“The Bible in the memory is better than the Bible in the book case.”
“Be walking Bibles.”
“It is well to have a good memory and that is the best memory which remembers what is best worth remembering.”
“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”
“Holy Scripture requires searching—much of it can only be learned by careful study.”
“He who does not long to know more of Christ, knows nothing of Him yet.”
“It is needful to dwell on this head, because many Christians appear to think that if they are just believers, it is enough. We do not in business think it is enough if we barely escape bankruptcy. A man does not say, if his dear child has been ill in bed for years, that it is quite enough so long as the child is alive. We do not think that of our own bodies, that so long as we can breathe it is enough.”
“Those who are never tried usually possess a poor, tottering faith but trial, especially persecution, is like the rough March wind which goes howling through the forest, and while the young oaks are almost torn up by the roots at first, it loosens the soil for them, and they send out more rootlets, till they get such a firm grip that they defy the hurricane. That which shakes them at first strengthens them afterwards.”
“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.”
“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”
“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”
“Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.”
“We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service.”
“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.”
“All human books grow stale after a time - but with the Word of God the desire to study it increases, while the more you know of it the less you think you know.”
“The Book grows upon you: as you dive into its depths you have a fuller perception of the infinity which remains to be explored. You are still sighing to enjoy more of that which it is your bliss to taste.”
“Half our fears arise from neglect of the Bible.”
“The word of God is always most precious to the man who most lives upon it.”
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Do you know of any other Spurgeon quotes directly or indirectly related to Scripture memory? Post them in the comments and I can add them to this list!
Another wonderful gem from www.gracegems.org. This post is inspired by both the new Prayer Request post, Praying for One Another, and Phil Walker's devotional on Mark 1:35 (scroll down to posts from 02/01/11) ~ "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed."
The primary goal of the Christian is to be Christ-like, right? So we must follow His example in all things…including prayer.
Thomas Brooks, an English Puritan, said, "The best Christian is he who is the greatest monopolizer of time for private prayer."
(James Smith, "Sunny Subjects for All Seasons" 1858)
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
How important is a spirit of prayer! It is . . .
the proof of regeneration,
the manifestation of grace in our hearts, and
the evidence our title to mansions in the skies!
Prayer is . . .
the breath of the renewed soul,
the beating of the sanctified heart,
the effect of the life of God within us.
O that I had prayed more!
Prayer should become a habit with us--then everything would furnish us with matter for prayer. Prayer should mingle with our pleasures and our pains, with our labor and our rest. O for more prayer!
We should never do--what we cannot pray God to bless.
We should never go--where we cannot ask God to go with us.
If we would hold fast our profession,
if we would adorn the gospel,
if we would honor Jesus,
if we would enjoy our mercies,
if we would get good by our trials,
if we would see all things working together for good,
if we would conquer Satan,
if we would overcome the world,
if we would crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts
--we must pray!
Prayer, if it is believing prayer . . .
opens Heaven to us,
unveils the glorious face of God, and
brings down foretastes of the joys of paradise,
makes us a match for all our foes,
enables us patiently to carry every cross, and with perseverance to climb and pass over the loftiest hills we meet with on our heaven-bound pilgrimage!
Those who pray, will, by deriving strength from Heaven, by drawing down wisdom from above--withstand every storm, and shout God's praises at last.
Tempted Christian--pray, and you will overcome every temptation.
Troubled Christian--pray, and God will deliver you out of every trouble.
Perplexed Christian--pray, and God will make your way plain before your face.
Doubting Christian--pray, and God will disperse your doubts, and chase your fears away.
Trembling Christian--pray, and God will strengthen you with strength in the soul.
Sick Christian--pray, and God will make all your bed in your affliction.
Dying Christian--pray, and death will lose all its terrors, and you will gently fall asleep in Jesus.
Lost sinner--pray, for God who heard the publican and justified him, will hear you and save you.
O for the grace of prayer, that we may in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God.
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2
James Smith, Grace Gems, prayer
My dad put me in touch with a website: www.gracegems.org. Be sure to check out the website, as it is absolutely PACKED with free downloadable solid Reformed books, articles, quotes, etc., both from the Puritans as well as more modern authors, such as Spurgeon, Ryle, Robert M'Cheyne, and Arthur Pink.
Anyway, I have been receiving their wonderful "Daily Grace Gems" for over a month. They are basically just small excerpts from Reformed authors, mostly Puritans, that are meant to encourage you in many different ways, depending on the nature of the gem.
I got this one a few days ago and was greatly blessed by it. I thought I would share it with all of you, praying that you would be greatly heartened and convicted, and inspired and motivated to greater levels of holiness, by God's grace alone.
Would such an inscription look well on some of our costly furniture?
Would such an inscription look well on some of our costly furniture?
(James Smith, "Holiness Unto the Lord" 1865)
"On that day even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: 'Holy unto the Lord.' And the cooking pots in the Temple of the Lord will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar." Zechariah 14:20
We are to write on all that we ARE, on all that we HAVE--"Holy unto the Lord!" We are no longer live unto ourselves--but unto Him who loved us, and gave Himself up for us. We are to have . . . Christian, is there anything in your house, in your business, or on your person--on which it would be unfitting to write, "Holy unto the Lord?" If so--ought you to possess it, practice it, or wear it? O Spirit of holiness, come down and by the finger of Your power--write, "Holy unto the Lord!" upon our hearts!Enable us, as the effect, to write upon all we that have and are, upon all that we purpose, plan, and do--"Holy unto the Lord!" in large and pleasing characters, such as all may understand!
holy sorrows, and
pursue holy objects.
1. See then, what we should BE--holy. This was God's end in our election, redemption, and effectual calling. This is God's design in all our trials, troubles, and exercises; they are for our profit--that "we may be partakers of His holiness."
2. See also, what we should DO--write, "Holy unto the Lord!" on all that we possess. We have no right to possess, use, or wear anything--on which we cannot write, "Holy unto the Lord!"
Would such an inscription look well on some of our costly furniture, fine clothing, or entertainments? Would it? Do not shun the question--but let conscience take it up, examine, and return an honest answer.
We should use all that we have--as consecrated to Jehovah's service and praise:
our mental powers,
our physical strength,
--all should be used for God, and for His glory! When about to employ any of these, we should pause, and ask, "Will putting them to this use honor God? Will it serve His cause? Will it bring praise to His most holy name?"
All who see us, dwell with us, or visit us--should be able to perceive that we have written upon all we have andare, "Holy unto the Lord." Until they can, we are not what we ought to be--and God's end in what He has done for us, and conferred upon us, is not answered.
We are to write on all that we ARE, on all that we HAVE--"Holy unto the Lord!" We are no longer live unto ourselves--but unto Him who loved us, and gave Himself up for us. We are to have . . .
Christian, is there anything in your house, in your business, or on your person--on which it would be unfitting to write, "Holy unto the Lord?" If so--ought you to possess it, practice it, or wear it?
O Spirit of holiness, come down and by the finger of Your power--write, "Holy unto the Lord!" upon our hearts!Enable us, as the effect, to write upon all we that have and are, upon all that we purpose, plan, and do--"Holy unto the Lord!" in large and pleasing characters, such as all may understand!
Grace Gems, James Smith, Holiness
Here's what John Calvin says about Psalm 119:13. This selection is also very insightful and helpful.
Verse 13: With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.
David shows here the accord which ought to be betwixt God and us: to wit, that God has instructed us, and when we have heard that which has been said to us, that everyone should say “Amen,” and that there be a sweet harmony and accord betwixt him and us, without jar or contradiction.
Behold here the summary of what is meant in this verse. Note that David declares that he contents not himself alone with following of God and cleaving to him: but that he labors and desires as much as lies in him, to stir up his neighbors likewise, and to bring it so to pass, as that God might be served with a common accord, throughout the whole world. He then that will have a true zeal to honor everywhere, and seek by all means possible that he can, to redress those which are wickedly given, to stir up those which are cold and negligent, to strengthen those which are weak and feeble, to entertain those which are already in a good earnestness, and to make them more earnest.––And indeed, these are the very things which all the faithful seek to do.––For the Lord our God teaches us upon this condition, that every one of us think not only particularly of himself, but that we should also have a mutual care one of another, and whensoever we shall have this zeal, let us understand, that God has created the whole world upon this condition, that we all should be obedient to him.
But we must well notice the order that is here set down: For David does not begin with this sentence, “That with his lips he has told of all the Judgments of the Lord’s mouth.” For he has said before, that he "has hid them in his heart." The thing which David said to be hid in his heart, he soon after declares it with his mouth, wherein he shows that every one of us ought to begin with himself. When we mean to instruct and teach our neighbors, we must not say to them, “Go you before:” but, “Come next after me, or else hard by me:” and having care all to go the right way, we should all at once labor to go together to our God, to be conjoined to him in true faith. And I speak it to this end, because we shall see many who in this behalf can very well prattle and babble, and would seem to be the greatest doctors in the world. But what of all this? Let us in the meantime look into their lives and conversation, and we shall find in them nothing but infection and stench, nothing else but mocking of God in all they go about and do. We must therefore follow the order which David here holds: to wit, that the word of God be his as a Treasure in the bottom of our heart: and afterward when as we shall have this affection, let us endeavor ourselves to draw others also thereto, and go altogether with one accord to honor our Lord God; and that he which hath been better taught than any of his neighbors have been, let him confess that he is so much the more beholden and bound unto God, to do that which is here showed unto us by David.
For although we are not all Prophets as he was, yet for all that, this was spoken to us all in general, “Admonish ye one another.” Saint Paul (1 Thess. 5:14, Col. 3:16, and Heb. 3:13) speaks it to all the faithful and to all Christians. And that we should also know that this belongs and pertains to us: and chiefly as I have before said, that they which are most earnest, should lay forth the grace which was given unto them for the common building up of the Church, and instruction of their neighbors.
When I first decided to memorize Psalm 119, I thought it would be a good idea to have some good Puritan and Reformed books to read alongside so as to help me understand and apply it all in a better way. In John Calvin's Sermons on Psalm 119, he exposits every verse very profitably. I came to what he has to say about this well-known verse, and thought it was worth sharing.
Verse 11: I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
When David speaks after this manner, “I have hid your word or promise in my heart,” he well declares, that if we have but only a wandering knowledge, that it will not hold us in, but that the Devil will by and by win upon us to oppress us, with temptations, and in the end to cast us down headlong. What must we then do? It is not enough that we have been at church, and heard what hath been there said to us, and that every one of us has mumbled to himself some one thing or another, but the word of God must be settled in us and be hid in our heart, to wit, that it may there be residing and continually abiding: and to have received it with such an affection, as that it be as it were imprinted in us. If this be not so, sin will reign in us, for it hath natural habitation with us: For all our senses are wicked and corrupt, all our wills and desires are enemies to God, unless God’s word be well hidden in our hearts.
Moreover, we are to understand, that David did not here vaunt himself of his own power and strength, as though he were in admiration thereof: but the spirit of God speaking by his mouth, intends to give us a mirror, wherein we must be confirmed, to wit, that we must not have only our ears beaten with the Doctrine of salvation, and receive it in our brain: but that it should be hidden in our heart, to wit, that we should lay it up as in a Treasure house.
For this saying, to hide, signifies that David did not study to be ambitious to set forth himself, and to make a glorious show before men: but that he had God for a witness of that secret desire which was before him. He never looked to worldly creatures, but being content that he had so great a Treasure, he knew full well that God who had given it him, would so surely and safely guard it, as that it should not be laid open to Satan to be taken away.
Saint Paul, in 1 Timothy 1:19, also declares to us, that the chest wherein this treasure must be hid, is a good conscience. For it is said, that many being void of this good conscience, have lost also their faith, and have been robbed thereof. As if a man should forsake his goods and put them in an open place, without shutting of any door, it were an easy matter for thieves to come in and to steal and deprive and spoil him of all: Even so, if we leave at random to Satan the Treasure which GOD hath given unto us in his word, if it is not hidden in this good conscience, and in the very bottom of our heart as David here speaks, we shall be spoiled thereof.
memorization, sin, Calvin
This is my formal introduction into the blogging industry, so I apologize if I did anything wrong. This post is the first of a three-part series about our memory. Most of what I've written here is adapted from a sermon preached by the Rev. Richard Steele (1629-1692). He belonged to an amazingly gifted group of theologians called the Puritans who lived in the seventeeth century. For those who are interested, the translations used are the KJV and the ESV.
What Are the Hindrances and Helps to a Good Memory in Spiritual Things?
The excellence of the memory: The soul of man is a subject of wonder; and nothing is more wonderful in it than the memory –– that such innumerable images of things should be lodged in a finite faculty, and that what seems to be utterly lost in it, should be fully recovered; wherefore it is justly deemed by the learned a miraculous mercy. It has power to make things that are in themselves absent and past, to be present. By the help of memory, we retain what we have read in books, what we have heard in sermons or other discourses, as well as examples of God’s mercies and judgments for our encouragement and warning. All these, and ten thousand things more, are laid up in the memory, which is the soul’s treasury, so that the soul would be a poor soul without the memory. We may see the worth of this faculty by those that are deprived of the use of it, that can remember nobody, nor the last question that they asked. All a man’s past life would be lost, if his memory were lost. The souls would be poor in knowledge, poor in gifts, poor in comfort, without the memory. Especially this faculty was happy in its primitive state before the fall; for then its reception was easy, the impressions firm, the recovery (if any use of it) ready. Then it was like a clear crystal glass, wherein all that was contained in it was easily seen; now it is cracked and muddy: then it was like an iron chest; now it is like a bag with holes. It had the neighborhood of a clear understanding and of a holy will; and Adam could not but “remember his Creator in those days of his youth.”
It is necessary to labor to improve your memories, to have them cured and strengthened –– It is an unquestionable duty. That fundamental law, propounded in the Old Testament (Deut. 6:5) and confirmed in the New (Matt. 22:37) –– “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” –– obliges us to strain every faculty to the utmost in God’s behalf. One end of Christ’s coming into the world was to repair our depraved faculties; and shall we suffer him to die in vain? First Corinthians 15:2 says, “By which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you –– unless you believed in vain.” This shows how necessary it is to improve our memories, as a means of faith and salvation. We find by experience that this faculty is miserably corrupted: and therefore it is undoubtedly necessary that it be renewed.
Reduce into practice that which you remember.––The end of all true knowledge is practice: “Remember to do his commandments.” (Psalm 103:18). If it be a doctrinal truth which you read or hear, consider what influence it has upon the heart. If it be a duty which is set before you, immediately set about it. If a sin be exposed, presently root it out. If insincerity or hypocrisy be brought to light, examine your spiritual state without delay. For, as a treasure in the chest is in danger of the robber; but when it is used for a good purchase, here it is safe from being stolen: so too, while spiritual notions swim only in the memory, you may easily lose them; but they are safe when they are once incorporated into your real practice. But, alas! There are too many that are like those whiffling chapmen, who come to the shop and lay-by a great many rich wares; but when all is done, they buy few or none: so these cheapen and bid for the pearl, but will not buy it; they will talk over all the points of religion, before they will seriously practice any one of them. For you “remember the Sabbath” aright, when you so remember it before it comes, that when it comes, you “keep it holy.” (Exod. 20:8). You remember God truly, when you fear and love and trust in him. You remember your neighbor as you ought, when you remember “to do good, and to communicate.” (Heb. 13:16). You remember yourselves best, when you remember “to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” (Acts 24:16). In a word: you remember your latter end rightly, when you keep your oil ready in your lamps and in your vessels, so that when your Master comes, he may find you so doing.
Steele follows the usual practice of the Puritans in his sermon ––delivering doctrine before application––so I will too. The next post will have more applicable points.
So what are the great benefits to be gained by improving your memories? Keep your eyes peeled. . .
"Theology is not some intellectual option that makes us 'smart' Christians; it is the graced understanding that makes us faithful disciples"
- James K.A. Smith
This is a quote about the study of doctrine and theology; but it applies equally well to the discipline of memorization.