The Only Absolutely Safe Place of Shelter

The Only Absolutely Safe Place of Shelter

The Only Absolutely Safe Place of Shelter
Donald Cargill (1627 – 1681) was the minister of the Barony Church Glasgow who was dismissed for a protest against the celebration of the restoration of Charles II in 1662. He went on to preach in Covenanter field meetings until he was eventually captured and executed.
24 Mar, 2020

Many countries are now under a stay-at-home order. We must hope and pray that a successful lockdown builds the capacity of the health system, slows the rate of Covid-19 infection and reduces potential deaths. It is an unprecedented experience that changes everything in society. A similar order given in the USA is sometimes called a “shelter in place” warning. The basic principle and purpose of safety is the same, but it carries additional associations of shelter from storm or violence. As we draw on the truths of Psalm 91 in prayer, these thoughts ought to draw our minds to the only absolutely safe place of shelter. It is not physical shelter but spiritual, found under the shadow of God’s wings. We can have strong confidence there. That is the only place of security and safety for our souls.

A different storm (one of persecution) surrounded those who listened to Donald Cargill preach his final sermon in the Pentland hills. The verse he had chosen was both striking and “soul-refreshing”. Isaiah 26:20-21 is God’s invitation to His people to find shelter in Him from the coming judgment. Faith responds to God’s call to enter into the place of spiritual refuge in a time of judgment. Cargill therefore directed them to trust in Christ and His promises.

The Lord was going to come “out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity” (Isaiah 26:21). “He will not only go through Scotland, but He will go through other nations also”. “God is coming not only to judge for every oppression and bloodshed, but also for every hidden iniquity in the heart. The Judge is coming to judge, and it is for all iniquity. It is a wonder that men will not believe this. It will be found that many are sleeping in their sins and living quietly in their iniquity, and are not striving against it”. Even if we are in the most secure physical shelter with enough food to survive the crisis we are not safe from God’s judgment unless we hide in His mercy. We need a spiritual shelter from a spiritual threat.

Cargill shows how this verse is God’s call to His people in such times. They must make their “refuge under the shadow of His wings, until these sad calamities pass over, and the dove come back with the olive leaf in her mouth”.

One of those who heard him said that the sermon was full of the preacher’s concern for the souls of those before him. “He preached from experience, and went to the experience of all that had any of the Lord’s gracious dealing with their souls. It came from his heart, and went to the heart…his words went through them”. The following is an updated extract from the sermon.

1. God’s Call to His Shelter

(a) A call to get out of the way of judgment

“Come, my people.” God is sensitive to His people’s spiritual safety. But, sadly few of them are so sensitive to it themselves as to hear God. He is speaking kindly to them, to make haste into their “chambers” [i.e. God’s shelter]. This is His counsel and command to them. He commands you to set aside all other things and to strive to get a place of refuge near God. He has a great work to do and He would have you make provision in view of an approaching storm.

(b) A call to enter into God’s shelter

Enter into your chambers, He says. That is a warning. But they are also to “shut” the “doors” around them and make it all secure front and back. Leave no open doors because divine justice will make an astonishingly close search, and will pry into the least recess.

(c) A call to hide ourselves in God

It is good for us and for our advantage to be there until the wrath is over. We are never to come out of these “chambers” of God’s presence. It will be well forever with those who have entered into these divine “chambers” of safety.

2. What is God’s Shelter?

(a) God’s providential care

It is the soul committing itself to God’s providential care. We are all likely to meet with a storm. There are few who commit themselves to God. There is too little committing ourselves to God. When they are overtaken with temptations, many think their own intelligence or wisdom will help them but indeed it will not. This is why so many yield to the enemy. They are not taking themselves to God’s shelter. Their heart fails them and they forget to flee into them.

(b) Safety, pleasure and delight in God

For delight, these chambers are a palace. For strength, protection, and defence, they are castles. They are chambers of both safety and pleasure. They are God Himself who is all in all to the believer. They are a palace of defence from the wrath of God, for it never pursues a man within these chambers. They are places of delight, safety, security, and strength.

It is no wonder, then, that a soul desires to be near God and within this shelter. There they have all their soul can desire. There is nothing can frighten or terrify the soul of a believer, when they have entered in. These chambers of God’s presence are for “a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest” (Isaiah 32:2). Safety, pleasure and delight are to be found in them. Happy is the soul delighted with them! There is nothing to harm him when a storm of wrath is outside on the world.

3. How Does God’s Mercy Provide Shelter?

The safety of man lies in the mercy of God. Man’s safety in a time of indignation lies in God’s mercy, and your duty is to take yourselves to it.  A soul must take itself to the mercy of God,  if it would put itself into these chambers. But when we speak of God’s mercy and taking ourselves to it, we do not mean that these two have an equal share. No, the mercy of God comes before duty, for it is the love and mercy of God that stir us up to duty. The Lord must both do His own part, and stir us up, and enable us to do our part too. It is the mercy of God, properly, that does the whole work; and though He enables us to be doing, yet we must do all in His strength. It is God’s mercy when He does it alone, and it is His mercy when He does it with us. In what way does mercy work?

(a) Warning us of judgment before it comes

We all need much warning from God to flee out of the way of His wrath. Those who have their soul hid are happy. It is great wisdom to be out of the way of wrath. They are happy who cannot think to be one moment out of such a safety and  life. Sometimes they delight to draw sweetness from Him.

We have received much warning but it is little taken notice of. God summons and warns us. He assures us that wrath is approaching, but sadly these warnings make so little impression on us. They are lost to many of us. Woe to us that we have not made better use of them. God has warned us sooner and later, but it has had little or no effect, if it has not made us more complacent.

(b) Causing us to believe the warning

You who believe and accept warning, it is the mercy of God which gives you a new heart to do so. It causes you to make provision against the day of wrath. Those are happy who come before the judgment seat of God having made their acquaintance and peace with the Judge. They have got near to God and made peace with Him, the Judge is their friend. Have you made sure of everything and provision for defence?

(c) Providing shelter for us

His people have no more to do except flee to these chambers and hide themselves from wrath. The Lord will not execute judgment until chambers have been provided, and then the people of God need not fear. Chambers are provided for all that will flee to them. Will you die among God’s enemies? You are seen complying among the rest of God’s enemies, and those who do so have no reason to look for these chambers of protection from Him.

4. How Do We Enter God’s Shelter?

What will put a soul into these divine chambers? Nothing but faith. Faith both opens and shuts the doors. It opens the doors for us to enter in, and it shuts the doors behind us when we are entered into these chambers of God’s presence. No soul can enter in without faith. No soul can be in safety except within these chambers. None can enter in except by faith.

(a) Enter

There must be an entering in. This is committing ourselves to God and covenanting with Him by faith. You must commit yourselves to Him in time and not go back any more to the entanglements of the world.

(b) Shut the doors

Make all secure behind you. Wrath will pursue you, and if you take too long to flee to these chambers, wrath will overtake you. The wrath of God will never come to any person who has got into these chambers and got the doors shut behind him. Well, then, shut the doors, and make all sure behind you by engaging yourself to God in covenant. Justice will examine you strictly; if you leave merely a window unshut He will find you. Therefore make everything sure in time.

(c) Hide

Hide yourselves. Enter in. Hiding and entering in are the same. This makes everything sure with God. Where will you hide yourselves? In Him; for there is no other hiding place than in Him. “A man shall be a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of waters in a dry place, and as a shadow of a great rock in a weary land” (Isaiah 32:2). These are chambers of defence and well furnished. Be serious for yourselves and make all secure. Shut the doors behind you, and God will never tell you to go out again. Rest there till the dove come to the ark with the olive leaf in her mouth.

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How Far Should Reformation Go?

How Far Should Reformation Go?

How Far Should Reformation Go?
Donald Cargill (1627 – 1681) was the minister of the Barony Church Glasgow who was dismissed for a protest against the celebration of the restoration of Charles II in 1662. He went on to preach in Covenanter field meetings until he was eventually captured and executed.
12 Jul, 2019

Reformation is not merely an event in the past; it is a present imperative. God’s Word constantly challenges us to ever closer harmony with its teaching. Reformation concerns each one of us. It means taking the authority of the Bible seriously in everything. We need to seek still closer obedience. Not only in our personal lives but also in the life of the Church. We need to reflect on where we are in relation to reformation and what still remains to be achieved as individuals, churches and communities. How do our lives, families and congregations match up to God’s requirements in His Word?

One way of reflecting on such priorities is to consider examples of Reformations in Scripture. There are accounts of reforming work under kings such as Josiah, Hezekiah and Jehoshaphat. Donald Cargill gives a helpful exposition of the Reformation described in 2 Chronicles 19. What did it look like?

 

1. Reforming the People

What does he do to the general body of the people? Verse 4 shows that “he went…through the people…and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers”. They were like runaway servants. So he brings them back again to the Lord. See the duty or office of a ruler – to bring back the people of God to God.

What have the rulers done in our nation?  They have sought to seduce people away from their obedience to God.  And in a word, to deprive God of His authority and introduce and exalt man’s authority. Is this not what all of them have been pursuing? If the commands of men are great with you, the commands of God will be small. They have all been employed in this but never speak a word of the commands of God or His authority.

Yet this is the work Jehoshaphat is employed in. He goes through Jacob and brings the people back again to God. They had been like runaway servants, in fact more like the Levite’s concubine that had left her husband and played the harlot. They had been away, but now this holy king employs all his power to bring them back again to God. He thinks that they are good subjects if they are good saints. But what is obedience to him in comparison with obedience to God? Yet the contrary is said and done by the people of this generation. It is plain from the Word of God and Scripture that a ruler has this responsibility. He who has no regard for this ought to be esteemed a ruler no more but rather a tyrant and an enemy to God.

 

2. Reforming the State

A second aspect of reformation is in the state. What does he do there? He sets judges in every city of Judah etc. Now undoubtedly as he was a holy man himself, so he set holy and good judges in every city. Every ruler chooses those judges that are like himself. The officers and judges in a country will tell you the nature of the rulers. A holy ruler wants holy judges that will give justice to all.

He gives holy judges, and gives them a particular exhortation when he puts them in their office (verse 6). It is remarkable. Anybody would have thought he would have said  “ensure that my prerogatives and privileges are not harmed. Do not let the taxes be decreased. See that the crown rights are not diminished in any way”. It is things similar to this that rulers ordinarily recommend at first. But what does he say? He said to the judges, to take heed because they were not judging for man but for God the Lord. God is with you in judgment. Remember, I commit judgment to you, but the judgment is not mine, it is the Lord’s. Remember that what you do, is for God. Do it as if God Himself would do it. Do it as if He were sitting there.

Now where are there any judges that operate in this way? Where is there a ruler that desires them to do their work in this way? Rulers often say: “judge for me, you have your office from men and therefore judge for me”. But Jehoshaphat says, “I give you authority to judge but remember you must answer to God for your judgment, for God is with you in judgment. That is to say, He is present with you to help you if you do right and to be displeased with you if you judge wrong. He is present to protect you if you do right. But He will be a witness against you and punish you, if you do wrong. He exhorts them to let the fear of God be on them and prevail with them.

God will not approve any unjust counsel.  God reviews all of their judgments and sees how they have judged and He judges them. There is no partiality with God and neither should there be with judges. Nobody rules without being liable to failings in ruling. If all the faults of rulers were precisely scrutinised there would be none who could rule to the end of one day without some faults being found in them. But it is one thing to fail in weakness and another thing to be in a constant course of wickedness and enmity against God. The first may be spared, but not the second.

 

3. Reforming the Church

“He appointed levites and priests in every city, and the chief of the fathers for the judgment of the Lord and for controversies” (2 Chronicles 19:8). He charged them to do this faithfully in the fear of the Lord (2 Chronicles 19:9).  This was the great court in the land where they judged together in the Lord’s matters (i.e. religious matters). It involved priest, levites and elders. The matters of the Lord belonged to them, and the king’s matters belonged to the others. But all was to be judged according to the Word of God. The levites judge in the matters of the Lord and in controversies. There was a great court at Jerusalem and all the difficult matters came there to be decided. There were courts throughout the land with judges of hundreds and of thousands. But all hard matters were brought to Jerusalem. He appoints judges to receive these hard matters that they could not judge among themselves, and they gave judgment in these matters.

 

4. A Challenge

He challenges the king for helping the ungodly and loving those that hate the Lord. Would anybody think that a prophet should speak to a king like this? We must be faithful in reproving kings as well as others. To hold back in this is ruin to rulers. Silence in this is not a virtue but a vice. It is unfaithfulness to God and man. The prophet was not afraid to make Jehoshaphat sad for sin.

Helping the ungodly and loving those that hate the Lord: how does this apply to our time?  Whoever helps the ungodly is at fault. If any help the ungodly, they are to be reproved, they are on the wrong side. What will the ungodly do when you have helped them? They will use that help to set up wickedness. There are two sides: the Lord and the godly and on the other side the ungodly. Will you help the ungodly?

 

It is a general principle that wherever there is an association with wicked men, reformation is forgotten until the association is broken.

Jehoshaphat accepts the reproof because he goes on to engage in the work of reformation. It is a general principle that wherever there is an association with wicked men, reformation is forgotten until the association is broken. Jehoshaphat forgot the work of reformation until the association with Ahab was broken, but then he goes on to reformation. Sinful association has made us forget the work of reformation and shut the door so that none go forward in a national reformation. Until this association is abandoned neither ministers nor people will ever set forward in reformation again. 

 

Conclusion

This brief overview of the reformation under Jehoshaphat is certainly illuminating and also searching. For instance, reformation in the church meant ensuring that God’s Word was being applied in an organised way. Those who had responsibility in relation to the things of God were to be thoroughly instructed in the Word. People were to be held to account in relation to God’s requirements. This was implemented in a united way. In effect, this reformation includes the whole nation: church and state and all within the nation. A complete reformation is extensive, it goes very far in implementing the authority of the Word of God. We can’t just be concerned about getting back to biblical values in the nation, we also need to be concerned about personal and church reformation.

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All that Makes All Affliction Bearable

All that Makes All Affliction Bearable

All that Makes All Affliction Bearable
Donald Cargill (1627 – 1681) was the minister of the Barony Church Glasgow who was dismissed for a protest against the celebration of the restoration of Charles II in 1662. He went on to preach in Covenanter field meetings until he was eventually captured and executed.
21 Apr, 2017

Perhaps what makes affliction particularly painful and trying is the sense of being alone in it. Others may sympathise but they do not at all experience what we are going through. For Joseph affliction was literally a foreign country in which he was utterly alone: he called it “land of my affliction”. In the dark and silent moments of trial we seem to journey alone. Yet it was not a solitary experience for “the Lord was with Joseph”. And then he could even say that God had caused him to be “fruitful in the land” of his affliction (Genesis 41:52). “An afflicted life looks very like the way that leads to the kingdom” – said Samuel Rutherford. Why? Because, when we respond aright, affliction draws us closer to God, His Word and spiritual realities and further from sin and the world.

What makes otherwise unbearable afflictions bearable is God’s presence and help in the midst of them. “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them” (Isaiah 63:9). Rutherford notes that there is no exception. “In all their afflictions He was afflicted” . “The God of all comfort”, comforts us in all our “tribulations” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Rutherford also says: “He who is afflicted in all your afflictions, looks not on you in your sad hours with an insensible [unfeeling] heart or dry eyes”. Therefore “all the comforts, promises, and mercies God offereth to the afflicted, they are as so many love-letters written to you”. No doubt we all know fellow believers who are going through affliction at present, perhaps this article might be of comfort if you share it with them.

Donald Cargill (1627–1681) knew about affliction, he suffered hardship and deprivation moving from place to place and being hunted by government troops. In one of his sermons, Cargill said, “Consider, that though you be under many crosses or afflictions, yet, if believers, you shall be freed from them all by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ shall make up all your hardships. You shall shortly arrive at rest, and rest unto them that are weary, oh, how sweet is it! and a sweet rest it is for those who are seeking after Him.” At his execution his last words were: “farewell reading and preaching, praying and believing, wanderings, reproaches, sufferings. Welcome joy unspeakable and full of glory. Welcome Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” The following updated extract comes from one of his sermons preached in the fields during the times of persecution. This sermon preached on Isaiah 63:9 has only been published in an older lesser known volume by W H Carslaw. The sermons are marked by their brevity and abrupt ending sometimes which may well indicate that they are interrupted by the approach of soldiers.

The heart of God is strangely knit to some. It goes through all with them. It is said of a friend that he loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity, but where can this friend be found?  Surely God is this Friend. But with whom is He well pleased? It is with those who are in Christ Jesus, that is, not only those who are in the eternal purpose of God, but such as are actually ingrafted into Christ. He loves them, not with the love of benevolence or the love of election, but with the love of complacency. But though He loves them He does not, as some might expect, give them the fulness of the world or make them free of the cross. On the contrary, no sooner is He reconciled to them than he puts them under the yoke and removes from them those superfluities that might keep them from delights in Himself. For that delight is mutual: the more you delight in God, the more He will de­light in you. Do not expect, then, that you will escape affliction, but rejoice in what the text says: “In all their affliction He was afflicted.”

 

1. God’s active love to His people in all their afflictions

This love shows itself in the following acts or outgoings.

(a) Tender sympathy with them in their afflictions.

(b) Saving them by the angel of His presence.

It would be counted wonderful kindness for a king to send his own doctor to cure some person at a great dis­tance. How great, then, the kindness and condes­cension of God in sending the Son of His love.

(c) Redeeming them. Redemption and salvation differ in this, that salvation is merely the deliver­ance of a person oppressed or detained, whether justly or unjustly. Redemption is the payment of a ransom in order to procure his deliverance.

(d) Bearing and carrying them all their days. They have no feet. They would never go to heaven unless He carried them. O, how long has He thus borne the church of God! When He has set down one generation in heaven He takes up another on the earth, and so the work goes on. Now, are you carried by God or the devil? The end is two-fold. The devil carries all his and throws them into the pit of destruction. God carries all His to glory.

2. God’s wise love to His people in all their afflictions

He could keep them from these altogether if He pleased, but sympathizing with them in their projects and bringing them out of them is His glory.

(a) God’s love is not a foolish love. We must not expect the Lord’s love to be a foolish love that will not suffer a breath of cold air to blow on us. That, you know, is but a mother-like folly and there is no wisdom in it. But there is the greatest of wisdom here and the greatest of love, although the wisdom is sometimes so great that it overshadows His love.

(b) They will not only have afflictions, but many of them. We could say something here that you would wonder at. We do not know if there have been any more afflicted on the earth than the people of God. It is true that souls of the wicked and reprobate have been greatly troubled, but we are persuaded that some of the afflictions of God’s people are greater than what any of the ungodly ever suffer on the earth.

Still, in all these afflictions there are two sources of comfort at least—

  • They are for their good. It may have been long since He has laid aside their sin, but He is pursuing them with affliction; and why it is for their good. Our earthly parents sometimes corrected us for their pleasure, but He for our profit to make us partakers of His holiness.
  • He sympathises with them in all their troubles.

3. God’s affliction with His people in all their afflictions

But we confess before you all we cannot well understand the Lord’s sympathy with His people in their afflictions. We cannot understand how He can be afflicted, yet there are some things we can guess and only guess at a little.

(a) His glory suffers with us. Sometimes it is trampled under foot or given to another. As it is said: “He delivered His glory into the enemy’s hand.”

(b) The sufferings of His people go near to His heart. As the sickness of a child goes near the mother’s heart, so is it with God. It’s true God cannot properly suffer. Sorrow and suffering have somewhat of weakness in them, and He is above all this. But speaking after the manner of men, the sufferings of His people go near His heart. It may be some think that the Lord does not regard them; let others say so, but not us.

(c) Jesus Christ has a man’s heart within Him. His nature was in all points like our own, but without sin; and the more excellent the nature the more true the love and sympathy.

(d) The sympathy of Christ extends to all our afflictions. O the greatness and constancy of His love! He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, rejoice, and again I say rejoice. Are they afflicting you? Then they are afflicting God also. Be assured, then, that God will avenge you. Are our sufferings great, are they painful sufferings? His glory will be more conspicuous in redeeming us from them. We should submit to God, then, who has marked out for us this path to walk in, namely, through the deep waters of affliction, in order that His glory may appear in bringing us through, when the world has been thinking we were past all hope and saying, “look no more after them, for they can never extricate themselves.” Now saving and redeeming is the great thing the Church must look for, and not for being kept free from persecutions and afflictions. Especially when the waters have come up unto our very souls, and deep calls unto deep, and all God’s billows pass over us, then it is the time for Him to intervene. His love will never suffer us to remain always in the state of affliction if it is in His power to deliver us. And as we know that it is in His power, we may feel assured we shall be saved and redeemed.

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True Priorities for Managing Your Time

True Priorities for Managing Your Time

True Priorities for Managing Your Time
Donald Cargill (1627 – 1681) was the minister of the Barony Church Glasgow who was dismissed for a protest against the celebration of the restoration of Charles II in 1662. He went on to preach in Covenanter field meetings until he was eventually captured and executed.
30 Dec, 2016

Effective use of time, getting things done and achieving goals are something of a current obsession. Like food diets, there are any amount of schemes and books on the subject of productivity. Everyone is “busy” but many are driven by the desire to be efficient. Our priorities shape the way we manage our time. What are your priorities? How do you know if they are the right ones?

We can learn a lot from a preacher who lived his life in constant expectation of capture and execution. Donald Cargill (1627–1681) did indeed eventually lay down his life for his Lord. In one of his sermons, Cargill had said, “If believers loved Christ as He loves them, they would be more in haste to meet Him.” “Death to the believer is just like putting off a worn suit of clothes, and putting on a new suit.” As he mounted the ladder to be hanged, he said, “The Lord knows, I go up this ladder in less fear and perturbed of mind that ever I entered the pulpit to preach… Farewell, all relations and friends in Christ; farewell all acquaintances and all earthly enjoyments; farewell reading and preaching, praying and believing, wanderings, reproaches and sufferings. Welcome joy unspeakable and full of glory. Welcome Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

The following updated extract comes from one of his sermons preached in the fields during the times of persecution. He gives practical advice as well as highlighting the principles that should govern our use of time. Some ask how they can get more done or do things better.  Yet there is no point in doing more and doing it more efficiently unless we are persuaded that these are the right things to do. “Redeeming the time” is certainly a biblical priority.

Cargill says that it is important to manage our time well to the glory of God because time is uncertain. We lie down and do not know if we will ever rise up again. We must make best use of our time because we do not know how much we will have.

Time is short and the task is great, especially the task of best using it to our spiritual benefit such as putting sin to death. Nothing is more important than eternity; eternity is fast approaching and we must be prepared. This should stir us up to make best use of our time.

1. The Advantages of True Time Management

(a) It gives peace of conscience

It keeps us from many rebukes of conscience that we otherwise might have. Those who employ their time right, have great peace. They have much comfort and good spoken to them.

(b) It gives comfort at death

It gives comfort when we are about to launch out of time and enter eternity. You will then have nothing to do except step into your Master’s house. What sad thoughts they will have, who have employed their time otherwise!

(c) It makes everything sweet

It makes all your refreshments sweet. Your sleep is sweet, your waking is sweet and all is sweet. The wise man says, that the “rest of a labouring man is sweet,” but especially when he has been about his master’s work.

2. Directions for True Time Management

Now we shall give you some directions how you may employ your time aright.

(a) Organise your time

You ought to divide your work into tasks: setting so many hours apart for hearing, so many for reading, praying, meditating etc. and so many for your ordinary calling. It would be an excellent thing if we were tasking ourselves and saying, “Such a thing we resolve to do and such a thing we must do.” This would make a Christian’s work sweet to him!

(b) Employ your time well

You must have much heavenly and sweet prayer. With the psalmist, “Lord make me know mine end.” “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” If this were our main concern and petition there would not be so much misspent time amongst us as there is.

(c) How to spend the day

In the morning when we rise, we should be thinking on our last end, and in the evening we should take account of how we have spent the day, and mourn over what we have done amiss.

3. Manage Your Time in the Present

We should not trouble our thoughts with empty future prospects. Are there not many who have projected things for twenty years from now? And who knows if they will live that long? It is better to employ our time and cast off vain and foolish prospects. The apostle James speaks of those who make such plans, they “know not what shall be on the morrow.”

If we would consider the shortness of our time we would think the cares of every day enough for itself. But this is a burdening of ourselves with unnecessary cares, adding a load to a burden. Are not the cares of a day sufficient for itself? Why then are we anxious about tomorrow or for many days into the future? These unnecessary cares put your heart out of the right frame of spirit. They indispose the heart so that we cannot get our time as well spent as we ought.

They do not only indispose us for duty, but duties are jostled out. Things that are at hand are put far off, and things that are afar off, are brought near. Thoughts concerning the far-off future put death and eternity out of mind. Are there not many who when they put death, judgment, and eternity far out of mind, are suddenly overtaken by them? Now consider which of these is most necessary, and having found that which is most necessary, let your thoughts be employed about it.

Conclusion

We don’t need to attempt to “do it all” but rather spend our time well in the right things to the glory of God.  Cargill gives the biblical perspective of focussing on each day, managing the minutes and hours well so that our days are well spent.

Be moderate in all things, Cargill says, even in the use of all lawful enjoyments. It is strange that we, who seek after other things, should be so taken up with such frivolous things. It is strange to see even believers so much taken up with the world, and the cares of this life. This eats out the comfort of the soul, and where there is very much of this, there cannot be much prosperity in true godliness, and where there is much real godliness there cannot be much of this, these two are inconsistent with one another. We cannot serve God and mammon; for, as the thoughts of the one rise up, the other goes down. Is it not strange that we should be so much taken up with these things?

Cargill shows that we have much time to redeem when we consider how we have spent what has already been given us. In the short time we have to live, we ought to be as travellers who have sat until the day is far spent, and are obliged to run more in one hour than in three before. Let’s be spiritually productive.

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