Refreshement for Body and Soul

wassail and IKEA gingerbread cookies (so good), waiting to be eaten

 

Our snack after Christmas decorating. It makes me long for snow and cold, biting air. But sugary and full of apple juice as it was, it was still a welcome snack (and well-worth the evening’s headache). But even more welcome has been 15 minutes of reading each morning… followed by the still more welcome time of prayer and scripture reading – refreshment of soul, worth so much more than refreshement of body (“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way for the present life and also for the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4).
One of the things I’m reading at the moment is Richard Baxter’s Saint’s Everlasting Rest. I heard part of it when Joel was reading it to Cait during their courtship, and wanted to read more. Then Ezra mentioned a while back that he was hoping to read it, and then I was looking for old books to add to my collection and found an 1817 edition for $10 on eBay. It smells so good, feels so lovely… but the words are the best part.
Baxter’s meditations are loaded with scripture. The longing of heaven comes not from him stirring up the soul, but from passages of scripture that consider the beauty of God, his love, and of heaven. Baxter just draws attention to them and prods into our affection (or lack thereof) for this holy place.

Here are some gems from the first chapter:
“Unworthy soul, is this the place thou camest so unwillingly to? Was duty wearisome? Was the world too good to lose? Didst thou stick at leaving all, denying all, and suffering anything, for this? Wast thou loth to die, to come to this? O false heart, thou hadst almost betrayed me to eternal flames and lost me this glory! Art thou not now ashamed, my soul, that ever thou didst question that love which brought thee hither?”

“Be of good cheer, Christian, the time is near, when God and thou shalt be near, and as near as thou canst well desire. Thou shalt dwell in his family. Is that enough? It is better to be a door-keeper in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. Thou shalt ever stand before him, about his throne, in the room with him, in his presence-chamber. Wouldst thou yet be nearer? Thou shalt be his child, and he thy Father; thou shalt be an heir of his kingdom, yea, more, the spouse of his Son. And what more canst thou desire? Thou shalt be a member of the body of his Son; he shall be thy head, thou shalt be one with him, who is one with the Father, as he himself hath desired for thee of his Father (John 17:21-23).”

“”When I know so little of God, I cannot much know what it is to enjoy him.”

“{Revelation2:7, 17; 3:12, 21; 5:14, 15, 17} O blind deceived world! Can you show us such a glory? This is the city of our God…”

“God does not move men like stones, but he endows them with life, not to enable them to move without him, but in subordination to himself, the first mover.”

“Christian, thou wilt be then brimful of love; yet, love as much as thou canst, thou shalt be ten thousand times more beloved.”

“… the saints are arrived safe at the bosom of Christ, out of the reach of hell forever.”

“Know this, believer, to thy everlasting comfort, if those arms have once embraced thee, neither sin, nor hell, can get the thence forever.”

“Thou, poor soul, who prayest forjoy, waitest for joy, complainest for want of joy, longest for joy; thou then shalt have full joy, as much as thou canst hold, and more than ever though thoughtest on, or thy heart desired. In the meantime walk carefully, watch constantly, and then let God measure out to thee thy times and degrees of joy. It may be He keeps them till thou hast more need. Thou hadst better lose thy comfort than thy safety. If thou shouldst die full of fears and sorrows, it will be but a moment, and they are all gone, and concluded in joy inconceivable…. {As the joy of the hypocrite, so the fears of the upright are but for a moment. God’s anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning} … O blessed morning! Poor, humble, drooping soul, how would it fill thee with joy now, if a voice from heaven should tell thee of the love of God, the pardon of thy sins, and assure thee of thy part in these joys? What then will thy joy be, when thy actual possession shall convince thee of thy title, and thou shalt be in heaven before thou art well aware?”

{you can read the whole of Baxter’s book here}

Oh that we would long still more for that rest, when at long last we shall see the fullness of His glory!

– Kyleigh

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