Grace Gems for MAY 2011

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Should it be according to your mind?

(James Smith, "Important Questions!" 1858)

"Should it be according to your mind?" Job 34:33

We are prone to be fretful, to complain of the dispensations of Divine Providence, and to reflect harshly upon the Lord's dealings with us.

We want our own way.

We wish to carve for ourselves.

We would be treated as God's favorites.

We want our ease, and prosperity, and pleasure, consulted in all things. And if this does not appear to be done — if our wills are crossed, if our schemes are frustrated, if our purposes are broken off — then we stumble, think ourselves badly treated, and look for everybody to sympathize with us.

Under these circumstances, God comes to us — as we sit among our broken cisterns, surrounded by our dethroned idols — and puts this question to us: "Should it be according to your mind?"

Are you wiser than God?

Are you kinder than God?

Are you holier than God?

Are you more just than God?

Are you better informed than God?

May not your mind be dark, or selfish, or foolish?

Should it then be according to your mind?

Should you reign — or God?

Remember that God acts in the highest wisdom; His motives are grace and justice; and all His purposes are worthy of Himself.

The least the Christian can do is to submit — and to prefer God's wisdom, way, and work — to his own. Seeing God has so arranged all events, that all things must work together for the good of His people — they, at least, should daily say, "Father, may Your will be done!"

O my soul, seek grace from God, not only to submit and be resigned to the dispensations of Divine Providence — but to acquiesce in them, and be pleased with the whole of them! Your good is consulted — your best interests are secured; and soon, very soon, it will be seen that infinite wisdom and mercy, grace and goodness, have marked out every step of your road!

"Jesus replied: You do not understand what I am now doing — but someday you will." John 13:7

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How long will you love vanity?

(James Smith, "
Important Questions" 1858)

"How long will you love vanity?" Psalm 4:2

Vanity represents the light, changeable, carnal, and fading things of time. Upon these things, the natural heart is set; around them, the unsanctified affections gather. What a vanity it is to prefer . . .
  human friendship — to divine friendship,
  earthly riches — to Heavenly riches,
  carnal honors — to spiritual honors, and
  the pleasures of a day — to the joys of eternity!

Vanity appears in the intoxicating cup, the mirthful and costly attire, and trifling with God. Surely every worldly man walks in a vain show, like an actor on the stage — and displays the most consummate folly!

Reader! are you in love with vanity? Do you love that which leads from God, keeps Him out of the thoughts, and binds you down to earth? This is vanity! How long will you love it? You have been doing so for years — though warned, convinced, and having promised to reform. You are doing so now, though . . .
   mortality is at work within you,  
   death is very near you,
   Hell is open before you, and
   eternity is within a step of you!

You love vanity, when you may . . .
   obtain divine mercy,
   enjoy peace with God,
   receive sanctifying grace, and
   walk in the way to Heaven.

"How long will you love vanity?" Until . . .
   some sudden stroke takes you away;
   or some affliction puts you beyond the reach of mercy;
   or God's Spirit ceases to strive with you;
   or Satan fills your heart as he did the heart of Judas;
   or God laughs at your calamity?

How long? God your Creator would ask you. "Why will you die?"

Will you carefully consider this question, and give the Lord an answer? Will you tell Him why you prefer . . .
   eternal death — to eternal life,
   sin — to holiness, and
   Satan — to Himself?

"They who observe lying vanities, forsake their own mercy!" Jonah 2:8

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See the cause of my happiness

(James Smith, "My Savior!" 1860)

My soul, meditate for a few moments on what Jesus is to you, and what Jesus has done for you. Look back and glance at the circumstances in which He found you — and the deliverance which He wrought for you.

1. The circumstances in which Jesus found you. Jesus found me out of the way. God by His law had marked out a way in which His creatures should walk — its character was holiness, and its end His glory. But all we like sheep had gone astray, we had turned every one to his own way. We were in the path of death and destruction, and on the way to Hell.

We were not only out of the way — but we were enslaved. We were . . .
  slaves of sin,
  the drudges of the world, and
  led captive by the Devil at his will.

We were diseased — as well as enslaved. We were leprous from head to foot. We had the plague of the heart! The whole head was sick, and the whole heart was faint.

We were imprisoned, as well as diseased. We were shut up in unbelief and sin. Our cell was cold and damp, dark and narrow — and our imprisonment was not merely for a few years — it was forever!

We were dead, though still conscious, and to some things alive. Dead in trespasses and sins.

In this state we were — and we loved it well. We neither desired, nor sought deliverance. Left to ourselves . . .
  we would have wandered on in darkness, until we had perished in our sins;
  we would have continued the slaves of sin and Satan forever;
  our disease would have preyed upon our vitals to all eternity;
  our prison walls would have enclosed us still;
  we would have remained dead in sin,
  we would have suffered all the pangs of damnation forever!

2. The deliverance which Jesus wrought for you. Jesus saved me!

He saved me from the roaring lion, who goes about seeking to devour me!

He saved me from my raging lusts, so that sin shall not have dominion over me!

He saved me from righteous wrath, and I, being justified by His blood, shall be saved from wrath through Him!

He saved me from death, the 'king of terrors,' depriving the monster of his sting, and giving me the victory over him!

He has also saved me from the flaming furnace of Hell — from that lake of fire, and those floods of flame in which the lost must welter forever!

See the cause of my happiness
I have a Savior!

A Savior who is divine.
A Savior who has ever loved me.
A Savior who lived, labored, and died for me.
A Savior who pleads for me before the throne of His Father.
A Savior who is in His Father's house, preparing a place for me.
A Savior who will soon come and receive me to Himself, that so I may be forever with Him! Yes, I have a Savior — one who . . .
  watches over me,
  walks through the wilderness with me,
  and rejoices to do me good.

Reader, have you a Savior?
Can you use these two precious words, "My Savior"?
Have you realized that you were lost?
Have you fled to His cross?
Have you fallen into His arms?
Have you been cleansed by His blood, and clothed in His righteousness?
Do you possess His Holy Spirit?

Make sure work, O make sure work!
Eternity is just at hand!
Death is coming!
Judgment follows!
And then — an eternity of happiness or woe!
Your eternal all depends on having Jesus for your Savior!
No one can save you but Jesus.
No one can . . .
  support you in sickness,
  comfort you in death, or
  give you victory over the grave — but Jesus!

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A most influential sermon!

(James Smith, "Good News for All" 1860)

"You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life,
 and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my
 patience, my love, and my endurance." 2 Timothy 3:10

A holy life is a most influential sermon!

"You ought to live holy and godly lives!" 2 Peter 3:11

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WHY does He love me?

(James Smith, "Loved and Blessed" 1860)

To love, and be loved — is real happiness. Our highest honor, and our sweetest happiness below — is to be beloved of God. For if God loves us — He will withhold no truly good thing from us.

"I will heal their waywardness and love them freely — for My anger has turned away from them!" Hosea 14:4

What will God do for His people? He will love them freely!

He will prefer you to all others — setting His eye and His heart upon you.

He will take you into fellowship — the nearest, dearest, sweetest fellowship with Himself.

He will make you happy with the persuasion of the facts . . .
  that He has loved you with an everlasting love,
  that He delights in His love to you, and
  that He will forever love you freely!

O blessed state — that the great, the infinite, the holy Lord God, will love a worm like me . . .
  preferring me even to the angels;
  indulging me with the freest, sweetest fellowship with Himself;
  and sweetly persuading my soul of His eternal love to me!

WHY does He love me? Just because He will. The cause, the reason — is to be found in His loving heart, and sovereign will alone. Not because I am good, or amiable, or can repay His love — for He loves freely, and fixes His love on the most unlikely and unworthy objects!

How precious the Lord's people are to Him!
Notwithstanding all their unworthiness and sinfulness.
Notwithstanding all their departures from Him, and unkindness to Him.
There is nothing on earth, or in heaven, except His only begotten Son — that is as precious to the heart of God, as His people are!

God's love is always free and unchangeable. Everything outside of God will change — but His love is immutable!

"Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you!" Jeremiah 31:3

Lord, help me to believe the love which You have for me — and to love You in return! O shed abroad Your sweet love in my heart, and fill that heart with glowing love to You!

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I am dying!

(James Smith, "Joseph's Dying Words" 1860)

The words of the dying, are often striking and impressive. We remember them, and derive benefit from them. This has always been the case, especially with the saints of God.

The words of the patriarch Joseph to his brethren, when he was dying, are so peaceful, so prophetic, so encouraging — that I feel inclined to meditate on them a little. His sun was going down in a calm clear sky: all behind was mercy — all before was glory. His brethren are gathered around him to see him depart, and he said, "I am dying. But God shall surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Genesis 50:24.

"I am dying." Death is always solemn. It generally awakens painful reflections. It is often attended with the sweetest joys.

"I am dying," that is, I am about to leave . . .
  the wilderness — for the promised land;
  the strange country — for my pleasant home;
  the field of conflict — for the abode of peace!

"I am dying," that is, I will soon . . .
  heave my last sigh,
  utter my last groan,
  feel my last pain,
  taste the cup of sorrow for the last time!

"I am dying," that is, I am about . . .
  to depart to be with Christ,
  to enjoy the glorious presence of God,
  and to be one with all the glorified forever!

"I am dying," that is, I will soon bid an eternal farewell . . .
  to all my doubts and fears,
  to all my sins and sorrows,
  to all my foes and follies, and
  enter into peace, safety, and perfect holiness!

To me, as a believer in Jesus . . .
  death has no sting,
  the grave has no terrors,
  eternity awakens no alarms!

My sins are pardoned, for His name's sake,
my soul is justified, by His blood, and
my person is in eternal union with His.

To die is gain!

To die is to be perfectly holy and happy!

To die, is simply to go home to my Father's house — to inherit and inhabit the place that Jesus has prepared for me!

"I am dying." Shall I regret it? Shall I dread it? Oh, no! May the Lord give me grace, to hail my dying day with pleasure, and to rejoice in the thought of being absent from the body, and present with the Lord!

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(James Smith, "Looking Upon the Pierced One" 1860)

"He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed!" Isaiah 53:5

If we would enjoy peace, grow in grace, and walk with God — there is one object on which the eye of the mind should be constantly fixed. Therefore it is written, as the language of our crucified Lord, "They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced!" Zechariah 12:10.

Pierced! WHO pierced Him? WE did — and pierced Him to the heart! Nor were we satisfied with piercing Him once — for we have pierced Him often, and pierced Him through and through!
Our unbelief pierces Him;
our ingratitude pierces Him;
the coldness of our love pierces Him;
our forgetfulness pierces Him;
our preferring the world to Him pierces Him;
our disobedience to His Word pierces Him;
and our doubting of His love pierces Him!

It was WE who pierced Him on Calvary!
We put the nails and the hammer into the hands of the executioners!
We put the spear into the hand of the Roman soldier!
Yes, it was we who . . .
  gathered the thorns,
  picked out the sharpest,
  formed them into a mock crown,
  thrust it on His head, and
  with the staff beat the thorns into His temples!

See, see, there He hangs! Pierced in His head, hands, feet, and side — pierced for us — pierced by us!

Look, my soul, at the pierced One!

God's holy Son hangs on that cross!

O my soul, look at Jesus!
He is your Substitute.
He is there for you!
He is suffering death for you!
He is bearing the desert of your sins in His body on the tree!
He is enduring your curse, being made accursed for you!

He is revealing . . .
what is in man's nature,
what is in God's heart, and
what He is willing to do and suffer — rather than I should perish!

Yes, Jesus is there for me!
He represents my person!
He answers for my crimes!
He dies in my stead!

O Savior, was ever any love, was ever any agony, was ever any death — like Yours!

Look, my soul, look to Jesus, the pierced One!

Look, and mourn — because your sins degraded, disgraced, and put Him to grief!

Look, and rejoice, for you shall have . . .
  dignity by His degradation,
  honor by His disgrace, and
  life by His death!

Look, and be sorry that you have ever sinned, and so caused Jesus to suffer!
Look, and rejoice that you shall live forever to glorify and praise His name!

O my soul, Jesus was wounded for your transgressions, and bruised for your iniquities!
His blood has made your peace with God,
His righteousness gives you a title to eternal life,
and His death delivers you from dying!

I fix my eye intently on Jesus on the Hill Calvary, and marking all His tears, wounds, and agonies — I feel that I was the cause of all. I myself did it! Yes, I MYSELF . . .
  bruised Him,
  scourged Him,
  spit on Him,
  crowned Him with thorns,
  smote Him with the fist, and
  nailed Him to the cursed tree!
I inflicted it all.

Yet, O wonder of wonders! I derive pardon, holiness, and eternal life from it!

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God shall surely visit you!

(James Smith, "Joseph's Dying Words" 1860)

"I am dying. But God shall surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Genesis 50:24

"God shall surely visit you." When I can visit my beloved Christian friends no more — God will. He visits all of His children, walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks. When His people meet — He meets with them, whether in public assemblies, or in the social circle.
His church is His garden, in which He takes His pleasant walks.
It is His city, in which He loves to dwell.
It is His family, with which He feels at home.

He visits every individual Christian also.

To the babes — He shows tender care, and nurse-like kindness.

To the young men — He imparts strength and courage.

To the fathers — He opens his heart, and shows them the depths of His infinite love.

To the afflicted — He manifests sympathy.

To the tempted — He affords support.

And to the poor — He brings supplies.

He visits His children . . .
  in the prayer-closet,
  at the family altar, and
  in the house of prayer.

He visits them as they sit around His table, and sing His praise.

He visits them in the valley of trouble — where they sigh and weep.

He visits them when oppressed — to support and set them free.

He visits them in sickness — to comfort and make their bed.

He visits them when they backslide — to restore them.

He visits them in the valley of the shadow of death — to conduct them safely through.

The Lord has visited me at times in the past — and, blessed be His name, He will surely visit me in the future. He will visit . . .
  to sweeten every bitter cup,
  to sanctify every trying dispensation, and
  to enable me patiently to bear every cross.

He will visit, to bring me up out of this land — this land of trial and tribulation, this land of sins and sorrows. His last visit will be the sweetest, as introductory to His eternal presence and glory!

He will surely visit His children — but it may be to bereave. It may be to remove some idol. Or it may be, to strip me of something which encumbers and hinders me in my journey.

He will visit, and His visits will be in mercy — whether He comes . . .
  to commend — or reprove;
  to comfort — or grieve;
  to give — or take away;
  to clothe — or strip;
  to fill the mouth with songs — or the eyes with tears!
Our prayers call for mercies, and our sins call for stripes — and He will surely answer our call.

Blessed, forever blessed, be His holy name . . .
  for every visit He has paid me,
  for every loving look He has given to me,
  for every sweet word He has spoken to me, and
  for every blessing He has conferred upon me!

And now, O Lord, visit me often, stay with me long — and manifest Yourself to me more fully, and more gloriously than you have ever done! Especially visit me when on the bed of sickness, and in the hour of death, when I am descending into the grave, that land of darkness and corruption! Then, then let me hear the voice of mercy saying, "God shall surely visit you, and bring you out of this land!"

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Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!

(James Smith, "Good News for All" 1860)

"Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!" Psalm 55:6

The trials of a believer are often severe. Many a storm has he to endure, many a river to ford, and many a fire to pass through — in his way home to the promised land. Little did the Christian think, when he first stepped into the liberty of the gospel — that there were such rough roads, dark nights, and terrible storms before him; but, more or less, every traveler to Mount Zion must experience them. It is generally found to be a rough road, which leads to the celestial city. Many a Christian has found his courage fail him, and his heart misgive him, on his way home.

The darkness is sometimes so dense,
the cross is at times so heavy,
the disappointment is at some seasons so great —
that the stoutest heart quails, and unites with the timid spirit, in exclaiming, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!"

These trials are necessary, to . . .
   try our sincerity,
   exercise our graces, and
   render the promises sweet and precious.

When all goes smooth, and everything is pleasant . . .
  we attach but little importance to the promises,
  have little power in prayer, and
  are too apt to over-value ourselves.
But trying times . . .
endear the throne of grace,
   strip us of pride and self-importance,
   and strengthen our trust in Jesus.

Never is Christ so precious — as in times of peculiar trial. Never is the Bible so valued — as in the day of trouble and distress. The wilderness with its barren burning sands, its storms and tempests, its dangers and its difficulties — endears the promised land; and makes the pilgrim occasionally to cry out, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!"

Rest! O how sweet is the thought of rest — to the weary, way-worn, exhausted traveler! Rest! O how sweet is the thought of rest — to the afflicted, tried, and tempted Christian! He most generally thinks of Heaven as a place of rest:
   rest from suffering,
   rest from sorrow,
   rest from toil, and
   rest from conflict.

Rest with Jesus.

Rest in the home of God.

Rest, perfect and perpetual rest.

Peaceful and glorious rest.

We have the foretastes of it occasionally now, which makes us at times long for its fullness and perfection. Like the grapes of Eshcol, which when tasted, stimulates us to hasten across the wilderness, that we may take possession of the promised land; so the inward calm, the secret repose, the rest at times enjoyed in the soul — urges us on, and makes us cry out, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!

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Going to hell in a more devout manner!

(Thomas Watson, "The Upright Man's Character")

"You desire truth in the inward parts." Psalm 51:6

Sincerity is of utmost importance to a Christian. It is the sauce which seasons piety and makes it savory. Sincerity is the jewel that God is most delighted with.

To speak plainly — all our pompous show of holiness, without this soul of sincerity to enliven it — is but 'pious folly'. It is but going to hell in a more devout manner than others!

"My son, give Me your heart." Proverbs 23:26. If the heart is for God, then our tears, our alms — all are for God.

A godly man does not have two hearts — a heart for God, and a heart for sin.

God loves a broken heart, not a divided heart.

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O the wonders couched in electing love!

(James Smith, "God's Special Treasure" 1860)

"For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth — the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure!" Deuteronomy 7:6

God highly prizes His people. Yes, it is impossible to say how highly He prizes them. Those are wondrous words, "For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own special treasure!" Psalm 135:4

Did the shepherd prize his flock? God calls His people, "His flock, His beautiful flock."

Does the miser prize his wealth? God says of His people, "You shall be a special treasure unto Me above all people; for all the earth is mine."

Does the prince prize his jewels? God says of His people, "They shall be Mine, in that day when I make up My jewels!"

Does the bridegroom prize his beloved and dearly purchased bride? It is written, "As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride — so shall your God rejoice over you!"

Does the reigning monarch prize his crown? God has said, "You shall be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God."

What wondrous love, such expressions as these represent! How precious must the Lord's people be to Him! Truly they are His special treasure!

God CHOSE them to be special unto Himself. He chose them out from among others. He chose them in preference to others.

He chose them out from others, on purpose that they may be a special people unto Himself. And in so doing, He acted FREELY. It was not on account of anything He saw in them, or on account of anything He expected from them; but in the exercise of His most free and holy sovereignty — He chose them to participate in the glory of His Son!

In choosing them, He acted also DELIBERATELY. It was no hasty choice. His thoughts had been eternally filled with them. His heart had been eternally set upon them. Therefore He chose them in Christ before the foundation of the world!

In choosing them, He acted WISELY — as He really desired to have them. For each one of them is ready to confess that if God had not chosen them — that they would never have chosen Him! The nature regulates the choice; and as our nature is carnal and impure — we would never have chosen God, who is spiritual and holy.

His choice was just an early expression of His LOVE. The love which chose them — would do anything for them, and give anything to them! Therefore God spared not His own Son — but delivered Him up for them all; and in so doing, gave them the assurance that He will also freely give them all things in Christ.

O the wonders couched in electing love!

This act of choosing such creatures as we are, to be a special people unto Himself, displays . . .
  such grace,
  such condescension,
  such infinite wisdom and love!

God's election says, "The Lord loves you!" Loves us! Yes, and with a love that is eternal, immutable, sovereign, infinite, and free! All the love of God is lavished upon us as His special people in Christ. Oh, those wondrous words of Jesus, "You have loved them — even as You have loved Me!" John 17:23

But few among the worldly wise,
But few of nobler race,
Obtain the favor of Your eyes,
Almighty King of grace!

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Tell them that their poor brother is in flames — tormenting flames, inextinguishable flames!

(James Smith, "The Lost Soul's Request!" 1860)

"I beg you, father Abraham — send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment!" Luke 16:27, 28.

Observe the object of the rich man's solicitude — his "five brothers." They were perhaps younger than himself, though it is probable that he was comparatively young.
They were still in the bright land of hope — and he was in the dismal region of despair!
They were still under the kind reign of mercy — and he was under the iron rod of justice!

He feared for them — for he knew in what state he had left them!

He feared for them — lest they should persevere in sin, and at length come to the same place of torment! He most ardently desired their salvation, and that they might escape the sure wrath that is coming. He despaired of their salvation by ordinary means, and therefore he petitioned that Lazarus may be sent — that he might testify to them.

Look at this lost soul in Hell — he remembers his brethren, and begs:
"Send Lazarus to my brothers! Lazarus is no longer a poor, ulcerated beggar — he will make a fit and suitable preacher! They know that he is dead. They will be greatly affected by his appearance among them, and by the change that has taken place in him. O, send Lazarus, and let him bear testimony to the reality of this place of torment — to the certainty of all impenitent sinners coming here, however rich or distinguished they were on earth. Let Lazarus testify as to the nature of this place of torment, and tell them that their poor brother is in flames — tormenting flames, inextinguishable flames! Tell them that I am denied one solitary drop of water, or anything which will in any way alleviate my dreadful sufferings! Let him assure them . . .
  that Hell is real,
  that the punishment is most intense,
  that the sufferers are immortal,
  that annihilation is a fiction, and
  that deliverance from this fearful agony is impossible!
Let, O let him tell them, that once here, they are here forever! Forever! Forever!
And, O let him warn them of the folly, the madness — of neglecting the soul and its salvation. Let him testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment! It is possible. It is probable. It is certain — if they live and die in sin as I did!"

That poor wretch dreaded their coming there, for if anything could add to his torments — it would be to see his own brothers under the same condemnation, in the same horrid place of punishment! He also dreaded it, as most probably by his own example, and by his influence — he had hardened them in sin, and encouraged them in their ungodly course. It would therefore be an aggravation of his woe, and cause the flame that tormented him to blaze more fiercely — to see their eternal sufferings as his own fault.

It must be dreadful — to be the cause or the occasion of another's soul being lost forever, and to have the sufferings of that soul constantly before our eyes!

O what a terrible thing, the exercise of a strong memory in Hell must be!

Reader! How is it with you? Inquire, inquire diligently, I beseech you! Is there any, even the most remote probability of your being sent into that place of torment? Think . . .
  of being tormented in flames of fire,
  of being tormented without the least alleviation,
  and of being so tormented forever and ever!

Think of going directly from the bright land of hope — to the dismal regions of despair!

Think of going from a land of light, of Bibles, of the means of grace — to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire!

Is not the thought dreadful!

If Hell was to be the doom of your greatest enemy — would you not try to prevent it? What if it should be the doom of your brothers, your sisters, your husband, your wife, your father, your mother! Can you admit the possibility, without being determined to leave no means unused, which would be likely to prevent so fearful a calamity?

But what if Hell should be the destiny of your own soul? What if it should! It will be your certain doom — if you die unconverted. Perhaps there are some now in Hell, once related to you — who are now concerned for you. Are you as much concerned for yourself?

Christian! Have you not some dear ones on the road to Hell — for whom you should be especially concerned?

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The sanctification of the Spirit

(James Smith, "The Great Comforter" 1858)

"God has chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit." 2 Thessalonians 2:13

To sanctify, is to separate and set apart for holy purposes and holy uses. The Lord has separated His people, by choosing them in Christ to be holy; and He sanctifies them now for Himself — by the power, operation, and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

In sanctification, a work is commenced which is to make us exactly like Christ. A sanctified person has . . .
  his heart changed,
  his will renewed,
  his understanding enlightened,
  his conscience purified, and
  his affections spiritualized.

Sanctification extends to the whole man, soul and body; and is carried on through . . .
  the Word,
  the ordinances, and
  the providence of God.

Sanctification has its seat in the heart; but it regulates the whole man, and appears in his conduct in every-day life. If a man experiences the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, then . . .
  sin grieves him,
  Satan tries him,
  the world troubles him,
  and Heaven attracts him.

Spirit of Jesus, sanctify us deeply, thoroughly — that we may be just like Jesus! Sanctify us . . .
  by every trial,
  by every affliction,
  by every privilege,
  by every comfort!

~  ~  ~  ~

We soon grow dull, cold, lifeless, and inactive!

(James Smith, "The Great Comforter" 1858)

"It is the Spirit who quickens; the flesh profits nothing." John 6:63

All real religion begins with the quickening of the Spirit. When we experience this . . .
  we begin to breathe after spiritual things;
  we open our eyes in a new world;
  we hunger and thirst after righteousness;
  and at length taste that the Lord is gracious.
We then have . . .
  new thoughts,
  new desires,
  new hopes,
  new fears,
  new joys, and
  new sorrows.
The eye fixes on Christ,
the heart goes out to Christ, and
the chief desire of the soul is to be like Christ.

The Spirit not only quickens us at first — but all through life we need and are dependent on the Spirit's quickening. He quickens us to pray, and He quickens us in prayer. It is His quickening which puts . . .
  life into our graces,
  energy into our prayers,
  confidence into our expectations, and
  enables us to resist Satan, steadfast in the faith.

If His quickening power is withheldwe soon grow dull, cold, lifeless, and inactive! We have . . .
  no power in prayer,
  no enjoyment in ordinances,
  no liberty in speaking to the saints,
  nor profit in reading God's Word.
Every duty becomes a task,
every privilege becomes a burden, and
every cross appears insupportable!

While under the quickening operation of the Spirit — we can do all things; but without His quickening — we can do nothing.

Often, very often, have we to cry out from bitter experience, "My soul cleaves unto the dust; quicken me according unto Your Word!" Psalm 119:25

Quickening Spirit, daily quicken my soul!

~  ~  ~  ~

The OFFICES of Christ

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

If we look at the OFFICES of Christ — it endears Him to our hearts.

He is a PROPHET, to . . .
  instruct the ignorant,
  lead the blind, and
  make the foolish, wise.
He . . .
  unfolds the Father's mind,
  opens the everlasting covenant,
  and teaches all His people to profit.

He is a PRIEST, to . . .
  atone for the guilty,
  reconcile those who are enemies, and
  intercede on behalf of transgressors.
He . . .
  satisfies justice,
  magnifies mercy, and
  brings a holy God and polluted sinners into an honorable union.

He is a KING, and as such He . . .
  receives the discontented,
  rules over innumerable penitent criminals,
  and defends all His subjects from danger.
His power is omnipotent,
His resources are boundless,
His government is peaceful, and
all the statutes of His kingdom are wise, merciful, and just.

He is also our husband — who loves, cherishes, and honors His beloved blood-bought bride. He . . .
  loves her as He loves Himself,
  treats her with unutterable kindness, and
  will allow nothing to separate her from His love.

This causes us to sing:
"Jesus my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
  My Prophet, Priest, and King,
  My Lord, my life, my way, my end,
  Accept the praise I bring!"

~  ~  ~  ~

The garment which the Savior always wore

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

HUMILITY is a most precious grace — it is filled with beauty, loveliness, and glory. This is the garment which the Savior always wore. This is the grace which gave such a charm to all that He did and said. It is one of our best garments, and without it the soul is generally naked. "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another." 1 Peter 5:5.

For lack of humility — the Church is rent and torn with divisions. For lack of humility — believers bring many trials and crosses on themselves, and sow the bitter seeds of trouble and remorse.

If I were truly humble, I must be happy, for it is with such Jehovah dwells: "For this is what the high and lofty One says — He who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and humble in spirit." Isaiah 57:15. To such He looks with esteem, love, and delight: "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My Word." Isaiah 66:2.

"I hate pride and arrogance!" Proverbs 8:13. Pride is . . .
  most loathsome to God,
  injurious to men, and
  a stronghold of Satan within us.

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble!" James 4:6. He keeps the proud at a distance, and will not allow them to approach him: "Though the Lord is great, He cares for the humble — but He keeps His distance from the proud!" Psalm 138:6. He threatens them with everlasting destruction. "The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished!" Proverbs 16:5

Lord, give me true humility, and let me be clothed with it from day to day!

~  ~  ~  ~

O sad spectacle of misery, grief, and woe!

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

"Jesus came to take away our sins!" 1 John 3:5

Here notice the end of His coming: "To take away our sins!"

Our sins were committed against Himself.
They deserved His everlasting displeasure.
They called aloud for His vengeance to awake and punish us.
He foresaw the whole of them — in all their variety, enormity, and aggravation. He knew that they would be sins against His law, His love, and His tenderest mercy — sins against light, out of bitter enmity, and perpetrated over and over again. He knew the whole amount of our vileness — and yet (Oh, the greatness of His love!) "Jesus came to take away our sins!"

Sin had . . .
  incensed Divine justice against us,
  exposed us to Jehovah's wrath, and
  brought us under the dreadful curse of His violated law.

Therefore Jesus came and took away our sins, and at the same time . . .
  satisfied the claims of divine justice,
  appeased the Father's wrath,
  and bore our curse Himself!

O wondrous love!

O marvelous grace!

O astonishing mercy!

But more wondrous, more marvelous, more astonishing — is Jesus Himself — who did this for us, and did it freely, without solicitation, or anything in us to induce Him to do it!

But how could Jesus take away our sins? "God made Him to be sin for us."
He bore the weight of them,
He endured their merited punishment,
and He suffered the shame they procured.

He was . . .
  despised by men,
  tormented by devils,
  smitten with the sword of divine justice,
  forsaken by His Father,
  mocked by His creatures,
  overwhelmed with grief,
  torn with anguish, and
  His heart was broken with reproach and agony
 — all for a poor, sinning, sorrowing, Hell-deserving creature like me!

Sin lay upon Him,
the wrath of God was endured by Him,
the most fearful terrors surrounded Him,
Heaven, earth, and Hell, appeared as though leagued against Him!
Men grossly insulted Him,
devils tried all in their power to destroy Him,
and God was pleased to bruise Him, and then leave Him to languish in heart-breaking sorrow.

O sad spectacle of misery, grief, and woe!

Was there ever sorrow, like unto Your sorrow?

Was there ever love, like unto Your love?

You might have sat upon Your throne, enjoying Your own glory, happiness, and felicity forever — and have justly left us to perish in our sins, and suffer for our own transgressions! But no, you would be Jesus — you would save Your people from their sins! You would come to take away our sins, though in so doing — justice took away Your honor, happiness, and life. You would not leave us to perish — but You would put away our sins by the sacrifice of Yourself. You have . . .
  turned away Jehovah's wrath,
  cast all our sin into the depths of the sea, and
  bore our punishment in Your own body on the tree!

Indeed Your love is astonishing, inconceivable, and almost too great for my weak faith to believe!

Dear Lord Jesus, You are exactly what I need — and You are all that I need. Your love will be . . .
  a sufficient portion in life,
  a divine cordial in death, and
  an ocean of felicity in which to bathe forever!

To see Him, love Him, and extol Him — is the Heaven of every saint.

He is . . .
  sweeter than honey,
  more pleasant than the light, and
  more precious than life itself!

To know Him — is to be truly wise.
To live upon Him — is to be happy.
To walk with Him — is to be holy.
To look to Him, expect from Him, and cast all our cares upon Him — is to honor Him.

~  ~  ~  ~

What a delightful and astonishing thought it is!

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

"Since you were precious in My sight — you have been honorable, and I have loved you."  Isaiah 43:4

What marvelous grace is here!

What a delightful and astonishing thought it is — that such poor, vile, rebellious creatures — should be precious to the infinite, holy, and eternal Jehovah!

That He should delight in us! (Isaiah 62:4)

That He should shed His precious blood for us! (1 Peter 1:19)

That He should work precious faith in us! (2 Peter 1:1)

That He should make precious promises — to support, supply, and comfort us! (2 Peter 1:4)

That He should render Christ precious unto us! (1 Peter 2:7)

That He should indulge us with a knowledge of His thoughts, and make them precious to us! (Psalm 139:17)

That He should call us His precious children!

Well may we exclaim with David, "What am I — that You should be mindful of me?"

~  ~  ~  ~

The great object of our lives!

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

To exalt the Lord Jesus,
to comfort His beloved people,
and to benefit our fellow-men —
should be the great object of our lives.

For this purpose we were . . .
  chosen by the Father,
  redeemed by the blood of the Son,
  and are sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

To accomplish this end . . .
  grace is given us,
  gifts are conferred upon us,
  and life is continued to us.

We only live consistently — as we live for the benefit of others. No Christian should make SELF his main end; therefore the Apostle says, "No one should seek his own good, but the good of others." 
If we are influenced by the grace of God,
if we study to commend ourselves to God,
if we are ruled by the Word of God —
our principal object will be, to "do good unto all men, especially unto the household of faith."
Upon this, we shall keep the eye steadily fixed,
toward this, we shall bend all our energies, and
upon this, we shall habitually set our hearts.

~  ~  ~  ~

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

"I have set the Lord always before me!" Psalm 16:8

With the Lord always before us . . .
  our faith will be strong,
  our hope will be vigorous,
  our humility will be deep,
  our penitence will be abiding,
  our evidences will be satisfactory,
  and our example will be bright!

Let us, therefore, set the Lord always before us . . .
  to meditate upon His love, grace, and goodness;
  to admire His holiness, condescension, and patience; and
  to commune with Him, as our Friend and loving Father, from day to day.

Then we shall not . . .
  fear men,
  dread death, or
  be alarmed at the convulsions that take place in our world!
Our confidence will be strong,
our peace will flow like a river, and
our righteousness like the waves of the sea.

It is when we take the eye off the Lord, and look into SELF — that . . .
  our doubts, fears and unbelief, arise and work,
  Satan gains an advantage over us, and
  the world fascinates or frightens us!

Let us, therefore, look . . .
  out of self,
  away from the world,
  above our trials —
and look simply to Jesus!
This is the way to . . .
  enjoy peace,
  grow in grace, and
  abound in every good work.

Let us look away from sin — to Jesus making atonement for it!

Let us look away from guilt on the conscience — to Jesus as bearing the iniquity of our holy things before the Lord!

Let us look away from imperfect duties deserving punishment — to His magnificent righteousness!

Let us look away from our cold hearts and lifeless prayers — to His constant and all-prevalent intercession!

We shall never maintain . . .
  peace in our consciences,
  evenness in our walk, or
  consistency in our lives —
but as we keep the Lord always before us!

Therefore . . .
if we wish to be happy,
if we desire to be holy,
if we would die in peace —
let us look simply, only, always, and in everything — to Jesus!

O Savior, may I set You before me as. . .
  my fountain of supply,
  my source of comfort,
  my rock of strength,
  my way of salvation,
  and my bright example!

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!" Hebrews 12:2

~  ~  ~  ~

And then the Lord puts us into the furnace!

(James Smith, "Light for Dark Days" 1855)

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows!" John 16:33

Every Christian should expect a daily cross
  something to try his graces,
  something to render the promises necessary,
  something to make the throne of grace desirable.

We are promised trouble in God's Word,
all the saints have found trouble in this life,
trouble will be our portion to the end of our days.

Here on earth, we have no abiding city. Here we are but travelers and pilgrims, and must, therefore, expect that every day will furnish something new to make us hasten home.

This was David's experience. He would never have prayed as he did, written as he did, or been useful as he has been — but for his trials! He found . . .
  the Lord to be faithful,
  grace to be sufficient, and
  deliverance in the most suitable season.
Hence he says, "In the day of my trouble, I will call upon You; for You will answer me!" Psalm 86:17

Here is a gloomy anticipation: A "day of trouble." The believer and trouble are seldom far apart, or long apart. We are born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards. Whichever way we look — we see a source of trouble!

If we look into the heart — its depravity, deceitfulness, and wickedness is a fruitful source of trouble. If we look to the different faculties of the soul — all combine to trouble us!

Our memories — how ready to receive, retain, and produce evil, even profanity — and how backward to receive, keep, or produce what is spiritual and good. Scripture is soon forgotten — while anything which we would gladly forget, seems to be imprinted on the mind, and is produced in order to distress us.

The will — how perverse and stubborn, how often does it run out after that which is carnal, forbidden by God, and injurious to us!

The affections — how easily are they impressed with earthly things, and set upon what is vain and worldly.

The conscience — how weak, how hard, how often polluted.

If we turn from ourselves, to our families — children dead in sin; and carnal, earthly-minded relations — such are causes of trouble.

If we look at the world, whether it smiles or frowns — it is an enemy to our God, and us, and a prolific source of trouble.

If we look at the church — what a source of trouble is this!
Instead of love — there is jealousy.
Instead of peace — there is conflict.
Instead of union — there is division.
Instead of brotherly kindness — there is envy.
Instead of charity — there is an unforgiving spirit.

Here is a good purpose: "I will call upon You." The Lord kindly invites us to call upon Him in trouble — and promises that He will deliver us. Every trouble, rightly understood, is an invitation from the Lord to call upon Him! We are apt to get cold and indifferent — and then the Lord puts us into the furnace — which warms and quickens our hearts. Our best prayers have generally been offered up in times of trouble. In trouble, we feel that we must pray — or sink! Oh, what a mercy to have a God to go to, in every trouble! A God who invites, promises, and will bless us!

The day of our trouble — should be a day of special prayer.
Trouble burdens the heart — prayer eases it.
Trouble disturbs the heart — prayer quiets it.
Trouble perplexes the heart — prayer guides it.

Here is sweet encouragement: "You will answer me." It is sweetly encouraging to know that God will . . .
  listen to us,
  sympathize with us,
  and answer us,
in our many trials and sorrows.

We may argue the certainty of the Lord's answering us, from His great mercy towards His children. Divine mercy has . . .
  a quick ear,
  a piercing eye,
  a tender heart,
  a full hand, and
  a swift foot!
When mercy hears a poor sinner crying — she always attends, sympathizes with him, and answers. While God remains plenteous in mercy and delights in mercy — we need not fear a refusal to our prayers!

Even if the furnace should be heated seven times hotter — still we have His promise, "In the day of my trouble, I will call upon You; for You will answer me!"

What sweet encouragement is here!

~  ~  ~  ~

Prone to wander!

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

"My people have wandered, and have forgotten their resting place." Jeremiah 50:6

Even true Christians are prone to wander from their resting place. Every sinner is a wanderer, and while sin dwells within us — we shall always feel a disposition to wander. This is against our better judgment, our solemn profession, and our new nature — yet still there is the disposition to wander, and it is called into exercise by a variety of things:

1. A love of novelty — a desire to see, possess, or enjoy something new — will sometimes set us wandering.

2. The weakness of our graces, as faith, hope, and love — is at other times the occasion of it.

3. The power of corruption within us, which at times works with peculiar force and power — makes us restless.

4. The temptations of Satan, which beguile, bewilder, and captivate us — lead us from our resting-place also.

5. And so do the errors that abound and spread all around us.

False views, Satanic temptations, powerful corruptions, and the weakness of grace — are the principal things which lie at the root of our backslidings.

Reader, are you a restless wanderer?
If so, return, return unto Jesus.
Go to Him, and confess your sins.
Go to Him, and entreat His pardon.
Go to Him, and prove the kindness of His heart.
Go to Him, and be happy once more in His grace and love.

O Savior, bring me back from all my wanderings by Your invincible grace; let me enjoy rest in Your precious love, and keep me near Your loving heart and bleeding side forever!

~  ~  ~  ~

God's perfections and glorious attributes!

(James Smith, "The Way to Be Happy" 1855)

"The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress!" Psalm 46:7

"If God is for us — who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

Who can prevail against us? Who can really injure us? Let us daily think of God's glorious perfections — and view them as engaged for us at all times.

His power is engaged to support, defend, and strengthen us.

His omniscient eye is constantly upon us — watching over us for good.

His omnipresence is our safeguard from all our foes — for no one can come and find our God absent from us.

His justice and righteousness shine in all His dealings with us — and are like lofty mountains round about us.

His holiness shines in all His purposes and plans — and forbids the thought that He will act unsuitably towards us.

His mercy is ever great towards us — and by it He sympathizes with us in all our sorrows, griefs, and woes.

His goodness will constantly supply us — and is sufficient to fill us with admiration and astonishment.

His truth renders certain — every promise He has given and recorded in His Word.

His immutability bears us up and bears us on — confirming our faith and hope in His Word.
His wisdom frustrates the designs of our foes — and arranges and manages all for our welfare.

His eternity is the date of our happiness — and the duration of our unspeakable blessedness!

Here is enough to . . .
  engage our thoughts,
  overflow our minds, and
  forever fill us with adoration and praise!

What a God is Jehovah! And Jehovah, in Jesus — is ours!

How cheering this fact, and what sweet support it yields to the mind — to meditate on God's perfections and glorious attributes — seeing them all in Jesus — and in Him, engaged for our present and everlasting welfare!

What could shake our minds — if we did but firmly believe that God's omnipotence is engaged to defend us to the uttermost?

What could tempt us to commit any known sin — if we were realizing that God's omniscient eye is ever upon us; yes, that God is present with us, and that He is our sin-hating Father?

What could lead us into murmuring and rebellion — if we were fully persuaded that God's holiness and justice are for us, and will shine resplendent in all His dealings with us?

What could lead us to think that our prayers would not be answered, nor our petitions be regarded — if our minds were influenced by the assurance, that God is truth?

How could we believe that He would ever turn against us — if we rightly viewed His immutability?

Or, how could we think that our affairs could be disordered — if we felt satisfied that His wisdom was working for us at all times!

"The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress!" Psalm 46:7

~  ~  ~  ~

The Christian's hope!

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

"The hope which is laid up for you in Heaven" Colossians 1:5

Many Christians have but little in hand — but they have much in hope.
They have little on earth — but they have unsearchable wealth in Heaven!
The present is the worst state they will ever be in. All beyond death — is bright, blissful and glorious!

The Christian's hope consists in both freedom and possession.

The Christian's hope consists in freedom from . . .
  all the pains which we now experience, both in mind and body;
  all the hindrances which are so thickly strewed in our way in this evil world;
  all the fears which now beset, agitate, and harass us, day by day;
  all the forebodings which often make our lives bitter and gloomy;
  all the sins which are now our plague, disease, and torment;
  all our needs, and all possibility of needing — for God will fully supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Oh, what a mercy it will be to enjoy such freedom — and to possess the inward consciousness that it will be enjoyed forever!

The Christian will not only be free from all that is painful and distressing — but he will also possess . . .
  perfect, settled, and everlasting peace;
  sinless faculties and immortal powers with which to serve and enjoy God forever;
  permanent, perpetual, and uninterrupted joy;
  the presence and enjoyment of Jesus — we shall see Him, be with Him, and be like Him;
  ALL that we can consistently wish or desire!

Our hope is laid up for us in Heaven. This betokens . . .
  its excellency — being kept in so excellent a place;
  its certainty and security — no thieves can break through to steal;
  its nature — it is spiritual, holy, Heavenly.

O glorious hope! O blessed prospect! It leaves us nothing to long for — nothing to desire!

What a mercy it is . . .
  when comforts run short,
  when trials press sorely,
  when a dreary winter of affliction sets in —
to remember that we have a priceless inheritance — an inheritance that is kept in heaven for us — pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay!

How this blessed hope should . . .
  quicken our zeal,
  animate our spirits, and
  raise us above fear and despondency.

It is not what we have now — but what we shall have in Heaven — which should affect us.

Our glorious inheritance is vast beyond calculation — it is safe beyond the possibility of failure!

The wilderness will soon be passed, the storms of life will soon subside — and eternal calm and unclouded sunshine, will soon be our happy, endless portion!

All glory to free grace!

~  ~  ~  ~

The gospel

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

"For we know, brethren beloved by God, that He has chosen you — because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction." 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

The gospel reveals . . .
a Savior, in whom we must trust;
a Sovereign, whom we must obey;
a Priest, on whose atonement we must rest;
a Prophet, from whom we must learn;
a Friend, in whose love we must confide;
a Brother, from whom we may expect;
a Father, whose authority we must revere;
an Apostle, whose mission we must copy; and
an Advocate, to whom we must commit our cause.

The gospel . . .
flows from the free love, rich grace, and abundant mercy of our God;
is founded in the Savior's person, mediation, and death;
becomes effectual through the revelation, operation, and application of the Holy Spirit. By it, He begets faith, imparts love, and excites hope; and when accompanied by His blessing — the gospel is received in demonstration and power.

The gospel . . .
produces penitence — and godly sorrow for sin;
begets hatred to sin — and love to holiness;
weans from the world — and wafts the affections to heaven;
makes us zealous for God — and the good of immortal souls;
delivers us from the power of darkness — and translates us into the kingdom of Jesus;
crucifies the flesh — and liberates the spirit;
unites Christians in love — and raises us above the fear of death;
fortifies us against persecution — and makes us rejoice in suffering for Immanuel's name;
humbles the spirit — and dignifies the man;
destroys covetousness — and makes us benevolent;
roots out pride — and implants meekness;
transforms us from the world — and conforms us to God;
begets hatred to impurity — and makes us chaste;
throws down idolatry — and leads us to worship God;
conquers SELF — and exalts Christ;
softens the hard heart — and produces kindness;
delivers from sin, Satan, and the world — and devotes body, soul, and spirit to the Lord.

~  ~  ~  ~

The true church comprises . . .

(James Smith)

The true church comprises . . .
  all who were chosen by the Father,
  all who were redeemed by the Son,
  all who are sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

All whom the Father chose — the Son died to redeem.

All whom the Son redeemed — the Holy Spirit quickens, calls, and sanctifies.

~  ~  ~  ~

Your heavenly Father knows!

(James Smith, "Food for the Soul" 1867)

"Your heavenly Father knows!"
    Matthew 6:32

Yes, believer, your heavenly Father knows . . .
  the thoughts that trouble you,
  the needs that oppress you,
  the sins that grieve you,
  the enemies that oppose you,
  the domestic trials that distress you,
  the financial troubles that bewilder you,
  the shattered nerves which alarm you, and
  the complicated sorrows that cast you down.

He knows — for He is God.
Knowing, He sympathizes with you — for He is your Father.
Being full of paternal sympathy, He will . . .
  strengthen you,
  comfort you, and
  ultimately deliver you!

~  ~  ~  ~

A Curious Meditation

by James Smith, 1855

As I was walking out for exercise in the fields one morning, having been pleading with God to give me some profitable subject for meditation — I suddenly fell into this train of thought, which I afterwards wrote down; and, as it may interest and profit some, it is here inserted.

There are three things which I especially desire:
more communion with God,
more likeness to the Lord Jesus, and
more usefulness to his Church.

There are three things which I deprecate:
the withering of my gifts,
the decay of my graces, and
to become useless in the Lord's vineyard.

There are three things which I dread:
that I should become a proud professor,
that I should become a lukewarm Christian, and
that I should fall into the hands of man.

There are three things which I sometimes wish for (but which God will never grant me on earth):
to be totally free from sin,
to be delivered from a daily cross,
and to be always happy.

There are three things which I feel sure of:
hatred by the world,
opposition by hypocrites, and
love by spiritual believers.

There are three foes which always oppose me:
the world,
the flesh, and
the devil.

There are three friends which will always stand by me:
a peaceful conscience,
the bride of Jesus, and
the Lamb of God.

There are three deaths which have been experienced by me:
a death in sin,
a death to sin,
a death to the law of God.

There are three lives which shall be lived by me:
a temporal life,
a spiritual life, and
an eternal life.

There are three things which burden me:
a body of sin and death,
the opposition I meet with, and
my own ingratitude.

There are three things which support me:
the Father's love,
the Son's redemption, and
the Spirit's work.

There are three things which are a sore trial to me:
an irritable temper,
a flippant tongue, and

There are three things which bring strong consolation to me:
the open fountain of Christ blood,
the promises of God, and
the Savior's free invitation.

There are three things which are especially dear to me:
the Word of God,
the throne of grace, and
the ordinances of the Lord's house.

There are three things lacking in me:
perfect penitence,
entire resignation, and
fervent love.

There are three books which are very useful to me:
the book of nature,
the book of Holy Scriptures, and
the book of my own experience.

There are three teachers which are employed to instruct me:
the Holy Spirit,
a special providence, and
the rod of God.

There are three things which are manifested in me:
the nature of sin,
the power of grace, and
the faithfulness of God.

There are three things which would be greatly useful to me:
more humility,
spiritual wisdom, and
enlightened zeal.

There are three things which characterize me:
poverty, and

Yet, there are three things which may be seen in me:
Christ's strength,
God's grace, and
the Spirit's holiness.

There are three things which are feared by me:
a stiff neck,
a hard heart, and
a presumptuous spirit.

There are three things which are matter of joy to me:
the conversion of sinners,
that my name is written in heaven, and
the glory to be given me at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

There are three things which must be renounced by me:
preconceived opinions,
worldly wisdom, and
natural religion.

There are three things which must be held fast by me:
the Word of truth,
my confidence in God, and
my profession of the gospel.

There are three things which are especially required of me:
to do justly,
to love mercy, and
to walk humbly with my God.

There are three things which are promised to me:
tribulation in the world,
sufficient strength in Jesus, and
eternal life at the end of my course.

There are three things which the Lord observes and approves in me:
the work of faith,
the labor of love, and
the patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a threefold deliverance which is effected for me:
from the dominion of sin,
from the present evil world, and
from my deserved doom.

There are three things which I would trample under foot:
unfounded prejudice,
vain distinctions, and

There are three things which I would aim at daily:
to exalt Christ,
to glorify God, and
to bring sinners to repentance.

There are three things which are still sure to me:
a rough road,
changing experiences, and
safety at last.

There are three things which are behind me:
a wicked life,
a broken law, and
the pit of destruction.

There are three things which are before me:
perfect conformity to Jesus, and
eternal glory.

There are three things which are on my right hand:
Satan to resist me,
the Lord Jesus to save me, and
my own heart set on things above.

There are three things which are on my left hand:
the lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eye, and
the pride of life.

There are three things which I greatly admire:
the Savior's person,
the promises of God, and
the instruments he employs in carrying on his work.

There are three things which much please me:
the doctrines of the gospel,
the witness of the Spirit, and
the light of God's countenance.

There are three things which I delight in:
that Jehovah is my God,
the comfort he imparts to me, and
the riches of glory which are set before me.

There are three things which I hate:
the cant of hypocrites,
the flattery of friends, and
the pride of professors.

There are three things which are good for me:
to draw near to God,
to be afflicted, and
to sing praises unto the Lord.

There are three things which often disgust me:
Satan's temptations,
the powerful working of unbelief, and
the conduct of religious professors.

There are three things which are prescribed to me:
to believe in God,
to love the saints, and
to observe the Lord's ordinances.

There are three things which are too often neglected by me:
diligent reading of the Bible, and
secret prayer.

There are three things which are too deep for me to fully know:
the depravity of my heart,
the devices of Satan, and
the manner of the Spirit's working.

There are three things which I wish to leave with the Lord:
to choose my lot in life,
to fight my battles, and
to supply all my needs.

There are three things which I do not consider worth having:
a form of godliness, without the power,
a name to live, while dead, and
the commendation of the enemies of Christ.

There are three things in which I glory:
the cross of Christ,
my saving knowledge of God, and
the everlasting gospel.

There are three things which have been taken from me:
proud free will,
vain boasting, and
enmity to God.

There are three things which abide with me:
hope, and

I am made up of three men:
corruption — the old man,
grace — the new man, and
the body — the outward man.

I fill a threefold office:
a prophet in the Church of Christ,
a priest before the altar, and
a king anointed to reign with Christ.

I wear a threefold garment:
the righteousness of the Lord Jesus,
the graces of the Holy Spirit, and
the garment of humility.

I have been condemned in three courts — and yet justified in them all:
the court of conscience,
the Church of God, and
the court of God's justice.

I have been justified three times:
at the resurrection of Christ my substitute,
when faith received his righteousness, and
when good works justified my faith before the world.

I am the subject of a threefold sanctification:
by the purpose of the Father,
by the blood of the Son, and
by the cleansing operations of the Holy Spirit.

I am a free man of three cities:
the present world,
the church below, and
the Jerusalem which is above.

I have been an eye-sore to three parties:
the devil,
the world, and
envious professors.

I shall have occupied three peculiar seats:
a dunghill by nature,
among the princes in the Church by grace, and
the throne of glory by special privilege.

I shall have three grand holidays:
one when the Holy Spirit sets my soul at liberty,
another when death sets me free from this mortal clay, and
and another when Jesus comes to be glorified in his saints.

I shall then have appeared in three different characters:
a vile rebel against God,
a supplicating sinner at mercy's footstool, and
a justified son of God before his throne.

I shall have had three fathers:
a human father,
the devil, and
Jehovah himself.

I shall have received three laws:
the law of nature,
the moral law of God, and
the law of the Spirit of life.

I shall have passed through three gates:
the gate of hope,
the gate into Christ's sheepfold, and
the gate of death.

I shall have walked in three ways:
the broad road of destruction,
the highway of holiness, and
Jesus Christ the only way to the Father.

I shall have conversed with three distinct classes of beings:
carnal men,
spiritual Christians, and
the Lord himself.

I shall have made three appearances:
once all black — like the devil,
then speckled — with nature and grace, and
then all pure — whiter than the driven snow!

I shall have undergone three momentous changes:
one at regeneration — when I passed from death unto life,
one at death — when my soul shall be admitted into Heaven, and
one at the resurrection — when my body shall be raised powerful, glorious, and immortal.

I view three things as pre-eminently excellent:
the fear of the Lord,
a sound judgment, and
Christ formed in the heart, as the hope of glory.

There are three things which I may covet:
the best gifts,
a contrite and humble spirit, and
to be filled with all the fullness of God.

There are three things which are removed from me:
the burden of sin,
the wrath of God, and
all condemnation.

There are three things which I do not know:
what is before me,
how God will provide for me, and
what I shall be.

There are three things which I do know:
that in my flesh dwells no good,
that though I was once blind, now I see, and
that I must needs die.

There are three things which are prepared for me:
a fountain to cleanse me,
a robe to adorn me, and
a mansion to receive me.

There are three things which await me:
a crown of righteousness,
a palm of victory, and
a throne of glory.

There are three things which shall be done for me:
God shall wipe away all tears from my eyes,
God shall remove all cause of pain and sorrow from my nature, and
the Lamb in the midst of the throne shall eternally satisfy me.

There are three things which shall never be known by me:
the frown of divine justice,
the curse of holy Jehovah, and
the power of God's anger.

There are three things which are hurtful to me:
carnal ease,
the flattery of professors, and
fullness of bread.

There are three things which benefit me:
affliction, and

There are three things which are pursued by me:
to know more of the Lord,
to live in peace with all men, and
thorough sanctification.

Satan tries to thwart me in three things:
by spoiling my comforts,
hindering my usefulness, and
seeking to devour my soul.

Satan has three things to expect:
to be disappointed of his prey,
to be judged by the saints, and
to be eternally punished for his wickedness.

There are three things which I would never trust:
my own heart,
an arm of flesh, and
my treacherous memory.

There are three subjects which I should never meddle with:
the fall of the angels,
the origin of moral evil, and
how God will justify himself.

There are three things which I cannot understand:
the nature of God,
the cause of my election, and
how divinity and humanity constitute one person.

There are three things which I should often think of:
what I have been,
what I now am, and
what I shall be.

A threefold freedom is granted me:
from the law of God,
from the reign of sin, and
to make use of, and enjoy the Lord Jesus.

I am an heir of three worlds:
the natural,
the spiritual, and
the eternal.

There are three things which will never grieve me:
that I have been poor in this world,
that I have preached the gospel fully, and
that I am related to Jesus Christ.

There are three things which comprise all I wish:
to know God, and glorify him,
to see Jesus, and be like him; and
to be united to the saints, and be eternally happy.

There are three things which shall never be heard by me:
Christ reproaching me,
God disowning me, and
the devils triumphing in my everlasting destruction.

There are three things which shall be eternally enjoyed by me:
the love of God,
the presence of Jesus, and
the company of the saints.

There are three things which will eternally delight me:
to be filled with holiness,
to be employed in praising Jehovah, and
to have gained a complete victory over all my foes.

There are three things which must come down:
the pride of men,
the devil's kingdom, and
the cause of error.

There are three things which will stand:
the house built on the Rock,
the purpose of God, and
the Messiah's kingdom.

There are three things which cannot be removed:
the church of God,
the covenant of grace, and
the kingdom we receive.

There are three things which will stand the fiery trial:
genuine faith,
the Word of God, and
a real Christian.

Lost sinners are like Satan in three things:
their nature,
their employment, and
their end.

Three things make Hell:
the wrath of God,
the stings of a guilty conscience, and
black despair.

Three things prove a man a Christian:
worshiping God in the spirit,
rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and
having no confidence in the flesh.

Three things are never satisfied:
a doubting Christian,
a worldly miser, and
the man of pleasure.

Christ fills three offices:
a prophet — for the ignorant,
a priest — for the guilty, and
a king — for the depraved.

Christ has been in three states:
ancient glory,
deep humiliation, and
merited dignity.

What more shall I say!

If you, reader, are a sincere Christian — do three things daily:
search God's Word,
be much at God's throne, and
be diligent in God's work.

If you are an unconverted sinner — do three things immediately:
believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,
repent of every sin you have committed,
seek the witness and pledge of the Holy Spirit in your heart, so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

~  ~  ~  ~

Christ Exalted!

(James Smith, "Christ Exalted, Saints Comforted, and Sinners Directed" 1855)

If we look at the comparisons which are made use of by the Holy Spirit to set Christ forth — we behold something more of His loveliness.

He is compared to a MOTHER, and is said to have more than a mother's tenderness, kindness, and care.
His concern for His people is constant,
He never loses sight of them for a moment, and
He pledges His Word that He will never forget them!

He is the CITY of REFUGE, with . . .
  the broad and clear road,
  the gates wide open, and
  the hearty welcome awaiting every sinner who approaches to escape the threatened vengeance!

He is the STRONGHOLD, which emboldens, supplies, and secures all the prisoners of hope.

He is the ROCK, which shades, shelters, and refreshes the weary traveler.

He is the DAY-STAR, which betokens brighter scenes, and guides the vessel of mercy across the boisterous deep — to the haven of perfect redemption and safety.

He is the SUN of RIGHTEOUSNESS, whose rising . . .
  cheers the benighted pilgrim,
  makes glad the weary citizen of Heaven, and
  produces moral beauty and fruitfulness in our world.

He is the APPLE-TREE among the trees of the forest . . .
  whose blossoms are beautiful,
  whose shade is refreshing, and
  whose fruit is sweet to the taste.

He is the BREAD of LIFE, which came down from heaven . . .
  satisfying the hungry,
  strengthening the weak, and
  giving life unto the world.

He is the BRAZEN SERPENT, which heals easily, instantly, and perfectly — all who look to Him by faith.

He is the WATER of SALVATION, which . . .
  cleanses the filthy,
  refreshes the weary, and
  makes glad the city of God.

He is the only WAY, which leads from sin, condemnation, and wrath — to life, holiness, and heaven!

He is the HEAD, which thinks, plans, and contrives for the welfare of the whole of His mystical body.

He is the DOOR, which admits to . . .
  the pastures of Divine truth,
  the privileges of His Church below,
  and His Father's glorious presence!

He is the FOUNDATION on which all must build for eternity, and which alone is able to support our hopes and sustain our souls — amidst the wreck of matter and the crash of worlds!

He is the CORNER-STONE, which unites, beautifies, and strengthens the whole building of divine mercy.

He is the TEMPLE, where God . . .
  meets with us,
  accepts us, and
  imparts His blessing to us.

He is the ALTAR, which sanctifies both the gift and the giver.

He is the VINE, which communicates life, nourishment, and fruitfulness to all its branches.

He is the ROSE of SHARON and the LILY of the VALLEY — fragrant, lovely, attractive, perfuming, and unequaled in beauty and grace!

He is the FORERUNNER, who is gone before His flock . . .
  removing the obstacles,
  marking out the road, and
  ready to receive them as they finish their course.

He is the FRIEND . . .
  who loves at all times,
  whose mind never changes,
  whose love never cools, and
  who never neglects a friend in distress.

He is the greatest, best, and most glorious GIFT of GOD — including, securing, and conferring — every good thing upon those who sincerely receive Him.

He is the KINSMAN . . .
  who redeems the forfeited inheritance,
  who ransoms all His poor relatives from slavery,
  and whose name is held in renown.

He is the LAMB of GOD, who took up, expiated, and forever put away — the sins of all who trust in His blood.

He is the MESSENGER of the COVENANT, who . . .
  brings good news from God,
  carries all our requests to God, and
  ever stands as a Mediator between us and God.

He is the PEARL of GREAT PRICE, or the priceless pearl, which . . .
  all who sincerely seek — find,
  all who find — may claim, and
  all who possess — are enriched forever!

He is the PHYSICIAN, who . . .
  heals all disorders,
  restores every patient to perfect health,
  and bestows medicine and care, freely.

He is the RANSOM, which . . .
  procured our release,
  ensures our liberty, and
  preserves us from going down into the pit!

He is the RIGHTEOUSNESS, which . . .
  justifies us from all charges,
  entitles us to eternal life, and
  enables us to lift up our heads with boldness in God's presence.

He is the TRUTH, which . . .
  enlightens the mind,
  purifies the heart, and
  regulates the life.

He is the FIRE, which . . .
  purges our dross,
  brightens our graces, and
  cleanses our consciences from works which deserve death.

He is the SHEPHERD, who . . .
  knows every sheep,
  watches over the whole flock, and
  never loses a lamb, by disease, accident, or beast of prey.

He is the CAPTAIN of SALVATION, who . . .
  collects His soldiers,
  disciplines His troops, and
  leads them forth to certain victory over sin, the world, and the devil.

He is the LADDER, by which we . . .
  rise from this earth,
  lose sight of carnal things, and
  ascend to the presence of God!

He is the SURETY . . .
  who engaged for us in the everlasting covenant,
  who is held responsible for our salvation,
  who has pledged to set us before His father's throne forever.

He is the WALL of FIRE, which surrounds, enlightens and infallibly protects — all His redeemed people!

He is the chief among ten thousand, and the ALTOGETHER LOVELY ONE!

Precious Lord Jesus, allow me . . .
  to know You more fully,
  to trust You more heartily,
  to serve You more diligently,
  to enjoy You more frequently,
  to imitate You more closely,
  to exalt You more highly, and
  to show forth Your salvation from day to day!

Your love — is my heaven,
Your presence — is my delight, and
Your service — is the joy of my heart!

Let me daily . . .
  walk with You,
  work for You,
  and bring glory to You!

Oh, send Your Spirit to my poor heart . . .
  to exalt You,
  to honor You,
  to endear You to my soul!

Use me to bring . . .
  lost sinners to Your cross,
  believers to Your throne of grace,
  backsliders to the path of obedience.

Be my . . .
  strength in life,
  solace in death, and
  eternal portion beyond the grave!

~  ~  ~  ~

The Bitterness of Sin!

by James Smith, 1860

"Your ways and your deeds have procured these things unto you! This is your wickedness — it is bitter, because it reaches unto your heart!" Jeremiah 4:18

Sin is the most dark subject that can engage our attention — but we have become so familiar with it, that it scarcely affects us at all. Not so the Lord — he calls it 'that abominable thing which he hates.' Yes, God hates nothing but sin — and no one, but for sin. God never hated a sinless being — and he never can. If we could get rid of sin, we would have nothing to fear; therefore we bless God that deliverance from sin is promised.

But sin is not only dangerous — it is bitter, and is the prodigious source of all bitterness! Hence the language of the prophet, "It is bitter, because it reaches unto your heart!" Jeremiah 4:18. It is called the root of bitterness. It may appear pleasant at present, and may taste sweet to the depraved palate of the sinner; but as Joab said of war, "It will be bitterness in the end!" Let us therefore think of:

The Bitterness of Sin: Sin is bitter in its NATURE, as it is . . .
a departure from God, the source of all real happiness;
opposition to God
, the giver of all true pleasure;
rebellion against God
, the righteous ruler, who is pledged to punish it;
the degradation of man, who was made in the image of the holy and happy God.

Sin is bitter in its EFFECTS:

Look over the world — all its divisions, confusions, wars, diseases, bloodshed, and cruelties — are but the effects of sin.

Look into families — all the anger, envy, jealousy, enmity, and lack of love — are but the effects of sin.

Look at individuals — all the sufferings of the body, and all the tortures of the soul; all the sorrows of time, and all the agonies of eternity — are but the fruits of sin.

Look at the seeking soul — all his cutting convictions, bitter reflections, stinging remorse, gloomy despondency, and slavish fears — are but the effects of sin.

Look at the believer — all his terrible conflicts, deep depression, gloomy foreboding, and soul-distressing fears — are all the effects of sin.

Indeed whatever is . . .
  dark and dreary,
  distressing and painful,
  alarming and terrible —
is to be traced up to sin!

Every sigh that ever heaved the bosom,
every groan that ever indicated a breaking heart,
every exclamation produced by violent pain
 — all, all are the fruits of sin!

Think of . . .
the millions who have suffered, and are suffering;
the fearful nature and extent of their sufferings;
the agonies experienced on earth;
the horrors endured in Hell — and say,
must not sin, from which all these proceeded, be a bitter thing! But here is:

A Season Assigned: "It reaches unto your heart!"
Sin is not a wound in the flesh — but a disease in the heart!
There it was conceived, there it is nourished, and from thence it flows.

Sin reaches to the heart — and defiles and pollutes it!
Indeed, man's heart is one of the most loathsome and polluted things in God's universe!
There is pollution enough in one human heart, to corrupt and defile the universe!
There is nothing so foul, base, or abominable, in earth or in Hell — but its counterpart is to be found in man's heart!

Sin reaches to the heart — and alienates it from God. It has now . . .
  no sympathy with God,
  no desire to please him,
  no fear of offending him!
Man fears punishment — but he does not fear sin!

Sin reaches to the heart — and distracts it. It has . . .
  no settled peace,
  no holy calm,
  no quiet satisfaction.

The passions are turbulent.

The conscience is defiled.

The will is depraved.

The understanding is darkened.

The memory is a store-house of evil!

Indeed every power and faculty of the soul is injured, perverted, and wrongly influenced — by sin!

Sin reaches to the heart — and damns it! It is condemned already, and if grace does not prevent it — the sentence of condemnation will be executed, and the heart will become the seat of . . .
  the most terrible agony,
  the most torturing pain, and
  the most dreadful despair
 — and that forever!

No lake of fire and brimstone,
no bottomless pit,
no horrible tempest —
can convey to the mind any adequate idea of the horrors of damnation — which are the just desert of sin.

Truly, "it is bitter, and it reaches unto the heart!"

Reader, see how God speaks of sin, your darling sin, that sin which you now value so highly, and enjoy so much: "It is bitter!" Your sin is so bitter, that no tongue or pen can describe it. And what makes it so bitter is that "it reaches to the heart," the seat of life, the source of action, and therefore . . .
  defiles the whole person,
  misdirects the whole life; and
  exposes the whole man to the wrath and curse of God — and to that wrath and curse, forever!

From this bitter root, proceeds . . .
  all the bitter words,
  all the bitter tempers, and
  all the bitter actions —
which make men miserable on earth, and
will make the lost eternally miserable in Hell!

Our one great business therefore, should be to get rid of sin — this root of bitterness! And by faith in the Lord Jesus, which purifies the heart; and by the work of the Holy Spirit, which cleanses and sanctifies the nature — we may get rid of it. Let us therefore seek first, and before anything else — first, and more than everything else — that we may be washed, and sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Holy Spirit, convince us of the bitterness of sin! May it . . .
  be bitter to our taste,
  lead us to forsake it in practice, and
  seek to be delivered from its love and power in our experience!

~  ~  ~  ~

A Child is in the Well!

by James Smith, 1860

My brother sometimes sends me a subject for my pen, and a letter just received from him contains the following account:

"A child is in the well! A child is in the well!" It is now more than fifty years since I heard that cry. It was a terrible scream, and it is as fresh in my memory, as when it was first uttered by that affrighted woman. A boy had been sent by his mother to the well to draw water, and had taken his little brother with him, and while he was engaged in drawing it, the child unperceived by him — was looking down into the well, and fell in! The wonder was that he was not killed in the descent, by striking against the large iron bucket. The excitement was great. The neighborhood was aroused, and all were filled with alarm, as the well was unusually deep. But it happened that a young woman came for water at the very moment, and in her fright she dashed her pitcher to pieces, and screamed out, "A child is in the well! A CHILD IS IN THE WELL!"

This piercing cry reached the ear, and entered the heart of a laboring man, who was at his dinner nearby. He flew to the rescue, and without stopping to consider his danger — descended by the chain, just in time to catch the child, as it was sinking under the water for the third time!

Now all were at work to get the man and the child up in safety, ropes and ladders were procured, and success crowned the efforts of the kind-hearted neighbors. The child was put into the arms of its distracted mother, and the poor man was praised for his kindness and courage.

But who shall say how much depended upon that cry — that tearful scream of a woman, "A child is in the well?" The child's life hung upon that cry. Another minute — and the child would have certainly drowned! But,
"Not a single shaft can hit,
 Until the God of love sees fit!"

The cry of that affrighted woman aroused the man, the man fled to the rescue, the child was saved from drowning — but the hand of God was not seen or acknowledged, until years rolled on! For more than thirty years, that child has been a preacher of the gospel, and has written many useful works. He has been the instrument in the hand of a wonder-working God, of rescuing many poor ungodly sinners from a far deeper well. Through that child, thousands have heard of the name and fame of Jesus, and those thousands have in some way been useful to others, and thus the effect will be felt to the end of time. How much depended on, and resulted from, that scream, "A child is in the well!"

"God moves in a mysterious way,
 His wonders to perform!"

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The above account of my own preservation when but a child, is sent to me as a subject for my pen — but what can I add to it? My heart as swelled with thankful emotions, and my eyes have been moistened with tears of gratitude, while I have been copying it, and I have been ready to exclaim with Leah, "Now will I praise the Lord!" and with David, "I will sing of God's mercy!"

I cannot but admire the wonderful working of divine providence — how perfectly everything is arranged and adjusted. How well all is timed. I do not wonder the godly say that "we are immortal until our work is done," for new proofs of this are constantly arising. Where is the Christian, the laborer in God's vineyard, who cannot find an illustration of this fact in his own experience? I can find more than one in mine.

Some may perhaps reflect upon me for publishing my brother's narrative, and think me deficient in modesty; but I am not a young man now, nor am I so much affected by what my fellow-men say, or write of me — as I once was. If God, either as the God of providence, or grace, can be glorified, by anything I write or publish — it is enough! And surely no Christian can read the above with an unprejudiced mind, without glorifying God.

How near was I to death — yet God intended me to live. How imminent was the danger — and how simple and suitable were the means of preservation. How wondrously God wrought — and yet no one present then, appeared to see his hand, or acknowledge his intervention.

How much often depends upon a trifling action. Take away one link — and the chain falls to pieces. Not one of the above circumstances could have been omitted — or my life would surely have been lost!

The woman must come at the exact moment; alarmed, she must scream at the top of her voice;

the laborer must be eating his meal at home nearby; in his fright, he must do, what if he had waited to reflect, he would have feared to attempt!

But the hand of God was in the whole. "He performs the thing that is appointed for me, and many such things are with him."

What effect should the bringing of this circumstance before my mind at this time, have upon me? I trust it has made me feel grateful, and has led me anew to praise my God, for his wonderful works to men. But this is not enough. I would anew in the most solemn manner dedicate myself — my life so wondrously preserved, with all my powers, talents, and opportunities, to the Lord, and to his glory.

Often have I surrendered myself to my God, and consecrated myself to his glory and praise, and I do so with all my heart and soul, again this morning.

For the Lord — I desire to live;
to promote his cause — I desire to labor;
to bring sinners to Jesus, and to comfort and to edify his people — I desire to make the one grand object of my life.

As the especial care of his providence, as well as the subject of his sovereign and distinguishing grace — I desire to be his, wholly his, only his, and his forever!

Lord, take me anew into your hands, and make me more and more like your beloved Son; not only so — but as you have used me for the good of others, and the glory of your great name — use me yet more extensively, and glorify yourself by me, ten thousand times more than you ever have done yet!

My one undying desire of my soul, is that Christ may be magnified in me, and be glorified by me, both in life and in death. Many years ago, this desire was kindled at the cross, by a sense of the infinite love of Jesus, and nothing has ever been able to extinguish it yet, nor do I believe that anything ever will.

Reader, can you look back upon any hairbreadth escape from death? Can you look back upon a deliverance, not from a well of water — but from the pit of destruction? Can you say with David, "Great is your mercy toward me, for you have delivered my soul from the lowest Hell!" What would deliverance from death be — if we are not delivered from Hell? Of what value would a few years on earth be — if spent in sin, if filled up with worldly pleasure — if the end should be a place in Hell forever?

Blessed be God, he not only saved my life, and delivered me from an early death; but he saved my soul, and condescended to employ me in his vineyard.

Beloved, life without God's favor — life without a saving interest in Christ — life unless it is spent in God's service — is not worthy the name of life. To live, is to have the life of God in the soul! To live, is to have Christ formed in the heart! To live, is to be inhabited by the Holy Spirit, and to be consecrated to God's glory and praise! O to live as Jesus lived! To keep the same end in view, to walk by the same rule, and to do the works he did!

For this, we were redeemed by his blood;
for this, we were called by his grace;
for this, our lives are preserved in the present world, and
for this, his fullness is thrown open to us, and we are invited to make use of his grace.

Holy Spirit, lead us to make more use of Christ, to enjoy closer communion with Christ, and to live, walk, work, and talk, more entirely for the glory of Christ!

Blessed Jesus, accept of us as your own property, fill us with your own sweet Spirit, stamp your lovely image upon us, and use us to exalt your dear name, spread your well deserved fame, and extend your glorious cause!

Father of mercies, God of all grace, receive our praises for your wondrous love, sovereign grace, and special providence! Help us to praise you here on earth, and then take us to praise and bless you eternally in Heaven!