What it Really Means to Guard Your Heart

What it Really Means to Guard Your Heart

What it Really Means to Guard Your Heart
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

For many the instruction to “guard your heart” means controlling your emotions, specifically in relation to the opposite sex. Others use it to emphasise resisting impurity. These applications tell us more about current evangelical preoccupations than what Proverbs 4:23 means by the heart and how we are to keep it. It is a much more difficult, comprehensive and urgent task than these specific counsels suggest.

​It is certainly urgent and essential. John Flavel said that keeping our heart “is the most important business of a Christian’s life”. “It is the great work of a Christian, in which the very soul and life of religion consists, and without which all other duties are of no value with God”.

Andrew Gray spent considerable time explaining these matters. The following is extracted and updated from his three sermons on Proverbs 4:23.


1. What is Our Heart?

Our hearts are the most important aspect of our being.

“Even if you gave Christ all your members, yet it would be considered nothing if you would not give Him your heart”. It is clear from what Gray says that our heart is not merely our thoughts or feelings. It includes our whole understanding, reason, memory, will, affections and conscience. It is the soul and all its faculties. It is every aspect of our inward and spiritual life.

But crucially the heart is by nature corrupt, deceitful and constantly departing from God.


Our hearts are exceedingly deceitful.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Isaiah likewise speaks of a deceived heart which leads people aside (Isaiah 44:20). The heart of man is a deceitful thing, it will preach “peace, peace” when there is none. It will make us commit sin when there is not even any outward pleasure in it.

This is the great mystery of iniquity, that even our hearts will deceive our own hearts, and study to bring them to ruin. If your hearts were left one hour to yourselves to keep, you would commit more iniquity than you can imagine or dream of.


Our hearts are desperately wicked. 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). If there were threatenings, commands, promises and convictions of sin, yet your heart will cause you to sin. If hell were put in your way, yet, for the pleasure of an idol, you would run to sin.


Our hearts love idols.

That there is a cursed union between the heart and idols (Hosea 4:8 and 17). Three times we read in Ezekiel 24:3-5: “they have set up their idols in their hearts”. Keep your hearts with diligence lest this union be tolerated.


Our hearts are mad. 

There are many of our hearts that are exceedingly mad (Ecclesiastes 9:3) Certainly the hardness of our hearts shows that we do not keep our hearts.


Our hearts are divided. 

The fact that the heart is divided (Hosea 10:2) shows great necessity of keeping our hearts. If we were all well searched, it is to be feared that many of us would be found two-hearted. “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). A man with two hearts has part of his heart going to God and part of his heart going to the devil.


Our hearts depart from God.

I am broken with their whorish hearts, which have departed from me (Ezekiel 9:6).


Our hearts are ignorant.

By nature our hearts are exceedingly dull and ignorant in the ways of godliness (Ephesians 4:18).


Our hearts are unstable and changeable.

We may compare the heart of a Christian (while here below) to Reuben: “unstable as water” which mars its excellence. While a Christian is here below he is like the moon: changeable and subject to many vicissitudes.


2. Why Should We Keep Our Heart?

This is something of eternal consequence. The reasons why are in Proverbs 4:23 “for out of it are the issues of life”. If you keep your heart, you shall have life; but if not, the issues of death will come from it.

It is a most excellent thing for a Christian to keep his heart. It is better to conquer that little thing of the heart, than it is for one to conquer a city (Proverbs 16:32).

It is something that is also very difficult and so must be done with “all diligence” or “all keeping”.  There is such difficulty in keeping our hearts that we ought strongly to guard them. Adam kept his heart for only a short time and yet he could not keep it. This shows the difficulty of keeping it. Pray to God to keep your heart (Psalm 25:20; 1 Peter 4:9). Pray that prayer that Christ prayed when He was on the cross committing His Spirit into the hands of the Father (see Luke 24:36).  O pray that prayer every day.


3. What is it to Keep Our Heart?

Keep Sight of Everything in Your Heart.

Keeping our heart means that a Christian should observe the motions of his heart, and should not let his heart nor thoughts go astray, but should have a register of all their motions (Luke 21:34).


Keep Everything that Pertains to Your Heart.

(a) Your thoughts; (b) Your eyes (Proverbs 4:25); (c) Your tongues (Proverbs 4:25); (d) Your feet, (e) Your ears.


Keep Everything Unclean Out of Your Heart.

(Proverbs 5:8; Deuteronomy 12:30).


Keep Restraints on Your Heart.

Keep it so you may not commit iniquity. Bind these ropes on you to restrain yourselves: (a) the rope Christ’s love; (b) the rope of judgment – God will call you to a reckoning for all your wickedness; (c) the rope of God’s omniscience – all things are known to Him.


Keep Watch for Opportunities for Strengthening Grace in Your Heart.

If you disregard them you are not keeping your heart.


Keep Your Heart in a Prayerful Condition.

“Watch and pray” and “Pray without ceasing”.


Keep Your Heart in a Loving Condition.

You ought to have your heart burning within you with love towards that glorious, infinite, and mysterious Jesus Christ.


Keep Your Heart in a Condition of Fearing Self.

Fear the danger you are in if you are left to yourselves and your own strength.


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6 Reasons Why You Must Constantly War Against Sin

6 Reasons Why You Must Constantly War Against Sin

6 Reasons Why You Must Constantly War Against Sin
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

​The battlefield is the worst place in the world. Constant danger, bombardment and stress take their debilitating toll on mind and body. No doubt it is impossible for those who have never been in a foxhole fully to comprehend it. Yet the Christian is in the midst of a constant spiritual battle against sin (Romans 7:23; James 4:1; 1 Peter 2:11). It is an enemy that never calls a truce. We will suffer great spiritual damage if we do not maintain constant warfare against it.

​Andrew Gray preached several sermons on spiritual warfare against sin. They are positive in showing the victory that may be obtained through Christ (Romans 7:24-25). The blessings and benefits of this warfare are included in a new free e-book called War Against Sin (download). Yet Gray says that he is “afraid that the Christians of this generation have proclaimed truce and a treaty of peace with their lusts”. “O, can such a delusion as this overtake you, that you can be an overcomer without fighting? Is your strength greater than those that have gone before you? Do you think you can accomplish this war in one day and pursue your enemies till you overtake and consume them? O when will it be that we will be daily groaning forth daily this mournful cry: ‘O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death'” (Romans 7:24).


What is Spiritual Warfare Against Sin?

In these words Paul breathes out a sweet desire to be delivered, not only from his actual corruption, but from his original guilt, which here he calls the body of this death.  Great multitudes of corruptions flow from the root of original sin. It has so many different and varied members and parts that they make up a body, which, unless it is resisted, will certainly occasion death. When Paul is under strong conviction of his guilt and sees himself completed he uses these words:  “O wretched man:. The word in the original signifies one wearied with troublesome and continual combat with little apparent success. This certainly implies that he was a man who was greatly and continually taken up in wrestling against his corruptions. He was endeavouring to bring them unto subjection to the obedience of Christ Jesus.

You can see the way Paul sought to overcome his lusts, he was much in prayer. The words of verse 24 are a short and sad prayer. It is like Isaiah 38:14 “O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me”.

It is the duty of a Christian to wrestle against their corruptions (Acts 24:16; Colossians 3:5; Ephesians 6:13 and 1 Corinthians 5:7). No doubt, if we reflected more on the nature of sin we would be more constant in this warfare. Especially if we considered that through sin precious conformity with God is lost. We must also consider the woeful effects of sin: that it works death and brings us under the curse of a living God. Failure to consider these means that Christians are greatly disabled to stand fast in liberty with which Christ has made them free and often entangle themselves again with the yoke of bondage.


1. Lack of Assurance Comes from Not Warring Constantly Against Sin

Most Christians, if were asked when they last set aside some hours to put their sins to death would not be able to give an answer. A Christian that can interrupt the work of putting sin to death for several weeks may either suspect that grace is groaning within him with the groanings of a deadly wounded man or else that he is not at begotten again to a lively hope at all. There is no discharge in this warfare. We must fight until we have one foot within that place of everlasting delight.


2. Hardness of Heart Comes from Not Warring Constantly Against Sin

This was clearly the case with David, having ceased this war he could write a letter to get godly Uriah killed. Scripture makes no mention of David’s heart smiting him for it. Those who are not putting sinful self to death make their heart die as a stone within them. 

A warring Christian keeps this holy zeal within. He hates the garments spotted with the flesh. Why is there such hardness of heart among us in these days? It is because Christians are not putting sin to death much. We think we will gain heaven easily and this makes us give so little consideration to this blessed work.


3. Prevailing Sin Comes from Not Warring Constantly Against Sin

Christians that do not war constantly against sin ordinarily have their indwelling lusts reigning most. Sin will gather more strength when we neglect to put it to death for a single day than we can gain to prevail over it through wrestling with it many days. Sin has a subtle dexterity. It can regroup with ease within a few hours. If you are not constant in this warfare you will not sing many songs of triumph over your lusts. A triumpher in the fight must be constant. How long is it since you set up an Eben-ezer to God as  a trophy and monument of your victory? We think the Christians of this generation have the fewest and least trophies of their victory in the way to heaven as ever any that went before them.


4. Lack of Hope Comes from Not Warring Constantly Against Sin

A Christian who neglects to war constantly against sin fights a doubtful war. They have not determined whether the fight will go in their favour or not. In 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul speaks of fighting in an agony (as the word implies) persuading himself that he will have that crown of righteousness which is the reward of a conquering Christian. I do not know what will afford a Christian greater peace and comfort than to believe that he will put all enemies under his feet and make them his footstool.


5. Doubts in Death Come from Not Warring Constantly Against Sin

Do you know why some Christians die with so little assurance of faith? They have not been much in  putting sin to death. What comfort Paul had , when he said, “I have fought the good fight of faith”. I doubt if Paul ever sang a song of praise in a higher key than when he sang that song (2 Timothy 4:8). Paul’s heart was half-transported, when reflected on the fact that all his lusts were dying and killed at his feet.


6. Withered Grace Comes from Not Warring Constantly Against Sin

A Christian who neglects constant war against sin is withered in other graces and in exercising their gifts. This is one of the sorest afflictions that can befall a Christian. 

War Against Sin

Few other things are more vital for spiritual life and health than putting sin to death. It is as stark a choice as John Owen emphasised: “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you”.

This free e-book called War Against Sin (PDF) shows the benefits of putting sin to death. Gray stresses how closely it accompanies vigorous spiritual growth, grace and assurance. We cannot call a truce in this warfare.



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7 Benefits of Measuring Your One Brief Life

7 Benefits of Measuring Your One Brief Life

7 Benefits of Measuring Your One Brief Life
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

​In a 24/7 world, time is a precious commodity. We live our lives by the clock, assessing how much time we have till the next item on the schedule. It’s a 24/7 world because to many, this life and this world is all that matters. Time is short but there is an eternal world to come. This makes time precious in an altogether different way. True wisdom compels us to measure our lives for our enduring benefit.

As Moses shows, our lives are so short they can be compared to a single day (Psalm 90:6). Jacob lived longer than the oldest person now alive but he assessed his years as “few and evil” (Genesis 47:9). Andrew Gray gives valuable counsel on the benefit of measuring our days in order to know the brevity of time. He says that it would be desirable that “the thoughts of it were deeply engraven on our hearts, as with a pen of iron and the point of a diamond”. Thus, “they might rise with us in the morning and lie down with us at night, and be continually with us”.  It would be “a spur in our side” reminding us of what concerns our soul’s everlasting benefit. It is worth noting that Andrew Gray died very young, at the age of only 22 years. The following is an updated extract from one of his sermons.


1. Measuring Our Life Brings Heavenly-mindedness

It is clear that “we have here no continuing city”. What should this produce?  “Therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:14-15).  Considering the brevity of our life is good for the very same reason, to remind us of eternity. Since it is so, we should  set our affections and desires on things that are above. We should set our whole hearts on that glorious and precious pearl of our crown that shines so bright: when “we shall meet Christ in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). O long for that day and let your hearts covet more the excellent things that are above in heaven.


2. Measuring Our Life Makes Us Moderate in the Pleasures of this Life

It will cause great sobriety and moderation in pursuit after the worldly pleasures and delights of this present life. This is clear from that command given 1 Thessalonians 5:8, “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breast-plate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation”. If the thoughts of the brevity of our life were engraven on our hearts, why then should we vex ourselves with the torturing cares of this life, which does not profit us at all? O why do we weary ourselves in the fire, which is but vexation of spirit and surely vanity? O Christians, let  your moderation in the pursuit of the things in this world be made known to all men. For behold! The Lord is at hand, to take vengeance and revenge on the wicked, with furious rebukes of flaming fire, and eternal excommunication from the righteous Judge.


3. Measuring Our Life Makes Us Serious and Diligent in Duties

It makes us diligent and watchful in going towards that blessed rest that is prepared for all the redeemed of the Lord. Our blessed Lord Jesus reasoned, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4) Then, O Christians, while it is called today, stir up yourselves for working out the work of your salvation. We do not know how suddenly the shadows of that everlasting evening may be stretched out over us and we receive that summons from God to remove from here and be gone. Are you not afraid lest you be banished? Lest the night approach before your work is perfected? I am afraid that many will still not have begun that great work of their soul’s salvation when death summons them to appear before God’s terrible tribunal and judgment-seat.

Be afraid and stand in awe, lest the night is hard by and at hand. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die,” say the Epicureans. They make use of this argument to stir up delight in fulfilling their lusts; but let us be watchful and diligent for we do not know but it may be tomorrow that we must die.

Take more time to consider the things that are before you than the things that are behind. Think more on what is before than what is past: “press forward toward the mark, for the prize of the high-calling of God, in Christ Jesus”.


4. Measuring Our Life Makes Us Understand Why We Were Created

Adam was created according to the most blessed and glorious image of God. But having a woeful and cursed design to be as God and like Him, fell from that blessed condition and all his posterity in him. He made us and himself subject to God’s wrath and eternal indignation for evermore. But blessed be God eternally that He has found out that new and living way by which we may escape that curse on all mankind for sin.


5. Measuring Our Life is a Great Help to Put Idols to Death

Thoughts of the brevity of our life and appointed time would put to death the following great idols which have us so much under their power:

(a) It helps put to death the idol of false trust. This is when we trust in anything more than in God. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man” in whom there is no help (Psalm 146:3).
(b) It helps put to death the idol of false love. This is when we love anything more than God. We are to cease from man “whose breath is in his nostrils” (Isaiah 2:22).
(c) It helps put to death the idol of false fear. This is when we fear anything more than God. Particularly when we are “afraid of a man that shall die and of the son of man which shall be made as grass?” ( Isaiah 51:12)


6. Measuring Our Life Creates Wonder at the Love of Christ

One who measures their life may attain to a holy admiration and divine astonishment at the condescending love of Jesus Christ. “Man that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). What a wonder it is to see God delighting Himself in the dust of His feet. God makes those who dwell in the dust an object of His love! Surely this is a mystery which we cannot comprehend.


7. Measuring Our Life Makes Us Compassionate

God makes use of the brevity of our live to provoke Him to have compassion and mercy. Surely this is God’s way and we must wonder at it rather than inquire and debate why it is so. This is clear from Psalm 78:38-39: “But being full of compassion, he forgave their iniquities, and turned away his anger; for he remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.”



Gray notes that God has appointed our time and numbered our days (Job 14:14-16). God has done all things well. The brevity and shortness of our life declares the great love and matchless delight that God has to sinners. He is longing for the day when all the redeemed of the Lord shall be with Him, to remain there forever to enjoy all delights and all soul-pleasures. Long for that day, but be submissive to God’s will. Those who have made use of their life to enjoy communion and fellowship with God will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.



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Are You Spiritually Authentic?

Are You Spiritually Authentic?

Are You Spiritually Authentic?
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

​We’re told that young people in their 20s and 30s crave authenticity. They have grown up with the empty exaggerated promises of advertising. Over-polished superficiality doesn’t impress much. Authenticity and trustworthiness are certainly important values to recover. The danger, however, is that we judge what is genuine simply by what “feels” real to us. Spiritual authenticity is defined by God in His Word. Above all, what matters is that we personally are spiritually real.

​Sadly a defective idea of spiritual authenticity has become a trend in some parts of evangelicalism. It has a focus towards others and features a false openness. It means being vulnerable and admitting your failings to the extent of wallowing in them. Making the acknowledgement of imperfection an excuse for continuing in sin. So much so that some writers have questioned whether such “authentic” confessions are really a way of avoiding the demands of holiness.

True spiritual authenticity is focussed on God. Andrew Gray describes spiritual authenticity as the grace of “sincerity”. He preached a sermon on the description of Nathanael: “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” (John 1:47). Christ, who spoke these words, is the judge of spiritual authenticity. Gray begins his sermon by posing the question as to whether there were any in the congregation to whom Christ could give this “precious testimony”. Professing Christians pursue many spiritual things more than this particular grace. “There is more true and unspotted religion in one grain of sincerity – it is of more worth and value – than if you would pray half of your time and weep the other half”. The following is abridged and extracted in updated language from Andrew Gray’s sermon.


What is Spiritual Authenticity?

  1. Our practice conforms to our profession. Usually, we profess more than we practice (Matthew 23:5). Most of us come very short not only of what we ought to be, but also of what we seem to be.
  2. We are as much exercised in spiritual duties on our own as in company. Many commend Christ to others. Yet if the walls of their houses could speak, they would testify that they do not watch in prayer. They “love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men” (Matthew 6:5). They do not love to pray much in private.
  3. Our hearts conform to our words. Our blessed Lord Jesus was commended for having no guile in His mouth and His spirit. He spoke nothing with His mouth that was not in His heart.
  4. We act for the glory of God as well as out of faith and love.

In short, Christian sincerity is a sweet agreement between our profession and practice, our heart and our walk and our walk and our hope. Every Christian grace can be counterfeited by a hypocrite. Whatever we do, have or can have, is empty and pointless without this precious and excellent grace of sincerity. Sincerity is to other graces what the sun is to the planets. They cannot be seen without it.

The Christian has his greatest peace from this grace of sincerity when passing through death to his everlasting rest and home. All our duties will then pass away as a cloud.   Sincerity is the way to best resemble God. Is not God sometimes in Scripture called the God of truth? All your other graces will not thrive if they do not grow out of the ground of sincerity.


The Benefits of Spiritual Authenticity

1. It Best Prepares You for Assurance

It is because you are not sincere that you debate with yourself about your assurance of salvation and have so much jangling unbelief. The grace of sincerity best capacitates a Christian to receive intimation of peace.  The sincere Christian knows best how to make use of assurance and peace of conscience.

2. It Enables You to Wrestle Against Sin

It engages the Christian to wrestle against predominant sins. There is no grace that enables a Christian more to put predominant sins to death. “I was also upright before him and I kept myself from mine iniquity” (Psalm 18:23). There is an emphasis in these words. Christians may engrave this title on their iniquity: “It is mine”. While iniquity is still living and Christians are under it, while it is not yet put to death,  Christ does not have much access to the soul, and has only the corner of the Christian’s heart.

3. It is the Best Evidence that Your Sins have been Forgiven

David says in Psalm 32:2 that the evidence of one who iniquity is forgiven is that there is no guile in his mouth.

4. It Brings You Most Victory Over Sin

It enables a Christian to put his besetting sins to death. What is the blessedness of such Christians? “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord”. Their blessedness is that they hate every false way and their feet do not turn from the commandments of the Lord. I am persuaded that the little we exercise sincerity is the reason we do not succeed in putting sin to death. Is it not often your aim in prayer merely to quiet your conscience? Why do you seek to put sin to death? Is it not to obtain peace and be free of outward offence against the generation of the just? Such motives are due to lack of the grace of sincerity.

5. It Makes You Receive All God’s Promises

God manifests His faithfulness most to those who exercise sincerity most. God is upright with those that walk uprightly (Psalm 18:26). That uprightness consists of faithfulness most of all. “The Lord God is a sun and shield…no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). This promise is to those that walk uprightly and delight in God’s law with their whole hearts.

6. It Best Prepares You for Fellowship with God

“Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart” (Psalm 73:1). Who are those that receive divine influences from heaven? Those that are sincere.

7. It Enables You to Persevere to the End

The sincere Christian will endure to the end of their fight and spiritual warfare without the least spot and blemish on their walk. Solomon says: “He that walketh uprightly, walketh surely” (Proverbs 10:9).

8. It Enables You to Enjoy Christ’s Presence

It is impossible to make best use of Christ’s presence without this precious and noble grace of sincerity. The Christian is to make best use of experiencing Christ’s presence as strengthening towards heaven and putting sin to death. This is not possible without sincerity.  “The way of the Lord is strength to the upright” (Proverbs 10:29). We are certain that all the ways of mercy and grace give strength to the Christian that is sincere. Lack of sincerity prevents Christians from making best use of their spiritual blessings.


Gray acknowledges that there are difficulties in the way of spiritual authenticity. It requires diligence, humility and a constant focus on the being and glory of God. We read of “hypocrisies” in the plural in 1 Peter 2:1. This is because it may be in any and all of a Christian’s actions. Before we condemn ourselves altogether, he makes a distinction between having hypocrisy to some extent in our actions and being a hypocrite. The excellent nature of the grace of sincerity should provoke our desires and affections after it. It is like a precious and excellent garment with which we can be robed so that it is clear to both God and man that we are an “Israelite indeed in whom is no guile”.



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Measuring the Greatness of Salvation

Measuring the Greatness of Salvation

Measuring the Greatness of Salvation
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

​Salvation is free but it is not cheap. It is without money but also without price. The gospel has a simplicity yet it must never be undervalued. Appreciating the fulness of the gospel should be our daily delight. It has dimensions that challenge our ability to measure. There are at least eight ways in which we can attempt to measure the greatness of salvation.

​Andrew Gray draws out the dimensions of this great salvation in a sermon on Hebrews 2:3 “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation”. This great salvation is offered in the gospel. In Ephesians 1:13 it is called “the gospel of our salvation” and in Acts 13:26 “the word of this salvation”.


1. Its Great Cost

No less a price was laid down to purchase this great salvation than the blood of the Son of God. Where does salvation flow to you from? It comes running to you in a stream of the blood of the Son of God. This is clear from Hebrews 9:12: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (see also Acts 20:28).


2. Its Great Victory

It is a great salvation in view of the many difficulties and great opposition in the way of bringing it about. What great impediments lay in Christ’s way before He could accomplish and bring about this great salvation? Was not the justice of God to be satisfied? Was He not to die and be made like one of us? Was He not to lie in the grave? Was He not to bear the torments of hell before this great salvation could be accomplished and brought to pass?

There were such impediments in the way of bringing about this great salvation that, if all the angels in heaven had attempted it, they would have been crushed under it. Even if there was only that one great impediment of satisfying the justice and pacifying the wrath of God. No one could go through this except the eternal Son of God. No one could try to enter much less could get through it, except He alone who was mighty to save.


3. Its Great Esteem

It is a great salvation in respect of the high estimation that the saints have for it. There is no mercy which they think comparable to this, all other mercies are but like Zoars (i.e. little), in comparison of this great mercy and gospel salvation.


4. Its Great Effects

This salvation produces great effects. Many of these are opened up to us by David in Psalm 19:7-10. Bringing us out of nature into a state of grace is a great effect is it not? Is it not a great effect to make us friends who were enemies? That is an effect of our great salvation. Is not a great effect to make us who were moving in the way to hell, move in the way to heaven? That is an effect of this great salvation. Is not this also a great effect, to make us who were far off not to be made near? Yet this is the effect of this great salvation. And is it not a great effect to make us who were darkness, to become light in the Lord? That is the great effect of this gospel salvation. Time would fail me to tell of the great effects of this great salvation. But O will you come and see? That will be the best answer you can have to this question as what are the effects of this great salvation?


5. It Great Advantages

  • Is not heaven a great advantage? This gain awaits those who embrace this great salvation.
  • Is not Jesus Christ a great advantage? He awaits those who embrace this great salvation.
  • Is not eternal communion with God a great advantage? This awaits those who embrace this great salvation.
  • Is not eternal liberation from the body of death a great advantage? This awaits those who embrace this great salvation.
  • Is not eternal singing in the enjoyment of God a great advantage? This awaits those who embrace this great salvation.
  • Is not eternal seeing of God as He is, a great advantage? Yet this awaits those who embrace this great salvation. Would you be honourable? Come and embrace this great salvation. Would you be eternally happy? O then come and partake of this eternal salvation.


6. Its Great Pre-eminence

It is greater all other salvations that ever were accomplished. There never was a salvation or victory (obtained by any general or captain for a land or people) that could have the name of great salvation in comparison with this.


7. Its Great Authority

We have spoken of its great cause and effects: it is also a great salvation in relation to its authority. Who is the author of this great salvation? Christ: “He became the author of eternal salvation unto them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9). This salvation must therefore be suited to such an author. It is a most noble and radiant beam of the majesty of the Son of God, the Mediator that He is the author of this great salvation.


8. Its Great Duration

It is not a salvation which is but for a day, but it is an eternal salvation. “He obtained eternal salvation for us” (Hebrews 9:12).


Before You Go Away…

Before you go away think about this: whether or not you intend to embrace this great salvation now while you may have it. This day I have set life and death before you. I have set before you both the great salvation and the great damnation.

O that you had understanding in all these things! O that being wise you might be provoked at last to embrace this great salvation which we yet again urge you to think upon! I have this day presented it to you from the Lord. Is heaven not looking on you at this time to see what you will do with this great offer of salvation?

Now, to Him…

  • that can persuade you to embrace this great salvation, this gospel redemption, this blessed mystery, into which the angels desire to look:
  • who can bring you back from the pit, and enlighten you with the light of the living:
  • who has the keys of your prison, who can open, and none can shut, and can shut, and none can open:
  • who hath all power in heaven and earth communicate to him, who can deliver you from the grave, and can set you free from all your enemies,

…we desire to give praise.



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8 Ways to Know Whether Christ is Precious to You

8 Ways to Know Whether Christ is Precious to You

8 Ways to Know Whether Christ is Precious to You
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

​These days you can get an instant valuation on almost everything you own. Yet such reports will never list the personal value you place on them. Some of our possessions are valuable to us personally while others are extremely valuable or precious.  Christ is infinitely precious in Himself, but He must also be infinitely precious to us personally. If He is not we do not have true faith. “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious” (1 Peter 2:7). We need to know unmistakably whether Christ is precious to us.

As Andrew Gray explains, true faith values Christ. “Faith is that grace that gives a Christian a most broad and comprehensive sight of Christ. It draws aside the veil off the face of Christ, and presents His beauty to the soul”. “Faith is that grace by which a Christian keeps most communion and fellowship with God: ‘That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith’ (Ephesians 3:17)”.  Faith also “describes and makes Christ precious to the soul. It presents to you the absolute necessity of embracing Jesus Christ, and that makes Christ precious to the soul”. We can speak much about Christ and loving the Saviour but is He truly precious to us? Gray gives us 8 different ways by which we may know for sure.


1. If you have a Desire for Holiness

Those to whom Christ is precious have a desire for His image. That is, they will have a desire after holiness. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). O Christians, do you not desire to bear the image of the second Adam as you have borne the image of the first (see 1 Corinthians 15:49)?


2. If you have a Desire to make Constant Use of Christ

Those to whom Christ is precious will desire to make continual and constant use of Christ. They will make use of Him for:

  • justification: that they may be purged and have the precious features of Christ drawn on them;
  • wisdom: that they may be directed aright through this wilderness;
  • redemption: that they may be set free from their spiritual enemies. O Christians, dare you ever say that an idol ever assaulted you that you did not embrace? O! I fear there are many that may acknowledge that this is true.


3. If you have a Desire for Greater Fellowship and Communion with God

Those to whom Christ is precious have a desire after more fellowship and communion with God. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” (Song of Solomon 1:2). “Draw me” (Song of Solomon 1;4). Do you think that all absence from Christ (no matter how short) is like an eternity? If so, this is evidence that Christ is precious unto you.


4. If you have a Desire for Christ’s Presence

They are exceedingly burdened during Christ’s absence and withdrawing from them. The bride sought Him whom her soul loved; she sought Him, but she found Him not. She continued seeking until she found Him (Song of Solomon 3:1-3). The bride expressed her respect to Christ in these three things:

(a) A Christian’s anxiety is dissatisfied with any other than Christ. Mary Magdalene undervalued the angels, “they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him” (John 20:13). She, as it were, turned her back on the angels because there was none for her but Christ. The happiness of a Christian lies in these words: “they have taken away my Lord“.

(b) A Christian’s anxiety expresses itself in a dissatisfaction with all graces without Christ. This is clear in Song of Solomon 3:1-3. There she had the grace of faith, love, diligence, patience and submission; yet notwithstanding this, the one that she wishes for is absent.

(c) A Christian’s anxiety expresses itself in a low esteem of all things that come short of Christ. “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my sore ran in the night, and ceased not; my soul refused to be comforted” (Psalm 77:3)


5. If you have a Desire to Understand Christ’s Dealings with You

Those to whom Christ is precious are spiritually observant. They record Christ’s dealings with them as far as they can when He has withdrawn His presence. When He is present they take special notice, and of when they are permitted to taste of the apples of the tree of life.


6. If you have a Desire to Avoid Offending Christ

Those to whom Christ is precious will be, to a greater or lesser extent, grieved for grieving and offending Him. I fear that I must say to the shame of most of us that sin was never a burden to us. O Christians! Can Christ be precious to you and yet you do not hesitate to offend Him?


7. If you have a Desire to give Greater Value to Fellowship with Christ

Those to whom Christ is precious will have a high esteem for union and fellowship with Christ. What do the hearts of Christians run after most? I fear it is not after Christ. There are some whose hearts are upon the world; there are others whose hearts are upon the pleasures of the world; there are some whose hearts are upon the applause of the world; and there are others whose hearts are on the covetousness of the things of the world (Ezekiel 33:31).  O, therefore, strive to embrace Jesus Christ.

The devil will let you give all your members to Jesus Christ but he says, “Give me your heart”. He will let you give your eyes, ears, hands, and feet to Christ but he says, “Give me your heart”. There are three sorts of persons that are not right in heart.

(a) Those with a divided heart. The devil certainly has the hearts of such who are “double-minded” (James 4:8).

(b) Those whose hearts are given entirely to the devil. There are some whose hearts are not divided, namely, atheists. This is clear from Hosea 4:17, “Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone”; or, as the word literally means, he is “married to his idols”. Surely Christ is not precious to someone like this. O Christians! Does the world not have your first thoughts when you rise in the morning and your last thoughts when you go to bed at night? Thus, I fear our idols always have more of our thoughts than Christ.

(c) Those whose hearts are wrestling against their predominant lusts but are falling down under them. They are not wrestling in the right way. I may say, however, that there are not many such amongst us whose main concern is to wrestle against the devil and his temptations.


8. If you have a Desire for the Duties that Obtain Fellowship with God

Those to whom Christ is precious will have some delight in the duties that obtain communion and fellowship with God. The Bride seeks Christ from a principle of delight, faith and necessity (Song of Solomon 3:1). O Christians, why do you go to prayer like this? I think most of us go to prayer only from a principle of satisfying our natural conscience.  Someone that has real delight in duty has a low estimation and account of all things that come short of Christ. They have a high esteem of Christ Himself only.



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How Does Faith Sanctify?

How Does Faith Sanctify?

How Does Faith Sanctify?
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

This is an extremely practical question. If we have true faith by grace it will incline us more to holiness.  Christ says that sanctification is through faith in Himself (Acts 26:18). A pure heart and unfeigned faith belong together (1 Timothy 1:5). Faith as the root of all the graces must be active in our sanctification. Simply having faith in a passive way is not what sanctifies; it must be exercised actively in Christ and His Word.


​There is a danger to be avoided, however. To some people, sanctification through faith can sound like justification by faith. Sometimes they then begin to speak about sanctification by faith alone. While this sounds plausible, it is in fact a significant error.

It is true that both are entirely by grace alone. You cannot of course have one without the other. Yet, sanctification is a work or a process of grace within us, whereas justification is an instantaneous act of grace outside of us. One can grow and develop, the other does not. In justification, sin is pardoned while in sanctification it is subdued. The Westminster Larger Catechism explores this distinction in Question 77.

The danger of emphasising faith alone in sanctification is that it suggests that we are not to work out what God works in us. But it must involve obedience as well as faith. Sanctification is walking in the way of holiness not simply a deeper appreciation of our justification. Yet faith is crucial in this obedience. Andrew Gray unfolds in a practical way how faith works by love in our sanctification.


1. Faith shows us Christ’s matchless excellence and transcendent beauty

This sight persuades the soul to say: “what have I to do any more with idols?” (see Hosea 14:8). Once we are united unto Christ by faith we break our union with our idols. Ignorance of Christ’s excellence and beauty and of love towards Him is the main reason that the poorest idols in the world remain in your hearts. A true view of the glorious Sun of Righteousness would make you add your amen to the following excellent confession of faith. “Vanity of vanities…all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).


2. Faith shows us Christ’s spotless holiness

Faith shows us Christ’s holiness as well as His beauty. This makes a soul fall in love with the excellence of sanctification. The first steps to sin and misery were desiring to be as God, knowing good and evil. But among the first steps to life and happiness, the soul desires to be holy, as He is holy. Ignorance of the beauty of holiness is the great reason that you fail to strive much towards a blessed conformity to God and the image of Christ.


3. Faith lays hold on Jesus Christ

Faith draws strength and power from Christ to conquer lusts. It also produces a blessed conformity to Himself. When the Christian is weak, faith is the go-between our emptiness and Christ’s fullness; our weakness and His everlasting strength. Faith counsels us:

(a) not to lean to our own strength; and

(b) to have recourse to Jehovah in whom is everlasting strength.

If we made more use of Christ by faith we might see the following prophecy fulfilled. “He that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord” (Zechariah 12:8). When a Christian is least self-confident, then God proves Himself to be Almighty and All-sufficient.


4. Faith lays hold on the promises and believes them

Believing the promises gives birth to conformity to God. The benefit of believing the promises is that by them we are “made partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).


5. Faith believes Scripture’s threats against sin

This has a strong and undoubted influence on attaining and growing in sanctification. Faith strengthens the Christian against committing iniquity with two texts (Romans 6:29 and Revelation 21:27). “O soul”, (says faith), “do not commit iniquity, for the wages of sin is death”. “Also, nothing that is unclean or commits iniquity will enter into the heavenly city”. Faith together with the threats and promises of Scripture would be like a threefold cord not easily broken to restrain you from sinning.

Do you want to know why our cursed hearts commit iniquity with so little fear and with so much delight? It is because we do not believe that God’s threats will be fulfilled in due time. If you believe Revelation 21:27, it is impossible that you would sin as you do; even if it would gain the world for you. If you undervalue God’s threats, the time will come when you will be constrained to cry out: “He has spoken it and has done it. He is faithful!” Not one jot or tittle in the Word of the Lord will fall to the ground. God will be faithful in fulfilling His threats just as much as His promises.


6. Faith shows us heaven

Faith takes the soul to the top of Pisgah to behold the promised land. Seeing such noble privileges prepared for the saints must make them pursue holiness. They know that it is impossible to get there without holiness. He has said that without holiness, no man shall see God (see Hebrews 12:14). If you got a view of heaven by faith, you would be constrained to walk in the path of sanctification. This is the glorious way by which you must walk through the gates of that blessed city.

You do not, however, know happiness of that place. It is only mere fancy and notion to you. This is because you do not strive to conform yourselves to the blessed image of God. Are you so deluded as to believe that you who never pursued holiness on earth will enter into heaven’s gates? There are some who say in their hearts, “I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart” (Deuteronomy 29:19). Many suppose they might be converted and sanctified all in one day. But why will you deceive yourselves? It is true that nothing is impossible with God. Yet, remember that only one thief on the cross was saved.


7. Faith believes the promises

Faith believes Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”. Faith loves such excellent sayings. It makes the Christian attain likeness and conformity with God so that he may behold His face and be like Him in heaven.


8. Faith shows us the exceeding sinfulness of sin

This cannot happen until the grace of faith is in vigorous exercise.

  • Faith show us the person against whom we sin. This shows the exceeding sinfulness of sin.  When the Christian beholds God and His matchless excellence he says, “What a beast I was, to offend such glorious majesty! What a fool I was, to kick against the goads or fight against such an infinite God!”
  • Faith shows the Christian the great obligations of love Christ has imposed on us. Faith shows us the everlasting love of Christ. Faith is the grace that lets us see His sufferings. Faith lets us see all that He has done for us. This makes the Christian cry out: “O how foolish and unwise! Do I repay the Lord like this?” The more a Christian would pursue his duty, the less debt he would incur. There are two registers which a Christian should study: 1. The register in which all the infinite acts of love are recorded; and, 2. The register in which all our acts of offending precious Christ are written. You would be astonished and ashamed to see so much forgiven you and would not dare to sin any more. You would see infinite mercy rejoicing over judgment. You would see the spotless riches of the transcendent grace in Christ.


  • Faith shows a Christian the disadvantages and solemn consequences of sin and in this way, the exceeding sinfulness of sin.



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6 Questions Believers Ask When They Reach Heaven

6 Questions Believers Ask When They Reach Heaven

6 Questions Believers Ask When They Reach Heaven
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

​Christians from the past can teach us to be more heavenly-minded. The more they considered heaven the more they were motivated to serve and glorify Christ on the earth. They did more earthly good than those who fail to dwell upon heaven in their hearts.

​It is difficult to speak in much detail about the glories of heaven. There is much that is not disclosed to us. In any case, it is difficult for us to conceive of something so different from our ordinary experience. The Larger Catechism gives an attractive summary of biblical teaching on heaven.

The communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the last day they be again united to their souls.

Andrew Gray develops with sanctified imagination the experience of passing into glory. He considers what thoughts the believer may have at this time. He is not dogmatic about this or over-speculative. He imagines the believer asking questions in their astonishment. Some might think that the order of these questions ought to be different. For instance, that Christ might be the first consideration of a believer made perfectly holy. The order of the questions is not the main matter, however.

Thinking about this helps us to consider something of the wonder of the immediate presence of our God and Saviour. It is helpful to know that Andrew Gray spoke these words in an address to those who were about to partake in the Lord’s Supper. They were seated at the Lord’s Table in the parish church of Kirkliston near Edinburgh.

Without encroaching too far on the mysteries of heaven, I think there are six questions that a Christian is likely to ask when they first go there.


1. Is it I?

“Cursed I, that has lain among the pots? And now I am made like the wings of a dove that are covered with silver, whose feathers are of yellow gold? (see Psalm 68:13)”

O you who look forward to heaven! Comfort yourselves with this, the day is coming when you will not recognise yourselves! O what a day that will be which brings this question: “Is it I? Is it I?”


2. Is it He? Is it that exalted He?

The first sight of Christ will make them say: “Is it He whom I saw in prayer and sacraments? Is it He, whom I saw in preaching?”

O what will your thoughts be when you first get that blessed One in your arms? You will cry out: “Now I am rich! Now I am full! Now I am eternally complete!” You will then be forced to cry out to Christ to hold His hand because you can hold no more.


3. Is this the communion that I had when I was below?

“Is this the bread indeed, that blessed bread that is above? It is bread of a different grain and a different taste”.

Suppose angels were to come down from heaven to this church and speak to us about the taste of that “bread” above. They would close by saying with Hebrews 11:32: “What shall we say more? for time would fail us”.


4. Is it they?

Suppose two sitting here who know one another well were transported up to heaven. Their first question might be: “Is it she, or he that I was sitting with? Is it he that trampled under foot the blood of the Lamb?”

I think that some of the Christian’s time in heaven will be spent in questions between Christ and themselves. “When I feasted you at such a communion, did I not do well? And when I withdrew my felt presence from you, did I not do well? When I humbled you, did I not do well? When I lifted you up, did I not do well? When I sent you to such a place of my world, did I not do well? Thus, you will be forced to cry out and commend Him: “O precious Christ has done all things well”.


5. Is this the blessedness of the saints?

I know none that go to heaven who do not receive some mysterious disclosures of it before they go there. But, O what an ample sight that will be, when Christ will come to the gate and shall say: “Welcome friends!” What fervour and joy there will be, when Christ will take you in His arms! O, the raptures of love that there will be! Have you never heard of the reward and reception that this city provides?


6. Will it always be like this?

What do you think of eternity friends? Did you never call Time cruel? “O cruel Time, that does not quicken your pace that long eternity might approach?” Did you never think to have shortened your hour-glass? That if it had been in your power you would have given it a touch to make it go in faster?

I think that love is not skilled in arithmetic. Love cannot count a jot. Love counts every moment’s absence as eternity. Is that not bad arithmetic? Love counts a thousand years in his presence as but a day. Is that not bad arithmetic?



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5 Comforts in Trials for those that are Forgiven

5 Comforts in Trials for those that are Forgiven

5 Comforts in Trials for those that are Forgiven
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

​Worldly wisdom and self-help philosophy tell us that the way to deal with difficulties is to get a different perspective on them. The trouble is that they cannot offer anything but a worldly perspective on them. Yet from this perspective earthly loss and trouble will always still matter greatly. If we consider such things in the light of eternal and spiritual realities we have true and sure comfort within the eye of the storm.

​There is a greater burden than our troubles. Andrew Gray expressed astonishment at the unspeakable folly and madness among many. They are content under the unbearable burden of their sins which before long will sink them into the lowest hell. True happiness must be in having these sins forgiven. Why do people not pursue this as the most important matter? Gray gives some reasons why this is the case.

  1. They do not feel the burden of their sin.
  2. They do not consider deeply how shameful and abominable sin is.
  3. They do not consider deeply the infinite justice of God.
  4. They have not spent time considering deeply from God’s law how exceedingly sinful sin is.
  5. They do not consider deeply the blessings that come from the forgiveness of sins.

We need to experience the blessings of this pardon and the assurance that we have been forgiven. Andrew Gray shows how assurance of the forgiveness of sins supports us through our trials.


1. Divine Comfort in Trials

Those who have their sins forgiven can comfort themselves with this. No matter how distressing and their lot may be in this world it is a comfort to them. “Son, be of good cheer” the Saviour said, because his sins were forgiven (Matthew 9:2). O what divine comfort the soul of a Christian can reap by reflecting on the fact that his sins are pardoned? “The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall say no more that they are sick”. This is because “their iniquities are forgiven them” (Isaiah 32:20).


2. Understanding in Trials

The Christian who has been forgiven understands why they experience affliction. The same affliction is a mystery for one that lacks forgiveness. Samson’s riddle is no mystery to a Christian. Food comes “out of the eater” and sweetness “out of the strong”. [see Judges 14:5-9 and 14, Gray is comparing afflictions to a lion. The believer overcomes them and receives sweetness out of them]. God makes up for their afflictions with the fact that He knows their soul in adversity (see Psalm 31:7).


3. Hope in Trials

Those who have their sins forgiven have the hope of glory despite their anxious thoughts within. They can drown all these in hope of the endless depths of enjoying God throughout all eternity. “Being justified by faith…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2). All your rivers of sorrows will sweetly dissolve in that endless ocean of unspeakable joy. It is not long until you will have entire and everlasting release from all these things that so greatly overwhelm you now. Sorrow and sighing will then flee away, being afraid to seize hold on you.


4. Peace with God in Trials

Undoubtedly, it requires the tongue of an angel to commend the precious benefit of peace with God. This flows to a pardoned Christian. What could be more desirable than to have the peace that passes all understanding? If we believed how great God is, it would be our greatest ambition and most earnest request to have peace with Him. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1-2).


5. Patience in Trials

Submission to God and patience are possible even under the saddest and most bitter providences. It is impossible for those who are uncertain about their condition to be patient under the rod. Neither can those who have been ordained to condemnation of old (Jude 4). Yet one who has forgiveness made sure can endure the saddest and most bitter things with great patience. Is he afflicted by reproach from others? He will make it up with this: “I am pardoned”. His losses may multiply. Nothing else makes up for it all except this (and it is certainly enough). “I have obtained mercy and pardon from God through Jesus Christ”.



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Pride in Grace: is that Possible?

Pride in Grace: is that Possible?

Pride in Grace: is that Possible?
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

Some glory in their shame which is contradictory enough. But to be proud of a free gift we had to be humbled to receive is surely most contradictory of all.

Apparently it was C H Spurgeon who cautioned:

“Be not proud of race, face, place, or grace”.

When this is quoted it is often said that pride of grace is the worst. Pride is a spiritual sin and pride in spiritual things must therefore be the worst kind of pride. The Puritans often emphasised that it was the sin of sins, the one that God hates most (see Proverbs 6:16 and James 4:6). It is idolatry and robs God of His glory. This is why pride in grace is so dangerous.

William Gurnall pointed out that while grace itself cannot be proud yet we ourselves can be proud of it. He expounds at greater length the two aspects of pride in grace that Andrew Gray (1633-1656) makes clear in a much more pithy way. These are trusting in either its strength or its worth. It is depending on grace without depending on God. That is, secretly depending on grace as though it was part of our own ability. Gray says:

O beware of pride in grace: trusting in its strength or relying on its worth. Should the mud wall be proud because the sun shines on it? If you are proud in this way you will be delivered into the devil’s hands by some terrible fall. Your confidence will then be cut off. Peter’s example may scare you. His confidence was high. Even though all men would be offended because of Christ yet he would not be.  Yet he was soon dismounted when he denied Christ with cursing.



Your grace will wither and dwindle if you pride yourself in it. Remember, pride is both a sin and a solemn sign of a diseased soul. A complacent attitude that is difficult to cure. It is the cancer of our comforts and the poison of our duties. Indeed, it nourishes all sin. If a man is proud, it is to be feared that he lacks that which (in his opinion) he has mastered. You cannot endure spiritual pride in others and can God endure it in you? Where does God store up the richest wines of the choicest mercies? Is it not in the lowest cellars of humble hearts?


Remember, pride is the mark of the devil’s slaves, but humility is the mark of Christ’s followers…Say with the apostle, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). I pray, yet not I, but the Spirit prays in me. I do duties, yet not I, but Christ helps me to do them.

Extracted and updated from A Door Unto Everlasting Life.



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3 Ways You Must Learn from the Saviour’s Authentic Prayers

3 Ways You Must Learn from the Saviour’s Authentic Prayers

3 Ways You Must Learn from the Saviour’s Authentic Prayers
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

Prayer is hard. Authentic prayer is very hard. It will often be broken and stammering and a lifelong struggle. The popular myth among evangelicals is that prayer is a casual conversation. This makes it far easier of course but it falls short of being authentic. We have been shortchanged if we are influenced by this myth. How do we know? The Saviour’s example shows us. He was not only frequent in prayer but also fervent and reverent. Casual prayer on the other hand, is neither reverent nor fervent.

​Andrew Gray (1633–1656) powerfully explains these aspects of Christ’s prayer to us. What could be more authentic than the prayers of the Lord Jesus Christ? In his youth a carefree Gray was changed forever as a result of a moving experience.  One day he was walking near Edinburgh when he saw a poor man, a beggar leave the road and go into a corn-field. The boy watched him kneeling down beside a large stone and then heard him pour out a solemn confession of sin and earnest prayer with great warmth and emotion. Gray was greatly moved when he witnessed someone to be pitied “in the worst of circumstances, whose life is almost a burden to him”. “Here am I” he thought, with plenty of everything and never knew what it was to lack anything. Yet Gray had never acknowledged God free giver of everything to him as this poor beggar. The poor man never had even a tenth of what Gray himself should have acknowledged with thanks to God.  Gray now came to understand the nature of real prayer by experience and in a lasting way.

He died at the age of 22 years old after a ministry of only 27 months. His personal holiness was such that he was described as a “spark from heaven”. A powerful preacher, he left behind various sermons on prayer including four on 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing”.

The following is extracted and updated from Gray’s book A Door Opening into Everlasting Life. Here he sheds valuable light on the practice of prayer from the Lord Jesus Christ’s unique example.

If Christ was in prayer often, will you neglect prayer altogether, or pray very rarely? Prayer is the daily duty of every child of God. It was said of the converted Saul of Tarsus: “Behold he prayeth” (Acts 9:11). We are commanded: “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Prayer is a special part of the adoration of God and acknowledging of God’s supremacy and sovereignty over His servants.

Prayer is the foremost means of communion that we can enjoy with God on earth. It is the way to prosperity, peace and happiness. “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee” (Job 22:21). Our prayers are letters of request. They are written on the inside with supplications, but on the outside with plentiful answers (Psalm 126:5-6). The prayerful heart is the gracious heavenly heart.  Why do you not pray? Are you so rich that you need no supplies of grace. Or are you or so careless that you do not desire them?

O learn from Christ to be frequent, and fervent, and reverent in prayer!


1. Learn from Christ to be Frequent in Prayer

Christ prayed early and late, night and day. “In the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35). “He continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12). If Christ spent nights in prayer, will you not spend hours in prayer? Why do you pray in fits and starts, and not consistently? Why are you so seldom in God’s presence, pouring out your hearts to Him? Are you afraid of coming to God too often? You may come too seldom, but you can never come too often to God. Are there not reasons for prayer to God early and late in a day? Are there not sins early and late to be forgiven, mercies early and late to be obtained and distresses early and late to be prevented. Are there not duties early and late to be performed, afflictions early and late to be endured and temptations early and late to be defeated? Where does your health and strength come from? Is it not from heaven? How do they come from heaven except by means of prayer? Remember the morning and evening sacrifices of the Old Testament. The ceremony may be abolished as only a type. Yet the moral requirement, the basic principle and righteousness of this duty remain. Daily offerings of prayer and praises are our unquestionable duty (Psalm 141:2). O above all things, seek God often! You have the very key of heaven if you have the gift and grace of praying.


2. Learn from Christ to be Fervent in Prayer

Christ’s prayers were earnest, fervent and painstaking. “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly” (Luke 22:44). If Christ prayed fervently, will you pray in a superficial and cold way? Will you pray in a drowsy way, as if you were asleep, or as if you did not care whether you prayed or not? In this way you expose yourselves to the unmistakable danger of losing your prayers. Cold prayers speak a denial. They are mere carcasses of duty. The Lord detests and will never accept such carnal and sinful services. The greatest liveliness well becomes us, when speaking in the ears of the living God.

O do not let your prayers be superficial and unthinking but have the strength of your heart and soul in them. The more earnest you are in prayer, the more you resemble Christ “who in the days of His flesh…offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7).


3. Learn from Christ to be Reverent in Prayer

Our Saviour Christ was God. He was equal and one and the same in substance with God His Father. Nevertheless, He was also man. As such He was accustomed to kneel down and pray with all humility  (Luke 22:41). He even cast Himself flat upon the ground before Him (Matthew 26:39). We owe to God a twofold devotion, internal and external. The first must be done and the second must not be left undone. Servants show respect before their masters. Even pagans have kneeled to their idols and will Christians not kneel to the true God? “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95:6). What bodily posture is more fitting when coming into God’s presence to receive grace from the Giver of all grace? This is the posture of humble suppliants, meekly kneeling upon our knees. God indeed is “a spirit” to be worshipped “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). He is to be worshipped primarily in spirit but not in spirit only. Learn from Paul who said “I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:14).


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Scotland’s Judgements

Scotland’s Judgements

Scotland’s Judgements
Andrew Gray (1633-1653) was a gifted young preacher who died after a ministry of only 27 months in Glasgow. His sermons were marked by deep spiritual experience. It was said of him, "...never in the history of our country did a man of his years make so deep a mark."

Scotland’s Judgements is a sombre warning against national sins before a holy God.

Scotland’s Judgements

Scotland’s Judgements is a sombre warning against national sins before a holy God. Drawn from a letter written by Andrew Gray on his deathbed, it speaks plainly about the way in which such sins provoke God. These solemn laments do not forget God’s mercy. Yet they must make us to tremble for 21st century Scotland’s national sins at a time when they are abounding and increasing. It is relevant, however, to any nation in similar circumstances.



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