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Spurgeon's Maxims for Living
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IDOLATRY read more quotes relating to sin

When some men come to die, the religion which they themselves have thought out
and invented will yield them no more confidence than the religion of the Roman
Catholic sculptor who, on his death-bed, was visited by his priest. The priest said,
“You are now departing out of this life;” and holding up a beautiful crucifix, he cried,
“Behold your God, who died for you.” “Alas!” said the sculptor, “I made it.” There was
no comfort for him in the work of his own hands; and there will be no comfort in a
religion of one’s own devising. That which was created in the brain cannot yield
comfort to the heart. AM333

The heathen bows to a false deity, but the true God he has never known; we commit
two evils, inasmuch as we forsake the living God and turn unto idols. ME250

If you delight more in God’s gifts than in God Himself, you are practically setting up
another God above Him, and this you must never do. PM35

No nation has ever yet risen above the character of its so-called gods. 640.399

We marvel not that licentiousness abounded, for “like gods—like people:” “A people
are never better than their religion,” it has often been said, and in most cases they
are rather worse. 640.400

Whatever a man depends upon, whatever rules his mind, whatever governs his
affections, whatever is the chief object of his delight, is his god. 723.185

Further observe, that it is a gospel of hearing and not of doing. See the second verse,
“Hearken diligently.” Notice the third verse, “Incline your ear;” and yet again, “Hear
and your soul shall live.” Death came to us first through the eye, but salvation comes
through the ear. Our first parent, Eve, looked at the fruit; she “saw that it was good,”
and so she plucked, and so we fell. But no man rises to eternal life by signs and
symbols appealing to the eye; it is by the use of the ear that the joyful news is
communicated. 833.543

This is the one easily besetting sin of our nature—to turn aside from the living God
and to make unto ourselves idols in some fashion or another; for the essence of
idolatry is this—to love anything better than God, to trust anything more than God,
to wish to have a God other than we have, or to have some signs and wonders by
which we may see him, some outward symbol or manifestation that can be seen with
the eye or heard with the ear rather than to rest in an invisible God and believe the
faithful promise of Him whom eye hath not seen nor ear heard. 1339.97

If you love anything better than God you are idolaters: if there is anything you would
not give up for God it is your idol: if there is anything that you seek with greater
fervour than you seek the glory of God, that is your idol, and conversion means a
turning from every idol. 1806.581

That is your god which rules your nature—that which is your motive power—that for
which you live. 1819.39

The leaning of our evil heart is towards some form, symbol, or imagery which we
judge may help our thought and intensify our worship. All this comes of evil, and
leads to evil. 1976.434

If you want to lose that which is the object of your comfort and delight, love it too
much. 2099.442

A lawless man fashions for himself a lawless god. 2117.652

If you worship a god of gold, you will perish as much as if you worshipped a god of
mud. 2220.463

Jonah had a gourd, but when he made a god of his gourd, it was very soon withered.

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols,” was the injunction of the loving apostle
John, and he wrote thus in love, because he knew that, if God sees us making idols of
anything, he will either break our idols or break us. 3025.65

In its grosser manifestations, idolatry is the desire of man to see God with his eyes,
to have some outward representation of him who cannot be represented; who is too
great, too spiritual, ever to be described by human language, much less to be set forth
by images of wood, and stone, however elaborately carved and cunningly overlaid with
gold. There is a great God who filleth all space, and yet is greater than space, whose
existence is without beginning and without end, who is everywhere present, and
universally self-existent; but man is so unspiritual that he will not worship this great
invisible One in spirit and in truth, but craves after outward similitudes, symbols,
and signs. 3034.169

Man is such an idolator that, if he cannot idolise anything else, he will idolise
himself, and set himself up, and bow down and worship himself. 3516.286

IGNORANCE read more quotes relating to knowledge and wisdom

The knowledge of our ignorance is the doorstep of the temple of knowledge. CI98

IMITATION* read more quotes relating to relationship issues

Plutarch says that among the Persians those persons were considered most beautiful
who were hawk-nosed, for no other reason than that Cyrus had such a nose. In
Richard the Third’s court humps upon the back were the height of fashion. According
as the various potentates who have condescended to rule mankind have lisped, or
stuttered, or limped, or squinted, or spoken through their noses, these infirmities
have been elevated into graces and commanded the admiration of silly mortals. But
is there not more than a possibility that what we ridicule in the kingdoms of earth
may have its counterpart in the church? Is there not a tendency among Christians to
imitate the spiritual infirmities of their religious leaders, or oftener still of departed
saints? We may follow holy men so far as they follow Christ; the mischief is that we
do not readily stop where we should, but rather where we should not. Bunyan,
Whitfield, Wesley, Calvin, Luther, yes, by all means imitate them—but not
indiscriminately, not slavishly, or you will do so ridiculously. FA118

It is the way of mankind; they imitate each other as if by instinct, and this is the only
excuse I know of for Darwin’s theory of our having descended from the ape.
Imitativeness is well developed in us, but if left to itself it works with a bias the
wrong way, and the imitation is most forcible in the direction of deformity and defect.

IMMORTALITY read more quotes relating to compassion/consolation

Our life does not even depend upon the care of angels, nor can our death be
compassed by the malice of devils. We are immortal till our work is done, immortal
till the immortal King shall call us home to the land where we shall be immortal in a
still higher sense. 1523.111

IMPATIENCE read more quotes relating to relationship issues

A hasty man never is a wise man. 1025.694

It is wonderful how amiable we all are until we are irritated. 1736.463

We are all impatient as long as we are imperfect. It is the mark of the child that he is
in a violent hurry where men are steady. 1756.703

We are some of us too much in a hurry to go fast. If we were a little slower, we should
be quicker. 2183.22

INABILITY, TOTAL read more quotes relating to doctrine

Through the fall, and through our own sin, the nature of man has become so debased,
and depraved, and corrupt, that it is impossible for him to come to Christ without the
assistance of God the Holy Spirit. WWa71

Now, if the quickened child of God finds a spiritual inability, how much more the
sinner who is dead in trespasses and sins? If even the advanced Christian, after
thirty or forty years, finds himself sometimes willing and yet powerless—if such be
his experience,—does it not seem more than likely that the poor sinner who has not
yet believed, should find a need of strength as well as a want of will? WWa74

In us there is a lack of all merit, absence of all power to procure any, and even an
absence of will to procure it if we could. 978.122

The word of God to an unregenerate heart is like a trumpet at the ear of a corpse: the
sound is lost. 980.148

No man ever made himself to live. No preacher, however earnest, can make one
hearer to live. No parent, however prayerful, no teacher, however tearful, can make
a child live unto God. “You hath HE quickened,” is true of all who are quickened. 2267.362

We are nothing, we yield nothing, we can do nothing. 2410.193

INCONSISTENCY read more quotes relating to relationship issues

If you love the Lord, live as if you loved him. Let us all try to do so; and let us watch
that we never undo with our hands what we say with our tongues. 1897.239

It is evident to each one of you that all the vile insults of infidels could never
dishonour Christ as the inconsistencies of his own disciples do. 2420.313

INDEBTEDNESS read more quotes relating to evangelism

Are you not under a moral obligation to carry the gospel to others that they also may
hear it and be saved? Remember how many lived and died to bring you the gospel.
Had it not been for men who burned at the stake, there might have been no gospel
preaching in England; had it not been for those near and dear to you who loved you,
and prayed for you, and wrestled for your salvation, you might have been in the
midst of gospel light, and yet never have seen a ray of it. Are you not a debtor
henceforth to all around you? Ought you not to repay your debt by labouring for
others as others laboured for you? 1608.397

INDEPENDENCE read more quotes relating to knowledge and wisdom

“Well,” says one, “I like to be my own master.” Yes, and that involves two things;
first, you have a very bad master; and, next, your master has a fool for his servant. 2760.4

But it is no use for us to talk of being independent; we never can be. I remember a
dear Christian man, who prayed very sweetly, each Sunday morning, at a
certain prayer-meeting that I once attended, “O Lord, we are independent creatures
upon thee.” Except in such a sense as that, I never knew any independence worth
having. Of course he meant, “we are dependent creatures upon thee.” So we must be.
We cannot be independent even of one another, and certainly we are not independent
of God: for, when we have health and strength, we are dependent upon him for
their continuance; and if we have them not, we are dependent on him to restore them
to us. 3060.484

INFALLIBILITY read more quotes relating to truth

Everybody believes in infallibility somewhere. A Romanist believes in an infallible
Pope, and a great philosopher believes in his infallible self; he knows that he is right.
I believe in this infallible Book, and in the infallible God; and I ask any of you, who
are troubled, and worried, and tossed to and fro because of what some heretic or
skeptic has said, to “walk in the light of the Lord,” and to be perfectly satisfied as to
the revelation he has given us in his Word. 2713.65

INFIDELITY read more quotes relating to unbelief

Prove a point to an infidel, and he wants it proved again; let it be as clear as
noon-day to him from the testimony of many witnesses, yet doth he not believe it. In
fact, he doth believe it; but he pretendeth not to do so, and is an infidel in spite of
himself. WWa136

There are infidels on earth, but there are none in heaven, and there can be none in
hell. 349.12

Judas betrayed his Master with a kiss. This is how most apostates do it; it is always
with a kiss. Did you ever read an infidel book in your life which did not begin with
profound respect for truth? I never have. 494.94

Brethren, worse difficulties have occurred to us than any that have ever been
penned by the most notorious infidels. 1914.435

We are case-hardened. The Creole proverbs says, “When the mosquito tried to sting
the alligator, he wasted his time”; and the case is much the same when infidels deal
with us. 2069.81

I will not say that every man who rejects Christ is necessarily immoral; but I will say
that, in nine cases out of ten, it is so; and that, when you trace an infidel’s life, there
is something there that accounts for his infidelity. He wants a coverlet in his unbelief
for something that he has good need to cover. 2622.238

Infidelity will do very well for you when you can have a heated dance and merry
revelry, but sickness and death are tests which it cannot endure. Many have found,
then, that the ashes upon which they were feeding were but the preparation for
feeding upon the burning coals of the eternal wrath of God. 2686.365

INFLUENCE read more quotes relating to leadership

All talk influences more or less. 1017.599

A man is gradually changed into the image of that which he loves. He who hath his
portion in this world grows worldly. When a man gives himself to any pursuit he first
of all moulds it, and then it moulds him. 1372.498

An aroma steals forth from every man’s life, and it is either like the spikenard of the
alabaster box, or like the reeking of a dung-hill. 1854.414

Courage in one man breeds courage in another, and one coward has the contagion of
cowardice about him; many will turn tail when one runs. 2250.159

Much of a man’s character comes from other men. What we are is not all of ourselves.
We are deep in debt to others. Indeed, what man is there upon whom there have not
been a hundred fingers to mould him and a thousand influences to make his plastic
character what it is? 2924.99

INGRATITUDE read more quotes relating to relationship issues

May not many of our barren seasons be ascribed to the fact that we did not thank
God for fruitful ones? 972.52

And, surely, if we receive favours from God, and do not feel love to him in return, we
are worse than brute beasts; and so the Lord, in that pathetic verse in Isaiah, pleads
against us, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth
not know, my people doth not consider.” If we receive favours from God, it is but
natural that we should love him in return. Alas, that many should be so unnatural,
so false to every noble instinct, so dead to the gratitude which goodness deserves!

This must be one of the mysteries that angels cannot comprehend, that after Christ
had died, there were found sinners who would not be saved by him. They refused to
be washed in the fountain filled with blood; they rejected eternal life, even though it
streamed from the five great founts of his wounded body. 2257.246

INHERITANCE read more quotes relating to compassion/consolation

Crown the head and the whole body shares the honour. Behold here the reward of
every Christian conqueror! Christ’s throne, crown, sceptre, palace, treasure, robes,
heritage, are yours. ME270

He has not been content with less than making us joint-heirs with Himself, so that
we might have equal possessions. He has emptied all His estate into the coffers of the
Church, and hath all things common with His redeemed. ME364

My Master has riches beyond the count of arithmetic, the measurement of reason,
the dream of imagination, or the eloquence of words. They are unsearchable! ME471

The man who can truly say, “The Lord is mine,” hath an inheritance which death
cannot wither, which space cannot compass, which time cannot limit, which eternity
cannot explore. 1423.387

INSTABILITY read more quotes relating to bad character

Marvel not that we do not excel—marvel that we do excel in anything, unstable as
we are. 158.407

INTEGRITY* read more quotes relating to truth

Look you well to your integrity, and the Lord will look to your prosperity. BA161

Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is gone, still hold fast a
clear conscience as the rarest jewel which can adorn the bosom of a mortal. ME353

Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon
your conscience. ME491

Right leads to light. In the furrows of integrity lie the seeds of happiness, which shall
develop into a harvest of bliss. TD97:11

Let no man be deceived with the idea that if he carries out the right, by God’s grace
he will prosper in this world as the consequence. It is very likely that, for a time at
least, his conscientiousness will stand in the way of his prosperity. WCo38

There is more honour in being defeated in the truth than in a thousand victories
gained by policy and falsehood. 2135.165

You lose your strength, Christian, the moment you depart from your integrity. 3281.605

In such an age as this, when there is so little sound conviction, when principle is cast
to the winds, and when a general latitudinarianism, both of thought and practice,
seems to rule the day, it is still the fact that a man who is decided in his belief, speaks
his mind boldly, and acts according to his profession, is sure to command the
reverence of mankind. 3281.606

I should not marvel if a Christian man often finds himself a loser by doing the right
thing and maintaining a strict integrity. But we must sooner be losers in this way
than lose our acceptance with God. 3526.398

INVESTMENT read more quotes relating to finances/possessions

Do you not think that a life spent for Jesus only is far more worth looking back upon
at the last than any other? If you call yourselves Christians how will you judge a life
spent in money-making? 1411.252

ISLAM read more quotes relating to religions and cults

Mohammedans’ religion might be sustained by scimitars, but Christians’ religion
must be maintained by love. 149.335

He who religiously obeys Mahomet may yet be doing grievous moral wrong; but it is
never so with the disciple of Jesus: obedience to Jesus is holiness. 1768.130

This book (the Bible) is more than a book,—it is the mother of books, a mine of truth,
a mountain of meaning. It was an ill-advised opinion which is imputed to the
Mohammedans at the destruction of the Alexandrian Library, when they argued that
everything that was good in it was already in the Koran, and therefore it might well
be destroyed. 1806.579

I have heard that an Englishman has professed himself a Mahometan because he
is charmed by the polygamy which the Arabian prophet allows his followers. No
doubt the prospect of four wives would win converts who would not be attracted by
spiritual considerations. If you preach a gospel which makes allowances for human
nature, and treats sin as if it were a mistake rather than a crime, you will find
willing hearers. 2185.47

I have made it a College exercise with our brethren. I have said—We will read a
chapter of the Koran. This is the Mahometan’s holy book. A man must have a strange
mind who should mistake that rubbish for the utterances of inspiration. 2185.45

When Mahomet would charm the world into the belief that he was the prophet of
God, the heaven he pictured was not at all the heaven of holiness and spirituality.
His was a heaven of unbridled sensualism, where all the passions were to be enjoyed
without let or hindrance for endless years. Such the heaven that sinful men would
like; therefore, such the heaven that Mahomet painted for them, and promised to
them. 3538.545

ISOLATIONISM read more quotes relating to relationship issues

Let us, however, take heed that our separateness from the world is of the same kind
as our Lord’s. We are not to adopt a peculiar dress, or a singular mode of speech, or
shut ourselves out from society. He did not so; but He was a man of the people,
mixing with them for their good. TN130

If believers could form a secluded settlement where no tempters could intrude, they
would perhaps find the separated life far more easy, though I am not very sure about
it, for all experiments in that direction have broken down. 1242.378

Grace builds neither monasteries nor nunneries. 2001.5

Even in a Christian family we may be seduced into great sin, as well as among the
ungodly. There is no place under heaven where the arrows of temptation cannot
reach us. 2135.160

© 2005 Pre-Evangelism Ministries
& Fox River Press