Tag Archives: Wisdom Quotes

What is man — that You are mindful of him?

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What is man — that You are mindful of him?

(Hugh Brown, “Altogether Lovely!” 1897)

What is man — 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 — 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 —  
  so great — and yet so little; 
  so noble — yet so base; 
  a feeble spark of life — yet having an eternal destiny! 

We now only know man . . .
  in his sinfulness, 
  with a “heart deceitful above all things — 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 — how soon the flowers fade, the bubble bursts — and he is left with emptiness in his heart and learns by sad experience the truth of God’s Word: “Truly, every man at his best estate is altogether vanity!” 

If you dare!

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If you dare!

(Samuel Davies, “The Universal Judgment!“)

“Then I saw a great white throne—and HIM who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened  . . . If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life—he was thrown into the lake of fire!” Revelation 20:11, 12, 15

What an astonishing scene is this! The stable earth and sky cannot bear the majesty and terror of His look; they fly away affrighted! This is the Judge before whom we must stand; and this is the manner of His appearance!

But is this the babe of Bethlehem—who lay and wept in the manger? 

Is this the supposed son of the carpenter, the despised Galilean? 

Is this the man of sorrows? 

Is this He who was . . .
  arrested, 
  condemned, 
  buffeted, 
  spit upon,  
  crowned with thorns, 
  executed as a slave and a criminal, upon the cross? 

Yes, it is Him! The very same Jesus of Nazareth! 

But oh how changed! How deservedly exalted! Heaven and earth flee before Him! 

Now let his enemies appear and show their contempt and malignity!

Now, Pilate—condemn the King of the Jews as a usurper!

Now, you Jews, raise the clamor, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Now bow the knee in scorn, spit in His face, and buffet Him! Now tell the scourged impostor that He must die!

Now despise His grace, 
now laugh at His threatenings, and 
now make light of His displeasure—if you dare!

Ah! now their courage fails, and terror surrounds them! Now they try to hide in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. Now they call to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

But, alas! That LAMB who once bled as a sacrifice for sin—now appears in all the terrors of a LION! Oh! could they hide themselves in the bottom of the ocean, or in some rock that bears the weight of the mountains—how happy would they think themselves!

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

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

(Charles Naylor)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lamp for my feet

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A lamp for my feet

(Thomas Watson, “Body of Divinity“)

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


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

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

Christian liberty


Grace logoChristian liberty

(J.R. Miller)

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

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

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

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

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

Mother, don’t you love me?


Grace logoMother, don’t you love me?

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

“I have seen his ways — and will heal him!” Isaiah 57:18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!

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What a compassionate, gracious arrangement!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soul-Comfort

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Soul-Comfort

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

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me — Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fruits and effects He produces

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The fruits and effects He produces

(J.C. Ryle, “The Holy Spirit“)

“When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.” (John 16:8)

Where the Holy Spirit is, there will always be deep conviction of sin — and true repentance for it. It is His special office to convict of sin. 

He shows the exceeding holiness of God. 

He teaches the exceeding corruption and infirmity of our nature. 

He strips us of our blind self-righteousness. 

He opens our eyes to our awful guilt, folly and danger. 

He fills the heart with sorrow, contrition, and abhorrence for sin — as the abominable thing which God hates. 

He who knows nothing of all this, and saunters carelessly through life, thoughtless about sin, and indifferent and unconcerned about his soul — is a dead man before God! He has not the Holy Spirit. 

The presence of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart can only be known by the fruits and effects He produces. Mysterious and invisible to mortal eye as His operations are — they always lead to certain visible and tangible results.

Just as you know there is life in a tree by its sap, buds, leaves and fruits — just so you may know the Spirit to be in a man’s heart by the influence He exercises over his thoughts, affections, opinions, habits, and life. I lay this down broadly and unhesitatingly. I see it clearly marked out in our Lord Jesus Christ’s words, “Every tree is known by his own fruit.” Luke 6:44


If you meet that poor wretch who thrust his spear into My side!

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If you meet that poor wretch who thrust his spear into My side!

(Benjamin Grosvenor, “The Temper of Jesus Christ towards His Enemies, and His Grace to the Chief of Sinners”)

“Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:47

It is very affecting that the first offers of grace should be made to those who, of all people in the world—had done it the most harm! One would rather have expected the apostles should have received another kind of charge, and that Christ should have said, “Let repentance and forgiveness of sins be preached—but do NOT carry it to Jerusalem, that wicked city, that has been the slaughter-house of my prophets, whom I have often sent. Last of all, I myself, the Son, came—and with wicked hands, they have crucified and murdered Me! They may do the same to you! Do not let the gospel enter those wicked gates, through which they led Me, its Author, to crucifixion!”

But Christ singles out exactly these—to make monuments of His mercy, and commands the first offer of eternal life to be made to them! As if our Lord had said: “Lest the poor house of Israel should think themselves abandoned to eternal despair—as cruel and vile as they have been—go, make the first offer of grace to them! Let those who spilled My blood—be welcome to its healing virtue. Tell them that there is repentance and forgiveness, even for them!”
“Nay, if you meet that poor wretch who thrust his spear into My side, tell him that there is another way, a better way of coming to My heart—even My heart’s love! Tell him, that if he will repent, and look upon Me whom he has pierced, and will mourn—then I will cherish him in that very bosom which he has wounded! Tell him that he shall find the blood which he has shed—to be an ample atonement for the sin of shedding it! And tell him from Me, that he will put Me to more pain and displeasure by refusing this offer of My blood—than when he first drew it forth!”

For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance!” Matthew 9:13

WE NEED REVIVAL

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WE NEED REVIVAL
 . . . when we do not love Him as we once did.

 . . . when earthly interests and occupations are
      more important to us than eternal ones.

 . . . when we would rather watch TV and read secular
      books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.

 . . . when church dinners are better attended than prayer meetings.

 . . . when concerts draw bigger crowds than prayer meetings.

 . . . when we have little or no desire for prayer.

 . . . when we would rather make money than give money.

 . . . when we put people into leadership positions in our
      churches who do not meet scriptural qualifications.

 . . . when our Christianity is joyless and passionless.

 . . . when we know truth in our heads that we are not
      practicing in our lives.

 . . . when we make little effort to witness to the lost.

 . . . when we have time for sports, recreation, and
      entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer.

 . . . when we do not tremble at the Word of God.

 . . . when preaching lacks conviction, confrontation,
      and divine fire and anointing.

 . . . when we seldom think thoughts of eternity.

 . . . when God’s people are more concerned about their
       jobs and their careers, than about the Kingdom
      of Christ and the salvation of the lost.

 . . . when God’s people get together with other believers
      and the conversation is primarily about the
      news, weather, and sports, rather than the Lord.

 . . . when church services are predictable and “business as usual.”

 . . . when believers can be at odds with each other and
      not feel compelled to pursue reconciliation.

 . . . when Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.

 . . . when our marriages are co-existing rather than
      full of the love of Christ.

 . . . when our children are growing up to adopt worldly
      values, secular philosophies, and ungodly lifestyles.

 . . . when we are more concerned about our children’s
      education and their athletic activities than about
      the condition of their souls.

 . . . when sin in the church is pushed under the carpet.

 . . . when known sin is not dealt with through the biblical
      process of discipline and restoration.

 . . . when we tolerate “little” sins of gossip,
      a critical spirit, and lack of love.

 . . . when we will watch things on television and movies that are not holy.

 . . . when our singing is half-hearted and our worship lifeless.

 . . . when our prayers are empty words designed to impress others.

 . . . when our prayers lack fervency.

 . . . when our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.

 . . . when we aren’t seeing regular evidence of
      the supernatural power of God.

 . . . when we have ceased to weep and mourn and
       grieve over our own sin and the sin of others.

 . . . when we are content to live with explainable,
      ordinary Christianity and church services.

 . . . when we are bored with worship.

 . . . when people have to be entertained to be drawn to church.

 . . . when our music and dress become patterned after the world.

 . . . when we start fitting into and adapting to the world,
      rather than calling the world to adapt to God’s
      standards of holiness.

 . . . when we don’t long for the company and fellowship of God’s people.

 . . . when people have to be begged to give and to serve in the church.

 . . . when our giving is measured and calculated,
      rather than extravagant and sacrificial.

 . . . when we aren’t seeing lost people drawn to Jesus on a regular basis.

 . . . when we aren’t exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.

 . . . when we are more concerned about what others
      think about us than what God thinks about us.

 . . . when we are unmoved by the thought of neighbors,
      business associates, and acquaintances who are
      lost and without Christ.

 . . . when the lost world around us doesn’t know or care that we exist.

 . . . when we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us.

 . . . when the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages, and the church.

 . . . when we are blind to the extent of our need and don’t think we need revival.
The above article was by N. L. DeMoss

SIN

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SIN
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“The Smoke of Their Torments”
No. 602.  Genesis 19:27, 28.

See the blackness of your sin by the light of hell’s fire!

Hell is the true harvest of the sowing of iniquity.

Come, lost sinner, I charge you to look at hell–
  Hell is what sin brings forth.
  Hell is the full-grown child.
  You have dandled your sin.
  You have kissed and fondled it.
  But see what sin comes to.
  Hell is but sin full-grown, that is all.

You played with that young lion; see how it roars and how
it tears in pieces now that it has come to its strength.

Did you not smile at the azure scales of the serpent?
See its poison; see to what its stings have brought those
who have never looked to the brazen serpent for healing.

Do you account of sin as a peccadillo, a flaw
scarcely to be noticed, a mere joke, a piece of fun?
But see the tree which springs from it.
There is no joke there- no fun in hell.

You did not know that sin was so evil.
Some of you will never know how evil it is until the
sweetness of honey has passed from your mouth,
and the bitterness of death preys at your vitals.

You will count sin harmless until you
are hopelessly stricken with its sting!

My God, from this day forward help me to see through the
thin curtain which covers up sin, and whenever Satan tells
me that such-and-such a thing is for my pleasure, let me
recollect the pain of that penalty wrapped up in it. When
he tells me that such a thing is for my profit, let me know
that it can never profit me to gain the whole world and lose
my own soul. Let me feel it is no sport to sin, for only a
madman would scatter firebrands and death, and say it is sport.

Sound theologians!

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Sound theologians!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
PLAIN WORDS WITH THE CARELESS
No. 778 Luke 8:28.

A man may know a great deal about true
religion, and yet be a total stranger to it.

He may know that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God, and yet he may be possessed of a devil.

Mere knowledge does nothing for us but puff us up.

We may know, and know, and know, and so
increase our responsibility, without bringing
us at all into a state of salvation.

Beware of resting in head-knowledge.

Beware of relying upon orthodoxy,
for without love to Christ, with all your
correctness of doctrine, you will be a
sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

It is well to be sound in the faith,
but the soundness must be in the
heart as well as in the head.

There is as ready a way to destruction by the road
of orthodoxy as by the paths of heterodoxy.

Hell has thousands in it who were never heretics.

Remember that the devils “believe and tremble.”

There are no sounder theologians than devils,
and yet their conduct is not affected by
what they believe, and consequently they still
remain at enmity to the Most High God. A mere
head-believer is on a par therefore with fallen
angels, and he will have his portion with them
forever unless grace shall change his heart.

Giddily gliding along the broad road that leads to destruction!


Grace logoGiddily gliding along the broad road that leads to destruction! 


(
Arthur Pink, “Laughter”)

There is a natural laughter, which is innocent and harmless.

There is a spiritual laughter, which is God-pleasing and beneficial.

There is a carnal laughter, which is sinful and injurious. 

“Woe unto you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep!” (Luke 6:25). The laughter which Christ here denounced, was a state of heart which lived only for the present, and had no serious concern for the future. It was His censure of those who are giddily gliding along the broad road that leads to destruction! In the light of the immediate context, the reference is to those who rejoiced in the abundance of their worldly possessions, and found their delight in making gods of their bellies. 

“I said of laughter, ‘It is madness,’ and of pleasure, ‘What does it accomplish?’” (Ecclesiastes 2:2). Those were the words of one who was granted the opportunity and afforded the means, of gratifying every carnal desire and of obtaining every object which the natural heart and eye can covet — only to prove from experience, that all were but “vanity and vexation of spirit.” There is no real or lasting happiness in anything which money can purchase. The void within the human heart cannot be filled by the objects of time and sense. For one to pursue the shadows — and miss the substance; to devote himself to the things which perish with the using — yet be indifferent to those which are eternal; to seek his delight in gratifying the lusts of the flesh — and neglect the welfare of his soul, is nothing but a species of insanity! “For as the crackling of thorns under a pot [noisy, but of brief duration] — so is the laughter of the fool!” (Ecclesiastes 7:6).

“All who see Me, laugh Me to scorn!” (Psalm 22:7). So far were they from pitying Him, they added to His afflictions with their ribaldry, making jest of His very sufferings! Horrid humanity! Fearful impiety! None should ever doubt the total depravity of man, as they see here to what unspeakable depths of iniquity man sinks, when the restraining hand of God is removed from him! The spectators of the dying Redeemer’s agonies, exerted the utmost of the venom of their hearts upon Him! This was a Diabolical laughter!

There is also a divine laughter, which is dreadful and disastrous. To such David referred: “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh” (Psalm 2:4), which is the laughter of derision against those who think to defy Him with impunity. 

And again God says, “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes!” (Proverbs 1:26), which is the laughter of divine retribution. He has “called” — by His Word, His providences, His ministers, and their own consciences — but they “refused” to heed Him. They were neither melted by the abundance of His mercies— nor awed by the dreadfulness of His threats. They did not respect His Law — and had no heart for His Gospel. But though He bears the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction with much long-suffering, He has appointed a day when they shall be made to reap as they have sown. As they scorned His messengers when they warned of the wrath to come — so shall He turn a deaf ear then to their cries for mercy, and righteously laugh at their calamity! Oh, that none our readers may ever be the objects of this laugh!

Our plans and dreams

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Our plans and dreams

(J.R. Miller)

“In his heart a man plans his course — but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart — but it is the LORD’s purpose which prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

There are few entirely unbroken lives in this world; there are few men who fulfill their own hopes and plans, without thwarting or interruption at some point. Now and then, there is one who in early youth marks out a course for himself — and then moves straight on in it to its goal.

But most people’s lives turn out very different from their own early dreams. Many find at the close of their life, that in scarcely one particular, have they realized their own life-dreams; at every point God has simply set aside their plans — and substituted His own. There are some people whose plans are so completely thwarted, that their story is most pathetic. Yet we have but to follow it through to the end, to see that the broken life was better and more effective, than if their own plans had been carried out.

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!” Romans 8:28

Black seeds without beauty

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Black seeds without beauty

(J.R. Miller)

“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

“Lord, what do You want me to do?” Acts 9:6

The first condition of consecration, must always be entire readiness to accept God’s will for our life. It is not enough to be willing to do Christian work. There are many people who are quite ready to do certain things in the service of Christ, who are not ready to do anything He might want them to do. 

God does not send us two classes of providences
 — one good, and one evil. All are good. Affliction is God’s goodness in the seed. It takes time for a seed to grow and to  develop into fruitfulness. Many of the best things of our lives — come to us first as pain, suffering, earthly loss or disappointment — black seeds without beauty — but afterward they grow into the rich harvest of righteousness!

“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 12:11 

The Trojan horse

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The Trojan horse

(Thomas Watson, “The Lord’s Prayer“)

“Deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13

In this petition, we pray to be delivered from the 
evil of our heart, that it may not entice us to sin. 

The heart is the poisoned fountain, from whence 
all actual sins flow. “For from within, out of the heart 
of man
, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, 
murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, 
sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.” 
Mark 7:21-22. 

The cause of all evil lies in a man’s own bosom—all 
sin begins at the heart. Lust is first conceived in the 
heart—and then it is midwifed into the world. Whence 
comes rash anger? The heart sets the tongue on fire. 
The heart is the shop where all sin is contrived and 
hammered out. 


The heart is the greatest seducer “Each one is 
tempted when he is carried away and enticed by 
his own lust.” James 1:14. The devil could not hurt 
us—if our own hearts did not give consent.
 All that 
he can do is to lay the bait—but it is our fault to 
swallow it! How needful, therefore, is this prayer,
“Deliver us from the evil of our hearts!”

It was Augustine’s prayer, “Lord, deliver me from 
that evil man—myself!”

Beware of the bosom traitor—the flesh. The heart 
of a man is the Trojan horse—out of which comes 
a whole army of lusts! O let us pray to be delivered 
from the lusts and deceits of our own heart! 

Think of all the hard things there are in your life

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Think of all the hard things there are in your life

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

“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You!” Jeremiah 32:17

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:26-27

Dear reader, your difficulties and trials may not be similar to those of “the weeping prophet,” but they are very real, and seemingly insurmountable to you; and it is a fact that, of yourself, you can neither overcome nor endure them, so I want to remind you that the Lord’s hand is not shortened — that what was true of His power in Jeremiah’s time, is as certainly true today — and that whatever present hardship may press upon you, or whatever burden may be weighing you down — you, yes, you may look up to Him with confident faith, and say, “There is nothing too hard for You!”

Oh, the blessed peace which such an assurance brings! I do not know what your particular sorrow or hardship may be — but I do know that, whatever its nature — cruel, or bitter, or hopeless — it is as “nothing” to Him! He is able to deliver you — as easily as you can call upon Him for support and help. 

Now, dear friend, think of all the hard things there are in your life
  hard circumstances,
  difficult duties,
  grievous pains,
  sore struggles,
  bitter disappointments,
  harsh words,
  sinful thoughts,
  a hard heart of your own,
  a hard heart in others. 
Gather all these, and many more together, and pile them one on another till you have one great mountain of afflictions — and your God still calmly asks the question, “Is there anything too hard for Me?”

When our hearts are weary of life’s cares and crosses, when our courage flags because of our helplessness, and we cry out with the patriarch, “All these things are against me!” — what a support and stronghold is the fact that our God has all power in Heaven and on earth! There is nothing too mighty for Him to manage — there is nothing too insignificant to escape His notice! Jeremiah’s faith . . .
  sees no obstacles, 
  stumbles at no hindrances,
  faints under no burden,
  shrinks from no responsibilities — 
because he realizes the sublime Omnipotence of God, and fortifies himself by calling to remembrance His “outstretched arm” in the creation of the Heavens and the earth. Cannot we do likewise?

I took up a book, in a leisure moment the other day, opened it carelessly, and this is what I read: “It is a scientifically proved fact, that this great globe on which we live, spins around on its axis at the rate of a thousand miles an hour, and propels through space in its orbit at a speed immensely greater!” 

The thought of this, seemed almost to take away my breath! Was I calmly and constantly living in the swirl of such a stupendous miracle as this? Then surely I could say, “Ah, Lord God! there is nothing too hard for You! My little troubles and afflictions — how small they must be to You; yet with what tender compassion, do You stoop from guiding the worlds in their courses, to support and comfort the hearts of those who fear You!”

Never let us give up in despair, while we have such a God to trust in. If there is a great mountain of sorrow or difficulty in your way, dear friend — do not be cast down by the darkness of its shadow. Your God can either make a way for you through it — or He can guide you around it — or, just as easily, He can carry you right over it! There is nothing too hard for Him! Expect Him to make the crooked things straight, and to bring the high things low; and while you keep humbly at His feet, He will work wondrously, and you shall see His salvation!

What are you doing with your time?

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What are you doing with your time?

(J.R. Miller)

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise — making the most of the time” Ephesians 5:15-16 

Our days, as God gives them to us — are like beautiful summer fields. 
The hours are like trees with their rich fruit, or vines with their blossoms of purple clusters. 
The minutes are like blooming flowers, or stalks of wheat with their golden grains. 

Oh the endless, blessed possibilities of our days and hours and minutes — as they come to us from God’s hands! 

But what did you do with yesterday? How does the little acre of that one day look to you now? 

What are you doing with your time? Every moment God gives you, has in it a possibility of beauty or usefulness — as well as something to be accounted for. 

Are you using your time for God?

“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life!” Psalm 39:4 

Two men look at the same scene:

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Two men look at the same scene:

(J.R. Miller)

“Be joyful always!” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 

“In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy!” 2 Corinthians 7:4 

Thankfulness or unthankfulness is largely a matter of the attitude of our heart. 
Two men look at the same scene:
 
  one sees the defects and the imperfections; 
  the other sees the beauty and the brightness. 

If you cannot find things to be thankful for today, and every day — the fault is in yourself, and you ought to pray for a changed heart — a heart to see God’s goodness and to praise Him. 

A joyful heart transfigures all the world around us! It finds something to be thankful for in the barest circumstances, even in the dark night of the soul. Let us train ourselves to see the beauty and the goodness in God’s world, and in our own circumstances — and then we shall stop grumbling, and be content and thankful in all situations.

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful!” Proverbs 15:13 

“The cheerful heart has a continual feast!” Proverbs 15:15 

“A cheerful heart is good medicine — but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 

This Sea of Love!

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This Sea of Love!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
  “THE SHULAMITES CHOICE PRAYER”

Christian, turn it over in your mind — “Christ loves you!”
-not a little; not a little as a man may love his friend;
not even as a mother may love her child; for she may forget
the infant of her womb.

Jesus loves you with the highest degree of love that is
possible; and what more can I say, except I add, he loves
you with a degree of love that is utterly impossible to man.

No finite mind could, if it should seek to measure it,
get any idea whatever of the love of Christ towards us.

You know, when we come to measure a drop with an ocean,
there is a comparison. A comparison I say there is,
though we should hardly be able to get at it; but when
you attempt to measure our love with Christ’s, the finite
with the infinite, there is no comparison at all.

Though we loved Christ ten thousand times as much as we do,
there would even then be no comparison between our love to him
and his love to us. Can you believe this now? — “Jesus, loves me!”

Why, to be loved by others here on earth often brings the tear
to one’s eye. It is sweet to have the affection of one’s fellow;
but to be LOVED BY GOD, and to be loved so intense — so loved
that you have to leave it as a mystery the soul cannot fathom —
you cannot tell how much!

Be silent, O my soul! and be silent too before your God,
  and lift up your soul in prayer thus —
“Jesus, take me into this Sea of Love, and let me be ravished
by a sweet and heavenly contentment in a sure confidence that
you have loved me and given yourself for me.”

Taken from GraceGems

Aqueous Fluid to an Infant’s Brow!

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Aqueous Fluid to an Infant’s Brow!
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
    “UNPURCHASABLE LOVE”

The most unpopular truth in the world is this sentence which
fell from the lips of Christ–   “You must be born again.”

Consequently, there are all sorts of inventions to remove the
truth out of those words. “Oh, yes!” say some, “you must be born
again, but that means the application of aqueous fluid to an
  infant’s brow.”

As God is true, that teaching is a lie; there is no grain or
shade of truth within it. No operation that can be performed
by man can ever regenerate the soul.  It is the work alone of
God the Holy Spirit, who creates us anew in Christ Jesus.

Men do not like that truth.

Spiritual Truth Still Displeases the Natural Man.

Taken from GraceGems

Bliss Beyond What the Angels Know

Bliss Beyond What the Angels Know
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon,
“Love’s Vigilance Rewarded”

Why me Lord?

Words cannot express the joy of heart which I feel in knowing that
Jesus is with me, and that he has loved me with an everlasting love.

I shall never understand, even in heaven, Why
the Lord Jesus Should Ever Have Loved Me.

There is no love like it-  Why Was it Fixed Upon Me?

Have you never felt that you could go in, like David, and sit before the
Lord, and say, “Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that
you have brought me here?”

Yet wonderful as it is, it is true; Jesus Loves His Believing People,
loves them now at this very moment. Do you not rejoice in it?

I assure you that, in the least drop of the love of Christ when it is
consciously realized, there is more sweetness than there would be
in all heaven without it.

Talk of bursting barns, overflowing wine-vats, and riches
treasured up-  these give but a poor solace to the heart.

But the Love of Jesus, this Is Another Word for Heaven.
It is a marvel that even while we are here below we should be
permitted to enjoy a Bliss Beyond What the Angels Know!

Taken from GraceGems

NEVER!

NEVER! 
The following is by J. C. Ryle 

“I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5 

Let every believer grasp these words 
and store them up in his heart. 

Keep them ready, and have them fresh in your memory; 
  you will need them one day. 

The Philistines will be upon you, 
the hand of sickness will lay you low, 
the king of terrors will draw near, 
the valley of the shadow of death 
 will open up before your eyes. 

Then comes the hour when you will find nothing so 
comforting as a text like this, nothing so cheering 
as a real sense of God’s companionship. 

Stick to that word, “never”. 
It is worth its weight in gold. 
Cling to it as a drowning man clings to a rope. 
Grasp it firmly, as a soldier attacked on all sides grasps 
his sword. God has said, and He will stand to it, 
  “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” 

NEVER! Though YOUR HEART be often faint, and you are sick 
of self, and your many failures and infirmities overwhelm you- 
even then the promise will not fail. 

NEVER! Though THE DEVIL whispers, “I shall have you at last; 
yet a little time and your faith will fail, and you will be mine.” 
Even then the Word of God will stand. 

NEVER! When the cold chill of DEATH is creeping over you, 
and friends can do no more, and you are starting on that 
journey from which there is no return- 
even then Christ will not forsake you. 

NEVER! When the day of JUDGMENT comes, and the books are 
opened, and the dead are rising from their graves, and eternity 
is beginning- even then the promise will bear all your weight; 
Christ will not leave His hold on your soul. 

Oh believing reader, trust in the Lord for ever, 
for He says, “I will never leave you.” 

Lean back all your weight upon Him, do not be afraid. 
Glory in His promise. 
Rejoice in the strength of your consolation. 

You may say boldly, “The Lord is my Helper, I will not fear.” 

Taken from GraceGems

The never-failing friend

The never-failing friend 
The following is from Spurgeon’s sermon, 
   “LOVE’S LOGIC” 

Experience of the love, tenderness, and faithfulness of 
our Lord Jesus Christ will weld our hearts to him. 

The very THOUGHT of the love of Jesus towards us is enough to 
inflame our holy passions, but the EXPERIENCING of his love 
heats the furnace seven times hotter. 

He has been with us in our TRIALS, cheering and consoling us, 
sympathizing with every groan, and regarding every tear with 
affectionate compassion. Do we not love him for this? 

He has befriended us in every TIME OF NEED, so bounteously 
supplying all our neediness out of the riches of his fullness, 
that he has not allowed us to lack any good thing. 
Shall we be unmindful of such unwearying care? 

He has helped us in every DIFFICULTY, furnishing us with 
strength equal to our day; he has leveled the mountains before 
us, and filled up the valleys; he has made rough places plain, 
and crooked things straight. Do we not love him for this also? 

In all our DOUBTS he has directed us in the path of wisdom, 
and led us in the way of knowledge. He has not allowed us to 
wander; he has led us by a right way through the pathless 
wilderness. Shall we not praise him for his. 

He has repelled our ENEMIES, covered our heads in the day of 
battle, broken the teeth of the oppressor, and made us more 
than conquerors. Can We Forget Such Mighty Grace? 

Are we not constrained to call upon all 
that is within us to bless his holy name? 

Not one promise of his has been broken, but all have come to pass. 

In no single instance has he failed us; 
he has never been unkind, unmindful, or unwise. 

The harshest strokes of his providence have been as full of 
love as the softest embraces of his condescending fellowship. 

We cannot, we dare not find fault with him. 

He has done all things well. 

His love toward his people is perfect, and the consideration 
of his love is sweet to contemplation; the very remembrance 
of it is like ointment poured forth, and the present enjoyment 
of it, the  experience of it at the present moment, is beyond 
all things delightful! 

At home or abroad, on the land or the sea, in health or sickness, 
in poverty or wealth, JESUS, THE NEVER-FAILING FRIEND, affords us 
tokens of his grace, and binds our hearts to him in the bonds of 
constraining gratitude. 

If we were we not dull scholars, we would, in the experience of 
a single day, discover a thousand reasons for loving our Redeemer. 

Taken from GraceGems

Return unto your rest, O my soul!

Return unto your rest, O my soul!

(Edward Griffin, 1770-1837)

Return unto your rest, O my soul — for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116:7

To rest in God, is  . . .
  to be satisfied with Him as our portion,
  to take Him for our supreme good, and
  to feel that we have enough and abound while possessing Him — though everything else is taken away. 

“Give me,” says the believer, “the enjoyment of my God — and I desire no more. Allow me to feast on heavenly truth — and I shall never complain that I am poor. Let worldlings divide the globe among themselves — let emmets contend for this little heap of dust; I have God — and I ask no more. Come wars and pestilence, come poverty and death — you cannot rob me of my portion.” 

Must it not be substantial rest . . .
  to have the infinite God for a portion,
  to have all the restless desires of the mind composed,
  to feel no anxious apprehension for the future,
  to know that if everything which time or death can destroy, were removed — the whole of one’s portion would remain; 
  to feel that nothing can injure, nothing impoverish, nothing perplex or disturb? 

Ah, give me this portion — instead of thrones and kingdoms!

“Whom have I in Heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!” Psalm 73:25-26

Taken from GraceGems

A lamb with a wolf’s head!

(John Angell James, “Christian Fellowship” 1822)

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

Christians should excel in the manifestation of Christ’s character. The mind which was in Jesus, should be in them. They should consider His character as a model of their own; and be conspicuous for their . . .

poverty of spirit,
meekness,
gentleness,
and love.

It is matter of surprise and regret, that many people seem to think that Christianity has nothing to do with character! And that provided they are free from gross sins, and have lively feelings in devotional exercises, they may be as petulant, irritable, and implacable as they please! This is a dreadful error, and has done great mischief to the cause of God!

A sour, ill-natured Christian, is like a lamb with a wolf’s head! Or like a dove with a vulture’s beak!

If there be any one word which above all others should describe a Christian’s character, it is that which represents his divine Father; and as it is said, that ‘God is love’, so should it be also affirmed, that a Christian is love–love embodied, an incarnation of love! His words, his conduct, his very looks–should be so many expressions of love!

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us!” Ephesians 4:32-5:2

She left her heart behind her!

“Remember Lot’s wife!” Luke 17:32

We should observe in these verses–what a solemn warning our Lord gives us against unsound profession.

Lot’s wife went far in religious profession. She was the wife of a “righteous man.” She was connected through him with Abraham, the father of the faithful. She fled with her husband from Sodom, in the day when he escaped for his life by God’s command.

But Lot’s wife was not really like her husband. Though she fled with him–she left her heart behind her! She willfully disobeyed the strict injunction which the angel had laid upon her. She looked back towards Sodom–and was at once struck dead! She was turned into a pillar of salt, and perished in her sins! Remember her–says our Lord, “Remember Lot’s wife!”

Lot’s wife is meant to be a beacon and a warning to all professing Christians. It may be feared that many will be found like her, in the day of Christ’s second coming. There are many in the present day, who go a certain length in religion. They speak the “language of Canaan.” They use all the outward ordinances of religion. But all this time, their souls are not right in the sight of God. The world is in their hearts–and their hearts are in the world. And by and bye, in the day of sifting–their unsoundness will be exposed. Their Christianity will prove rotten at the core! The case of Lot’s wife will not stand alone.

Let us remember Lot’s wife, and resolve to be real in our religion. Let us never rest until we have the true grace of God in our hearts–and have no desire to look back to the world.

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

Attributes Of God

“We cannot take our plates and help ourselves to only those attributes of God we find tasteful and pass by those attributes we find unpalatable. In practice, this is done every day. It is the basis of idolatry; we first deconstruct God by stripping Him of some of His attributes and then refashion Him into a different God more to our liking. An idol is a false god that serves as a substitute for the real God.”

R.C. Sproul, God’s Love: How the Infinite God Cares for His Children

Immanuel’s Land!

Immanuel’s Land!

(Gene Fedele,

What can be more delightful for the weary pilgrim who is hastening to his heavenly mansion, than to meditate on the unspeakable wonders of his future home beyond the skies? There is much of Immanuel’s Land to engage our hearts in sacred contemplation, even while we sojourn and toil in this world as strangers and pilgrims.

Heaven is the most cheering and attractive occupation to which we may set our hearts. Yet I wonder why many of us fail to avail ourselves of the enjoyment and spiritual strength afforded in such a holy pursuit.

Could it be that the allurements of the world keep us from recognizing how near we are to the unseen, supernatural, and eternal state? Instead of dwelling on the glorious world to come — do we focus on the mere momentary pleasures of time? We do well to examine ourselves, with judgment day honesty, that we may check the affections of our heart.

It is the influence of the future heavenly realities exercised in our hearts and lives, which gives vitality and beauty to our religion. It reveals genuine piety, as our aim is in contrast to the passing pleasures of this fleeting earth. It affords light along the path of life’s dark trials, and points to the realms of bliss, where there shall be no more tears, and sorrow is banished forevermore!

The glorious rest that remains for our earth wearied souls;
the sweet consolation of the redeemed in glory;
the unending fellowship of that precious society of saints;
the incalculable riches laid up in store for us to receive on that glorious day
— are all facets of Immanuel’s Land, that we might set an adoring eye towards the one object of our affections, Christ Jesus our Lord!

Let us, therefore, ‘set our affections on things above’ and fix our hearts steadfastly upon the heavenly joys and glory of Immanuel’s Land!

There has been too much trifling with Jehovah!

There has been too much trifling with Jehovah!

(Archibald Brown, “Amen, O Lord!” 1894)

“Then I answered and said: Amen, O Lord!” Jeremiah 11:5 [Or, So be it, O Lord.]

Perhaps there is a secret contention going on between you and God. God has spoken to you — but thus far there has not been Jeremiah’s response of ‘Amen, O Lord.’

Here you have the one response which a man of God must ever make to the words of God. When God says anything to him, there is nothing left for him but to bow the head and say, ‘Amen, O Lord — so be it!’

This response is the only one that suits a creature’s lip.
When God speaks — there is nothing left for man but to hear.
When God decrees — there is nothing for man to do but acquiesce.
When Jehovah gives a command — what is there left for His creature to do but obey?
Any other word than ‘Amen’ springs from rebellion. Any other response to the word of Jehovah, simply tells of a heart that wars with God.

It is not for men to judge God’s words, far less to amend them. If it pleases Jehovah to say anything, no matter how stern, how dreadful, or how searching — there is only one position for man: that is to bow his head and say, ‘Amen, O Lord.’

‘Oh,’ says one, in the proud spirit of our times, ‘you are making a bold bid for your God this morning.’

I am. The sovereignty of God needs to be brought to the front. There has been too much trifling with Jehovah! Man needs to have the peacock’s feathers plucked out of his cap, and be taught that he is a poor little nothing, and that for God to speak to him at all is infinite condescension, and that for him to say anything else than ‘Amen’ is boundless impudence!

If God condescends to utter a command, am I to go and judge whether the Lord has a right to say it? Shall I take the word of Jehovah my Maker and weigh it in my scales — and bring up his thoughts to the paltry bar of my fallen reason — and enter my protest unless I can see a good reason for God speaking as He does?

When God promulgates a decree, He does not send it to man to be revised.

His claim is this, “I am Jehovah. I, the Lord, speak that which is right, and let man say: Amen, O Lord.”

We are living in the days of the deification of humanity. We hear so much about ‘the glory of humanity’, and ‘the triumphs of humanity’ — that God has become little better than a very inferior deity who runs after man and tips His cap to him.

This is not the picture which God’s Book gives. God’s claim is this, “I am the Lord, and you are but the creatures of My hand. The brightest of My angels are but sparks struck off from the anvil of My creative omnipotence. When I speak, let men and angels be silent; or, if they must speak, let them say: Amen, O Lord!” This is the only response that suits a creature’s lip.

If you can conceive of a being who is . . .

infinitely wise,
all-powerful,
infinitely righteous,
absolutely holy,
inflexibly just,
and all gathered up into boundless love — that is God.

If such a One speaks — then what is there left for me but to say, ‘Amen’? I am stark, raving mad, if I dare question the utterance of Infinite Wisdom. I am unutterably vile, if I can dare to criticize the utterance of Absolute Love. Idiocy must have taken hold of my brain and, alas! of my heart, if I would amend anything which His infinite holiness has declared. The very nature and character of God declare that the only response for man when God speaks, is ‘Amen, O Lord.’

Oh, for that grand attitude of resignation and submission to God, that bows before every word of God — whether it be a silver note of mercy from Heaven, or a thunder-clap of denunciation!

Prayer is a precious privilege to be enjoyed

Prayer is a precious privilege to be enjoyed

(Octavius Winslow, “Evening Thoughts”)

What! Is it no privilege to have a door of access ever open to God? Is it no privilege when the burden crushes, to cast it upon One who has promised to sustain?

When the corruptions of an unsanctified nature are strong, and temptations thicken–is prayer no privilege then?

And when perplexed to know the path of duty, and longing to walk complete in all the will of God, and, as a child, fearing to offend a loving Father–is it then no privilege to have a throne of grace, an open door of hope?

When the world is slowly stealing upon the heart; or when that heart is wounded through the unkindness of friends; or is bleeding under severe bereavement–is it then no privilege to go and tell Jesus?

Say, you poor, you needy, you tried, you tempted souls! Say, if prayer is not the most precious and splendid privilege this side heaven!

Cease to pray, and . . .

your grace withers,
your vigor decays,
your comfort dies.

“Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.” Heb. 4:16

The fruits and effects He produces

The fruits and effects He produces

(J.C. Ryle, “The Holy Spirit”)

“When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.” (John 16:8)

Where the Holy Spirit is, there will always be deep conviction of sin — and true repentance for it. It is His special office to convict of sin.

He shows the exceeding holiness of God.

He teaches the exceeding corruption and infirmity of our nature.

He strips us of our blind self-righteousness.

He opens our eyes to our awful guilt, folly and danger.

He fills the heart with sorrow, contrition, and abhorrence for sin — as the abominable thing which God hates.

He who knows nothing of all this, and saunters carelessly through life, thoughtless about sin, and indifferent and unconcerned about his soul — is a dead man before God! He has not the Holy Spirit.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart can only be known by the fruits and effects He produces. Mysterious and invisible to mortal eye as His operations are — they always lead to certain visible and tangible results.

Just as you know there is life in a tree by its sap, buds, leaves and fruits — just so you may know the Spirit to be in a man’s heart by the influence He exercises over his thoughts, affections, opinions, habits, and life. I lay this down broadly and unhesitatingly. I see it clearly marked out in our Lord Jesus Christ’s words,

“Every tree is known by his own fruit.” Luke 6:44

Worse Than Devilish!

Worse than devilish!

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

“Fools mock at sin!” Proverbs 14:9 

Those who mock at sin, are worse than fools and madmen!

Tell them, as Lot told his sons-in-law of the danger and judgments which hang over their head–and, as with Lot, you seem to them as one who jokes. Genesis 19:14. They laugh at it, as if God were not in earnest when He threatens sinners–and as if those who preach against sin were deranged. 

“To do evil, is like sport to a fool!” Proverbs 10:23.

There are some who sport themselves on their way to Hell–as if sin were but a recreation! What fools are they–who laugh at their own folly and destruction! It is a devilish nature in us, to mock at the calamity of others–but to laugh at our own calamity, seems to be worse than devilish!

There are many, too many, who mourn under affliction–yet laugh over their sins! They sigh and weep when they feel any burden on their body–but make merry at that which destroys their soul! Can anything be more mad than this–to laugh, mock and make sport at that which eternally wrongs and damns their own souls!

The wicked laugh over their sin now. But if they do not repent–then they will weep forever in Hell over it!

Dead Fish Go With The Flow!

Dead Fish Go With The Flow!

Adapted From Calvin Schlabach

“BE DIFFERENT! Don’t go with the flow!” we are urged. “Don’t follow the crowd! Even a dead fish can float downstream.” It does not take any effort or work on the part of a fish to go with the flow and drift downstEven a dead fish can float. Only a living and healthy fish can swim against the current and travel upstream. In the same way, any weak Christian can live like the world; it takes a vital, healthy faith to enable someone to stand on their convictions, firm against the tide of opinion and the example of unbelievers.

Perhaps we can carry the analogy a bit further. With the polluted condition of many of our modern streams and rivers, it is not only dead fish that float downstream. Trash, industrial waste, and pollutants of one kind or another floats downstream. A fish that travels in that direction finds itself swimming in increasingly fouled and filthy waters. The purest, cleanest waters are found farther upstream nearer the source, where people rarely go. What kind of water would you rather swim in? What kind of life would you rather have? Pure waters are reached only by swimming against the current!

Obviously, we do not want to be one of those wimpy, weak-willed, dead-fish Christians; yet it is so easy to go with the flow and follow the crowd. If we carelessly live like everyone else, we will find ourselves surrounded by the pollution of sin. Is there any way out of this mess? What does it take for us to be able to swim against the current and move farther upstream? I suggest that we need to concentrate on five main points.

Convictions

We will have to know what we believe and then hold to it strongly, for, as it has often been said, those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. We are given the teachings of the apostles and prophets so that we may “no longer be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). We must read our Bibles, accept the principles we find there as our standard of conduct, and then stand firmly on scriptural convictions! How rare it is to see that today! Most of us are so caught up in feelings and tradition, we do not allow truth to shine through.

Courage

The unbelievers will not make it to heaven: “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). When they see that God’s way will require them to leave the false security of doing what all the rest of the world is doing and strike out on their own, their hearts will fail them. Rather than standing against the crowd with the courage of convictions (Romans 8:31), they take the easy way out, turning back to the world, to sin and condemnation. Joshua said, “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go” (1:9).

Strength

We must have power and might to stand firmly against the flood of evil that would swiftly sweep us downstream to our destruction. Paul said, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). We could not successfully withstand temptation and sin that threatens our spiritual well-being by ourselves. Therefore, we are called to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). Fortified with power that comes only from God (Ephesians 3:16), we can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Endurance

For most of us, the Christian race is not a brief sprint to the finish line, but rather it is a long, grueling marathon. Listen to the words of the Hebrew writer, “You have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised … ‘My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him’” (10:36, 38). It is so sad to see those who have started on the Christian way later give up, forfeiting the race. They did not have the the long-distance endurance to run the race through to the end. Therefore, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Heavenly Goals

The reason we want to travel upstream is because we are seeking something better and higher than the careless world around us. We are not trying to be different from the world just for the sake of being different. We are different because we are pursuing different goals. We have to keep these goals continually before us. Paul said, “Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is … Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). Raise your sights! Don’t follow the foolish crowd!

Seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything!

Seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything!

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

It has been every man’s lot to come into and go out of this world naked–to show that he has no right to anything, but lives on the alms of God’s charity and grace. All that we have or hold between our birth and death–is the mere gift of God.

God might choose whether He would allow us anything or not; and when He has given–He may take back again, and none of us has cause to say anything but what Job said:

“Naked I came into the world–and naked I shall return. The Lord has given–and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21

All that we have, our food and clothing and belongings–are only lent to us. Therefore, seeing that we deserve nothing–we should be content with, and thankful for anything.

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy 6:7-8

The Christian Message

“The Christian message is not an inclusive message that embraces all religions; it’s not a message that there are many paths to the same place. The Christian message is summed up in the brave words of Peter before the Sanhedrin: “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11–12).”

Michael Youssef, Jesus, Jihad and Peace: What Bible Prophecy Says About World Events Today

An arm that can never be broken!

An arm that can never be broken!

(J. R. Miller, “A Life of Character”)

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!” Deuteronomy 33:27

The picture suggested, is that of a little child, lying in the strong arms of a father who is able to withstand all storms and dangers.

At the two extremes of life, childhood and old age–this promise comes with special assurance.

“He shall gather the lambs in His arms, and carry them in His bosom” (Isaiah 40:11), is a word for the children.

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He; I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you!” (Isaiah 46:4), brings its blessed comfort to the aged.

The thought of God’s embracing arms is very suggestive. What does an arm represent? What is the thought suggested by the arm of God enfolded around His child?

One suggestion, is protection. As a father puts his arm about his child when it is in danger–so God protects His children. Life is full of peril. There are temptations on every hand! Enemies lurk in every shadow–enemies strong and swift! Yet we are assured that nothing can separate us from the love of God. “Underneath are the everlasting arms!”

Another thought, is affection. The father’s arm drawn around a child–is a token of love. The child is held in the father’s bosom, near his heart. The shepherd carries the lambs in his bosom. John lay on Jesus’ bosom. The mother holds the child in her bosom, because she loves it. This picture of God embracing His children in His arms–tells of His love for them–His love is tender, close, intimate.

Another thought suggested by an arm, is strength. The arm is a symbol of strength. His arm is omnipotence. “In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4). His is an arm that can never be broken! Out of this clasp–we can never be taken. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish–ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!” (John 10:28)

Another suggestion is endurance. The arms of God are “everlasting.” Human arms grow weary even in love’s embrace; they cannot forever press the child to the bosom. Soon they lie folded in death.

A husband stood by the coffin of his beloved wife after only one short year of wedded happiness. The clasp of that love was very sweet–but how brief a time it lasted, and how desolate was the life that had lost the precious companionship!

A little baby two weeks old–was left motherless. The mother clasped the child to her bosom and drew her feeble arms about it in one loving embrace; the little one will never more have a mother’s arm around it.

So pathetic is human life with–its broken affections, its little moments of love, its embraces that are torn away in one hour. But these arms of God–are everlasting arms! They shall never unclasp!

There is another important suggestion in the word “underneath.” Not only do the arms of God embrace His child–but they are underneath–always underneath! That means that we can never sink–for these arms will ever be beneath us!

Sometimes we say the waters of trouble are very deep–like great floods they roll over us. But still and forever, underneath the deepest floods–are these everlasting arms! We cannot sink below them–or out of their clasp!

And when death comes, and every earthly thing is gone from beneath us, and we sink away into what seems darkness–out of all human love, out of warmth and gladness and life–into the gloom and strange mystery of death–still it will only be–into the everlasting arms!

This view of God’s divine care is full of inspiration and comfort. We are not saving ourselves. A strong One, the mighty God–holds us in His omnipotent clasp! We are not tossed like a leaf on life’s wild sea–driven at the mercy of wind and wave. We are in divine keeping. Our security does not depend upon our own feeble, wavering faith–but upon the omnipotence, the love, and the faithfulness of the unchanging, the eternal God!

No power in the universe can snatch us out of His hands! Neither death nor life, nor things present, nor things to come–can separate us from His everlasting arms!

Dear wife, farewell!

Dear wife, farewell!

(An excerpt from a letter by Christopher Love, to his wife, on the morning of his execution)

My most gracious beloved,
I am now going from a prison to a palace! I have finished my work. I am now to receive my wages. I am going to Heaven! Rejoice in my joy. The joy of the Lord is my strength. O, let it be yours also!

Dear wife, farewell! I will call you wife no more! I shall see your face no more! Yet I am not much troubled–for now I am going to meet the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom I shall be eternally married!

Your dying, yet most affectionate friend until death,
Christopher Love
August 22, 1651, the day of my glorification!

The Life-Boat Of Free Grace!

The life-boat of free grace!

(James Smith, “The Complaint!” 1864)

“I am cast down!”

And why are you cast down?

“My heart is burdened with a sense of my short-comings! Every duty I perform is so imperfect. Every purpose I form is so soon frustrated. Every hope of seeing better days is so soon beclouded.

My heart is so fearfully depraved.
My life is so unlike the life of Jesus.
My temper is so unholy.
My prayers are so brief and heartless.
My praises are so feeble and fitful.
I do so little good.
I live to so little purpose.
My evidences are so dim.
My prospects are so overcast.
I am harassed sometimes with the fear of death.
I cannot realize the glories of Heaven.
I am dissatisfied with the world — and yet glued to it!
I hate sin — and yet fall into it!
I am a riddle, a mystery, a mass of inconsistency!
Is it, then, any wonder that I am cast down?”

No, if you look at yourself, and pore over the things you have named — then it is no wonder that you are cast down! They are enough to cast anyone down! But if you carry them to the throne of grace, if you there confess them before God, if you look to Jesus to save you from them — then, in spite of them — you will not long be cast down.

I know it is difficult to do this. There is a natural proneness to pore over such things. One feels at times a secret liking to indulge in gloomy thoughts.

But we must look away from self — for if we do not, we shall become anxious, doubting and gloomy! We must run the race, not looking at our imperfections, short-comings, and failures — but looking unto Jesus. He knows what we are. He knew what we would be — before He called us by His grace; yes, before He shed His blood for us!

He loved us, as sinners.
He died for us, as sinners.
He called us, as sinners.

He saves us, as sinners. He will have all the glory of saving us, and He will get great glory by doing so, because we are such great sinners; and do not, cannot, do anything to repay Him for His wondrous love! Salvation is by free grace — from first to last! Believe this, and it will raise up your drooping mind!

The life-boat of free grace has put you on board the vessel of salvation, and that will convey you safely to the port of glory! Do not look at your spiritual destitution, or feebleness, or incapacity, or imperfections — but trust in your Pilot, rely on your Captain, and expect His mercy and merit to land you safe in Heaven at last!

As imperfect as you now are, and as imperfect you will be — your dying prayer will still be, “God be merciful unto me — a sinner!”

Hope in God!
His mercy is great unto the heavens,
His grace is as free as the air,
His love is as changeless as His nature,
His promise is as immutable as His love.

Hope in God, for you shall yet praise Him. He will save you for His own sake, and present you before assembled worlds as a monument of His mercy, and a trophy of His grace!

Suck The Honey Out Of It!

Suck the honey out of it!

Spurgeon’s sermon, “The Minstrel”

It is wonderful the effect of a single verse of Scripture when the Spirit of God applies it to the soul.

What power would come upon the soul, if we would grasp a single line of Scripture and suck the honey out of it till our soul is filled with sweetness.

Bible reading…

Bible reading…

by Thomas Brooks–

“Remember that it is not hasty reading, but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul.

It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time on the flower that draws out the sweet.

It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian.”

Read Your Bible!

Read Your Bible

by Spurgeon

You know more about your ledgers than your Bible; you know more about your magazines and novels than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from the beginning to the end, and what have you got? A mouthful of foam when you are done. But you cannot re ad the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that a man writes, a best seller of the day, is greedily devoured.

“I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”
Job 23:12

The Power In The Scriptures

“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord

Monsters Of Cruelty!

Monsters of cruelty!

(“Solitude Sweetened” by James Meikle, 1730-1799)

Now that I am a father, and know the affection of a parent–would I not defend from every danger–would I not bestow every truly good thing–would I not implore every blessing–on my tender children? Would I not nourish their infant state–correct and educate their childhood–inspect, reprove, and admonish them in youth? Would I allow the dear little creatures–to play with sharp pointed knives–to frolic on the brink of a rapid torrent–or dance around a pit’s mouth? Would I permit them to eat deadly berries–or to put a cup of poison to their tender lips? However indulgent, would I allow them to disobey my commands? And if they labored under any disease which threatened their precious life, what pains or expenses would I spare to procure them relief? If assured that a physician lived somewhere, who could heal them without fail–would I not send to the uttermost corner of the land? would I not travel to the ends of earth?

But, hear me, O parents! If our concern for our children ends only with their bodies–we are monsters of cruelty! Would we pluck them from fire and water–and yet permit them to plunge into the fire of hell, and lie under the billows of Jehovah’s wrath? Will we snatch from them sword, pistol or knife–and allow them to wound themselves to the very soul, with sin? Will we chastise their disobedience to us–and wink at their spitting in the very face of God, by open acts of sin? Are we fond to have them educated and well-bred–and yet let them live in the neglect of prayer, which is the highest disrespect that can be put on the Author of our being?

In a word, is this the sum of our kindness, is this the height of our concern for our dear children–to see them happy in time, flourishing in the affairs of this life–though they end up being miserable beyond description through eternity itself? Will their bodily pain excite our sympathy, and will we do all in our power to have their diseases healed–and yet have no concern that their souls pine under sin, and they suffer all the pangs of hell? Will we not bring them in our prayers, to the Physician of souls, to the Savior of sinners?

I have but one request for all of my children, and that is–that they may fear and serve God here–and enjoy him forever! No matter though they sweat for their daily bread–only let them feed on the hidden manna! Let them toil and spin for their apparel–but let them be covered in Christ’s righteousness! How would I count my house renowned, and my family ennobled, if there sprang from it–not wealthy princes or kings, (let potsherds of the earth strive for such earthly vanities)–but pillars for the temple of God in glory–who shall dwell in the presence of the King of kings–when time is no more!

Who Can Find A Virtuous Woman?

Who can find a virtuous woman?

(Matthew Henry)

“Who can find a virtuous woman? Her price is far above rubies!” Proverbs 31:10

The description of the virtuous woman given in Proverbs 31, is designed to show what kind of wives godly women should make — and what wives godly men should choose.

A virtuous woman is very assiduous to recommend herself to her husband’s esteem and affection. She conducts herself so that he may repose an entire confidence in her. She shows her love to him, not by a foolish fondness — but by prudent endearments, accommodating herself to his temperament.

A virtuous woman is one who takes pains in her duties. She hates to sit idle and do nothing. Though she may not need to work for her bread, yet she will not eat the bread of idleness.

A virtuous woman takes care of her family and all the affairs of it, not meddling in the concerns of other people’s houses, as she thinks it enough for her to look well to her own affairs.

A virtuous woman is charitable to the poor. She often serves the poor with her own hand, and she does it freely, cheerfully, and very liberally.

A virtuous woman is discreet and obliging in all her discourse — not talkative, censorious, nor peevish. When she does speak, it is with a great deal of prudence and very much to the purpose. The law of love and kindness is written in her heart — and it shows itself in her tongue!

A virtuous woman has a firmness and constancy of mind, to bear up under the many crosses and disappointments which even the wise and godly must expect to meet with in this poor world.

That which completes and crowns her character, is that she fears the Lord. With all these good qualities, she does not lack that one thing needful — she is truly pious. In all she does, she is guided and governed by Christian principles, and a regard to God.

In the day of death, it will be a pleasure for her to think that she has lived to some good purpose. True virtue will have its praise — both from God and man.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised!” Proverbs 31:30

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