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Spurgeon's Maxims for Living
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CALL, EFFECTUAL read more quotes relating to doctrine

Beloved, man has power to resist the ordinary motions of the Spirit; but when the
Holy Ghost comes to effectual work, and puts forth his mighty power, who shall stay
his hand, or say unto him, “What doest thou?” 660.641

Ask any man whether he is a Christian against his will, and he will tell you certainly
not, for he loves the Lord, and delights in his law after the inward man. Thy people
are not led unwillingly to thee in chains, O Jesus, but thy people shall be willing in
the day of thy power. We willingly choose Christ, because he has from of old chosen
us. 687.232

Men are brought to God by the effectual power of grace, but grace never violates,
though it subdues, the human will. They make a great mistake who think that God
treats men as if they were logs: God knows they are not logs, and never treats them
so. He has made them in his own image, to be free, intelligent agents, and he acts
upon them as free agents. It is difficult for some men to understand how grace can be
effectual and almighty, and yet man can still be a free agent. Now, if persons do not
see this, we are not bound to give them understandings, but the two things are
consistent enough: prejudice creates the difficulty, there is none really. A man may
be free enough, and yet he may be so overwhelmingly persuaded to a certain course,
that he cannot do otherwise; such moral power does not at all interfere with
true liberty. If we taught that men were saved against their wills, and that physical
force was put upon them to make them Christians, we should deserve to be
denounced as talking nonsense, or worse; but the power which we speak of is
moral, spiritual, persuasive, and operates in strict accordance with the usual laws of
mind. The grace of God does no violence to the will, but sweetly overcomes its
obstinacy, making it a willing captive. 785.690

The Lord knows how, without violating the human will (which he never does), so to
influence the heart that the man with full consent, against his former will, yields to
the will of God, and is made willing in the day of God’s power. 1279.103

But men do not come upon our compulsion, or upon our call, unless a secret
something goes with our pleadings—a mysterious power, quiet, silent, omnipotent,
making the voice of man to be the voice of the Holy Ghost, and hiding within the shell
of the outward call the kernel of the inward call. 1336.62

God does not save an unwilling man, but he makes him willing in the day of his
power. 2880.197

In one sense, no man comes to God with compulsion; and in another sense, no man
comes without compulsion. 3442.28

CALL, GENERAL* read more quotes relating to doctrine

It is a remarkable fact, that where the gospel is not preached in its general aspect,
God does not seem to work out his special object to any large extent. 566.236

Our Saviour has bidden us to preach the gospel to every creature; he has not said,
“Preach it only to the elect;” and though that might seem to be the most logical thing
for us to do, yet, since he has not been pleased to stamp the elect in their foreheads,
or to put any distinctive mark upon them, it would be an impossible task for us to
perform; whereas, when we preach the gospel to every creature, the gospel makes its
own division, and Christ’s sheep hear his voice, and follow him. 2937.262

CALLING* read more quotes relating to drive and motivation

In what way can I bring my Lord most glory, and be of most service to His Church
while I am here? Solve that question, and pass into the practical. AM233

Take care, dear reader, that you do not forsake the path of duty by leaving your
occupation, and take care you do not dishonour your profession while in it. Think
little of yourselves, but do not think too little of your callings. Every lawful trade may
be sanctified by the gospel to noblest ends. Turn to the Bible, and you will find the
most menial forms of labour connected either with the most daring deeds of faith, or
with persons whose lives have been illustrious for holiness. Whatever God has made
your position, or your work, abide in that, unless you are quite sure that he calls you
to something else. ME359

“Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of
the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
This saying ennobles the weary routine of earthly employments, and sheds a halo
around the most humble occupations. ME693

Never set a man to work he is not fit for, for he will never do it well. PP32

If you think you can never honour Christ till you enter a pulpit, it may be just
possible that you will afterwards honour him best by getting out of it as quickly as
you can. 1162.152

I fear lest you should pine for unusual and even undesirable forms of service, and
become useless in the ordinary course of life. 2183.20

I have often thought that, when people find fault with their station in life, they are
making a great mistake; they should find fault with themselves. 2728.245

It has come to be a dreadfully common belief in the Christian Church that the only
man who has a “call” is the man who devotes all his time to what is called “the
ministry,” whereas all Christian service is ministry, and every Christian has a call to
some kind of ministry or another. 3135.125

CALVINISM read more quotes relating to doctrine

To me, Calvinism means the placing of the eternal God at the head of all things. AM337

The doctrines of original sin, election, effectual calling, final perseverance, and all
those great truths which are called Calvinism—though Calvin was not the author of
them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject—are, I believe, the
essential doctrines of the Gospel that is in Jesus Christ. Now, I do not ask you
whether you believe all this—it is possible you may not; but I believe you will before
you enter heaven. I am persuaded, that as God may have washed your hearts, he will
wash your brains before you enter heaven. 12.92

Speaking of Arminians, Whitfield said, “We are all born Arminians.” It is grace that
turns us into Calvinists, grace that makes Christians of us, grace that makes us free,
and makes us know our standing in Christ Jesus. 69.124

That doctrine which is called “Calvinism” did not spring from Calvin; we believe that
it sprang from the great founder of all truth. 385.298

Now, there are certain doctrines commonly called Calvinistic (but which ought never
to have been called by such a name, for they are simply Christian doctrines) which I
think commend themselves to the minds of all thoughtful persons, for this reason
mainly, that they do ascribe to God everything. 572.308

I am not a Calvinist by choice, but because I cannot help it. 1085.692

I believe nothing merely because Calvin taught it, but because I have found his
teaching in the Word of God. 2584.402

Some seem to believe in a kind of free agency which virtually dethrones God, while
others run to the opposite extreme by believing in a sort of fatalism which practically
exonerates man from all blame. Both of these views are utterly false, and I scarcely
know which of the two is the more to be deprecated. We are bound to believe both
sides of the truth revealed in the Scriptures, so I admit that, when a Calvinist says
that all things happen according to the predestination of God, he speaks the truth,
and I am willing to be called a Calvinist; but when an Arminian says that, when a
man sins, the sin is his own, and that, if he continues in sin, and perishes, his eternal
damnation will lie entirely at his own door, I believe that he also speaks the truth,
although I am not willing to be called an Arminian. The fact is, there is some truth in
both these systems of theology. 2862.602

Have you ever noticed, in the great summary of doctrines, that, as surely as you
believe one, you must believe the rest? One doctrine so leans upon the others that, if
you deny one, you must deny the rest. Some think that they can believe four out of
the five points, and reject the last. It is impossible; God’s truths are all joined
together like links in a chain. 3093.247

They are all Calvinists there, every soul of them. They may have been Arminians on
earth; thousands and millions of them were; but they are not after they get there, for
here is their song, “Salvation unto our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto
the Lamb.” 3403.202

-OPPOSITION TO read more quotes relating to doctrine

We notice that if we talk about the election of men and the non-election of fallen
angels, there is not a cavil for a moment. Every man approves of Calvinism till he
feels that he is a loser by it; but when it begins to touch his own bone and his own
flesh then he kicks against it. 233.66

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT read more quotes relating to societal issues

The opinion of a man about to be executed must not be taken with regard to the
propriety of capital punishment, nor must we take the opinion of a man who is
himself marching to hell concerning the justice of hell, for he is not an impartial
judge. 86.260

I will not aid and abet soldiers as warriors, but as executioners of a lawful sentence,
which ought to be executed upon men, who, by the double crime of infamous
debauchery, and fearful bloodshed, have brought upon themselves the ban and curse
of God; so that they must be punished, or truth and innocence can never walk this
earth. As a rule I do not believe in the utility of capital punishment, but the crime
has been attended with all the horrid guilt of the cities of the plain, and is too bestial
to be endured. 150.343

It is a terrible truth that the tribes had been brought out of Egypt that they might be
the executioners of divine vengeance upon races which had committed capital
crimes, for which the Lord had condemned them to be rooted out. 1358.327

CATHOLICISM read more quotes relating to religions and cults

We must warn with judicious boldness those who are inclined towards the errors of
Rome; we must instruct the young in gospel truth, and tell them of the black doings
of Popery in the olden times. ME301

The thick pollutions of thine abominable church forbid the idea of descent from any
apostle but the traitor Judas. 271.374

I question if hell can find a more fitting instrument within its infernal lake than the
Church of Rome is for the cause of mischief. And your church will in its measure, be
the same if bereft of the Spirit. 649.510

Did the apostles preach the sacrifice of Christ?—the devil’s apostles preached the
sacrifice of the mass. Did the saints uplift the cross?—the devil’s servants upheld the
crucifix. Did God’s ministers speak of Jesus as the one infallible Head of the
Church?—the devil’s servants proclaimed the false priest of Rome as standing in the
self-same place. Romanism is a most ingenious imitation of the gospel: it is the
magicians “doing do with their enchantments.” 657.604

We would as soon worship cats with the Egyptians, as popes with the Romanists: we
see no difference between the people whose gods grew in their gardens and the sect
whose deity is made by their baker. 1023.664

A priest once said to a poor Irishman, “There will be no good come of your reading the
Bible.” “Why,” replied the man, “it is written, ‘Search the Scriptures.’ Please, your
Reverence, I was just reading ‘Ye shall read it to your children,’ and the priests have
no children: how can you account for that?” “Ah!” replied the priest, “the like of you
cannot understand the book.” “Well,” said the man, “if I cannot understand it, it will
do me no harm; and if I can understand it, it will do me great good.” Just so: the Bible
is a very dangerous book to superstition, but to nothing else. 1866.587

One reason why Romanism is so popular is because it allows a man to get a deputy
to do his thinking for him, and to do his praying for him; but what a poor affair it is
with the man who keeps his brains in somebody else’s head, and carries his heart in
somebody else’s bosom! 3263.389

Indulgences for sin may come from Rome, but they never come from Zion. 3459.230

CHANGE read more quotes relating to bad character

Make as few changes as you can; trees often transplanted bear little fruit. If you have
difficulties in one place you will have them in another; if you move because it is damp
in the valley, you may find it cold on the hill. Where will the ass go that he will not
have to work? Where can a cow live and not get milked? Where will you find land
without stones, or meat without bones? PT141

Alteration is not always improvement, as the pigeon said when she got out of the net
and into the pie. PT141

What’s the use of travelling to the other end of the world to be worse off than you are? PT160

It’s a bad thing to change horses at all; if you have a good one keep it, for you will not
get a better; if you have a bad one keep it, for ten to one you will buy a worse. PT161

Lovers of change will hardly find in regular Sunday-school work a field for their
fickleness. WCo95

If we could choose our trials, we might well remember the wisdom of the old
philosopher, who told the people oppressed by a tyrant to be content with his
tyranny, “for,” said he, “it is with oppressors as with mosquitoes, let those such
which are now upon you, for if you drive those off, the fresh ones which will succeed
them will be hungrier than those that are there now: better be content with the
tyranny you have, than seek a new one.” 987.231

Not that you should go in a tent, but that you should feel that everything you have,
all round about you, all your possessions, are but frail things, and are apt to change.
I know that you begin to look upon that little property as a very sure thing; be not
deceived, the only sure thing is your God. 2292.41

Many a man has done exceedingly well in one sphere of life, but has not done so well
in another sphere. 3208.367

The unrest of that man’s mind, and the instability of his conduct who is constantly
making a change of his position and purpose, augurs no success for any of his
adventures. Unless he maketh the change very wisely, and hath abundant reason for
it, he will make a change for the worse, as the bird doth that leaveth her nest. 3453.157

The temptations that trouble me I would rather endure than encounter any fresh
ones. 3453.158

Wait upon God for guidance as to any change in life you may determine, and if the
two things be equal—to remain where you are, or to remove elsewhere—choose to
abide still, for the chances are, speaking according to man’s judgment, in its favour. 3453.159

CHARISMATIC CORRECTION read more quotes relating to charismata

Certain people are always on the look out for wonders and if they don’t see them they
invent them. PT148

If I were to see all the devils in hell, I should not think myself damned because of
that, and if you have seen all the angels in heaven, you must not think you are saved
because of that. 653.560

It is a mistake, a great mistake—as I think a moment’s reflection would show
you—to conceive that contact with Jesus through the senses would produce faith.
Mark the fact that out of the mass who did see Jesus, and who did hear him, very few
believed. 698.362

It is not what you see with these eyes, nor hear with these ears, nor feel with flesh
and blood; our religion is spiritual, and is spiritually discerned—not a thing of
rhapsody, excitement, and imagination, but a matter of sober thought and
meditation; and if you have not something more than a mere day or night of
singularities to look back upon, your evidences of grace are worthless. 780.630

Some, I know, fall into a very vicious habit, which habit they excuse in themselves—
namely, that of ordering their steps according to impressions. Every now and then I
met with people whom I think to be rather weak in the head, who will journey from
place to place, and will perform follies by the gross under the belief that they are
doing the will of God, because some silly whim of their diseased brains is imagined to
be an inspiration from above. 878.368

If a man receives a written letter from his father or a friend, does he attach less
importance to it than he would have done to a spoken communication? By no means. 1242.375

Some religionists are deliriously happy, but they cannot tell you why. They can sing,
and shout, and dance, but they can give no reason for their excitement. They see an
enthusiastic crowd, and they catch the infection: their religion is purely emotional; I
am not going to condemn it, yet show I unto you a more excellent way. The joy which
is not created by substantial causes is mere froth and foam, and soon vanishes away.
Unless you can tell why you are happy you will not long be happy. 1719.254

The days of special visions, voices and prophesyings have passed away, but we can
still say with Peter, “We have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well
that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn,
and the day star arise in your hearts.” 3290.84

Faith-healing is grand, but faith-enduring is grander. 3370.432

Seek not, therefore, after visions, fancies, miracles, signs, and wonders, but believe
when God speaks to your heart, according to all the statutes and testimonies, the
precepts and promises, which are contained in the sure word of revelation. 3546.20

CHASTISEMENT read more quotes relating to trials and suffering

The chastening must answer its purpose, or it cannot be brought to an end. Who
would desire to see the gold taken out of the fire before its dross is consumed? Wait,
O precious thing, till thou hast gained the utmost of purity! AP116

God had one Son without sin, but not a single child without the rod. ME304

God has many rods and we have many smarts, and all because we have many sins.

No tribulation for the present is joyous; if it were, it would not be tribulation at all. If
the rod does not make the child smart, what is the use of it? TN43

God always chastises his children twice if they do not bear the first blow patiently. WC69

No child thinks the rod of much value. WC71

God never punishes his children for sin penally, but he chastens them for it paternally. 673.71

God’s rod flogs his child not from him, but to him. 1090.14

It is by the blueness of the wound, says Solomon, that the heart is made better; and
if there is no real blueness—if it be merely a surface bruise—little good will come of
it. 1274.39

The saints are chastened and the sinners are enriched: this is no small trial of faith.

God will never have great chastisements in store for those who are quick confessors
of sin. 1366.423

A true believer says, “Shall I receive good from the hand of the Lord, and shall I not
also receive evil? If he chasten me, I would sooner be chastened by my Father than I
would be caressed by Satan.” It were better to smart till one were black and blue
under the rod of God, than to be set upon a high throne by the world or the devil. 1456.71

It is never said, “whom the Lord loveth he enricheth,” but it is said, “whom the Lord
loveth he chasteneth.” 1515.39

Judgment must begin at the house of God. The Lord may let the wicked remain in
this world for many a day unpunished; but if you come near to him he will be
sanctified in you, or upon you. There is discipline within my Master’s house, and if
you come under his roof you must come under that discipline. 1854.443

Thus saith the Lord, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore
I will punish you for all your iniquities.” See how he dealt with Ananias and Sapphira
within the church, while many a liar outside of it grows grey in falsehood. Nadab and
Abihu died before the Lord because they offered strange fire, while many another
man has lived on in the blackest iniquities. For Achan’s sin the whole nation of Israel
was sorely troubled. What a solemn thing is iniquity in the church of God! 1854.443

He does not say, “As many as I love I commend”; but, “As many as I love, I rebuke
and chasten.” It is more necessary for us that we should make a discovery of our
faults than of our virtues. 1926.579

If your child should come to you, and say, “Father, I thank you for the rod; I know it
has been for my good,” you would feel it was time to have done correcting him. 2005.53

When a child is chastised, two things are clear: first, that there is something wrong
in him, or that there is something deficient in him, so that he needs to be corrected or
instructed; and, secondly, it shows that his father has a tender care for his benefit,
and acts in loving wisdom towards him. 2237.4

He had one Son without sin, but he never had one son without chastisement. 2945.352

When I was at school, with my uncle for master, it often happened that he would
send me out to find a cane for him. It was not a very pleasant task, and I noticed that
I never once succeeded in selecting a stick which was liked by the boy who had to feel
it. 3388.18

There is no punishment for the believer in the world to come, but in this world there
are chastisements that will surely follow upon every sin. 3473.405

Anybody’s dog will follow me if I feed it, but only my own dog will follow me if I beat
it. 3548.43

CHILDLESSNESS read more quotes relating to family issues

Do not be in a hurry to change your trials, dear friends. We have heard of some who
have repined that they had no children, and, like Rachel, their cry was, “Give me
children, or else I die.” Ere long they have had children who proved to be far worse
than none. Better no son than an Absalom. 987.231

Yes, we may fondly promise ourselves that children born of godly parents will be an
unalloyed comfort to them; and yet it may not be so. Children are certain cares, and
doubtful comforts. They may bring to their parents such sorrow that they may be
inclined to think the barren happier than the fruitful. Hence it is well for us to leave
our hopes of posterity with God; and if we reckon that in a childless house we have
missed a great joy, we ought also to reckon that we have missed a mint of trouble by
the same fact. 1718.248

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& Fox River Press