The lady in the rose garden.

Lady in the Rose Garden

A lesson for all of us to consider from the puritan Joseph Meade:

I once walked into a garden with a lady to gather some flowers. There was one large bush whose branches were bending under the weight of the most beautiful roses. We both gazed upon it with admiration. There was one flower on it which seemed to outshine all the rest in beauty. This lady pressed forward into the thick bush, and reached far over to pluck it. As she did this, a black snake, which was hid in the bush, wrapped itself round her arm. She was alarmed beyond all description; she ran from the garden, screaming, and almost in convulsions. During all that day she suffered very much with fear. Her whole body trembled, and it was a long time before she could be calmed. That lady is still alive. Such is her hatred now of the whole serpent race, that she has never since been able to look at a snake, even a dead one. No one could ever persuade her to venture again into a cluster of bushes, even to pluck a beautiful rose.

Now this is the way the sinner acts who truly repents of his sins. He thinks of sin as the serpent that once coiled itself around him. He hates it. He dreads it. He flees from it. He fears the places where it inhabits. He does not willingly go into the haunts. He will no more play with sin than this lady would afterwards have fondled snakes.

Quotes (891)

Holiness has a mighty influence upon others. When this appears with power in the lives of Christians, it works mightily upon the spirits of men; it stops the mouths of the ungodly . . . . I am sure we have found, by woeful experience, that in these debauched times, when religion is so bespattered with frequent scandals, yes, a general looseness of professors, it is hard to get any to come into the net of the Gospel. . . . If they were but holy and exemplary, they would be as a repetition of the preacher’s sermon to the families and neighbors among whom they converse, and would keep the sound of his doctrine continually ringing in their ears.

– William Gurnall

1617 – 1679

Quotes (881)

When we consider the very being of God, we find ourselves so far from the true knowledge of it that we cannot come up with the right words and expressions. As we seek to meditate in our minds and frame thoughts about God as we do about other objects of thinking, we fall so far short that we make an idol in our mind and worship a god of our own making, and not the true God that has made us. We may as well hew Him out of wood or stone as form Him as a being in our minds, suited to our imaginations. The best thoughts of the being of God are ones in which we realize that we cannot truly comprehend Him as He is.

– John Owen

1616 – 1683

Quotes (880)

Samuel Annesley We naturally love our ease, and would have nothing befall us that is grievous to flesh and blood; and gracious persons pray and strive to prevent and remove afflictions. But yet the experience of all, good and bad, in all ages of the world, proclaims this upon the housetops, that more have got good by afflictions than by being without them. . . . There is more danger in freedom from affliction than we are willing to suspect; and it is more difficult to love and fear and trust God when we have the world, than when we want it. . . . Why, then, is an afflicted condition to be preferred? Some that have had experience of both say that they have been afraid to be without their afflictions.

– Samuel Annesley

1620 – 1696

Quotes (802)

Stephen Charnock Study God in the creatures as well as in the Scriptures. The primary use of the creatures, is to acknowledge God in them; they were made to be witnesses of Himself and His goodness, and to be heralds of His glory, whose glory of God as Creator “shall endure forever” (Psalm 104:31). . . .  Nature is not contrary to Scripture, nor Scripture to nature; unless we should think God contrary to Himself who is the Author of both.

– Stephen Charnock

1628 – 1680

Quotes (795)

baxter Consider, is it not better to remember your sins on earth, than in Hell? Before your Physician, than before your Judge? . . . O wretch, that I am! Where was my understanding, when played so boldly with the flames of hell, the wrath of God, the poison of sin! When God stood by, and yet I sinned! When conscience rebuked me, and yet I sinned! When heaven or hell were close at hand, and yet I sinned! When, to please my God and save my soul, I would not hold back a filthy lust, or forbidden vanity of no worth! When I would not be persuaded to a holy, Heavenly, watchful life though all my hopes of Heaven depended on it! I am ashamed of myself; I am confounded in the remembrance of my willful, self-destroying folly! I loathe myself for all my abominations! O that I had lived in poverty and rags when I lived in sin! And O that I had lived with God in a prison, or in a wilderness, when I refused a holy, heavenly life, for the love of a deceitful world!

–  Richard Baxter

1615 – 1691

Quotes (794)

Stephen Charnock If you take away God, you take away conscience, and thereby all measures and rules of good and evil. And how can any law be made when the measure and standard of them are removed? All good laws are founded upon the dictates of conscience and reason, upon common sentiments in human nature, which spring from a sense of God; so that as the foundation is demolished, the whole superstructure must tumble down. A man then could be a thief, a murderer, an adulterer, and could not in a strict sense be considered an offender. The worst actions could not be evil, if a man were a god to himself, a law to himself.

– Stephen Charnock

1628 – 1680

Quotes (763)

If inanimate creatures could but speak, your food would say, “Lord, must I nourish such a wretch as this, and yield forth my strength for him, to dishonor Thee? No, I will choke him rather, if Thou wilt give commission.” The very air would say, “Lord, must I give this man breath, to set his tongue against heaven, and scorn Thy people. . . .  No, if Thou wilt but say the word, he shall be breathless for me.” His poor beast would say, “Lord, must I carry him upon his wicked designs? No, I will break his bones, I will end his days rather, if I may have but leave from Thee.” A wicked man; the earth groans under him, and hell groans for him, till death satisfies both.

– Joseph Alleine

1634 – 1668

Quotes (731)

thomas-watsonIn the creation, man was made in God’s image; in the incarnation God was made in man’s image. . . . He took our flesh that He might take our sins, and so appease God’s wrath. . . . Christ’s taking our flesh was one of the lowest steps of His humiliation. . . . For Christ to be made flesh was more humility than for the angels to be made worms. . . . He stripped Himself of the robes of His glory, and covered Himself with the rags of our humanity.

– Thomas Watson

1620 – 1686

Quotes (730)

The loathsome carcass does not more hatefully swarm with crawling maggots, than an unsanctified soul with filthy lusts. Look backward; where was ever the place, what was ever the time, in which you did not sin? Look inward; what part or power can you find in your soul or body which is not poisoned with sin? . . . Call to mind your omissions and commissions; the sins of your thoughts, words, and actions; the sins of your youth, and the sins of your riper years. Do not be like a desperate bankrupt that is afraid to look over his books. Read the records of conscience carefully. These books must be opened sooner or later.

– Joseph Alleine

1634 – 1668

Quotes (722)

Puritans Some think that because God made them, surely He will not damn them. This is true, if they had continued good, as He made them. God made the devil good, yes an excellent creature, yet we know that He shall be damned (Matt. 25:41).  If God spared not His holy angels (Jude 6), after they became sinful, shall man think that God will spare him? A sinful man shall be judged at the last day, not according to what he was by God’s first making; but as he shall be found defiled and corrupted by the devil, and by his own lusts.

– Henry Scudder

1585 – 1659