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ALEXANDER MACLAREN
Scottish divine
(1826 - 1910)
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A man who has not learned to say "no"--who is not resolved that he will take God's way in spite of every dog that can bark at him, in spite of every silvery voice that can woo him aside--will be a weak and wretched man till he dies.
      - [Decision]

Ability involves responsibility; power to its last particle, is duty.
      - [Ability]

Ah, there is nothing more beautiful than the difference between the thought about sinful creatures which is natural to a holy being, and the thought about sinful creatures which is natural to a self-righteous being. The one is all contempt; the other, all pity.
      - [Contempt]

An old historian says about the Roman armies that marched through a country, burning and destroying every living thing, "They make a solitude, and they call it peace." And so men do with their consciences. They stifle them, sear them, forcibly silence them, somehow or other; and then, when there is a dead stillness in the heart, broken by no voice of either approbation or blame, but doleful, like the unnatural quiet of a deserted city, then they say, "It is peace;" and the man's uncontrolled passions and unbridled desires dwell solitary in the fortress of his own spirit! You may almost attain to that.
      - [Conscience]

And looking back upon "the sea that brought us thither," we shall behold its waters flashing in the light of that everlasting morning, and hear them breaking into music upon the eternal shore. And then, brethren, when all the weary night-watchers on the stormy ocean of life are gathered together around Him who watched with them from His throne on the bordering mountains of eternity, where the day shines forever--then He will seat them at His table in His kingdom, and none will need to ask, "Who art Thou?" or "Where am I?" "for all shall know it is the Lord," and the full, perfect, unchangeable vision of His blessed face will be heaven.
      - [Heaven]

And then, the quiet of the green, inland valleys of our Father's land, where no tempest comes any more, nor the loud winds are ever heard, nor the salt sea is ever seen; but perpetual calm and blessedness; all mystery gone, and all rebellion hushed and silenced, and all unrest at an end forever! "No more sea;" but, instead of that wild and yeasty chaos of turbulent waters, there shall be the river that makes glad the city of God, the river of water of life, that proceeds "out of the throne of God and of the Lamb."
      - [Heaven]

As the flowers follow the sun, and silently hold up their petals to be tinted and enlarged by its shining, so must we, if we would know the joy of God, hold our souls, wills, hearts, and minds, still before Him, whose voice commands, whose love warns, whose truth makes fair our whole being. God speaks for the most part in such silence only. If the soul be full of tumult and jangling voices, His voice is little likely to be heard.
      - [Soul]

As we look upon that agony and those tearful prayers, let us not only look with thankfulness; but let that kneeling Saviour teach us that in prayer alone can we be forearmed against our lesser sorrows; that strength to bear flows into the heart that is opened in supplication; and that a sorrow which we are made able to endure is more truly conquered than a sorrow which we avoid.
      - [Death of Christ]

Being in Christ, it is safe to forget the past; it is possible to be sure of the future; it is possible to be diligent in the present.
      - [Christian]

Certainly it is one of the most blessed things about "the faith that is in Christ Jesus," that it makes a man remember his own sinfulness with penitence, not with pain--that it makes the memory of past transgressions full of solemn joy, because the memory of past transgressions but brings to mind the depth and rushing fullness of that river of love which has swept them all away as far as the east is from the west. Oh, my brother, you cannot forget your sins; but it lies within your own decision whether the remembrance shall be thankfulness and blessedness, or whether it shall be pain and loss forever.
      - [Memory]

Christ puts Himself at the head of the mystic march of the generations; and, like the mysterious angel that Joshua saw in the plain by Jericho, makes the lofty claim, "Nay, but as the captain of the Lord's host am I come up."
      - [Christ (Saviour)]

Christ wrought out His perfect obedience as a man, through temptation, and by suffering.
      - [Christ]

Christ's voice sounds now for each of us in loving invitation; and dead in sin and hardness of heart though we be, we can listen and live. Christ Himself, my brother, sows the seed now. Do you take care that it falls not on, but in, your souls.
      - [Christ (Saviour)]

Do not let the empty cup be your first teacher of the blessings you had when it was full. Do not let a bard place here and there in the bed destroy your rest. Seek, as a plain duty, to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life.
      - [Gratitude]

Do not let the loud utterances of your own wills anticipate, nor drown, the still, small voice in which God speaks. Bridle impatience till He does. If you cannot hear His whisper, wait till you do. Take care of running before you are sent. Keep your wills in equipoise till God's hand gives the impulse and direction.
      - [Will]

Embrace in one act the two truths--thine own sin, and God's infinite mercy in Jesus Christ.
      - [Regeneration]

Faith has in it the recognition of the certainty and the justice of a judgment that is coming down crashing on every human head; and then from the midst of these fears and sorrows and the tempest of that great darkness there rises up in the night of terrors the shining of one perhaps pale, quivering, distant, but divinely given hope, "My Saviour! My Saviour! He is righteous; He has died; He lives! I will stay no longer; I will cast myself upon Him!
      - [Faith in Christ]

Faith refers to Christ. Holiness depends on faith. Heaven depends on holiness.
      - [Faith in Christ]

Given a man full of faith, you will have a man tenacious in purpose, absorbed in one grand object, simple in his motives, in whom selfishness has been driven out by the power of a mightier love, and indolence stirred into unwearied energy.
      - [Faith]

God gives us power to bear all the sorrows of His making; but He does not give us power to bear the sorrows of our own making, which the anticipation of sorrow most assuredly is.
      - [Care]

"God giveth His beloved sleep;" and in that peaceful sleep, realities, not dreams, come round their quiet rest, and fill their conscious spirits and their happy hearts with blessedness and fellowship. In His own time He will make the eternal morning dawn, and the hand that kept them in their slumbers shall touch them into waking, and shall clothe them when they arise according to the body of His own glory; and they, looking into His face, and flashing back its love, its light, its beauty, shall each break forth into singing as the rising light of that unsetting day touches their transfigured and immortal heads, in the triumphant thanksgiving, "I am satisfied, for I awake in Thy likeness."
      - [Death]

Grieve not the Christ of God, who redeems us; and remember that we grieve Him most when we will not let Him pour His love upon us, but turn a sullen, unresponsive unbelief towards His pleading grace, as some glacier shuts out the sunshine from the mountainside with its thick-ribbed ice.
      - [Christ (Saviour)]

He that has no present Christ has a future, dark, chaotic, heaving with its destructive ocean; and over it there goes forever--black-pinioned winging its solitary and hopeless flight, the raven of his anxious thoughts, and finds no place to rest, and comes back again to the desolate ark with its foreboding croak of evil in the present and evil in the future.
      - [Impenitence]

Heaven is endless longing, accompanied with an endless fruition--a longing which is blessedness, a longing which is life.
      - [Heaven]

I do not know why a man should be either regretful or afraid, as he watches the hungry sea eating away this "bank and shoal of time" upon which he stands, even though the tide has all but reached his feet--if he knows that God's strong hand will be stretched forth to him at the moment when the sand dissolves from under him, and will draw him out of many waters, and place him high above the floods on the stable land where there is "no more sea."
      - [Death]


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