460) Insights from Several Meditations

 By Johann Gerhard (1582-1637), a German Lutheran pastor and professor of theology.  He wrote dozens of books, including Sacred Meditations, a collection of 51 meditations published in 1606.

You will more truly be able to rejoice in the hardships of life with a good conscience, than amidst all its pleasures with a guilty one.  Against all the malice of wicked men, you can take comfort in a clear conscience…  Therefore, flee the guilt of sin, so that you may escape the torments of conscience.  –From Meditation #33
How vain are the world’s praises if we carry within us a guilty and accusing conscience!  What advantage or comfort is it to a man suffering intensely from a burning fever that he lies upon an ivory couch?  The testimony of a good conscience– that is true honor, that is true praise.  You can have no more just and no more impartial judge of your deeds than your God and your conscience.  Let it be your aim and desire to bring all your deeds to the test of this holy judgment.  –From Meditation #36
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We may find hints of the resurrection in all nature around us.  The plant that lies dead through the long winter springs into new life at the approach of Spring.  As the season ends, they begin again, keeping on in constant succession.  The fruit comes to maturity and dies to reproduce other fruit from its seed.  Unless the seed decays and dies it will not spring up into fruitfulness.  Thus in nature all things perpetuate themselves by dying; and out of death evermore comes a new life.  Shall we ascribe more power to nature in these natural resurrections than to God, who promises to raise our bodies at the last day?  He who gives life to dead seeds (I Corinthians 15:37), so that they furnish sustenance for your life here, will most certainly raise from the dead your own body and the bodies of your loved ones, and with them you shall live eternally.  –From Meditation #44

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Why would you delay repentance? Why put it off until tomorrow? That tomorrow shall come is not certain, but that everlasting destruction shall overtake the impenitent is certain.
God has promised grace to the penitent soul, but He does not promise a tomorrow. –From Meditation #3

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I John 1:8-9   —   If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.   If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

I Corinthians 15:35-38…42-44   —   But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised?  With what kind of body will they come?”  How foolish!  What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.  But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body…  So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.  The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

James 4:13-15   —   Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

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AN EVENING PRAYER FOR ONE WHO IS IN THE EVENING OF LIFE 
by Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) (edited):
Having passed over this day, Lord, I give thanks unto Thee.
The evening draweth nigh, make it comfortable.
As there is an evening of the day, so there is an evening of this life, the evening of old-age.
Old-age hath seized upon me; make that comfortable.
Cast me not away in the time of age;
Forsake me not when my strength faileth me. (Psalm 71:9)
Be thou with me in my old-age; even to gray hairs wilt thou carry me. (Isaiah 46:4)
Do thou forgive and receive and save me, O Lord.
Tarry thou with me, O Lord, for it is toward evening with me, and the day is far spent, (Luke 24:29) of this my toilsome life.
Let thy strength be made perfect in my weakness (II Corinthians 12:9).  AMEN.