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If you want to see a man worked up until the Satanic is clearly uppermost!

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If you want to see a man worked up until the Satanic is clearly uppermost!

(Charles Spurgeon)

I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.” Galatians 1:11¬†

We are sure that the Gospel we have preached is not¬†according to¬†men–because it is¬†opposed, even to this day. If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out Gospel of the grace of God, especially if that hateful word,¬†“Sovereignty”¬†is mentioned with it!

Dare to say, “He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy–and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion,” and furious critics will revile you without stint!¬†

The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of Sovereign grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it! He would sooner hear you blaspheme, than preach . . .
  Election by the Father,
  Atonement by the Son, or 
  Regeneration by the Spirit! 
If you want to see a man worked up until the Satanic is clearly uppermost–let modern religionists hear you preach a Free-Grace sermon!¬†

A Gospel which is according to men, will be welcomed by men–but it needs a Divine operation upon the heart and mind, to make a man willing to receive this distasteful gospel of the grace of God into his utmost soul!

” . . . the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify¬†the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24


Character

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Character 

(John MacDuff)

Character is the product of daily, hourly actions, words and thoughts: 
  daily forgiveness, 
  daily unselfishness, 
  daily kindnesses, 
  daily sympathies, 
  daily charities, 
  daily sacrifices for the good of others, 
  daily struggles against temptation, 
  daily submissiveness under trial. 
It is these, like the blending of colors in a picture–which constitute¬†a person’s character.


We so imperfectly read the engravings of His heart!

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We so imperfectly read the engravings of His heart!

(Octavius Winslow)

“Christ died for the¬†ungodly!” Romans 5:6¬†

“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still¬†sinners–Christ died for us!” Romans 5:8¬†

It is because we have such shallow views of God’s¬†love–that we have such defective views of God’s¬†dealings. We blindly interpret the symbols of His¬†providence–because¬†we so imperfectly read the engravings of His heart.

“When we can’t trace His hand–we must trust His heart!”

We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule:

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We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule:

(J.R. Miller)

“Lovers of¬†pleasure–rather than lovers of God; having a form of godliness–but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:4-5¬†

Is the¬†love of pleasure and amusement¬†growing on you–gaining the power and authority over you?¬†

Is it dulling the keenness of your zest for spiritual pleasures? 

Is it making Bible study, prayer, communion with Christ, and meditation upon holy themes–less sweet enjoyments than they once were?¬†

Is it making your hunger and thirst for righteousness and for God–less intense?¬†

Is it interfering with the comfort and blessing which you used to find in church services, or in Christ’s work?¬†

If so, there is only one thing to do–hurry . . .
  to return to God,
  to abandon the pleasure or amusement which is imperiling your soul, and
  to find in Christ, the joy which the world cannot give, and which never harms any aspect of life. 

We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule: Are they helping us to grow into Christ-likeness and spiritual beauty?

“All things are lawful–but not all things are¬†profitable. All things are lawful–but not all things¬†edify.” 1 Corinthians 10:23¬†

If God is our Father

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If God is our Father

(James Smith, “The Children’s Privileges!”)

“You are sons of the living God!” Hosea 1:10

To have God for our Father, is the greatest honor conceivable–and it is an infinite source of comfort and joy!¬†

If God is our FatherHe will love¬†us with a strong and tender love!¬†He may try us and hide His face from us, to correct us for our follies–but He will still love us. Nothing shall separate His child from His love, or sever the bond which unites us to Himself.¬†

If God is our Father–He will bear with our numerous and painful infirmities.¬†Because we are His¬†children–He will put the best construction upon everything. For, “Like as a Father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who love Him. He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust.” He will accept our imperfect services, because we are but¬†children. He knows our weakness, ignorance, and failings; and He also knows our desire to please Him. And when we can only¬†desire–He accepts the will for the deed.

If God is our Father–He will provide for and take care of usmaking¬†provision¬†for us on earth, while He reserves our¬†portion¬†for Heaven. Will an earthly father leave his child to lack–while he has plenty, and can supply him with the greatest ease? He will not! Neither will our Heavenly Father; but He will supply all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus!

If God is our Father–He will also protect us from all evilsspiritual and temporal.¬†
Sin 
shall not have dominion over us, 
Satan 
shall not overcome us, 
the world shall not destroy us
–for God will protect us!
He will keep us by His power, through faith unto salvation.

If God is our Father–He will reveal His mind and will to us for our comfort and salvation. He may hide the mysteries of the kingdom from the wise and prudent–but He will reveal them unto His babes. (Matthew 11:25) He will send the Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, who will guide us into all truth.¬†

If God is our Father–He will give us freedom of access into His presence with confidence–so that we may carry all our sins, sorrows, troubles, and temptations to Him, and lay them at His feet; feeling that we have to do with a Father–one who loves us, pities us, and delights to bless us!

If God is our Father–He will make all things work together for our good.¬†
Good¬†things–such as mercies, blessings, and comforts.¬†
Bad¬†things–such as sickness, poverty, reproach, persecution, bereavements, death.
ALL shall work our good, and issue in our eternal welfare. 

If we are children of God–we are heirs of every promise in His Book, and joint-heirs with Jesus Himself!¬†He will give us a Father’s blessing–a blessing worthy of His greatness, majesty, and glory. And He will keep us safe in every danger, and from every foe; so that we shall never perish–but possess and enjoy eternal life.

‘I will be a Father to you,¬†and you will be My sons and daughters,’¬†says the¬†Lord Almighty.”¬†2 Corinthians 6:18


True Christianity is a fight!

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True Christianity is a fight!

(J.C. Ryle, “Holiness“)

“Fight the good fight of faith!”¬†1 Timothy 6:12

True Christianity! Let us mind that word “true.” There is a vast quantity of religion current in the world which is not true, genuine Christianity. There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday and call themselves Christians. They make a “profession” of faith in Christ. Their names are on the baptismal register. They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage service. They mean to be buried as Christians when they die.¬†

But you never see any “fight” about their religion! Of spiritual¬†strife¬†and¬†exertion¬†and¬†conflict¬†and¬†self-denial¬†and¬†watching¬†and¬†warring–they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy¬†man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable–but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and His apostles preached. It is not the religion which produces real holiness.¬†True Christianity is a fight!

The true Christian is called to be a¬†soldier,¬†and must behave as such from the day of his conversion to the day of his death. He is not meant to live a life of pious ease, indolence and security. He must never imagine for a moment, that he can sleep and doze along the way to Heaven, like one traveling in an easy carriage. If he takes his standard of Christianity from the people of this world, he may be content with such vain notions–but he will find no countenance for them in the Word of God. If the Bible is the rule of his faith and practice, he will find his course laid down very plainly in this matter. He must fight!

The principal fight of the Christian is with . . .
  the world,
  the flesh,
  and the devil. 

These are his never-dying foes! These are the three chief enemies against whom he must wage war. Unless he gets the victory over these three, all other victories are useless and vain. If he had a nature like an angel, and were not a fallen creature–the warfare would not be so essential. But with¬†a corrupt heart, a busy devil and an ensnaring world, he must either fight–or be lost.

He must fight the¬†WORLD. The subtle influence of that mighty enemy must be daily resisted–and without a daily battle, it can never be overcome.¬†

The love of the world’s good things,¬†
the fear of the world’s laughter or blame,¬†
the secret desire to keep in with the world, 
the secret wish to do as others in the world do–
all these are spiritual foes which beset the Christian continually on his way to Heaven, and must be conquered. 
“If any man loves the world–the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15
“The world is crucified to me–and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14
“Whoever is born of God, overcomes the world.” 1 John 5:4
“Do not be conformed to this world.” Romans 12:2
“Friendship with the world is enmity with God. Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God.” James 4:4

He must fight the FLESH. Even after conversion, he carries within him a nature prone to evil and a heart as weak and unstable as water! That heart will never be free from imperfection in this world, and it is a miserable delusion to expect it.

He must fight the¬†DEVIL. That¬†old enemy of mankind¬†is not dead. Ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve, he has been “going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it,” and striving to compass one great end–the ruin of man’s soul. Never slumbering and never sleeping–he is always going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. An¬†unseen¬†enemy, he is always near us, about our path and about our bed, and spying out all our ways! A murderer and a liar from the beginning–he labors night and day to cast us down to Hell. Sometimes by leading into superstition, sometimes by suggesting infidelity, sometimes by one kind of tactics and sometimes by another–he is always carrying on a campaign against our souls. This mighty adversary must be¬†daily resisted¬†if we wish to be saved.

Some may think these statements too strong. You imagine that I am going too far, and laying on the colors too thickly. But the Christian warfare is no light matter! What do the Scriptures say? 
¬† “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.”¬†
¬† “Endure hardship, as a¬†good soldier¬†of Jesus Christ.”¬†
¬† “Put on the¬†full armor¬†of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes!”¬†
¬† “Strive¬†to enter in at the strait gate.”¬†
¬† “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong!”¬†

Words such as these appear to me as clear, plain and unmistakable. They all teach one and the same great lesson, if we are willing to receive it. That lesson is, that true Christianity is a struggle, a fight and a warfare!

Christ, the example of ministers

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Christ, the example of ministers

(Jonathan Edwards)

It is not only our great duty, but will be our greatest honor, to imitate Christ, and do the work that He has done–and so act as co-workers with Him.¬†

The ministers of Christ should be persons of the same spirit that their Lord was of–the same spirit of humility and lowliness of heart; for the servant is not greater than his Lord.¬†

They should be of the same spirit of heavenly-mindedness, and contempt of the glory, wealth, and pleasures of this world. 

They should be of the same spirit of devotion and fervent love to God. 

They should follow the example of His prayerfulness; of whom we read from time to time of His retiring from the world, away from the noise and applause of the multitudes, into mountains and solitary places, for secret prayer, and holy converse with His Father. 

Ministers should be persons . . .
  of the same quiet, lamb-like spirit that Christ was of; 
¬† of the same spirit of submission to God’s will, and patience under afflictions, and meekness towards men;¬†
  of the same calmness and composure of spirit under reproaches and sufferings from the malignity of evil men;
  of the same spirit of forgiveness of injuries; 
  of the same spirit of charity, of fervent love and extensive benevolence; 
  of the same disposition to pity the miserable, and to weep with those who weep; 
  of the same spirit of . . .
    condescension to the poor and lowly, 
    tenderness and gentleness toward the weak, 
    and great and sincere love to enemies. 

They should also be of the same spirit of zeal, diligence, and self-denial for the glory of God, and advancement for his kingdom, and for the good of mankind; for which things sake Christ went though the greatest labors, and endured the most extreme sufferings. 

And in order to our imitating Christ in the work of the ministry, in any tolerable degree–we should not have our¬†hearts weighed down, and¬†time filled up¬†with worldly affections, cares, and pursuits.

The duties of a minister that have been recommended, are absolutely inconsistent with a mind much taken up with worldly profit, glory, amusements and entertainments.


The breakdown and breakup of “Civilization”

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The breakdown and breakup of “Civilization”

(Arthur Pink, “The Destruction of Dagon” 1943)

The “march of progress”¬†from 1920 onwards, was, if measured by the standards of righteousness and decency, steadily¬†downwards. Those with the least sense of decency were determined to drag the whole generation down into the gutter. An orgy of licentiousness was widely entered into. Night-clubs were multiplied, gambling spread like wild fire, and debauchery abounded on every side. The beaches lowered their bathing restrictions–and¬†modesty¬†became a thing of the past. Youth was allowed to have its fling, unrestrained.¬†

The¬†novels¬†and¬†magazines¬†of the last decade have been filled with obscenities and blasphemies. A friend of ours in the publishing business recently wrote to us, “Today we have shops stacked with books which, had they been published when we were boys–the authors and publishers would have been put in jail!” Censorship has long since been reduced to a farce. The great majority of our children have had their ideas formed by the pictures they saw at the “movies” and the debasing productions of a degenerate press. As a recent writer has said, “The best-sellers of today, are often books whose¬†morals¬†are of the barnyard, whose¬†language¬†is of the sewer and whose¬†ethics¬†are of the pit!”

The breakdown and breakup of “Civilization”¬†appears in such things as the decay of the sanctity of marriage–as evidenced by the multiplication of divorces, and the abandonment of large numbers of babies; juvenile delinquency and immorality among the young; the vandalism which is now so rife; such widespread pilfering–and the flimsy efforts of the authorities to deal with such evils! Thousands of culprits who ought to be sent to prison, are given nominal fines. Law and order is almost reduced to a farce!

No matter in which direction we turn, it is the¬†ugly¬†and the¬†vulgar–which is preferred to the beautiful and refined. What a commentary on our so-called “progress.”

Someone has said, “The¬†popular taste¬†is a good index to the health of society.” Apply that dictum to our own times, and it will quickly appear how the moral health of society has declined.

We¬†do¬†what we do–because we¬†are¬†what we are. There is always a rigid consistency between¬†character¬†and¬†conduct. The thin coating of “civilized” varnish has worn off–and twentieth-century¬†character¬†stands exposed.

Editor’s note:¬†One can only imagine what Mr. Pink would write if he were alive today!

Going Bananas! ūüćĆ

Yay!! I changed into “Bananaman” today in Covent Garden for the first ever¬†#wcrftakeover¬†for World Cancer Research Fund. My lovely Wife Sarah, Christine, Anita, Mark, Maria & I had a great day: thank you so much to everyone who donated or stopped by to say hi! Go to¬†wcrf-uk.org¬†to stay up to date on their fantastic work!¬†ūüėé

The WCRF Team

From left: Maria, Sarah, Me(Bananaman), Anita & Christine.

Me in a Banana suit eating a banana

Sarah & i walking away after a morning fundraising.....Me in a banana suit and Sarah with a purple wig and yellow trousers

Me and my lovely Wife Sarah after a morning fundraising! ūüė鬆

As a Cancer Prevention charity we were also giving away Bananas and sharing some great Banana facts as they help reduce your Cancer risk! I love Bananas…..So here are a few random facts:

1. Are energy boosters
The natural sugars found in bananas (sucrose, fructose, and glucose) combined with fiber and potassium make it an energy-boosting snack. In addition, its levels of serotonin and dopamine improve antioxidant capacity and help with of oxidative stress, enhancing performance overall. So the next time you plan an extreme workout session, remember to eat two bananas before your workout.

2. Is useful for treating anemia
People who suffer from anemia need to ingest great amounts of iron which stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood. Bananas are not only a rich source of iron they also contain a high amounts of vitamin C which increases the absorption of iron. So if you suffer from anemia, you should consider including bananas in their diet.

3. Bananas float on water!

Please add any more Banana facts in the comments section below‚Ķ..I‚Äôd love to learn more! ūüė鬆

Look unto Jesus in the Scriptures

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Look unto Jesus in the Scriptures

(Theodore Monod, “Looking Unto Jesus!” 1874)
 
“Looking unto Jesus!”¬†Hebrews 12:2¬†
 
Only three words, but in these three words is the whole secret of spiritual life. 
 
Look unto Jesus in the Scriptures, to learn there . . .
  who He is,
  what He has done,
  what He gives,
  what He desires.

Looking unto Jesus in the Scriptures, we find . . .
¬† in His character–our pattern;
¬† in His teachings–our instruction;
¬† in His precepts–our law;
¬† in His promises–our support;
¬† in His person and in His work–a full satisfaction provided for every need of our souls.¬†

“You study the Scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same Scriptures that testify about Me!” John 5:39

Oh! the bitter pain and sorrow,
That a time could ever be, 
When I proudly said to Jesus, 
All¬†for self–and¬†none¬†for Thee!”

Yet He found me; I beheld Him, 
Bleeding on the accursed tree; 
And my wistful heart said faintly, 
Some¬†for self–and¬†some¬†for Thee.”¬†

Day by day His tender mercy, 
Healing, helping, full and free,
Brought me lower, while I whispered, 
Less¬†for self–and¬†more¬†for Thee.”¬†

Higher than the highest heavens, 
Deeper than the deepest sea; 
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered, 
None¬†for self–and¬†all¬†for Thee!”


Should it be according to your mind?

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Should it be according to your mind? 

(James Smith, “Important Questions!” 1858)

Should it be according to¬†your¬†mind?” Job 34:33

We are prone to be fretful, to complain of the dispensations of Divine Providence, and to reflect harshly upon the Lord’s dealings with us.

We want our own way.

We wish to carve for ourselves.

We would be treated as God’s favorites.

We want our ease, and prosperity, and pleasure, consulted in all things. And if this does not appear to be done–if our¬†wills¬†are crossed, if our¬†schemes¬†are frustrated, if our¬†purposes¬†are broken off–then we stumble, think ourselves badly treated, and look for everybody to sympathize with us.

Under these circumstances, God comes to us–as we sit among our broken cisterns, surrounded by our dethroned idols–and puts this question to us: “Should it be according to¬†your¬†mind?”

  Are you wiser than God?

    Are you kinder than God?

      Are you holier than God?

    Are you more just than God?

  Are you better informed than God?

May not your mind be dark, or selfish, or foolish?

Should it then be according to your mind?

Should you¬†reign–or God?

Remember that . . .
  God acts in the highest wisdom,
  His motives are grace and justice,
  and all His purposes are worthy of Himself.

The least the Christian can do is to submit–and to prefer God’s perfect wisdom, ways, and works–to his own. Seeing God has so arranged all events, that all things must work together for the good of His people–they, at least, should daily say, “Father, may¬†Your¬†will be done!”

O my soul, seek grace from God, not only to submit and be resigned to the dispensations of Divine Providence–but to¬†acquiesce¬†in them, and be¬†pleased¬†with the whole of them! Your good is consulted–your best interests are secured. Soon, very soon, it will be seen that infinite wisdom and mercy, grace and goodness, have marked out¬†every step¬†of your road!

“Jesus replied: You do not understand what I am¬†now¬†doing–but someday you will.” John 13:7

There is no sweeter pillow than providence!

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There is no sweeter pillow than providence! 

(Charles Spurgeon, “Israel at the Red Sea”)

How sweet is providence to a child of God, when he can reflect upon it!

He can look out into this world, and say, “However great my troubles, they are not so great as my Father’s power. However difficult may be my circumstances, yet all things are working together for my good.”

He who holds up yonder unpillared arch of the starry heavens–can also support my soul without a single apparent prop.

He who guides the stars in the well-ordered courses, even when they seem to move in hazy dances–surely He can overrule my trials in such a way that out of confusion He will bring order; and from seeming evil, produce lasting good.

He who bridles the storm, and puts the bit in the mouth of the tempest–surely He can restrain my trial, and keep my sorrows in subjection.

I need not fear . . .
  while the lightnings are in His hands,
  and the thunders sleep within His lips;
  while the oceans gurgle from His fist,
  and the clouds are in the hollow of His hands;
  while the rivers are turned by His foot,
  and while He digs the channels of the sea.

Surely, He whose might gives wings to the angels, can furnish a worm with strength. 
Surely, He who guides a cherub, will not be overcome by the trials of a speck like myself.

He who makes the most ponderous orb roll in dignity, and keeps its predestined orbit–can make a little atom like myself move in my proper course, and conduct me as He pleases.

Christian!¬†there is no sweeter pillow than providence!¬†And when providence seems adverse, believe it still, and lay it under your head. For depend upon it–there is comfort in its bosom.

There is hope for you, child of God! The great trouble which is to come in your way in your pilgrimage, is planned by divine love–the same love which shall interpose as your protector.

At the cross!

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At the cross!

(Charles Spurgeon)

The cross, that deepest revelation of the glory of God–is the great weapon which breaks down the heart’s defenses! It is especially the love of Jesus¬† shown in the cross, which turns and transforms the hearts of sinners.¬†

In the horrifying torture and crucifixion of Jesus, we see the highest proof of the highest love. His bleeding, makes our hearts bleed. His shame, makes us ashamed. In the cross we see the divine disgust at sin, which makes sin appalling in our eyes as well. But further, through the cross we see a love so unfathomable, that it pierces our apathy and overwhelms our desires for earthly trinkets.

At the cross . . .
  our pride and sinfulness are mortified,
  our self-deifying efforts are destroyed,
  our wandering hearts are exposed,
  the beauty of Christ in His humility and holiness are held before us, 
  and the glory of God shines brightest in all its transforming power.

The atoning work of Jesus is the great gun of our battery. The cross is the mighty battering-ram with which to break in pieces the bronze gates of human prejudices and the iron bars of sinful obstinacy!

The most excellent study for expanding the soul!

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The most excellent study for expanding the soul!

(Charles Spurgeon, “The Immutability of God!“)

The proper study of God’s elect, is God. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God–is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father! There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so¬†vast–that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so¬†deep–that our pride is drowned in its infinity!¬†

Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-contentment, and go our way with the thought,¬†“Behold I am wise!”¬†But when we come to this master-science, finding that our¬†plumb-line¬†cannot sound its depth, and that our¬†eagle eye¬†cannot see its height–we turn away with the¬†thought¬†that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild donkey’s colt; and with the solemn¬†exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing!” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God.¬†

The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified–and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing will so magnify the whole soul of man–as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. While¬†humbling¬†and¬†expanding, this subject is eminently¬†consolatory.¬†

Oh, there is in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound! 
In musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief. 
In the influence of the Holy Spirit, there is a balsam for every sore. 

Would you lose your sorrows? 
Would you drown your cares? 
Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea!¬†
Be lost in His immensity–and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated.¬†

I know nothing which can . . .
  so comfort the soul; 
  so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow;
¬† so speak peace to the winds of trial–
as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead!

He does whatever pleases Him!

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He does whatever pleases Him!

(The sermons of Matthew Mead, 1629-1699)

“I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The LORD does whatever pleases Him–in the¬†heavens¬†and on the¬†earth, in the¬†seas¬†and all their depths. He makes¬†clouds¬†rise from the ends of the earth; He sends¬†lightning¬†with the¬†rain¬†and brings out the¬†wind¬†from His storehouses!” Psalm 135:5-7¬†

Every creature is God’s subject, and even the devils themselves are at His beck.¬†

It is so with the most inanimate beings. God bids the¬†winds¬†be silent and the¬†seas¬†be still–and how readily they obey His voice!¬†

If God calls for a¬†famine¬†on a sinning nation–then how suddenly does the earth become iron and the heavens brass!¬†

Flies and lice shall infest thrones and kingdoms, if armed with a commission from Almighty God. “All are Your servants!” Psalm 119:91¬†

What the centurion said of his soldiers and servants–is much more true of God:¬†
“I say to this one,¬†‘Go,’¬†and he goes;
¬†and to another,¬†‘Come,’¬†and he comes;¬†and
¬†to my servant,¬†‘Do this,’¬†and he does it.” Matthew 8:9

God has a power and dominion over all of His creatures, and a sovereign right to dispose of them at His own pleasure. 

Sometimes He governs things according to the course of second causes. Sometimes He governs them in an extraordinary way–above or beyond nature. As when He made, “the¬†sun¬†to stand still in Gibeon, and the¬†moon¬†in the valley of Aijalon.” Joshua 10:12¬†

At the word of God, the sea divides for Israel to pass over on dry land. 

He makes the earth open to swallow up Korah and his companions. 

He shuts the mouth of hungry lions! Daniel 6:22

He commands the fiery furnace not to burn! Daniel 3:25 

The angels, those inhabitants of the glorious world–do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word.¬†

All the creatures in Heaven and earth are controlled by His sovereign power! Psalm 135:6 says, “Whatever the Lord pleased, that he did in the Heaven and earth, in the sea and all deep places.”¬†

It is so with all sicknesses, trials, and diseases. Matthew 8:8 

God’s sovereign will and power governs all.

No creature can evade the power of His dominion, for all are at His command! 

“Our God is in Heaven;¬†He does whatever pleases Him!” Psalm 115:3¬†

Suppose I have fallen into some great sin–what then?

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Suppose I have fallen into some great sin–what then?

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Ah!” says one, “Suppose I have fallen into some great sin–what then?

Why then, that is all the more reason why you should cast yourself upon Him. 

Do you think Jesus Christ is only for little sinners? 

Is He a doctor who only heals finger-aches?

Beloved, it is not faith to trust Christ when I have no sin–but it is true faith to trust Him when I am foul, and black, and filthy!

“The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin!” 1 John 1:7¬†

It is but a little sin!

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It is but a little sin!

(Thomas Brooks, “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices!“)

“So that Satan will not outsmart us–for we are familiar with his evil schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11

“Ah!” says Satan, “It is but a little sin–a little pride, a little worldliness, a little lust, etc. You may commit it without any danger to your soul. It is but a little one; you may commit it, and yet your soul shall live.”

Consider, that there is great danger, yes, many times most danger–in the smallest sins.¬†
“A little leaven leavens the whole lump!” 1 Corinthians 5:6¬†
If the serpent sneaks in his head–he will draw in his whole body after him.¬†

Greater sins sooner startle the soul, and awaken and rouse up the soul to repentance, than lesser sins do. Little sins often slide into the soul, and breed, and work secretly and indiscernibly in the soul, until they come to be so strong, as to trample upon the soul, and to cut the throat of the soul!

Many are eternally undone by the ‘little sins’, as they call them, that are nourished in their own bosoms.¬†

A little hole in the ship, sinks it. 

A small breach in a dyke, carries away all before it. 

A little stab at the heart, kills a man. 

A little sin, without a great deal of mercy, will damn a man!

The richest pearl of all the promises!

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The richest pearl of all the promises! 

(Octavius Winslow, “Christ is Ever With You!” 1863)

“Lo,¬†I¬†am with you always–even unto the end of the world!” Matthew 28:20¬†

Whose presence is thus promised and pledged? 

It is the presence of Christ! The Christ who is God. “Immanuel, God with us!”

The Christ who . . .
  made all worlds,
  created all beings,
  governs all empires,
  and controls all events! 

The Christ who replenishes . . .
  earth with beauty,
  Heaven with glory,
  eternity with song!

The Christ before whom angels and archangels, principalities and powers bend–and at whose name every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord!

The Christ . . .
  whose glory is divine,
  whose beauty is peerless, 
  whose wealth is boundless,
  whose love is as infinite as His being!

The Christ who . . .
  bore and put away your sins forever,
  removed and forever canceled your curse,
  paid all your great debt to Divine justice, 
  sorrowed for you in the garden,
  suffered and expired in your stead on the cross,
¬† rose from the grave, ascended up to Heaven, lives and intercedes for you, representing your person and presenting your prayers and praises with ineffable acceptance and delight–to His Father and your Father, to His God and your God.¬†

“Lo,¬†I¬†am with you always! Mark! Behold! I the Incarnate God, I who opened my bleeding heart for your redemption on Calvary, I who am your dearest Friend–I am with you always, in all places, and at all times, unto the end of the world!”

O honored saint of God! You have . . .  
  the Divinest in the universe to love you,
  the Mightiest in the universe to shield you,
  the Loveliest in the universe to delight you,
  the Dearest in the universe to soothe, cheer, and gladden you! 
O favored disciple of Jesus–you have such a One ever at your side!¬†

This is the promise of promisesthe richest pearl of all the promises, exceeding in its mightiness and preciousness; while it is the substance, sweetness, and pledge of all the rest!

There is room for you there amid the countless ones who fly to it for consolation, safety, and repose!

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There is room for you there amid the countless ones who fly to it for consolation, safety, and repose! 

(Octavius Winslow)

“This was the one who had¬†reclined on Jesus’ bosom¬†at the supper . . . ” John 21:20

The bosom of Jesus still pillows the head of the weary, loving disciple of the Lord. There is no real rest for the soul, but in Jesus.

Where should the Christ-loved, the Christ-loving disciple lean, with his sins and sorrows, with his weariness and want–but upon the bosom of his Lord? It is the place of repose, of faith, and of love.

There is room for you there amid the countless ones who fly to it for consolation, safety, and repose!¬†Go and lean with your burden, your grief, and your sin–where the beloved disciple reclined; and you shall realize the blessedness of the oneness, confidence, and affection which exist between Jesus and all the disciples whom He loves.¬†

Let all God’s people look upon death through Scripture spectacles!

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Let all God’s people look upon death through Scripture spectacles!

(A Funeral Sermon for Mr. Christopher Love on the following Sabbath-Day after he was executed. By Mr. Edmund Calamy, London, August 24, 1651)

“Our friend Lazarus¬†sleeps.” John 11:11
 
“And when Stephen had said this, he fell¬†asleep.” Acts 7:60

Let me beseech the people of God, that they would look upon death, not as it is presented unto us in nature’s looking-glass, but as it is set down in a Scripture-dress. Nature presents death in a very terrible manner–and it is true, death is very terrible to a man outside of Christ. But to you who are in Christ, the sting of death is taken away–and death is nothing else but a quiet and placid sleep, a putting off of our clothes, and a going to bed until we awake in the morning of the resurrection.¬†

Death to a child of God is nothing else but a putting off of his earthly tabernacle. 

It is but a going from an earthly prison, into an heavenly palace. 

Death is the letting of the soul out of prison, as a bird out of the cage, that it may flee to Heaven. 

Death is change from a temporary Hell, to an eternal Heaven! 

Death is not the death of the man, but the death of his sins.

It is the end of the pilgrim’s journey–and the seaman’s haven.

Death is being absent from the body, and being present with the Lord.

Let all God’s people look upon death through Scripture spectacles, and consider it as it is sweetly represented in this text! A child of God should be as willing to die as to put off his clothes–because death is nothing else to him but a sleep.

Death is a departure from earth’s misery–to the everlasting happiness of Heaven!

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15

(You may want to read an excerpt from a letter by Christopher Love to his wife, on the morning of his execution.

Clear views of Christ’s priestly office and intercession

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Clear views of Christ’s priestly office and intercession

(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858)

“But I have¬†prayed¬†for you Simon, that your faith may not fail.” Luke 22:32¬†

We see in this verse–one great secret of a believer’s perseverance in the faith.¬†
It was owing to Christ’s intercession–that Peter did not entirely fall away.

The continued existence of grace in a believer’s heart, is a great standing miracle. His enemies are so mighty–and his strength is so small; the world is so full of snares–and his heart is so weak; that it seems at first sight impossible for him to reach Heaven.¬†

The passage before us explains his safety. He has a mighty Friend at the right hand of God, who ever lives to make intercession for him. There is a watchful Advocate, who is daily pleading for him–seeing all his daily necessities, and obtaining daily supplies of mercy and grace for his soul. His grace never altogether dies–because Christ always lives to intercede for him! (Hebrews 7:25.)

If we are true Christians, we shall find it essential to our comfort in religion–to have¬†clear views of Christ’s priestly office and intercession. Christ lives–and therefore our faith shall not fail. Let us beware of regarding Jesus only as one who¬†died¬†for us. Let us never forget that He is¬†alive¬†for evermore. Paul bids us to especially remember that He is risen again, and is at the right hand of God, and also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34
 
The work that He does for His people, is not yet over. He is still appearing in the presence of God for them, and doing for their souls, what He did for Peter. His present life for them–is just as important as His death on the cross eighteen hundred years ago! Christ lives–and therefore true Christians “shall live also.”

Well, when you are suffering the punishment of this sin in hell!

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Well, when you are suffering the punishment of this sin in hell!

(Samuel Davies, “The Nature and Danger of Making Light of Christ and Salvation”)

“But they made light of it.”¬†Matthew 22:5

Consider what those things are, which engross your affections, and which tempt you to neglect Christ and your salvation.

Have you found a better friend than Christ, or a more substantial and lasting happiness than His eternal salvation? 

Oh! what¬†trifles¬†and¬†vanities, what¬†dreams¬†and¬†shadows¬†are men pursuing‚ÄĒwhile they neglect the important realities of the eternal world!¬†

If crowns and kingdoms, if all the riches, glories, and pleasures of this present world were ensured to you‚ÄĒas a reward for making light of Christ, you would even then make the most foolish bargain possible; for what are these in the grand scale‚ÄĒwhen compared to eternal joy, or eternal misery! “What is a man profited, if he shall gain even the whole world, and lose his own soul!”¬†

But you cannot realistically hope for the ten thousandth part of these worldly trifles! And will you cast away your souls for such a pittance? 

Alas! what does the richest, the highest, the most voluptuous sinner do‚ÄĒbut lay up¬†treasures of wrath¬†against the day of wrath! Oh how will the unhappy creatures torture themselves forever with the most cutting reflections, for selling their Savior and their souls‚ÄĒfor such trifles! Let your sins and earthly enjoyments save you then, if they can! Then go and cry to the¬†gods¬†you have chosen; let them deliver you in the day of your damnation!¬†

The time is hastening on, when you will not think so lightly of Christ and salvation. Oh, sirs, when God shall commission¬†DEATH¬†to tear your guilty souls out of your bodies, when devils shall drag you away to the place of torment, when you find yourselves condemned to everlasting fire by that Savior whom you now neglect‚ÄĒwhat would you then give for a Savior!¬†

When you see that the¬†world¬†has deserted you, that your¬†companions¬†in sin have deceived both themselves and you, and all your¬†merry days¬†are over forever‚ÄĒwould you not¬†then¬†give ten thousand worlds for Christ!!

And now, dear immortal souls! Whenever you spend another prayerless, thoughtless day; whenever you give yourselves up to sinful pleasures, or an over-eager pursuit of the world‚ÄĒmay your conscience become your preacher, and sting you with these solemn truths!¬†

I cannot but fear, after all, that some of you, as usual, will continue careless and impenitent. Well, when you are suffering the punishment of this sin in hell, remember that you were warned, and acquit me from being accessory to your eternal ruin!

And when we all appear before the supreme Judge, and I am called to give an account of my ministry: when I am asked, “Did you warn these creatures of their danger? Did you lay before them their guilt in making light of these things?” You will hear me answer, “Yes, Lord, I warned them in the best manner I could‚ÄĒbut they would not believe me; they would not regard what I said!”¬†

Oh sirs, must I give in this accusation against any of¬†you? No, rather have mercy on yourselves‚ÄĒthat I may give an account of you with joy, and not with grief!

The greatest sinner that you know!

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The greatest sinner that you know!

(William Law, “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life“)

“This is a true saying, and worthy of all acceptance:¬†‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’–and¬†I am the worst of them all.” 1 Timothy 1:15¬†

You may truly look upon¬†yourself¬†to be¬†the greatest sinner that you know¬†in the world. For though you may know many people to be guilty of some gross sins with which you cannot charge yourself–yet you may justly condemn yourself as the greatest sinner that you know, because you know more of the folly of your own heart, than you do of other people’s hearts. You can charge yourself with various sins, that only you know of yourself, and cannot be sure that others are guilty of them.¬†

So that as you know more of the folly, the degradation, the pride, the deceitfulness and vileness of your own heart, than you do of any one’s else–so you have just reason to consider yourself as¬†the greatest sinner that you know; because you know more of the greatness of your own sins, than you do of other people’s sins.¬†

God Almighty knows greater sinners than you are; because He sees and knows the circumstances of all men’s sins.¬†But your own heart, if it is faithful to you, can discover no guilt so great as your own.

Perhaps that person who appears so odious in your eyes, would have been much better than you are–had he been altogether in your circumstances, and received all the same favors and graces from God that you have. And therefore¬†the greatest sinner that you know, must be yourself.

This is a very humbling thought. 

A serious and frequent reflection upon this will mightily tend to . . .
  humble us in our own eyes, 
  make us very sensible of the greatness of our own guilt, 
  and very tender in censuring and condemning other people.

This alone is the vexed soul’s refuge!

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This alone is the vexed soul’s refuge!

(Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889)

“In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge!” Colossians 2:3

The one true¬†resting-place where doubt and weariness, the stings of a pricking conscience, and the longings of an unsatisfied soul would all be quieted–is Christ Himself!
 
Not the church, but Christ. 

Not doctrine, but Christ. 

Not religious forms and ceremonies, but Christ. 

Christ the God-man . . .
  giving His life for ours,
  sealing the everlasting covenant, and
  making peace for us through the blood of His cross!

Christ the divine storehouse of all light and truth, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! 

Christ the infinite vessel–the enlightener, the teacher, the quickener, the comforter–so that out of His fullness we may receive grace upon grace.

This,¬†this alone is the vexed soul’s refuge, its¬†rock¬†to build on, its¬†home¬†to abide in–until the great tempter is bound and every conflict ended in victory.

I cannot think little of sin, when . . .

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I cannot think little of sin, when . . .

(J.C. Ryle)

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”¬†Matthew 27:46

Would I know how exceedingly sinful and abominable sin is in the sight of God? Where shall I see sin most fully brought out? 

Shall I turn to the history of the flood, and read how sin drowned the world? 

Shall I go to the shore of the Dead Sea, and mark what sin brought on Sodom and Gomorrah? 

No! I can find a clearer proof still! I look at the cross of Christ!

There I see that sin is so filthy and damnable, that nothing but the blood of God’s own Son can wash it away!¬†

There I see that sin has so separated me from my holy Maker, that all the angels in Heaven could never have made peace between us. Nothing could reconcile us, short of the death of Christ. 

If I listened to the wretched talk of proud people, I might sometimes imagine that sin was not so very sinful! But I cannot think little of sin, when I look at the cross of Christ! 

“A bleeding Savior I have viewed–and now I hate my sin!”¬†John Newton

I am fast borne along the stream of time!

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I am fast borne along the stream of time! 

(John MacDuff, “Evening Incense” 1856)

“It is appointed unto all once to die–and after death, the judgment!” Hebrews 9:27

O my Father, You are daily loading me with Your benefits–giving me unnumbered causes for gratitude¬†and thankfulness. No earthly friend could have loved and cared for me like You. Oh may the life You are thus preserving by Your unceasing bounty–be unreservedly dedicated to Your praise.

O my Father, keep me mindful that I am soon to be done with this fleeting world; that¬†I am fast borne along the stream of time–to the ocean of endless futurity!

May I be living in a constant state of preparedness for that solemn hour when small and great shall stand before You, and the booksshall be opened. Train me for eternity! Let me not be frittering away these fleeting, but precious moments. Impress on me the solemn conviction . . .
¬† that as men¬†live–so do men¬†die;¬†
¬† that as¬†death¬†leaves me–so¬†judgment¬†will find me;
¬† and that as¬†judgment¬†finds me–so¬†eternity¬†will keep me.

Oh let death leave me¬†falling asleep in Jesus, united to Him by a living faith–so that judgment may find me seated at His right hand, listening to the joyous welcome, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!”

Blessed Jesus, all my hope of a glorious resurrection centers in You. I look to You as the strong tower which cannot be shaken. I flee anew to the holy sanctuary of Your covenant love. Sheltered there, amid a dissolving earth, and burning worlds–I shall be able joyfully to utter the challenge, “Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?”

Keep me from all negligence and unwatchfulness. Trim my flickering lamp. Let me live with Your Judgment-throne in view. May I ever remember–that I must soon give an¬†account¬†of myself to You, the infallible searcher of all hearts. May I feel that all the talents and means which You have given me–are¬†trusts¬†to be laid out for You. When you come to demand a reckoning, may I not be among the number of those who have hidden their talent in the earth, and have the¬†cheerless retrospect of a misspent life.

May every providential voice sound loud in my ears, “Arise and depart–for this is not your rest, because it is defiled–it is ruined, beyond all remedy!”

Make me more heavenly-minded. Give me more of a¬†pilgrim¬†attitude–and a pilgrim spirit. May I ever feel that¬†my true home¬†is above–and that I am here on earth, but a wayfarer and sojourner, as all my fathers were. May I attain, as I advance nearer to Heaven, the blessed habit of a holy life, declaring plainly that I am seeking a heavenly home.¬†

I delight often to anticipate that happy time, when I shall¬†suffer¬†no more–and¬†sin¬†no more!

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

A golden master-key!

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A golden master-key! 
 
(Charles Spurgeon)

The Lord opened Lydia’s heart¬†to respond to what Paul was saying.” Acts 16:14

God’s saving grace will not be baffled.¬†
 
He frequently begins with the¬†silver key¬†of a mother’s tearful prayers and a father’s tender counsels.¬†
 
In turn, He uses the church-keys of His ordinances and His ministers, and these are often found to move the bolt. 
 
But if they fail, He thrusts in the iron key of trouble and affliction which has been known to succeed after all others have failed. 
 
He has, however, a golden master-key, which excels all others. It is the operation of His own most gracious Spirit, by which entrance is effected into hearts which seemed shut up forever.
 
Wonderful is the patience and long-suffering of the Lord, or He would long since have left hardened and careless sinners to themselves. He is importunate, whether we are so or not. We take pains to resist His heavenly grace, but He abides faithful to His own name of love.
 
O Lord, we bless You that You have opened our hearts, and we ask You now that You have entered, to abide in our souls forever, as a king in his own palace!

God deals mysteriously with me!

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God deals mysteriously with me!

(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)

“Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters–though Your footprints were not seen!”¬†Psalm 77:19¬†

Just so, God deals mysteriously with me. His footsteps, His judgments, His methods, are often untrackable, like the untried sea. What though I cannot comprehend all His winding mazes? It is enough that He comprehends. I rest in His wise-heartedness and love.

I know that if He surrounds me with¬†change, He gives me a hold on what is permanent and stable. Every breath of wind, every passing shadow, every ray of sun, alters the sea. And, meanwhile, by God’s will, nothing in my life continues unchangeable. The very mutableness of things, drives me into closer communion with Himself. Standing on the Rock of Ages, I am rooted in an element that is indestructible.

I know that if He permits me to be assailed by storm, He can keep my heart in peace. It is His decree that I am driven hither and thither over moonless waters by contrary winds. But the certainty is mine, that He makes all things to work together for my good. 

He is my holy Father, my unerring Father, my Father of immeasurable grace. He makes no mistakes now, and, by and by He will bring me to His house not made with hands, where I will sing with everlasting joy!

Trust His heart–even when you can’t trace His hand!

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Trust His¬†heart–even when you can’t trace His¬†hand!

(John MacDuff, “The Promised Land!” 1859)

“And He¬†led¬†them forth by the¬†right¬†way–that they might go to a city of habitation.” Psalm 107:7

God’s¬†thoughts¬†are not as our thoughts–neither are His¬†ways¬†as our ways! This truth is strikingly exemplified in the¬†manner¬†in which He led the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land.¬†We¬†would have chosen the way that was¬†nearest¬†and¬†most direct–but God decided otherwise. He led them round about through the wilderness, and that for the space of forty years! And not merely was it the most¬†distant¬†way–but it was the most¬†dangerous¬†way as well. It was a land of¬†deserts¬†and of¬†pits–a land of¬†drought¬†and¬†death–a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt.¬†

But, as strange as it appeared, we are fully justified in saying that it was wisely arranged. 
Their long detainments;
their tiresome and circuitous wanderings;
their fierce conflicts with the Moabites and the Amalekites;
the bitter waters which they had to drink; and
the fiery serpents with which they were stung–
all fulfilled the high purposes of Him who is excellent in counsel, as well as wonderful in working. However contrary¬†His¬†way might have been to¬†theirs–yet “He led them forth by the¬†right¬†way, that they might go to a city of habitation.”

His dealings with His people now¬†are still as unusual, and as much opposed to all¬†their¬†preconceived plans–as were His dealings with the Israelites! He has crossed their own schemes, and thwarted their most fondly-cherished purposes! He always effects His own ends–in His own way!

Christian, what is your duty?

It is to cherish high thoughts of God in all His inscrutable dealings towards you. 

It is to¬†trust His¬†heart–even when you can’t trace His¬†hand; believing that “all the¬†paths¬†of the Lord are mercy and truth, unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.”¬†

It is to follow His¬†guidance¬†continually; for as He led His people of old with “the cloud by day, the pillared fire by night”–so He has promised to direct all¬†your steps, and preserve all¬†your¬†goings.

It is to wait His time; for although the way may appear long¬†and tedious–yet remember,¬†“all is well, that ends well.”¬†And what¬†will the end be? “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads! They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away!”

A book full of Christ!

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A book full of Christ!

(J.C. Ryle)

“Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 24:44¬†

We have probably little idea how much deep truth is contained in the book of Psalms. No part of the Bible perhaps is better known in the letter–and none so little understood in the spirit. We err greatly if we suppose that it is nothing but a record of David’s feelings, of David’s experience, David’s praises, and David’s prayers. The hand that held the pen was generally David’s. But the subject matter was often something far deeper and higher than the history of the son of Jesse.¬†

The book of Psalms, in a word, is a book full of Christ:
  Christ in humiliation,
  Christ suffering,
  Christ dying,
  Christ rising again,
  Christ coming the second time,
  Christ reigning over all. 

Both of Christ’s advents are here: His coming in suffering to bear the¬†cross–and His second coming in power to wear the¬†crown.¬†

Both of Christ’s kingdoms are here–His kingdom of¬†grace, during which the elect are gathered–and His kingdom of glory, when every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord.¬†

Let us always read the Psalms with a peculiar reverence. Let us say to ourselves as we read, “A greater than David is here!”

The chain of redeeming love now holds them!

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The chain of redeeming love now holds them! 

(Henry Law)

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were¬†redeemed¬†from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect!” 1 Peter 1:18-19¬†

Your¬†time¬†is redeemed–use it as a consecrated talent in His cause.¬†

Your¬†minds¬†are redeemed–employ them to learn His truth, and to meditate on His ways.¬†

Your¬†eyes¬†are redeemed–let them not look on vanity; close them on all sights of folly and evil.¬†

Your¬†feet¬†are redeemed–let them trample on the world and climb the upward hill of Zion and bear you onward in the mark of Christian zeal.¬†

Your¬†tongues¬†are redeemed–let them only sound His praise, and testify of His love, and call sinners to His cross.¬†

Your¬†hearts¬†are redeemed–let them love Him wholly, and have no place for rivals.

A redeemed flock should live in redemption’s pastures. The Redeemer’s freedmen should evidence, that they are called to holy liberty, and that their holy liberty is holy service. The chain of¬†sin¬†is broken–and¬†the chain of redeeming love¬†now holds them!

Gather your manna fresh every morning!

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Gather your manna fresh every morning!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long!”¬†Psalm 119:97

The Bible in the pulpit, must never supersede the Bible at home. Let us read our Bibles in private more, and with more pains and diligence. 

There is less private Bible reading than there was fifty years ago. I never would have believed that so many men and women would have been tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, some falling into skepticism, some rushing into the wildest and narrowest fanaticism, and some going over to the Roman church. With many, there was a habit developed of lazy, superficial and careless reading of God’s Word.¬†¬†¬†

Read the Bible daily. Make it part of your everyday business to read and meditate on some portion of God’s Word.¬†Gather your manna fresh every morning!¬†Choose your own seasons and hours. Do not scramble over and hurry your reading. Give your Bible the best, and not the worst, part of your time. But whatever plan you pursue, let it be a rule of your life to visit the throne of grace and the Bible every day.

Next to praying there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible reading. By reading that Book we may learn . . .
  what to believe,
  what to be, 
  what to do,
  how to live with comfort,
  and how to die in peace.

Happy is that man who possesses a Bible!

Happier still is he who reads it!

Happiest of all is he who not only reads it, but obeys it, and makes it the rule of his faith and practice!

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness–that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Let us abhor the very idea of play-acting and mask-wearing in our Christianity!

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Let us abhor the very idea of play-acting and mask-wearing in our Christianity!

(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858)

Let us observe how abominable¬†hypocrisy¬†is in the eyes of Christ. We are told that in the presence of all the people, Jesus said unto His disciples, “Beware of the teachers of the law! They like to walk around in flowing robes–and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses–and¬†pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public.” Luke 20:46-47

This was a bold and remarkable warning. It was a public denunciation, we must remember, of men who were the recognized teachers of the Jewish people. 

No sin seems to be regarded by Christ as more wicked, than hypocrisy. None certainly drew forth from His lips such frequent, strong and withering condemnation, during the whole course of His ministry. 

He was ever full of mercy and compassion for the chief of sinners. “Fury was not in Him” when He saw Zacchaeus; the penitent thief; Matthew the tax-collector; Saul the persecutor; and the sinful woman in Simon’s house.¬†

But when He saw Scribes and Pharisees wearing a¬†mere cloak of religion, and pretending to great outward sanctity, while their hearts were full of wickedness–His righteous soul seems to have been full of indignation. Eight times in one chapter (Matthew 23) we find Him saying,¬†“Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites!”

Whatever else we are in religion–let us be true. However feeble our faith, and hope, and love, and obedience may be–let us see to it that they are real, genuine, and sincere.¬†Let us abhor the very idea of play-acting and mask-wearing in our Christianity. At any rate, let us be genuine.¬†

The¬†hypocrite¬†will have the lowest place in Hell! “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the damnation of Hell?” Matthew 23:33

The conflagration of the world!

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The conflagration of the world!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!“)

“The present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare!” 2 Peter 3:7, 10¬†

The¬†present¬†state is but the¬†infancy¬†of the world. All the events of time, even those which make such great noise to us, and determine the fate of kingdoms‚ÄĒare but as the¬†trivial games of little children. But if we look forward and trace events to maturity, we meet with vast, significant and majestic events! To one of those scenes I would direct your attention this day; I mean the solemn, tremendous, and glorious scene of the¬†universal judgment!

You have sometimes seen a stately building in ruins; come now, and view the ruins of a demolished world! Come now, and view the whole universe severely laboring and agonizing in her last convulsions, and her well-ordered system dissolved! 

You have heard of earthquakes here and there which have laid huge cities in ruins; come now, and feel the tremors and convulsions of the whole globe, which blend cities and countries, oceans and continents, mountains, plains and valleys‚ÄĒin one giant heap!

You have a thousand times beheld the moon walking in brightness, and the sun shining in its strength; come now, look and see the sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood! 

It is our lot to live in an age of war, blood, and slaughter; an age in which our attention is engaged by the dubious fate of kingdoms. Draw off your thoughts from these trifling objects for an hour, and fix them on more solemn and vital objects. Come view this dread scene!
“The world alarmed, both earth and heaven o’erthrown,¬†
¬†And gasping nature’s last tremendous groan;¬†
¬†Death’s ancient scepter broke, the teeming tomb,
¬†The Righteous Judge, and man’s eternal doom!”

Let us now enter upon the majestic scene! But alas! what¬†images¬†shall I use to represent it? Nothing that we have ever¬†seen, nothing that we have ever¬†heard, nothing that has ever happened on the¬†stage of time‚ÄĒcan furnish us with proper illustrations. All here is low and groveling‚ÄĒwhen compared with the grand phenomena of that day!

We are so accustomed to trifling earthly objects, that it is impossible that we should ever raise our thoughts to a suitable pitch of elevation. But before long, we shall be¬†amazed spectators¬†of these majestic wonders‚ÄĒand our¬†eyes¬†and our¬†ears¬†will be our instructors!¬†

But it is now necessary we should have such ideas of them‚ÄĒas may affect our hearts, and prepare us for them. Let us therefore present to our view, those representations which divine revelation‚ÄĒour only guide in this case‚ÄĒgive us . . .
of the person of the Judge, and the manner of His appearance; 
of the resurrection of the dead, and the transformation of the living; 
of the universal gathering of all men before the supreme tribunal; 
of their separation to the right and left hand of the Judge, according to their characters; 
of the judicial process itself; 
of the decisive sentence; 
of its execution, 
and of the conflagration of the world!


You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey!

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You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey!

(James Smith, “The Believer’s Companion in Seasons of Affliction and Trouble” 1842)

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they confessed that they were¬†strangers¬†and¬†pilgrims¬†on the earth!” Hebrews 11:13

Every believer is a¬†pilgrim. He is traveling to his Father’s house! He is presently a¬†stranger¬†in a strange land, surrounded by temptations, trials, and foes. His¬†journey¬†lies through a great and terrible wilderness. Therefore he must not expect a very¬†smooth path, or many comfortable accommodations. He will have much to grieve and distress him. His heart will be often burdened with grief, and filled with sorrow ‚ÄĒ tears are common to the Christian. He feels the¬†unsuitableness¬†of the things of time to his spirit, profession, and aim. And therefore he confesses, “I am a stranger and a pilgrim¬†‚ÄĒ as all my fathers were!” Psalm 39:12

Weariness¬†and¬†painfulness¬†are his portion now ‚ÄĒ but a¬†rest¬†remains for him! It is a¬†glorious¬†rest. It embraces and includes all that the believer has prayed for ‚ÄĒ or can desire!¬†
It waits for him at the end of his journey, 
it was prepared for him from the foundation of the world, 
it is now promised to him in the faithful word, and 
it will be bestowed upon him when he has fought the good fight, and finished his course.

Everything at present may appear gloomy and distressing; but ahead of you, believer, everything is glorious, magnificent, and blessed! Press on then ‚ÄĒ fight the good fight of faith. Travel on in the strength of Jesus!¬†You are going home¬†‚ÄĒ and you have a glorious home to go to!¬†

The minute after you have entered your rest ‚ÄĒ you will forget all the¬†fatigue, all the¬†dangers, and all the¬†difficulties¬†of the way! You will perhaps be filled with wonder, that you should ever have allowed such¬†trifles¬†to vex you, or such little trials to discourage you ‚ÄĒ with such a glorious end before you.¬†

Fellow-pilgrim, expect trouble ‚ÄĒ but also expect mercy to help you in time of need! Expect to feel your circumstances to be trying ‚ÄĒ but also expect your Savior’s strength to be perfected in your weakness!¬†You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey¬†‚ÄĒ and enter into the joy of your Lord!

Never forget you are now a¬†pilgrim¬†‚ÄĒ a¬†stranger¬†‚ÄĒ only a¬†sojourner¬†here in this poor world. Here you have no continuing city ‚ÄĒ but you seek for one to come.¬†

Nothing can make this poor world your rest ‚ÄĒ it will always be a¬†wilderness¬†to you. Be content then, to¬†wait until you get home!¬†There you shall enjoy ‚ÄĒ and always enjoy, all your desires! There will not be one unfulfilled want, wish, or desire there! All will be satisfied ‚ÄĒ all will be full. In a little while ‚ÄĒ you will see the portal of your Father’s house, and hear Him say, “Come in, you who are blessed of the Lord, tarry no longer outside!¬†Come, dwell forever with Me!”

In that hand which was once nailed to the cross for your redemption!

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In that hand which was once nailed to the cross for your redemption!

(James Smith, “The Believer’s Companion in Seasons of Affliction and Trouble” 1842)

“The Lord¬†disciplines¬†those He¬†loves, and He¬†punishes¬†every one He accepts as a son.” Hebrews 12:6¬†

Afflicted Christian, you are perhaps tempted to think that God cannot love you ‚ÄĒ or He would not so deeply try you. But the reverse is the case ‚ÄĒ if He did¬†not¬†love you, He might perhaps refuse to try you. But because He loves you, and is a Father to you ‚ÄĒ therefore He corrects you.¬†

All of the Lord’s children need correction!¬†Many of them will not grow without very severe discipline ‚ÄĒ consequently your heavenly Father says, “I will¬†melt¬†them, and¬†try¬†them.” “I will turn My hand upon you ‚ÄĒ and will purge away your dross.”

Look to the generations of old, and see if the Lord’s people in every age have not been¬†an afflicted people.¬†Look at Job, at the prophets, at Lazarus; God tenderly loved them ‚ÄĒ and yet how¬†severely¬†He tried them. He has commanded an earthly parent to chasten his son, and not to let his soul spare for his crying ‚ÄĒ and by this rule He also proceeds. He¬†chastens¬†us ‚ÄĒ that He may not¬†destroy¬†us. There is¬†infinite mercy¬†in your present trial ‚ÄĒ as dreadful as it may appear to you. There was an¬†absolute necessity¬†for it ‚ÄĒ for He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve His redeemed children.

He takes pleasure in the spiritual prosperity of His people ‚ÄĒ and therefore He uses¬†means¬†to promote it. He has received you as a son, and He is now . . .
  using His paternal authority; 
  manifesting His infinite wisdom; 
  fulfilling His gracious covenant; 
  making good His precious promises; 
  and displaying His unutterable love!

Every one who is . . .
  adopted into His family; 
  quickened by His grace; 
¬† and united to Jesus ‚ÄĒ¬†
is made to pass under¬†the rod,¬†and prove the truth of the Scripture which says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous ‚ÄĒ but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”¬†

He chastens you, not for His own pleasure or gratification, but for your profit ‚ÄĒ that you might be a partaker of His holiness. What a¬†gracious design¬†is this ‚ÄĒ every way worthy of God. It affords full proof of His infinite wisdom, care, and love!

Think within yourself:
I could not do without this affliction;
it is sent in love; 
it is intended to do me good; 
it is a proof that I am a child of God
¬†‚ÄĒ and you will then think rightly.¬†

Do not despise the chastening of the Lord, by thinking that you could have done as well without it; or that there was no necessity for it. Depend upon it, you must either be . . .
¬† pained ‚ÄĒ or ruined;¬†
¬† tried ‚ÄĒ or injured;¬†
¬† corrected ‚ÄĒ or lost.¬†

Do not¬†faint¬†when the Lord rebukes you. He has promised you, that as your¬†day¬†is ‚ÄĒ so shall your¬†strength¬†be. He says to you, “Do not fear ‚ÄĒ for I am with you; do not be afraid ‚ÄĒ for I am your God. I will¬†strengthen¬†you; I will¬†help¬†you; I will¬†uphold¬†you with My righteous right hand!” Isaiah 41:10. Precious promise of a faithful God! He made it in love. He has not forgotten it ‚ÄĒ no, He intends to make it good. Yes, He is now making it good to you ‚ÄĒ as tried and afflicted as you are.¬†

The rod which afflicts you, is in the hand of Jesus!¬†In that hand which was once nailed to the cross for your redemption!¬†In the hand of that¬†Friend¬†who¬†loves¬†at all times; and who is a¬†Brother¬†born for adversity. Will Jesus who suffered, bled, and died to redeem you ‚ÄĒ ever¬†hurt¬†you? Surely not! His heart is too tender! His love is too great! “He will not break the bruised reed ‚ÄĒ and He will not quench the smoking flax!” He will bind up the broken heart, and comfort the sorrowful spirit.¬†

You say, “He is sorely trying me!” True ‚ÄĒ but He is only making you fit to partake of the inheritance of the saints in light. They are . . .
  loving strokes, 
  valuable trials, 
  blessed afflictions!
As¬†sharp¬†they may be ‚ÄĒ¬†short¬†they must be.¬†

Humble yourself then under the mighty hand of God; 
mourn before Him; 
surrender all to Him;
plead with Him; 
justify Him ‚ÄĒ and . . .
   the rod will soon fall from His hand, 
   the scourging will soon be over, and 
   peaceable fruits of righteousness will make their appearance. 

Look up to your God, and say:

Submissive to Your will, my God, 
I all to you resign;
I bow before Your chastening rod, 
And mourn, but not repine!

Why should my foolish heart complain,
When wisdom, truth, and love,
Direct the stroke, inflict the pain,
And point to joys above?

How short are all my sufferings here!
How needful every cross! 
Away then, my unbelieving fear,
Nor call my gain, my loss.

They must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction!

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They must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Before I was afflicted I went astray ‚ÄĒ but now I obey Your Word.” Psalm 119:67¬†

“It was good for me to be afflicted ‚ÄĒ so that I might learn Your decrees.” Psalm 119:71

Most of the great truths of God have to be learned through trials! They must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them.

“I know, O Lord, that Your laws are righteous ‚ÄĒ and in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75¬†

“God disciplines us for our good ‚ÄĒ that we may share in His holiness!” Hebrews 12:10¬†

What is man ‚ÄĒ that You are mindful of him?

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What is man ‚ÄĒ that You are mindful of him?

(Hugh Brown, “Altogether Lovely!” 1897)

What is man ‚ÄĒ that You are mindful of him?” Psalm 8:4¬†

What is man? 

Where did he come from? 

Where does his pathway lead? 

Man¬†was¬†once¬†the crowning piece of God’s workmanship, made in His own image, and given dominion over the works of His hands!

Alas! We now only know man . . .
¬† in his¬†fallen¬†state ‚ÄĒ not as God created him,¬†
  with the crown fallen from his head, 
  as a rebel against his Maker, 
  as the slave of sin, 
  as a willing subject of Satan, 
  in his weakness,
  compassed with infirmity,
  the prey of many diseases, 
¬† as “of few days, and full of trouble,”¬†
  as a bearer of burdens,
  with a heritage of sorrow!

So fearfully and wonderfully is man made ‚ÄĒ¬†¬†
¬† so great ‚ÄĒ and yet so little;¬†
¬† so noble ‚ÄĒ yet so base;¬†
¬† a feeble spark of life ‚ÄĒ yet having an eternal destiny!¬†

We now only know man . . .
  in his sinfulness, 
¬† with a “heart deceitful above all things ‚ÄĒ and desperately wicked,”¬†
  torn by conflicting passions, 
  in the vile bondage of iniquity,
  sin reigning within and without, 
  proud, 
  arrogant,
  self-seeking,
  vain,
  making the earth a habitation of cruelty!

For though sometimes in his youth, life may seem bright while he eagerly hunts after pleasure ‚ÄĒ how soon the¬†flowers fade, the¬†bubble bursts¬†‚ÄĒ and he is left with emptiness in his heart and learns by sad experience the truth of God‚Äôs Word:¬†“Truly, every man at his best estate is altogether vanity!”¬†

The annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!

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The annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!”)

Though we are too apt to think that we are not accountable for our¬†words‚ÄĒHe who is to be our Judge, has plainly told us that “for¬†every careless word¬†which men speak, they shall give an account in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36

“For God will bring every deed¬†into judgment, including¬†every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14

What astonishing discoveries will this trial of every hidden thing make! 

On the one hand‚ÄĒwhat¬†noble dispositions¬†which never shone in full beauty to mortal eyes! What¬†generous purposes¬†crushed in embryo for lack of power to execute them! What¬†pious and noble actions¬†concealed under the veil of modesty, or misconstrued by ignorance and prejudice! What¬†affectionate aspirations, what¬†devout exercises of heart, which lay open only to the¬†eyes of Omniscience, are now brought to full light, and receive the approbation of the Supreme Judge before the assembled universe”!

But on the other hand‚ÄĒwhat works of¬†shame¬†and¬†darkness¬†are then revealed! What hidden things of dishonesty! What dire secrets of treachery, hypocrisy, lewdness, and various forms of wickedness‚ÄĒall artfully and industriously concealed from human sight! What horrid exploits of sin now burst to light in all their hellish colors‚ÄĒto the confusion of the guilty, and the astonishment and horror of the universe!

Surely the¬†history of mankind¬†must then appear like¬†the annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!¬†Then the¬†mask of deceit¬†will be torn off‚ÄĒand men¬†will appear in their true characters. Their hearts will be, as it were, turned outwards‚ÄĒand all their¬†secrets¬†exposed to full view!

The design of this judicial inquiry will not be to inform the omniscient Judge‚ÄĒbut to convince all worlds of the justice of His proceedings. And this design renders it necessary that all these ‘secret things’ should be laid open to their sight, that they may see the grounds upon which He passes sentence.

Does not the prospect of such a ‘revealing’ fill some of you with horror? For many of your actions, and especially of your¬†thoughts‚ÄĒwill not bear the light. How would it confound you, if all your secret thoughts were now all published, even in the small circle of your friends! How then, can you bear to have them all fully exposed before God, angels, and the universe! Will it not confound you with shame, and make you¬†objects of everlasting contempt¬†to all worlds!

A most influential sermon!

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A most influential sermon!

(James Smith, “Good News for All” 1860)

“You, however, know all about my teaching,¬†my way of life,
 and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my
¬†patience, my love, and my endurance.” 2 Timothy 3:10¬†

A holy life is a most influential sermon!

“You ought to live holy and godly lives!” 2 Peter 3:11

See the cause of my happiness

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See the cause of my happiness

(James Smith, “My Savior!” 1860)

My soul, meditate for a few moments on what Jesus¬†is¬†to you, and what Jesus has¬†done¬†for you. Look back and glance at the¬†circumstances¬†in which He found you ‚ÄĒ and the¬†deliverance¬†which He wrought for you.

1. The¬†circumstances¬†in which Jesus found you.¬†Jesus found me¬†out of the way. God by His law had marked out a way in which His creatures should walk ‚ÄĒ its character was holiness, and its end His glory. But all we like sheep had gone astray, we had turned every one to his own way. We were in the path of death and destruction, and on the way to Hell.¬†

We were not only out of the way ‚ÄĒ but we were¬†enslaved. We were . . .
  slaves of sin,
  the drudges of the world, and
  led captive by the Devil at his will. 

We were¬†diseased¬†‚ÄĒ as well as enslaved. We were¬†leprous¬†from head to foot. We had the¬†plague of the heart!¬†The whole head was sick, and the whole heart was faint.¬†

We were¬†imprisoned, as well as diseased. We were shut up in unbelief and sin. Our cell was cold and damp, dark and narrow ‚ÄĒ and our imprisonment was not merely for a few years ‚ÄĒ it was forever!¬†

We were dead, though still conscious, and to some things alive. Dead in trespasses and sins. 

In this state we were ‚ÄĒ and we loved it well. We neither desired, nor sought deliverance.¬†Left to ourselves¬†. . .
  we would have wandered on in darkness, until we had perished in our sins; 
  we would have continued the slaves of sin and Satan forever;
  our disease would have preyed upon our vitals to all eternity; 
  our prison walls would have enclosed us still; 
  we would have remained dead in sin, 
  we would have suffered all the pangs of damnation forever!

2. The deliverance which Jesus wrought for you. Jesus saved me!

He saved me from the roaring lion, who goes about seeking to devour me!

He saved me from my raging lusts, so that sin shall not have dominion over me!

He saved me from righteous wrath, and I, being justified by His blood, shall be saved from wrath through Him!

He saved me from¬†death, the ‘king of terrors,’ depriving the¬†monster¬†of his sting, and giving me the victory over him!

He has also saved me from the¬†flaming furnace of Hell¬†‚ÄĒ from that lake of fire, and those¬†floods of flame¬†in which the lost must welter forever!

See the cause of my happiness¬†‚ÄĒ¬†
I have a Savior! 

A Savior who is divine. 
A Savior who has ever loved me. 
A Savior who lived, labored, and died for me. 
A Savior who pleads for me before the throne of His Father. 
A Savior who is in His Father’s house, preparing a place for me.¬†
A Savior who will soon come and receive me to Himself, that so I may be forever with Him! Yes, I have a Savior ‚ÄĒ one who . . .
  watches over me, 
  walks through the wilderness with me, 
  and rejoices to do me good.

Reader, have you a Savior? 
Can you use these two precious words,¬†“My Savior”?¬†
Have you realized that you were lost? 
Have you fled to His cross? 
Have you fallen into His arms? 
Have you been cleansed by His blood, and clothed in His righteousness? 
Do you possess His Holy Spirit? 

Make sure work, O make sure work!
Eternity is just at hand!
Death is coming!
Judgment follows!
And then ‚ÄĒ an¬†eternity of happiness or woe!
Your eternal all depends on having Jesus for your Savior!
No one can save you but Jesus. 
No one can . . .
  support you in sickness,
  comfort you in death, or
¬† give you victory over the grave ‚ÄĒ but Jesus!

“How long will you love vanity?”

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How long will you love vanity?” Psalm 4:2

Vanity represents the light, changeable, carnal, and fading things of time. Upon these things, the natural heart is set; around them, the unsanctified affections gather. What a vanity it is to prefer . . . 
¬† human friendship ‚ÄĒ to divine friendship,¬†
¬† earthly riches ‚ÄĒ to Heavenly riches,¬†
¬† carnal honors ‚ÄĒ to spiritual honors, and¬†
¬† the pleasures of a day ‚ÄĒ to the joys of eternity!

Vanity appears in the intoxicating cup, the mirthful and costly attire, and trifling with God. Surely every worldly man walks in a vain show, like an¬†actor¬†on the stage ‚ÄĒ and displays the most consummate folly!¬†

Reader! are you in love with vanity? Do you love that which leads from God, keeps Him out of the thoughts, and binds you down to earth? This is vanity! How long will you love it? You have been doing so for years ‚ÄĒ though warned, convinced, and having promised to reform. You are doing so now, though . . .
   mortality is at work within you,   
   death is very near you, 
   Hell is open before you, and 
   eternity is within a step of you!

You love vanity, when you may . . .
   obtain divine mercy, 
   enjoy peace with God, 
   receive sanctifying grace, and 
   walk in the way to Heaven. 

“How long will you love vanity?”¬†Until . . .¬†
   some sudden stroke takes you away; 
   or some affliction puts you beyond the reach of mercy;
¬†¬† or God’s Spirit ceases to strive with you;¬†
   or Satan fills your heart as he did the heart of Judas; 
   or God laughs at your calamity? 

How long? God your Creator would ask you.¬†“Why will you die?”¬†

Will you carefully consider this question, and give the Lord an answer? Will you tell Him why you prefer . . .
¬†¬† eternal death ‚ÄĒ to eternal life,¬†
¬†¬† sin ‚ÄĒ to holiness, and¬†
¬†¬† Satan ‚ÄĒ to Himself?

“They who observe lying vanities, forsake their own mercy!” Jonah 2:8

If you dare!

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If you dare!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!“)

“Then I saw¬†a great white throne‚ÄĒand HIM who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened¬† . . . If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life‚ÄĒhe was thrown into the lake of fire!” Revelation 20:11, 12, 15

What an astonishing scene is this! The stable earth and sky cannot bear the majesty and terror of His look; they fly away affrighted! This is the Judge before whom we must stand; and this is the manner of His appearance!

But is this the¬†babe of Bethlehem‚ÄĒwho lay and wept in the manger?¬†

Is this the supposed son of the carpenter, the despised Galilean? 

Is this the man of sorrows? 

Is this He who was . . .
  arrested, 
  condemned, 
  buffeted, 
  spit upon,  
  crowned with thorns, 
  executed as a slave and a criminal, upon the cross? 

Yes, it is Him! The very same Jesus of Nazareth! 

But oh how changed! How deservedly exalted! Heaven and earth flee before Him! 

Now let his enemies appear and show their contempt and malignity!

Now,¬†Pilate‚ÄĒcondemn the King of the Jews as a usurper!

Now, you¬†Jews, raise the clamor,¬†“Crucify Him, crucify Him!”¬†Now bow the knee in scorn, spit in His face, and buffet Him! Now tell the¬†scourged impostor¬†that He must die!

Now despise His grace, 
now laugh at His threatenings, and 
now make light of His displeasure‚ÄĒif you dare!

Ah! now their courage fails, and terror surrounds them! Now they try to hide in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. Now they call to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from¬†the wrath of the Lamb!¬†For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

But, alas! That LAMB who once bled as a sacrifice for sin‚ÄĒnow appears in all the terrors of a LION! Oh! could they hide themselves in the bottom of the ocean, or in some rock that bears the weight of the mountains‚ÄĒhow happy would they think themselves!

You are walking in the midst of snares and traps!

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You are walking in the midst of snares and traps!

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

“Be very careful, then, how you walk!”¬†Ephesians 5:15

To honor Jesus in your thoughts, words, and every action‚ÄĒshould be your constant aim.

You are in an enemy’s land; surrounded by temptations; and have a heart that is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked!¬†

This present world is not your home!¬†Satan’s family¬†are not to be your intimate friends. Riches, honors, or pleasure‚ÄĒare not to be your objects of pursuit.¬†You are walking in the midst of snares and traps!¬†Be watchful, prayerful, depending upon Jesus, and cultivating fellowship with Him.

O keep your eye on Jesus, as your example! Walk by His Word‚ÄĒas your rule. Do not be venturesome or presumptuous, but avoid the very appearance of evil. Never leave the Lord’s ways‚ÄĒto join the world’s vanities or to please a carnal lust. Keep close to Jesus‚ÄĒand follow on to know the Lord.¬†

Walk as a beloved child, who going home to his loving Father’s house!¬†“Be very careful, then, how you walk!”

Where shall you find a rock?

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Where shall you find a rock? 

(Samuel Davies, “Jesus Christ, the Only Foundation” 1757)

“The present¬†heavens¬†and¬†earth¬†are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men! The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The¬†heavens¬†will disappear with a roar; the¬†elements¬†will be destroyed by fire, and the¬†earth¬†and everything in it will be burned up!” 2 Peter 3:7, 10

The fiery deluge of divine vengeance, which has been gathering and swelling for thousands of years; but has been, as it were, restrained and kept within bounds by¬†divine patience‚ÄĒshall then rise so high as to burst through all restraints, and overwhelm the guilty globe, and turn it into a universal ocean of liquid fire! This resistless torrent shall sweep away all the¬†refuges of lies, and those who trusted in them‚ÄĒinto the gulf of remediless destruction!

Well my friends, where shall we find a¬†support¬†to bear us up in this tremendous day? Where shall we find a¬†rock¬†to build upon, that we may be able to stand the shock, and remain safe and unmoved‚ÄĒin the wreck of dissolving worlds? What can¬†uphold¬†us‚ÄĒwhen this¬†vast machine of our world, formed with so much skill and strength by the hands of a¬†divine Architect, shall be broken up and fall to pieces?

Now, now is the time for us to find the refuge; it will be too late when all created supports are swept away, and this solid globe itself is dissolved beneath our feet into a sea of fire!

And where will you look? Where will you turn? This¬†earth,¬†and all its riches, honors, and pleasures‚ÄĒwill prove to be but a¬†quicksand¬†in that day! Your¬†friends¬†and¬†relations, were they ever so great or powerful‚ÄĒcan¬†then¬†afford you no support! Therefore, think‚ÄĒwhere shall you find a¬†rock¬†on which you may build a happiness that will stand the shock in that dreadful day?

Everything else besides Christ . . .
  is sliding sand,
  is yielding air,
  is a breaking bubble! 

In that dread day . . .
¬†¬†wealth‚ÄĒwill prove to be a vain shadow,¬†
¬†¬†honor‚ÄĒwill prove to be an empty breath,¬†
¬†¬†pleasure‚ÄĒwill prove to be a delusive dream,¬†
¬†¬†your own righteousness‚ÄĒwill prove to be a spider’s web!
If we rely on these, disappointment and doom are inevitable!

Nothing but Christ, nothing but Christ, can stably support us in that dread day! “He alone is my rock¬†and my salvation; He is my fortress‚ÄĒI will never be shaken!” Psalm 62:2

His righteousness¬†is infinitely perfect, equal to the highest demands of the divine law‚ÄĒand therefore a firm, immovable ground of trust. We may safely venture¬†the weight of our eternal all‚ÄĒupon this rock! It will stand forever, without giving way under the heaviest pressure; without being broken by the most violent shock. Let thousands, let millions, with¬†all the mountainous weight of guilt¬†upon them, build upon this foundation, and they shall never be moved!

The firm foundations, the stately columns, the majestic buildings of Nineveh, Babylon and Persia, and all the magnificent structures of antiquity, though formed of the most durable stone, and promising immortality‚ÄĒare now shattered into ten thousand fragments, or lying in ruinous heaps!¬†

But here in Christ‚ÄĒis¬†a foundation for immortal souls‚ÄĒa foundation that will remain the same to all eternity! His¬†righteousness¬†is an everlasting righteousness, His¬†strength¬†an everlasting strength, and Himself the everlasting Father. He ever lives forever to make intercession for His people, and therefore he is able to save to the uttermost, to the uttermost point of duration‚ÄĒall who come unto God by Him!

Millions and millions¬†of depraved, wretched, ruined creatures, have always found Him perfectly¬†able, and as perfectly¬†willing‚ÄĒ
  to expiate the most enormous guilt;
  to deliver from the most inveterate corruptions;
  and to save to the very uttermost! 

Ten thousand times ten thousand, have built their hopes upon this¬†rock‚ÄĒand it has never failed so much as one of them! Manasseh, Paul, and Mary Magdalen, and thousands more atrocious sinners‚ÄĒhave ventured upon this¬†all-sufficient rock¬†with all their¬†load of sin¬†upon them, and found it able to sustain them!

Carry all your concerns to Him‚ÄĒin the arms of faith!

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Carry all your concerns to Him‚ÄĒin the¬†arms of faith!

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

“Casting all your care upon Him‚ÄĒbecause¬†He cares for you!” 1 Peter 5:7

The Lord¬†knows¬†all His people‚ÄĒall their needs, and all their trials.

He¬†thinks¬†upon them‚ÄĒto bless, deliver and supply them.¬†

He keeps His¬†eye¬†upon them‚ÄĒin all places, at all times, and under all circumstances.

He has them in His¬†hand‚ÄĒand will not loosen His hold.

He looks upon them always as His own ‘treasured possession’ . . .
  the objects of His eternal love,
¬† the purchase of His Son’s blood,
  the temples of His Holy Spirit.

They are precious in His sight! 

He knows they are¬†weak¬†and¬†fearful‚ÄĒand that they have many¬†enemies. He teaches them to cast themselves and all their cares into His hands! And He has given them His promise‚ÄĒthat He¬†will¬†care for them.

It is a¬†Father’s care¬†which He exercises. It is a wise, holy, tender, and constant care. Therefore all will be well with you‚ÄĒonly trust Him.

Believe that He cares for you this day.¬†Carry all your concerns to Him‚ÄĒin the¬†arms of faith!¬†Leave¬†all¬†with Him, persuaded that He will manage all by His infinite wisdom, and bring all to a good outcome by His omnipotent power.

Cast all your cares upon Him‚ÄĒas fast as they come in.¬†

Do not worry about anything. 

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you! He will never allow the righteous to be shaken!” Psalm 55:22

Yay….11th Wedding Anniversary & The Marriage Altar‚ÄĒand After

Yay…..It’s Our 11th Wedding anniversary!!

Hi all…..Today is a really long post as it’s a special day for Sarah & i. I really hope you read through to the end and be blessed! 

Ephesians 5:25-27 The Voice (VOICE)

Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has for His bride, the church. We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water and the powerful presence of His word. He has given Himself so that He can present the church as His radiant bride, unstained, unwrinkled, and unblemished‚ÄĒcompletely free from all impurity‚ÄĒholy and innocent before Him.

My Thoughts…

Each time our wedding anniversary comes round, i can‚Äôt believe how much our marriage has grown more and more fruitful. Our love keeps blossoming through every season and i thank God for Sarah who is not only my best friend, but my amazing wife! ūüôā¬†

I thank God for sustaining our marriage in Purity and Truth. 

I thank God for not leaving us alone to figure out what to do, but for giving us, teaching, correction, training and a perfect Holy example to follow through the Holy Spirit…to reflect the personal and intimate union between Christ and His Church. The mystery of marriage is its reflection of the oneness of Christ, the Husband, and His Church, the Bride of Christ.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Amplified Bible

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Love never fails…

Sarah i wedding photo

Sarah on wedding day png1

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The Marriage Altar‚ÄĒand After

J. R. Miller, 1880

preparations are all at last made. The bridal dress is completed. The day has been fixed. The invitations have been sent out. The hour comes. Two young hearts are throbbing with love and joy. A brilliant company, music, flowers, a solemn hush‚ÄĒas the happy pair approach the altar, the repetition of the sacred words of the marriage ceremony, the clasping of hands, the mutual covenants and promises, the giving and receiving of the ring, the final “Whom God has joined together‚ÄĒlet not man put asunder,” the prayer and blessing‚ÄĒand the¬†twain are one flesh. There are tears and congratulations, hurried good-byes, and a new bark puts out upon the sea, freighted with high hopes. God grant it may never be¬†dashed upon any hidden rock¬†and wrecked!

Marriage is very like the bringing together of two instruments of music. The first thing, is to get them keyed to the same pitch. Before a concert begins you hear the musicians striking chords and keying their instruments, until at length they all perfectly accord. Then they come out and play some rare piece of music, without a discord or a jar in any of its parts.

No two lives, however thorough their former acquaintance may have been, however long they may have moved together in society or mingled in the closer and more intimate relations of a ripening friendship, ever find themselves¬†perfectly in harmony¬†on their marriage-day. It is only when that¬†mysterious blending¬†begins after marriage, which no language can explain‚ÄĒthat each finds so much in the other that was never discovered before. There are¬†beauties¬†and¬†excellences¬†that were never disclosed, even to¬†love’s partial eye, in all the days of familiar intimacy. There are¬†peculiarities¬†and¬†blemishes¬†which were never seen to exist‚ÄĒuntil they began to make themselves manifest within the veil of the matrimonial temple. There are¬†incompatibilities¬†that were never dreamed of‚ÄĒuntil they were revealed in the abrasions of domestic life. There are¬†faults¬†which neither even suspected, in the temper and habits of the other!

Before marriage young people are on their good behavior. They do not¬†exhibit their infirmities.¬†Selfishness¬†is hidden under garments of courtesy and gallantry. Each forgets¬†SELF‚ÄĒin romantic devotion to the other. The voice is softened and made tender, and even tremulous, by¬†love. The music flows with a holy rhythm mellowed by affection’s gentleness. Everything that would make an unfavorable impression, is scrupulously put under lock and key. So there is harmony of no ordinary sweetness made by the two young lives, unvexed by one discordant note.

Marriage is a¬†great mystery. “The¬†twain¬†shall be¬†one¬†flesh” is no mere figure of speech. Years of closest, most familiar, most unrestrained intimacy, bring lives very close together‚ÄĒbut there is still a¬†separating wall¬†which marriage breaks down. The two lives become one. Each opens every nook, every chamber, every cranny, to the other. There is a mutual interflow, life pouring into life.

There may have been no intention on the part of either, to deceive the other in the smallest matter, or to cloak the smallest infirmity. But the disclosure could not, in the very nature of things, have been any more perfect. Each stood in the porch of a house, or at the most sat in its parlor, never entering any of the inner rooms. Now the whole house is thrown open, and many hitherto unsuspected things are seen!

Too often the¬†restraint¬†seems to fall off, when the¬†matrimonial chain¬†is riveted. No effort is longer made to curb the bad tempers and evil propensities. The delicate robe of politeness is torn away, and many a rudeness appears. It seems to be considered no longer necessary, to continue the old thoughtfulness.¬†Selfishness¬†begins to assert itself. The¬†sweet amenities¬†of the wooing-days are laid aside‚ÄĒand the result is unhappiness! Many a young bride cries herself sick half a dozen times, before she has been a month a bride, and wishes she were back in the bright, happy home of her youth! Oftentimes both the newly-wedded pair become discouraged, and think in their hearts that they have made a mistake!

And yet there is really no reason for discouragement. The marriage may yet be made happy. There is need only for large and wise patience. The two lives require only to be brought into harmony, and¬†love’s sweetest music¬†will flow from two hearts in tender unison. But there are several rules which must always be remembered and observed.

Why, for instance, should either party, after the wedding-day, cease to observe all the sweet courtesies, little refinements and charming amenities of the courtship-days? Why should a man be¬†polite¬†all day to everyone he meets‚ÄĒeven to the porter in his store, and the bootblack or newsboy on the street‚ÄĒand then less polite to her who meets him at his door with yearning heart hungry for expressions of love? If things have gone wrong with him all day, why should he carry his gloom to his home to darken the joy of his wife’s tender heart? Or why should the woman who used to be all smiles and beauty and adornment and perfume when her lover came, meet her husband now with disheveled hair, soiled dress, slovenly manner and¬†face all frowns? Why should there not be a resolute continuance of the old politeness and mutual desire to please‚ÄĒwhich made the wooing-days so sunny?

Then love must be lifted up out of the realm of the¬†passions¬†and¬†senses‚ÄĒand be spiritualized. There should be converse on the¬†higher themes¬†of life. Many people are¬†wedded¬†only at one or two points. Their natures know but the lower forms of pleasure and fellowship. They never commune on any topic, but the most earthy. Their¬†intellectual¬†parts have no fellowship. They never read nor converse together on elevated themes. There is no commingling of mind with mind; they are dead to each other, in that higher region.¬†

Then still fewer are¬†wedded¬†in their highest, their spiritual natures. The number is small, of those who commune together concerning the things of God, the soul’s holiest interests and the realities of eternity. No marriage is complete‚ÄĒwhich does not unite and blend the wedded lives at every point. Husband and wife should be wedded along their whole nature.

This implies that they should read and study together, having the same line of thought, helping each other toward higher mental culture. It implies also that they should worship together, communing with one another upon the holiest themes of life and hope. Together they should bow in prayer, and together work in anticipation of the same blessed home beyond this life of toil and care. I can conceive of no true and perfect marriage, whose deepest joy does not lie forward in the life to come.

Perfect¬†mutual confidence¬†is an element of every complete marriage. Husband and wife should¬†live but one life, sharing all of each other’s cares, joys, sorrows and hopes. There should not be a corner in the nature and occupation of either‚ÄĒwhich is not open to the other. The moment a man has to begin to shut his wife out from any¬†chapters of his daily life¬†he is in peril; and in like manner her whole life should be open to him. There should be a flowing together of heart and soul in close communion and perfect confidence. No discord can end in harm‚ÄĒwhile there is such mutual inter-sphering of lives and such inter-flowing of souls.

Once more, no third party should ever be taken into this holy of holies. No matter who it is‚ÄĒthe sweetest, gentlest, dearest, wisest mother; the purest, truest, tenderest sister; the best, the loyalest friend‚ÄĒno one but¬†God¬†should ever be permitted to know anything of the secret, sacred married life, that they twain are living. This is one of those relations with which no stranger, though he be the closest bosom friend, should intermeddle. Any¬†alien touch¬†is sure to leave a blight.

There are certain¬†influences¬†that bring out all the warmth and tenderness needed to make any marriage very happy. When one is sick, how gentle and thoughtful it makes the other! Not a want or wish is left unsupplied. All the heart’s affections‚ÄĒlong slumbering, perhaps‚ÄĒare awakened and become intent on most kindly ministry. No service is thought a hardship now, or done with any show of reluctance. There is not a breath or look of impatience. Love flows out in¬†tone¬†and¬†look¬†and¬†word¬†and¬†act. There is an¬†inexpressible tenderness¬†in all the bearing. Even the coldest natures become gentle in the sick-room, and the rudest, harshest manners become soft and warm at the¬†touch of suffering¬†in the beloved one.¬†

Or let death come to either, and what an awakening there is of all that is holiest and tenderest and sweetest in the heart of the other! If the dead could be recalled and the wedded life resumed, would it not be a thousand times more loving than ever it was before? Would there be any more the old¬†impatience, the old¬†selfishness? Would there not be the fullest sympathy, the largest forbearance, the warmest outflow of the heart’s most kindly feelings?

And why may not married life be lived day by day, under the power of this wondrous influence? Why wait for¬†suffering¬†in the one we love‚ÄĒto¬†thaw out the heart’s tenderness, to melt the icy chill of neglect and indifference, and to produce in us the summer fruits of affection? Why wait for¬†death¬†to come‚ÄĒto reveal the beauty of the plain life that moves by our side, and disclose the value of the blessings it enfolds for us? Why should we only learn to appreciate and prize love’s splendors and its sweetness‚ÄĒas it vanishes out of our sight?¬†

Why should the¬†empty chair‚ÄĒbe the first revealer of the real worth of those who have walked so close to us? Why should sorrow over our loss‚ÄĒbe the first influence to draw from our hearts, the tenderness and the wealth of kindly ministries that lie pent up in them all the while? Surely, wedded life should call out all that is richest, truest, tenderest, most inspiring and most helpful in the life of each. This is the¬†true ideal¬†of Christian marriage. Its love is to be like that of Christ and his Church. It should not wait for the¬†agony of suffering¬†or the¬†pang of separation¬†to draw out its tenderness‚ÄĒbut should fill all its days and nights with¬†unvexed sweetness!

There are many such marriages. Few more beautiful pictures of wedded love were ever unveiled, than that which was lived out in the home of Charles Kingsley. His wife closes her loving memoir with these words, “The outside world must judge him as an author, a preacher, a member of society‚ÄĒbut those only who lived with him in the intimacy of every-day life at home‚ÄĒcan tell what he was as a man. Over the real romance of his life, and over the tenderest, loveliest passages in his private letters‚ÄĒa veil must be thrown‚ÄĒbut it will not be lifting it too far to say that if in the highest, closest of earthly relationships, a love that never failed‚ÄĒpure, patient, passionate‚ÄĒfor thirty-six years‚ÄĒa love which never stooped from its own lofty level‚ÄĒto a hasty word, an impatient gesture or a selfish act, in sickness or in health, in sunshine or in storm, by day or by night, could prove that the age of chivalry has not passed away forever‚ÄĒthen Charles Kingsley fulfilled the ideal of a ‘most true and perfect knight’ to the one woman blessed with that love in time, and to eternity. To eternity, for such love is eternal, and he is not dead. He himself, the man, the lover, husband, father, friend‚ÄĒhe still lives in God, who is not the God of the dead‚ÄĒbut of the living.”¬†

And why should, not every marriage in Christ, realize all that lies in this picture? It is possible, and yet only noble manhood and womanhood, with truest views of marriage and inspired by the holiest love, can realize it.

Sarah & i in Love Heart

Should it be according to your mind?

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Should it be according to your mind?

(James Smith, “Important Questions!” 1858)

Should it be according to¬†your¬†mind?” Job 34:33

We are prone to be fretful, to complain of the dispensations of Divine Providence, and to reflect harshly upon the Lord’s dealings with us.

We want our own way.

We wish to carve for ourselves.

We would be treated as God’s favorites.

We want our ease, and prosperity, and pleasure, consulted in all things. And if this does not appear to be done ‚ÄĒ if our¬†wills¬†are crossed, if our¬†schemes¬†are frustrated, if our¬†purposes¬†are broken off ‚ÄĒ then we stumble, think ourselves badly treated, and look for everybody to sympathize with us.

Under these circumstances, God comes to us ‚ÄĒ as we sit among our broken cisterns, surrounded by our dethroned idols ‚ÄĒ and puts this question to us: “Should it be according to¬†your¬†mind?”

Are you wiser than God?

Are you kinder than God?

Are you holier than God?

Are you more just than God?

Are you better informed than God?

May not your mind be dark, or selfish, or foolish?

Should it then be according to your mind?

Should you¬†reign¬†‚ÄĒ or God?

Remember that God acts in the highest wisdom; His motives are grace and justice; and all His purposes are worthy of Himself.

The least the Christian can do is to submit ‚ÄĒ and to prefer God’s wisdom, way, and work ‚ÄĒ to his own. Seeing God has so arranged all events, that all things must work together for the good of His people ‚ÄĒ they, at least, should daily say, “Father, may¬†Your¬†will be done!”

O my soul, seek grace from God, not only to submit and be resigned to the dispensations of Divine Providence ‚ÄĒ but to¬†acquiesce¬†in them, and be¬†pleased¬†with the whole of them! Your good is consulted ‚ÄĒ your best interests are secured; and soon, very soon, it will be seen that infinite wisdom and mercy, grace and goodness, have marked out¬†every step¬†of your road!

“Jesus replied: You do not understand what I am¬†now¬†doing ‚ÄĒ but someday you will.” John 13:7

Your conscience will not always sleep!

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Your conscience will not always sleep! 

(Samuel Davies, “Divine Mercy to Mourning Penitents“)

“They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their¬†consciences¬†also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” Romans 2:15

The principal means which God uses in conversion, is that of conscience; and indeed without this, all the rest are in vain. Outward afflictions are of service‚ÄĒonly as they tend to awaken the conscience from its lethargy to a faithful discharge of its duty. It is conscience which makes the sinner sensible of his misery and scourges him. The¬†lashes of a guilty conscience¬†are intolerable; and some under them have chosen strangling and suicide, rather than life.

Conscience is a serpent in his breast, which bites and gnaws his heart; and he can no more avoid it, than he can fly from himself! 

Let not such of you as have never been tortured with its remorse, congratulate yourselves upon your happiness, for you are not innocents! Your conscience will not always sleep! It will not always lie torpid and inactive, like a snake benumbed with cold, in your breast! 

It will¬†awaken¬†you either to your conversion‚ÄĒor condemnation!

Either the fire of God’s wrath flaming from His law will enliven it in this world‚ÄĒto sting you with¬†medicinal¬†anguish; or the unquenchable fire of His vengeance in the lake of fire and brimstone will thaw it into life‚ÄĒand then it will horribly rage in your breast, and diffuse its tormenting poison through your whole frame! And then it will become a¬†never-dying worm, and prey upon your hearts forever!

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