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The false doctrine of universal redemption!

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The false doctrine of universal redemption!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life¬†for the sheep!”¬†John 10:11

I would like to die talking of this blessed doctrine of substitutionary atonement and I intend, by divine grace, to live proclaiming it, for it is the keystone of the Gospel! Jesus Christ literally took upon Himself the transgression and iniquity of His people, and was made a curse for them, seeing that they had fallen under the wrath of God! For them, He has taken away the penalty and the curse due to sin. 

The false doctrine of universal redemption–that Christ died for the damned in Hell and suffered the torment of those who afterwards are tormented forever–seems to me to be detestable, subversive of the whole Gospel, and destructive of the only pillar upon which our hopes can be built!¬†

Christ stood in the place of His elect–for them He made a full atonement–for them He so suffered that not a sin of theirs shall ever be laid at their door. As the Father’s love embraced them–so the death of His Son reconciled them.¬†

We hold most firmly the doctrine of¬†particular redemption–that Christ loved His Church, and gave Himself for it.

The only¬†limit¬†of the atonement is in its design–and that design was that Christ should give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him.

“Christ also loved the¬†church, and gave Himself for her!” Ephesians 5:25¬†

Some thoughts on idolatry!

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Some thoughts on idolatry! 

“These men have set up their idols in their hearts!” Ezekiel 14:3¬†

“Their heart went after their idols!” Ezekiel 20:16

“We are all born idolaters!”¬†Thomas Watson

“An idol is an idol–whether worshiped inwardly in heart, or adorned outwardly by the knee.”¬†J.C. Philpot

“Every one of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols. Man’s nature, so to speak, is¬†a perpetual idol factory!”¬†John Calvin

“An idol of the¬†mind¬†is as offensive to God as an idol of the¬†hand.”¬†A.W. Tozer

“O wretched idol,¬†MYSELF!”¬†Samuel Rutherford

“If we are indeed Christians–we have broken a great many idols. We have still some more to break–and we must keep the hammer going until they are all broken!”¬†Charles Spurgeon

“This is what the Sovereign¬†LORD¬†says:¬†Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!”¬†Ezekiel 14:6¬†

“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols!” 1 John 5:21¬†

Almost saved!

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Almost saved!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Then Agrippa said to Paul: You¬†almost¬†persuade me to become a Christian.” Acts 26:28¬†

To be¬†almost saved–is to be altogether lost!¬†

There are many in Hell who once were¬†almost saved–but who are now altogether damned!¬†

Think of that, you who are¬†not far¬†from the Kingdom. It is being¬†in¬†the Kingdom that saves the soul–not being¬†near¬†the Kingdom.

“You are¬†not far¬†from the Kingdom of God.”¬†Mark 12:34¬†

What gives the world its fatal charms?

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What gives the world its fatal charms?

(E.M. Bounds, “The World!”)

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other–or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You¬†cannot¬†serve both God and Money.”¬†Luke 16:13

The¬†world¬†is one of the Christian’s enemies which must be fought and conquered on the way to Heaven. The Christian life is represented as a training school, in which to deny worldly desires is one part of its curriculum.¬†

There is no more fundamental statement in Scripture, than that the world is to be renounced by every true disciple of Christ–and that to love the world and the things of the world, puts us in open and standing enmity to God. By virtue of our love or friendship to the world–we are the enemies of God.

Christ Jesus lays it down as an obvious truth that between the world and His disciples, there would be hatred. To serve two opposing masters is impossible. The call of Christ when accepted and obeyed, becomes at once the secret and the source of the world’s hatred.

Jesus declares the native and inevitable enmity of the world to His followers: “The world has hated them, because¬†they are not of the world–even as I am not of the world.” Again, in His high-priestly prayer, He declares this distinct and eternal separation and conflict: “They are not of the world–even as I am not of the world.” By virtue of their relation to Christ–they are separated from, and are in conflict with, the world.

The love of the world is hostile to and destructive of, the love of God. The two cannot co-exist. Yet many modern church members and church goers are friends of the world–its advocates and lovers.

“You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore would be the friend of the world, makes himself an enemy of God!” James 4:4.¬†Friendship with the world¬†is God’s greatest enemy. Love of the world violates our marriage vows to Jesus.

Nothing is more explicit than this, nothing is more commanding, authoritative and more exacting. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him!” 1 John 2:15. Nothing is more offensive to God, nothing is more criminal, more abominable, more violative of the most sacred relationship of the soul with God.¬†

It remains true to this hour, that all the genuine disciples of Jesus are not of the world–but are chosen¬†out¬†of the world, have¬†leftthe world, have¬†renounced¬†the world, and are¬†crucified¬†to the world.

What gives the world its fatal charms?
 What makes its enchantment so lethal? What makes it a deadly foe to Christ, and which poisons us against Heaven?

The world is the devil’s pawn. The world gets its deadly and fascinating snares from the devil. The world is not simply the ally, but is the instrument and the agent of Satan.¬†

The world’s opposition and enmity have been always against the Christian–and often its¬†smiles¬†are more fatal than its hate!


Heaven’s richest treasure!

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Heaven’s richest treasure!

(Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan)

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

I wonder why dear saints do not talk with more ardor about Him who has, in love to our souls, brought them up from the pit of corruption.

Oh! what it cost Him! Price beyond all computing!¬†Heaven’s richest treasure–paid for worms of earth!¬†

Oh! the wonders and blessedness of union to such a rich Husband, who thought not His own precious blood too much for my ransom!

Oh, that my¬†heart¬†were a ten-stringed instrument, and my¬†life¬†a living epistle–in which all might read Him. But, alas! it is so blotted over with unbelief and other sins, that it is hard to pick out His dear name in most of the pages!

Oh! when I see Him face to face, and behold those love-prints in His glorious body, what shall I feel? That will be Heaven–not one of harps and crowns, or of anything else–but JESUS and the open vision of His unveiled glories, the ineffable glories of Deity, and perfect beauties of humanity ever beaming with new effulgence in the person of our Bridegroom! Then shall we reflect His glory, and show forth His praise!

Eternal praises to the worthy Lamb!


We would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us!

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We would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us! 

(Charles Spurgeon)

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is,¬†you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19

There would be much more¬†persecution¬†than there is–if there were more real Christians. But we have become so¬†like¬†the world, that the world does not hate us as it once did. If we would be more holy, more true, more Christ-like, more godly–we would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us!¬†

Remember, my brethren, whoever you may be, that¬†if there is no distinction between you and the world around you–then you may be certain that you are of the world. For, there must always be some marks in the children of God to distinguish them from the ungodly. There is a something in them which is not to be found in the best worldling–something which is not to be discovered in the most admirable carnal man. A something in their character which can be readily perceived and which marks them as belonging to another and higher race, the twice-born, the elect of God, eternally chosen by Him–and, therefore, made to be¬†choice ones¬†through the effectual working of His grace.¬†

I have given them Your word and the world has hated them–for¬†they are not of the world¬†any more than I am of the world.” John 17:14


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¬†

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¬†

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

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.

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!

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!

Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

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Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?

(Samuel Davies, “The Preaching of Christ Crucified, the Means of Salvation”)

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

In¬†the cross of Christ‚ÄĒGod’s hatred to sin¬†is manifested in the most striking light! The evil of sin is exposed in the most dreadful colors! Now it appears, that such is the divine hatred against all sin, that God can by no means forgive sin, without punishment; and that all the infinite benevolence of His nature towards His creatures cannot prevail upon Him to pardon the least sin‚ÄĒwithout an adequate satisfaction.

Nay, now it appears that when so malignant and abominable a thing is but imputed to His dear Son, His co-equal, His darling, His favorite‚ÄĒthat even He could not escape unpunished‚ÄĒbut was made a¬†monument of vindictive justice, to all worlds!¬†

What can more strongly expose the evil of sin
‚ÄĒthan the cross of Christ?¬†
Sin is such an intolerably malignant and abominable thing, that even a God of infinite mercy and grace‚ÄĒcannot let the least instance of it pass unpunished!

It was not a small thing that could arm God’s justice against the Son of His love. Though He was perfectly innocent in Himself‚ÄĒyet when He was made sin for us‚ÄĒGod spared not His own Son‚ÄĒbut delivered Him up unto death‚ÄĒthe shameful, tormenting, and accursed death of the cross!

Go, you fools, who make a mock at sin! Go and learn its malignity and demerit‚ÄĒat the cross of Jesus!¬†

WHO is it that hangs there writhing in the agonies of death
‚ÄĒHis hands and feet pierced with nails, His side with a spear, His face bruised with blows, and drenched with tears and blood, His heart melting like wax, His whole frame racked and disjointed; forsaken by His friends, and even by His Father; tempted by devils, and insulted by men?¬†Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture?¬†It is Jesus, the eternal Word of God; His Elect, in whom His soul delights; His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased!

And WHAT has He done?¬†He did no wickedness; He knew no sin‚ÄĒbut was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. And WHY then, all these dreadful sufferings from heaven, earth, and hell? Why, He only stood in the law-place of sinners; He only received their sin by imputation. And you see what it has brought upon Him! You see how low it has reduced Him! What a horrid evil must that be‚ÄĒwhich has such tremendous consequences, even upon the Darling of heaven!

Oh! what still more dreadful havoc would SIN have made, if it had been punished upon the sinner himself in his own person! Surely all the various miseries which have been inflicted upon our guilty world in all ages, and even all the punishments of hell‚ÄĒdo not so loudly proclaim the terrible desert and malignity of sin‚ÄĒas the cross of Christ!

The infinite malignity of sin, and God’s hatred to it, appear nowhere in so striking and dreadful a light‚ÄĒas in the cross of Christ! Let a reasonable creature take but one serious view of that cross, and surely he must ever after tremble at the thought of the least sin!¬†

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The unsearchable riches of Christ!

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The unsearchable riches of Christ!

(Samuel Davies)

The unsearchable riches of Christ!” Ephesians 3:8

Consider what rich blessings Christ has purchased for His people; purchased not with corruptible things such as silver and gold‚ÄĒbut with His own precious blood! The¬†purchase price¬†recommends and endears the blessings, though they are so great in themselves, as to need no such recommendation! What can be greater or more suitable blessings to hell-bound sinners, than . . .
  pardon for the guilty,
  redemption for slaves,
  righteousness and justification for the condemned,
  sanctification for the unholy,
  rest for the weary,
  comfort for mourners,
  the favor of God for rebels and exiles,
  strength for the impotent,
  protection for the helpless, and 
  everlasting happiness for the heirs of hell! 
And, to sum up all‚ÄĒgrace¬†and¬†glory, and¬†every good thing, and¬†all the unsearchable riches of Christ‚ÄĒfor the wretched and miserable; for the poor, the blind, and naked!

These are blessings indeed, and, in comparison with them‚ÄĒall the riches of the world are impoverished, and vanish to nothing!

He cannot love you more!

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He cannot love you more!

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

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

The Lord cares for His children!
 
He knows our¬†needs‚ÄĒand has promised to supply them.¬†
He knows our¬†foes‚ÄĒand will deliver us from them.¬†
He knows our¬†fears‚ÄĒand will make us ashamed of them.¬†

All creatures and things are in His hand, and at His disposal; all circumstances are under His absolute control. He . . . 
  directs the angel,
  feeds the sparrow,
  curbs the devil, and
  manages the tempest! 

He is your Father‚ÄĒand His love to you is infinite. You are His delight‚ÄĒHis dear child. Will He neglect you? Impossible! Cast then your cares upon Him. Tell out all your desires, fears, and troubles to Him; let Him know everything; keep nothing back. And then in the confidence of faith, expect Him to fulfill His Word, and act a Parent’s part.

Bless Him for all He has given, for all He has promised. Plead with Him for all you may need. But never for one moment, or under any circumstances, distrust Him! He cannot love you more! He is your ever present help. He will rejoice over you to do you good, with His whole heart, and with His whole soul.

“Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares about you!” 1 Peter 5:7

True beauty is not of the face–but of the soul!

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True beauty is not of the face–but of the soul!

(Mabel Hale, “Beautiful Girlhood” 1922)

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the LORD shall be praised!” Proverbs 31:30¬†

Every girl is a lover of beauty.¬†Beautiful homes, beautiful furnishings, beautiful flowers, beautiful clothes, beautiful faces–anything wherein beauty is found, there will be found girls to admire it. From the time her little hands can reach up, and her baby lips can lisp the words, she is admiring “pretty things.” And when a little of that beauty is her own–her pleasure is unbounded.

Every girl longs to be beautiful.
¬†There is in woman a nature, as deep as humanity, which compels her to strive for good looks. There is no more forlorn sorrow for a young girl, than for her to be convinced that¬†she is hopelessly ugly and undesirable. Oh, the bitter tears that have been shed over¬†freckles, or¬†blemishedskin–and the energy that has been expended in¬†painting¬†and¬†powdering¬†and¬†waving¬†and¬†curling¬†herself into beauty!

A desire to be beautiful is not unwomanly. But, mark it:¬†true beauty is not of the face–but of the soul!¬†There is a beauty so¬†deep¬†and¬†lasting, that it will shine out of the homeliest face and make it lovely! This is the beauty to be first sought and admired. It is a quality of the¬†mind¬†and¬†heart–and is manifested in¬†word¬†and¬†deed.¬†

A happy heart, 
a smiling face, 
loving words and deeds, and 
a desire to be of service–
will make any girl beautiful!

A beautiful soul shining out of a homely face–is far more attractive than a beautiful face out of which looks a soul full of selfishness and pride!

Let your chief¬†charm¬†be of heart and mind–not of face and form.¬†
Seek the true beauty which lasts even into old age!

Solomon, in one of his wise sayings, plainly expressed the evil that comes to a woman who is beautiful of face, but lacks the true beauty of soul: “Like¬†a gold ring in a swine’s snout–is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion!” Proverbs 11:22. As the swine would plunge the golden jewel into the filth and the mire as he dug in the dirt–so will a pretty woman who is not godly, drag her beauty down to the very lowest.¬†

There are many peculiar temptations to those who are¬†only¬†lovely of face.¬†Without true beauty of soul–a pretty face is a dangerous gift!

Your beauty¬†should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight!” 1 Peter 3:3-4

As long as preachers allow their sermons to be dictated by public sentiment or the worldly desires of their hearers!

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As long as preachers allow their sermons to be dictated by public sentiment or the worldly desires of their hearers!

(Charles Naylor)

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” John 17:16¬†

“As Christ is, so are we in this world” 1 John 4:17

A Christian is one who is Christlike in character, in desire, and in deportment. No other has any right to bear Christ’s name. Yet there are a multitude of people who call themselves Christians, who bear no resemblance to Christ in their lives.¬†

One of the most pitiable things that we can behold, is one who professes to be a citizen of the kingdom of God–and yet lives like a citizen of the kingdom of Satan. The¬†worldly professor¬†fills his days with folly–but his cup of joy is always bitter at the last. He gathers up the “fool’s gold” that glitters in earthly things. He lives after the flesh and after the world. He goes with the crowd. He misses all the blessedness of righteousness, and, worst of all, he misses Heaven at the last. “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” James 4:4

Those who still love the pride and vanity of the world, those who are absorbed in its frivolities, those who covet its gold and its honors, those who love its applause–these are those who are of the world.¬†

Those hypocritical professors who bear Christ’s name, but will not obey Him–dishonor Him, and by their example influence others to do the same, how shall they escape the damnation of Hell? If there is one thing that God hates above all else, it is a proud and worldly heart! Such a heart can never be a reverential heart. Its religion is but hypocrisy. It is only a sham. It has no reality. It is only a cloak of respectability, while the heart is full of corruption.

The Christian life is, and ever will be, a life of separation from sin and pride and worldliness. If you are not willing to be thus separated, then you should have common honesty enough not to profess to be what you very well know that you are not. If you are going to be a Christian in name, then be one in reality.

Your¬†character, not your¬†profession, will be what will matter in the final judgment. “God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality–He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil–there will be wrath and anger.” Romans 2:6-8

If all preachers had honesty enough and courage enough to preach the truth–then the tide of worldliness that is overwhelming such a multitude of souls and sweeping them into perdition, would be somewhat stayed.¬†As long as preachers allow their sermons to be dictated by public sentiment or the worldly desires of their hearers–they will cater to fashions, and souls by the million will drift on into Hell. Oh, what a reaping such preachers will have at the judgment! The full measure of God’s wrath will fall on those preachers who fail to be true to souls and to God, in preaching those truths the Bible clearly teaches against sin and worldliness.¬†

A lamp for my feet

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A lamp for my feet

(Thomas Watson, “Body of Divinity“)

“Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may
¬†live¬†according to Your truth!” Psalm 86:11


Let us lead Scripture lives. Oh that the Bible might 
be seen printed in our lives! Obedience is an excellent 
way of commenting upon the Bible. Let the Word be 
the sun-dial by which you set your life. What are we 
the better for having the Scripture, if we do not direct 
all our speech and actions according to it? What is a 
carpenter the better for his rule about him, if he sticks 
it at his back, and never makes use of it for measuring 
and squaring his work? So, what are we the better for 
the rule of the Word, if we do not make use of it, and 
regulate our lives by it? How many swerve and deviate 
from the rule! 

“Your Word is¬†a lamp for my feet¬†and a light for my¬†
path.” Psalm 119:105. It is not only a light to our eyes¬†
to mend our sight‚ÄĒbut to our feet to mend our walk.¬†
Oh, let us lead Bible lives!

Christian liberty


Grace logoChristian liberty

(J.R. Miller)

We should keep watch over our words and deeds, not only in their intent and purpose ‚ÄĒ but also in¬†their possible influence over others. There may be¬†liberties¬†which lead to no danger for us ‚ÄĒ but which to others with less stable character, and less wholesome environments ‚ÄĒ would be full of peril. It is part of our duty to think of these¬†weaker¬†ones, and of the influence of our example upon them. We may not do anything in our liberty, which might possibly¬†harm¬†others. We must be willing to sacrifice our liberty ‚ÄĒ if by its exercise, we endanger another’s soul. This is the teaching of holy Scripture:

“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may¬†edify¬†another.” Romans 14:19¬†

“Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to¬†stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” Romans 14:20-21¬†

“Be careful, however, that the¬†exercise of your freedom¬†does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their¬†weak conscience ‚ÄĒ¬†you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” 1 Corinthians 8:9-13¬†

“All things are¬†lawful¬†for me, but not all things are¬†helpful;¬†all things are lawful for me, but not all things¬†edify. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Mother, don’t you love me?


Grace logoMother, don’t you love me?

(Susannah Spurgeon, “Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!” 1898)

“I have¬†seen¬†his ways ‚ÄĒ and will¬†heal¬†him!” Isaiah 57:18

Here is one of the¬†blessedly incomprehensible paradoxes¬†of God’s love and mercy, which startles us by its excess of compassionate grace: “I have¬†seen¬†his ways, and . . .” ‚ÄĒ one would have thought that the next sentence must be, “I will¬†punish¬†him,” or at least, “I will¬†rebuke¬†him!” But, instead of wrath ‚ÄĒ here is pardon! Pity makes room for love; and in the place of bitterness, the Lord gives a blessing! “I have¬†seen¬†his ways ‚ÄĒ and will¬†heal¬†him!”

O wanderer, will not these tender words cause you to return to your Lord? 
O stony heart ‚ÄĒ will you not break at so loving a touch as this?¬†
O cold and half-dead soul ‚ÄĒ will not such a Divine cordial revive you?

“I have seen his ways.”¬†What¬†“ways” has God seen in you? Have they not been “wicked,” “crooked,” “perverse,” “your¬†own¬†ways” ‚ÄĒ “the ways of¬†death?” Have you not turned aside from the path of life, and refused to walk “in all His way,” and chosen “a stubborn way” for yourself?

Our heart must give a sad assent to all these charges. As we bow humbly before Him, and say, “You are acquainted with all my ways” ‚ÄĒ we feel that such knowledge of us on His part, intensifies our wonder and gratitude at the loving compassion with which He regards us!

When I was a little child, and had been troublesome to my mother ‚ÄĒ her reproof or punishment would often be followed by my trembling question, “Mother, don’t you love me?” And my mother’s reply invariably was, “Yes, I do love you; but I do not love your naughty ways!” Poor mother! Doubtless I tried her very much, and this was the best that¬†grieved parental love¬†could say. But our heavenly Father has sweeter, choicer words than these, for His erring children.

His love is¬†Divine, so He says, “I have¬†seen¬†his ways ‚ÄĒ and will¬†heal¬†him!” O sweet pitifulness of our God! O inexplicable tenderness! O love surpassing all earth’s loveliest affection! Do not our hard hearts yield under the power of such compassion as this?

God knows all our wickedness, He has seen all our waywardness; yet His purpose towards us is one of healing and pardon ‚ÄĒ and not of anger and estrangement.

As I learn more of God, I get so sick of my sin ‚ÄĒ indwelling-sin, heart-sin, that my soul welcomes this Word of the Lord, as a condemned prisoner embraces a pardon, or as a drowning man clutches the life-buoy thrown out for his rescue. To be healed of the disease which wastes us, to be delivered from the deadness and indifference which enchain us, to have a perfect heart with the Lord our God, and to walk before Him in a perfect way ‚ÄĒ this, I take it, is the¬†blessed prospect¬†held out by this promise. Who will claim its fulfillment at once? Who will take our gracious God at His Word, and believingly receive the¬†priceless blessing¬†which His love offers?

O blessed Lord, Your forbearance with us in the past, has been a miracle of mercy! You have seen so much in us which Your soul has abhorred ‚ÄĒ and yet You come now with this gift of healing in Your hands, which means not only pardon ‚ÄĒ but the power to be holy.

Lord, we lift up our empty, beseeching hands ‚ÄĒ to Your full ones. Our own ways have led us farther and farther from You; now let Your forgiving, healing love draw us so close to You, that we can never again be among those “who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness.”

The master-key which fits the locks!

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The master-key which fits the locks!

(Susannah Spurgeon,¬†“Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!”¬†1898)

“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but¬†because the LORD loved you!” Deuteronomy 7:7-8¬†

My gracious God, there is a honeycomb of delight and sweetness in these words! Will You put the rod of faith into my hand, this morning, and enable me to dip the end thereof into this rich provision, that my soul may eat and be satisfied, and that the eyes of my understanding may be enlightened?

“Because the Lord loved you!”¬†
This is His great “reason” for all of God’s dealings with His redeemed people. It is a full and convincing answer to all the doubts and questionings with which Satan can perplex and distress the Lord’s timid ones. The enemy of souls has, alas! a powerful confederate in the wicked unbelief which lurks within us; but they will both be vanquished when we have learned to use this weapon of war against them.

Come, my heart, try its blessed force and quality at this moment! The foe says, “Why does God send you affliction, and sorrow, and suffering ‚ÄĒ when those who do not fear His Name have continual quietness and abounding prosperity?”

If you can boldly answer,¬†“It is because the Lord loves me!”¬†then you will have given him such a¬†sword-thrust¬†as will free you, for a time, at least, from his cunning devices and fierce onslaughts.

Or, look at the text as a¬†shaft of sunlight, piercing through a chink in the shuttered window of some dark experience. Bring your fears and forebodings out of their dusky corners, and place them within the radiance of this light of love ‚ÄĒ you will be amazed to see them transformed into confident trusts ‚ÄĒ your doubts will vanish as if they had never been, and the evil and bitter things of life will all be transformed into blessings in a moment.¬†

“Because the Lord loved you!”¬†is¬†the master-key which fits the locks¬†of the hardest question, and opens the mysteries of the deepest problem! It is a¬†charm¬†of wondrous efficacy, and every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ may not only rejoice in its possession ‚ÄĒ but use it constantly to obtain all the desire of his heart in spiritual things.

What ails you, poor soul?
¬†Is it loss of health, or friends, or means? Has God taken from you some dearly-loved one, and left you alone on this sad earth? Is He trying and proving you, by many and varied tests and troubles, “to know what was in your heart”? Whatever may be your immediate and peculiar sorrow, if you have grace and faith enough to say,¬†“This is because the Lord loves me!”¬†‚ÄĒ then I dare to promise you that all the bitterness of the affliction will melt away ‚ÄĒ and the¬†peace of God¬†will fill you with a sweet contentment which surpasses understanding. No distress can withstand such Divine solace, no anguish can refuse the relief of this¬†balm of Gilead. If all that happens to you can be traced directly or indirectly to the hand of your loving Lord ‚ÄĒ then how gladly should you bear life’s burdens, and how perfect should be the rest in which heart and mind should dwell!

O gracious Master, looking back over the years that are gone ‚ÄĒ the interminglings of grief and gladness, pass before my eyes as the clouds sail by on an April day. And though the memories of¬†great affliction¬†and¬†sore bereavement¬†cast deep shadows across the scene, and seem for a time to blot out all the brightness ‚ÄĒ yet, above and beyond those changeful skies ‚ÄĒ the sun has never ceased shining, and darkness as well as day has proclaimed the¬†immutability of Your love. When the ears of my soul are attuned to catch the soft whisper of Your voice, I hear You saying: “All this, My child, was because I loved you! Left to yourself; you would have destroyed yourself; but in Me was your help found. All the¬†tribulations¬†you have endured, were but¬†My servants¬†to whom I entrusted the necessary discipline of your earthly life. Do not forget those words of Mine:¬†As many as I love ‚ÄĒ I rebuke and chasten!”

What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!

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What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!

(Susannah Spurgeon,¬†“Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!”¬†1898)

“My times are in Your hand!”¬†Psalm 31:15¬†

Why then, need I worry or tremble? That great, loving, powerful¬†hand¬†keeps all the events of my life sealed and secure within its almighty clasp! And only He, my Maker and my Master, can permit them to be revealed to me as His will for me.¬†What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!¬†How eminently fitted to fulfill that sweet promise of His Word, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You!” If we fully believed this, we would be absolutely devoid of the¬†worry¬†which corrodes and chafes the daily life of so many professing Christians.

“My times.” Not one or two¬†important¬†epochs of my history only ‚ÄĒ but¬†everything¬†that concerns me:
  joys that I had not expected,
  sorrows that must have crushed me, if they could have been anticipated, 
  sufferings which might have terrified me by their grimness, had I looked upon them,
  surprises which infinite love had prepared for me,
  services of which I could not have imagined myself capable
¬†‚ÄĒ all these lay in that mighty hand ‚ÄĒ as the purposes of God’s eternal will for me.¬†

But, as they have developed gradually and silently ‚ÄĒ how great has been the¬†love¬†which appeared enwrapping and enfolding each one!¬†
Has not the grief been measured ‚ÄĒ while the gladness has far more abounded?¬†
Have not the comforts and consolations ‚ÄĒ exceeded the crosses and afflictions?¬†
Have not all things been so arranged, and ordered, and undertaken, and worked out on our behalf ‚ÄĒ that we can but marvel at the goodness and wisdom of God, in meting out from that dear¬†hand¬†of His, all the “times” that have passed over us?

You agree with me in all this, do you not, dear reader? Then, I beg you, apply it to your present circumstances, however dark or difficult they may be. They have come directly from your Father’s hand to you, and they are His dear will for you!

Soul-Comfort

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Soul-Comfort

(Susannah Spurgeon,¬†“Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls!”¬†1898)

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me ‚ÄĒ Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19¬†

“Your comforts delight my soul!” Blessed Lord, how sweet is this text in my mouth! The taste of it is “like wafers made with honey.” It is both food and drink to my heart, for every word has joy and refreshing in it; so that, like the “best wine” of the Canticles, it “goes down sweetly.”¬†

The first of Your comforts, gracious God, is this ‚ÄĒ that You have said unto my soul, “I am your salvation!” He¬†saves¬†us, not because of any merit in us, or any deservings of our own; but because sovereign grace¬†chose¬†us, and Divine compassion¬†redeemed¬†us. And when we were afar off, infinite pity brought us back, and made us near by the precious blood of Christ. This may well comfort our hearts ‚ÄĒ coming as it does directly from “our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace!” A saved and pardoned sinner can truly say,¬†“Your comforts delight my soul!”

The next thought is that, having¬†saved¬†us ‚ÄĒ He¬†keeps¬†us. “We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” Comparatively few Christians put¬†God’s keeping power¬†fully to the test. If we would trust Him for the¬†keeping, as we do for the¬†saving¬†‚ÄĒ our lives would be far holier and happier than they are. “I will keep it every moment,” is one of those grandly unlimited promises which most of us are afraid of; and we store them away in the background because we dare not believe them, and bring them out into the light of our¬†daily practice.¬†O foolish and unbelieving hearts, how much of soul-delighting comfort do we thus miss!

Then comes another thought ‚ÄĒ He¬†cares¬†for us. Dear friends, if you are His, you know the exceeding comfort of¬†casting all your care upon Him¬†‚ÄĒ and being quite sure that He will “undertake” for you. Have we not often come to Him oppressed and burdened with an¬†intolerable weight of anxiety and distress¬†‚ÄĒ and been enabled to roll the whole mass of it on Him, leaving it all at His feet, and returning to our work with a lightened and restful heart? Some of us have had burdens and sorrows, which would have crushed the very life out of us ‚ÄĒ if we had not been enabled to look up and say, “You, O Lord, have helped and comforted me!” Yes, truly, God’s care for us is one of the sweetest comforts of our mortal life!

Closely linked with this, is the thought that He¬†knows¬†all about us. Our enemies ‚ÄĒ sometimes, even our friends ‚ÄĒ misunderstand and malign us; they misconstrue our words and actions, and impute to us motives which never actuated us. But our God knows the¬†thoughts¬†and¬†intents¬†of our heart, and never makes a mistake in the judgment He passes on us. The comfort of this knowledge on the Lord’s part, to those who are “suffering wrongfully,” is inexpressibly precious. They can lift up their heads with joy, and say, “The Lord is good. He knows those who trust in Him.” I have known this comfort to so delight my soul, that trials and temptations had no power to vex or annoy it, for my soul was hidden “secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”

Lastly (though there are many, many more), one of the multitude of thoughts which stand out prominently from the rest, as a comfort which delights the soul ‚ÄĒ is that He¬†loves¬†us. This truth has been running through the fields of previous thought, as a silver streamlet glides through the meadows ‚ÄĒ here, it would deepen and expand to a broad and fathomless ocean, had I the power to speak of its height, and depth, and length, and breadth, and to tell of the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge! But my pen utterly fails here. You who love Him, and know that He loves you ‚ÄĒ must each one say to himself what that “comfort of His love” is to your own heart. This will be a better commentary than any I can offer.¬†

And, if some poor distressed soul is mourning the loss of the sweet consolation which Christ’s love alone can give ‚ÄĒ let him call to remembrance a tenderly precious promise which the Lord put into the lips of the prophet Isaiah, “I have seen his ways ‚ÄĒ but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him!” Isaiah 57:18¬†

Our thorn!

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Our thorn!

(J. R. Miller, “The Blossoming of Our Thorns” 1905)

“To keep me from getting puffed up, I was¬†given¬†a¬†thorn¬†in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud.” 2 Corinthians 12:7

We do not know how much of Paul’s rich, beautiful life, and his noble work for his Master ‚ÄĒ he owed to¬†his thorn. Just so, we do not know how much we are indebted to our¬†sufferings¬†and¬†sorrows. Our richest lessons ‚ÄĒ are the fruit of pain, of weakness, of sorrow.

There is not one of us who has not his own thorn. With one it may be a bodily infirmity or weakness. With another it is some disfigurement which cannot be removed. It may be some difficulty in circumstances, something which makes it hard to live beautifully. 

The Master told Paul that his thorn was¬†necessary¬†to him ‚ÄĒ to save him from becoming proud. We may think of¬†our thorn, too ‚ÄĒ as something we¬†need. Instead of allowing it to irritate us or to spoil our life ‚ÄĒ its mission is to make us sweet, patient, loving. Many people beseech the Lord to take away their thorn. Yet it may be, that the prayer¬†is¬†not answered,¬†will¬†not be answered,¬†should¬†not be answered. It may be, that the thorn is¬†necessary¬†to keep them humble at God’s feet.

God sends some of our best blessings to us in our thorns, and it will be a sad thing if we thrust them away and miss them.

He will sustain you!

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He will sustain you!

(J.R. Miller)

“Cast your burden upon the Lord ‚ÄĒ and¬†He will¬†sustain¬†you.” Psalm 55:22

The promise is not that the Lord will¬†remove¬†the load we cast upon Him, nor that He will¬†carry¬†it for us ‚ÄĒ but that He will¬†sustain¬†us so that¬†we¬†may carry it.
He does not¬†free¬†us from the duty ‚ÄĒ but He¬†strengthens¬†us for it.
He does not¬†deliver¬†us from the conflict ‚ÄĒ but He enables us to¬†overcome.¬†
He does not withhold or withdraw the trial from us ‚ÄĒ but He helps us in trial to be submissive and victorious, and makes it a blessing to us.¬†
He does not mitigate the hardness or severity of our circumstances, taking away the difficult elements, removing the thorns, making life¬†easy¬†for us ‚ÄĒ but He puts Divine grace into our hearts, so that we can live sweetly in all the hard, adverse circumstances.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9¬†

“I can do all things through Christ who¬†strengthens¬†me!” Philippians 4:13


Desiring God!

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Desiring God!

(Thomas Watson, “The Lord’s Prayer”)

“Whom have I in Heaven but You?¬†And earth has nothing I¬†desire¬†besides You!”¬†Psalm 73:25¬†

We may know the kingdom of grace is set up in our hearts ‚ÄĒ by having¬†true desires after God.¬†By the beating of this¬†pulse¬†‚ÄĒ we conclude there is¬†life.¬†

A true desire after God is¬†sincere. We desire God for Himself, for His intrinsic excellencies. The savor of the ointment of¬†Christ’s gracesdraws the virgins’ desires after Him. Canticles 1:3. A true saint desires Him not only for what God¬†has¬†‚ÄĒ but for what He¬†is; not only for His¬†rewards¬†‚ÄĒ but for His¬†holiness.¬†No hypocrite can thus desire God. He may desire God for His¬†jewels¬†‚ÄĒ but not for His¬†beauty!

A true desire after God is¬†insatiable. It cannot be satisfied without God; let the world heap her honors and riches ‚ÄĒ they will not satisfy. No¬†flowers¬†or¬†music¬†will content him who is¬†thirsty. Just so,¬†nothing will quench the soul’s thirst ‚ÄĒ but the blood of Christ!¬†He faints away, his heart breaks with longing for God. Psalm 84:2; Psalm 119:20

A true desire after God is¬†active. It flourishes into¬†endeavor. “With my soul have I desired you in the night ‚ÄĒ yes, with my spirit within me will I seek You early.” Isaiah 26:9. A soul that desires aright says, “I must have¬†Christ!¬†I must have¬†grace!¬†I must have¬†Heaven, though I take it by storm!”

A true desire after God is¬†supreme. We desire Christ, not only more than the¬†world¬†‚ÄĒ but more than¬†Heaven!¬†“Whom have I in Heaven but You?” Psalm 73:25. Heaven itself would not satisfy ‚ÄĒ without Christ. Christ is¬†the diamond in the ring of glory!¬†

A true desire after God is¬†increasing. A¬†little¬†of God will not satisfy ‚ÄĒ but the pious soul desires still more. A¬†drop¬†of water is not enough for the thirsty traveler. Though a Christian is¬†thankful¬†for the least degree of grace ‚ÄĒ yet he is not¬†satisfied¬†with the greatest degree of grace. He still thirsts for more of Christ, and His Spirit. A saint would have more knowledge, more sanctity, more of Christ’s presence. A¬†glimpse¬†of Christ through the lattice of an ordinance is sweet; but the soul will never stop longing ‚ÄĒ until it sees Him face to face! It desires to have¬†grace¬†perfected in¬†glory!¬†It desires to be wholly plunged into the sweetness of God. We would be swallowed up in God, and be forever bathing ourselves in those perfumed waters of pleasure which run at His right hand!

Surely this sincere desire after God is a blessed sign that the kingdom of grace has come into our hearts. The beating of this pulse shows life! Desires¬†for¬†God ‚ÄĒ are¬†from¬†God. If iron moves upwards contrary to its nature ‚ÄĒ it is a sign some magnet has been drawing it. Just so, if the soul moves towards God in sincere desires ‚ÄĒ it is a sign the¬†magnet of the Spirit¬†has been drawing it!

“He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him.”¬†Psalm 145:19


Father knows best!

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Father knows best!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away ‚ÄĒ may the name of the LORD be praised!” Job 1:21

“Shall we accept good from God ‚ÄĒ and not trouble?” Job 2:10¬†
 

Let the Lord do as He wills to us! He will never be unkind to us! He has always been our friend ‚ÄĒ He will never be our foe!¬†

He will never put us into the¬†furnace¬†‚ÄĒ unless He means to purge the¬†dross¬†out of us. Nor will there be one degree more heat in that furnace than is absolutely necessary ‚ÄĒ there will always be¬†mercy¬†to balance the¬†misery¬†‚ÄĒ and strength supplied to support the burden to be borne.
 

Oh, children of God, your¬†Father knows best!¬†Leave everything in His hands and be at peace ‚ÄĒ for all is well.
 

“I was silent; I would not open my mouth ‚ÄĒ for You are the one who has done this!” Psalm 39:9¬†
 

“He is the LORD; let him do what is good in His eyes!” 1 Samuel 3:18¬†

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,¬†and there are no grapes on the vines;¬†even though the olive crop fails,¬†and the fields lie empty and barren;¬†even though the flocks die in the fields,¬†and the cattle barns are empty¬†‚ÄĒ yet I will rejoice in the¬†LORD!¬†I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17-18¬†

This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness!

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This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness!

(Charles Naylor, “In Christ, and in Ephesus” 1920)

To the¬†saints¬†in Ephesus ‚ÄĒ the¬†faithful¬†in Christ Jesus”¬†Ephesians 1:1¬†

Ephesus was one of the great centers of paganism. It was adorned with costly and magnificent heathen temples. It was rich and voluptuous. Both private and public life were utterly corrupt. Even the religious practices of the Ephesians were unspeakably vile.¬†This city was a moral cesspool, a sink of pollution, filled with all corruption, and reeking with vileness!¬†It was a second Sodom. Vice stalked abroad everywhere ‚ÄĒ and was honored and worshiped.

We might therefore well say, “Can any good thing come out of Ephesus? Can Christianity flourish in such surroundings?”¬†

Yes! There were¬†saints¬†in Ephesus ‚ÄĒ and¬†faithful¬†ones, too. They were such in their lives and characters as to win the commendation of that great apostle to the Gentiles. Out of that obnoxious cesspool of iniquity, were growing the pure white lilies of Christian character! That is the glory of Christianity and of Christ. Those who were now Christians were not superior to the other Ephesians ‚ÄĒ they were not by nature different. In fact, Paul tells them that they had been the children of wrath, even as the others ‚ÄĒ and that they had been such by nature. What a triumph of divine grace, which raised these people up out of such unspeakable filth ‚ÄĒ and made them¬†faithful saints!¬†And yet that is the power of our great Christ!

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8


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