365 days with Newton


He does not quench the smoking flax

‘Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’ John 3:4

When we read our Lord’s discourse with Nicodemus, we may well say what some said who heard him speak themselves, Never man spake like this man [John 7:46]. Here we see a depth of doctrine explained and illustrated by the most familiar and condescending comparisons. We see something of that tenderness and freedom with which he received all that came unto him. He did not despise the day of small things; he did not quench the smoking flax, but cherished it into a flame. We see likewise the power and efficacy of his words, how they cause light to spring out of darkness, instruct the most ignorant and confirm the most fearful. Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, attained at length so much boldness in his cause, that when he hung upon the cross, wounded and dead, when his apostles had all forsaken him, he durst appear in the midst of his enemies as an open disciple and assist in taking down his body and preparing it for the funeral. Let this encourage those who are now seeking him in much darkness and many fears. His arm is not shortened, nor his ear heavy, nor his compassions abated to this hour.

FOR MEDITATION: The religion I then possessed my Lord, thou knowest, scarcely deserved the name. For I knew little of thee as a Saviour, and while I trusted thee in temporals, I was not aware of my greatest wants and dangers. In my spiritual concerns, I chiefly depended upon myself. I knew I had been very bad, I had a desire to be better, and thought I should in time make myself so. Surely if I had any light, it was but as the first and faintest streak of dawn. Yet if this glimmering had not been from thee, it could not have advanced. Thou who wilt not forsake the work of thine own hands, nor break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, wast pleased to pardon, accept and bring me forward. May the remembrance of thy patience and gentleness towards me, teach me forbearance and candour to others, in whom I observe the smallest indications of a desire to seek and serve thee!
Annotated Letters to a Wife, 21 February 1795

SERMON SERIES: JOHN 3:1–2, NO. 1 [1/7]

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