Grace Gems for OCTOBER, 2015

Grace Gems for OCTOBER, 2015

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It is utterly impossible!

(Octavius Winslow, 1852)

It has been the distinctive aim, and the sincere desire of my ministry — to make known and to endear the Savior to your hearts.

Oh, how worthy is He . . .
  of your most exalted conceptions,
  of your most implicit confidence,
  of your most self-denying service,
  of your most fervent love!

When He could give you no more — and the fathomless depths of His love, and the boundless resources of His grace, would not be satisfied by giving you less — He gave you Himself!

Robed in your nature,
oppressed with your sorrows,
laden with your curse,
wounded for your transgressions,
and slain for your sins —
He gave His entire self for you!

His redeeming work now finished — He is perpetually engaged in meting out blessings to His people, from the exhaustless treasures of His love! He constantly woos your affection — invites your grief — and bids you to come with your daily trials to His sympathy, and with your hourly guilt to His blood. You cannot in your drafts upon Christ's fullness, be too covetous; nor in your expectations of supply, be too extravagant! You may fail, as, alas! the most of us do, in making too little of Christ — but you cannot fail, in making too much of Him!

It is utterly impossible
to know Christ, and not become inspired with a desire . . .
  to love Him supremely,
  to serve Him devotedly,
  to resemble Him closely,
  to glorify Him faithfully here,
  and to enjoy Him fully hereafter!

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The key of Death is in the Savior's hands!

(James Buchanan, "Comfort in Affliction" 1837)

"Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, the Ever-living One! I died — but see, I am alive forevermore! And I hold the keys of death and Hades (the realm of the dead)." Revelation 1:17-18

When it is affirmed that Jesus holds "the key of DEATH," it is plainly implied that none can pass out of this present world without His appointment. And, more generally, that He is lord of the living not less than of the dead, and has a thorough control over everything that can in any way affect the lives of men. An absolute power over death, necessarily presupposes a corresponding power over life and its affairs. And it is by the exercise of His providence in sustaining life — that He fulfills His purpose as to the time and mode of their departure hence.

Has the Redeemer the keys of death? Then this should mitigate the anxiety which often preys upon the mind when we look forward into futurity, and contemplate the prospect of our own death. We should remember, that as the Redeemer alone has the keys of death — nothing can happen to send us forth from the world before the time which He has appointed for our departure. Neither man nor devils can abridge the term of probation assigned to us by our gracious Master. Nor, until He is pleased to call us away, shall any power on earth or in Hell prevail against us. The Redeemer is possessed of absolute power over the course of our lives on earth — and over the time and manner of our departure out of the world.

No accident, no hostile violence, no insidious snare, no dark conspiracy — can touch our life — but by His command. And surely, when we reflect on the numerous dangers to which human life is exposed — the frailty of our frame — the diseases to which it is subject — our constant exposure to fatal accidents — the malice of open or concealed enemies — it must be consolatory to know, that the key of Death is in the Savior's hands, and that, come what may, we cannot be forced out of the world, until He opens the door and bids us to come to Him.

More especially, when we are visited with disease, and threatened with a speedy termination of life — the Savior's power over the keys of death should repress or assuage those violent anxieties as to the probability of death or of recovery — and those disquieting speculations as to the outcome of disease, and the mode of its treatment. For disease cannot kill, nor can medicine cure — without the appointment of Him who holds in His own hands the keys of life and of death! And if He has fixed the outcome of this disease — then why should we be anxious? If death is in our cup — that cup has been put into our hands at the time fixed by unerring wisdom and infinite love!

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The great means of sanctification!

(Jared Waterbury, "Advice to a Young Christian on the Importance of Aiming at an Elevated Standard of Piety")

"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth." John 17:17

The Scriptures are the great means of sanctification. This is the charm which so much attracts the pious heart. That heart is not insensible to the elegance of scriptural style, nor indifferent to its bold and beautiful imagery — but these are not the principal attractions. The Bible is the Word of God!
It convinces of sin.
It stimulates to duty.
It rouses from sluggishness.
It warns against danger.
It unfolds the character of God.
It reveals the way of salvation.
It delineates the providence of God.
It presents the Lamb of God slain for our transgressions.
It communicates sweet strains of spiritual devotion.
It brings into view a bright and eternal reward.
It discloses the wounds of our nature, and offers the healing balm.

In short, it embodies all that a Christian in his pilgrimage can need.
It is his only chart through this tempestuous life.
In trouble — it is his consolation.
In prosperity — it is his monitor.
In difficulty — it is his guide.
Amid the darkness of death, and while descending into the shadowy valley — it is the day-star that . . .
   illuminates his path,
   makes his dying eye bright with hope, and
   cheers his soul with the prospect of immortal glory!

The oftener and the more diligently you peruse the Scriptures — the more beautiful will they appear, and the less relish will you have for light and superficial reading. There is, in an intimate acquaintance, and in a daily meditation on the Scriptures — something sanctifying, something ennobling! A satisfaction is felt in perusing them, which no human composition can excite.
You feel as if you were conversing with God.
You breathe a heavenly atmosphere.
The soul is bathed in celestial waters.
It imbibes a sweetness and a composure which shed over it unearthly attractions.

To this fountain of light and life — let us then daily resort.
Here is the healing influence.
Here is the pool of Bethesda.
Here abounds consolation for the afflicted.
Here hope dwells to cheer and to guide.

Bind this precious volume about your neck — write it on the tablets of your heart!
It will prove to be . . .
   your shield in conflict,
   your guide in perplexity,
   your solace in adversity.
If it has been faithfully studied in this life — it will afford themes for heavenly contemplation through eternity.

We should ever approach that Sacred Book with reverence. When we open the Sacred Volume — we listen to the voice of God. Should we not, therefore, give a reverential attention when Jehovah speaks? Should not our posture be that of the deepest humility and awe?

In the written Word, we have God speaking to us as to His children. Go, then, my friend, and diligently listen to the holy oracles. Search the Scriptures. Peruse them systematically. Make them your daily and nightly companions. And may their celestial influence be so infused into your soul — that you shall progressively lose the image of the earthly, and assume the image of the heavenly inhabitants.

Depend upon it, the closer attention you give to the Word — the more precious and interesting will it become, and the more rapidly will you grow in grace and holiness.

The Word of God should grow constantly in your estimation, until you exclaim with David, "O how I love Your law; it is sweeter to my taste than honey and the honey-comb!"

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God's perfect wisdom in the management of our affairs!

(James Buchanan)

"The Lord reigns!" Psalm 97:1

The Bible lays a solid ground for our comfort, when it assures us that all things are under the government of God. He superintends the affairs of this world, both as the provident parent and as the moral governor of His creatures.

The Bible declares that God created them, and that whatever beings He deigned to create — He does not disdain to care for. It assures us that no being is so great as to be exempt from His control — and none are so little as to be beneath His regard. And, in like manner, that His eye is directed to every event which may befall any one of His creatures — with no event being either so momentous, or so insignificant — as to be beyond His management, or unworthy of His notice. The sparrow which falls to the earth — is not less an object of His regard than the seraph that stands before His throne!

That all His creatures in this world, and all the events of human life, of whatever kind they may be — are under God's regulation and control — is, of itself, fitted to banish that feeling of uncertainty and hopelessness which the aspect of events might otherwise awaken. And how important to know . . .
  that nothing happens by chance,
  that everything is ordained and appointed according to certain divine principles which are fixed and stable,
  and that these principles will continue to be developed, until the grand end of God's government shall have been attained!

But, however important this information may be, it could ill suffice to cheer the heart amidst its sorrows, or to inspire that living hope which alone can bear us up under their heavy pressure — were we not further assured, that the government under which we live is conducted by . . .
  a God of infinite intelligence and wisdom;
  a being who cannot err — one who knows the end from the beginning; and
  is alike incapable of choosing an improper end, or of employing unsuitable means for its attainment.

A persuasion of God's perfect wisdom in the management of our affairs is the more needful, in proportion as we feel our own helplessness, and are taught, by disappointments and trials — that our affairs are too high and too great to be managed by ourselves. And when assured of this precious truth, we shall the more readily submit to all God's appointments — satisfied, that although we know not the plan of His operations — yet it is known and approved of by One whose wisdom is the best guarantee of the universe.

And thus, too, will the idea of blind fate be excluded, not less than the idea of chance.

Still the heart desires something more. It is not enough that the world is neither left to the random vicissitudes of chance — nor governed by a blind and inexorable fate. It is not enough for our comfort to know that a God of infinite intelligence presides over its affairs, and that its laws are the emanations of His unerring wisdom. Great and glorious as these discoveries are, the heart longs to know the character, not less than the wisdom of that Almighty Being — and to be made acquainted, if not with His secret purposes, at least with the nature of His moral perfections, and His dispositions towards ourselves. "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!" Romans 5:8 

"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!" Revelation 19:6

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You should consider from whose hand it has been sent to you!

(James Buchanan, "Comfort in Affliction" 1837)

"In the day of prosperity be happy — but in the day of adversity CONSIDER: God has made the one as well as the other." Ecclesiastes 7:14

In the day of adversity, you should consider from whose hand it has been sent to you! It comes direct from the hand of God!

Intermediate agencies may have been employed in inflicting it:
  a cherished family member may have been the messenger of disease;
  a treacherous friend may have been the cause of bankruptcy;
  an avowed enemy may have been the author of reproach and shame;
  Satan himself may have been allowed to smite you! But through whatever secondary agency it may have been conveyed — adversity comes from God's hand!

"I form the light — and create darkness; I make peace — and create evil. I the Lord, do all these things." Isaiah 45:7

"Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?" Lamentations 3:38

"Shall we receive good at the hand of God — and shall we not receive evil?" Job 2:10

"Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?" Exodus 4:11

"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides Me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of My hand!" Deuteronomy 32:39

"The LORD brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up. The LORD sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts." 1 Samuel 2:6-7

"This is what the LORD says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people . . ." Jeremiah 32:42

"When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?" Amos 3:6

"For He wounds, but He also binds up; He injures, but His hands also heal." Job 5:18

From these and many other passages, it is plain that temporal affliction is ascribed to God in the Holy Scriptures. No one who acknowledges God's Providence at all, can fail to believe that the numerous afflictions and calamities of human life are permitted, appointed, and overruled by the Supreme Governor of the world!

This is a consideration of great practical importance, and should be seriously weighed in the day of adversity.

It assures us that our afflictions are neither imposed by a fatal necessity, nor produced by the uncertain vicissitudes of chance — but come forth from the hand of One who is infinitely wise and just and good!

It also teaches us in many of our afflictions, and those which it is indeed most difficult to bear — to look beyond, and to rise above, the consideration of the mere human agency by which they have been inflicted. I refer to such afflictions as are brought on us through the malice of our fellow-men, in regard to which we are too apt to alone consider the secondary agency through which they fall upon us — instead of steadily contemplating God as addressing to us, through human agency, the warnings and lessons which we need to learn and improve.

Whereas, did we consider all afflictions, of whatever kind, as emanating from the unerring heart of our loving Father — we would find, that even those which the hand or the tongue of man inflicts — are a wholesome discipline, and means of spiritual improvement.

Let us remember, then, that every affliction, through whatever channel it may flow — comes to us ultimately from God's loving hand!

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The Lord's rod has a voice!

(James Buchanan, "CONSIDERATION" 1840)

"Affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble spring from the ground. Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward!" Job 5:6-7

As affliction proceeds neither from blind necessity, nor from casual accident — but from the hand of your Omniscient Governor and Judge; so nothing can be more certain than that it is designed for the accomplishment of some great and useful purpose!

Now the design of affliction is expressly revealed in the Word of God. He has condescended to explain the reasons of His dealings with you — and it is alike your duty and your privilege to consider and to concur in His declared design.

The general end of affliction, as it is explained in God's Word, is the moral and spiritual improvement of believers — in other words, their progressive sanctification, and their preparation for glory. Oh! how important must the right use of affliction be, if it is intended to terminate in such a blessed result. It stands connected with our everlasting welfare — with all that we can enjoy on earth, and all that we hope for in Heaven.

But more particularly, the day of adversity is intended for our INSTRUCTION. The Lord's rod has a voice which speaks to us lessons of heavenly wisdom. Therefore, we are required "to hear the rod, and Him who has appointed it." (Micah 6:9.) "The rod and reproof give wisdom." (Proverbs 29:15.) It presents to our minds many of the same great truths which are declared in Scripture — but which we may have overlooked, or failed rightly to understand — until they were pressed on our attention, and made the matter of our personal experience in the day of trouble.

Thus, it teaches most impressively, that great Scriptural truth of the vanity of the world, and its insufficiency as the portion of rational and immortal beings. This is a truth which might almost be regarded as self-evident; yet it is one which is very slowly and reluctantly admitted by the young disciple, and which can only be effectually impressed on his mind, and unfolded in all its extent, by the experience of disappointment and sorrow.

In like manner, the day of adversity teaches us the great lesson of our entire and constant dependence on God. But a little while before, we were rejoicing in the midst of prosperity — our health was sound, our business prosperous, our families entire. But the sudden stroke has come which has smitten . . .
  our bodies with disease,
  our business with bankruptcy,
  or our families with death.
And that stroke has come from the Lord's hand!

Oh! in such circumstances, we are impressively taught . . .
that we are absolutely in God's power;
that all that we have is at His sovereign disposal;
that we depend on Him, day by day, continually for . . .
  our personal preservation,
  our worldly prosperity,
  our domestic comfort,
  for all, in short, that we desire or need on earth.

These are some of the lessons which adversity, when viewed as a means of moral instruction, is fitted to inculcate and to impress with great practical power on our hearts. When these lessons are duly considered; and, above all, when they are submissively embraced and acted on — the disciple will learn from his own experience the value of affliction, and admire the wisdom with which God suits His lessons to the most urgent necessities of his soul.

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Yes, He is altogether lovely!

(Samuel Rutherford)

Put the beauty of ten thousand worlds of paradises, like the Garden of Eden in one; put all trees, all flowers, all fragrances, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all loveliness, all sweetness in one. O what a lovely and excellent thing would that be! And yet it would be less compared to that beauteous and dearest well-beloved Christ — than one drop of rain, compared to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and foundations of ten thousand earths!

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

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The very substance, marrow, soul, and scope of the whole Scriptures!

"The Scriptures point to Me!" John 5:39

"Christ is the sum of the whole Bible — prophesied, typified, prefigured, exhibited, demonstrated — to be found in every leaf, almost in every line. The Scriptures being but as it were, the swaddling bands of the child Jesus." Thomas Adams

"Think of Christ as the very substance, marrow, soul, and scope of the whole Scriptures!" Isaac Ambrose

"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself." Luke 24:27

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Such weather vane preachers are worthless!

(Frank Hall)

A weather vane preacher is any preacher who changes what he preaches or how he preaches when the wind changes direction. The preacher who alters his message or his method because of the ever-changing advice, counsel, and opinions of men is not a leader, but a follower. Such weather vane preachers are worthless! They only do harm to the souls of men, and they need not preach at all. True, gospel preachers are pillars in the church of God — not puppets in the hands of men.

"On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts." 1 Thessalonians 2:4

"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths!" 2 Timothy 4:2-4

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Cracked cisterns!

(Gleanings from the diary of Ruth Bryan)

November 21st, 1830
While thinking this afternoon of some friends who have been running eagerly from one place to another after a celebrated, and, I suppose, most interesting preacher — this idea forcibly struck me: Why manifest such undue concern after streams, when we have the Fountain always accessible? I can, in my humble cottage, approach the footstool of the Father of mercies, and enjoy the manifestation of His love!

"My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves — cracked cisterns that cannot hold water!" Jeremiah 2:13

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The redeemed are held and secured by a threefold cord which can never be broken!

Each of the three Persons in the blessed Trinity is concerned with our salvation:
  with the Father it is predestination;
  with the Son it is redemption;
  with the Spirit it is regeneration.

The Father chose us;
the Son died for us;
the Spirit quickens us. (Arthur Pink)

In the affair of man's salvation . . .
  election is ascribed to the Father,
  reconciliation is ascribed to the Son, and
  sanctification is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. (Mathew Henry)

The redeemed are held and secured by a threefold cord which can never be broken!
1. By God the FATHER, who . . .
  has loved them with an everlasting love,
  has chosen them in Christ,
  has secured them in the covenant of grace,
  has given them saving grace,
  keeps them by His power,
  and will give them eternal glory!

2. By the SON, who . . .
  has undertaken the work of salvation for them,
  has redeemed and purchased them,
  prays and intercedes for them,
  makes preparations in Heaven for them.
They are built on Him, united to Him, and are His jewels, whom He cherishes and will preserve.

3. By the HOLY SPIRIT . . .
  whose grace is incorruptible,
  whose personal indwelling is forever,
  who Himself is the pledge and seal of their heavenly inheritance,
  who having begun, will finish the good work of grace. (John Gill)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6

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They are new every morning!

(James Buchanan, "Comfort in Affliction" 1837)

"His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!" Lamentations 3:24

Each Christian may find in his own case, some peculiar token of God's providential kindness to him. It is in the details of each man's personal history that we find the most touching manifestations of God's providential care. None of us can refuse to acknowledge that we have been the objects of a watchfulness which has never slumbered, and of a benevolence which has never been weary in doing us good.

Were we to attempt an enumeration of all the . . .
  blessings which we have received at God's hand,
  deliverances which He has wrought out for us,
  snares from which He has preserved us,
  manifestations of His long-suffering patience, and tender mercy, of which we ourselves have been the objects — were we to begin with the years of infancy and helplessness, and to trace our progress through the slippery paths of youth, until we reached our present state — we would soon find how impossible it is to reckon up the sum of our innumerable obligations to "the loving-kindness of the Lord."

For not only has God spared us in life, and upheld us from day to day, by His almighty power; not only has He given us our daily bread, and made our cup to run over — and that, too, notwithstanding all the ingratitude which we have displayed, and the manifold provocations which we have offered; but, in peculiar seasons, in seasons of difficulty and trial — He has often delivered . . .
  our eyes from tears,
  and our feet from falling,
  and our souls from death!
And as often as we have cried to the Lord in our trouble, He has delivered us from our distresses — or supported and comforted us under them. So that each of His redeemed people, on a review of God's dealings with Him, will be forced to exclaim:
"The Lord has been my Shepherd!"
"I have not lacked any good thing!"
"Hitherto has the Lord helped me!"
"The Lord has done all things well!"
"Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life!"

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We are now in the wilderness!

(James Buchanan, "Comfort in Affliction" 1837)

"He led them forth by the right way — that they might go to a city of habitation." Psalm 107:7

There is a striking analogy between the Israelites in the wilderness, on their journey to Canaan — and believers in the world, on their journey to Heaven. The history of the former, has been recorded mainly for the purpose of guiding and comforting the latter.

Dear brethren, we are now in the wilderness! This poor world is not our rest! We too have heard of a city of habitation, a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. And many of us, I trust, have been separated from the world and united to that company of pilgrims who have set their faces steadfastly to go up to the Jerusalem above.

God is our leader, as He was theirs. And as God is our leader, so our path through life is as really ordered and directed by Him, as was the way of the Israelites in the wilderness. True, we hear no audible voice from Heaven, directing our steps; but God leads us by His providence, shutting us up to a particular line of life, fixing the bounds of our habitation, determining our work, our connections, our success, by a variety of circumstances over which we feel that we have no control, and many of which are apparently trivial — but not one of them are by chance or accidental. And as God is our leader, and as our path in life is prescribed and ordered by Him — so, if we belong to the number of His people, we may rest assured that He is leading us by the right way.
Our experience, indeed, may often resemble that of the Israelites in the wilderness. God may seem to lead us in a circuitous and indirect way. We may be, we shall be, subjected to tribulation. We must leave the world behind us, as the Israelites left the flesh pots of Egypt. We must encounter difficulties, and endure the assault of enemies, and sustain trials — such as will humble us and prove us, and show what is in our hearts. Our hearts, too, may be much discouraged because of the hardness of the way. It may seem a tedious, a dreary, a perplexing way — and, when faith is ready to fail, it may lead us to murmur against the Lord.

All this is true — but the Lord knows the way which we take in this great wilderness; and as sure as God is our guide, so sure is it, that He is leading us by the right way.
All the difficulties,
all the trials,
all the disappointments,
all the bereavements,
all the delays,
all the chastisements
which befall us — are as needful for us, as they were for the children of Israel.
We, too, need to be proved.
We, too, need to be humbled.
We, too, have evil hearts of unbelief which must be subdued.
We, too, must be educated by instruction, and trained by discipline, and purified by suffering — that we may be fitted for our glorious inheritance above.

There is an inheritance for us, as there was for them. Their inheritance in the land of Canaan — was but a type or shadow of the incorruptible, undefiled, unfading inheritance, reserved in Heaven for us.

And seeing that God has opened up such a glorious prospect before us — oh! why should we doubt that He will lead us by the right way on our journey towards it. Why should we quarrel with any of His appointments here — if they are all designed to fit and prepare us for such a glorious destiny hereafter?

Would we take the regulation of our life out of God's hands — and keep it in our own?

Would we think it safer and better for us to be guided by our own will — rather than by His unerring wisdom and infinite love?

No, our safety is, that we are in God's hands! The Lord is our Shepherd, and we may rest assured, that however perplexing the path may be by which He conducts us — He will lead us like a flock through the wilderness; that while we are in it, goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life; and that in the end we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

"Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom!" There we shall be able to look back on all the way by which the Lord has led us in the wilderness — and we shall then see it to have been "the right way." And, in admiration and gratitude, we shall acknowledge with Moses, "In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling!" Exodus 15:13

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They are not intended for our pleasure, but for our profit!
(Thomas Watson)

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

To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort. But to be assured . . .
  that all things which happen shall cooperate for their good,
  that their crosses shall be turned into blessings,
  that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more
 — this may fill their hearts with joy until they run over!

"As the wicked are hurt by the best things — so the godly are bettered by the worst things!" William Jenkyn

"Poverty and affliction take away the fuel that feeds pride." Richard Sibbes

"God's wounds cure — sin's kisses kill." William Gurnall

"I am . . .
  mended by my sickness,
  enriched by my poverty, and
  strengthened by my weakness.
Thus was it with King Manasseh when he was in affliction, "He sought the Lord his God."
His iron shackles were more precious to him than his gold,
his jail was a more happy lodging than his palace,
Babylon was a better school than Jerusalem.
What fools are we, then, to frown upon our afflictions!
These, however difficult, are our best friends!
They are not intended for our pleasure, but for our profit!" Abraham Wright

"God disciplines us for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness." Hebrews 12:10

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The disciple is in God's school!

(James Buchanan, "Comfort in Affliction" 1837)

"The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" 1 Peter 3:4

The character which is so exquisitely delineated in these few simple words, is not the result of mere natural temperament or constitution — but the product of ripe and mature Christian experience. It is formed by slow degrees, under the teaching of God's Word and Spirit, and the long-continued discipline of His providence. It is lamentably defective in many, whose personal religion cannot be charitably doubted — and is seldom acquired in the earlier stages of the Christian course. It resembles the mellow flavor and sweetness of fruit which has been fully matured, and is ready to be gathered.

It is obviously a part of our piety to cherish at all times, a meek and quiet spirit towards God. His Character should secure our heartfelt reverence — and His Will should secure our quiet and unquestioning submission. We should be as little children in God's hands, regarding Him as our Father in Heaven, and feeling towards Him as a confiding child feels towards a kind parent . . .
  whose worth he reveres,
  whose love he cannot question, and
  whose will he would not resist for the world.

The believer is called to exercise a meek and quiet spirit, in reference to all God's providential dealings towards him. In the course of God's providence, he may be raised to great prosperity — or he may be reduced to deep poverty and distress. In either case, he is still meek and quiet towards God.

But meekness is more peculiarly appropriate in the season of adversity and trial. Such seasons every Christian has experienced, and many yet expect. It is through great tribulation that we must enter the Kingdom. If all men are born to trouble — the Christian is doubly sure of his share, for "whom the Lord loves, He chastens; and scourges every son whom He receives." At such seasons, and especially if the trial is very severe, or suddenly sent, or long-continued — the disciple is in God's school, learning a practical lesson of no easy attainment — even the lesson of meekness and quietness towards God. His clearest duty is that of resigned submission, of uncomplaining acquiescence in God's will.

God's people know that every painful dispensation with which they are visited, proceeds from God's unerring wisdom and infinite love; and that it is a part of that discipline by which God is seeking to purify them, and prepare them for Heaven. He feels that God has taken the management of his case into His own hands, and by ways which seem hard or mysterious, but which are really beneficial — is seeking to "humble him, and to prove him, and to show him what is in his heart." He learns by experience — what he was slow to learn by the mere reading of the Word, however clearly it was there set before him.

And thus he comes to cherish habitually a "meek and quiet spirit" — a spirit which neither disputes the necessity, nor questions the wisdom, nor doubts the love of God's dispensations towards him — but which leads him to place himself entirely in God's hands, to be dealt with according to His good pleasure, not doubting, that "all things shall work together for good to those who love God, and are the called according to His purpose." He feels the pressure of affliction, and may even be stunned by its unexpected stroke — but still he says with the Psalmist, "I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9

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Whenever we find ourselves irritated, discomposed, fretful, impatient, or wretched!

(James Buchanan, "A Meek and Quiet Spirit" 1840)

"The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" 1 Peter 3:4

Let me very briefly adduce some reasons and motives fitted to persuade you to the acquirement and cultivation of this meek and quiet spirit. It is here described as a beautiful and lovely disposition of mind — it is called an ornament. Wherever a meek and quiet spirit is consistently exhibited in the character of a Christian — it is universally felt and owned to be most attractive and engaging.

Those professors who lack a meek and quiet spirit, or who are as yet greatly deficient in it, are on that account less esteemed — their society is often felt to be disagreeable rather than pleasing — their conversation is not so sweet or refreshing.

Accordingly, a very large portion of God's Word is devoted to the inculcation of those principles by which this meek and quiet character is formed. And a large part of God's providential discipline is designed to produce and strengthen it in our souls.

No one can estimate how much his own personal comfort depends on his possessing a meek and quiet character. Such a spirit easily endures much which frets and discomposes those who are less thoroughly subdued.

An affront which exasperates a proud man — a meek man calmly suffers.

An injury which a revengeful man resents — meekness overlooks or forgets.

And trials which scarcely ruffle the composure of a quiet and contented mind — are sufficient to toss the wicked as on the waves of a troubled and boisterous sea.

Whenever we find ourselves irritated, discomposed, fretful, impatient, or wretched — we may rest assured that our misery arises much more from the distempered state of our souls, than from any external cause. We should seek relief, by acquiring that meek and quiet spirit, which will raise us above the influence of external circumstances, or enable us calmly to endure them.

Finally, let it be remembered that this meek temper of mind is not natural to any of us — it must be acquired and cultivated. Nor is it a plant of easy and speedy growth — it is the gradual product of much discipline, and of growing Christian experience. It seldom springs up, so as to reach maturity, until after many a storm has rooted and established it — nor even then, unless it is implanted and watered by the Spirit of God. "The fruit of the Spirit is meekness, gentleness, long-suffering."

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29

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Benefits of severe affliction

(James Buchanan)

"This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction: that Your Word has revived me and given me life." Psalm 119:50

It is not one of the least benefits of severe affliction, that it shatters our confidence in every other support, and breaks up our hopes from every other quarter — and leads us, in simplicity, to search the Word of God for comfort. Nor is it one of the least recommendations of that precious Book, that its characters become more bright in proportion as all else around us is dark; and that, when all other information becomes insipid or nauseous — its truths are rendered only the more sweet and refreshing by the bitter draught of sorrow.

The Bible cannot be known in its excellence,
nor its truths relished in their sweetness,
nor its promises duly appreciated and enjoyed
 — until, by adversity, all other consolation is lost, and all other hopes are destroyed. But then, when we carry it with us into the fiery furnace of affliction, like the aromatic plant which must be burnt before the precious perfume is released — it emits a refreshing fragrance, and is relished in proportion as our sufferings are great.

Glorious peculiarity! Other books may amuse the hours of ease. Other knowledge may suffice to pass the short day of prosperity — but this Book alone is for the hour of sorrow; this knowledge comes to our aid when all other knowledge fails. Like the sweet stars of Heaven, the truths of God shine most brightly in the darkest night of sorrow!

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Worldly ease and prosperity!

(Mary Winslow, "Words of Loving Counsel and Sympathy")

"Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that I need; or I shall be full, and deny you, and say: Who is the LORD?" Proverbs 30:8-9

How plainly I see that worldly ease and prosperity do not help the children of God. Covet them not, I beseech you! How the creature steals the heart's best affections from God! But oh of this one thing I am assured — that when that is the case, our good and wise Father knows how to deal with His beloved children. He breaks their cisterns and destroys their gourds.

What a snare, too, to the believer, is the society of the ungodly. Our nature is so much more inclined to evil than to good, that we insensibly imbibe the poison, and it contaminates our whole spiritual being. Who could be enclosed in a sepulcher with a putrid corpse — and not feel his health and strength and life decline? May the Lord in mercy preserve us!

None but God Himself is a satisfying Portion. Earth, with all its promised comforts, cannot do it. Therefore the Apostle exhorts, "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."

   ~  ~  ~  ~

This old house!

(Mary Winslow, "Words of Loving Counsel and Sympathy")

"Dear friends, I urge you, as strangers and pilgrims in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul." 1 Peter 2:11

What a snare is this world to us! Thankfully, we are not here on this poor earth forever — better things await the Christian in a glorious hereafter. We are traveling homeward! This world is not our rest, because it is defiled — Jesus is preparing a better place for us. I feel like a bird standing between time and eternity, and ready to launch away at a moment's notice of the summons from above!

Time is quickly hastening on! This poor world is not worth a thought — all is passing away, but a glorious eternity awaits us! Oh, what must it be to be there!

The heart of Jesus is an ocean of love! O the joy of eternal communion with the Savior! He is the Chief of ten thousand, and the altogether lovely one! Having Him, we have all things we can desire here, and a good hope of eternal life hereafter.

I would not be without this hope for millions of worlds! I feel that this old house is being taken down little and by little. I stand astonished, considering the storms and tempests that have assailed it, that it has continued so long. But I have a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens! And there, first of all, I shall meet with the Savior of poor sinners, even Jesus Christ, who suffered, bled, and died that I should live forever!

Let us then live like one whose home is not here in this wilderness, but who is traveling day by day to a better and more glorious inheritance above, which is to last through the countless ages of a vast and endless eternity!

"Live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear!" 1 Peter 1:17

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What could we do in this wilderness world?

(Mary Winslow, "Words of Loving Counsel and Sympathy")

"From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another!" John 1:16

What could we do in this wilderness world, beset with manifold temptations within and without — had we not a God to go to — Jesus, an ever-present Help in times of trouble? He is our Helper in little matters, as in great ones. No one on earth, however dear, can take His place. We need Him as our Counselor and Guide, our Protector and Deliverer. How needful, then, and how sweet — to be ever sitting at His feet, looking up and meeting His loving eye, as it looks down upon us. Let us allow no distance between us and our dearest and best Friend.

Jesus indeed is very precious. Everything else sinks into its native nothingness when compared with Him. The more we see of the matchless, boundless love of Christ — the more we lie under a sense of our wretched deformity in the dust of self-abasement before Him. But O the love springing from a sense of free pardon and full acceptance in Him, is often overpowering, and produces bitter tears, yet mixed with so much that is sweet.

All is given freely and fully. We come needy and helpless — and receive all from Him. O the riches of His grace, and matchless love to such as we are!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Poor Miss Smith — where is she now?

(Mary Winslow, "Words of Loving Counsel and Sympathy")

She entered the train in full expectation of many years of health, wealth, and happiness in this world — and in a few hours was gone forever! Poor Miss Smith — where is she now?

Oh to live for eternity, a glorious eternity! What madness not to be preparing for it. There is nothing on earth so important as to be ready for eternity. Like Miss Smith, you may leave your home in health and in high spirits, in the anticipation of meeting dear friends — and in a few hours be ushered into the presence of the great Judge of Heaven and earth, to be tried at His bar, and acquitted or condemned. But this is a subject ridiculed and slighted by the ungodly.

Try to live on earth, as you expect to live in Heaven. Walk holy and uprightly — just as if the Lord were with you, and in your midst.

I often long to see Jesus — and also Heaven. Heaven is an ocean of love!

Earth is a weary place to me — and Heaven looks very inviting!
To be freed from a body of sin and death,
to be done with the conflict,
to shed no more tears,
to breathe no more sighs,
to have grappled with, and to have overcome the "last enemy,"
to enter into an eternal rest,
to behold Jesus in all His beauty and glory,
to unite my praises with those who are dear to me by nature and by grace,
Oh is not this worth living for, and is it not worth dying for!
O blessed hope of immortality!

A few more steps, and I too am there — a sinner saved by sovereign grace!

I want to have all my thoughts centered on Jesus — He is all and everything to my soul. As I near my home in Heaven, He grows more and more endeared. I feel that Heaven would be no Heaven to me, were He not there.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Carrying our little troubles and needs to God!

(Mary Winslow, "Words of Loving Counsel and Sympathy")

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered!" Matthew 10:29-30

What a mercy it is to have an Almighty Friend — powerful and willing to help in every time of need!

I often think it requires more faith to go to Him with small things, than in great trials. We are apt to think He will not take notice of our little difficulties, and feel ashamed to call upon so great and mighty a Being for every trifle. But this thought originates with the pride of our hearts, for in one sense the universe itself and ten thousand such worlds — are trifles to God.

But when we read that every hair of our head is numbered — what encouragement we have to take everything to Him who alone can deliver us out of all our troubles. I think carrying our little troubles and needs to God, honors Him even more than when we go to Him with greater.

O what a mercy to be persuaded that whatever may be our circumstances, God is with us, directing and overruling the whole for our good and for His own glory. To know that He is ours — and that we are His. To draw near in faith, telling Him all that is in our hearts, conscious of having the ear and heart of Jehovah towards us. Is not this true, substantial happiness?

"Cast all your care on Him, because He cares for you!" 1 Peter 5:7

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Dear Mrs. Brown died this morning!

(Mary Winslow, "Words of Loving Counsel and Sympathy")

"They are without fault before the throne of God." Revelation 14:5

Dear Mrs. Brown died this morning!
She is released from a sinful, suffering body — and has gone to that world of holiness and happiness for which she lived, and where she longed to be. Her whole life, like her Savior's, was devoted to doing good.

How I love to think of Heaven as the atmosphere of love, and the unutterable delight of seeing Him whom we most love, freed from sin, and forever with the Lord.

Time is short!

Live for eternity!

Let us strive not to please ourselves, but Him who loved us and gave Himself for us!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The painted beauties of this world will wither!

(John Owen)

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God!" Colossians 3:1

I would fix all my thoughts and desires on Christ's glory! The more I see of the glory of Christ — the more the painted beauties of this world will wither in my eyes and I will be more and more crucified to this world. It will become to me like something dead and putrid, impossible for me to enjoy!

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

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He it was who suffered a shameful and cruel death at the hands of His own creatures!

(George Everard, "Help on the Way to the Better Land!" 1873)

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

How great is the price which has been paid for man's redemption!

If a prisoner of war, shut up within the walls of some gloomy fortress, were to see a bag of gold sent for his ransom, by the Sovereign whom he had faithfully served — what thankfulness would fill his bosom! But much more than this has been given for us! In tender compassion for our souls, no less a price has been paid by Christ than His own precious blood!
He saw us perishing in our sins;
He saw us in captivity to the Prince of Darkness;
He saw us tied fast by chains that we ourselves could never break
 — and then He came to redeem us! He poured out upon the cross, the blood that was to be the means of our everlasting salvation. This blood is infinitely precious, because it is Divine. It is the blood of one who is man's Creator, "Perfect God — and perfect man."

Oh, ponder well this deep and mysterious truth. Little can we fathom it! Yet it was God Incarnate — God in our nature — the Eternal Word made flesh — who died for man's salvation! How marvelous!

His own hand had fashioned the very wood upon which He was nailed!

He Himself gave breath to the very men who cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!"

It was His power which gave strength and nerve to the arm which pierced His side with the cruel spear!

Yes! the Creator and Preserver of man — the King of kings and Lord of lords, He before whom angels worshiped, crying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!"He it was who suffered a shameful and cruel death at the hands of His own creatures!

When the Jews saw the tears which Jesus shed at the tomb of Lazarus His friend, they rightly judged when they said, "Behold how He loved him!" When we see the drops of precious blood falling on Calvary, when we see the blood flowing from His pierced temples, from His wounded hands and feet and side — well may we say, "Behold, how He loved us!"

Bear in mind that the suffering in body, the shame and the scoffing — were but the least part of that which He endured for our sake. His holy soul was burdened with the weight of man's transgression. How agonizing was the conflict, when thrice He prayed in the garden, that if it were possible the cup might pass from Him! How great was the inner darkness of His soul, when on the cross there arose that exceeding great and bitter cry, "My God, My God! Why have You forsaken Me!"

It has been said, "Christ received into His own bosom every arrow of God's quiver — and every one dipped in the poison of the curse!" Here then is love. In the blood of the cross, we find the proof of such love as man never before could conceive: "Christ died for the ungodly!" Romans 5:6

What a mystery of love is this!

Believer, did Jesus give His precious blood for you, to save you from Hell and damnation, to make you a child of God and an heir of eternal glory? Then what will you withhold from Him? Oh, surrender yourself wholly, unreservedly to His service! Oh, think of the debt of love you owe — and endeavor to make some return for it, by laying yourself and all you have at His feet. Time, talents, influence, wealth — freely yield to the Savior who has bought you! Above all things, live daily, hourly, as in the sight of God — and adorn your profession by a very loving, holy, prayerful, Christ-like life.

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Predestination is not Fatalism


"In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will." Ephesians 1:11

Fatalism implies that all events come to pass through the working of a blind, unintelligent, impersonal non-moral force which cannot be distinguished from physical necessity and carries us helplessly within its grasp as a mighty river carries a piece of wood.

Predestination teaches that from all eternity God has had one unified purpose which He is bringing to perfection through this world order of events.

The power of God is that ability and strength whereby He is able to bring to pass . . .
  whatsoever He pleases,
  whatsoever His infinite wisdom may direct, and
  whatsoever the infinite purity of His will may resolve.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God — to those who are called according to His purpose.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son; 
  and these whom He predestined, He also called;
  and these whom He called, He also justified;
  and these whom He justified, He also glorified." Romans 8:28-30

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Predestination, according to the Holy Scriptures, is that free and unfettered counsel of God by which He rules all mankind and all things, and also all parts and particles of the world by His infinite wisdom and incomprehensible justice." John Calvin

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Scripture everywhere teaches that even the minutest details of life are of divine ordering!" Louis Louis Berkhof

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Nothing can happen in this world without God's permission. There is no such thing in reality, as chance, accident, or luck!" J.C. Ryle

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"What a sad world this would be — were it governed by Fate! Were its blended lights and shadows, its joys and sorrows — the result of capricious accident — or blind and wayward chance! How blessed to think that each separate circumstance which befalls me — is the fulfillment of God's own immutable purpose!" John MacDuff

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The very acme of humility!

(George Everard, "Help on the Way to the Better Land!" 1873)

"Though I am nothing." 2 Corinthians 12:11

Wonderful was the grace that taught the once proud Pharisee thus to speak!

To be "the least of the apostles," was much to say. (1 Corinthians 15:9)

To be "less than the least of all all God's people," was still more. (Ephesians 3:8)

To be "chief of sinners," was yet more. (1 Timothy 1:15)

But "to be nothing," this is the very acme of humility!

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The most wicked man, the most consummate hypocrite I ever knew!

(George Everard, "Help on the Way to the Better Land!" 1873)

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not love" (one of the blessed graces of the Spirit), "I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1

There may be the gift of utterance — and no spiritual life. Balaam, and Judas, and multitudes beside have had this — and yet have been dead in trespasses and sins.

Men may offer fine prayers before others — men may preach eloquent sermons — and yet, like Judas, be far from God!

The most wicked man, the most consummate hypocrite I ever knew — was one of the most gifted preachers, and could electrify an audience by his persuasive oratory!

"Many will say to me on that day: 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'  Then I will tell them plainly: 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!'" Matthew 7:22-23

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The sands of life are quickly running out!

(George Everard, "Help on the Way to the Better Land!" 1873)

"The time is short!" 1 Corinthians 7:29

With each of us, the sands of life are quickly running out! Friends, neighbors, relatives are gone to their long home — and we are treading fast upon their heels! As we look into the graves of those who die, let us remember we must soon follow along the same path.

"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time!" Ephesians 5:15-16

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Imagine for a moment!

(George Everard, "
Help on the Way to the Better Land!" 1873)

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need!" Hebrews 4:16

Imagine for a moment
, that on a set day in each year, our beloved Queen were to take her seat upon her throne. She has caused it to be proclaimed far and wide, that on such a day she will be ready to grant all the petitions that may be made to her. What crowds would flock around her! How many would anticipate the hour when they might hope to obtain some long-sought blessing!

Now this sets before us a great reality. What would be impossible in any earthly sovereign — is actually the case with the great and glorious King who reigns in Heaven! His throne of grace is open to the poor and the wretched — to those who feel burdened with ten thousand sins, and troubled by ten thousand needs and sorrows. It is open, not once a year — but every day, every hour, every moment! It is open for the heinous sinner who comes weighed down with life's transgressions. It is open for the child of God, who comes again and again for the supply of grace and strength which he needs!

Over that throne, the eye of faith can discern, in letters glittering like the bright stars in Heaven, some such invitations as these:
 "Ask, and it shall be given you!
  Seek, and you shall find!
  Knock, and it shall be opened unto you!"

Who can describe the preciousness of the gifts to be obtained at this throne!

Years ago an Indian prince was greatly indebted to one high in authority for the aid and support he had rendered to him. History tells us that the prince desired to give the Englishman some strong proof of the gratitude he bore towards him. He took him into a vast underground chamber, where were collected the most costly and precious jewels, gold and silver almost without limit — treasures such as before the Englishman had never seen. When all these had been displayed before him, the Indian prince bade him to choose whatever he desired — nothing would be denied him. Whatever he named, he might call his own.

There is likewise, a rich storehouse of costly treasures which is open to us. Jesus, our great Mediator, holds the key, and opens it to all who ask in His name, and according to His Word.

There are gifts for us concerning the peace and salvation of our souls:
  daily pardon for daily sin,
  more light to understand the Word of Truth,
  more strength in the Holy Spirit to overcome sin and to walk with God,
  more joy and peace in believing,
  the enduring gold of faith and love,
  the white clothing of a perfect justification in Christ,
  the eye salve of Divine wisdom in the knowledge of ourselves and of God
 — all these are in the hand of Jesus for those who call upon Him!
All are bestowed in answer to fervent believing prayer.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Nothing but the brittle thread of life, supported by the hand of an angry God, now holds the sinner from dropping into the flames of Hell!

(Asahel Nettleton, "Rejoice Young Man!")

"Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things, God will bring you into judgment!" Ecclesiastes 11:9

Young men! You may think: "Surely there can be no harm in gathering some of the delights and tasting the pleasures of the present season."

If your souls are in danger of being lost by the alluring pleasures of what men call innocent amusements — will you now regard a warning from God? Or do you wish, like the others, to be flattered on to destruction? Your trifles of time will then be lost in the solemn concerns of eternity!

Should the unseen hand of death suddenly approach and find you as you are — you are gone, and lost forever! Is this a time to rejoice and make merry? Remember — you must soon die and go to judgment!

I well know that you intend to die the death of the righteous — and so did all who are now in Hell. Not one had made his calculations to lie down in eternal torments!

At the righteous judgment of God, it will then appear that your youthful days in which you now rejoice — were wholly spent in gathering fuel for your own eternal torments!

Surely, God out of Christ, is a consuming fire — and nothing but the brittle thread of life, supported by the hand of an angry God, now holds the sinner from dropping into the flames of Hell!

You sport on the brink of ruin!

Can you amuse yourselves with trifles, while your soul is in danger of being eternally lost?

You chase a bubble, at the hazard of falling into endless torments!

Yet many plead the example of the world which lies in wickedness. They feel safe because they run with the multitude. Others have done so before. My friends, those others have gone to Hell! They were sporting in sin, when suddenly they not only died, but were damned!

You are now, in your lifetime, receiving your good things. And this little may be all that you will ever enjoy. Your last day, your last hour will soon come. Were this day to close the scene of your mortal life — what have you gained? Were God's judgment now to open to your view — what have you been doing? Your work for eternity is ended. And the holy Judge pronounces your final doom.

We are to remember that God always sees us — and do what we will, we can never get out of His sight, or out of His hand. Your past conduct is now recorded in Heaven — the account is gone in, and cannot be altered. It will shortly be presented to your view. The mirthful scene will now be changed. Every action will now be weighed by the omniscient Judge. Every secret thing will now appear. God will bring to the light of open day, the hidden works of darkness, and the secret counsels of all hearts. The righteous Judge will proceed to the trial on the principles of strict justice. He will now demand the uttermost farthing — absolute perfection. Without pity, or allowance for the levity of youth — He will condemn and punish for every failure of perfect obedience. An idle word, an impure thought, cannot be forgiven. For all those things, O young man — how will your present mirthful conduct then appear?

"Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things, God will bring you into judgment!" Ecclesiastes 11:9