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Spurgeon's Maxims for Living
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PERFECTION read more quotes relating to spiritual disciplines

When I cross the Jordan, the work of sanctification will be finished; but not till that
moment shall I even claim perfection in myself. ME273

Yet let not the hope of perfection hereafter make us content with imperfection now. If
it does this, our hope cannot be genuine; for a good hope is a purifying thing, even
now. ME273

We are not perfect in character, any one of us—we are only perfect in position. 232.60

Now, Jesus comes in order that he may kill in you everything that is contrary to the
mind of God; he comes to make you holy, ay, to make you perfect. 1301.366

We have not experienced what perfection is, and therefore we can hardly conceive it;
our thoughts themselves are too sinful for us to get a full idea of what absolute
perfection must be; but, dear brethren, we shall have no sin left in us, for they are
“without fault before the throne of God,” and we shall have no remaining propensity
to sin. 1477.319

To be faultless before men is a great thing. To be faultless before the devil, so that
even he cannot find any fault in us, is greatly to be desired. But the most wonderful
thing of all must be to be presented by Christ “faultless before the presence of his
glory.” 3074.21

“Must a man be perfect, then?” Sir, a man must desire to be perfect. “But he cannot
be perfect.” Sir, he can be perfect in intention, if not in fact, and there is a deal of
difference between the sin of misadventure, and of infirmity, and the wilfully wicked
sin of some men. 3415.341

PERFECTIONISM read more quotes relating to doctrine

He who boasts of being perfect is perfect in folly. PT65

Bible history goes to show this, that if there be one period of human life more
dangerous than another, it is when men think themselves to be out of danger;
dreaming that their nature is improved. 379.254

He is possessed of most devils who thinks he has the fewest imperfections, as a
general rule. 1285.178

Adam in perfection could not keep himself in Paradise, how can his imperfect
children be so proud as to rely upon their own steadfastness? 1300.353

I recollect when I resolved never to sin again. I sinned before I had done my
breakfast. 1961.261

“Is it likely that I should ever be lead astray?” O sir, it is more than likely! It is a fact
already. The moment that a man declares that he cannot fall, he has already fallen
from sobriety and humility. Your head is turned, my brother, or you would not talk of
your inward perfection; and when the head turns the feet are not very safe. Inward
conceit is the mother of open sin. 2132.124

No one is so imperfect in temper as the perfect man; he soon shows his imperfection.

He that is pure gold will lose nothing in the melting; but he that is somebody in his
own opinion, will have to come down a peg or two before long. It is well that it is so;
for if it were not, we should soon grow proud, and worldly, and careless, and even
licentious; for it is strange, but it is true, that the next thing to a boast of perfect
holiness has almost always, throughout history, been intense licentiousness. 2274.453

You know how often it has been the case that the highest professions of holiness
have been sometimes accompanied by the practice of the deadliest vices. For
instance, wherever the doctrine of human perfection has been much held, it has
almost always engendered some horrible licentiousness, some desperate filthiness
of the flesh which is unknown to anything but that doctrine. 2437.519

When I meet with a brother who tells me that he is nearly perfect, I know that he is
living in the dark; for, if he lived in the light, he would see how far short he came of
the glory of God. 3049.353

Whenever you hear a man boast that he is holy, remember that good scent needs no
proclaiming. 3174.593

To be fit for heaven a man must be perfect. Go, you who think you can prepare
yourselves, be perfect for a day. 3538.548

PERSECUTION* read more quotes relating to trials and suffering

I wonder when I hear some people say, “I cannot stand being laughed at.” “Does
laughter break bones?” “But ridicule is very sharp!” “Is it? Do the wounds bleed?”
“Well,” cries one, “a keen sarcasm from a wit stings you!” “Does it? Have you no cure
for such bites?” Some of us have in our minds been like Marcus Arethusa, who was
stung to death by wasps; and yet we are none the worse, but rather are we all the
better, for there remains no place whereon a new sting can operate. BA225

We are constantly opposed, and yet perpetually preserved! ME97

Whenever a man is about to stab religion, he usually professes very great reverence
for it. ME170

Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be
rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of His own blood
to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? ME178

If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by His enemies. ME631

Far be it from us to seek a crown of honour where our Lord found a coronet of thorn. ME631

The excellencies of the righteous are obnoxious to the wicked, and the main object of
their fury. TD62:4

Every blow aimed against the godly will recoil on the persecutor; he who smites a
believer drives a nail in his own coffin. TD63:9

Men cannot wrong us unless he suffers them to do so; the greatest of them must wait
his permission before they can place a finger upon us. TD105:14

The fact is, the most of us are vastly inferior to the early Christians, who, as I take it,
were persecuted because they were thoroughly Christians, and we are not persecuted
because we hardly are Christians at all. WCo32

An hour with Jesus will make up for a lifetime of persecution! One smile from Him
will repay us a thousand times over for all disappointments and discouragements. WCo79

We have much to do, but we have nothing to suffer. 397.396

The ripest of fruit will be pecked at most by the birds; those who have most of God’s
image will have most of the world’s contempt. 662.663

If you belonged to the village, the dogs would not bark at you. 781.646

Every David has his Saul, every Nehemiah his Sanballat, and every Mordecai his
Haman. 1675.461

The love of the Lord’s brethren and the hatred of the Lord’s enemies are two things
to be desired. 1767.119

Because our Saviour’s reasoning was unanswerable, “therefore the Jews sought
again to take him.” When men are convinced against their wills, when the heart
struggles against the head, it usually happens that they turn persecutors. If they
cannot answer holy arguments with fair reasonings, they can give hard answers with
stones. If you cannot destroy the reasoning, you may, perhaps, destroy the reasoner;
and this naturally suggests itself to the heart which is rendered cruel by obstinate
unbelief. 1924.553

By this shall ye know to which seed ye belong; whether ye are of those who hate the
righteous, or of those who are hated for Christ’s sake. 1929.614

Now, inasmuch as the religion of Jesus Christ does no hurt to social order, teaches no
one to be rebellious, takes away from no man his rights, but guards the rights of all
from the meanest to the greatest, all excuse is taken away from any government that
dares to put out its hand to touch the church of God. 1929.617

The world has done its best for the child of God when it has cast him out. Its
excommunications are better than its communications. 1977.456

The evil hate the good, because it condemns their evil; they try to make themselves
despise it because it makes them despise themselves. 2123.26

The world that hates the Church knows not what it does, for it is hating its best
friend. 2475.351

It is not for long, Christian, it is not for long. They may laugh at you; every day, there
is one day less for you to be laughed at. 2780.247

Mockery is the unintentional homage which falsehood pays to truth. Scorn is the
unconscious praise which sin gives to holiness. What higher tribute could these
soldiers give to Christ than to spit upon him? If Christ had received honour from such
men, there would have been no honour in it to him. 2824.149

But mark thee, persecutor,—if thou art here this morning,—there is a chain, in hell,
of hot iron that shall be bound around thy waist; there are fiends that have whips of
fire, and they shall scourge thy soul throughout eternity, because thou darest to put
a stumbling-block in the way of God’s children. 2908.533

If, my dear friend, you are a thorough-going Christian, you must not expect to escape
scorn, because your life is a standing protest against the lives of others. 3373.461

You tell me there are no persecutions now. Ah! indeed, perhaps if you followed Christ
more fully, you would find out that there were. 3405.222

PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS read more quotes relating to doctrine

Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not a beginning only in
the ways of God, but also a continuance in the same as long as life lasts. It is with a
Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: he said, “Conquest has made me what I
am, and conquest must maintain me.” ME295

Christian, it is not with you that you may persevere or not—it is not an optional
blessing—you must persevere, or else all you have ever known and felt will be good
for nothing to you. You must hold on your way if you are ultimately to be saved.

They start fairly, but the taste of the garlic and the onions lingers in their mouth,
and holds their minds by Egypt’s fleshpots still. Like the planets, they are affected by
two impulses: one would draw them to heaven, but another would drive them off at a
tangent to the world; and so they revolve, like the mill-horse, without making
progress; continuing still nominally to fear the Lord, and yet to serve other gods
practically and in their hearts. Beware, dear friends, of the call which makes you set
out, but does not lead you to hold out. Pray that this text may be true to you, “They
went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and to the land of Canaan they came.” 843.669

Conversion is a turning into the right road; the next thing is to walk in it. The daily
going on in that road is as essential as the first starting if you would reach the
desired end. To strike the first blow is not all the battle; to him that overcometh the
crown is promised. To start in the race is nothing, many have done that who have
failed; but to hold out till you reach the winning post is the great point of the matter.
Perseverance is as necessary to a man’s salvation as conversion. 1300.357

Before we advance to the argument it will be well to remark that those who reject the
doctrine frequently tell us that there are many cautions in the word of God against
apostatizing, and that those cautions can have no meaning if it be true that the
righteous shall hold on his way. But what if those cautions are the means in the hand
of God of keeping his people from wandering? What if they are used to excite a holy
fear in the minds of his children, and so become the means of preventing the evil
which they denounce. 1361.363

The saints prove their conversion by their perseverance, and that perseverance
comes from a continual supply of divine grace to their souls. 1594.221

Final perseverance is the necessary evidence of genuine conversion. 1959.234

We believe in the perseverance of the saints, but many are not saints, and therefore
do not persevere. Nominal saints exhibit no final perseverance. 2081.222

Temporary Christians are no Christians: only the believer who continues to believe
will enter heaven. 2200.226

As I have sometimes told a brother who has denied the doctrine of final perseverance,
when I have seen his holy life, “Never mind, my brother, you will persevere to the
end, and you will prove the doctrine that you do not believe.” 2920.57

But some, who do run well at first, have hardly breath enough to keep the pace up, and
so turn aside for a little comfortable ease, and do not get into the road again. Such
are not genuine Christians; they are only men-made, self-made Christians; and these
self-made Christians never hold on, and never can hold on, because time wears them
out, and they turn back to their former state. 3022.44

PERSISTENCE read more quotes relating to drive and motivation

A poor woman had a supply of coal laid at her door by a charitable neighbour. A very
little girl came out with a small fire-shovel, and began to take up a shovelful at a
time, and carry it to a sort of bin in the cellar. I said to the child, “Do you expect to
get all that coal in with that little shovel?” She was quite confused at my question,
but her answer was very striking. “Yes, sir, if I work long enough.” Humble worker,
make up for your want of ability by abundant continuance in well-doing, and your
life-work will not be trivial. The repetition of small efforts will effect more than the
occasional use of great talents. FA163

No man is likely to accomplish much who moodily indulges a desponding view of his
own capacities. By God’s help the weakest of us may be strong, and it is the way to
become so, to resolve never to give up a good work till we have tried our best to
achieve it. To think nothing impossible is the privilege of faith. We deprecate the
indolent cowardice of the man who always felt assured that every new enterprise
would be too much for him, and therefore declined it; but we admire the pluck of the
ploughman who was asked on his cross-examination if he could read Greek, and he
replied that he did not know, because he had never tried. Those Suffolk horses which
will pull at a post until they drop are worth a thousand times as much as jibbing
animals that run back as soon as ever the collar begins to press them. FA249

To plod on under apparent failure is one of the most acceptable of all works of faith,
and he who can do it year after year is assuredly well-pleasing unto God. WCo86

Die in harness if your mental and physical vigour will permit. WCo95

The difficulty of the Christian is very seldom the commencement of the work; the
true labour lies in the perseverance which alone can win the victory. 880.388

In the long run stay is the winning virtue; he that endureth to the end the same shall
be saved. 1111.274

Activity often makes up for a lack of ability. 1513.19

I heard an expression yesterday which pleased me much. I spoke about the difficulty
of keeping on. “Yes,” answered my friend, “and it is harder still to keep on keeping
on.” So it is. 1959.234

He is surest to succeed who cannot be put off from his aim. 2065.39

I remember reading of a sailor who fought desperately in repelling a boarding attack
from an enemy’s ship, and when the affair was over it was found that he could not
open his hand to drop his cutlass. He had grasped it with such force that, until a
surgical operation had been performed, it was quite impossible to separate his hand
from his sword. 3193.185

Christmas Evans was wont to drive his old pony from town to town in his journeys to
preach the gospel, and when he was about to die, he thought he was riding in the old
pony-chaise still, and his last words were, “Drive on.” 3193.186

I never can comprehend how the snails managed to get into the ark, yet they did;
they must have started very early. 3282.616

PESSIMISM read more quotes relating to bad character

I always think there is quite enough misery in the world without my making any
more. 3076.46

I think that the major part of our troubles are not those which God sends us, but
those which we invent for ourselves. 3183.63

PHILOSOPHY read more quotes relating to unbelief

The history of that human ignorance which calls itself “philosophy” is absolutely
identical with the history of fools, except where it diverges into madness. GF30

Take a maxim of Socrates or of Plato, and enquire whether a nation or a tribe has
ever been transformed by it from barbarism to culture. A maxim of a philosopher
may have measurably influenced a man in some right direction; but who has ever
heard of a man’s whole character being transformed by any observation of Confucius
or Socrates? I confess I never have. Human teachings are barren. TN234

Modern philosophers will accept anything except the bleeding Substitute for guilty
man. 1362.378

The hem of Christ’s garment is better than all the robes of philosophy. 1669.395

What philosophers prove one year, philosophers disprove another year. 2056.663

The history of so-called philosophy is the history of fools; and the philosophers of this
day are no more right than those of fifty years ago. The men are coming to the front
who will confute the positive assertions of the present; and, when they have made
their own assertions, and made their bow, another set of wise men will be coming
after them to confound them. 2604.22

You will philosophise men into hell, but never into heaven. 3496.45

This is the cardinal virtue of philosophers; they extinguish one another. Their
fine-spun theories do not often survive the generation that admires them. A fresh
race starts fresh theories of unbelief, which live their day, like ephemera, and then
expire. 3534.498

PHYSICAL AFFLICTION read more quotes relating to trials and suffering

I venture to say that the greatest earthly blessing that God can give to any of us is
health, with the exception of sickness. Sickness has frequently been of more use to the
saints of God than health has. AM384

Better suffer from childhood to old age than to be let alone to find pleasure in sin. TD88:15

I have heard say of many ministers that they preach best after sickness, till their
people have scarce regretted all the pains they have felt when they have found how
savoury and full of marrow have been their words. My brother, if you will not come to
God without it, he will send you a sick bed that you may be carried on it to him. If
you will not come running, he will make you come limping. If you will not come while
your eyes are bright and while your countenance is full of health, he will make you
come when your eyes are dull and heavy, and your complexion is sallow and sad. But
come you must, and if by no other means, sickness shall be the black chariot in which
you shall ride. 563.198

His soul is translated from death unto life, but the body, this poor flesh and blood,
doth it not remain as before? Not in one sense, for the members of our body, which
were instruments of unrighteousness, become by sanctification, the instruments of
righteousness unto the glory of God; and the body which was once a workshop for
Satan, becomes a temple for the Holy Ghost, wherein he dwells; but we are all
perfectly aware that the grace of God makes no change in the body in other respects.
It is just as subject to sickness as before, pain thrills quite as sharply through the
heart of the saint as the sinner, and he who lives near to God, is no more likely to
enjoy bodily health than he who lives at a distance from him. 788.5

If I have any message to give from my own bed of sickness it would be this—if you do
not wish to be full of regrets when you are obliged to lie still, work while you can. If
you desire to make a sick bed as soft as it can be, do not stuff it with the mournful
reflection that you wasted time while you were in health and strength. 1274.45

It is according to the nature of things that in a world which bringeth forth thorns and
briars in all its furrows some of the sharp points should pierce thy flesh. 1363.392

I, the preacher of this hour, beg to bear my little witness that the worst days I have
ever had have turned out to be my best days, and when God has seemed most cruel
to me he has then been most kind. If there is anything in this world for which I would
bless him more than for anything else it is for pain and affliction. I am sure that in
these things the richest, tenderest love has been manifested towards me. I pray you,
dear friends, if you are at this time very low, and greatly distressed, encourage
yourselves in the abundant faithfulness of the God who hides himself. Our Father’s
wagons rumble most heavily when they are bringing us the richest freight of the
bullion of his grace. Love letters from heaven are often sent in black-edged envelopes.
The cloud that is black with horror is big with mercy. We may not ask for trouble, but
if we were wise we should look upon it as the shadow of an unusually great blessing.

If sicknesses do not soften, they harden. 2858.556

It has been well said by one who knew mankind cruelly well, that “we bear the
afflictions of other people very easily;” but when it touches our bone and our flesh,
trial assumes an earnest form, and we have need of unusual patience. 3255.292

We do not, perhaps, as yet, receive, or even perceive, the present and immediate
benefit of some of our afflictions. There may be no immediate benefit; the benefit may
be far hence and to come. The chastening of our youth may be intended for the
ripening of our age. “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” The
affliction of to-day may have no reference to the circumstances of to-day, but to the
circumstances of fifty years ahead. 3368.402

PHYSICAL DECAY read more quotes relating to trials and suffering

It is a very delicate process by which dust remains animated; a thousand things can
stay that process, and then our body is dissolved. 1719.256

To-day we are like birds in the egg; so long as the shell is whole we are not free: death
breaks the shell. Does the fledgling lament the dissolution of the shell? I never heard
of a bird in its nest pining over its broken shell; no, its thoughts run otherwise: to
wings, and flight, and sunny skies. So let it be with us. This body will be dissolved: let
it be so; it is meet it should be. We have been glad of it while we have needed it, and
we thank God for the wondrous skill displayed in it; but when we no longer require it
we shall escape from it as from imprisonment, and never wish to return to its narrow
bounds. 1719.258

PHYSICAL HEALING read more quotes relating to charismata

Natural disease may be instrumentally healed by men, but even the honour is to be
given to God who giveth virtue unto medicine, and bestoweth power unto the human
frame to cast off disease. ME487

I hope there are none here who claim a right to healing; for, if so, the Lord will not
listen to them. 1604.343

Do not attribute to secondary means that which ought to be ascribed to God alone.
His fresh air, and warm sun, or bracing wind, and refreshing showers do more for our
healing than we dream of, or if medicine be used, it is he who gives virtue to the
drugs, and so by his own Almighty hand works out our cure. 1664.332

We ought to gather from our restorations from serious and perilous sickness a proof
that the God who brings us back from the gates of the grave can also bring us back
from the grave itself whenever it shall be his time to do so. 1664.332

PHYSICAL JUDGMENT read more quotes relating to trials and suffering

If we could banish pain and sickness from the world, it may be we should be robbing
righteousness of two of her most impressive evangelists. 1101.152

There are diseases which are the stamp and seal of the curse of the Eternal upon
transgression. There are diseases which are the big first drops of the everlasting rain
of hell’s tremendous tempest. If there were a physician or a surgeon here, he could
tell you that there are sins which are commonly practised, which bring on men, even
in this life, a penalty most terrible. 2123.30

PHYSICIANS read more miscellaneous quotes

If I thought that I was struck with a serious disease I would not wait until it grew
incurable; but I would go to a physician, and have the matter attended to before it
went further. 1884.83

PLEASING GOD read more quotes relating to spiritual disciplines

To please God even a little is infinitely greater than to have the acclamations of all
our race throughout the centuries. 2100.454

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& Fox River Press