Quotes from William Bridge, A Lifting Up for the Downcast

The Good Man’s Peace

“It is true the saints grieve, but then dolent et de dolore gaudent (they grieve and rejoice that they can grieve): they are troubled for sin; and they have rest and quiet in this, that they can be troubled for their sin: they have no peace in their sin; but they have peace in this, that they can have no peace in their sin. … No, they will say, I am glad that I am grieved for sin; and the Lord knows, it is my trouble that I can be grieved no more; I have quiet and peace in that I am troubled.” (16)

True Peace May Be Interrupted

“Dispute not with God lest you be confounded; dispute not with Satan lest you be deceived.” (40)

Saints Should Not Be Discouraged, Whatever Their Condition Be

“A praying man can never be very miserable, whatever his condition be, for he has the ear of God; the Spirit within to indite, a Friend in heaven to present, and God Himself to receive his desires as a Father.” (55)

A Lifting Up In The Case Of Great Sins

“Nine things there are, which usually are the grounds and occasions of the discouragements of God’s people.

  1. Sometimes their discouragements are drawn from their greater and grosser sins.
  2. Sometimes they arise from the weakness of grace.
  3. Sometimes they are taken from their failing in and non-acceptance of duty.
  4. Sometimes they are drawn from their lack of evidence for heaven, and non-assurance of the love of God.
  5. Sometimes they come from their temptations.
  6. Sometimes from their desertions.
  7. Sometimes from their afflictions.
  8. Sometimes from their unserviceableness.
  9. Sometimes from their condition itself.” (67)

“Chrysostom of Constantinople had so great a sense of the evil of it, that when the Empress Eudoxia sent him a threatening message, Go, tell her, said he, Nil nisi pecatum metuo (I fear nothing but sin).  And in some respects the sins of the godly are worse than the sins of others, for they grieve the Spirit more, they dishonour Christ more, they grieve the saints more, they wound the name of God more, they are more against the love, and grace, and favour of God than other men’s sins are.” (68)

“Their (believers’) sins may hide God’s face: but as their sins did not hinder God and them from coming together at first, so their sins shall never part God and them.  Their sins may cause a strangeness between God and them, but shall never cause an enmity.  Their sins may hide God’s face from them, but shall never turn God’s back upon them.” (70)

“But again you say, suppose that a man’s sins be exceeding great, gross, and heinous;… though your sin be great, is not God’s mercy great, exceeding great?  Is not the satisfaction made by Christ great?  Are the merits of Christ’s blood small?  Is not God, the great God of heaven and earth, able to do great things?  You grant that God is almighty in providing for you, and is He not almighty also in pardoning?  Will you rob God of his almightiness in pardoning?  You say your sin is great, but is it infinite?  Is not God alone infinite?  Is your sin as big as God, as big as Christ?  Is Jesus Christ only a Mediator for small sins?” (74)

“True humiliation is no enemy but a real friend unto spiritual joy, to our rejoicing in God.  The more a man is humbled for sin committed, the more he will rejoice in God, and rejoice that he can grieve for sin.  He grieves, and rejoices that he can grieve for sin.” (82)

A Lifting Up in the Case of Weak Grace

“The more extensive a man’s obedience is unto God’s commandments, the more he is grown in grace.” (102)

“The more a man sees and understands his Christian liberty, and yet walks the more strictly, the more he grows in grace.  Some think they grow in grace because they have more understanding in their Christian liberty, though they walk more loosely.  These are deceived in their spiritual growth.” (103)

A Lifting Up in the Case of Miscarriage of Duties                

“Prayer is the pouring out of the soul to God; not the pouring out of words, nor the pouring out of expressions; but the pouring out of the soul to God.” (115)

“Oh, again you say, but I am afraid that the Lord will never hear my prayer, or regard my duty because I am so selfish in it. And did not those seek themselves at first, who came unto Christ for cure?  All true love begins in self-love.  The sweetest flower grows on a dirty stalk.  And I pray, what think you of Jonah?  The Lord heard me, says he, out of hell, and yet I cried, says he, by reason of mine affliction.” (123)

“We must learn to leave the event and success of our spiritual things unto God Himself; so shall we never be discouraged in any duty.” (127)

A Lifting Up in the Lack of Assurance

“No: for if you be drawn to Christ, does it matter whether it be done with a cord of flax or a cord of silk?  God has two arms whereby He draws us unto Himself—the arm of His love is put forth in the promise, the arm of His anger and justice is put forth in the threatening; and with both these He lifts up the fallen sinner.” (137)

“Assurance of faith comforts, but the reliance of faith saves.” (142)

A Lifting Up in the Case of Temptation

“So spiritually: there are two sorts of people in the world: one that is very confident of his salvation, and full of comfort, yet he prays not in private, reads not, meditates not, examines not his own heart, takes no pains about his soul, but is often spending, keeping ill company, will be sometimes drunk, swear, and be unclean, yet he is very confident he shall go to heaven; the other prays, hears, reads, meditates, walks with all strictness in his life and behaviour, yet he is always doubting and fearing, but through grace he has some comfort.” (159)

“Temptations answered by reason will return again, but temptations dipped in the blood of Christ will return no more, or not with such violence and success.” (170)

A Lifting Up in the Case of Desertion

“Now I ask, what is the reason why God forsakes His people for a time, or a moment?  Has He any design but love?  Does He not withdraw Himself from them, that He may draw them to Himself?  …Does He not forsake them for a moment, that He may see their love to Him?  In the time of His presence we have the sense of His love to us; but in the time of His absence, then He sees, and we ourselves have the sense of, our love to Him.” (176-77)

“Now so it is, He may hide His face, He may withdraw and deny particular comforts and manifestations, yet love me eternally.” (188)

“When God seems to be mine enemy and to stand with a drawn sword against me, then do I cast and throw myself into His arms.” –Luther (190)

“If He has loved once, He will love me to the end; and therefore though for the present He hides His face from me, yet I shall see His face again.” (191)

A Lifting Up in the Case of Affliction

“But the Lord not only upholds His people under sufferings, but He gives them much light therewith.  The school of the cross is the school of light. …when is God more present with His people than when they are most afflicted?  God is always at the back of affliction.  There heaven opened to Stephen.  Afflictions are the rusty lock oftentimes which opens the door into the presence chamber. …as they have most of God when they are most afflicted, so in time of their sufferings they have most communion and fellowship with Jesus.” (196-97)

“But so it is that a Christian has never more experience of God’s upholding sustaining grace, his sin is never more revealed and healed, his grace is never more present with him, than when he is most afflicted: and he is never more partaker of Christ’s sufferings than in and by his own sufferings.  Surely therefore, he has no reason for his discouragements, whatever his afflictions be.” (198)

“I have gained more by my sickness than by many a sermon…  And this I must needs say, I have had more of God’s presence in my affliction than ever I had before.” (206-07)

“Death is the worst that can befall; and what is death, but an inlet to eternal life unto the people of God?” (207)

“What though men hate me, if Christ loves me?” (209)

“There are but two things to bear, sin and sufferings.  Christ has borne all your sins; will not you bear His sufferings?” (210)

“The more serviceable a man is to God the more he honours God, and the more he honours God the more he honours himself.” (Bernard, 214)

“The true Christian does God’s work without any great noise or notice of himself.” (229)

“How is it therefore with you?  Have you a skill at pulling down what is man’s and neither skill nor heart to set up what is God’s?  Have you been employed and used in God’s service, and have you done your own work fully, and God’s work by halves?  Are you not contented to be laid by, and that God should use another?  Do you make a noise in the work?  Are your hands not under your wings?  Have you made a goodly outward bargain of the Lord’s work and service as a shoehorn to your own ends?  Have you not grown in experience, faith and holiness, by this work, but in pride rather?  Have you not been very tender of the name of God in your service; nor been acquainted with God’s design; nor thine heart drawn out the more to love the Lord?” (230)

“In case God does not call you forth to any work or special employment, then act thus:
“Consider that you have now the more time to mind your own soul, and to attend to your own condition.  Some are so much employed, that they have not time enough to pray, read, meditate, examine their own hearts, and look into their own condition.  Yea, even though a man’s work lies in the ministry, it is possible that he may so mind his public work, as to neglect his private.  But now, if you have no public employment or service, then you have the more time to spend upon your own soul, the more time to converse with the Lord in private, and to look into your own condition.” (231)

A Lifting Up in the Case of Discouragements Drawn from the Condition Itself

“…why does the Lord permit the condition of His people to be so unsettled in the world?  It is that they may settle upon Himself.” (241)

“Now you complain, Oh, my heart is dead, my heart is dead.  This argues that it is but a deadness that is opposite to liveliness, else you could not feel your own deadness.  A man that is stark dead, cannot feel that he is dead.” (245)

“Do hypocrites ordinarily think that they are hypocrites?  Where do you find in the Scripture that hypocrites ordinarily think they are hypocrites?  If hypocrisy be a man’s burden, it is not his condition.” (248)

The Cure of Discouragements by Faith in Jesus Christ

“Hoping, trusting, waiting on God, is the special, if not the only, means appointed against all discouragements.” (262)

“‘Come, my beloved brother,’ said Latimer to his fellow prisoner when he went to the stake, ‘though we pass through the fire to-day, yet we shall light such a candle in England as shall never be put out again.’” (274)

“There is a two-fold presumption which you read of in Scripture: the one is that whereby men rest upon their own works for salvation without Christ… The other is that whereby men do as they think, or in their own way rest on Christ for salvation, and yet live without works and obedience: and therein they presume also because they take mercy when it is not given them.  But if I rest on the promise or on Christ, that I may be made the more holy, doing what I can to be fruitful in every good work, yet resting upon Christ for all, this is no presumption.” (279)

 

 

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