The Christian’s Reasonable Service / Vol. 3 - Quotes

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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Good Morning. Today’s reading comes from Brakel’s Chapter on Contentment. The 2 quotes are a few sentences longer but I think this is an important Chapter for the modern Christian living in the age of entertainment, adervistment, and “1-click away“ ownership. Do you wrestle with the anxiety of being discontent? This is certainly a pit for the unconverted, but the saint, especially this one, can also wrestle with this sin as well.

From pg. 389, the diagnosis:
You would glorify Him, on the contrary, if you would be satisfied with your present circumstances, and if your felicity consisted in the enjoyment of God Himself. As far as you yourself are concerned—you bring yourself into continual unrest, apprehension, fear, and anxiety. You rob yourself of delighting and rejoicing in God. You impede your growth, since your disposition displeases God, and renders you unfit to appropriately use the means for spiritual growth. Your concerns will cause the Word and your good inner motions to be choked, thus rendering them unfruitful (Matt 13:22). Unbelief has opportunity to surface and will toss the anxious soul to and fro. The desire for religious exercise decreases and free access to God is hindered. The thoughts that these adversities come upon you in God‘s wrath cause the soul to tremble. Thus, to a great extent quietness, dependence upon God, a childlike confidence in God, and walking with God disappear. Would you lose all this for a greater or lesser quantity of bread, for getting your way, for your own honor, and for the future, of which you do not know how it will be? Oh, these matters are too insignificant to permit the well-being of your soul to dissipate.

From pg. 390, the exhortation:
To that end you must first of all meditate upon all forceful exhortations. Hear them from the mouth of the Lord, speaking to you in this way: ―Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass‖ (Ps 37:5); ―Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved‖ (Ps 55:22); ―Be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee‖ (Heb 13:5); ―Therefore take no thought ... for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things‖ (Matt 6:31-32); ―Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure‖ (Isa 33:16); ―Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you‖ (1 Pet 5:7). Do not readily pass over these texts, but give attention to each one—yes, to every individual word. Take note of these words as being addressed to you by the God of heaven. He not only commands you to take no thought, but also to be content.
May these scriptural promises serve as peacemakers for Christian hearts belabored with anxiety from discontentment.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
The below quotes come from Brakel’s chapter dealing with the subject of Self-Denial. I am including 3 of his seven points (or what I call angles) regarding the inclinations of natural man. These were very piercing for me this morning. May they serve as reminders to readers of the old-self (the flesh) that still is attached in varying degrees to our desires. May they bring reflection and woe, but may you also be reminded of our advocate during your Lord’s Day gathering! Pg. 401:

1.
Thirdly, we must deny our inclinations. Natural man is empty and desires to be filled. He does not know God as the all-sufficient One and he has no desire after God. His passions therefore focus on the creature and he says to whoever appears to be capable of entertaining him, ―be thou my satisfaction.‖ He does not cease desiring until he gets what he wants; and if he does not get it, he becomes restless and fretful. To such inclinations we must not yield. ―Dearly beloved, I beseech you ... abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul‖ (1 Pet 2:11).

2.
Fourthly, we must deny our own honor. There is no sin more common to man and more deeply rooted in the heart than a desire to be honored. Even if one has the most despicable disposition and even if his conduct is abominable, he nevertheless wishes to be honored and somewhat esteemed. In all that he does he has his honor in view, wanting others to acknowledge and treat him according to what he imagines himself to be and considers himself worthy of. He who fails to do so, or does something which appears to dishonor him, must expect his wrath. Such an objective and such a desire we must purge ourselves of. ―Let us not be desirous of vain glory‖ (Gal 5:26); ―Let nothing be done through ... vainglory‖ (Phil 2:3).

3.
Fifthly, we must deny our desire for possessions. Man‘s corrupt nature focuses on the physical. He desires to possess much, puts his trust in it, and determines to live from it. If he lacks all this, he is discouraged; all his passions, objectives, and seeking are solely focused on possessions. If he acquires it, he is encouraged and rests in it. A person who denies himself, however, is satisfied with necessities and purges himself of a desire to have much. If he does not have much, he is well satisfied; and if he prospers, he does not set his heart upon it. We find the following exhortation in 1 Tim 6:8-9: ―And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.‖ If the cause of Christ requires it, the person who denies self will relinquish all that he has—even that which is needful—and deem all that stands in opposition to Christ to be no more than loss and dung, as Paul did (Phil 3:8).
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Maybe I just have strange humor, but I found myself chuckling out loud when I read the below sentences from Brakel’s Chapter dealing with the virtue of patience. Pg., 423:

He who is not able to pray ought to become either a sailor or a married man. Faith will then be revived.

I am making the above quote my new signature block!:cool: Notice he doesn’t just say “married” but “married man”:cool:


May we hear Brakel’s charge to be exercised in this manner as a means to the Lord granting us the virtue of Uprightness, pg. 441:

Acknowledge your impotence, and that it is impossible for you to bring and maintain your heart in such an upright disposition. However, also acknowledge that the Lord has both the power and goodness to grant this to you. Therefore, come before the Lord with that desire and your destitute condition. Pray the Lord for this, doing so earnestly, humbly, and persistently, saying, ―Let my heart be sound in Thy statutes; that I be not ashamed‖ (Ps 119:80). As you thus pray, look unto the Lord Jesus, who has merited spirit and life for you and has appropriated these merits to you. Come before the Lord with this, while holding before Him the promise He has made, namely, that He would cause our work to be in truth (Isa 61:8).
 
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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Good Afternoon,

The below quote from Brakel’s chapter prayer. Here Brakel provides wisdom and balance regarding the subject of imprecatory prayer, pg. 445 - 446:

Eighthly, there is imprecatory prayer. Here we must be cautious and on guard that we are not carried away by our own passions, as occurred with the disciples of Christ, who wanted to pray that fire consume the Samaritans who would not receive them (Luke 9:54). One may never pray for someone‘s eternal perdition, nor for the bodily destruction of someone who is our personal enemy. We may also not do so relative to those who offend God‘s congregation. If, however, the Lord moves us to pray against those who oppress and persecute the congregation in an extraordinary manner, we may then pray that God would convert them, and if such is not to be the case, that God would punish them so that they would no longer be able to oppress the church. It would thus be apparent that the Lord takes vengeance upon the blood of His church and furthermore that God would be glorified therein. ―Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek Thy name, O Lord. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: that men may know that Thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth‖ (Ps 83:16-18).
 
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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Brother & Sisters,

When is the last time your prayers were wrought with tears? Hear Brakel on page 448:

(5) And if the emotions become more abundant, there will be tears, especially if hope and love become stronger.
What a wonder it is when a man who is not easily moved to tears and would be ashamed if he cried (this being inconsistent with his dignity), at times melts before the Lord in tears, which flow down his cheeks as rivers! The soul is never more in her element than when she has been soft and has been able to weep in a heartfelt manner. Job, that unemotional man, was able to cry: ―I cry unto Thee‖ (Job 30:20). David, that valiant hero, who had the heart of a lion, wept before the Lord as a child: ―All the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears‖ (Ps 6:6); ―Hold not Thy peace at my tears‖ (Ps 39:12). The brave and respected Paul generally prayed with tears: ―Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears‖ (Acts 20:19).
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
On pg. 471, Brakel begins to list some obstacles the saints might have regarding the neglect of spending time in prayer. Here are 2 of them:

Obstacle #1: God is well-acquainted with my needs, anxieties, and desires. Why then do I need to bring them
before God in prayer?
Answer: It is not to make something known to God with which He is unacquainted; rather, you thereby show that
you are also acquainted with them and are sensible of them, as well as that you acknowledge God to be your only helper.

Obstacle #2: God has already decreed what I shall or shall not have. I cannot change that decree by means of prayer.
Answer: The secret things are for the Lord, but the revealed things are for us. God has bound us to the means and He wills that we believe and rely upon His promises made to conscientious users of the means. God has also decreed already how long you will live. Do you therefore desist from eating and drinking?
Obstacle #3: Many people do not pray and yet receive everything in abundance.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
On pg. 471, Brakel begins to list some obstacles the saints might have regarding the neglect of spending time in prayer. Here are 2 of them:

God’s follow-up to His promises:

Ezekiel 36:37: Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them;
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Brakel commenting on the Lord answering prayers, makes a comment regarding his own belief that the spirit of prophecy has not totally departed the church. Pg. 479:
It occurs rarely—and that only to very few—that God grants someone immediate revelations concerning future events, although I am assured that the Spirit of prophecy or revelation (relative to future events) has not departed entirely from the church. If, however, such is the case, a person will know very well that God has revealed it to him. He will know it as well as if a familiar friend had said such and such to him. Whatever God reveals to the one is not regulative for the other. I advise a person against having any strong desire that God would reveal the outcome of a given matter to him in advance, lest he tempt the Lord and were to delude himself due to his strong desire.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Brakel commenting on the Lord answering prayers, makes a comment regarding his own belief that the spirit of prophecy has not totally departed the church. Pg. 479:

Increase Mather claimed several experiences like this which even his son's secular biographer Kenneth Silverman (if I remember) acknowledged as having come to pass. I'll have to look them up.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Brakel on using the Lord’s Prayer verbatim, pg. 484:

It is, however, not mandatory that we repeat this prayer verbatim. The apostles, in their recorded prayers, have never repeated this prayer word for word. We may indeed pray this prayer, both in public meetings as well as privately; however, we are not obligated to do so. We must not be of the opinion that, upon having recited this, we have uttered a more holy prayer than if we had used our own words. This prayer is perfect in and of itself; however, he who prays has not prayed perfectly by merely having recited this prayer. If we do not have a correct understanding of each petition—yes, each word—if we do not have a holy and conscious desire for each matter, and nevertheless recite it, then it is a vain use of God‘s Name. It is a mocking with God, as if He were served with that rattling off of words, the meaning of which is not understood and by which one‘s desires are not expressed—even if one were to have a general opinion that he were praying to God. God demands the heart. Prayer is the expression of holy desires before God, and thus praying must be done in spirit and in truth. ―I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also‖ (1 Cor 14:15).
 
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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Brakel expounding our obligations from on The Second Petition, Thy Kingdom Come, pg. 518-519:

Secondly, cherish this kingdom, and continually stir up your love to that end. Declare with your entire heart: ―Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to Thee‖; that is, I cannot make any contribution toward Thee, but I can do so ―to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight‖ (Ps 16:3). Have a heart for the church as David did: ―They shall prosper that love thee. For my brethren and companions‘ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good‖ (Ps 122:6, 8-9). Let love prompt you to say with Israel, ―If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy‖ (Ps 137:5-6). If your heart is capable of love, it must love the church, for God loves her. ―But because the Lord loved you‖ (Deut 7:8); ―Thou shalt be called Hephzibah ... for the Lord delighteth in thee‖ (Isa 62:7). The Lord Jesus has a heartfelt love for her. ―Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it‖ (Eph 5:25). The angels love her and all believers love her. She is most delightful from every perspective, for they are the elect, the children of God, the saints, and the excellent. The church is ―a crown of glory‖ (Isa 62:7), ―a praise in the earth‖ (Isa 62:7), and ―the perfection of beauty‖ (Ps 50:2). Therefore, love the church.

Does your life reflect a love for the church?
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Today I will try and post several reflections from Brakel’s work regarding The Fourth Petition: Give us this Day our Daily Bread. May these be fruitful meditations for you this Lord’s Day.

From pg. 539:
There is a Christian proverb as expressed by a pagan: ―Orandum est, ut sit mens sana in corpore sano,‖ which means: ―One ought to pray that there be a healthy soul in a healthy body.‖ This is in agreement with John‘s wish expressed to Gaius: ―Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth‖ (3 John 2). How delightful is this testimony addressed to Gaius! In general we must now reverse this and say, ―I wish that your soul may prosper as your body prospers.‖ For we observe in this that we also are to care for the body, for if we are to hallow God‘s Name, edify the congregation, and do the will of God, we are in need of a soul and a body which are both in health. If the one is not healthy, the other will be hindered and the entire man cannot function properly.

From pg. 541-542:
The matter requested is bread, which is further defined as our and daily bread. The word ―bread‖ here does not
refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, who calls Himself the Bread of Life (John 6:35) because He is the spiritual life of God‘s children and the maintainer of that life. The reference here is not to the bread of the Lord‘s Supper as it relates to the body of Christ—as is the case in 1 Cor 10:16. Rather, it refers to the common nourishment for the human body. ―... that He may bring forth food out of the earth ... and bread which strengtheneth man‘s heart‖ (Ps 104:14-15). In a general sense it refers to all manner of food and all necessities which are subservient to man‘s support. Jacob prepared a great meal and invited his brethren ―to eat bread: and they did eat bread‖ (Gen 31:54). Thus, the Hebrew word  (lechem) signifies bread, that is, all manner of food. ―Who giveth food to all flesh‖ (Ps 136:25); ―I ate no pleasant bread‖ (Dan 10:3). Since the maintenance of the body is here requested, the word ―bread‖ is also understood to refer to drink as well as clothing—all of which the body needs. Jacob expressed this: ―If God ... will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on‖ (Gen 28:20), and the apostle says, ―And having food and raiment let us be therewith content‖ (1 Tim 6:8).
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Brakel’s Chapter on the Fourth Petition, Give us this Day our Daily Bread, is one of the richest chapters in Vol. 3.

Have you been guilty of the being a gourmand?

From pg. 546:

One is a gourmand:
(1) if, being healthy, he reflects upon that which is delectable, and how it will be prepared in the most delectable manner;
(2) if he has a continual longing for something delectable, for dining engagements, and thinks of exotic spreads in his imagination;
(3) when he is occupied with gourmet foods to such a degree that it appears to be the very essence of enjoyment, and if this is frequently the subject of conversation;
(4) if he pursues such delicacies at any cost, even if he would have to borrow from others and never pay them back;
(5) if he is in a bad humor when he is deprived of something delectable, and if he complains, grumbles, frets, and is angry if food is not properly prepared, and commonly quarrels with the cook;
(6) if he enjoys a delectable meal either at his own or someone else‘s table, and then overindulges to such an extent that he is not fit for anything else but sleep.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
To the sluggard, pg. 548-549:

Thirdly, a sluggard:
(1) is an abomination to God; God wanted no part of a useless ass (Exod 13:13);
(2) is a burden to others and despised by everyone; no one has compassion for him (Prov 10:26);
(3) furthermore, wastes away, for he does not know how he will spend his time, is a burden to himself, and is reduced to extreme poverty. ―How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man‖ (Prov 6:9-11); ―Drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags‖ (Prov 23:21).
Therefore, he who prays for our bread must be diligent in an honest calling and must use the means to which God obligates him when He promises bread to him. His labor is not the cause, but only the means whereby he lawfully receives what God grants him.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
To those wrestling with anxiety:

pg. 550:
Thirdly, to do so is to live in sin continually, for to be anxious is a clear sign that we wish to put our trust in our possessions. If we had as much as we desired, we would not be concerned about the future. Why not? Because you then would have in your pocket what you need to live. Then you do not trust in God but in your possessions. However, whatever you put your trust in is your god, and thus being anxious is nothing but idolatry. Believers, would you then turn away from your God, esteeming and trusting your money more than God? Therefore, be fearful of that abomination which brings many into hell. ―But ... idolaters ... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone‖ (Rev 21:8).

pg. 551:
Fifthly, time here is short, and there is nothing which is able to satisfy you anyway. Why are you then so anxious about that which is insignificant? Truly, you are still too much involved with the world and not enough with heaven.
Sixthly, is not God your portion? Is He not your Father? Did He not grant you His own Son? ―He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things‖ (Rom 8:32).
Therefore, ―Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on‖ (Matt 6:25); ―Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you‖ (1 Pet 5:7); ―Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass‖ (Ps 37:5); ―Be content with such things as ye have‖ (Heb 13:5). You will thus be able to pray with a childlike heart, ―Give us this day our daily bread.‖
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Brakel regarding The Sixth Petition, And Lead us not into Temptation, but Deliver us from Evil:

pg. 584

Sinning does not merely consist in the committing of transitory evil thoughts, words, and deeds, but it injures spiritual life itself. It becomes more feeble and weaker, and a person becomes less fit to live godly and to turn from sin. You know all this, believers. Ought you therefore not to be fearful and anxious about sin, and knowing your impotence, ought it not to cause you to cry out to the Lord, ―Deliver me from evil! Deliver me; wash me; sanctify me, oh sanctify me, for I must be holy as Thou art‖?

May this thought be fitting with you this Lord’s Day. That’s it for me on Vol. 3, the End.:detective:
 
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