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Evening by Evening Copyright © 2007 by Alistair Begg This book was formerly part of Morning and Evening, copyright © 2003 by Alistair Begg. Published by Crossway Books a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers 1300 Crescent Street Wheaton, Illinois 60187 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, except as provided by USA copyright law. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version,® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Scripture quotations indicated KJV are taken from the King James Version. Cover design: Luke Daab First printing, 2007 Printed in Belgium

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Spurgeon, C. H. (Charles Haddon), 1834–1892. Evening by evening : a new edition of the classic devotional based on the Holy Bible, English standard version / Charles H. Spurgeon ; revised and updated by Alistair Begg. p. cm. “This book was formerly part of Morning and Evening, copyright 2003 by Alistair Begg.” ISBN 978-1-58134-982-5 (trutone) 1. Devotional calendars—Baptists. 2. Bible—Meditations. I. Begg, Alistair. II. Spurgeon, C. H. (Charles Haddon), 1834–1892. Morning and evening. III. Title. BV4811.S6669 2007 242'.2—dc22 2007033106 SP 15

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Introduction

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purgeon’s daily devotional readings have stood the test of time and are unrivaled as an example of deep theological insight and warm pastoral concern. They are so classic that one hesitates to tamper with them. In revising and updating the material, I have tried to make them more readable without spoiling the splendor of the language. Most of the changes are minor and will go largely undetected. On a few occasions, because of the difference between the King James Version and the English Standard Version, I was forced to take more liberty. My goal throughout has been to fashion the material in such a way that it will be accessible to a far wider audience than before. Spurgeon’s vocabulary is so vast that the reader may still find himself reaching for a dictionary, but this will surely be an added benefit! Since I did not have the opportunity to ask Spurgeon’s permission, when I meet him I will seek his forgiveness if in attempting to bring clarity I have clouded the issue. The reader must judge. My prayer is that another generation will emerge thankful to God for the work of Spurgeon, whose memory we revere and whose example of godly devotion we seek to follow. Alistair Begg

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8O\cO`g! “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD, make his paths straight.’� LUKE 3:4

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he voice crying in the wilderness demanded a way for the Lord, a way prepared, and a way prepared in the wilderness. I would be attentive to the Master’s proclamation and give Him a road into my heart, cast up by gracious operations, through the desert of my nature. The four directions in the text1 must have my serious attention. Every valley must be exalted. Low and groveling thoughts of God must be given up; doubting and despairing must be removed; and self-seeking and carnal delights must be forsaken. Across these deep valleys a glorious causeway of grace must be raised. Every mountain and hill shall be laid low. Proud creature-sufficiency, and boastful self-righteousness, must be leveled, to make a highway for the King of kings. Divine fellowship is never promised to haughty, high-minded sinners. The Lord has respect to the lowly and visits the contrite in heart, but the lofty are an abomination unto Him. My soul, beseech the Holy Spirit to set you right in this respect. The crooked shall be made straight. The wavering heart must have a straight path of decision for God and holiness marked out for it. Double-minded men are strangers to the God of truth. My soul, take heed that in everything you are honest and true, as in the sight of the heart-searching God. The rough places shall be made smooth. Stumbling-blocks of sin must be removed, and thorns and briers of rebellion must be uprooted. So great a visitor must not find miry ways and stony places when He comes to honor His favored ones with His company. Oh, that this evening the Lord may find in my heart a highway made ready by His grace, that He may make a triumphal progress through the utmost bounds of my soul, from the beginning of this year even to the end of it. 1Isaiah

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/^`WZ Consider my afiction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. PSALM 25:18

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t is good for us when prayers about our sorrows are linked with pleas concerning our sins—when, being under God’s hand, we do not focus exclusively on our pain, but remember our sins against God. It is also good to take both sorrow and sin to the same place. It was to God that David carried his sorrow: It was to God that David confessed his sin. Notice, then, we must take our sorrows to God. Even your little sorrows you may cast upon God, for He counts the hairs of your head; and your great sorrows you may commit to Him, for He holds the ocean in the hollow of His hand. Go to Him, whatever your present trouble may be, and you will find Him able and willing to relieve you. But we must take our sins to God too. We must carry them to the cross, that the blood may fall upon them, to purge away their guilt and to destroy their defiling power. The special lesson of the text is this:—we are to go to the Lord with sorrows and with sins in the right spirit. Note that all David asks concerning his sorrow is, “Consider my affliction and my trouble�; but the next petition is vastly more explicit, definite, decided, plain—�Forgive all my sins.� Many sufferers would have reversed it: “Remove my affliction and my pain, and consider my sins.� But David does not; he cries, “Lord, when it comes to my affliction and my pain, I will not dictate to Your wisdom. Lord, look at them—I will leave them to You. I would like to have my pain removed, but do as You will. But as for my sins, Lord, I know what needs to happen—I must have them forgiven; I cannot endure to live under their curse for a moment.� A Christian counts sorrow lighter in the scale than sin; he can bear to have troubles continue, but he cannot bear the burden of his transgressions.

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=Qb]PS` . . . man greatly loved. DANIEL 10:11

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hild of God, do you hesitate to appropriate this title? Has your unbelief made you forget that you are also greatly loved? Surely you must have been greatly loved, to have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot? When God crushed His only Son for you, what was this but being greatly loved? You lived in sin and rioted in it; surely you were greatly loved for God to have been so patient with you. You were called by grace and led to a Savior and made a child of God and an heir of heaven. Doesn’t this all prove a very great and superabounding love? Since that time, whether your path has been rough with troubles or smooth with mercies, it has been full of proofs that you are greatly loved. If the Lord has chastened you, it was not in anger; if He has made you poor, still in grace you have been rich. The more unworthy you feel yourself to be, the more evidence you have that nothing but unspeakable love could have led the Lord Jesus to save a soul like yours. The more disapproval you feel, the clearer is the display of God’s abounding love in choosing you and calling you and making you an heir of heaven. Now, if such love exists between God and us, let us live in the influence and sweetness of it and use the privilege of our position. We should not approach our Lord as though we were strangers or as though He were unwilling to hear us—for we are greatly loved by our loving Father. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?�1 Come boldly, believer, for despite the whispers of Satan and the doubts of your own heart, you are greatly loved. Meditate on the exceeding greatness and faithfulness of divine love this evening, and then go to your bed in peace.

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Evening by Evening