Tag Archives: Christian Life

Christ takes the garbage!

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Christ takes the garbage!

(Charles Spurgeon, “The Meek and Lowly One”)

Jewelers can only prepare and polish the choicest diamonds. 
But Jesus Christ polishes a common pebble, and makes a jewel of it!

Jewelers make their precious treasures, out of precious materials.
Christ makes His precious things, out of dross!

He always begins with bad material. Christ takes . . .
  the despicable,
  the vilest,
  the scum,
  the off-scouring,
  the filth,
  the garbage of the world,
and out of such stuff and matter as that, He builds up a holy temple, and gathers to Himself trophies for His honor and praise!

“Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders¬†nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And that is what some of you were!¬†But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

In a few years

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In a few years

(Thomas Chalmers, 1780-1847)

“For we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a¬†shadow.” Job 8:9¬†

“He springs up like a¬†flower¬†and withers away; like a fleeting¬†shadow, he does not endure.” Job 14:2¬†

“Only a few years will pass before I go on the journey of no return!” Job 16:22¬†

“My days are like the evening¬†shadow; I wither away like¬†grass.” Psalm 102:11¬†

“Man is like a¬†breath; his days are like a fleeting¬†shadow.” Psalm 144:4¬†

How transient is human life–yet no one lays it to heart. With the magnificence of eternity before us–let¬†fleeting¬†time, with all its fluctuations, dwindle into its own littleness.

In a few years our heads will be laid in the cold grave, and the green turf will cover us. The children who come after us will tread upon our graves.

They will weep for us a few days.

They will talk of us a few months.

They will remember us a few years.

Then our memory shall disappear from the face of the earth, and not a tongue shall be found to recall it!

The character with which we sink into the grave at death–is the very character with which we shall reappear at the final judgment!

“O God, impress upon me¬†the value of time–and give regulation to all my thoughts and to all my actions. O God, help me to live for Your glory. As the years roll over me, may I withdraw my affections from time, and feel that in moving through the world, I am moving toward eternity!”

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

The principle of iniquity is embedded in the human race

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The principle of iniquity is embedded in the human race

(John MacArthur)

The Bible is absolutely crystal clear that all children are sinners from conception…all children.¬†The¬†principle of iniquity¬†is embedded in the human race. Children are born morally corrupt. They are born with an irresistible bent toward evil. And any notion that children are born morally neutral and free from a predisposition to sin is absolutely contrary to Scripture.

All humans are born in sin. If infants were not sinful, if they were not morally corrupt, then they wouldn’t die. If they were born innocent or pure or morally neutral there would be no basis for their death. The very fact that they die indicates that the disease of sin is there in them because sin is the killer. It is in their inherited sin nature that the seeds of death are planted.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Genesis 6:5¬†

” . . . every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” Genesis 8:21¬†

“The LORD looks down from Heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good,¬†not even one!”¬†Psalm 14:2-3

“Surely I was¬†sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me!” Psalm 51:5¬†

“Even from¬†birth¬†the wicked go astray; from the¬†womb¬†they are wayward and speak lies.” Psalm 58:3¬†

“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” Ecclesiastes 7:20¬†

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked!” Jeremiah 17:9¬†

“All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good,¬†not even one!”¬†Romans 3:12

“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were¬†by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Ephesians 2:3¬†

We see hands and feet and side, all pouring forth crimson streams of precious blood!

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We see hands and feet and side, all pouring forth crimson streams of precious blood!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“The precious¬†blood¬†of Christ!” 1 Peter 1:19

Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands and feet and side, all pouring forth crimson streams of precious blood! 

Christ’s blood is precious because of its¬†redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it, all the sins of all Christ’s people are atoned for!

Christ’s blood is also precious in¬†its cleansing power. “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin!” “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”

Through Jesus’ blood, there is not a¬†spot¬†left upon any believer–no¬†wrinkle¬†nor any such thing remains. Oh, precious cleansing blood–which removes the stains of abundant iniquity, and allows us to stand accepted in the Beloved, notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God.

The blood of Christ is likewise precious in¬†its preserving power.¬†Under the sprinkled blood, we are safe from the destroying angel. Remember that it is¬†God’s¬†seeing the blood, which is the true reason for our being spared.¬†Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same.

The blood of Christ is precious also in¬†its sanctifying influence. The same blood that¬†justifies¬†by taking away sin–quickens¬†the new nature and leads it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the commands of God.¬†

There is no motive for holiness so great, as that which streams from the veins of Jesus!

A flower that will adorn any garden!

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A flower that will adorn any garden!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6¬†

Humiliation of soul always brings a positive blessing with it. 
If we empty our hearts of self–then God will fill them with His love.¬†

Stoop, if you would climb to Heaven. You must grow downward, that you may grow upward. The sweetest fellowship with Heaven is to be had by humble souls, and by them alone. God will deny no blessing to a thoroughly humbled spirit. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven”–along with all its riches and treasures!

God blesses us all up to the full measure of what it is safe for Him to do.¬†If you do not get a particular blessing–it is because it is not safe for you to have it!¬†If our heavenly Father were to let your unhumbled spirit win a victory in His holy war–you would pilfer the crown for yourself! And meeting with a fresh enemy, you would fall a victim. He keeps you low for your own safety.

When a man is sincerely humble and never ventures to touch so much as a grain of the praise–there is scarcely any limit to what God will do for him. Humility makes us ready to be blessed by the God of all grace, and fits us to deal efficiently with our fellow men.¬†

True humility is¬†a flower that will adorn any garden! Whether it is prayer or praise, whether it is work or suffering–the genuine¬†salt of humility¬†cannot be used in excess.

“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another–because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time!” 1 Peter 5:5-6¬†

I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God!

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I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God!” Psalm 90:1-2¬†

The Christian knows no change with regard to God. 

He himself may be rich today–and poor tomorrow,¬†
he may be sickly today–and well tomorrow,¬†
he may be in happiness today–tomorrow he may be distressed;
but there is never any change with regard to his relationship to God.

If He loved me yesterday–then He loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest, is my blessed Lord.

Let prospects be ruined,
let hopes be blasted,
let joy be withered,
let mildews destroy everything–
I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is “my strong habitation where unto I can continually resort.”¬†I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength!” Habakkuk 3:17-19

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

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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?

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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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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The false doctrine of universal redemption!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some thoughts on idolatry!

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Some thoughts on idolatry! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What gives the world its fatal charms?

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What gives the world its fatal charms?

(E.M. Bounds, “The World!”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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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!

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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


Character

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Character 

(John MacDuff)

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


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

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

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

True Christianity is a fight!

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True Christianity is a fight!

(J.C. Ryle, “Holiness“)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the cross!

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At the cross!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

The most excellent study for expanding the soul!

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The most excellent study for expanding the soul!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He does whatever pleases Him!

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He does whatever pleases Him!

(The sermons of Matthew Mead, 1629-1699)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s sovereign will and power governs all.

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

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

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

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

Do you think Jesus Christ is only for little sinners? 

Is He a doctor who only heals finger-aches?

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

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

The richest pearl of all the promises!

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The richest pearl of all the promises! 

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

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

Whose presence is thus promised and pledged? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clear views of Christ’s priestly office and intercession

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Clear views of Christ’s priestly office and intercession

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The greatest sinner that you know!

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The greatest sinner that you know!

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a very humbling thought. 

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

This alone is the vexed soul’s refuge!

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This alone is the vexed soul’s refuge!

(Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889)

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

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

Not doctrine, but Christ. 

Not religious forms and ceremonies, but Christ. 

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

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

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

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

I cannot think little of sin, when . . .

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I cannot think little of sin, when . . .

(J.C. Ryle)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am fast borne along the stream of time!

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I am fast borne along the stream of time! 

(John MacDuff, “Evening Incense” 1856)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A golden master-key!

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A golden master-key! 
 
(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

God deals mysteriously with me!

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God deals mysteriously with me!

(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)

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

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

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

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

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

A book full of Christ!

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A book full of Christ!

(J.C. Ryle)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The chain of redeeming love now holds them!

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The chain of redeeming love now holds them! 

(Henry Law)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look up to your God, and say:

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

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

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

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

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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