Tag Archives: GraceGems

I am in eternity–and you are on the brink!

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I¬†am in eternity–and¬†you¬†are on the brink!

(James Smith,¬†“A Solemn Admonition” 1859)

Passing through a country¬†graveyard¬†the other day, an inscription on a head-stone struck my eye. The stone was by the side of the path, where everyone could see it, and it was placed there in memory of a young man who died at the age of¬†seventeen. It was–

¬†¬† “Reader, one moment,
    Stop, and think:
    That I am in eternity!
¬†¬†¬† And¬†you¬†are on the brink!”

In eternity! A young man, only seventeen years of age, in eternity! 

In a fixed, a changeless, an eternal state!

In Heaven–or in Hell!

Saved with an everlasting salvation–or damned forever!

If it should be the latter–what a fearful supposition! And yet many have gone to Hell–before¬†they have been seventeen years of age!

I¬†am in eternity–and¬†you¬†are on the brink!” Yes, though you may be young, apparently healthy, full of life and vigor–you are on the¬†brink¬†of eternity! A slight accident, or a few days illness–and you are¬†in¬†eternity! What a solemn thought!

What will eternity be to you? 

Where will you be in eternity?

Are your sins pardoned? 
Are you reconciled to God by the death of His Son? 
Are you sanctified by the Holy Spirit–and thus made fit for Heaven?¬†

If not, remember that in Hell, there is . . .
  no gospel,
  no means of grace,
  no way of escape from the wrath of God!
Once there–and your doom is fixed forever!¬†

Think, O think . . .
  Of the dreadful consequences of dying in your sins!
  Of going down to the grave in an unconverted state! 
  Of dying under the curse of God!

“Behold, now is the accepted time!¬†
¬†Behold, now is the day of salvation!”

The best evidence of Christianity!

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The best evidence of Christianity! 

(Frederick Marsh)

Jesus is the chief among ten thousand–the altogether lovely One!

Christ is the Chiefest–or better than the best.¬†

His love is unknowable! Ephesians 3:19 

His riches are unsearchable! Ephesians 3:18 

His joy is unspeakable! 1 Peter 1:8 

His ways are untrackable! Romans 11:33 

His grace is inexhaustible! 2 Corinthians 9:8 

His peace is unfathomable! Philippians 4:7 

And He Himself is unsurpassable! Exodus 15:11 
 

His character was beautiful with holiness in every detail. Hebrews 7:26 

His love was pure and faithful in all its affection. John 13:1 

His service was true and beneficent in all its workings. Acts 10:38 

His words were tender and true in all their utterances. John 7:45 

His life was consistent in every department. Mark 7:37 

His aim was single and concentrated in glorifying God. John 17:4 

His mission was to benefit all who would trust Him, in dying a death which they deserved. 2 Corinthians 8:9 

Christ is Christianity–and¬†the best evidence of Christianity¬†is Christ!

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

Of all sins, it is the most secret, subtle and insinuating!

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Of all sins, it is the most secret, subtle and insinuating! 

(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)

“In his¬†pride, the wicked does not seek Him. In all his thoughts, there is no room for God.” Psalm 10:4¬†

The pride of the wicked is the principal reason why they will not seek after the knowledge of God. 

In the first place, pride renders God a disagreeable object of contemplation to the wicked–and a knowledge of Him as undesirable. Pride consists in an unduly exalted opinion of one’s self. It is, therefore, impatient of a rival, hates a superior, and cannot endure a master. In proportion as it prevails in the heart–pride makes us wish . . .
  to see nothing above us,
  to acknowledge no law but our own wills,
  to follow no rule but our own inclinations. 

Thus it led Satan to rebel against his Creator–and our first parents to desire to be as gods.¬†

Since such are the effects of pride, it is evident that nothing can be more painful to a proud heart than the thoughts of such a being as God–one who is infinitely powerful, just, and holy–who can neither be resisted, deceived, nor deluded–who disposes, according to His own sovereign pleasure, of all creatures and events–and who, in an especial manner, hates pride, and is determined to abase and punish it. Such a Being, pride can contemplate only with feelings of dread, aversion, and abhorrence. It must look upon God as its natural enemy–the great Enemy whom it has to fear.¬†

The knowledge of God directly tends to bring this infinite, irresistible, irreconcilable Enemy full to the view of the proud man. It teaches him that he has a superior, a master . . .
  from whose authority he cannot escape,
  whose power he cannot resist,
¬† and whose¬†will¬†he must obey–
or be crushed before Him, and be rendered miserable forever! It shows him what he hates to see–that, in despite of his opposition . . .
¬† God’s counsel shall stand,¬†
  He will do all His pleasure, and
  that He is infinitely above them. 

These truths torture the proud unhumbled hearts of the wicked, and hence they hate the Scriptures which teach these truths. On the contrary, they wish to remain ignorant of such a Being, and to banish all thoughts of Him from their minds. With this view, they neglect, pervert, or explain away those passages of Scripture which describe God’s true character, and endeavor to believe that He is altogether such a one as themselves.

How foolish, how absurd, how ruinous, how blindly destructive of its own self–does¬†pride¬†appear! By attempting to¬†soar–it only plunges itself in the mire! While endeavoring to erect for itself a¬†throne–it undermines the ground on which it stands, and digs its own grave!

Pride plunged Satan from Heaven into Hell; it banished our first parents from paradise; and it will, in a similar manner, ruin all who indulge in it. Pride . . . 
  keeps us in ignorance of God,
  shuts us out from His favor,
  prevents us from resembling Him, and
  deprives us in this world, of all the honor and happiness which communion with Him would confer.
And in the next world, unless previously hated, repented of, and renounced–pride will bar the door of Heaven forever against us, and close the gates of Hell upon us!¬†

O then, my friends, beware, above all things–beware of pride!¬†Beware, lest you indulge it imperceptibly, for¬†of all sins–it is the most secret, subtle and insinuating!


WHY?

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WHY? 

(Horatius Bonar)  

“Do not love the world or anything in the world.”¬†1 John 2:15¬†

WHY?

1. Because the gain of it, is the loss of the soul–Matthew 16:25-26.¬†
  
2. Because its friendship is enmity to God–James 4:4.¬†
  
3. Because it did not know Christ–John 1:10; 17:25.¬†
  
4. Because it hates Christ–John 7:7; 15:18.¬†
  
5. Because the Holy Spirit has forbidden us–1 John 2:15.¬†
  
6. Because Christ did not pray for it–John 17:9.¬†
  
7. Because Christ’s people do not belong to it–John 17:16.¬†
  
8. Because its Prince is Satan–John 13:31; 16:11.¬†
  
9. Because Christ’s kingdom is not of it–John 18:36.¬†
  
10. Because its wisdom is foolishness–1 Corinthians 1:20.¬†
  
11. Because Christ does not belong to it–John 8:23.¬†
  
12. Because it is condemned–1 Corinthians 11:32.¬†
  
13. Because it is passing away–1 Corinthians 7:31.¬†
  
14. Because it slew Christ–James 5:6; Matthew 21:39.¬†
  
15. Because it is crucified to us–Galatians 6:14.¬†
  
16. Because we are crucified to it–Galatians 6:14.¬†
  
17. Because it is the seat of wickedness–2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 5:19.¬†
  
18. Because its god is the evil one–2 Corinthians 4:4.¬†

If Christ has our love–then He has our ALL!

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If Christ has our love–then He has our ALL!¬†

(Thomas Doolittle, “Love to Christ Necessary to Escape the Curse at His Coming!” 1693)

“If any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ–he shall be accursed!” 1 Corinthians 16:22¬†

If Christ has our¬†love–then He has our ALL!¬†
Christ never has our¬†all¬†from us–until He has our¬†love. Love withholds nothing from Christ, when it is sincerely set upon Him.¬†
Then He shall have our time, 
and He shall have our service, 
and He shall have the use of all our abilities, and gifts, and graces! 
Yes, then He shall have our estates and our very lives–when He calls for them.¬†

As when¬†God¬†loves any of us–He will withhold nothing from us that is good for us; no, not even His own only begotten Son! Romans 8:32¬†

And when Christ loves us, then He gives all unto us:
  His merits to justify us, 
  His Spirit to sanctify us, 
  His grace to adorn us, 
  His glory to crown us!

Just so, when any of us love Christ sincerely, we lay all down at His feet, and give up all to be at His command and service! “And they did not love their lives unto the death!” Revelation 12:11

Love gives the character to a man, according as the object is, which he superlatively loves. 
As is the love–such is the man. As is the love–such might you boldly call the man.¬†

If he is a lover of honor–then he is an¬†ambitious¬†man.¬†

If he is a lover of pleasure–then he is a¬†voluptuous¬†man.¬†

If he chiefly loves the world–then he is he is a¬†covetous¬†man.

If he loves holiness–then he is he is a¬†pious¬†man.¬†

If he loves the things above–then he is a¬†heavenly-minded¬†man.

If he loves Christ with a predominant love–then he is a¬†Christian¬†man!

“The upright love You!” Song of Songs 1:4


Eloquent prayers

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Eloquent prayers

(Charles Spurgeon)

If the¬†eloquence¬†of our prayers mattered to God, then eloquence would be more valuable than grace–but it is not so.¬†

Some of us may be able to express ourselves very fluently from the force of natural abilities–but it should always be an anxious question to us, whether our prayer is a prayer which God will receive.

We often pray best when we stammer and stutter–and we often pray worst when words flow articulately one after another! God is not moved by¬†eloquent prayers–they are but¬†empty noise¬†to Him. He is only moved by sincere emotions which dwell in the innermost heart.¬†

For a man to bend his knees and utter the¬†hypocritical language of affection¬†to God which he never feels in his heart–is little short of blaspheming God! We must have very light thoughts of God, when we try to deceive Him with such prayers as these!

I often say my prayers
But do I ever pray?
And do the wishes of my heart
Go with the words I say?

I may as well kneel down
And worship gods of stone,
As offer to the living God
A prayer of words alone.

For words without the heart
The Lord will never hear;
Nor will He to those lips attend
Whose prayers are not sincere.
   John Burton, 1803-1877

He has a perfect knowledge of all His subjects!

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He has a perfect knowledge of all His subjects!

(William Dyer, “Christ’s Famous Titles“)

Oh, brethren, earthly kings and princes do not know all their subjects; nay, they know very few. Alas! they do not know a quarter of them! They are not acquainted with all the troubles, and needs, and miseries that their poor subjects lie under. 

The Lord Jesus infinitely excels all other kings–in that¬†He has a perfect knowledge of all His subjects!¬†He knows them all by name. He knows . . .
  all their thoughts,
  all their needs,
  all their ways,
  all their conditions. 

So say I to you, brethren, Your King knows . . .
  all your necessities,

  all your sufferings, 
  all your troubles,
  all your fears!

Yes, and “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus!” Philippians 4:19.¬†Oh, this is a sweet Scripture!

Oh, poor souls, Christ knows everything about you! This is our great happiness, that we have a King who knows us so well. Oh, here is the excellency of our King!


Lord, let me be a pure stream

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Lord, let me be a pure stream

(Thomas Sherman, “Divine Breathings; Or, a Pious Soul Thirsting after Christ”)

Jordan, that famous river, no doubt runs through many a pleasant meadow, by many a shady grove and flowery bank; and yet at last empties itself into the Dead Sea. 

So it is with a wicked man! Here on earth he walks through meadows of worldly pleasures, and rests under the shades of earthly comforts, and sports and wallows among the flowers of worldly delights–but at last runs himself¬†down into the Dead Sea of Hell.And not only so–but . . .
  his earthly delights will fade,
  his beauty shall be turned into horror,
  his honor shall be turned into shame,
  his lusts shall be turned into tormentors, and
  his pleasures shall be turned into bitterness! 

Lord, let me be a pure stream
, that I may terminate in Heaven! I care not what difficult channels I pass through here on earth–if in Heaven I may exchange my weakness and corruption, for perfection and glory!


A comfortable nest for us!

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A comfortable nest for us!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“I thought:¬†Surely I shall die in my nest!”¬†Job 29:18

God has never meant this world to be¬†a comfortable nest for us. If we try to make it such for ourselves–He will plant¬†thorns¬†in it so that we may be compelled to mount and find our soul’s true home somewhere else, in a higher and nobler sphere than this poor world can give!

“Arise and depart, for this is not your rest; because it is polluted!” Micah 2:10


Hands up, everyone who has a Bible!

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Hands up, everyone who has a Bible!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

If I were to say, “Hands up, everyone who has a Bible!“–everybody’s hands here would go up, as I suppose that nobody here is without a Bible.¬†

But if I were to ask, “How many here, as a habit and a delight,¬†meditate¬†upon the Scriptures?”–I wonder how many hands would be raised? Well, I will not ask you that question, but let everybody ask it for himself and judge himself concerning it in the sight of God.

Lord, give us a Bible reading, Bible loving people!

Pray our Beloved to print the image of His bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts!

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Pray our Beloved to print the image of His bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“He was¬†despised¬†and¬†rejected¬†by men, a man of¬†sorrows, and familiar with¬†suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was¬†despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our¬†sorrows–yet we considered Him¬†stricken¬†by God,¬†smitten¬†by Him, and¬†afflicted. He was¬†pierced¬†for our transgressions, He was¬†crushed¬†for our iniquities; the¬†punishment¬†that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His¬†wounds¬†we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5¬†

Pilate delivered our Lord to the lictors to be scourged. The Roman scourge was a most dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were intertwined among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down, these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration and tore off the flesh from the bone. The Savior was, no doubt, bound to the whipping post and thus beaten. He had been beaten before; but this flagellation of the Roman lictors was probably the most severe of His scourgings.

My soul, stand here and weep over His poor stricken body!
 Believer, can you gaze upon Him without tears as He stands before you, the mirror of agonizing love? He is at once as white as the lily for innocence, and as red as the rose with the crimson of His own blood. 

As we feel the sure and blessed healing that His stripes have wrought in us–does not our heart melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus, surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our bosoms.

We would be compelled to go to our chambers and weep, but our business calls us away. So we will first pray our Beloved to print the image of His bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts all the day; and at nightfall we will return to commune with Him and sorrow that our sin should have cost Him so dearly!

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 Holy Spirit

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The Holy Spirit

(James Smith, “The Way of Salvation Set Forth”)

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:6¬†

The Holy Spirit is the author of the great work of regeneration. He takes up His abode in the renewed heart, as His temple. He dwells in us, and shall be with us. Jesus does all for us, in our justification; and the Holy Spirit does all in us, for our sanctification. 

The Holy Spirit is the source of all holy desires, consistent purposes and good works. There is no good thing in us, but what He produces. He dwells within us as the Teacher, the Comforter and the Advocate of the soul. He leads us . . .
  into truth,
  against Satan,
  and to labor for God. 

He . . .
warns us of evil,
directs us to Jesus, and
applies the blessings of salvation to our souls. 
He is in us as a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 

Without the Holy Spirit there is not, there cannot be, genuine religion; for He is its author, guardian, and guide.

To Him we are indebted . . .
  for every good desire,
  for every holy thought,
  for every good word, and
  for every fruitful work.
He works in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure. 

Every tear of penitence, 
every contrite sigh, 
every fervent prayer, 
every ray of spiritual light, 
every holy emotion toward God
–is from the Holy Spirit.¬†

If He left us–our¬†graces¬†would soon wither, fade and die.¬†

When we grieve Him . . .
  our comforts decline, 
  our evidences are beclouded, 
  and our hands wax feeble. 
But . . .
if we sow to the Spirit,
if we walk in the Spirit,
if we¬†aim¬†in all things to please Him–then . . .
  our souls are vigorous,
  our graces are lively, and 
  we are enabled to find our joy in God. 


These rare pictures!

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These rare pictures!

(J.R. Miller)

“Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things!” Isaiah 40:26¬†

They miss many a tender joy–who do not have a¬†heart¬†in sympathy with nature.¬†

They lose many a whisper of love which drops from God’s lips–who do not have¬†ears¬†open to hear the voices of nature.¬†

They fail to see many lovely visions of beauty–who have not learned to use their¬†eyes¬†in admiring the exquisite things that God has scattered everywhere in such glorious variety.¬†

Yet most of us walk amid these inspirations,¬†these rare pictures, these sweet voices–and neither feel nor see nor hear them! God meant us to get comfort and joy from the lovely things with which He has filled our earth.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.¬†
 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
¬†Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world!” Psalm 19:1-4¬†

The aged believer’s cordial

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The aged believer’s cordial

(James Smith)

“Hearken unto Me! I have¬†cared¬†for you since you were born. Yes, I¬†carried¬†you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime–until your hair is white with age.¬†I made you, and I will¬†care¬†for you. I will¬†carry¬†you along and¬†save¬†you!” Isaiah 46:3-4¬†

This passage of Scripture is¬†the aged believer’s cordial. Let us look at the beautiful images employed.

God is our parent–a kind and tender-hearted parent. He is peculiarly attached to¬†His people–they are dear to Him, and precious in His sight. They are His¬†portion. He¬†prizes¬†them above all creation. He is strong to sustain, to defend and support them. His¬†strong arm,¬†tender heart, and¬†watchful eye–are all employed for them–and especially so in old age.

The aged believer is as a¬†child. He is weak. He feels exposed and defenseless. He is timid and fearful. But the Lord, as a tender parent, engages to take him up in the¬†arms of His power–and carry him in the¬†bosom of His love!¬†Like a tender lamb in the shepherd’s bosom on a cold and frosty night, borne across a bleak and snow-covered wasteland–so the believer, in the¬†winter of old age, shall be carried in the bosom of his God, across the bleak and cheerless desert of time.¬†

God will carry him¬†tenderly–hushing the weak one’s fears.¬†
He will bear him¬†carefully–so that nothing shall harm or hurt him.¬†
He will¬†soothe¬†him with gentle words, and¬†encourage¬†him with kind acts–until He safely brings him Home!

Dear aged Christian, you have nothing to fear! Your God says, “I will be your God throughout your lifetime–until your hair is white with age! I am your Father–your Friend–your solace–and your confidence! Look unto Me, even to old age–I will¬†carry¬†you. I will bear you up under all that you feel and fear. I will carry you through all that discourages or distresses you. I will¬†deliver¬†you from foes, fears, dangers and death itself! Nothing shall by any means hurt you! My¬†arm¬†is strong enough–trust in it. My¬†bosom¬†is your resting-place–lean on it,¬†lean hard!¬†Do not be afraid . . .¬†
  love dwells there, 
  pity rules there, 
  your name is engraved there! 
Trust me, I will never leave you nor forsake you!

“Hearken!” Believer, your God bids you to “hearken.” His words are true and faithful.¬†
He speaks to banish your fears. 
He speaks to strengthen your faith. 
He speaks to comfort your poor drooping heart. 
He speaks to clothe your care-worn brow, with the light of hope, with the cheerfulness which confidence imparts. 

Hearken to Him–not to unbelief or carnal reason.¬†
It is the Guide of your youth who addresses you. 
It is your tender Parent who seeks to cheer your heart. 
Hearken, it is your Savior who speaks! 

“As one whom his mother comforts”–so does your God comfort you.¬†
He is¬†near¬†you–near you every moment;¬†
He will¬†carry¬†you–carry you every step;¬†
He will¬†deliver¬†you–deliver you from every danger, trouble and foe!

The Christian’s compass and chart, by which he is steered safely over the tempestuous ocean of life!

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The Christian’s compass and chart, by which he is steered safely over the tempestuous ocean of life!

(William Nicholson, “God’s Word, a Preservative Prom Sin” 1862)

“Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11

The Psalmist deposited the precepts and promises of God in his heart, and proved their value and efficiency . . .
  to preserve him from sin, 
  to comfort him in trouble, and 
  to cheer him in a dying hour. 

Just so, Christians must “let the word of Christ dwell in them richly, in all wisdom”–which will preserve them from sin, and make them wise unto salvation.

The Word must be deposited in our hearts, woven into our natures–by carefully reading and meditating upon it. “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.” Joshua 1:8

The Word is the perpetual standard of all moral excellence. All its precepts tend to purity.

Its doctrines present the most powerful motives against sin. 

When the Christian looks at the sufferings and death of the Redeemer . . . 
  in His intense agony, 
  in His bloody sweat,
  in His transfixing on the cross,
  in the desertion of His Father, 
¬† in the endurance of the penalty of sin–
he sees in all these complicated and unparalleled sorrows, “the exceeding sinfulness of sin!”

Why is he¬†redeemed?¬†“Christ gave Himself for us–to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good!” Titus 2:14

Why is he¬†regenerated?¬†“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17¬†

Why is he¬†adopted¬†into God’s family? But to bear the image of Him who adopts.¬†

What is the tendency of all¬†the doctrines of grace¬†which he has received? “For the grace of God . . . teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age!” Titus 2:11-12¬†

Why is he¬†preserved?¬†“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!” 1 Thessalonians 5:23. “But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation!” Colossians 1:22¬†

Above all, when he contemplates the character of his Savior . . .
  His ardent love, 
  His ineffable meekness, 
  His profound humility, and 
¬† His unexampled obedience–
he perceives such a bright constellation of virtues, that he is dazzled by their splendor, and longs and prays to be impressed with His image and likeness.

Thus the Word of God is hidden in his heart . . .
  as his counselor, 
  as his guide, 
  as his pattern!

The Word of God is¬†the Christian’s compass and chart, by which he is steered safely over the tempestuous ocean of life!

Brethren, is not this the very cream of Heaven!

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Brethren, is not this the very cream of Heaven!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“We know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!” 1 John 3:2¬†

Here we have seen Jesus by faith in such a way that we have beheld our burdens laid on Him, and our iniquities carried by Him into the wilderness–where, if they are sought for, they shall not be found. We have seen enough of Jesus to know that “He is altogether lovely.” We can say of Him, that He “is all my salvation, and all my desire.” Sometimes, when He opens the lattice, and shows Himself through those windows of agate, at the Lord’s Supper–the King’s beauty has entranced us even to our heart’s ravishment. Yet all that we have ever seen of Him, is somewhat like the report which the Queen of Sheba had of Solomon’s wisdom. When we once get to the court of the Great King, we shall declare that the half has not been told to us! “I myself will see Him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:27¬†

Brethren, is not this the very cream of Heaven! 

There have been many suggestions of what we shall do in Heaven, and what we shall enjoy, but they all seem to me to be wide of the mark compared with this one–that we shall be¬†with¬†Jesus, be¬†like¬†Him, and shall¬†behold¬†His glory!

Oh, to see the¬†feet¬†that were nailed, and to touch the¬†hands¬†that were pierced, and to look upon the¬†head¬†that wore the thorns–and to bow before Him who is ineffable love, unspeakable condescension, infinite tenderness! Oh, to bow before Him, and to kiss that blessed face! Jesus, what better do we want than to see You, and be with You forever!¬†

The streets of gold will have small attraction to us, and the harps of angels will but slightly enchant us–compared with the King in the midst of the throne! He it is who shall . . .
  rivet our gaze,
  absorb our thoughts,
  enchain our affections, and
  move all our sacred passions to their highest pitch of celestial ardor. 

We shall see Jesus!

Why the Cross?

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Why the Cross? 

(Octavius Winslow)

True sanctification is a daily mortification of the¬†root¬†of sin in the heart–the continual destruction of the¬†principle.¬†
What is your predominant sin? Lay the axe at its root! 
Seek its death and destruction–or it will be death and destruction to you, as long as it¬†prevails.

One sight of a crucified Savior imparted by the Holy Spirit, will effectually weaken the power of indwelling sin–more than all other means combined.¬†

O the might of the Cross! 
O the virtue of the blood! 
O the power of the grace of Jesus–to crucify, cleanse, and subdue our iniquities!

While the Cross is a¬†comforting¬†truth–it is also a¬†sanctifying¬†truth.¬†

Why the Cross? 

To evince the exceeding hatefulness of sin, and to show that nothing short of such a stupendous sacrifice could remove sin consistently with the glory of the Divine nature, and the honor of the Divine government. 

When the mind is diverted from the Cross–sin appears to be a¬†trifle. It can be . . .
  looked at without indignation,
  tampered with without fear,
  committed without hesitation,
  persisted in without remorse, 
  gloried in without shame,
  confessed without sorrow.

But when Divine justice is seen drinking the very heart’s blood of God’s only Son, in order to quench its infinite thirst for satisfaction; when Jesus is seen in His humiliation, suffering, and death–all with the design of pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin–then how fearful a thing does it seem to sin against this holy Lord God!¬†How base, how ungrateful, does our sin appear–in view of love so amazing, of grace so rich, and of glory so great!¬†

Cultivate a constant, an ardent thirst for holiness. Do not be discouraged if the more intensely the desire for sanctification rises–the deeper and darker is the revelation of the heart’s hidden evil. The one is often a consequence of the other. The struggle may be painful, the battle may be strong–but the result is certain, and will be a glorious victory–victory through the blood of the Lamb!

The Lord is my Shepherd–I shall not want!

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The Lord is my Shepherd–I shall not want!

(“Every Day!” 1872)

The Lord is my Shepherd–I shall not want!” Psalm 23:1

“I shall not want!” Surely not! He is the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep; and if He has loved me, and given Himself for me–then what will He withhold?¬†

Oh that I knew Him better, and trusted Him as He deserves! Then I would be kept quiet from fear of evil, and be ever assured that He will supply all my needs, according to His riches in glory. 

Do I need¬†guidance? The Good Shepherd goes before His sheep–He instructs and teaches us in the way we should go.¬†

Do I¬†wander–and need to be reclaimed? He seeks and finds His straying ones, “He restores my soul, and leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

Am I wounded? He binds up my wounds, and heals me. 

Do I need¬†rest¬†and¬†refreshment? “He makes me to lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside the still waters.”¬†

Do I need¬†encouragement? “His rod and His staff, they comfort me.”¬†

Do I need¬†provision? “He spreads a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”¬†

My Shepherd is infinitely¬†wise¬†and¬†kind¬†and¬†gracious. Surely then, “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!”

“The Lord my Shepherd is,
 I shall be well supplied;
 Since He is mine, and I am His,
¬†What can I want beside?”

The Bibles of worldlings!

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The Bibles of worldlings!

(Charles Spurgeon, 1889)

Newspapers are the Bibles of worldlings!
How diligently they read them!

Here they find . . .
  their law and profits,
  their judges and chronicles,
  their epistles and revelations!

My coward heart!

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My coward heart!

(A.W. Tozer)

Father, I want to know You–but¬†my coward heart¬†fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from You the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my self–so that You may reign there without a rival. Deliver me from¬†the tyranny of things–and from the idols of my heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

He answers these many fears with a single golden sentence!

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He answers these many fears with a single golden sentence!

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

“Fear not, little flock–it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom!” Luke 12:32

Let us mark what a gracious word of consolation this passage contains for all true believers. The Lord Jesus well knew the hearts of His disciples. He knew how ready they were to be filled with fears of every description:
  fears because of the fewness of their number,
  fears because of the multitude of their enemies, 
  fears because of the many difficulties in their way,
  fears because of their sense of weakness and unworthiness. 
He answers these many fears with a single golden sentence, “Fear not, little flock–it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom!”¬†

Believers are a “little flock.” They always have been, ever since the world began.¬†
Professing Christians, have sometimes been very many. 
Baptized people at the present day, are a great company. 
But true Christians, have always been very few. 

It is foolish to be surprised at this. It is vain to expect that it will be otherwise. Our Lord has plainly told us, “But¬†small¬†is the gate and¬†narrow¬†is the road that leads to life–and only a¬†few¬†find it.” Matthew 7:14¬†

All true believers have a glorious “kingdom” awaiting them! Here upon earth–they are often mocked, and ridiculed, and persecuted–and, like their Master, despised and rejected by men. But “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us!” “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear–then shall you also appear with Him in glory!”¬†

Believers are tenderly loved by God the Father. It is His good pleasure to give them the kingdom. He does not receive them grudgingly, unwillingly or coldly. He rejoices over them, as members of His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. He regards them as His dear children in Christ. He sees¬†no spot¬†in them. Even now, when He looks down on them from Heaven, in the midst of their infirmities–He is well pleased. And hereafter, when presented before His glory–He will welcome them with exceeding joy! Jude 24

Let this little sentence be continually before the eyes of our minds!

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Let this little sentence be continually before the eyes of our minds! 

(J.C. Ryle)

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things–but¬†only one thing is needed!” Luke 10:41-42

Let us observe what a solemn rebuke our Lord Jesus Christ gave to His servant Martha.¬†Like a¬†wise physician–He saw the disease which was preying upon her, and at once applied the remedy. Like a¬†tender parent–He exposed the fault into which His erring child had fallen, and did not spare the chastening which was required.¬†

“Martha, Martha,” He said, “you are worried and upset about many things–but¬†only one thing is needed!”¬†Faithful are the wounds of a friend! That little sentence was a¬†precious balm¬†indeed! It contained¬†a volume of practical divinity in a few words!

“Only one thing is needed!” How true that saying! The longer we live in the world, the more true it will appear. The nearer we come to the grave, the more thoroughly we shall assent to it. Health, and money, and lands, and rank, and honors, and prosperity, are all well in their way. But they cannot be called¬†needful. Without them thousands are happy in this world, and reach glory in the world to come. The “many things” which men and women are continually struggling for, are not really¬†necessities. The grace of God which brings salvation, is the one thing needful.

Let this little sentence be continually before the eyes of our minds! 
Let it check us when we are ready to murmur at earthly trials. 
Let it strengthen us when we are tempted to deny our Master on account of persecution. 
Let it caution us when we begin to think too much of the things of this world. 
Let it¬†quicken¬†us when we are disposed to look back, like Lot’s wife.¬†
In all such seasons, let the words of our Lord ring in our ears like a trumpet, and bring us to a right mind!¬†“Only one thing is needed!”¬†

If Christ is ours–then we have all and abound!

Poison!

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Poison!

(J.C. Ryle)

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked: Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Luke 10:40¬†

Let us observe what a snare to our souls the cares of this world may be–if allowed to take up too much attention.¬†It is plain from the tone of the passage before us, that Martha allowed her anxiety to provide a suitable entertainment for the Lord, to carry her away. Her excessive zeal for temporal provisions–made her forget, for a time, the things of her soul.¬†

She brought down on herself a solemn rebuke, and had to learn a lesson which probably made a lasting impression. Alas! how great a matter is kindled by a little fire! The beginning of all this, was a little over-anxiety about the innocent household affairs of this world!

The fault of Martha should be¬†a perpetual warning¬†to all Christians. If we desire to grow in grace, and to enjoy soul-prosperity–then we must beware of the cares of this world. Unless we watch and pray, they will insensibly eat up our spirituality, and bring leanness on our souls.¬†

It is not open sin, or flagrant breaches of God’s commandments alone, which lead men to eternal ruin. It is far more frequently¬†an excessive attention to things which are in themselves lawful. It seems so right to provide for our own! It seems so proper to attend to the duties of our station! It is just here that our danger lies! Our families, our business, our daily callings, our household affairs, our interaction with society–all, all may become snares to our hearts, and may draw us away from God.¬†We may go down to the pit of Hell from the very midst of lawful things!

Let us take heed to ourselves in this matter. Let us watch our habits of mind jealously, lest we fall into sin unawares. If we love life–then we must hold the things of this world with a very loose hand, and beware of allowing anything to have the first place in our hearts, excepting God. Let us mentally write “Poison!” on all temporal good things. Used in moderation they are blessings, for which we ought to be thankful. But permitted to fill our minds, and trample upon holy things–they become an inevitable curse. Profits and pleasures are dearly purchased–if in order to obtain them we thrust aside eternity from our thoughts, abridge our Bible-reading, become careless hearers of the Gospel, and shorten our prayers.¬†

A little¬†earth¬†upon the fire within us–will soon make that fire burn low.

That time has arrived!

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That time has arrived! 

(Arthur Pink)

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.¬†For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their¬†itching ears¬†want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth, and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:1-4

That time has arrived!¬†Church-goers today will not endure “sound doctrine.” Those . . .
   who preach the total depravity of man, 
   who insist upon the imperative necessity of the new birth, 
   who set forth the inflexible righteousness and holiness of God, and 
   who warn against the eternal and conscious torment awaiting every rejecter of Christ,
find it almost impossible to obtain a hearing! Such preachers are regarded as puritanic pessimists, and are not wanted. 

In these degenerate times, the masses demand that which will¬†soothe¬†them in their sins–and¬†amuse¬†them while they journey down the Broad Road which leads to eternal destruction! The multitude is affected with “itching ears” which crave novelty and that which will amuse them.

Not only are many of our Seminaries cesspools of spiritual corruption, 
not only are hundreds of our pulpits now filled by traitors to the cause they profess to champion, 
not only is every cardinal doctrine of the faith attacked and denied by the very ones paid to defend them–
but the evil effects of such teaching from our religious leaders have influenced multitudes of souls committed to their care. 

The man in the pew, following the lead of his teachers, has lost faith in the Bible as a Divine revelation, and in consequence, no longer submits to its authority. 

Reader! have you enjoyed the presence of Jesus today?

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Reader! have you enjoyed the presence of Jesus today? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Especially beware of light reading!

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Especially beware of light reading!

(Horatius Bonar, “Follow the Lamb” 1861)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The hell of Hell!

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The hell of Hell!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Nothing less than a LIVING Christ will do for us!

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Nothing less than a LIVING Christ will do for us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All this, the living Christ is to us!

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

With lowly reverence at the foot of the Cross

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With lowly reverence at the foot of the Cross

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

Oh, what a glorious truth is this!

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Oh, what a glorious truth is this!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

Oh, what a glorious truth is this!

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

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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¬†

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