Gems from Toplady
May not God have mercy on whom He willeth to have mercy without asking leave of men or angels? Is not His grace totally and infinitely free? And may He not bestow His own blessing when and where He pleases? Let not our eye then be evil and envious because He is gracious. Away, then, with these anti-christian bickerings, and let none who call themselves believers, be sorry for that which makes angels glad.
The terrors of the law have much the same effect on our duties and obedience as frost has on a stream: it hardens, cools, and stagnates. Whereas, let the shining of divine love rise upon the soul; repentance will then flow, our hardness and coldness thaw and melt away, and all the blooming fruits of godliness flourish and abound.
The elect were betrothed to Christ from everlasting in the covenant of grace; they are actually married to him, and join hands with him, in conversion: but they are not taken home to the bridegroomís house until death dismisses them from the body.
"Get grace Ė get faith Ė get an interest in Christ," say the Arminians. When, in truth, grace is not of manís getting, but of Godís giving; nor is faith of manís acquisition, but of Godís operation.
A manís free-will cannot cure him even of the toothache, or of a sore finger; and yet he madly thinks it is in its power to cure his soul.
The greatest judgement which God himself can, in the present life, inflict upon a man is, to leave him in the hand of his own boasted free-will.
There is no difference between the brightest archangel in glory and the blackest apostate spirit in hell, but what free-grace has made.
Grace cannot be severed from its fruits. If God gives you St. Paulís faith, you will soon have St. Jameís works.
Grace finds us beggars, and always leaves us debtors.
The progress of holiness is sometimes like the lengthening of day light after the days are past the shortest. The difference is for some time imperceptible, but still it is real, and in due season becomes undeniably visible.
Christís sheep do not contribute any part of their own wool to their own clothing. They wear, and are justified by the fine linen of Christís obedience only.
KNOWLEDGE IN THEORY
I am acquainted with a lady who is a thorough mistress of music as a science, and can play the harpsichord with great judgement; but though she understands it, she does not love it, and never plays if she can avoid it. Too strong a picture of some who know the gospel in theory, but neither love it in sincerity, nor practice its precepts with a good will!
LOVE TO GOD
As fruits artificially raised or forced in a hot-house, have not the exquisite flavour of those fruits which grow naturally and in their due season; so that obedience which is forced by the terrors of the law, wants the genuine flavour and sweetness of that obedience which springs forth from a heart warmed and meliorated with the love of God in Christ Jesus
The best clock in the world will be spoiled, if you are perpetually moving the hand backwards and forwards, and altering it in order to make it keep time with a variety of other clocks; it will hardly ever go regularly and well. So a minister, who shapes and accommodates his sentiments and discourses to the tastes and humours and opinions of other people, will never be happy, respectable, or useful.
The weight of opposition will always fall heaviest on those who sound the gospel trumpet loudest.
Was I a layman, and Providence was to cast me in a place where I could not possibly hear the gospel preached, but should be forced to hear either an Arian or an Arminian ministry if I heard any at all, I should much rather choose to spend my Lordís days at home in reading and praying privately. By the same rule that I would rather stay within, and take such a dinner as my own house affords, than go abroad to dine where I should be sure of sitting down (at best) to a dish of gravel or sand, if not of arsenic. Ė See Ezek 11:16.
If a coach or a wagon be likely to run over us, we exert all our strength and speed to get out of its way. If a storm overtakes us, we look for a place of shelter. O that we were equally sedulous to flee from the wrath to come!
Some professors pass for very meek, good-natured people until you displease them. They resemble a pool or pond which, while you let it alone, looks clean and limpid, but if you put in a stick and stir the bottom, the rising sediment soon discovers the impurity that lurks beneath.
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