. And what do all the sweet contents of this world, but make us lose the scent of heaven!)

Ah, how many thousands are there now on earth, that have found this true by experience, that have spun a fair thread to strangle themselves, both temporally and eternally, by being bewitched by the beauty and bravery [finery] of this world.


Go on to Remedies 5-6

-- David

Monday, March 23, 2020

David's Digest: Satan's Devices & Biblical Remedies: The Glitter of the World, Part 1

If you've been following our blog for any time, we've been posting a few snippets from an excellent book from Puritan Thomas Brooks called "Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices".

The Bible warns of one of our greatest adversaries of our souls:
1 Peter 5:8 - "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"

But we are to resist...
James 4:7 - "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

Ephesians 6:11 - "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

...but only with God's help:
Psalm 28:7 - "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."


The following is another of those devices, where Satan works to draw people from being the Christians they should be, this time capturing the soul by the allurements of the world, and Brooks' remedies against that device.

You can listen to it here:


or download it:
Download


The entire book is scanned in here: https://archive.org/stream/completeworksoft01broo/completeworksoft01broo_djvu.txt...

...or you can listen to the entire book on this page:
Thomas Brooks - Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices


From Thomas Brooks:

The first device that Satan hath to draw souls from holy duties, and to keep them off from religious services, is,

Device (1). By presenting the world in such a dress, and in such a garb to the soul, as to ensnare the soul, and to win upon the affections of the soul.

He represents the world to them in its beauty and bravery [finery], which proves a bewitching sight to a world of men.

(Footnote: The beauty of the world foils a Christian more than the strength; the flattering sunshine more than the blustering storm. In storms we keep our garments close about us [as in the fable of the sun and wind. — editor])

(It is true, this took not Christ, because Satan could find no matter in him for his temptation to work upon.) So that he [Satan] can no sooner cast out his golden bait, but we are ready to play with it, and to nibble at it; he can no sooner throw out his golden ball, but men are apt to run after it, though they lose God and their souls in the pursuit.

Ah! how many professors [of religion] in these days have for a time followed hard after God, Christ, and ordinances, till the devil hath set before them the world in all its beauty and bravery, which hath so bewitched their souls that they have grown to have low thoughts of holy things, and then to be cold in their affections to holy things, and then to slight them, and at last, with the young man in the Gospel, to turn their backs upon them.

Ah! the time, the thoughts, the spirits, the hearts, the souls, the duties, the services, that the inordinate love of this wicked world doth eat up and destroy, and hath ate up and destroyed.

Where one thousand are destroyed by the world's frowns, ten thousand are destroyed by the world's smiles. The world, siren-like, it sings us and sinks us; it kisses us, and betrays us, like Judas; it kisses us and smites us under the fifth rib, like Joab. The honours, splendour, and all the glory of this world, are but sweet poisons, that will much endanger us, if they do not eternally destroy us.

(Footnote: he inhabitants of Nilus are deaf by the noise of the waters; so the world makes such a noise in men's ears, that they cannot hear the things of heaven. The world is like the swallows' dung, that put out Tobias his eyes. The champions could not wring an apple oat of Milo's hand by a strong hand, but a fair maid, by fair means, got it presently.)

Ah! the multitude of souls that have surfeited [consumed too much] of these sweet baits and died for ever.


Now the remedies against this device of Satan are these,

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the impotency and weakness of all these things here below.

They are not able to secure you from the least evil, they are not able to procure you the least desirable good. The crown of gold cannot cure the headache, nor the velvet slipper ease the gout, nor the jewel about the neck cannot take away the pain of the teeth. The frogs of Egypt entered into the rich men's houses of Egypt, as well as the poor. Our daily experience doth evidence this, that all the honours, riches, etc., that men enjoy, cannot free them from the cholic, the fever, or lesser diseases.

(Footnote: The prior in Melancthon rolled his hand up and down in a basinful of angels, thinking thereby to have charmed his gout, but it would not do. Nugas the Scythian, despising the rich presents and ornaments that were sent unto him by the emperor of Constantinople, asked whether those things could drive away calamities, diseases, or death.)

Nay, that which may seem most strange is, that a great deal of wealth cannot keep men from falling into extreme poverty: Judges i. 6, you shall find seventy kings, with their fingers and toes cut off, glad, like whelps, to lick up crumbs under another king's table; and shortly after, the same king that brought them to this penury, is reduced to the same poverty and misery. Why then should that be a bar to keep you out of heaven, that cannot give you the least ease on earth?


Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, To dwell upon the vanity of them as well as upon the impotency of all worldly good.

This is the sum of Solomon's sermon, 'Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity.' This our first parents found, and therefore named their second son Abel, or vanity. Solomon, that had tried these things,
and could best tell the vanity of them, he preached this sermon over again and again, 'Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity.' It is sad to think how many thousands there be that can say with the preacher, 'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,' nay, swear it, and yet follow after these things as if there were no other glory, nor felicity, but what is to be found in these things they call vanity.

(Footnote: Gilemex, king of Vandals, led in triumph by Belisarius, cried out, 'Vanity of vanity, all is vanity.' The fancy of Lucian, who placed Charon on the top of an high hill, viewing all the affairs of men living, and looking on their greatest cities as little birds' nests, is very pleasant.)

Such men will sell Christ, heaven, and their souls for a trifle, that call these things vanity, but do not cordially believe them to be vanity, but set their hearts upon them as if they were their crown, the top of all their royalty and glory. Oh let your souls dwell upon the vanity of all things here below, till your hearts be so throughly convinced and persuaded of the vanity of them, as to trample upon them, and make them a footstool for Christ to get up, and ride in a holy triumph in your hearts.

(Footnote: Oh the imperfection, the ingratitude, the levity, the inconstancy, the perfidiousness [treachery; traitorousness; breach of faith] of those creatures we most servilely affect. Ah, did we but weigh man's pain with his payment, his crosses with his mercies, his miseries with his pleasures, we should then see that there is nothing got by the bargain, and conclude, 'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.')

Chrysostom said once, 'That if he were the fittest in the world to preach a sermon to the whole world, gathered together in one congregation, and had some high mountain for his pulpit, from whence he
might have a prospect of all the world in his view, and were furnished with a voice of brass, a voice as loud as the trumpets of the archangel, that all the world might hear him, he would choose to preach upon no other text than that in the Psalms, 'O mortal men, how long will ye love vanity, and follow after leasing? Ps. iv. 2.

Tell me, you that say all things under the sun are vanity, if you do really believe what you say, why do you spend more thoughts and time on the world, than you do on Christ, heaven, and your immortal souls? Why do you then neglect your duty towards God, to get the world? Why do you then so eagerly pursue after the world, and are so cold in your pursuing after God, Christ, and holiness? Why then are your hearts so exceedingly raised, when the world comes in, and smiles upon you; and so much dejected, and cast down, when the world frowns upon you, and with Jonah's gourd withers before you?


Go on to Remedies 3-4!

-- David

Monday, March 16, 2020

Introducing Leila

Once again, we had a little visitor show up and start hanging around the homestead, like she always lived here...

A very friendly one, she hung around me while I put up chickens at night, let us pick her up almost immediately, and it wasn't too many days and she had moved in already. :)

Introducing Leila


In deciding what to call her, "Leila" popped in my head, and what do you know but that means "night" in Arabic -- perfect given her black coloring! And so Leila it was!

Leila in the Cat Box



She's like a little monkey at times, crawling up and down the sides of the bed, or up one of our legs. :)

Leila Crawling Down Wood Stack


And, she and Tuscan get along well and play. Mimi's starting to warm up to her, and William, our king cat, puts up with her, kind of like he does all of them. :)


And here's her introductory video:




We thank the Lord for the new little gift, and for the resources to care for this little stray. We pray God might use us to care for and help His "strays" in some way, spiritually and/or temporily.
1 Pet 2:25 - "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."
-- David

Monday, March 9, 2020

Our Sojourn: The Next Chapter

Sunset or sunrise?

Sunset or Sunrise


Both actually, as a chapter is here ending, and the next chapter is starting...

It was "decided" this past week that our fellowship would stop trying to function as a local church group. The reasons are too involved to discuss in this blog post, but I wanted to mention it for a few reasons:

  • First, I still believe in the main reason why Sue & I moved here: to separate more from the world and its influence, to live more directly on God's providential hand by growing and raising our own food, and then doing all these things and living out our Christianity in every aspect of our life (Christianity being our lives instead of just a part of our lives) amongst, with, and in support of like-minded believers, to learn to serve and love them. For me personally, over the years the Lord has granted to some degree what I believe are good effects from all these things, in Him granting things in my heart required to actually do these things -- more trust in Him, more charity (godly love) to others with some less emphasis on myself, etc., and I am very thankful, and pray He continues as I desperately need and desire more of those things, and more of Him.

  • Secondly, practically speaking from the group's standpoint, the main change will be that we won't be gathering together on Lord's day for Bible study, singing and holy reading, as we shift to looking for other established local fellowships with whom to fellowship. And so, we won't be streaming meetings from our Lord's day times on our YouTube page, which we've been doing for quite some time. I've been personally reading from Christian writings that I have found beneficial, making them available in an audio format, and maybe Sue and I will come up with other things to do on our YouTube page in that medium. We plan to continue this blog too.

    The folks here do hope to maintain the close relationships we all have with each other, and continue some of the Christian-focused things we have done in the past, like gathering to do projects for each other on a "community" -- now probably more "neighborhood" -- work day, etc. And continuing to focus on opportunities to help others in local towns, as we have been doing recently.

  • Lastly, I believe some good has been done here over all the years, and again, I've certainly seen spiritual blessings in my own life. However, I believe some harm to others has been done here for, again, reasons too involved to discuss here. All Sue and I ever wanted to do was help people -- that's why we bought a large parcel of land, much larger than she and I would ever want to use for ourselves. But, sadly things aren't always right or done the right way, I would presume mostly from sin in ourselves and our carnal man, and to those who have been hurt by the things that were not right, I wanted to apologize sincerely for my part in those things that hurt you, and hope that someday you will be able to forgive me.

From here on, we don't know where the Lord will lead, but it continues to be our prayer God would glorify Himself through us in whatever way He might, and with His help that we seek Him diligently as we continue our "sojourn" of life.
Heb. 11:8-10 - "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."
-- David