Horatius Bonar – Christ Our High Priest: Bearing the Iniquity of Our Holy Things

And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.” Exodus 28:36-38

The sacrifices under the Law were of various kinds. They were not merely numerous and often repeated, but they were manifold in their nature and design. True, there was but one altar, one High Priest, one tabernacle — all foreshadowing the one Savior. But there were manifold offerings, differing the one from the other, to set forth the “manifold grace of God” (1 Pet. 4:10), and the manifold perfections of Him in Whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell (Col 1:19). Thus these sacrifices, by means of their diversity, were all the more exactly fitted to prefigure Him Who is the fountain opened for all sin and for all uncleanness; and the High Priest, in the continual offering up of these, as well as in the performance of the various kindred offices pertaining to the tabernacle, did the more fully exhibit Him in all His completeness as the Servant of the varied wants of sinners.

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Horatius Bonar – The Blood of the Cross

The precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:19

Preface

That blood has been shed upon the earth, and that this blood was no other than the “blood of God” (Acts 20:28), all admit who own the Bible. But admitting this, the question arises, how far is each one of us implicated in this blood shedding? Does not God take for granted that we are guilty? Nay further, that this guilt is the heaviest that can weigh a sinner down?

If so, then is it not a question for the saint, how far have I understood and confessed my participation in this guilt incurred by my long rejection of the slain One? How far have I learned to prize that blood, which, though once my accuser, is now my advocate? How far am I now seeing and rejoicing in the complete substitution of life for life — the divine life for the human — which that bloodshedding implies?

Is it not also a serious question for the ungodly, is this blood shedding really and legally chargeable against me? Is God serious in saying that He means to reckon with me for this? Is this blood at this present hour resting over me as a cloud of wrath ready to burst upon my head as soon as my day of grace runs out? Is it on account of my treatment of this blood that I am to be dealt with at the seat of judgment? Is my eternity really to hinge on this?

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Horatius Bonar – God’s Way of Peace: A Book for the Anxious

God’s Testimony Concerning Man

God knows us. He knows what we are; he knows also what he meant us to be; and upon the difference between these two states he founds his testimony concerning us.

He is too loving to say anything needlessly severe; too true to say anything untrue; nor can he have any motive to misrepresent us; for he loves to tell of the good, not of the evil, that may be found in any of the works of his hands. He declares, them “good”, “very good”, at first; and if he does not do so now, it is not because he would not, but because he cannot; for “all flesh has corrupted its way upon the earth.”

God’s testimony concerning man is, that he is a sinner. He bears witness against him, not for him, and testifies that “there is none righteous, no, not one;” that there is “none that doeth good;” none “that understandeth;” none that even seeketh after God, and still more none that loveth him. God speaks of man kindly, but severely; as one yearning over a lost child, yet as one who will make no terms with sin, and will “by no means clear the guilty.” He declares man to be a lost one, a stray one, a rebel, nay a “hater of God;” not a sinner occasionally, but a sinner always; not a sinner in part, with many good things about him; but wholly a sinner, with no compensating goodness; evil in heart as well as life, “dead in trespasses and sins;” an evil doer, and therefore under condemnation; an enemy of God, and therefore “under wrath;” a breaker of the righteous law, and therefore under “the curse of the law.”

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Horatius Bonar – Truth and Error

1. Introduction

These letters are little more than fragments. They do not aim at a complete statement of the truth, or a systematic arrangement of it. It is only a few important points that they touch. To have extended them and embraced a wider range of doctrine would not have suited my design. I wished to warn you against some of the prevailing errors of the time, lest you, being “led away…from your own steadfastness” should follow after the “diverse and strange doctrines” of these last days. So it was necessary to dwell upon those errors which have been most prominently advanced, and to open up those truths which have been most perverted and denied.

My appeal is to the Word of God. “What are the reasonings, or opinions, or inferences of men? What is the chaff to the wheat?” saith the Lord. Let the Bible decide each question. It is for this that I have appended to each letter a selection of passages at length.

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Horatius Bonar – The Divine Compassion of God

“It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Genesis 6:6

The manner in which God here acknowledges man as His handiwork is specially to be noted. The words are, “It repented the Lord that he had made man upon earth.” It is not said generally, “that man had been made”; but definitely, that “he had made man.” He had spoken of man in his primeval goodness, as coming from His hand; so now He does not fail to remind us that it is this same man, this very race, that has now become so worthless and hateful.

He might have drawn a veil over this point, so as to prevent our being so vividly reminded that man was truly His own workmanship. But He does not. Nay, He brings the sad fact before us — a fact that seems to reflect upon His own skill and power. He does not disavow creation. He does not disown man. He does not speak or act as one ashamed to be known as the Maker of one so miserably apostate, so incurably depraved. Even when making known man’s extremity of guilt, He openly owns him as His creature. He does not keep silence on the matter, as one desirous that it should be forgotten or unnoticed. He brings it directly forward, as if to call attention to the fact.

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Horatius Bonar – The Night of Weeping and the Morning of Joy

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

It is no easy matter to write a book for the family of God. Yet it is for them that these thoughts on chastisement are written.

They may be found not unsuitable for the younger brethren of the Man of Sorrows, for the way is rough and the desert blast is keen. Who of them can say aught regarding their prospects here, save that tribulation awaiteth them in every place as they pass along? This they must know and prepare for, grasping more firmly at every step the gracious hand that is leading them on to the kingdom, and looking up for guidance to the loving eye that rests over them with fondest vigilance, ever bright and ever tender, whether in shadow or in sunshine, whether amid the crowds of busy life or in the solitude of the lonely way.

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Horatius Bonar – Christ and the World

What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? 2 Cor. 6:14

The friendship of the world is enmity with God. James 4:4

Worldly people seem to be well aware that it is only in this life that they will be able to get vent to their worldliness. They quite count upon death putting an end to it all; and this is one of the main reasons for their dread of death, and their dislike even of the thoughts of it.

They know that there will be no “worldliness” in “the world to come”; that there will be no money-making, nor pleasure-finding, nor feasting, nor reveling; no balls, nor races, nor theaters, in heaven or in hell. Hence their eagerness to taste “life’s glad moments,” to take their fill of mirth, to make the best of this life while it lasts; and hence the origin of their motto, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

Such are the out-and-out “lovers of pleasure,” the worshipers of the god of this world, the admirers of vanity, and indulgers of the flesh. They do not profess to be “religious”; but rather take pains to show that they are not so, and boast that they are not hypocrites.

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Horatius Bonar – Divine Compassion

“It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Genesis 6:6

The manner in which God here acknowledges man as his handiwork is specially to be noted. The words are, “It repented the Lord that he had made man upon earth.” It is not said generally, “that man had been made”; but definitely, that “he had made man.” He had spoken of man in his primeval goodness, as coming from his hand; so now he does not fail to remind us that it is this same man, this very race, that has now become so worthless and hateful.

He might have drawn a veil over this point, so as to prevent our being so vividly reminded that man was truly his own workmanship. But he does not. Nay, he brings the sad fact before us, — a fact that seems to reflect upon his own skill and power. He does not disavow creation. He does not disown man. He does not speak or act as one ashamed to be known as the Maker of one so miserably apostate, so incurably depraved. Even when making known man’s extremity of guilt, he openly owns him as his creature. He does not keep silence on the matter, as one desirous that it should be forgotten or unnoticed. He brings it directly forward, as if to call attention to the fact.

When man fails in some great or favourite project,—as when an architect plans and builds a palace, which, by reason of some essential defect, almost immediately tumbles down, — he is anxious that its failure should not be proclaimed, and that the work thus ruined should never be known as his. He cannot bear the reproach which is sure to fall upon him; he shrinks from the responsibility which has been incurred; he cannot afford to lose the reputation he may have gained.

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Horatius Bonar – God’s Way of Peace

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

There seem to be many in our day who are seeking God. Yet they appear to be but feeling “after him,” in order to “find him,” as if He were either a distant or an “unknown God.” They forget that he is “not far from every one of us,” for “in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Act 17:23, 27-28).

That He is not far, that He has come down, that He has come near — this is the “beginning of the gospel” (Mar 1:1). It sets aside the vain thoughts of those who think that they must bring Him near by their prayers and devout performances. He has shown Himself to us that we may know Him, and in knowing Him find the life of our souls.

With some who call themselves Christians, religion is a very unfinished thing. It drags heavily and is not satisfactory, either to the religious performers of it or the onlookers. There is no substance in it and no comfort. There is earnestness perhaps, but there is no “peace with God” (Rom 5:1), and so there is not even the root or foundation of that which God calls “religion.” It needs to begin over again.

Acceptance with God lies at the foundation of all religion, for there must be an accepted worshipper before there can be acceptable worship. Religion is, with many, merely the means of averting God’s displeasure and securing His favour. It is often irksome, but they do not feel easy in neglecting it; and they hope that by it they may obtain forgiveness before they die.

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Horatius Bonar – The Cure for Unbelief

“And He said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29

My dear brethren, I do not come to address you after the manner of man’s wisdom, nor with words of human eloquence, but to speak to your souls of the things which concern your eternity; — to stir you up to seek in good earnest salvation for yourselves and for others. It is a light thing that you should be attracted and pleased, — even were I able to do so, — but it is no light matter that you should be moved to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, God working in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. It is a light thing that the admiration of many should be obtained; but it is no light matter that the multitudes who are now far from God should be moved to return to Him from whom they “have revolted and gone” (Jer 5:23). The ratification of an hour is all that depends upon the one; but eternity, — a sinner’s eternity, — hangs upon the other.

Therefore it is that I have chosen for this day’s meditations, a subject which affords but little scope for eloquence or fancy, but which allows me a very full opportunity of speaking simply and with searching closeness of your present religious state, and of pointing out to you what our text suggests as the remedy for the very worst state of spiritual malady under which an individual, or a church, can labour. It is for this end that I have chosen these words to discourse from, on the occasion of my coming amongst you, that I may, at the very commencement of my ministry, declare what appears to be one of the chief causes of our low and languid condition; — that I may show you how much, how very much depends upon the people of God, — upon their “prayer and fasting,” — in the way of securing the divine remedy.

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