nay, and I fear, to this day, is lack of reading. I scarce ever knew a preacher who read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety; there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than a thorough Christian. Oh begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercise. You may acquire the taste which you have not; what is tedious at first will afterward be pleasant. Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a pretty, superficial preacher. Do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow. Do not starve yourself any longer. Take up your cross and be a Christian altogether. Then will all the children of God rejoice (not grieve) over you, and in particular yours.” – John Wesley, writing to a younger minister, quoted in D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, Letters Along The Way (Wheaton, 1993), page 169.
“We find Christ in all the Scriptures. In the Old Testament He is predicted, in the Gospels He is revealed, in Acts He is preached, in the epistles He is explained, and in Revelation He is expected.” – Alistair Begg
“I would propose that the subject of the ministry of this house, as long as this platform shall stand, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist, but if I am asked to say what is my creed, I think I must reply, “It is Jesus Christ.” The body of divinity to which I would pin and bind myself forever, God helping me, is Christ Jesus, who is the sum and substance of the gospel, who is Himself all theology, the incarnation of every precious truth, the all-glorious personal embodiment of the way, the truth, and the life.” – C. H. Spurgeon
“If we say we have faith, but no works follow, that is clear evidence that our faith is not genuine.” – R.C. Sproul
“Before Calvary, Christ was represented by way of a blood-shedding ritual on an altar; after Calvary, he is represented by a blood-less feast at a table.” – Derek Thomas
“The more you know about Christ, the less you will be satisfied with superficial views of him.” – C. H. Spurgeon
“Of all deadly sins, this is the most deadly, namely, that any one should think he is not guilty of a damnable and deadly sin before God.” – Martin Luther
“A Christian is distinguished by his conversation. He will often trim a sentence where others would have made it far more luxuriant by a jest which was not altogether clean. . . . If he would have a jest, he picks the mirth but leaves the sin; his conversation is not used to levity; it is not mere froth, but it ministers grace to the hearers. He has learned where the salt-box is kept in God’s great house, and so his speech is always seasoned with it, so that it may do no hurt but much good. Oh! commend me to the man who talks like Jesus, who will not for the world suffer corrupt communications to come out of his mouth. I know what people will say of you if you are like this: they will say you are straight-laced, and that you will not throw much life into company. Others will call you mean-spirited. Oh, my brethren! bold-hearted men are always called mean-spirited by cowards. They will admonish you not to be singular, but you can tell them that it is no folly to be singular, when to be singular is to be right. I know they will say you deny yourselves a great deal, but you will remind them that it is no denial to you.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “The Clean and the Unclean,” 1863
“The deepest need of men is not food and clothing and shelter, important as they are. It is God. We have mistaken the nature of poverty and thought it was economic poverty. No, it is poverty of soul, deprivation of God’s re-creating, loving peace. Peer into poverty and see if we are really getting down to our deepest needs in our economic salvation schemes. These are important. But they lie farther along the road, secondary steps toward world reconstruction. The primary step is a holy life, transformed and radiant in the glory of God.” – Thomas R. Kelly, A Testament of Devotion (New York, 1941), page 123.
“If God should turn away from himself as the Source of infinite joy, he would cease to be God. He would deny the infinite worth of his own glory. He would imply that there is something more valuable outside himself. He would commit idolatry.” – John Piper
“When you desire to be most alive to God, you will generally find sin most alive to repel you.” – C. H. Spurgeon
“We cannot manipulate God, but we can trust him, and that is far better.” – J.D. Greear
“No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God.” – A. W. Tozer
“God requires satisfaction because he is holiness, but he makes satisfaction because he is love.” – Augustus Strong
“‘Wait on the Lord’ is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.” – J. I. Packer, Knowing God
“The essence of apostasy is changing sides from that of the crucified to that of the crucifier.” – John Stott
“Backsliding, generally first begins with neglect of private prayer.” – J. C. Ryle
16 July 1842: I feel that, unless the soul be saturated with prayer and faith, little good may be expected from preaching.
4 September 1842: Prayer should be the main business of every day.
22 February 1846: God will not let me preach with power when I am not much in Him. More than ever do I feel that I should be as much an intercessor as a preacher of the Word.
4 June 1848: It is praying much that makes preaching felt.
29 December 1849: My chief desire should be . . . to be a man of prayer, for there is no want of speaking and writing and preaching and teaching and warning, but there is need of the Holy Spirit to make all this effectual.
21 February 1862: I am convinced that living in the spirit of prayer from hour to hour is what brings down the blessing.
9 September 1876: A time of impotence rising from want of much prayer. Nothing but constant intercourse with the Lord will carry on the soul. I got last Saturday set apart as a day of prayer; and I trace much of my help to that day.
22 June 1878: Ask much, for this is the way to grow rich.
12 May 1888: Found time to give the whole of this day entirely to prayer and meditation. There will be fruit of it to me and my people.
Recorded in Philip E. Hughes, Revive Us Again (London, 1947), pages 22-24.