To Ponder

 “On hearing it, many of His disciples said: This is a hard teaching; who can accept it?” John 6:60. Many people reject Christ because of the radical self-denying nature of His precepts. The very first condition He imposed on His disciples was to “Deny themselves, and take up their cross daily, and follow Him.” He told them plainly that they must be no more of the world than He was. He warned them that He would acknowledge none as His disciples unless they were truly willing, at any time and in any manner, to lay down their lives for Him. How offensive these precepts and injunctions were to the carnal hearts of His hearers, we may judge by the conduct of the Rich Youth, who, though convinced in his judgment that Jesus was the Messiah, could not prevail upon himself to follow Him–but abandoned all his hope in Christ, rather than make the sacrifice that was demanded of him.And what is it that at this day forms the principal ground of offence against the Gospel? It is the purity and radicalness of its precepts. If only we would leave men at liberty to indulge their corrupt desires and to retain their earthly and sensual dispositions, they might listen to us. But, if we require from our hearers the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and a conformity to His heavenly example and holy precepts–we put a stumbling-block before them which they fall over to their eternal ruin! They cannot, they will not endure to hear of such requisitions; and on account of their aversion to such restraints, they reject the Gospel altogether. It is impossible for the human mind, blinded as it is by innumerable lusts and prejudices, to see the truth and excellence of the Gospel–unless it has been first enlightened by the Holy Spirit. “The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear!” To have the mind brought to a cordial acquiescence to all the precepts of Scripture, is indeed a reason for thanksgiving. Blessed is that man who has attained it, for that acquiescence clearly shows that he is taught of God. Psalm 19:8. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. Psalm 119:4. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. V. 15 I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. V. 40  How I long for Your precepts! V. 56 This has been my practice: I obey Your precepts. V. 93 I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have preserved my life. V. 104 I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. (Charles Simeon, 1759-1836)

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