Grace Gems for February 2007


A cooler hell

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"God, I thank You that I'm not like other people—greedy,
 unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get."
    Luke 18:11-12

Many please and satisfy themselves with mere civility and
common morality. They bless themselves that they are not
swearers, nor drunkards, nor extortioners, nor adulterers,
etc. Their behavior is civil, sincere, harmless, and blameless.

But civility is not sanctity. Civility rested in—is but a beautiful
abomination—a smooth way to hell and destruction.

Civility is very often . . .
  the nurse of impiety,
  the mother of flattery, and
  an enemy to real sanctity.
There are those who are so blinded with the fair shows of
civility—that they can neither see the necessity nor beauty
of sanctity. There are those who now bless themselves in
their common morality, whom at last God will scorn and
cast off for lack of real holiness and purity.

A moral man may be an utter stranger . . .
  to God,
  to Christ,
  to Scripture,
  to the filthiness of sin,
  to the depths and devices of Satan,
  to their own hearts,
  to the new birth,
  to the great concerns of eternity,
  to communion with Christ,
  to the secret and inward ways and workings of the Spirit.

Well, sirs, remember this—though the moral man is good for
many things—yet he is not good enough to go to heaven! He
who rises to no higher pitch than civility and morality—shall
never have communion with God in glory. The most moral
man in the world, may be both Christless and graceless.

Morality is not sufficient to keep a man out of eternal misery.
All morality can do, is to help a man to one of the best rooms
and easiest beds which hell affords! For, as the moral man's
sins are not so great as others—so his punishments shall not
be so great as others. This is all the comfort that can be given
to a moral man—that he shall have a cooler hell than
others have. But this is but cold comfort.

Morality without piety is as a body without a soul. Will
God ever accept of such a stinking sacrifice? Surely not!

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even
 look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have
 mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than
 the other, went home justified before God." Luke 18:13-14
 

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A house of fools!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"The heart of fools is in the house of pleasure."
    Ecclesiastes 7:4


A fool prefers toys and trifles—above things of greatest
worth. Just so, wicked and ungodly men prefer their lusts
before the Lord. Upon choice, they prefer the honors, the
riches and glory of the world—above their own souls and
the great concerns of eternity.

I have read of the foolish people of Ceylon, who preferred
a consecrated ape's tooth—above an incredible mass of
treasure. Such fools are all unholy people, who prefer the
toys, the trifles of this world—above the pleasures and
treasures which are at God's right hand. The world is
full of such fools.

Says one—"If you behold the lives of men, you will judge
the whole world to be a house of fools!" Ah, friends!
What folly can be compared to that of men's spending
their time, their strength, their lives, their souls—in getting
the great things of this world, and neglecting that one thing
necessary—the salvation of their souls! Oh, what vanity is
it to prefer . . .
  a smoke of honor,
  a blast of fame,
  a dream of pleasure,
  a wedge of gold,
  a Babylonish garment,
  and such like transitory trifles and trash
—before a blessed eternity!


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Get out of My sight!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

Many now-a-days say there is no hell. Multitudes think that all that is spoken of hell in Scripture—is false and mythical. They will not believe that there is a hell—until they come to feel themselves in hell—until they find everlasting flames about their ears—until they are sentenced to the fire—until they are doomed to everlasting fire!

The last words that Christ will ever speak to the ungodly, will be the most tormenting, and horrifying, the most killing and damning, the most stinging and wounding! "Then He will also say to those on the left—Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!" Matthew 25:41. This terrible sentence breathes out nothing but fire and brimstone, terror and horror, dread and woe!

"Depart from Me!" Here is utter rejection—"Pack! Begone! Get out of My sight! Let Me never see your face again!"

"You who are cursed!"
Here is malediction. You shall be cursed in your bodies and cursed in your souls! You shall be cursed of God, and cursed of angels, and cursed of saints, and cursed of devils, and cursed of your companions! Yes, you shall curse your very selves, your very souls. All your former curses, all your maledictions—shall at last recoil upon your own souls! Now you curse every man and thing which stands in the way of your lusts, and which cross your designs! But at last all the curses of heaven and hell shall meet in their full power and force upon you!

"But, Lord, if we must depart, and depart cursed, oh let us go into some good place!" "No! Depart into the eternal fire!" There is the vengeance and everlasting continuance of it. You shall go into fire, into everlasting fire, which will neither consume itself, nor consume you! Eternity of extreme punishment is the hell of hell. If all the fires which ever were in the world were contracted into one fire, how terrible would it be! Yet such a fire would be but as a 'painted fire'—compared to the fire of hell. The greatest and the hottest fires that ever were on earth—are but ice in comparison to the fire of hell. Ah! how sad, how dreadful would it be to experience what it is to lie in unquenchable fire—not for a day, a month, or a year, or a hundred, or a thousand years—but forever and ever!

"If it were," says one, "but for a thousand years, I could bear it—but seeing it is for eternity—this astonishes and affrights me!" "I am afraid of hell," says another, "because the worm there never dies, and the fire never goes out!"

It is called "unquenchable fire," and "eternal fire." The torments of the damned are very grievous for the bitterness of them—and more grievous for the diversity of them—but most of all grievous for the eternity of them!

Wronged justice can never be satisfied, and therefore the sinner must be forever tormented. The sinner in hell will sin forever, and therefore he must be punished forever. It will not stand with the unspotted justice and righteousness of God to cease punishing—while the sinner ceases not sinning.

"But, Lord, if I must go into fire, into everlasting fire, oh let me have some good company in my misery!" "No! The devil and his demons shall be your companions!" Ah! who can conceive or express the misery of living with devils and damned spirits and hellish fiends and furies forever!


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


No dirty dogs shall ever trample upon that golden pavement

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

Throughout the Scriptures, unholy people are branded, to their
everlasting contempt—with the worst appellations. They are the
most dangerous, and the most harmful beings in the world, and
therefore are emblemized . . .
  by lions—for they are cruel, Psalm 22:21;
  by bears—for they are savage, Isaiah 11:7;
  by dragons—for they are hideous, Ezek. 29:3;
  by wolves—for they are ravenous, Ezek. 22:27;
  by dogs—for they are snarling, Rev. 22:15;
  by vipers and scorpions—for they are stinging, Mat. 12:34, Ezek. 2:6;
  by spiders and cockatrices—for they are poisoning, Isaiah 59:5;
  by swine—for they are intemperate, Mat. 7:6.

Remember this—that all these stinging expressions and
appellations which disgrace and vilify unholy people, were
inspired by the Holy Spirit, and published in His holy Word.

The glutton is depicted as a swine;
the fraudulent person is depicted as a fox;
the lustful person is depicted as a goat;
the backbiter is depicted as a barking cur;
the slanderer is depicted as an asp;
the oppressor is depicted as a wolf;
the persecutor is depicted as a tiger;
the seducer is depicted as a serpent.

Do you think that God admit such vermin as unholy people
are—to eternally inhabit His holy heaven? Surely not! God
has long since resolved upon it—that no unclean beasts shall
enter into heaven—that no dirty dogs shall ever trample
upon that golden pavement
. Certainly God will not allow
such beasts and toads and snakes and serpents—to forever
live with Him! Heaven is a too holy place to admit such
vermin to inhabit!

"Nothing impure will ever enter it." Revelation 21:27

"Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the
 sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone
 who loves and practices falsehood." Revelation 22:15

All in heaven are holy: the angels holy, the saints holy—but
the Lord Himself above all, is most glorious in holiness. Now
certainly it would be a hell to these holy ones to have
unholy wretches to be their eternal companions! When the
holy angels fell from their holiness—heaven was so holy that
it spewed them out! Certainly there will be no room in heaven
for such filthy beasts as unholy people are! 'Jerusalem above'
is too glorious a habitation for beasts—or for men of beastly
spirits, or beastly principles, or beastly practices. The city of
the great God was never built for beasts. A wilderness and
not a paradise—is fittest for beasts.


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

An ignorant, profane, and soul-flattering clergy

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

A preacher's life should be a commentary upon his
doctrine; his practice should be the counterpart of his
sermons. Heavenly doctrines should always be adorned
with a heavenly life.

An ignorant, profane, and soul-flattering clergy, are
the greatest pest, plague, affliction and judgment, which
can befall a people! There is no rank nor order of men on
earth, who have so enriched hell, who have been such
benefactors to hell—as the ignorant and profane clergy!
How many are there in these days, who are more ready
and willing to make a sacrifice of the gospel—
  for profit sake,
  and preferment sake,
  and honor sake,
  and lust's sake!

Where there is no serious, sincere, faithful, and powerful
preaching—there the people grow abominably wicked, and
will certainly perish, and go tumbling to hell.

Pastors! Either preach as the ministers of Jesus
Christ ought to preach—
  plainly,
  spiritually,
  powerfully, 
  feelingly,
  fervently,
  frequently;
and live as the ministers of Jesus Christ ought to live—
  heavenly,
  graciously,
  holily,
  humbly,
  righteously,
  harmlessly,
  exemplary
—or else lay down your names of being the ministers of
Jesus Christ. Do not any longer a cheat upon yourselves,
nor upon the people—by making them believe that you
are ministers of Jesus Christ, when you have
  nothing of the spirit of Christ,
  nor of the anointings of Christ,
  nor of the grace of Christ,
  nor of the life of Christ in you.


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The fool's bauble, the fool's fiddle

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"The wicked freely strut about, when what is vile is
 honored among men." Psalm 12:8

"They love to indulge in evil pleasures." 2 Peter 2:13.

"Their souls delight in their abominations." Isaiah 66:3

Proverbs 10:23, "A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct."
Evil conduct is the fool's bauble, the fool's fiddle.
Fools take great delight and pleasure in doing evil.
Sin and wickedness are a sport or recreation to a fool.
It is a great pleasure and merriment to a fool—to do
wickedness.

Proverbs 14:9, "Fools make a mock of sin." They make a
jeer of sin—which they should fear more than hell itself!
They make a sport of sin—which will prove a matter of
damnation to them. They make a pastime, a game of
sin—which will them miserable to all eternity. They make
a mock of sin on earth—for which the devil will mock and
flout them forever in hell.

Justice will at last turn over such fools to Satan, who will
be sure to return mock for mock, jeer for jeer, and flout
for flout. Those who love such kind of pastime, shall have
enough of it in hell. All unbelievers are such fools—for
they delight and take pleasure in sin, which is the most
corrupting and dangerous thing in the world. "And so that
all will be condemned who have not believed the truth, but
have delighted in wickedness." 2 Thessalonians 2:12

Well, sirs! Sin is the poison of the soul, the nakedness of
the soul, the disease of the soul, the burden of the soul—
and if God in mercy does not prevent it—sin will prove the
eternal bane of the soul. Oh, then, how great is their folly,
who delight in sin, and who make a sport of it!


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Righteousness exalts a nation

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a
 disgrace to any people." Proverbs 14:34

It is not valor in war—but righteousness;
it is not policy in government—but righteousness;
it is not wittiness of invention—but righteousness;
it is not civility in behavior—but righteousness;
it is not antiquity of laws—but righteousness;
it is not largeness of dominion—but righteousness;
it is not greatness of command—but righteousness
—which is the honor and the safety, the renown
and the security of a nation.

It is not rich mines of gold and silver, nor armies,
nor councils, nor fleets, nor forts—but justice and
righteousness which exalts a nation; and which will
make a lowly people to become a great, a glorious,
and a famous people in the world. That nation which
exalts righteousness—that nation shall be certainly
exalted by righteousness.

Ah! England, England! If injustice shall grow rampant,
and you shall brandish the sword of protection to the
desperate swearer, and to the cruel oppressor, and to
the roaring drunkard, and to the cursing monster; and
shall be a devouring sword to the upright and godly
in the land—divine vengeance will dig your grave, and
divine justice will tumble you into it!


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"Without holiness no one will see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen—Do you think that it is good to
be going to hell—that it is good to be dwelling with everlasting
burnings—that it is good to be forever separated from the
glorious presence of God? Do you think that it is good to forever
lie a-sweltering under the wrath of an infinitely just God, and to
abide forever and ever under those pains and torments which
are endless, easeless, hopeless, and remediless? Do you think
that it is good to be fettered with devils and damned spirits for
all eternity?

"Oh no! this cannot be good! for the very thoughts of these
things are enough to raise a hell on this side hell—in our hearts!"

Oh then, with all your might press after holiness, and pursue hard
after holiness—as after the one thing necessary; for without holiness
you shall as certainly go to hell—as holy people shall certainly go to
heaven! Oh that you would forever remember this—that without all
question, you shall never be saved, unless you are sanctified; you
shall never be truly and eternally happy, unless you are truly holy!

"Without holiness no one will see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh stand and wonder!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity")

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon
 us—that we should be called the sons of God." 1 John 3:1

It is an infinite condescension in God, to honor us with the
title of sons, and therefore we should never think of it, nor
ever speak of it—but with much admiration. O sirs! what
matter of admiration is this—that the great and glorious
God, who has many millions of glorious angels attending
Him—that He should . . .
  look upon all holy people as His sons, 
  and love them as His sons,
  and delight in them as His sons,
  and clothe them as His sons,
  and feed them as His sons,
  and protect them as His sons,
  and stand by them as His sons,
  and lay up for them as His sons,
  and lay out Himself for them as His sons;
that those who have not deserved . . .
  a smile from God,
  a good word from God,
  a bit of bread from God,
  or a good look from God,
should be made the sons of God!

What manner of love is this—that those who have . . .
  so highly provoked God,
  walked so cross and contrary to God,
  were so exceeding unlike God,
  preferred every lust, and every toy and vanity before God,
  fought many years under Satan's banner against God,
  refused all the offers of mercy that have been made by God,
—that those who have deserved to be reprobated by God,
damned by God, and to be thrown to hell by God—that
these should be made the sons of God!

Oh stand and wonder! Oh stand and admire the
freeness of His grace, and at the riches of His grace!


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God judges His people

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

God judges His people by their sincerity and the general
bent and frame of their hearts
—and not by what they are
under some pangs of passion, or in an hour of temptation.
His eye is more upon His people's inward disposition, than
it is upon their outward actions—more upon their desires
than it is upon their work. The Lord will not forsake His
people, nor cast off His people—because of those failings
and weaknesses that may, and do, attend them. God pities
His people under their weakness; He will not reject them
for their weakness.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A cleaner way to hell

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

It was the saying of a precious saint—that he was more
afraid of his duties than of his sins; for his duties often
made him proud—but his sins always made him humble.

It was good counsel Luther gave, "We must take heed
not only of our sins—but of our good works."

Duties can never have too much diligence used about
them—nor too little confidence placed in them. They are
good helps—but bad saviors. It is necessary we do them
—but it is dangerous to rely upon them. If the devil cannot
dissuade us from performing pious duties—then his next
work will be to persuade us to rely upon them, to make
saviors of them; because this will as certainly ruin our
souls, as if we had wholly neglected them.

Resting in your own righteousness, will as certainly and
eternally undo you—as the greatest and foulest atrocities!

Open wickedness slays her thousands—but a secret
resting upon duties, slays her ten thousands!

Open profaneness is the broad dirty way which leads
to hell; but trusting in pious duties is as sure a way,
though a cleaner way to hell. Ungodly people and
formal professors shall meet at last in the same hell.

Now, let all these things work you to renounce your own
righteousness—and to take sanctuary alone in the pure,
perfect, and most glorious righteousness of Jesus Christ,
and in the free grace of God.


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

One dead fly

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

No hypocrite is totally divorced from the love and liking
of every known sin. There is still some secret lust, which
as a sweet morsel he rolls under his tongue, and will not
spit it out. Every hypocrite lives under the dominion and
reign of one base lust or another—and will do what he
can to save the life of his sin—though it be with the loss
of his soul. A hypocrite always reserves one nest-egg or
another in his heart or life, for Satan to sit and brood on.

O sirs! Satan can hold a man fast enough by one sin,
as the fowler can hold the bird fast enough by one claw.
Satan knows, that one sin lived in and allowed, will as
certainly damn a man as many sins; just as one disease,
one ulcerous part, may as certainly kill a man as many.
One dead fly will mar the whole box of precious ointment.
One jarring string will bring the sweetest music out of tune.

If the leper in the law had the spot of leprosy in any one
part of his body, he was accounted a leper; although all
the rest of his body was sound and whole, Lev. 14. Just
so, he who has the spot of the leprosy of sin allowed in
any one part of his soul, he is a spiritual leper in the eye
of God; he is unclean, though in other parts he may not
be unclean.

If a swine does but wallow in one miry or dirty hole—it
is filthy; and certainly, that soul which does but wallow
in any one sin—he is filthy in the eye of God.

O sirs! remember that . . .
  as one hole in a ship will sink it, and
  as one stab at the heart will kill a man, and
  as one glass of poison will poison a man, and
  as one act of treason will make a man a traitor,
so one sin lived in and allowed, will damn a man forever!

One millstone will sink a man to the bottom of the sea as
well as a hundred. Just so, one sin lived in and indulged,
will sink a man to the bottom of hell as well as a hundred.


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Broke her heart all in pieces

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

The more a man apprehends of the love of God, and of the
love of Christ—the more that person will grieve and mourn
that he has offended, provoked, and grieved such a Father,
and such a Son. The more clear and certain evidences a man
has of the love and favor of God to his soul, the more that
man will grieve and mourn for sinning against such a God.

There is nothing which thaws and melts the heart, which
softens and breaks the heart—like the warm beams of divine
love—as you may see in the case of Mary Magdalene. She
loved much, and she wept much—for much was forgiven her.
A sight of the free grace and love of Christ towards her, in an
act of forgiveness, broke her heart all in pieces. A man
cannot stand under the shinings of divine love with a frozen
heart, nor with dry eyes. The more a man sees of the love
of Christ, and the more a man tastes and enjoys of the love
of Christ—the more that man will grieve and mourn for all
the dishonors that he has done to Christ.

"Then she knelt behind Him at his feet, weeping. Her tears
 fell on His feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then
 she kept kissing His feet and putting perfume on them."
    Luke 7:38


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

An angel on the outside—and a devil within

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

"Hypocrites! You are so careful to clean the outside
 of the cup and the dish; but inside you are filthy—
 full of greed and self-indulgence!" Matthew 23:25

A hypocrite's outside never corresponds with his inside.
A hypocrite's outside is one thing—and his inside another.
A hypocrite's outside is religious—but his inside is wicked.

Hypocrites are like the Egyptian temples, which were beautiful
outside—but within there was nothing to be found but serpents
and crocodiles, and other venomous creatures. They are like
white silver—but they draw black lines. They have a seeming
sanctified outside—but are stuffed within with malice, pride,
worldliness, envy, etc. They are like window cushions, made up
of velvet and richly embroidered—but stuffed within with hay.

A hypocrite . . .
  may offer sacrifice with Cain,
  and fast with Jezebel,
  and humble himself with Ahab,
  and lament with the tears of Esau,
  and kiss Christ with Judas,
  and follow Christ with Demas,
  and be baptized with Simon Magus;
and yet for all this, his inside is as bad as any of theirs!

A hypocrite is . . .
  a Jacob on the outside—and an Esau within;
  a David on the outside—and a Saul within;
  a John on the outside—and a Judas within;
  a saint on the outside—and a Satan within;
  an angel on the outside—and a devil within.

But let all such hypocrites know, that pretend sanctity
is double iniquity—and accordingly at last they shall be
dealt with. "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will
you escape being condemned to hell?" Matthew 23:33


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

That golden devil

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

"Covetousness, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5

Judas' life was as fair and as free from spots and blots as
the lives of any of the apostles; no scandalous sin was to
be found upon him. But that golden devil 'covetousness'
was his sin—and his everlasting ruin. His apostleship,
preaching, working of miracles, hearing of Christ, and
conversing with Him, etc., was to no purpose, because
of that serpent he kept in his bosom—which at last
stung him to death!

"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and
 a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that
 plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of
 money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager
 for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced
 themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:9-10


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

No sin startles less—or damns surer!

(John Flavel "The Method of Grace")

"He who believes on the Son has everlasting life; but
 he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life;
 but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36

Unbelief is man's great sin, and condemnation is
his great misery. How dreadful a sin is the sin of
unbelief, which brings men under the condemnation
of the great God. No sin startles less—or damns
surer!
Unbelief is a sin which does not affright the
conscience as some other sins do; but it kills the soul
more certainly than any of those sins. Other sins could
not damn us were it not for unbelief, which fixes the
guilt of them all upon us. Unbelief is the sin of sins;
and when the Spirit comes to convince men of sin,
He begins with this as the capital sin.


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

All tears of godly sorrow drop from the eye of faith

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

"They shall look upon Him whom they have pierced—and
 shall mourn." Zechariah 12:10

All godly sorrow is the fruit and effect of evangelical faith.
Godly sorrow flows from faith—as the stream from the fountain,
the branch from the root, and the effect from the cause. All
gracious mourning flows from looking, from believing. Nothing
breaks the heart of a sinner like a look of faith. All tears of
godly sorrow drop from the eye of faith
. Godly sorrow
rises and falls—as faith rises and falls. The more a man is
able by faith to look upon a pierced Christ—the more his
heart will mourn over all the dishonors which he has done
to Christ. The more deep and wide the wounds are, which
faith shows me in the heart and sides of Christ—the more
my heart will be wounded for sinning against Christ.

The free love and favor of God, and His unspeakable goodness
and mercy manifested in Jesus Christ to poor sinners—is the
very spring and fountain of all evangelical sorrow. Nothing
breaks the heart of a poor sinner like the sight of God's free
love in Christ, the Redeemer. A man cannot seriously look upon
the firstness, the freeness, the greatness, the unchangeableness,
the everlastingness, and the matchlessness of God's free favor
and love in Christ—with a hard heart, or with dry eyes! It is
only such a love as this, which sets the soul a-mourning and
a-lamenting over a crucified Christ.

The fears of wrath, of hell, and of condemnation—works unsound
hearts to mourn. But it is the sight of a bleeding, dying Savior—
which sets sincere, gracious souls a-mourning.


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

My Father, God!

(Octavius Winslow, "Our God")

"And because you have become His children, God has
 sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, and now you
 can call God your dear Father. Now you are no longer
 a slave but God's own child. And since you are His
 child
, everything He has belongs to you." Gal. 4:6-7

Oh, the costly and precious privilege of looking up to
this great, this holy Lord God, and exclaiming—"My
Father, God!
"

It is in this character He would have you recognize
Him; in this relation He would have you come to Him;
in this light He would have you view and interpret all
His dealings both of mercy and of judgment.

Hesitate not, then, beloved, in all your needs and
trials, in all your mental and spiritual depressions,
in all your conscious waywardness and disobedience,
and in all the corrections and rebukes of His discipline;
hesitate not still to love Him, to trust in Him, to
submit to Him as your Father.

Are you in need? He is pledged to supply it.

Are you bereaved? His hand has done it.

Are you sick? His providence has sent it.

Are you in the garden of sorrow—with the cup of
adversity trembling in your hand? Take it, drink it,
looking up to Him with a filial, loving, submissive
spirit, and exclaiming, "The cup which My Father
has given me—shall I not drink it?"


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The hypocrite's only care

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

The hypocrite's only care is to keep his outward life
from defilement. But the sincere Christian's care is mainly
to keep his heart from defilement; for he very well knows,
that if he can but keep his heart clean—he shall with more
ease keep his life clean. If the fountain is kept pure—the
streams will run pure. The heart is the spring of all actions,
and therefore every action is as the spring is, from whence
it flows; if the spring is good—the action is good which flows
from it; if the spring is evil, the action is evil which flows
from it.

Hypocrites are all for the outside; they wash the platters
and the cups, and beautify the tombs—like an adulteress
whose care is to paint a fair face upon a foul heart.

But a sincere Christian, though he has a great concern for
the well-ordering of his outward life—yet his main business
and work is about his heart—
"Oh that this ignorant heart were but more enlightened!
 Oh that this proud heart were but more humble!
 Oh that this profane heart were but more holy!
 Oh that this earthly heart were but more heavenly!
 Oh that this unbelieving heart were but more believing!
 Oh that this passionate heart were but more meek!
 Oh that this carnal heart were but more spiritual!
 Oh that this vain heart were but more serious!
 Oh that this dull heart were but more quickened!
 Oh that this dead heart were but more enlivened!
 Oh that this lukewarm heart were but more zealous
for God, and Christ, and the gospel, and the great
concerns of eternity!"


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Glued to their lusts

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

Sinners' hearts are so glued to their lusts, that they
will rather part with their nearest, dearest, and choicest
enjoyments—than part with their sins! Yes, they will rather
part with God, Christ, and all the glory of heaven—than
they will part with some darling lust.

"When He comes, He will convict the world about sin."
    John 16:8

The first work of the Spirit upon the soul,
is to make a man . . .
  look upon sin as an enemy,
  to deal with sin as an enemy,
  to hate sin as an enemy,
  to loathe sin as an enemy,
  to fear sin as an enemy, and
  to arm against sin as an enemy.

Of all the vile things in the world, sin is the
most defiling thing; it makes us red with
guilt and black with filth.

Inward corruptions grieve the gracious soul.

"Oh," says the gracious soul,
"that I were but rid of . . .
  this proud heart,
  this hard heart,
  this unbelieving heart,
  this unclean heart,
  this froward heart,
  this earthly heart of mine!"

The Christian has a universal willingness
to be rid of all sin. The enmity which grace
works in the heart, is against all sin:
  profitable sins,
  pleasurable sins,
  disparaging sins,
  disgracing sins,
  small sins,
  great sins.

A gracious heart had much rather, if it were put to his
choice, live without all sin—than to have allowance to
wallow in any sin. He had rather live without the least
sin—than to have liberty to live in the most flesh-pleasing
sin. It is certain that sin is more afflictive to a gracious
soul, than all the losses, crosses, troubles, and trials
that he meets with in the world.

True grace would not have one Canaanite left
in the holy land; he would have every Egyptian
drowned in the red sea of Christ's blood!

"I hate every false way." Psalm 139:24

Saving grace makes a man as willing to leave his lusts,
  as a slave is willing to leave his chains,
  or a prisoner his dungeon,
  or a beggar his rags.

A sincere heart had much rather be rid of his sins
than of his sufferings; yes, of the least sins than
of the greatest sufferings.


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


O the blessed chemistry of heaven!

(John Flavel "The Method of Grace")

The Lord makes use even of your sins and
infirmities
to do you good. By these, He . . .
  humbles you,
  beats you off from self-dependence,
  makes you admire the riches of grace,
  makes you long more ardently for heaven,
  causes you to entertain sweeter thoughts of death.

Does not the Lord then, make blessed fruits to spring
up from such a bitter root? O the blessed chemistry
of heaven
—to extract such mercies out of such miseries!


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


You have all your hearts can wish!

(John Flavel "The Method of Grace")

"My God will supply all your needs according to His
 riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

O say with a melting heart—I have a full Christ,
and He is filled for me! I have . . .
  His pure and perfect righteousness to justify me,
  His holiness to sanctify me,
  His wisdom to guide me,
  His comforts to refresh me,
  His power to protect me,
  His all-sufficiency to supply me.

O be cheerful, be thankful—you have all your
hearts can wish!
And yet be humble—it is all
from free-grace to empty and unworthy creatures!


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Devils in their homes!

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

A true Christian will endeavor to obey God in relative
duties
. He will not only hear, and pray, and read, and
meditate, and fast, and mourn—but he will labor to
be godly in domestic relationships.

Remember this forever—everyone is that in reality,
which he is at home.
Many make a great profession,
and have great abilities and gifts, and can discourse well
on any pious subject—whose homes are not little heavens,
but little hells. Some are very much like angels in public,
saints in the church, and devils in their homes!

Domestic graces and duties do better demonstrate true
piety and godliness, than public or general duties do. For
pride, vain-glory, self-ends, and a hundred other outward
carnal considerations, may put a man upon the general duties
of religion. But it argues both truth and strength of grace, to
be diligent and conscientious in the discharge of domestic
duties.


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


O friends! remember this once for all

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

"Cleanse me from my hidden faults." Psalm 19:12

"I hate vain thoughts." Psalm 119:113

A gracious soul conflicts most with heart-sins, and is
most affected with spiritual sins, and laments and
mourns most over secret sins—invisible sins—sins
which lie most hidden and remote from the eyes of
the world. He is most affected and afflicted by inward
pollutions and defilements.

Grace will rise and conflict against the most inward
and secret vanities of the soul, such as—
  secret self-love;
  secret hardness of heart;
  secret unbelief;
  secret carnal confidence;
  secret hypocrisy;
  secret envy;
  secret malice;
  secret vain-glory;
  secret fretting and murmuring;
  secret lustings;
  secret runnings-out of the soul after worldly vanities;
  and secret pride.

True grace makes opposition as well against the
being of sin in a man's nature—as against the
breakings out of sin in a man's life!

True grace will make war against the corruptions of the
heart—as well as against the excursions of the feet!

True grace is as willing and desirous to be rid of a
polluted heart—as it is willing and desirous to be rid
of a polluted hand.

True grace would gladly have, not only sinful acts—but
also sinful dispositions; and not only irregular actions—
but also inordinate affections—mortified and subdued.

O friends! heart sins are root sins! Certainly a proud heart
has more of Satan in it than a proud look! And a lustful
heart is more vile than a lustful eye! Therefore true grace
makes war against heart sins, against spiritual sins, against
the most inward secret sins—against those very sins which
do not lie within the reach of the piercing eye of the most
knowing or observing man in the world—but are only
obvious to an Omniscient eye!

Spiritual convictions can reach to the most inward, secret,
spiritual, and undiscernible sins. Certainly that is a sincere
heart, a heart more worth than gold—which smites a man:
  for inward sins—as well as for outward sins;
  for sins done in secret—as well as for sins done in public;
  for spiritual sins—as well as for fleshly sins;
  for sins against the soul—as well as for sins against the body.

O friends! remember this once for all—that the main
battle, the main warfare of a Christian lies not in the open
field, it lies not in visible skirmishes. But his main quarrels
and conflicts are most within, and his worst and greatest
enemies are those of his own house—those of his own heart.
A little grace may reform an evil life—but it must be a great
deal of grace that reforms an evil heart! A little grace may
make a man victorious over outward gross sins—but it must
be a great deal of grace that makes a man victorious over
inward sins, secret sins, spiritual sins, heart sins!

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me
 and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me
 that offends You, and lead me along the path of
 everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


The devil's brat!

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

"That sin might become utterly sinful." Romans 7:13

Paul, to set forth the formidable evil that is in sin, expresses
it thus. He could find nothing more evil and odious to express
sin by—than itself. Sin is so great an evil, that it cannot have
a worse epithet given it. Paul can call it no worse than by its
own name—sinful sin. Had he said that sin was a snare, a
serpent, a viper, a toad, a plague, a devil, a hell, etc.—he
would have said much—but yet not enough to set forth the
transcendent evil which is in sin. Therefore he calls it sinful
sin
.

All other evils are but outward, they only reach the name,
the body, the estate, the life—but sin is an inward evil, a
spiritual evil, an evil that reaches the precious and immortal
soul—and therefore is the greatest evil.

Death puts an end to all other troubles; namely, poverty,
sickness, disgrace, scorn, contempt, afflictions, losses, etc.
But sin is so great an evil, that death itself cannot put an
end to it! Eternity itself shall never put a stop, an end—to
this evil of evils!

All other evils can never make a man the object of God's
wrath and hatred. A man may be poor—and yet precious in
the eyes of God; he may be greatly abhorred by the world
—and yet highly honored by God; he may be debased by
men—and yet exalted by God. But sin is so great an evil,
that it subjects the sinner's soul to the wrath and hatred
of God!

All other evils do but strike at a man's present well-being
—but sin strikes at a man's eternal well-being! All other
evils can never hinder a man's communion with God. A
man may have communion with God in poverty, in sickness,
in prison, in banishment. But sin is so great an evil, that it
interrupts communion with God, it cuts off communion with
God.

All outward evils are God's creatures: "Is there any evil in
the city—which the Lord has not done?" But sin is the devil's
brat
—it is a creature of his own begetting! Yes, sin is worse
than the devil!
It is that which has turned glorious angels
into infernal devils!

All other evils do not fight against the greatest good—but
sin is that grand evil that fights against the greatest good.
Sin fights against the being of God, the essence of God, the
glory of God. Sin is a killing of God—it is a murdering of God.

Sin is a universal evil, it is all evil, it is nothing but evil;
there is not one drop, one spark of good to be found in
any sin. In all outward evils there is some good; there is
some good in poverty, in sickness, in war, in death—but
there is not the least good in sin.

Sin is the sole object of God's hatred!
 
He hates nothing but sin!
 
He is angry with nothing but sin!
 
He has forbid nothing but sin!
 
He has revealed his wrath against nothing
but sin! So great an evil is sin!

Sin is that grand evil which has midwifed all
other evils into the world. It was sin which
drowned the old world with water. It was sin
which destroyed Sodom with fire and brimstone.
It was sin which laid Jerusalem in heaps. It was
sin which has midwifed sword, famine, and
pestilence into the world. It was sin which laid
the foundation of hell—for before sin there was
no hell.

It was sin which crucified the Lord of glory!

Now, oh how great must that evil be—which has
ushered in all these great evils into the world!

Sin is enmity against God. God has no enemy in the
world but sin, and those whom sin has made enemies.
Sin has set all the world against the Lord of glory. It
is sin which has turned men into incarnate devils, and
which has drawn them out to fight against God, and
Christ, and their own souls, and their everlasting peace.

A Christian looks upon sin as the greatest evil in the
world, and his heart rises and is enraged against it,
because of the vile, filthy, odious, and heinous nature
of it!


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


His tender mercies

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

"His tender mercies." Psalm 145:9

"The multitude of His mercies." Psalm 106:45

It is God's free mercy which every day
keeps hell and my soul asunder.

It is God's free mercy which daily pardons my sins.

It is God's free mercy which supplies all my inward
and outward needs.

It is God's free mercy which preserves, and feeds,
and clothes my outward man.

It is God's free mercy which renews, strengthens,
and prospers my inward man.

It is God's free mercy which has kept me many
times from committing such and such sins.

It is God's free mercy which has kept me many a
time from falling before such and such temptations.

It is God's free mercy which has many a time
preserved me from being swallowed up by
such and such inward and outward afflictions.

"Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord." Psalm 119:156

"I will sing of the tender mercies of the Lord forever!"
    Psalm 89:1


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Blessed are the poor in spirit

(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the
 kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

"Blessed are the poor in spirit;" that is—the broken and
humble in heart, who has no high thoughts or conceits of
himself—but is lowly in his own eyes, like a young child.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit;" that is—he who has no lofty
or puffed up spirit. The poor in spirit are those who are lowly,
being truly conscious of their own unworthiness. None are
poor in spirit—but the humble.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit;" that is—blessed are those
whose spirits are brought into such a humble gracious
frame, as willingly, quietly, and contentedly to lie down
in a poor low condition—when it is the pleasure of the
Lord to bring them into such a condition.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit;" that is—blessed are those
who are truly and sincerely sensible of their spiritual
needs, poverty, and misery.
They see an utter inability
and insufficiency in themselves, and in all other creatures
—to deliver them out of their sinful and miserable estate.
They see nothing in themselves
upon which they dare
venture their everlasting estates—and therefore fly to the
free, rich, sovereign, and glorious grace of God in Christ,
as to their sure and only sanctuary!

They see their need of God's free grace to pardon them.

They see their need of Christ's righteousness to clothe them.

They see their need of the Spirit of Christ to purge, change,
and sanctify them.

They see their need of more heavenly wisdom to counsel them.

They see their need of more . . .
  of the power of God—to support them,
  of the goodness of God—to supply them,
  of the mercy of God—to comfort them,
  of the presence of God—to refresh them,
  of the patience of God—to bear with them, etc.

They see their need of greater measures of faith
—to conquer their fears.

They see their need of greater measures of wisdom
to walk holily, harmlessly, blamelessly, and exemplary
in the midst of temptations, snares, and dangers.

They see their need of greater measures of patience
—to bear their burdens without fretting or fainting.

They see their need of greater measures of zeal
and courage—to bear up bravely against all sorts
of opposition, both from within and from without.

They see their need of greater measures of love
—to cleave to the Lamb, and to follow the Lamb
wherever He goes.

They see their need of living in a continual dependence
upon God and Christ—for fresh influences, incomes, and
supplies of grace, of comfort, of strength—by which they
may be enabled . . .
  to live for God,
  to walk with God,
  to glorify God,
  to bring forth fruit to God,
  to withstand all temptations which
tend to lead the heart away from God.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the
 kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3


    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


A worm, a gnat, a fly, a hair, a seed
of a raison, a skin of a grape


(Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know
 what a day may bring forth." Proverbs 27:1

Who can sum up the many possible deaths which are
still lurking in his own body; or the innumerable hosts of
external dangers which beleaguer him on every side; or
the invisible arrows which fly about his ears continually!
How soon he may have his mortal wound given him by one
or another of them—who can tell? Now, how sad would it be
for a man to have a summons to appear before God in that
eternal world, before his heart and life are savingly changed!

The life of a man is but a shadow, a runner, a span, a vapor,
a flower, etc. Though there is but one way to come into
the world—yet there are many thousand ways to be
sent out of the world!


We carry about in our bodies, the material for a thousand
deaths
, and may die a thousand different ways in several
hours. As many senses, as many members, nay, as many
pores as there are in the body—so many windows there are,
for death to enter in at!

Death needs not spend all his arrows upon us. A worm,
a gnat, a fly, a hair, a seed of a raison, a skin of a
grape
, the stumbling of a horse, the trip of a foot, the
prick of a pin, the cutting of a fingernail, the cutting out
of a corn; all these have been to others, and any of them
may be to us—the means of our death within the space of
a few days; nay, of a few hours; nay, of a few moments!

I am sure that the worst of deaths, shall
but translate true believers . . .
  from earth—to heaven,
  from a wilderness—to a paradise,
  from misery—to glory, and
  from mixed and mutable enjoyments—to
the pure and everlasting enjoyments of God!