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

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 in prayer, 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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