Tag Archives: Quote 4 2day!

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.

They hope that they shall not have two Hells!

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They hope that they shall not have two Hells! 

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

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

They hope that they shall not have two Hells! 

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

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

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

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

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

The false doctrine of universal redemption!

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The false doctrine of universal redemption!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some thoughts on idolatry!

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Some thoughts on idolatry! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Almost saved!

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Almost saved!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

What gives the world its fatal charms?

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What gives the world its fatal charms?

(E.M. Bounds, “The World!”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


We are as moths near a burning candle!

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We are as moths near a burning candle!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Heaven’s richest treasure!

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Heaven’s richest treasure!

(Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eternal praises to the worthy Lamb!


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

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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


Had he known me better!

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Had he known me better!

(Frederick Marsh)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(W.B. Hinson)

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

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

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


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

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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


Character

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Character 

(John MacDuff)

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


We so imperfectly read the engravings of His heart!

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We so imperfectly read the engravings of His heart!

(Octavius Winslow)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If God is our Father

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If God is our Father

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The greatest sinner that you know!

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The greatest sinner that you know!

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a very humbling thought. 

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

This alone is the vexed soul’s refuge!

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This alone is the vexed soul’s refuge!

(Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889)

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

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

Not doctrine, but Christ. 

Not religious forms and ceremonies, but Christ. 

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

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

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

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

I cannot think little of sin, when . . .

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I cannot think little of sin, when . . .

(J.C. Ryle)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am fast borne along the stream of time!

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I am fast borne along the stream of time! 

(John MacDuff, “Evening Incense” 1856)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A golden master-key!

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A golden master-key! 
 
(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

God deals mysteriously with me!

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God deals mysteriously with me!

(Alexander Smellie, “The Secret Place” 1907)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christian, what is your duty?

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

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

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

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

The chain of redeeming love now holds them!

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The chain of redeeming love now holds them! 

(Henry Law)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gather your manna fresh every morning!

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Gather your manna fresh every morning!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

Happy is that man who possesses a Bible!

Happier still is he who reads it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The conflagration of the world!

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The conflagration of the world!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!“)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey!

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You will soon end your tedious, tiresome journey!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look up to your God, and say:

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

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

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

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

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

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Hugh Brown, “Altogether Lovely!” 1897)

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

What is man? 

Where did he come from? 

Where does his pathway lead? 

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

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

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

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

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

The annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!

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The annals of hell‚ÄĒor the biography of devils!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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