Blessedness


“I saw my blessedness did not chiefly lie in receiving good and comfort from God, and in God, but in holding forth the glory of God and his virtues.”—Thomas Shepard.

Attitude for Prayer

“Let us consider who this glorious Being is, that invites us to this fellowship with himself; how awful in majesty! how terrible in righteousness! how irresistible in power! how unsearchable in wisdom! how all-sufficient in blessedness! how condescending in mercy! Let us again consider, who are we that are invited to this correspondence: How vile in our original! how guilty in our hearts and lives! how needy of every blessing! how utterly incapable to help ourselves! and how miserable for ever, if we are without God! And if we have sincerely obeyed the call of his gospel, and have attained to some comfortable hope of his love; let us consider, how infinite are our obligations to him, and how necessary, and how delightful it is to enjoy his visits here, with whom it will be our happiness to dwell for ever. When we feel our spirits deeply impressed with such thoughts as these are, we are in the best frame, and most likely way to pray with grace in our hearts.”

—Isaac Watts, A Guide to Prayer.

The Hardest Time of All

But at last we learn the lesson
That God knows what is best;
For with wisdom comes patience,
And of patience comes rest;
Yea—a golden thread is shining
Through the tangled woof of fate;
And our hearts shall thank Him meekly,
That He taught us how to wait.

—from The Hardest Time of All by Sarah Doudney

Precious Chain of Books #3 - 127 years ago

Influence of Good Books by Rev. W. M. PUNSHON, LL.D.

I thought how an old Puritan doctor wrote a book years and years ago, called "The Bruised Reed," which fell just at the right time into the hands of Richard Baxter, and brought him under the influence of the enlightening power of the Spirit of God; and then Baxter's ministry was like the sun in his strength, and he wrote a book called "The Call to the Unconverted," which continued to speak long after Baxter himself had ceased to speak with human tongue. That "Call to the Unconverted" went preaching on until it got into the hands of Philip Doddridge (prepared by his pious mother's teaching from the Dutch tiles of a mantel-piece with very quaint Scriptural stories); and it was the means of enlightening him to a broader knowledge, and a richer faith, and a deeper experience of the things of God. And then I thought how Doddridge wrote a book called "The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul," which, just at a critical period in his history, fell into the hands of William Wilberforce, who wrote a book called "Practical Christianity," which, far down in the sunny Isle of Wight, fired the heart of a clergyman, who has attained, perhaps, in connection with this society, the broadest and widest reputation of all—for who has not heard of Legh Richmond? He wrote the simple annals of a Methodist girl, and published it under the title of "The Dairyman's Daughter''; and I should like to know into how many languages that has been translated, and been made of God a power for the spread of truth. The same book on "Practical Christianity'' went right down into a secluded parish in Scotland, and it found there a young clergyman who was preaching a gospel that he did not know, and it instructed him in the way of God more perfectly, and he came forth a champion valiant for the truth upon the earth, until all Scotland rang with the eloquence of Thomas Chalmers. Look at it!—not a flaw in the chain: Richard Sibbes, Richard Baxter, Philip Doddridge, William Wilberforce, Legh Richmond, Thomas Chalmers—is not that apostolical succession?

Article from: The Evangelization of the World: A Missionary Band: a Record of Consecration, and an Appeal, by B. Broomhall, (1889)

Precious Chain of Books #2 - 100 years ago

One hundred years ago as found in the Christian Worker's Magazine, June, 1916:

The Precious Chain of Books
That God has greatly used Christian literature is a fact of history. There are six books known as the “Precious Chain of Books," by which thousands and tens of thousands of souls have been converted and the work of these books is going on in the world at this time.

Years ago an old Puritan, Doctor Richard Sibbes, wrote a book called the “Bruised Reed,” which fell just at the right time into the hands of Richard Baxter, and brought him under the enlightening power of the Spirit of God; Baxter's ministry became like the sun in his strength, and he wrote a book called “The Call to the Unconverted,” which continued to speak long after Baxter himself had ceased to speak with human tongue. That “Call to the Unconverted" went on preaching until it fell into the hands of Philip Doddridge, and was the means of bringing him to a deeper experience of the things of God.

Afterward, Doddridge wrote a book called “The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul” which, just at a critical period in his history, fell into the hands of William Wilberforce, who wrote a book called “Practical Christianity," which exerted a powerful influence on the higher classes of Englishmen.

Far down in the Isle of Wight, “Practical Christianity" fired the heart of a clergyman, who has attained, in connection with the tract societies, perhaps the widest reputation of all—for who has not heard of Legh Richmond? He wrote the simple annals of a Methodist girl, under the name of "The Dairyman's Daughter,” and it would‘ be interesting to know into how many languages this tract has been translated, and how it has been made of God a power for the spread of the truth.

The same book on “Practical Christianity" went down into a secluded parish in Scotland, found there a young minister who was preaching a gospel he did not understand, and instructed him in the way of God more perfectly, so that he came forth a champion valiant for the truth until all Scotland rang with the eloquence of Thomas Chalmers. Look at it! Not a flaw in the chain—Richard Sibbes, Richard Baxter, Philip Doddridge, William Wilberforce, Legh Richmond and Thomas Chalmers.

—Rev. A. W. Reinhard, in 'The American Messenger.'"

Notice in this version:
  • Richard Sibbes' book is identified as his famous "Bruised Reed."
  • Thomas Chalmers read Wilberforce's "Practical Christianity" instead of the "Dairyman's Daughter."

Precious Chain of Books #1

Ernest C. Reisinger (1919-2004) was a pastor and writer who wrote Every Christian A Publisher (http://www.chapellibrary.org/files/1813/7643/3199/ecap.pdf) where he states "The ministry of books can be used to evangelize, teach, train and expel ignorance as it has done in the past."

Also "A book by Richard Sibbes, one of the choicest of the Puritan writers, was read by Richard Baxter, who was greatly blessed by it. Baxter then wrote his Call To The Unconverted which deeply influenced Philip Doddridge, who in turn wrote The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul. This brought the young William Wilberforce, subsequent English statesman and foe of slavery, to serious thoughts of eternity.
Wilberforce wrote his Practical Book of Christianity which fired the soul of Leigh Richmond. Richmond, in turn, wrote The Dairyman's Daughter, a book that brought thousands to the Lord, helping Thomas Chalmers the great preacher, among others."

This same, or almost the same, mysterious passage shows up every once in a while in Christian literature. I hope to track down the source in future blog articles.

Circulate Religious Books

In 1823 it was said: “If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, then error will be; if God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendency; if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; if the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of this land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.”
Daniel Webster, US Senator and Secretary of State.