“He would have given you living water.” John 4:10
How blessed a thing is vital godliness! That is the thing I always wish to contend for. Not for forms and ceremonies, or doctrines floating in the brain—but for the life of God in the soul. That is the only thing worth knowing—the only thing to live by—and the only thing to die by. How different is vital godliness received into the heart and conscience, by the operation of God the Spirit! How different is this fountain of living water from the ‘stagnant, dead water’ of lip service, formality, and hypocrisy! We cannot now be satisfied with lip religion, pharisaical religion, doctrinal religion, a name to live while dead, the form of godliness without the power. A living soul can no more satisfy his thirst with mere forms and ceremonies—than a man naturally thirsty can drink out of a pond of sand. He must have living water—something given by the Lord Himself, springing up in his soul. J.C.Philpot.
An angel on the outside—and a devil within
(Thomas Brooks, “A Cabinet of Choice Jewels” 1669)
“Hypocrites! You are so careful to clean the outside
of the cup and the dish; but inside you are filthy—
full of greed and self-indulgence!” Matthew 23:25
A hypocrite’s outside never corresponds with his inside.
A hypocrite’s outside is one thing—and his inside another.
A hypocrite’s outside is religious—but his inside is wicked.
Hypocrites are like the Egyptian temples, which were beautiful
outside—but within there was nothing to be found but serpents
and crocodiles, and other venomous creatures. They are like
white silver—but they draw black lines. They have a seeming
sanctified outside—but are stuffed within with malice, pride,
worldliness, envy, etc. They are like window cushions, made up
of velvet and richly embroidered—but stuffed within with hay.
A hypocrite . . .
may offer sacrifice with Cain,
and fast with Jezebel,
and humble himself with Ahab,
and lament with the tears of Esau,
and kiss Christ with Judas,
and follow Christ with Demas,
and be baptized with Simon Magus;
and yet for all this, his inside is as bad as any of theirs!
A hypocrite is . . .
a Jacob on the outside—and an Esau within;
a David on the outside—and a Saul within;
a John on the outside—and a Judas within;
a saint on the outside—and a Satan within;
an angel on the outside—and a devil within.
But let all such hypocrites know, that pretend sanctity
is double iniquity—and accordingly at last they shall be
dealt with. “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will
you escape being condemned to hell?” Matthew 23:33
Doctrine and Doctrines: Doctrine means teaching or instruction. Concerning Christ Jesus we read, “And they were astonished at his [DOCTRINE]: for he [TAUGHT] them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mar 1:22.) Throughout scripture, the word doctrine is always in the singular when it describes God’s doctrine (Joh 7: 16, 17; 2 Joh 1: 9; Rom 16: 17.) Usually, when the scriptures refer to man’s teachings the word is in the plural (Mat. 15:9; Mar 7: 7; Col 2: 22; I Tim 4: 1; Heb 13: 9.) The doctrine of Christ is singular because no matter the subject (or where it is found in scripture) it is concerning Christ Jesus the Son of God whose person and office never changes. God’s doctrine feeds the appetite Christ gives. The appetite he gives in spirit is for Christ Jesus the same yesterday and today and forever. The doctrines of men are many because they feed only the flesh of men and the appetites of men change and vary from one moment to the next. Clay Curtis.
White feathers—but black skin
(Thomas Watson, “The Godly Man’s
Picture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil)
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you
hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which
look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are
full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.
In the same way, on the outside you appear to
people as righteous but on the inside you are full
of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:27-28
Here is a sharp rebuke to such as are “glittering dross”
Christians, who only make a show of godliness. These
our Savior calls whitewashed tombs. Their beauty is all
paint! Many are painted over with a religious profession,
whose seeming luster dazzles the eyes of beholders; but
within there is nothing but putrefaction!
Hypocrites are like the swan, which has white feathers
—but black skin; or like that flower, which has a lovely
appearance—but a foul scent.
The hypocrite deceives others while he lives—but deceives
himself when he dies! What good will it do a man when he
is in hell—that others think he has gone to heaven? Oh,
beware of this!
Counterfeit piety is double iniquity. What is this but to abuse
God to his face, and to serve the devil in Christ’s livery?
To have only a pretense of godliness will yield no comfort
after death. Will painted gold enrich a man? Will painted
wine refresh him who is thirsty? He who has only a painted
holiness shall have only a painted happiness! Let us take
heed of this pious pageantry and devout stage-play!
(Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness”, 1662)
A man may be visibly holy—who is not inwardly holy.
A man may have an outward dress of holiness upon him
—who has not the spirit and vitality of holiness in him.
They say of Halifax nuts, that they are all shells—with
no kernels. Just so, there are many who make a glorious
show before men—who are abominable in the sight of
God; who are gold in man’s eyes—but dirt in God’s sight.
“In the same way, on the outside you appear to people
as righteous; but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy
and wickedness.” Matthew 23:28
They were outwardly religious—but inwardly wicked; they
had the semblance of sanctity—but inwardly very full of
impurity; they were fair professors—but foul sinners; they
were gracious without—but impious within. Look! as those
are the worst of vices which are covered over with the show
of virtue; so they are the worst of sinners, who cover over
their inward filthiness with the disguises of outward holiness.
The Egyptian temples were fair on the outside—but foul and
filthy within. Such were the Scribes and Pharisees in Christ’s
days—and such are many professors in our days!
God will at last hate that man to hell, yes, cast him into the
hottest place in hell—who has a form of godliness upon him;
but nothing of the reality and power of holiness in him.
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape
being condemned to hell!” Matthew 23:33
An apostolic face and a Judas heart-J.C. Philpot.
Many think that a minister is exempt from such
coldness, deadness, and barrenness, as private
Christians feel. And the hypocritical looks and
words of many of Satan’s ministers favor this
delusion. Holiness is so much on their tongues,
and on their faces, that their deluded hearers
necessarily conclude that it is in their hearts.
But, alas! nothing is easier or more common,
than an apostolic face and a Judas heart.
Most pictures that I have seen of the “Last Supper”
represent Judas with a ferocious countenance. Had
painters drawn a holy, meek-looking face, I believe
they would have given a truer resemblance.
Many pass for angels in the pulpit, who if the truth
were known, would be seen to be devils and beasts
in heart, lip, and life at home.
“How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious
law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are so careful
to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside
you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You try
to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your
hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Matthew 23:25, 28
At all times, and under all circumstances
“God has said—Never will I leave you; never
will I forsake you.” Hebrews 8:5
All the promises of God are faithful and true,
and have never been forfeited yet. They are
called precious promises, and while there are
many particulars which render them such,
their absolute certainty is one of the chief.
“God has said”—He is not a man that He would
lie, or change His mind. He with whom saying
and doing, promising and performing—as far as
sureness is concerned—are one and the same.
Man, weak, fickle, faithless man—may deceive
us; but if we make the Great Unchangeable our
trust, disappointment is a thing altogether
But what has He said? “Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” The believer is thus
assured that God will be with him at all times,
and under all circumstances, and that He will
especially be with him in every time of need. His
presence shall go with him when he is called to
the performance of any arduous duties; it shall
go with him when he has to pass through the
furnace of affliction; and, above all, it shall go
with him when he has to enter the dark valley,
and bid a final adieu to all things here below.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be
dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen
you. I will help you. I will uphold you with My
victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
We might confidently conclude that God will be
then with the Christian, even had no express
intimation been given us on the subject. It is
not likely that He who was with him during the
whole of his voyage, to preserve him from the
winds and waves, the rocks and quicksands—will
forsake him when the vessel is entering the port.
It is not likely that He who shielded him during the
heat of the battle—will desert him when the victory
is about to be won. It is not likely that He who was
with him through his wanderings in the desert,
supplying all his needs, delivering him from all his
enemies, and directing him during the entire course
of his pilgrimage—will abandon him when he treads
the verge of Jordan, and beholds beyond its foaming
billows the brightness and the beauty of the promised
land. The thing is not for a single moment, to be
supposed! God’s love and compassion, as well as
His faithfulness and truth, forbid the entertainment
of such a thought! John MacDuff.
(adapted from Octavius Winslow’s, “The
Glory of the Redeemer in His People”)
Be cautious of grace denial.
You will need much holy wisdom here, lest
you overlook the work of the Spirit within you.
You have thought, it may be, of the
glory that Christ receives from….
and profound talent,
and splendid gifts,
and glowing zeal,
and costly sacrifices,
and even extensive usefulness.
But have you ever thought of the glory, the far
greater, richer glory, that flows to Him from….
the contrite spirit,
the broken heart,
the lowly mind,
the humble walk;
the tear of godly repentance that falls
when seen by no human eye;
the sigh of godly sorrow that is breathed
when heard by no human ear;
the sin abhorrence;
the self loathing;
the deep sense of vileness, and poverty, and
infirmity that takes you to Jesus with the prayer:
“Lord, here I am; I have brought to You….
my rebellious will,
my wandering heart,
my worldly affections,
my peculiar infirmity,
my besetting and constantly overpowering sin.
Receive me graciously, put forth the mighty power
of Your grace in my soul, and subdue all, and rule
all, and subjugate all to Yourself! Will it not be for
Your glory, the glory of Your great name…..
if this strong corruption were subdued by Your grace;
if this powerful sin were nailed to Your cross;
if this temper so volatile,
if this heart so impure,
if these affections so truant,
if this mind so dark,
if these desires so earthly,
if these pursuits so carnal,
if these aims so selfish,
were all entirely renewed by Your Spirit, sanctified by
Your grace, and made each to reflect Your image? Yes,
Lord, it would be for Your glory, through time and