Grace Gems for AUGUST, 2015

Grace Gems for AUGUST, 2015

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The making of a beautiful and happy home!

(J.R. Miller)

A true home
is one of the most sacred of places.
It is a sanctuary into which men flee from the world's perils and alarms.
It is a resting-place to which, at close of day — the weary retire to gather new strength for the battle and toils of tomorrow.
It is the place . . .
  where love learns its lessons,
  where life is schooled into discipline and strength,
  where character is molded.

Few things we can do in this world are so well worth doing — as the making of a beautiful and happy home! He who does this — builds a sanctuary for God, and opens a fountain of blessing for men.

Far more than we know — do the strength and beauty of our lives depend upon the home in which we dwell. He who goes forth in the morning from a happy, loving, prayerful home — into the world's strife, temptation, struggle, and duty — is strongly inspired for noble and victorious living.

The children who are brought up in a true home — go out trained and equipped for life's battles and tasks — carrying a secret of strength in their hearts, which will make them brave and loyal to God, and will keep them pure in the world's severest temptations!

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What can mortal man give to his God?

(Archibald Brown, "What shall I give Him?" 1870)

"What shall I render to the Lord, for all His benefits towards me?"

"What shall I render to the Lord?" Here is a question far easier asked, than answered. I confess that in studying this subject, when I asked my soul this question, and then tried faithfully to answer it, I found myself completely bewildered. I found I had all the desire in the world to render something. But what?

Think for a moment of the possessions of God. What can mortal man give to his God? How can the treasury of the Creator — be enriched by the gifts of the creature? The thought of our God's infinite wealth, makes the question of our text appear next door to an impertinence. Listen but to His own words, "I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine! If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all that is in it!" Psalm 50:9-12

The golden veins of the everlasting hills are His, and the hidden treasures of the vast deep belong to Him. Lift up your eyes on high some starry night, and behold the bespangled skies — every glittering speck you see is a rolling world, and every world is the result of His handiwork. The heavens are but His jewel-case!

Now say believer, what you will lay at the feet of Him who can place His hand upon Heaven, Earth, and Hell, and say, "All is Mine!"

But apart from the possessions of our God, there is another insuperable difficulty to answering the question, and that is our own poverty. It is total poverty talking making a gift to infinite wealth. Ransack your memory, run over your accounts, find out what you possess. What is the sum total? Nothing! Nothing!! Nothing!!! We are miserable bankrupts, not worth a jot. The very bread we eat is the bread of divine charity — and the breath we draw is lent to us. It is utter emptiness, talking of giving to the perfection of fullness. It is the beggar rendering to the benefactor!

If we were able to give Him anything — it would be but rendering to Him what is already His own. What do we have, that we have not first received from God? "Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand!" 1 Chronicles 29:14

The heart's gratitude is all the saint can give in return for divine mercies that are fresh with every hour, and as numerous as the seconds in the day.

But if thanksgiving is good, remember thanks-living is better; therefore let your whole life join in the harmony! Live for Him who died for you! The highest praise that mortal saint can give, is the praise that vents itself in the exclamation, "For me, to live is Christ!"

Give Him your love. Nothing testifies to gratitude so much. Indeed, where love is lacking, no true praise can exist. Do not be afraid of loving Him too much. Do not fear being thought a fanatic, or considered an enthusiast. If you could love Him to a flaming passion — you would not love Him half enough. Give Him your love — He asks for it, and will pardon its weakness.

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If that is religion, may God save me from it!

(Archibald Brown, "
The Way of Cain!" 1870)

Perhaps we have in our midst this evening, some godless professors who are actually soul-murderers!

Parents! any godly impressions your child ever had, have been effaced by your godless life. He has seen you in the sanctuary looking like a saint — and he has followed you home and seen you act like a devil. Under the withering influence of your example, his soul has become ten-fold blighted. When asked to come to Jesus, his answer has been your life. You have encased him in an armor of steel from which all the shafts of conviction glance off. Often he has said, pointing to you, "If that is religion, may God save me from it!" O hypocrites, you have dealt him a murderous blow!

Surely he will fall deepest into Hell, who drags others with him!

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We do not know what is best for us!

(Charles Spurgeon, "A Good Start!")

Suppose that it were now put into the power of each one of us to be rich — I suspect that the most of us would be eager to avail ourselves of the opportunity. And yet few would consider whether it would be best for us to have the burden of wealth.

It is a question whether some people, who live godly where they now are — would be half as good, or a tenth as happy — if they were lifted to wealth. I have seen choice men drivel under the influence of luxury.

We do not know what is best for us!
It is sometimes very much better for us to suffer loss and disappointment — than to obtain wealth and prosperity!

How often our calamities are our preservatives! A lesser evil may ward off a greater one. Many a man might have soared into the clouds of folly — if his wings had not been clipped by adversity.

Agur's prayer, "Give me neither poverty nor riches," was a wise one.
But our Lord's is still better, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

"All these things shall be added unto you," and the measure of the addition shall be arranged by infallible wisdom. Temporal things shall come to you in such proportion as you yourself would desire them — IF you were able to know all things, and to perform a judgment according to infinite wisdom. Would you not prefer a lot selected by the Lord — to one chosen by yourself? You may joyfully sing with the Psalmist, "You shall choose my inheritance for me!"

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you!" Hebrews 13:5

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The last pang, and groan, and tear!

(John Angell James, "Afflictions")

The Christian looks to the end of afflictions! The end may sometimes come in this world. In reference to this, the utmost that the believer can be sure of, is that afflictions will end in God's time.

They may last for his whole life.
The sickness which afflicts his body may be unto death!
The trial which beclouds and distresses his spirits — may be his lot for life!
The loss which he has sustained may be irreparable — and he may go down to the grave in poverty.
But on the other hand, they may not! God may be bringing him "through fire and through water, to bring him out into a wealthy place."

The Christian leaves this in the hand of God, and endeavors to maintain a hope which shall save him from despondency — checked at the same time by a reverence that guards him from unwarranted presumption.

But if the end of the trial does not come in this world — it will come in the next world — when they will not only forever cease, but leave an eternal blessing behind! "I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!" "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!" Four things are set forth in these passages:

  1. Our afflictions will have a termination! This is sweet. They are to end — they are not to last forever! The last pang, and groan, and tear are at hand — and how near the Christian never knows!

  2. Our afflictions are not to end like those of the brute creation — in the grave merely — but in Heaven! The last pang, and groan, and tear are to usher in that blessed state of which it is so beautifully said, "The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters — and God Himself shall wipe away all tears from their eyes!" Heaven shall terminate all the afflictions of the righteous!

  3. Heaven is so glorious, that the first view of its scenes, and the first moment of its enjoyment — shall make amends for the longest life of the most protracted and intense sufferings!

  4. The sufferings of our earthly pilgrimage — will enhance and increase the felicities of Heaven!
Their submissive endurance;
the graces which they call into exercise;
the sanctification which they promote;
the heavenly temper which they cultivate —
will be the means of ripening the spirit, and making it fit for its eternal inheritance!

Every tear that is shed,
every groan that is heaved,
every loss that is sustained,
every moment of suffering that is endured,
every disappointment that is experienced, which is borne with patience, with resignation, with unwearied holiness — will not only be followed with millions of ages of ineffable felicity — but will prepare the soul for its enjoyment, and add something to its weight and its luster!

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My pardon cost Him that!

(Archibald Brown, "
Who is a Pardoning God Like Thee?" Stepney Green Tabernacle)
"Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us. You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea!" Micah 7:18-19

Before God could forgive a sinner in accordance with His infinite holiness and perfect justice — think what had to be done, sacrificed, and suffered! Measure God's pardon, by the obstacles His pardoning love overcame — and then you can form some idea of its intensity.

God has fathomed His love and pity in one text, "God SO loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." That little word "so" contains more than Heaven or earth can describe. In it, is the heart of God; in it, is the depth of pardoning love. O think for a minute what that pardon cost, which now makes your soul sing for joy. You received it freely enough, because Another paid the price; but what was that price?

It cost Jesus a price no lip can tell — and no heart conceive! See Him tied to yonder pillar — mark that awful scourge as it falls again and again upon His quivering flesh; note how deep the thongs cut, drawing blood at every stroke! Your pardon cost that! "By His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Follow Him in that weary walk to Calvary — linger by Him as fever courses through His veins, while head and hands and feet all drip with gore! Stay by Him until His sacred head falls upon the bosom, and His great heart breaks with anguish. And then looking up into that ashen countenance, say "My pardon cost Him that!" Yes, no pardon could ever have come to guilty man — if an atonement had not been made that . . .
  satisfied divine justice,
  honored the law, and
  magnified the holiness of God.

It is sweet work to trace the ruby stream of forgiving love; and mark how it would flow on until it reached the sinner, yes, even though it flowed along the channel of a Savior's wounds!

Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
Who has grace so rich and free?

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He will not spoil them!

(Letters of John Newton)

"Now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials." 1 Peter 1:6

The Lord loves His children, and is very indulgent to them so far as they can safely bear it — but He will not spoil them! Their sin-sickness requires strong medicines, some of which are very unpalatable. And when our case calls for such, no short-sighted entreaties of ours will excuse us from taking what He prepares for our good.

It is comforting to know that every dose is prepared by His own hand, and not one is administered in vain, nor is it repeated any oftener than is needful to answer His purposed end. Until then, no other hand can remove the affliction which He lays upon us. When His merciful design is answered, He will relieve us Himself; and in the mean time He will so moderate the operation, or increase our ability to bear it — that we shall not be overpowered by it.

Afflictions are useful, and in a degree necessary, to keep alive in us a conviction of the vanity and unsatisfying nature of the present world and all its enjoyments; to remind us that this poor world is not our rest; and to call our thoughts upward, where our true treasure is, and where our hearts ought to be.

When things go on much to our wish, our hearts are too prone to say, "It is good be here!" Thus the Lord, by pain, sickness, and disappointments, by breaking our cisterns and withering our gourds — weakens our attachment to this world, and makes the thought of leaving it more desirable.

Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise physician prescribes, because we need them; and He proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires.

It is true, without a single exception, that all His paths are mercy and truth to those who fear Him. The Lord afflicts us for our good — but it is always a thousand times less than we deserve!

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Souls are perishing — and ministers are amusing them!

(Archibald Brown)

"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them — that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood! When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die!' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways — that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood!" Ezekiel 33:6-8

We behold this same evil affecting many of the pulpits of today's churches. Mere morality is taking the place of regeneration, and the atonement by blood is a slighted subject. Instead of beseeching men to be reconciled to God — we find ministers wasting their time in giving Sunday lectures about all kinds of subjects. Rome is burning — and Nero is playing his fiddle! Souls are perishing — and ministers are amusing them!

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The Master Coal Heaver!

(Frank Hall)

"If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you." Proverbs 25:21-22

What a strange and exotic principle! Feed our enemies? Give water to those who hate us? Certainly this teaching is not from below, but from above! This is the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of free grace — the formula that transforms inveterate enemies into faithful friends.

These coals of fire are not coals of judgment, but coals of grace by which the hearts of our enemies are melted and won. Our Savior preached this doctrine with great clarity in his Sermon on the Mount when He said, "You have heard that it was said: You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:43-44.

Nothing is more contrary to the flesh than exercising kindness and love toward those who hate us, but if we would honor our Savior and subdue our enemies — we dare not resort to the sinful practice of revenge. We must conquer the hearts of our enemy's the same way that Christ conquered our hearts — by relentlessly heaving the coals of unmerited grace upon their heads.

Coals of Grace
A mighty king may very well use angry force to subjugate his enemies, but they will never love him or serve him willingly. Willing service, heart commitment, and life-loyalty — can only be accomplished by grace, mercy, and love. The Lord Jesus Christ does not win sinners to Himself with threats of punishment or promises of reward. He wins sinners to Himself by His free grace! He turns enemies into friends, by His grace! He converts hard-hearted adversaries into faithful disciples, by His grace! He causes rebels to surrender their hearts to him, not with brute force and overwhelming power — but with tender, irresistible love and grace!

He is the only Master of the universe, the sovereign Master of hearts, and the Master Coal Heaver as well. With the gospel shovel in his hand, He sovereignly heaves the covenant coals of free grace onto the heads of His enemies, and in so doing He melts their hearts of stone into soft, pliable, elastic masses of wax — putty in the hands of the Master!

Calvary's Coals
No chosen sinner can successfully withstand the melting effects of Calvary's coals! When the coals of effectual blood redemption, free forgiveness, and perfect righteousness begin to stack up, coal upon coal, on the sinner's heart, and the heat of Christ's indescribable love grows warmer and warmer — that unbreakable, adamantine heart of stone is eventually smitten, smelted, and liquefied into a puddle of love for the crucified Coal Heaver!

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Undeserving, ill-deserving, Hell-deserving!

(Thomas Vincent, "The True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ!")

How may I attain great degrees of love to Christ?

Be much in holy contemplation of Christ. Spend time in secret retirement, and there think and think again — of the superlative excellencies and perfections which are in Christ. Think how wonderful and matchless His love is:
  what heights of His love — which cannot be reached;
  what depths of His love — which cannot be fathomed;
  what dimensions of His love — which cannot be comprehended!
O the transports of soul, which some believers have found in their retired thoughts and views of Christ!

"O dear Jesus, how lovely You are in Yourself . . .
  the darling of Heaven,
  the delight of the Father,
  the admiration of angels!
O what brightness of glory, what shining luster are You arrayed with!
You are clothed with most excellent majesty and honor!
You are girded with infinite might and power!
The smiles of Your countenance are most sweet and delightful!
O the ravishments of Your love!"

"And does this beauteous One, this fairest of ten thousand, this most excellent and altogether lovely One — bear a special love to me?
  To such a vile worm as me!
  To such a dead dog as me!
  To such an undeserving, ill-deserving, Hell-deserving sinner as me!
O what marvelous kindness is this! What infinite riches of free grace!
Has He given Himself for me, and given Himself to me — and shall not I give Him my heart! I am . . .
  written in His book,
  redeemed with His blood,
  clothed with His righteousness,
  beautified with His image!
Has He made me His child, and prepared a place in the Father's house for me!
O how wonderful! O how astonishing!"

"What shall I render unto Him? What returns shall I make? Had I a thousand tongues — should I not employ them all in speaking His praise? Had I a thousand hearts — should I not present them all, as too poor for a thank-offering unto Him? And yet am I slow — slow of heart, to love this dear and sweet Jesus! Awake, O my soul! Awake from your dullness and stupidity! Shake out the dust of the earth which has gotten into your eyes — and keeps you from the view of your matchless Beloved! Arise, O my soul, unfetter yourself, take the wing, and mount up above the sky and visible heavens — to the place where my lovely and dear Jesus is! Bid farewell to the flattering honors, the deceitful riches, the glancing pleasures — which are here below! Bid adieu to them, and leave them to those who place their chief happiness in them!"

"Why do you hang downwards, O my soul? Why do you bend so much to the earth and earthly things? Everything here below — is altogether unworthy of your love. How empty and vain and thorny — are these worldly things! Do not waste your time — and weary yourself for every vanity! Do not sting and wound yourself with these things anymore!"

"Come, O my soul! Ascend, and soar aloft — with your thoughts, and desires, and loves, and hopes, and joys — unto the Heavens! There you may see, and view, and admire, and embrace your dearest Lord Jesus!"

Such retired contemplations of Christ, and soliloquies, and pleadings with your own souls, when alone by yourselves — will tend exceedingly to the promotion of your love unto Christ.

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Every-day mercies!

(Archibald Brown)

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!" Lamentations 3:22-23

Let us seek, dear friends, to have quick eyes in discerning the Lord's hand in our so-called every-day mercies. The smallest comfort grows great in value, when viewed a gift from our heavenly Father!

The next string I will touch has sweet music of its own, and it should call forth the deepest "Thank God!" from every bosom. It is home mercy. Home! Home!! Surely, among all the gifts of Heaven, there is none more beautiful, or more worthy of our grateful praise — than a home where kindness, love, and cheerfulness abide. It has been well said that to Adam, Paradise was home — and to the holy among his descendants, home is Paradise. He who has a happy home can never be poor, or lack a theme for grateful song.

If we have been kept from falling into scandalous sin, then with grateful love we exclaim, "Having obtained help from God, I continue to this day." We have been like men carrying gunpowder, and working in a forge where sparks are flying on every hand. With a nature like ours, so dangerously quick to sin, and living amid a very shower of fiery temptations — how great the grace that has preserved us thus far!

"Great are Your tender mercies, O LORD!"
Psalm 119:156

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Where are you going?

(Charles Orr, "How to Live a Holy Life")

We have only one life to live — only one! Think of this for a moment.

Here we are in this world of time, making the journey of life. Each day we are farther from the cradle — and nearer to the grave! Solemn thought!

See the mighty concourse of human lives; hear their heavy tread in their onward march. Some are just beginning life's journey; some are midway up the hill, some have reached the top, and some are midway down the western slope. But where are we all going? Listen, and you will hear but one answer, "Eternity!" Beyond the fading, dying gleams of the sunset of life — lies a boundless, endless ocean called Eternity! There, you and I are daily traveling.

Time is like a great wheel going its round. On and on it goes. Some are stepping on — and some are stepping off. But where are these latter stepping? Into eternity! See that old man with bent form, snow-white locks, and tottering steps — his has been a long round, but he has reached his end at last. See the middle-aged man — his round has not been so long, but he must also step off. See the youth — he has been on only a little while, but he is brought to the stepping-off place. He thought his round would be much longer. He supposed that he was just getting started — when that icy hand was laid upon him and the usher said, "Come, you have made your round, and you must go!" The infant that gave its first faint cry this morning — may utter its last feeble wail tonight!

And thus they go. But where? Oh, where? ETERNITY!

If you were to start today and ask each person you met the question, "Where are you going?" and, if possible, you were to travel the world over and ask each one of earth's inhabitants — there could be but one correct answer, "Eternity!"

"Oh, eternity, Long eternity!
Hear the solemn footsteps of eternity!"

Only one life to live! Only one life — and then we must face vast, endless eternity! We shall pass along the pathway of life but once. Every step we take — is a step that can never be taken again.

This world is not a play-ground — or a place to trifle with time. Life is not given us to squander nor fritter away. To trifle away time, is indeed, to be the greatest of spendthrifts. If you squander a dollar — you may regain it; but a moment wasted — can never be regained. God gives us all the time we need to accomplish all that He purposes us to accomplish — but He does not give us one moment to trifle away.

We have only one life to live — only one!

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Alas, what an amount of powerless machinery we have in the so-called religious world!

(Archibald Brown, "What Our Churches Need!")

Alas, what an amount of powerless machinery we have in the so-called religious world!
Powerless, because it has no unction of the Spirit.
Powerless, because it is the work of man — not the working of God through the man.
Powerless, because it is dry and artificial.
Powerless, because it is done by men who have never "tarried until they were endued with power from on high."

Instrumentality is almost worshiped — while the Holy Spirit is well-near ignored!

O, I wish that it were more realized by us all, that apart from the blessed Spirit, our acquirements and preparations are nothing, and can do nothing! God's church is hindered, not helped, by any instrumentality that lacks the Holy Spirit.

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It is not the glory of the place — it is the beauty of the person!

(Archibald Brown, "
With Christ!")

"My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better!" Philippians 1:23

Paul does not say, "I have a desire to depart, and to be in Heaven." Oh no! It is far better than that.
Nor is it, "I have a desire to depart and to be free of troubles."
No, it is, "My desire is to depart and be with Christ!"

"With Christ! With Christ!" This honey in the mouth, and the more often you turn it over, the sweeter it becomes!

Heaven is not merely a place of golden streets, and pinnacles glittering with the jewels. No! That is not enough for the believer. It is, "With Christ!" All the pearly gates, and all the seraphic praises — fail to make the Heaven of our desire. Our Heaven is to "be with Christ!"
It is not the glory of the place — it is the beauty of the person!

"With Christ!" Oh, how shall I illustrate it? It is the magnet that makes the soul tremble, and will not let it rest until it points true towards it.

"With Christ!" Yes, that is the distant haven on which the mariner gazes as the ship rocks and reels, as the timbers creak, and as the storm blast whistles through the rigging.

"With Christ!" These words are the trumpet note that awakens all the heroism in a Christian's soul, and makes him willing to dash into the thickest part of the fray. He says, "I can fight my way through ten thousand foes, for on the other side it is with Christ!"

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Christ has a yoke for our necks — as well as a crown for our heads!

(Matthew Henry)

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29

We are here invited to Christ as our Priest, Prince, and Prophet, to be saved — and, in order to that, to be ruled and taught by Him.

First, we must come to Christ as our great high-priest Priest and repose ourselves in Him for salvation.

Second, we must come to Him as our Prince or Ruler, and submit ourselves to Him, "Take My yoke upon you." This must go along with the former, for Christ is exalted to be both a Prince and a Savior (Act 5:31). The rest He promises is a release from the drudgery of sin — not from the service of God. Christ has a yoke for our necks — as well as a crown for our heads — and this yoke He requires that we should take upon us.

Third, we must come to Him as our Prophet or Teacher, and set ourselves to learn from Him. We must learn of Him to be "Meek and and humble in heart" — to mortify our pride and passion, which render us so unlike to Him. We must so learn of Christ, for He is both Teacher and Lesson, Guide and Way!

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The whore of Babylon's golden goblet!

(William Dyer, "The Strait Way to Heaven")

"The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls. She held in her hand a golden goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality." Revelation 17:4

Beware of the whore of Babylon's golden goblet, and her sweet wine! Be like the virgin spouse of Christ — who follows Him wherever He goes.

Beware of false teachers! The devil has his ministers — as well as Christ! "Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves!" Matthew 7:15. Yes, they are ferocious wolves — they never have enough! "They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain!" Isaiah 56:11

Oh! false teachers do not feed the flock — but fleece the flock!

They do not convert — but pervert!

They do not purify — but poison!

They do not edify for salvation — but destroy for damnation!

Instead of curing souls — they kill souls!

Just so long as they pilfer the people's money — they care not, though the devil has their souls!

They are dogs and wolves combining together to massacre the flock of Christ! Oh! therefore keep yourselves from Babylon's merchants, who make merchandise of the souls of men, Revelation 18:13.

Oh! the sins of teachers — are the teachers of sins!

Now, beloved, let . . .
  your hearts be upright,
  your judgments sound,
  and your lives holy!

Love the truth, and
obey the truth, and
hold fast the truth!

Keep yourselves . . .
  from false teachers,
  from false doctrines,
  from false worship,
  from false opinions!

If you will be tasting and sipping of Babylon's golden goblet — you must resolve to receive Babylon's plagues!

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The best means to mortify sin!

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

"Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5

While a darling sin lives and keeps the throne in the heart — grace and holiness will be kept exceeding weak and low. But when your darling sin is dethroned and slain by the power and the sword of the Spirit — grace and holiness will quickly grow stronger and stronger, and rise higher and higher.

When a man has eaten poison, nothing will make him thrive, until he has vomited up the poison. Beloved sins are the poison of the soul — and until these are vomited up, and cast out by sound repentance, and the exercise of faith in the blood of Christ — the soul will never thrive in grace and holiness!

If ever you would attain to higher degrees of holiness, then fall with all your might upon subduing and crucifying your most raging corruptions, and your most darling lusts!

Oh do not think that your golden and your silver idols will lay down their weapons, and yield the battle, and lie at your feet, and let you trample them to death — without striking a blow! Oh remember that besetting-sins will do all they can to keep their ground, and therefore you must arise with all your strength against them, and crush them to powder, and burn them to ashes!

Oh deal with your most enraged lusts, as the Philistines dealt with Samson — pluck out their eyes, and force them to grind in the mill of mortification, until their strength is utterly consumed and wasted.

I have read of five men, who being asked what was the best means to mortify sin, gave these answers:

Said the first, "The best means to mortify sin, is to meditate on the terrors of death."

Said the second, "The best means to mortify sin, is to meditate on the solemnity of judgment-day."

Said the third, "The best means to mortify sin, is to meditate on the joys of Heaven."

Said the fourth, "The best means to mortify sin, is to meditate on the torments of Hell."

Said the fifth, "The best means to mortify sin, is to meditate on the death and sufferings of Christ."

Doubtless the last man hit the nail on the head! The daily sight of a bleeding, groaning, dying Savior — is the only thing which will subdue and mortify darling sins!

O friends! Never leave looking up to a crucified Christ, until virtue flows from Him to the crucifying of those special besetting sins which do most obstruct and hinder the growth of grace and holiness in the soul.

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Look at the King in His beauty!

(David Harsha, "Wanderings of a Pilgrim")

"Your eyes will see the King in His beauty and
view a land that stretches afar!" Isaiah 33:17

Contemplate your blessed Redeemer, seated on His great white throne, encircled with heavenly glory. It is the sight of a glorified Savior, that will make the Heaven of the believer.

Endeavor now, by the eye of faith, to behold the Lord Jesus in all His matchless beauty and excellence. Contemplate . . .
  His glorious character,
  His infinite mercy,
  His unparalleled condescension,
  and His boundless love!

There is enough in Jesus to employ the soul in rapturous meditation through a vast eternity! His excellence, His goodness, and His love can never be fathomed!

O keep your eye fixed on this adorable Savior, while you sojourn in this valley of tears; and in a little while you shall see Him as He is; face to face, and ascribe to Him unceasing praise! Look at the King in His beauty!

"Yes, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!" Song of Songs 5:16

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For you, a vile sinner, a rebel worm!

(David Harsha, "Christ Crucified!")

"He loved me, and gave Himself up for me!" Galatians 2:20

Ponder the amazing love exhibited in the death of Christ. Would you see the highest manifestation of eternal love? Then contemplate Christ crucified! Here is the grand exhibition of infinite love.

In the crucifixion of the glorious Redeemer, the brightest love that ever shone on earth is displayed.

What boundless love is seen here — the infinite love of Christ, shining in all its glory!

What but infinite love brought Him . . .
  from the height of glory and bliss — to the depths of sufferings;
  from the throne of Heaven — to the cross of Calvary!

What but infinite love made Him a suffering man, and a dying Savior!

What but infinite love made Him hasten to Jerusalem, to suffer for rebellious sinners!

What but infinite love led Him to Gethsemane, to endure those agonies for sinners, where His blessed form was covered with bloody sweat!

What but infinite love nailed Him to the cross, there to bleed and die for sinners!

"Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." But oh! the greatest wonder in the universe is, that "When we were God's ENEMIES, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son!"

Think of this, wonder at it, be amazed at it!

Christ, the glorious Son of God — dying for you, a vile sinner, a rebel worm!

O admire that love which pitied you in your lost condition, visited your world, and raised you from the depths of sin and suffering — to become an heir of eternal bliss and glory!

How vast is this love! The all surpassing love of a dying Savior!
Your breadths and lengths have never been compassed by a human thought;
your depths never fathomed by a created intelligence;
your heights never scanned by a seraph's gaze!

Stupendous love!

What a theme — the dying love of the crucified Son of God!

Well may angels desire to dwell on this mystery!

Well may saints be enraptured with this profound subject!

What heart is so obdurate as not to be melted by its touching exhibition — or so benighted as not to be dazzled by its glory!

How wonderful! That He who kindled up the stars of Heaven — should take upon Him our nature, and die in our room and stead!

Amazing love!

This is the wonder of wonders — the unsearchable riches of Christ!

Truly, the love of Christ surpasses knowledge!

Those, and those alone, who have stood by the cross and viewed Immanuel in agonies and death, bleeding and dying for their sins; and have felt that healing balm applied to their diseased souls; and have seen all their sins washed away with the blood of God, their ransom paid, and their pardon sealed — will realize the following very appropriate and beautiful lines:

"In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new Object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career!

I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agony and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.

Surely, never to my dying breath,
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair,
I saw my sins, His blood had spilt,
And helped to nail Him there!

Alas! I knew not what I did,
But now my tears are vain;
Where shall my trembling soul be hid
For I, the Lord have slain!

A second look He gave, which said,
'I freely all forgive;
This blood is for your ransom paid;
I die, that you may live!'

Thus while His death, my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too!

With pleasing grief and mournful joy,
My spirit now is filled;
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I killed!"
  (John Newton)

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The great Sympathizer!

(David Harsha, "The Savior's Ministry")

"Jesus wept!"  John 11:35

The Son of God, the Creator of the universe, the Lord of glory — in tears!

Amazing sight!

How plainly do those tears show the tenderness of Jesus! And how animating for the mourner in Zion to think that the heart of Jesus now that He reigns in glory — is still full of sympathy and full of love for His suffering disciples in this valley of tears!

Oh, this is a sweet, a delightful thought!

Weeping believer, you whose tears are flowing — come to Jesus for sympathy, and tell Him all your grief.

He has words of comfort for you — precious promises.

He can console you as none else can.

He is the same in all ages — the same yesterday, today, and forever. The eye that dropped its tears at the tomb of Lazarus — will be fixed upon you in all the scenes of anguish through which you may be called to pass before reaching the bright world of everlasting joy.

Remember that He who is now seated on the throne of Heaven, radiant in celestial glory — was once afflicted on earth, that He might know how to sympathize with you in the hour your unutterable anguish.

Oh, rejoice that you have so sympathizing a Friend, who is ready to mitigate your grief, and to conduct you to those happy mansions, where God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes.

Who can tell how great is the sympathy of the Son of God, who came from the bosom of the Father — from the unapproachable splendor of Heaven — to bear our infirmities, to lighten our burdens, to wipe the tears from our eyes, and to turn our sorrows into everlasting joys?

Always view Jesus as the great Sympathizer of His disciples — and in the time of your keenest anguish, look to Him for compassion and relief.

He will regard your cries of misery. Yes, He whose heart felt and bled for sinners, will speak soothingly to you, and give you a foretaste of Heaven, even in a world of tribulation.

Oh, the ineffable compassion of our blessed Redeemer!

In seasons of devout retirement, let us often muse on these affecting words: "Jesus wept!"

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Hellish sin! Stupendous wickedness! Monstrous impiety!

(Thomas Doolittle, "Motives to Love Jesus!")

What! Not love the Lord? Hellish sin!
What! Not love Jesus? Stupendous wickedness!
What! Not love Christ? Monstrous impiety!
What name shall we call such a person by — a man or beast?
One that does not love the Lord Jesus Christ — is he a man or a devil?

Can you love sin — and not Jesus?
Can you love the world — and not Jesus?
What cursed wickedness!
This is . . .
  the amazement of the earth,
  the astonishment of angels,
  and the joy of devils!

The earth groans to bear such as do not love Jesus.
The sun is grieved to give them light.
The air laments its vapors to be sucked into such filthy bodies, wherein are more filthy souls!

"If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed!" 1 Corinthians 16:22

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If My people

(Daniel Webster, 1772-1852)

If we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together — no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us, that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity!

"If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways — then I will hear from Heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

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The most amazing, most affecting, most melting sight that mortals ever witnessed!

(David Harsha, "Thoughts on the Love of Christ")

In the death of Christ, we behold the most astonishing exhibition of divine love that has ever been manifested to a lost world. Such love as is here displayed, is without a precedent — without a parallel in the annals of time or in the records of eternity.

To behold the Son of God, the Maker of worlds, bowing His head on the cross, and yielding up His immaculate soul amid the agonies of death — is the most amazing, the most affecting, the most melting sight that mortals ever witnessed!

Around the Cross of Christ there shine the most resplendent rays of divine love that ever beamed from the Sun of Righteousness — that ever emanated from the Deity!

O, my soul, look and wonder!

Behold your Savior bleeding on the cross, bleeding from every pore — that your sins might be washed away in the flowing stream!

See Him pouring out His soul unto death, for your salvation! Is not this a manifestation of unparalleled love to you?

Christ's suffering and dying for us is a great mystery — a mystery of unfathomable love!

How vehement was the love of Christ, that led Him to endure death in its most terrible form, even the death of the cross! "Love is as strong as death; the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it."

Such is the love of Christ!

All the waters of affliction and suffering, all the billows of divine wrath that rolled over our blessed Redeemer — were not sufficient to quench the ardency of that love which He felt for a dying world of sinners!

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If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country

(Daniel Webster, 1823)

If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation.

If truth is not diffused — error will be.

If God and His Word are not known and received — the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy.

If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet — the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will.

If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land — then anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness — will reign without mitigation or end!

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The Devil's riff-raffs!

(Arthur Pink, "The Doctrine of Sanctification" 1937)

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.
 Not many of you were wise by human standards;
 not many were influential;
 not many were of noble birth.
 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
 God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things . . ." 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

In His determination to magnify His sovereign grace, God has selected many of the very worst of Adam's fallen race to be the everlasting monuments of His fathomless mercy — those whom Luther was accustomed to designate, "The Devil's riff-raffs." This is very evident too from, "Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame." (Luke 14:21) — the most unlikely ones as guests for a royal feast — the waifs and strays of society!

There are thousands of moral, upright, amiable people who are never effectually called by the Spirit; whereas moral perverts, thieves, and heinous ones are regenerated!

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were! But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

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The master deception of Satan!

(Arthur Pink, "The Doctrine of Sanctification" 1937)

"I am the LORD your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy." Leviticus 11:44

We do greatly deceive ourselves, if we imagine that we are drawing nearer to Heaven — while only following those courses which lead to Hell.

We are woefully deluded, if we suppose that we are journeying towards glory — and yet are living in sin.

Christ died to procure holiness — not to secure an indulgence for sin.

To live in known and allowed sin, and yet expect to be saved by Christ — is the master deception of Satan!

My reader, a faith which does not transform character and reform conduct, is worthless.

Saving faith is only proved to be genuine by bearing the blossoms of experimental godliness and the fruits of personal piety.

Great multitudes of ignorant people who live under the Gospel, harden their hearts in sin and ruin their souls forever, by trusting on Christ for such an 'imaginary salvation' as consists not at all in holiness — but only in forgiveness of sin and deliverance from everlasting torments. They would be free from the punishments due to sin — but they love their lusts so well that they hate holiness and do not desire to be saved from the service of sin. If they do not desire to be made holy and righteous in their hearts and lives — then they do not heartily desire true salvation.

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Two things always go together in the experience of a genuine believer

(Arthur Pink, "The Doctrine of Sanctification" 1937)

Two things always go together in the experience of a genuine believer:
  a growing discovery of the vileness of self, and
  a deepening appreciation of the preciousness of Christ.

"Behold, I am vile!"
Job 40:4
"O wretched man that I am!" Romans 7:24

"Yes, He is altogether lovely!"
Song of Songs 5:16
"To you who believe, He is precious!"
1 Peter 2:7

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Now am I one day nearer Heaven than I ever was!

(Richard Steele, "A Discourse Concerning Old-age, Tending to the Instruction, Caution and Comfort of Aged People" 1688)

Though it is possible for the young to die soon — yet it is impossible for the aged to live long. Their manifest decays are a certain forecast of their approaching dissolution. No medicine has yet been found to cure old-age. The graves are ready for them, and the worms wait for their meal upon them! The moth of mortality, which is bred in our nature, will still be fretting the garment of our bodies, until they are consumed. Death is already got into the aged person's eye and ear — and in a short time will bring him unto the dust.

Now though death is an unwelcome messenger to those who live for this poor world — yet to a holy old man and woman, it is a blessed privilege. For as looking backward they see a tempting troublesome world — so looking forward they see a state of perfect holiness and happiness prepared for them. The end of their fight — is the beginning of their victory. As they part from their earthly labors — they take possession of their heavenly honors.

The aged Christian sees a woeful wilderness behind him — and the blessed land of promise before him. It is therefore no wonder that, with Moses, he longs to be in it! For where should the spouse desire to be, but with her husband? And upon this account, that holy Lady Falkland would usually say when she was going to bed, "Now am I one day nearer Heaven than I ever was!"

"I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" Philippians 1:23

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A special privilege and comfort of old-age

(Richard Steele, "A Discourse Concerning Old-age, Tending to the Instruction, Caution and Comfort of Aged People" 1688)

"The silver-haired head is a crown of glory — IF it is found in the way of righteousness." Proverbs 16:31

Now the older a man grows — the wiser should he grow. And the wiser he grows — the less likely he is to choose evil. The more divine strokes and judgments he has seen upon evil-doers — the more he should be afraid of tampering with it.

A special privilege and comfort of old-age is that it is richer in experience than any other age. The aged believer can tell experimentally . . .
  of the wisdom and justice of God's providence,
  of the truth of His promises and threatenings,
  of the devices of Satan,
  of the deceitfulness of riches,
  of the wisdom of integrity,
  of the vanity of all carnal delights,
  of the wickedness of his own heart.
Old-age is rich in the experience of these things, whereby they are able to govern themselves, and to advise others. Their . . .
  judgments are more refined,
  passions are more sedate,
  graces are more strong,
  actions are more consistent,
  and their spiritual stature is taller.

Trace some godly aged men from morning to night, you shall still find them . . .
  so discreet in their charity,
  so grave in their counsels,
  so savory in their discourse,
  so constant in their piety,
  so considerate in their resolutions,
  so faithful in their reproofs,
  so poised in their temper,
  so charitable in their censures, and
  so uniform and useful in their lives —
that their practice may be a perpetual sermon — and an example to teach others their duty to God and man.

By long experience, aged believers are taught to avoid many dangers, which others fall into. Their manifold experience of the deceitfulness of the flesh, of the world, and of the devil — has enabled them to counter and somewhat conquer them. And their experience renders them able to give the most prudent counsels, and to forewarn others of those consequences which they easily foresee — IF they have treasured up wisdom according to their years.

"The silver-haired head is a crown of glory — IF it is found in the way of righteousness." Proverbs 16:31

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A fire-escape from Hell!

(Arthur Pink, "The Doctrine of Sanctification" 1937)

Christ is usually set forth as a fire-escape from Hell, but not as the great Physician to deal with the malady of indwelling sin, and to fit for Heaven.

Much is said upon how to obtain forgiveness of sins — but little is preached on how to be cleansed from its pollutions. The necessity for His atoning blood is set forth — but not the indispensability of experimental holiness.

Consequently, thousands who mentally assent to the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice, know nothing about heart purity.

The precious blood of the Lamb not only delivers from Hell, but it also fits us for Heaven.

By our union with Christ we receive a new and holy nature, whereby we are capacitated for holy living — which holy living is determined and regulated by our practical and experimental fellowship with Him.

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There are dangers and perils peculiar to a state of prosperity

(Jared Bell Waterbury, "The Voyage of Life!" 1862)

"The cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful." Mark 4:19

"How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Luke 18:24-25

There are dangers and perils peculiar to a state of prosperity.

I understand how little apprehension is felt by the votaries of the world in regard to the moral dangers of earthly prosperity. "Be it so," says the eager devotee of wealth or fame; "I admit that there are some such dangers; yet who would not be willing to run the risk, if he might only be one of fortune's favorites? Give me my wishes in this respect, and I am ready to incur the hazard and to take the responsibility."

Foolish declaration! You know not what you say. Your selfish heart, thirsting for riches or reputation among men, and bent on their attainment, as containing, in your estimation, all that man can wish — sees not the evils which lurk in the path that leads to them — nor the perils to which, when obtained, their possessor is exposed! Blind, or rather dazzled to blindness, by that one object, the golden prize — you do not see the temptations which beset the man who is determined to seize upon it . . .
in the pursuit of wealth — dishonesty, sinful worldliness, neglect of the soul;
in the possession of wealthavarice, pride, sensuality.

The "deceitfulness of riches" is a Scriptural expression which experience interprets and verifies. These are deceitful. Their power to make happy is mere pretension. Riches may add to one's happiness, who has other and higher elements of felicity; but, when they are sought as the principal means of happiness, they are sure to pierce their possessors through with many sorrows!

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows! But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness!" 1 Timothy 6:10-11