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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Horatius Bonar – Practical Religion

1. Words of Warning

Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him. — Isa. 3:11

To whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever. — 2 Pet. 2:17

Unconverted Sinner, thy state is sad, and thy misery is great! No tongue can tell how sad is that state — no soul can conceive how great is that misery. Thine heart may well meditate terror, for thou art still unpardoned, uncleansed, unsaved! Thy feet are just about to stumble upon the dark mountains; and woe, woe, yea, ten thousand times woe to thy poor soul, if this night it were required of thee. Poor forlorn soul! Thou hast no God, and therefore thou hast no happiness! Thou hast no Christ, and therefore thou hast no pardon, no peace! Thou art without a father, without a friend, without a hope, and without a home! This earth is truly to thee “a wilderness and a land of darkness.” Thou walkest through it a houseless, homeless wanderer; no arm to lean upon, no chosen companion of your secret thoughts and feelings; no friend to soothe your griefs or share your joys! Thou mayest have what men call a father, a brother, a home, on earth; but thou canst not call God thy father, nor Jesus thy brother, nor heaven thy home above! Thou wanderest on from day to day, a houseless, homeless outcast, seeing nothing around thee but trouble and sorrow, and nothing before thee or above thee but the blackness of darkness forever! (Jude 13).

Thou art an enemy to God! (Rom. 8:7). And who has ever hardened his heart against Him and prospered? An enemy to the blessed God! An enemy to Him that made thee — to one that has never wronged thee in ought — to one that has loved thee with a love so true and tender as to give for thee His only begotten Son! Yea, thou hatest Him! (John 15:24). Thou treatest Him as if He were some hateful and hated fellow worm, whose company thou couldest not endure (Job 16:14). Oh, what vile ingratitude, what desperate malignity, thus to return enmity for friendship, hatred and scorn for gentleness and love! The most loveable object in all the universe is the object that thou hatest most! Oh, what madness, what enormous wickedness!

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Horatius Bonar – Behold the Man

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” – 1 Peter 2:24

1. My soul, there is sin upon thee. Nay, it is not only upon thee, but in thee and about thee. It is a part of thyself. It does not merely grow upon thee, as the moss grows upon the rock, nor rest upon thee as the dust rests upon the summer flower, nor float above thee as the smoke floats above yon city. It is in thee. It is in thy inmost part. It fills thee as the water fills yon well. It soaks into thee as the rain into the soil. It oozes out of thee as the water from the fountain. It has gone through and through thee as the salt pervades the ocean in all its depth, or as the mud and filth of earth go through and stain yon river, making it, as it rolls along, a mass of discolored deformity. There is no part of thee clean or holy. What good thing canst thou do, or speak, or think, or feel? The things which are right and good in their own nature, such as alms-deeds and self-denying labors, become evil when done by thee. Thy hand defileth all that it toucheth. Thy very prayers are so full of sin that they would be sufficient to condemn thee.

2. My soul, keep in mind that sin is a real thing. Few in this sad world think so, even when they write or speak the word. It is but an idea to them—a dim image—the shadow of a cloud passing lightly over a sunny earth; no more. Yet it is real—terribly real—having about it nothing of the shadow save its darkness. If sin be not real, why is sorrow so real? Why are disease and pain so real? If sin be not real, why so many weeping eyes, so many heavy spirits, so many broken hearts? If sin be not real, why is death so real, why is the churchyard so full, and why do so many mourners go about the streets? If sin is not real, what becomes of the Law, what is the meaning of the Cross, and what is the use of a Judgment Day? If sin be not real, then why does God hate it; and why is heaven only for the holy and hell only for the unholy? Or why is there such an endless heaven and such an eternal hell?

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