Archive | GraceGems RSS feed for this section

Reader! have you enjoyed the presence of Jesus today?

Grace logo

Reader! have you enjoyed the presence of Jesus today? 

(James Smith, “A Help to Devotion” 1859)

“Abide with us–for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” Luke 24:29

The presence of Jesus, is the life and the joy of the saints. When we enjoy it–we dread the thought of losing it; and when we have lost it–we cannot rest until we have regained it. That is a gloomy day–in which the presence of Jesus is not enjoyed; and that is a dreary night–when Jesus is absent from us.¬†

Reader! have you enjoyed the presence of Jesus today? 
Has He communed with your spirit, thereby . . .
  strengthening your faith,
  exciting your hope, and
  deepening your comfort? 

If so, I know that your prayer tonight will be, “Abide with me! Yes, precious Lord Jesus, we do beseech You to visit us, converse with us, open up the Scriptures to us, and abide with us. Let us feast our eyes on Your glory–and our hearts on Your grace. With You, we can feel at home–we can be happy anywhere. Without You, we cannot rest, we cannot feel satisfied, we cannot enjoy repose–let us have whatever we may. You have won our heart’s love–You have made yourself the center and source of our comfort. Come, then, and abide with us this evening–and then a blessed evening it will be. Your presence will free us from all our cares, and raise us above all our troubles. Your presence will feast us, refresh us, and make us satisfied with our lot, be it what it may!”

I am the Devil–I am a deceiver! I will lead you into Hell!

Grace logo

I am the Devil–I am a deceiver! I will lead you into Hell!

(Ralph Venning, “The Plague of Plagues!” 1669)

“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light!” 2 Corinthians 11:14¬†

The Devil disguises himself as an angel of light–that he may more effectually lead us into darkness. If he were to come like a devil, like an enemy–then everyone would run from him. But he comes masked and puts on the face of a friend–and so he tricks and cheats us. Indeed, he prevails more by his wily subtleties–than by his power.¬†

If the Devil had come to Eve and spoken to her as follows: ‘I was once a glorious angel and lived above in the Court of Heaven–but I have sinned and am now cast down to Hell. Eat the forbidden fruit–and you will be like me!’ Would this have succeeded? Surely not!

Thus if he came and tempted men to sin, by telling them that sin is the sure way to Hell–would this prevail with them to sin? No! The Devil is¬†a subtle old serpent–he cloaks and paints sin.¬†He covers his hook with a bait–and draws men in before they are aware of it. He is a deceiver–and lest he should be known, he puts on a false garb and disguises himself as an angel of light.

He dare not say, “I am the Devil–I am a deceiver! I will lead you into Hell!“–for that would spoil his wily schemes.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves”¬†Matthew 7:15¬†


Especially beware of light reading!

Grace logo

Especially beware of light reading!

(Horatius Bonar, “Follow the Lamb” 1861)

“They are more desirable than gold–yes, than much fine gold!¬†Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.Moreover, by them Your servant is warned. In keeping them there is great reward!” Psalm 19:10-11¬†

The Christian has discovered one book truer and more precious than all the rest together. Let the Bible be to us the book of books–the one book in all the world whose every verse is wisdom. In studying it, be sure to take it for what it really is–the revelation of the¬†thoughts¬†of God, given us in the¬†words¬†of God. Knowing that we have divine thoughts embodied in divine words–we sit down to the study of the heavenly volume, assured that we shall find the perfection of wisdom in all of its teachings.¬†

Let us read and re-read the Scriptures–meditating on them day and night.¬†
They never grow old, they never lose their sap, they never run dry. 

Though it is right and profitable to read other books, if they are true and good–yet beware of reading too many.¬†Do not let man’s book thrust God’s book into a corner!¬†Do not let commentaries smother the text–nor let the good, shut out the best.¬†
 
Especially beware of light reading!¬†Shun¬†novels–they are the literary curse of the age! If you are a parent–keep novels out of the way of your children. Neither read them yourself, nor set an example of novel-reading to others. Do not let novels lie on your table, or be seen in your hand. The reading of the light novels of the day, has done deep injury to many:
  vitiating their taste,
  enervating their minds,
¬† unfitting them for life’s plain work,
  eating out their love for the Bible,
  teaching them a false morality, and  
  creating in the soul an unreal standard of truth, and beauty, and love. 

Do not be too fond of the newspaper. Extract matter for thought and prayer out of all that you read. 

Let your reading be always¬†select–and whatever you read, begin with seeking God’s blessing on it.¬†

But see that your relish for the Bible is above every other enjoyment. The moment you begin to feel greater relish for any other book–lay it down until you have sought deliverance from such a¬†snare, and obtained from the Holy Spirit a more intense relish, and a keener appetite for the Word of God!

“Your words were found, and I ate them.¬†And Your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart!”¬†Jeremiah 15:16

The hell of Hell!

Grace logo

The hell of Hell!

(Thomas Brooks, “The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures“)

And as there are a¬†diversity¬†of torments in Hell–so the torments of Hell are¬†everlasting.¬†

“Depart from Me, you who are cursed–into the¬†eternal fire¬†prepared for the Devil and his angels!” Matthew 25:41

The¬†sentence¬†which shall be passed upon them–is eternal.

God¬†Himself, who damns them–is eternal.¬†

The¬†prison¬†and¬†chains¬†which hold them–are eternal.¬†

The¬†worm¬†which gnaws them–is eternal.¬†

The¬†fire¬†which torments them–is eternal.¬†

Grievous is the torment of the damned–for the¬†bitterness¬†of the punishments.¬†
It is more grievous–for the¬†diversity¬†of the punishments.¬†
But it is most grievous–for the¬†eternity¬†of the punishments!¬†

If, after so many millions of years as there are¬†drops in the ocean, there might be a deliverance out of Hell–this would yield a little ease, a little comfort to the damned. But oh, but this word,¬†‘Eternity! Eternity! Eternity!’–this word,¬†‘Everlasting! Everlasting! Everlasting!’–this word,¬†‘Forever! Forever! Forever!’–will break the hearts of the damned into ten thousand pieces!¬†

Suppose that the whole world were turned into a mountain of sand, and that¬†a little bird¬†would come once every thousand years and carry away¬†one grain of sand¬†from that heap.¬†What an infinite number of years would be spent before this great mountain of sand would be fetched away! Just so–if a man should lie in everlasting burnings so long a time as this, and then have an¬†end¬†of his woe–it would give him some ease, some hope, and some comfort.¬†

But when¬†that immortal bird¬†shall have carried away this great mountain of sand–a thousand times over and over–alas, alas, sinful man shall be as far from the end of his anguish and torment as ever he was! He shall be no nearer coming¬†out¬†of Hell–than he was the very first moment that he¬†entered¬†into Hell!¬†

Suppose, say others, that a man were to endure the torments of Hell for as many years as there are . . .
  sands on the sea-shore,
  drops of water in the sea,
  stars in the heavens, 
  leaves on the trees,
  blades of grass on the ground
–then he would comfort himself with this poor thought, “Well, there will come a day when my misery and torment shall have an end.”¬†

But woe and alas! this word,¬†“Forever! Forever! Forever!”¬†will fill the hearts of the damned with the greatest . . .
  horror and terror,
  anger and rage,
  bewilderment and astonishment!

If the fire of Hell were¬†terminable–then it might be tolerable.¬†
But being¬†endless–it must needs be¬†easeless, and¬†remediless.¬†

The¬†eternity¬†of Hell–is¬†the hell of Hell.¬†

The damned shall live as long in Hell–as long as God Himself shall live in Heaven!

“The reprobate shall have . . .
¬† punishment–without pity,
¬† misery–without mercy,
¬† sorrow–without support,
¬† crying–without compassion,
¬† mischief–without measure,
¬† and torment–without end!”¬†


“And they will go away into¬†eternal punishment–but the righteous into¬†eternal life.” Matthew 25:46¬†

All the pains, torments, curse, and wrath which were due to the¬†elect–fell on Christ, until divine justice was fully satisfied! “For God did not appoint¬†us¬†to suffer wrath–but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9¬†

Oh, exalt that Christ! Oh, extol that Savior–who has saved¬†you¬†from that eternal wrath!

Nothing less than a LIVING Christ will do for us!

Grace logo

Nothing less than a LIVING Christ will do for us!

(J.R. Miller, “Miller’s Year Book–a Year’s Daily Readings”)

“He was¬†raised¬†on the third day according to the Scriptures” 1 Corinthians 15:4¬†

If your faith stops at the¬†cross–it misses the blessing of the¬†fullest revealing¬†of Christ!¬†

You need a Savior who not merely two thousand years ago went to¬†death¬†to redeem you–but one who also is¬†alive¬†to walk by your side in loving companionship!¬†

You need a Savior . . .
  who can hear your prayers,
  to whose feet you can creep in penitence when you have sinned,
  to whom you can call for help when the battle is going against you.

You need a Savior who is interested in all the affairs of your common life, and who can assist you in every time of need.

You need a Christ who can be a real friend–loving you, keeping close beside you, able to sympathize with your weaknesses.

You need a Savior who will come into your life, and will save you, not by one great act of centuries past–but by a life warm and throbbing with love today, and living again in you.

A DYING Christ alone, will not satisfy our heart. We must have¬†the living One¬†for our friend!¬†Nothing less than a LIVING Christ will do for us!¬†And that is the Christ the gospel brings to us: one who¬†was dead–and is¬†now alive¬†for ever and ever!

“My soul thirsts for God, for the¬†living¬†God!” cried the psalmist, and cries every redeemed soul. It is only as we realize the truth of¬†a living Christ–that our hearts are satisfied. We crave love . . .
  a bosom to lean upon,
  a hand to touch ours,
  a heart whose beatings we can feel,
  a personal friendship that will come into our life with . . . 
    its sympathy,
    its inspiration, 
    its companionship, 
    its shelter, 
    its life, and
    its comfort. 

All this, the living Christ is to us!

“I am the¬†Living¬†One; I¬†was dead, and behold¬†I am alive¬†for ever and ever!” Revelation 1:18

With lowly reverence at the foot of the Cross

Grace logo

With lowly reverence at the foot of the Cross

(Charles Spurgeon)

With lowly reverence at the foot of the Cross, bow down your soul and say, “My Lord, there is no difference between me and the¬†greatest¬†reprobate–but what Your grace has made! There is no difference between me and¬†lost souls in Hell–except what Your infinite compassion has been pleased to make!”¬†

“By the grace of God I am what I am!”¬†1 Corinthians 15:10

Oh, what a glorious truth is this!

Grace logo

Oh, what a glorious truth is this!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“You are altogether beautiful, my love–there is no flaw in you!” Song of Songs 4:7

Although a poor tried child of God may feel the force of his inbred sin and have to continually struggle with it–and though he may, from day to day, be conscious of his many imperfections–yet before those eyes which see everything, there is no flaw to be seen upon the believer in Christ. I mean no flaw in this respect–that he can never be condemned or punished for his sin. His sin is finally and fully and forever pardoned!

Oh, what a glorious truth is this!

The malady–the misery–the shame of our whole race!

Grace logo

The malady–the misery–the shame of our whole race!¬†

(Henry Law, “The Sin Offering“)

“He must bring to the Lord a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the¬†sin¬†he has committed.”¬†Leviticus 4:3

SIN! 

The sound is brief–but it presents a dark abyss of thought.¬†
No mind can trace its birth–no eye can see its death.¬†
Before the worlds it scaled the heavens, and dragged angels down. 
In life’s first dawn it entered Eden and slew innocence.¬†
It ends not with the end of time. 
It ever rolls on in its ever-deepening course.

Reader, think much of sin!

It is earth’s death-blow.¬†
It marred the beauty of a beauteous world, and stripped it of its lovely robe. 
It caused the soil to harden, and the leaves to wither and decay. 
It turned fertility into weeds, and armed the brier with its bristling thorns. 
It made the clouds to blacken, and the storm to rage. 
It raised the tempest’s roar, and plumed the lightning with its forked wings.¬†
It placed its foot upon a perfect workmanship, and left it a disordered wreck!

Reader, think much of sin!

It is man’s ruin.¬†
Its most tremendous blight fell on our inner life. 
It drove the soul from peaceful fellowship with God. 
It changed the loving child into a hardened rebel. 
It robbed the mind of light. 
It rendered reason a bewildered maze. 
It made the heart . . .
  a nest of unclean birds; 
  a spring of impure streams; 
  a whirlpool of tumultuous passions; 
  a hot-bed of ungodly lusts; 
  a den of God-defying schemes! 

It is¬†the malady–the misery–the shame of our whole race!¬†
It is the spring of every tear! 
Each sigh which rends the bosom;
each frown which ploughs the brow;
each¬†pain¬†which racks the limbs–are cradled in its arms.¬†

It is the mother of that mighty monster–death!
It digs each grave in every grave-yard. 
Each widow and each orphan tastes its gall. 
It fills each hospital with the sick. 
It strews the battlefield with the slain. 
It is the core in every grief.
It is the worm which gnaws the root of peace.

Reader, think much of sin!

Its terrible destructions do not die in the grave. 
There is a region where its full-blown torments reign. 
It built the prison-house of Hell. 
It kindled quenchless flames.
It forged the chains which bind lost sinners to their burning beds. 
It sharpened the undying sting of an upbraiding conscience. 
It arms the jailer–Satan, with his scourge.¬†
It bars the hopeless in that outer darkness, where . . .
  weeping ever weeps,
  and wailing ever wails,
  and teeth forever gnash,
  and all is woe, which knows neither respite nor end.

Reader, think much of sin!

It works this bitter and eternal anguish, because God’s curse attends it.¬†
It raised a rebel-hand against His will. 
It dared to violate His holy law. 
It strove to lay His honor in the dust.
It trampled on the statute-book of heaven. 
Therefore God’s anger fiercely burns against it.¬†
Hence every misery follows in its succession. 
He must be wretched, who has God against him!

Reader, here is a picture in which all horrors meet! 
Regard it with an earnest eye. 
No fiction colors it. 
No power can over-paint the terrible reality.
No artist’s skill can represent a flame.¬†
The dreadful truth exceeds description. 
The lost writhe out eternity in fully learning the deserts of sin!

Reader, receive the soul-reviving voice: Though sin is death, the sinner need not die. 
There is a fortress of escape. 
There is a remedy to heal these wounds. 
What though your sins are as countless as the sands? They all may disappear. 
What though the dye of each sin is double crimson? Each may be washed away. 
The filth may all be cleansed. 
The debts may be wiped out. 
The soul may meet Jehovah’s eye without one stain.¬†
There is a way, by which the vilest may stand pure.
God’s love decreed a plan.¬†
He willed a ransom, and His Son achieved it. 

Let us draw nearer to the amazing sight!

Each sin must bear its merited load of woe. 
Each curse must be endured. 
Each violation of the holy law must drink the dregs of condemnation. 

Jesus comes forth to help! 
The guiltless One takes the guilty place. 
The God-man represents His chosen flock. 
He stands as their complete sin-offering. 
He pays in anguish and in blood, their every due. 
Their wrath is endured. 
Their penalties are paid. 
Their sufferings are suffered. 
Their agonies are agonized. 
The saving work requires infinity of woe. Infinity of woe is borne by Him. 
His Deity enables–His manhood qualifies.¬†
Thus their sin is fully punished–thus the redeemed are fully saved!

Do we have any evidence that we really intend to go there?

Grace logo

Do we have any evidence that we really intend to go there?

(John Owen)

We all profess that we are bound for Heaven, immortality and glory. But¬†do we have any evidence that we really intend to go there–if all our thoughts are consumed about the trifles of this world, which we must leave behind us–and have only occasional thoughts of things above?

“If then you were raised with Christ–seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above–not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears–then you also will appear with Him in glory!” Colossians 3:1-4

Imitate the pearl oyster!

Grace logo

Imitate the pearl oyster!

(Charles Spurgeon, “Love’s Labors”)

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all¬†imitate the pearl oyster. A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. The oyster cannot reject the evil–but it ‘covers’ it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl!

Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians–so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us, by that which otherwise would have harmed us!

“Above all, love each other deeply, because¬†love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8¬†

The choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian!

Grace logo

The choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian!

Thomas Manton: “What is the reason that there is so much preaching, and so little practice? For lack of meditation. The end of study is information–and the end of meditation is practice, or kindling of the affections. The end of study is to hoard up truth. The end of meditation to lay it forth in holy conduct. To hear sermons and not to meditate upon them, is unfruitful. We may hear and hear, but it is like putting a thing into a bag with holes!”

Thomas Brooks: “It is not the bee’s touching of the flower which gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower which draws out the sweet. Just so, it is not he who¬†reads¬†most, but he who¬†meditates¬†most–who will prove to be¬†the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian!”¬†

William Bridge: “Meditation will keep your hearts and souls from sinful thoughts. When the vessel is full, you can put in no more. If the heart is full of sinful thoughts–then there is no room for holy and heavenly thoughts. If the heart is full of holy and heavenly thoughts by meditation–then there is no room for evil and sinful thoughts.”¬†

William Plumer: “Without meditation grace never thrives, prayer is languid, praise is dull, and religious duties are unprofitable. It is easier to hear a year of sermons–than to spend an hour in close, devout, profitable thoughts on divine things.”

George Muller: “It often astonishes me that I did not see the importance of meditation upon Scripture earlier in my Christian life. We must¬†consider¬†what we read,¬†ponder¬†over it, and¬†apply¬†it to our hearts. The most important thing I do, is to read the Word of God and to meditate on it. Thus my heart might is comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved and instructed.”

Thomas Watson: “The reason we come away so cold from reading the Word, is because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation. Without meditation, the truths which we know will never affect our hearts. As a hammer drives a nail to the head, so mediation drives a truth to the heart. Read before you meditate.¬†Reading furnishes with matter–it is the oil which feeds the lamp of meditation. Be sure your mediations are founded upon Scripture. Reading without meditation is barren and unfruitful; meditation without reading is dangerous.”

Charles Spurgeon: “Some people like to read so many chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather let my soul soak in half a dozen verses all day, than rinse my hand in several chapters. Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up into your very soul, till it saturates your heart! Set your heart upon God’s Word! Let your whole nature be plunged into it as a cloth into a dye!”

William Bridge: 
“By meditation, your¬†knowledge¬†is raised.¬†
By meditation, your memory is strengthened. 
By meditation, your hearts are warmed. 
By meditation, you will be freed from sinful thoughts. 
By meditation, your hearts will be tuned to every duty. 
By meditation, you will grow in grace. 
By meditation, you will fill up all the chinks and crevices of your lives, and know how to spend your spare time profitably. 
By meditation, you will draw good out of evil. 
By meditation, you will converse with God, and enjoy God.”

Philip Henry: “It is easier to walk six miles to hear a sermon, than to spend one quarter of an hour in meditating upon it when I come home.”

Arthur Pink: “Meditation upon the Word of God is one of the most important of all the means of grace and growth in spirituality, yes there can be no true progress in vital and practical godliness without it. Meditation on Divine things is not optional but obligatory, for it is something which God has commanded us to attend unto.”

¬†¬† “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;¬†meditate¬†on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8¬†

¬†¬† “But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he¬†meditates¬†day and night.” Psalm 1:2¬†

¬†¬† “I¬†meditate¬†on Your precepts, and consider Your ways.” Psalm 119:15¬†

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

¬†¬† “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may¬†meditate¬†on Your promises.” Psalm 119:148

Would any do this but a madman?

Grace logo

Would any do this but a madman?

(David Clarkson, “Hypocritical Religion” 1622-1686)

“Not everyone who¬†says¬†to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who¬†does¬†the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will¬†say¬†to Me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” Matthew 7:21-23

Many professors cannot judge of the face of their soul–whether the features of Heaven or Hell are on it. They dislike looking in the mirror of the Word–lest the visage of their soul, truly represented, should trouble them.¬†

Satan blinds one eye, self-love closes the other, and the deceitfulness of sin seals both! It is no wonder that they imagine themselves on the way to Heaven, when they are on the high road to Hell. 

When the blind leads the blind, you know what the outcome will be! It is no wonder that they think they shall be safe ashore in Heaven and their feet near the very banks of happiness–at that very moment they are falling into the bottomless pit!

Most professors simply¬†assume¬†that they shall go to Heaven–when, alas, they have no ground for such an assumption, but what Satan suggests, or their own deceitful hearts prompt them. And thus¬†they hang the whole weight of eternity upon a cobweb!¬†Thus, they pin the everlasting concerns of their souls upon a¬†shadow, as though it would hang there safe enough, where it can have no hold at all.¬†

Would any do this but a madman? What! Trust without verifying, in a matter of eternal consequence to body and soul?

Many promise themselves Heaven–when nothing but Hell is reserved for them!

Faithfulness in littles

Grace logo

Faithfulness in littles

(John Colwell, “Little Foxes; The Little Sins That Mar the Christian Character” 1882)

“Catch the foxes–the¬†little foxes¬†that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes!” Song of Songs 2:15¬†

The little things of life are most important. Those who affect to despise the importance of little¬†things, are in danger of becoming little¬†people. Certainly no great man will ever do so. He will the rather prove his greatness by a hearty recognition of the truth of the wise saying,¬†“He who despises little things, shall fall little by little.”

The¬†Great Teacher¬†drew some of His most beautiful and important lessons from little things–such as little flowers, little birds, little dew-drops, little children. He insisted on¬†faithfulness in¬†littles.

My friend, life is great because it is the aggregation of littles.

As the coral reefs which rear themselves high above the crawling sea beneath, are all made up of minute skeletons of microscopic animalcules; so life, mighty and solemn as having eternal consequences; life that hangs over the¬†sea of eternity–is made up of these minute incidents, of these trifling duties, of these small tasks. Only those who are faithful in the least are, or can be, faithful in the whole.

Little things make either . . .
¬† the joy–or the sorrow,¬†
¬† the success–or the ruin,¬†
¬† the safety–or the danger,¬†
¬† the grandeur–or the smallness
–of human life.¬†

Illustrations of this principle abound:

     Little neglects lead to great ruin. 

     Little precautions lead to great safety. 

     Little wastings make great losses. 

     Little savings make great gains. 

     Little troubles make us miserable. 

     Little virtues make us godly. 

     Little vices make us wicked.

Therefore, says inspired Wisdom, “Catch the foxes–the¬†little foxes¬†that spoil the vines,” which is equivalent to saying, “I know you will keep out the more hateful and destructive full-grown foxes, by stopping up all the large holes in the vineyard fence. Your danger lies in overlooking the¬†smaller gaps¬†by which the¬†little foxes¬†may enter, and thus spoil your vines by robbing them of the tender grapes.”¬†

How forcibly may this advice be urged upon Christian people! They will be almost certain to secure their character against the intrusion of shameful vices, destructive sins, and great scandals. But are they always so careful to stop the smaller breaches in the fence of their Christian character against the little foxes, lesser sins, smaller vices, and trifling moral blemishes which, nevertheless, spoil the loveliness and nobility of their lives? Judging from observation and experience, I fear not.

In this book, we will point out some “little foxes” that do much damage in the Christian vineyard, and invite our readers to hunt them down!

True excellency!

Grace logo

True excellency!

(Jonathan Edwards)

Worldly men imagine that there is true excellency and true happiness in those things which they are pursuing. They think that if they could but obtain them, that they would be happy. But when they obtain them, and cannot find happiness–then they look for happiness in something else, and are still upon the futile pursuit.

There is a transcendent glory, and an ineffable sweetness in Christ.

Jesus Christ has true excellency, and so great an excellency, that when you come to truly see Him, you look no further, but your mind rests there.

You see that you had been pursuing shadows, but now you have found the substance.

You realize that you had been seeking happiness in the stream, but now you have found the ocean.

The excellency of Christ is an object adequate to the natural cravings of the soul, and is sufficient to fill its capacity.

Christ has an infinite excellency, such as the mind desires, in which it can find no bounds.
The more the mind contemplates Him, the more excellent does He appear.

Each new discovery of Christ makes His beauty appear more ravishing, and the mind can see no end to His excellency. There is room enough for the mind to go deeper and deeper, and never come to the bottom.

Christ’s excellency is always fresh and new, and will as much delight us after we have beheld Him a thousand, or ten thousand years–as when we have seen Him the first moment.

The soul is exceedingly ravished when it first looks on the beauty of Christ. It is never weary of Him.

“His mouth is most sweet, Yes, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!” Song of Songs 5:16¬†

“Put the beauty of ten thousand worlds of paradises, like the Garden of Eden in one; put all trees, all flowers, all fragrances, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all loveliness, all sweetness in one. O what a lovely and excellent thing would that be! And yet it would be less compared to our dearest well-beloved Christ–than one drop of rain compared to the whole seas, rivers, and lakes of ten thousand earths.”¬†Samuel Rutherford

Though it is less bestial–yet is it more diabolical!

Grace logo

Though it is less bestial–yet is it more diabolical!

(Matthew Mead, 1629-1699)

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless, who takes His name in vain!” Exodus 20:7

Another provoking sin which is widespread among us, is using the most holy name of the majestic God in vain. 

This is a sin less excusable than debauchery, because I do not know any sense which is gratified with it.¬†Though it is less bestial–yet is it more diabolical!¬†O the horrid blasphemies which are daily belched out by the black-mouthed sons of Belial! A person is so likely to hear the name of God blasphemed, that he cannot walk the streets of the city without stopping his ears. The life, the blood, the wounds of our dear and precious Lord, are tossed to and fro by the mouths of wretched swearers. Truly, their tongues are set on fire by Hell! We wonder that they do not set our whole nation on flame!¬†

The polluted breath of these wretches, has infected the very air we breathe! When men shall set themselves purposely to swear, and devise new blasphemies–what possible excuse do they have for this?¬†

They are not ashamed to own themselves as the devil’s vassals, and they dance in his chains while others hear their damnable cackling. What other design can these swaggering sinners have in such vile behavior–but audaciously to affront the great Majesty of Heaven and earth, in the vilest manner they are capable of!

Ah, besotted wretches–can your mind find no other way to vent your malice on any other object? Do you have no other or cheaper way to eternally condemn yourselves?¬†Are you afraid that you will miss entering Hell?¬†What did you mean by your blasphemies–to dare God to His face? Would you force Him to give you a convincing evidence of His wrath? If so, I hope you are satisfied by this time–but if not, you shall be shortly.¬†

Were you resolved to see how far His patience would extend? Did you fear that He is so merciful, that you would never feel His wrath? Or were you in such haste to be with your everlasting companions, the devils and the damned–that you thought your judgment lingered, and damnation slumbered, and would therefore do your best to hasten it? Or were you so fully bent on the satisfaction of your lusts–that you were resolved to pursue them, even to the burning Lake of Fire?¬†

Are you resolute to do all that you can before-hand–to outrage that God, who will treat you so severely in Hell? Or are you now getting used to the language of Hell, that you might not have to learn it when you are thrown there?¬†

Shall we wonder when such rebels have risen up against the Lord–if He grows jealous for His great Name–and rises, and vindicates His glory and power from the contemptuous affronts of insolent mortals!

Yes, how many roaring swearers have we got, who, as if they were already entered into familiarity with devils, make nothing of it to curse themselves to the pit of Hell in their common discourse! They can scarcely speak a sentence without their abominable blasphemies. Were their tongues plucked out by the roots–it would be a small punishment in no way suited to the heinousness of their crimes!¬†

Let them stay a while longer in their contempt of God and His threatenings. They shall too soon find to their sorrow–that all their accursed curses are accomplished! The devil, whom they have so often wished to fetch them, shall very shortly have that commission which he eagerly waits for! Then let them say whether the dreadful God is to be jested with and blasphemed!

What a treasure!

Grace logo

What a treasure! 

(Thomas Reade)

“His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night!” Psalm 1:2

What a treasure is the Word of God!

Here we have: 
  Light, to dissipate our darkness. 
  Truth, to guide us amid the mazes of error. 
  Consolations, to gladden us in a world of misery.

The Bible is . . . 
¬† the Revelation of our Father’s love;¬†
¬† the Expression of Jehovah’s grace to sinners;¬†
  the Depository of heavenly blessings; 
  the Charter of our highest privileges; 
  the Religion of true Christians; 
  the Glory of our churches; 
¬† the poor man’s Friend.

Everything sublime in conception, and tender in expression–is to be found in the sacred Scriptures.

The Eternal Jehovah has there revealed Himself as . . . 
  clothed with majesty and honor; 
  glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders; 
  of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; 
  in whose sight the heavens are not clean.

In the sacred Scriptures, He has manifested His glory–as mighty to save, forgiving iniquity transgression and sin.

In that blessed volume, Mercy is seen to arrest the arm of Justice–and all the tenderness of the Father is displayed in the person of the adorable Son.

Love breathes throughout its sacred pages!

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

“When your Words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight!” Jeremiah 15:16

When He strikes us–as well as when He strokes us!

Grace logo

When He strikes us–as well as when He strokes us!¬†

(Abraham Wright, 1611-1690)

“You have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He disciplines everyone He accepts as a son.” Hebrews 12:5-6¬†

We may feel God’s hand as a¬†Father¬†upon us,¬†when He strikes us–as well as when He strokes us!¬†

What fools are we, then, to frown upon our afflictions! These, however difficult, are our best friends. 

They are not indeed for our¬†pleasure–they are for our¬†profit. I am . . .
  mended by my sickness,
  enriched by my poverty, and
  strengthened by my weakness!

“God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:10-11

When God sent him to school to the swine-trough!

Grace logo

When God sent him to school to the swine-trough!

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe His commands, His laws and His decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied–then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” Deuteronomy 8:10-14¬†

In the school of affliction, God teaches us how to¬†prize¬†our outward mercies and comforts more–and yet to¬†dote¬†upon them less. We are taught to be more¬†thankful¬†for them–and yet¬† less¬†ensnared¬†by them.¬†

Naturally we are very prone either to¬†slight¬†or to¬†surfeit¬†God’s blessings. And yet (sad to consider) we can often do both at once! We can¬†undervalue¬†our mercies–even while we¬†glut¬†ourselves with them! We can¬†despise¬†them–even when we are¬†surfeiting¬†upon them.¬†

Behold while men fill themselves with the mercies of God–they can neglect the God of their mercies! When God is most liberal in remembering us–then we are most ungrateful to forget Him. Therefore that we may know how to put a due estimate upon mercies–God may cut them off, that we may learn to prize by the lack of mercies, that which our foolish unthankful hearts slighted in the enjoyment of them.¬†

Now this ungrateful distemper, God many times cures by the sharp corrosive of affliction!

Thus the¬†prodigal, who while yet at home could despise the rich and well furnished table of his father;¬†when God sent him to school to the swine-trough–would have gladly filled his belly with the pods which he was feeding to the swine!¬†

When months and years of God’s mercies and blessings are passed through–we scarcely take one grateful view of them; we seldom send up one thankful prayer to God for them. We pass by our mercies as common things, scarcely worth the owning. Whereas in times of famine–the lees and dregs of those mercies will be precious, which while the vessel ran full and fresh, we could hardly relish. In famine the very gleanings of our comforts are better than the whole vintage in the years of plenty!

In the withdrawing of common mercies–God will teach us their inestimable worth.

The family disease!

Grace logo

The family disease!

(J.C. Ryle)

“He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous.” Luke 18:9¬†

The sin which our Lord here denounces, is “self-righteousness.”

We are all naturally self-righteous. It is¬†the family disease¬†of all the children of Adam. From the highest to the lowest–we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. We secretly flatter ourselves that we are not as bad as some, and that we have something to¬†merit¬†the favor of God.

We forget the plain testimony of Scripture:
¬† “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.”
¬† “What is man, that he could be pure; or one born of woman, that he could be righteous?”
¬† “There is no one righteous, not even one!”

The true cure for self-righteousness, is self-knowledge.¬†Once let the eyes of our understanding be opened by the Spirit–and we shall talk no more of our own goodness. Once let us see what sin there is in our own hearts, and what the holy law of God requires–and self-conceit will die. We shall lay our hand on our mouths, and cry with the leper,¬†“Unclean, unclean!”¬†Leviticus¬† 13:45

“I have not come to call the righteous, but¬†sinners¬†to repentance.” Luke 5:32

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

We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt!

Grace logo

We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt!

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

One lesson which God teaches us in the school of affliction, is how to prize and long for Heaven. In our prosperity, “when we wash our steps in butter, and the rock pours us out rivers of oil” (Job 29:6)–we could sit down with the present world, and say, “It is good for us to be here; let us build dwellings here.”

While¬†life¬†is sweet–then¬†death¬†is bitter.¬†

Heaven itself is no enticement–while the world gives us her alluring baits.¬†

But when poverty and imprisonment, reproach and persecution, sickness and sore diseases–pinch and vex our hearts with a variety of afflictions–then we are not so fond of the creature, and are pleased to parley with¬†death, and take¬†Heaven¬†into our consideration.

God by putting us into the school of affliction, takes off our hearts by degrees from this present world, and makes us look homeward. Being burdened, we groan–and with the dove we return to the ark, when the world is sinking round about us.¬†

We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt
–if God did not set cruel taskmasters over us to double our burdens. And when God thus lessens our esteem of the world–He reveals to us the excellency of heavenly comforts, and draws out the desires of the soul to Himself:¬†
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2
“Even so, come Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

Afflictions make Heaven appear as Heaven indeed! 

To the weary, Heaven is rest; 
to the banished, it is home; 
to the scorned and reproached, it is glory;
to the captive, it is liberty; 
to the soldier, it is victory;
to the hungry, it is hidden manna; 
to the thirsty, it is the fountain of life; 
to the grieved, it is fullness of joy; and 
to the mourner, it is pleasures forevermore. 
In a word, to those who have lain upon the dunghill of affliction, and walked in holiness–Heaven is the throne on which they shall sit and reign with Christ forever and ever!

That Man of sorrows, is the Savior of the world!

Grace logo

That Man of sorrows, is the Savior of the world!

(Gardiner Spring)

O! Who was it that suffered?  What did He suffer?  For whom did He suffer? 

Think of Him–the Father’s fellow, and the church’s Beloved.¬†

Think of the Garden and the Cross, and see how they demonstrate on the one hand, the enormity of our guilt; and on the other, the force of His almighty love. 

Think of the debased and abject character of those for whom He died–depraved men, and the enemies of God!¬†

That Man of sorrows, is the Savior of the world! 

That naked, bleeding victim–is the mighty Conqueror of death and Hell!¬†

O what triumphs of love and of holiness were there, when . . .
  the earth trembled;
  and the sun grew dark;
  and the veil of the temple was rent in twain;
  and the rocks broke asunder;
  and the graves gave up their dead;
  and Hell itself was moved with terror;
¬† and the Great Redeemer exclaimed, “It is finished!”¬†

Christ is precious to all who believe!

Abraham¬†“rejoiced to see Christ’s day, and he saw it and was glad.”

Moses esteemed Him more precious than all the treasures of Egypt.

David¬†esteemed Him “fairer than the children of men.”

The Church in her divine songs speaks of Him . . . 
¬† as the “rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys;”¬†
¬† as “the chief among ten thousand and the altogether lovely One;”
¬† and as the One whom “her soul loves.”

The wise men of the East adored Him.

Simeon¬†took Him up in his arms, and said, “Now Lord, let you your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen Your salvation!”

And to holy men wherever found, Jesus is precious! 
“The upright love You!”¬†
“Whom having not seen, you love.”¬†
“To you who believe, He is precious!”

In all your duties and trials–He will be precious.

When the world loses its charms–He will become more glorious and lovely than ever.¬†

When death invades–He will become its mighty conqueror.

When you sleep beneath the clods of the valley–He will be the resurrection and the life.¬†

When the books shall be opened, and small and great shall stand before God, and the precious Savior shall come in the clouds, and you shall go to be forever with the Lord–He shall be doubly precious, and more and more precious through interminable ages!

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:12¬†

Rich in meditation–rich in grace!

Grace logo

Rich in meditation–rich in grace!

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he¬†meditates¬†day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2¬†

Take heed of feeding your heart’s corruption with thoughts of the sweetness that is in sin.

Take heed also, of starving grace by withdrawing from it suitable nourishment. 

Meditate much upon . . .
  the sinfulness of sin, 
  the vanity of the creature, 
  the fullness of Christ, 
  the exquisiteness of His sufferings, 
  the finality of the judgment, 
  the torments of Hell, 
  the joys of Heaven, 
  the infinite perfections of the divine nature, 
  and the solemnity of eternity!

Rich in meditation–rich in grace!

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;¬†meditate¬†on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8¬†

They hope that they shall not have two Hells!

Grace logo

They hope that they shall not have two Hells! 

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

Because men suffer in this world–they assume they shall be freed from sufferings in the world to come.¬†
Because they have a Hell here–they imagine that they shall escape Hell hereafter.¬†

They hope that they shall not have two Hells! 

Poor, deluded soul! You may and must have two Hells. Cain, and Judas, and millions of reprobate men and women, have two Hells–one in this life, in torments of body–and another in the life to come, in unquenchable fire.¬†

You may have a prison on earth–and a dungeon in Hell.¬†
You may now lack a crumb of bread–and hereafter lack a drop of water.¬†
You may now be the reproach of men–and hereafter the scorn of God Himself.¬†

Affliction alone is not enough to evidence a man to be a saved man.¬†Blows may sooner break the neck, than the heart!¬†Afflictions are in themselves, the fruit of divine wrath–and therefore cannot possibly of themselves make the least argument of God’s love to the soul.¬†

God forbid that a man should take that for his security from Hell–which may be but the foretaste of Hell! Present afflictions, may be the pledge of endless misery.

In many cases it is to be feared that the cup of affliction, is a vial of wrath–and that the plagues of this life, are but some drops of that coming storm of fire and brimstone, wherein impenitent sinners shall be scorched and tormented forever!

His discipline is sharp–but the end is sweet!

Grace logo

His discipline is sharp–but the end is sweet!¬†

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

“No chastening seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

“Whom the Lord loves He chastens, and¬†scourges every son¬†whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6¬†

God will rather fetch blood–than lose one of His sons!¬†

See and admire the wisdom, power and goodness of God–who can make His people better by their sufferings!

Behold, I show you a gospel mystery! God can . . .
  extract gold, out of clay;
  draw the richest wine, out of gall and wormwood; 
  turn the greatest misery of the body, into the greatest good of the soul; 
  turn the chastening itself, into a blessing; 
  make the withered rod of affliction, to bud into a harvest of righteousness and peace!

The almond tree is said to be made fruitful by¬†driving nails¬†into it, thereby letting out a noxious gum which hinders its fruitfulness. In the same way, God never intends more good to his children, than when He seems to deal most severely with them!¬†His discipline is sharp–but the end is sweet!¬†

O that the children of God in affliction, or entering upon sufferings–would sit down and dwell upon the¬†fruit¬†and¬†advantage¬†which God knows how to bring out of all their sorrows.¬†

Blessed¬†is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” Job 5:17¬†

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

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

Five sharp stings!

Grace logo

Five sharp stings!

(Thomas Watson, “A Divine Cordial” 1663)

Many love sin, more than God. “They are haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful, inventors of evil.” Romans 1:30¬†

What is there in sin–that any should love it?¬†

Sin is a¬†debt. “Forgive us our¬†debts.” Matthew 6:12¬†
Sin is a debt which binds over to the wrath of God! 
And will you love sin? Does any man love to be in debt? 

Sin is a¬†disease. “Your whole head is injured, your whole heart is sick. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness–only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil.” Isaiah 1:5-6. And will you love sin? Will any man hug a disease? Will he love his plague sores?¬†

Sin is a¬†pollution. The apostle calls it “filthiness.” James 1:21. It is compared to leprosy and to poison of asps!¬†

Sin is¬†a hideous monster. Lust makes a man brutish–and malice makes him devilish! What is in sin to be loved? Shall we love deformity?¬†

God’s heart rises against sinners.¬†“My soul¬†loathed¬†them!” Zechariah 11:8¬†

Sin is an¬†enemy. It is compared to a “serpent”. Sin has¬†five sharp stings:
  shame,
  guilt,
  horror, 
  death,
  damnation! 

Will a man love that which seeks his death? Surely then it is better to love God than sin. 

God will save you–but sin will damn you!¬†Is he not a fool–who loves damnation!

But¬†love to God¬†will never let sin thrive in the heart. The love of God withers sin. The¬†flower of love¬†kills the¬†weed of sin!¬†How should we labor for that grace of¬†love to God–which is¬†the only corrosive to destroy sin!

The false doctrine of universal redemption!

Grace logo

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!

Grace logo

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!

Grace logo

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?

Grace logo

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!


We are as moths near a burning candle!

Grace logo

We are as moths near a burning candle!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity!” Psalm 119:37¬†

Dear friends, do not gaze upon any sin . . .
  for looking breeds longing, 
  and longing begets lusting, 
  and lusting brings sinning! 

Keep your eyes right–and you may keep your heart right.¬†

If that¬†first woman¬†had not looked upon the forbidden tree and seen “that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,” she would not have plucked and eaten the forbidden fruit–and we would not have been the children of sin and sorrow!

O friends, if we begin to¬†look upon iniquity, we shall almost certainly fall! There are some sins that we poor, frail creatures cannot endure to look at.¬†We are as¬†moths¬†near a burning candle–the only safety for us is to get out of the room and fly into the open air. But if we go near the candle–we shall certainly burn our wings and, perhaps, even destroy ourselves!¬†

Just so, we must take care that we do not get used to sin. I believe that even the common reading in the newspapers of accounts of evil things is defiling to us. If we habitually read such things, we shall come, at last, to think less and less of the coarser forms of vice than we ought to do.

Nothing can keep us away from the fangs of sin, like falling into the embraces of Christ. Looking unto Jesus, is the great remedy against looking unto sin! 

Turn away my eyes from vanity, my Lord, by filling them full with a vision of Yourself and holding me spellbound with that grandest spectacle that eyes of men, or angels, or even of God, Himself ever saw–the spectacle of God Incarnate bearing our sin in His own body on the Cross!¬†

Keep your eyes fixed there–and all will be well.


Heaven’s richest treasure!

Grace logo

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!


To attempt to murder this infant, is Deicide!

Grace logo

To attempt to murder this infant, is Deicide!

(James Smith, “The Love of Christ! The Fullness, Freeness, and Immutability of the Savior’s Grace Displayed!”)

“Herod is going to search for the child to¬†kill¬†Him!” Matthew 2:13

Christ, our Wondrous Lover met with sorry reception in our guilty, ungrateful world! 

At first He was denied a¬†dwelling–but soon it was determined to deprive Him of¬†existence!¬†O height of folly! O depth of wickedness!¬†To attempt to murder this infant, is Deicide!¬†

Foolish Herod! Shall divine predictions be falsified by you–and shall your lust frustrate God’s eternal purpose to save His people?

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because¬†He will save His people from their sins!”¬†Matthew 1:21


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

Grace logo

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


Had he known me better!

Grace logo

Had he known me better!

(Frederick Marsh)

Humility is the queen of the Christian graces. The excellence of humility is illustrated in the following Scriptures. 
 
1. Humility is the Flower of Grace–Ephesians 4:2. Humility walks consistently, loves generously, serves willingly, acts meekly, forgives heartily, forbears thoughtfully, and responds obediently.

2. Humility is the Soul of Contentment–Philippians 4:12. It feels that it does not deserve anything, therefore takes whatever comes with gratitude. It ever sings,¬†“O to grace how great a debtor!”

3. Humility is the Secret of Service–Acts 20:19. To serve the Lord with all humility of mind, is to have the bloom of consecration, the aroma of grace, the unction of love, the warmth of zeal, the ardor of faith, the walk of obedience, and the beauty of holiness.

4. Humility is the Badge of Obedience. The Lord’s command is, “Humble yourselves” (1 Peter 5:6), and it is not without meaning that it is to be “under the mighty hand of God.” We only know the mightiness of God’s hand–when we lie¬†low¬†beneath it.

5. Humility is the Lesson of Grace. When we are yoked with Christ in God’s will, we are in the position to learn of Christ, who is “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). To¬†talk¬†about humility, is to show we do not possess it; but to keep step with Christ, is to have it without knowing it.

6. The Mind of Humility. “In humility of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). To see the best in others–is to find the worst in ourselves. Self-contemplation leads to self-congratulation, and that always fosters pride.

7. The Example of Christ. The mind of Christ is illustrated in that He “humbled Himself” (Philippians 2:8). He went down, before He was raised up. We need to pray: “Help us, O Lord, to deeper sink, that we may the higher rise.” The downward path is the upward one.

8. Humility is the Attire of Heaven. “Be¬†clothed¬†with humility” (1 Peter 5:5). This is a suit that is always in fashion–it never wears out, and it is always befitting. Humility is recognized by men, admired by angels, and loved by God.

9. Humility is the Securer of Blessing. “He gives more grace to the humble” (James 4:6), or as the margin, “A greater grace.” Whether an excelling grace, or “more” of the grace that excels–humility is its own reward, and is rewarded by the Lord’s commendation.

10. Humility is the Harbinger of Reward. “He who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). The heavier the cargo–the more the vessel is sunk into the water, and the greater its worth. When the fruit of humility causes the branch of the soul to bend in lowliness–the Heavenly Gardener plucks the fruit for the garner of His love!

It will not do to be a saint abroad–and a devil at home!

Grace logo

It will not do to be a saint abroad–and a devil at home!

(Charles Spurgeon)

There is a great importance in the way in which a man lives in his house.¬†It will not do to be a saint abroad–and a devil at home!¬†There are some of that kind. They are wonderfully sweet at a prayer meeting–but they are dreadfully sour to their wives and children. This will never do!¬†

Every genuine believer should say, and mean it,¬†“I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”¬†It is in the¬†home, that we get the truest proof of godliness.

“What sort of a man is he?” said one to George Whitefield–and Whitefield answered, “I cannot say, for I never¬†lived¬†with him.”¬†

That is the way to test a man–to live with him.


No matter what corner I go around on the winding road of life

Grace logo

No matter what corner I go around on the winding road of life

(W.B. Hinson)

“I will lead them in paths that they have not known” Isaiah 42:16

I do not know what is around that next turn in this winding trail of life. But I know this–whatever there is around that corner, I shall have my hand in Another’s hand when I go and face it. And if I feel a little bit disturbed, I shall move my finger around in the palm of that hand till I find the scar, and then I shall know that Jesus Christ, who on the cross was wounded for my sins–is not going to leave me¬†no matter what corner I go around on the winding road of life.

“Uphold my steps in Your paths,¬†that my footsteps may not slip!”¬†Psalm 17:5


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

Grace logo

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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


Character

Grace logo

Character 

(John MacDuff)

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


We so imperfectly read the engravings of His heart!

Grace logo

We so imperfectly read the engravings of His heart!

(Octavius Winslow)

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

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

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

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

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

Grace logo

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

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If God is our Father

Grace logo

If God is our Father

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


True Christianity is a fight!

Grace logo

True Christianity is a fight!

(J.C. Ryle, “Holiness“)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christ, the example of ministers

Grace logo

Christ, the example of ministers

(Jonathan Edwards)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The breakdown and breakup of “Civilization”

Grace logo

The breakdown and breakup of “Civilization”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look unto Jesus in the Scriptures

Grace logo

Look unto Jesus in the Scriptures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Should it be according to your mind?

Grace logo

Should it be according to your mind? 

(James Smith, “Important Questions!” 1858)

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

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

We want our own way.

We wish to carve for ourselves.

We would be treated as God’s favorites.

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

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

  Are you wiser than God?

    Are you kinder than God?

      Are you holier than God?

    Are you more just than God?

  Are you better informed than God?

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

Should it then be according to your mind?

Should you¬†reign–or God?

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

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

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

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

There is no sweeter pillow than providence!

Grace logo

There is no sweeter pillow than providence! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the cross!

Grace logo

At the cross!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

The most excellent study for expanding the soul!

Grace logo

The most excellent study for expanding the soul!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He does whatever pleases Him!

Grace logo

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¬†

Love Joy Balance

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. -Rumi

A New Life

Thoughts On Lessons Learned

Perfect Chaos

God's Perfect Purpose in a Chaotic World

TESSEROLOGY

A MOSAIC OF BITS AND PIECES ON TRAVEL, LIFE AND TIMES

Tri Fatherhood

The gentle art of balancing marriage, parenting, and triathlon

paytej

Let's seek the truth. Let's share in Christ.

take a walk

when Jesus meets me in the park

PASSIONATE CREATIVE CHRISTIAN

inspirationalmindsurges

Paul's Redemption

My recovery from obesity and mental illness

%d bloggers like this: