Grace Gems for MARCH, 2016

Grace Gems for MARCH, 2016

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The best Physician!

(Thomas Watson)
Christ is the best Physician.
Christ  is the most skillful Physician. There is no disease too hard for Him. "Who heals all your diseases." Psalm 103:3. He can cure the gangrene of sin — even when it comes to the heart. He can melt a heart of stone, and wash away black sins in His crimson blood! There are no desperate cases with Christ. He has those salves, oils, and balsams which can cure the worst diseases.
Christ is the cheapest Physician. Sickness is not only a consumption to the body — but the purse! (Luke 8:43). Physicians charge fees — but Jesus Christ gives us our cures freely. He takes no fee. "Come without money and without price!" Isaiah 55:1. He desires us to bring nothing to Him but broken hearts. And when He has cured us, He desires us to bestow nothing upon Him but our love — and one would think that was very reasonable.
Christ heals with more ease than any other. Other physicians apply pills, potions, or remedies. Christ cures with more ease. Christ made the devil go out with a word (Mark 9:25). So when the soul is spiritually possessed, Christ can heal with a word, nay, He can cure with a look. When Peter had fallen into a relapse, Christ looked on Peter — and he wept. Christ's look melted Peter into repentance — it was a healing look.
Other physicians can only cure those who are sick — but Christ cures those who are dead. "You has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Ephesians 2:1 

Christ cures not only our diseases — but our deformities! The physician can make the sick man well; but if he is deformed, he cannot make him lovely. Christ gives not only health — but beauty. Sin has made us ugly and misshapen. Christ's medicines do not only take away our sickness — but our blemishes. He not only makes us whole — but lovely. Christ not only heals — but adorns.
Last, Christ is the most bountiful Physician. Other patients enrich their physicians — but here the Physician enriches the patient! Christ advances all His patients. He not only cures them — but crowns them! (Revelation 2:10). Christ not only raises from the sick-bed — but to the throne! He gives the sick man not only health — but Heaven!
Oh, the love of this heavenly Physician! Christ Himself drank that bitter cup which we should have drunk, and by His taking the bitter potion — we are healed and saved! Thus Christ has shown more love than any physician ever did to the patient.

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The Power of Habit!

(author unknown)

Those habits which seem too weak to be felt — soon become too strong to be broken! They entwine themselves around the soul, and the coil proves fatal.

Once commence the downward course, and it is uncertain if you will ever return!

The lives of many in history illustrate the "downward steps from innocence to guilt."

A painter once wanted a picture of innocence — and painted a child at prayer. The little suppliant was kneeling beside his mother, the palms of his uplifted hands were reverently pressed together, his rosy cheek spoke of health, and his mild blue eye was upturned with the expression of devotion and peace. The portrait of young Rupert was much prized by the painter, and was hung up on his study wall, and called 'Innocence.'

Years passed away, and the painter became an old man; still the picture hung there. He had often thought of painting a contrast — the picture of guilt — but he had not found the appropriate subject. At last he effected his purpose by paying a visit to a neighboring jail.

On the damp floor of his cell lay a wretched culprit, named Randall, heavily shackled. Wasted was his body, and hollow his eye — vice was visible in his face. The painter succeeded in copying his features admirably, and the portraits of young Rupert and old Randall were hung up side by side, as 'Innocence' and 'Guilt.'

But who were young Rupert — and old Randall? Alas! the two were one! Old Randall was young Rupert, led astray by his companions, and ending his life in this damp dungeon of the jail.

Beware of trifling with sinful habits. Satan lays his fatal snares for the unwary, adapts the bait — and the soul is taken captive by the devil!

Never open the door to a little vice, lest a great one should enter also!

Hide God's Word in your heart, that you may not sin against Him. It will be a bulwark to shield you, and a guide to direct you.

If we would walk safely, we must check every approach to evil, and pray, "Hold me up — and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

"Sow a thought — and you will reap an act;
 sow an act — and you will reap a habit;
 sow a habit — and you will reap a character;
 sow character — and you will reap a destiny!"

"As the tree falls — so must it lie;
 As the man lives — so must he die!
 As a man dies — such must he be;
 All through the ages of eternity!"

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This would help you more than anything!

(George Everard)

A wandering of the mind in prayer is an evil to be carefully avoided. I imagine there is no child of God but has continually to lament wandering thoughts — something coming in to divert the attention, and often carrying you miles away from the presence of the Lord. Even those who most grieve and regret this evil, find that it often comes and disturbs them. It meets them in the sanctuary, it meets them in family worship, it meets them in their private devotions. It is a weed that is ever growing, and no remedy has yet been found that can completely root it out of the garden of the heart.

Yet some guidance may be given in the matter. Strive to be very definite in your prayers. Think of what you most need, and then put it very distinctly before the Lord.

Also, endeavor always to speak as to a living person. If you could more fully realize and always recollect that when you pray, a living Redeemer and an omnipotent Friend bows down the ear to hear, that He is close by you, that you are not speaking into the air — but that you speak your words to one who as truly sees you and hears you as if you saw Him with your very eyes before you — this would help you more than anything!

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Let us often go to Hell while we live!

(Thomas Adams, "An Exposition on the Second Epistle of Peter" 1633)

"I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!" Luke 12:5

"The wicked shall be turned into Hell!" Psalm 9:17

God, in His mercy, threatens before He punishes — that He may not punish as He threatens!

Let us descend daily into Hell by meditation — lest we finally descend there by condemnation.

Let us often go to Hell while we live
— lest we go there when we are dead!

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There's no cost of being a Christian in America!

(Leonard Ravenhill)

I went to a church not along ago — they got thirty acres. So what are their plans with it? They want their own football field and tennis courts. Dear God, do we go to church to learn to play tennis? God help the preachers!

We have such an accommodating Christianity today.

The best title of the professing church of God today, in my judgment, is "Unbelieving Believers." There's cancer in the church tonight!

At this grim hour, the world sleeps in the darkness — and the Church sleeps in the light.

You'll never get me to believe that the church today believes in Hell.

We're a million, billion miles away from New Testament Christianity!

I doubt if 5% of professing Christians in America are born again!

Entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy. The more joy you have in the Lord, the less entertainment you need.

Is the world crucified to you — or does it fascinate you?

The apostles had no gold, but lots of glory. We have lots of gold, but no glory.
The book of Acts shows us the church before it became fat and short of breath by prosperity!

Who or what takes priority over God in our lives?

Where, oh, where are the eternity-conscious believers?

Where are the souls white-hot for God because they fear His holy name and presence and so live with eternity's values in view?

There's no cost of being a Christian in America!

I'd rather have ten people who want God — than 10,000 people who want to play church!

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Prosperity, personality and popularity!

(Leonard Ravenhill)

The early church was a lifeboat for rescuing the perishing.
Today's church is a cruise ship for pampering the prosperous.

The early Church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions.
Today, the Church is married to prosperity, personality and popularity.

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A canary and a goldfish!

(author unknown)

A canary and a goldfish had their allotment together in the same room.

One hot day the master of the house heard the fish complaining of his silent condition, and envying the sweet song of his companion overhead. "Oh, I wish I could sing as sweetly as my friend up there!"

Meanwhile the Canary was eyeing the inhabitant of the globe, "How cool it looks! I wish my lot were there."

"So then it shall be!" said the master, and forthwith placed the fish in the air — and the bird in the water.

Immediately they saw their folly, and repented of their discontent and grumbling.

The moral of this little fable is this: Let every man be content in the state in which Divine Providence has placed him, and believe that it is what is best fitted for him!

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:11-12

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Oh, do not waste life!

(George Everard, "Mind Your Steps!" 1884)

"Making the very most of the time!" Ephesians 5:16

Be careful to make the very best use of your time. Make the most of each passing day. Instead of trying to kill time — strive to make it so fruitful of good to yourself and others. Hours and moments are golden — yes, more valuable than pearls and diamonds — and to squander and waste them is folly beyond description! Until we reach eternity, we shall never know how much good has been obtained or wrought . . .
  by a moment's earnest prayer,
  by a passing opportunity seized,
  by five minutes given to read a helpful book,
  by a quarter of an hour given to visit some suffering saint.

How much Christ accomplished in the three years of His public ministry! He was always intent on the work He had to do, so that tens of thousands were taught and benefitted. And though we are so sinful, and our power so feeble in comparison — is not His life to be a pattern for ours?

Oh, do not waste life! Map it out prudently, and think well of the work to which you yourself are called.
No lost hours through late rising in the morning!
No mornings or evenings worse than lost, in drinking in the poison or the vanity of a worthless novel!
No moments thrown away in idle gossip and foolish talking!
No, no — our was life given to us for this! Use it far better and more wisely. Remember that . . .
  the time is short,
  the work is great, and
  the outcome is for eternity!

Soon will the great bell toll, which will usher you into a future state. Brother, sister, make haste to do all the work allotted to you — to do it well, that the Master may be glorified, and your crown the brighter.

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

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

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

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

Pierced! WHO pierced Him?

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

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

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

Look, my soul, at the pierced One!

God's holy Son hangs on that cross!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ah! we live in an enemy's land!

(Letters of John Newton)

"Though he stumbles, he will not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds him with His hand!" Psalm 37:24

Ah! we live in an enemy's land! We tread upon enchanted ground, and breathe an infected air! Without the supporting power of God and the preservatives of the Gospel — we would surely faint and fall.

Oh! my Lord, keep me. I adore and wonder that I have been kept, that I stand — for surely I am no wiser or better than some who have fallen.

"Hold me up, and I shall be safe! And I shall observe Your statutes continually." Psalm 119:117

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The most precious thing in Heaven or earth!

(John Flavel, "The Fountain of Life" 1671)

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

In giving Christ to die for poor sinners, God gave the richest jewel in His cabinet! This is a mercy of the greatest worth, and most inestimable value.

Heaven itself is not so valuable and precious as Christ is! Ten thousand thousand worlds, as many worlds as angels can number — would not outweigh Christ's love, excellency and sweetness! O what a lovely One! What an excellent, beautiful, ravishing One — is Christ!

Put the beauty of ten thousand paradises, like the garden of Eden, into one; put all flowers, all pleasing fragrances, all colors, all delicious tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness into one — O what a lovely and excellent thing would that be! And yet it would be less compared to that loveliest and dearest well-beloved Christ — than one drop of rain compared to all the seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths!

Now, for God to bestow this mercy of mercies, the most precious thing in Heaven or earth, upon poor sinners; and, as great, as lovely, as excellent as His Son was — what kind of love is this!

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

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The greatest plagues of mankind!

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

"A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a harmful path." Proverbs 16:29

The devil never did any good to any of his servants — and yet some of them seem to have more zeal for their master's interest, than many of the servants of Christ. These evil men compass sea and land to make others as much the children of Hell as themselves.

Such tempters to wickedness are to be abhorred as the greatest plagues of mankind! Thieves deprive us of our money, and murderers deprive us only of a short life — but these emissaries of Hell who would seduce us to sin, attempt to rob us of heavenly treasures, and to destroy our immortal souls!

Whenever any man would seduce us into a way that is harmful, let us remember what the end of that way is, and hear his words with the same indignation as if he were persuading us to cast ourselves into a burning fiery furnace!

(Editor's note: Much of today's MEDIA is but Satan's attempt to seduce people down the path to eternal damnation.)

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My needs — His fullness!

(James Meikle, May 24, 1757)

All plenitude is in Christ, to answer all the needs of His people. In Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, that out of His fullness, I may receive all spiritual blessings!

Have I destroyed myself by sin?
I have deliverance from Him who is mighty to save from sin and wrath!

Is my life fleeting — and passing away like a shadow?
Jesus is the Ancient of days, and endures forevermore!

Are my days short-lived and full of trouble?
Jesus is my life, and the joy of my heart!

Am I exposed to contempt?
Jesus shall be my crown of glory, and diadem of beauty!

Am I traveling through the wilderness?
Jesus is my staff, and on Him I lean all the way!

Am I on my last journey to my long home?
Jesus is my leader, and my rewarder!

Am I a sheep?
Jesus is my pasture, and my green pasture too!

Am I hungry and thirsty?
Jesus is my heavenly manna, and gives me to drink of the water of life!

Am I weary?
Jesus is my rest and refreshing!

Am I weak?
Jesus is my strength!

Am I oppressed and wronged?
Jesus is my judge and my avenger!

Am I reproached?
Jesus will wipe away the reproach of His people!

Am I a soldier?
Jesus is my Captain and shield!

Must I fight in the field of battle?
Jesus is my armor in the day of war!

Do I sit in darkness?
Jesus is my light!

Do I have doubts?
Jesus is my counselor!

Am I ignorant?
Jesus is my wisdom!

Am I guilty?
Jesus is my justification!

Am I filthy?
Jesus is my sanctification!

Am I poor?
Jesus is the pearl of great price, and has immeasurable riches laid up for me!

Am I blind?
Jesus, and none but He can open the eyes of one born blind!

Am I naked?
Jesus has white clothing to cover the shame of my nakedness!

Am I in the very utmost necessity?
Jesus is a very present help in time of trouble!

Am I exposed to the hurricanes of adversity?
Jesus is . . .
  a refuge from the storm,
  a shelter from the blast,
  rivers of water in a desert,
  the shadow of a great rock in a weary land!

Am I afraid of being left alone?
Jesus will never leave me, nor forsake me!

Do friends and brethren prove false?
Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother!

Am I in danger from disease and death — or from sin and Satan?
My life is hidden with Christ in God! When He shall appear, I shall appear with Him — immortal in my body, and glorious in my soul!

Is my case considered in the court of Heaven?
There Jesus is my Advocate!

Do I offend the Father?
Jesus is my Intercessor!

Do I suffer in my body, and am I grieved in my mind?
Jesus bore my infirmities, and carried my griefs!

Is my mind disquieted, and my soul debarred from peace?
Jesus is my sympathetic High Priest! He was tempted in all points, and knows how to support those who are tempted!

Am I poor in my circumstances?
Jesus, the heir of all things! Though He was rich, yet for my sake He became poor — that I through His poverty might be made rich!

Do I suffer in my character?
Jesus was numbered with transgressors, called a glutton, a drunkard, and a devil!

Am I bereaved or alone?
Jesus, my best friend, can never die!

Must I undergo death and be laid in the grave?
Jesus has taken away the sting of death, and robbed the grave of its victory!

Must I rot in the grave?
Jesus shall be my resurrection, and raise me to immortality and bliss!

Would I go to God and to glory?
Jesus is my way, and must admit me into the palace of the great King, where I shall abide forever!

My needs are many — but His fullness is infinitely more!

The morning dews and fructifying showers water the fields, and refresh the parched furrows. But what are they, compared to the exhaustless ocean of Jesus?

What is all that I enjoy here below, compared to the exuberant fullness of Heavenly bliss? O! then, how shall my soul be replenished — when possessed of this infinite All, through eternity itself!

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Though sought with an ocean of tears!

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

"But since you rejected Me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out My hand, since you ignored all My advice and would not accept My rebuke — I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you — when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you! Then they will call to Me — but I will not answer; they will look for Me — but will not find Me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD, since they would not accept My advice and spurned My rebuke — they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes!" Proverbs 1:24-31

The prayers of these desperate rebels are like the howlings of a dog! They are cries extorted by strong necessity and intolerable anguish!

Sinners miserably delude their own souls by proposing to live in the indulgence of their sins — and die in the exercise of repentance.
True repentance is never too late — but late repentance is seldom true!

Prayers are of no use in the eternal world. The day of grace is at an end, and the wretched shall cry in vain to the rocks and mountains to fall upon them, and hide them from the wrath of the Lord and of the Lamb.

Behold, now is the accepted time — now the Lord waits to be gracious. But the day is coming which is cruel with wrath and fierce anguish! No place shall then be found for mercy — though sought with an ocean of tears!

The punishment is indeed tremendous — but the sin that cause it is atrocious! It is no less than a contempt and hatred of the counsels of the Lord. What is this, but an undeniable proof of enmity against God Himself? And will not God avenge Himself on His enemies?

When men do not chose the fear of the Lord, but prefer the base pleasures of sin — they give plain proof of their hatred to God. How then, can they escape the damnation of Hell?

They laughed at God's threatenings, as if they had been idle tales — and God shall laugh at them!

They despised His counsels — and He shall despise their prayers!

They were always rebellious, and continued unchanged under all admonition — and God will prove an immutable avenger, and will pay no regard to their cries for help.

They took pleasure in sin — and God will laugh in punishing them on account of it.

God is not to be blamed — but on the contrary, He will be eternally glorious as their Avenger. His insulted mercy will be glorious in the punishment of His despisers. His unsullied justice shall shine in dispensing to the workers of iniquity, the wages of their wicked works!

Sinners never think they have drunk deep enough of the poisoned cup of sin — but they shall at length be filled with it. Then shall it satiate them — when they find that intolerable misery is its native consequence. That cup which now delights the lover of evil — will then be found a cup of fury, and the wicked must drink it down to its bitterest dregs!

He who cherishes iniquity — warms in his bosom the most venomous of serpents! Sinners owe their ruin . . .
  to their willful hardness of heart,
  to their abuse of divine mercy, and
  to their indifference to God's salvation.

If the prosperity of fools leads them to the indulgence of sin, and the neglect of holiness — it renders their damnation more certain and more dreadful!

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Like coins from the same mint!

(Letters of John Newton)

My dear sir,
I could write a long note indeed, upon your very great mistake in considering me as a great man. If we could have a personal interview — I think you would be quickly undeceived! Ah! how different I am — from what perhaps I appear to be to others when in the pulpit.

Your mistake, however, has done me good. A whole quire of invective from an enemy could hardly have given me so keen a sense of shame. The Scriptures assure us that our hearts by nature, like coins from the same mint — are all alike. I hear my fellow-Christians complain of evils similar to what I feel. Otherwise I would have reason to conclude that there could not be one believer upon earth — so inconsistent, so evil, so vile beyond expression — as myself!

Ah, dear sir! what would you have thought of me — had you seen me when I lived among the slaves? The sight of me would have been offensive to your eyes, and my vile speech would have struck you with horror! I was miserable and despicable in every view — the common mark of scorn and insult! My whole wretched amusement and pleasure seemed to lie in blaspheming the name and person of Jesus, and in feeding my imagination with schemes of wickedness!

Some of my unhappy companions have perished in their sins — who have just cause to charge the ruin of their souls to my account! For Satan himself, had he been upon earth in a bodily shape — could hardly have been more industrious in tempting to infidelity and profligacy than I was!

There is seldom a day of my life, in which my thoughts are not led back to my former state of estrangement from Him, and that pre-eminence of wretchedness into which my sins plunged me!

Yet, it is of grace that my poor story is not much worse. The Lord is my keeper — therefore I am still preserved. "By the grace of God — I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

I am, dear sir, your affectionate friend and servant,
John Newton, 1778

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Jesus is only precious to believers

(James Smith, "Christ Precious!" 1861)

"Unto you therefore who believe — He is precious!" 1 Peter 2:7

Every believer VALUES Christ. Let others think of Him as they may — all who are taught of God, think highly of Him. They can never honor Him as they wish, or enjoy Him to their full satisfaction.

Every believer feels their NEED of him.
No weary traveler ever felt his need of rest,
no hungry laborer ever felt his need of food,
no drowning mariner ever felt his need of a life-boat
 — as the believer has felt his need of Christ!

They need to be saved — and only Christ can save them.
They need to be happy — and only Jesus can make them happy.
They need His blood to cleanse them from sin, and procure their pardon.
They need His righteousness to clothe their souls, and justify them before God.
They need His Spirit to sanctify their nature, and make them fit for Heaven.
They need His intercession to secure them from evil, and procure for them good things.
They need His fullness of grace to supply all their needs, from earth to Heaven.

Every believer discovers the exact SUITABILITY of Christ to them.
He is just what they need — He has all that they need!
They are foolish — and He has wisdom.
They are unrighteous — and He has righteousness.
They are unholy — and He has holiness.
They are weak — and He has strength.
They are in bondage — and He has redemption.
They are lost — and He has salvation.
In a word, they are led to see that God has stored up everything in Jesus — and that possessing Him, they have all things!

Every Christian believes on Him to the saving of the soul. They trust Him to procure their pardon, peace with God, and everlasting life.
Their heart goes out to Him,
they repose confidence in Him,
they commit their souls to Him,
they build on Him — as God's foundation;
they hide in Him — as the sinner's refuge; and
they trust themselves with Him — as the almighty Savior.

"Unto you therefore who believe — He is precious!"

But Jesus is only precious to believers. Others do not feel their need of Him, do not see His adaptation to them, and do not depend on Him for pardon, peace with God, and everlasting life.

Beloved, do you have this saving faith — which renders Christ so precious?

If so, admire the sovereign and distinguishing grace of God, which has conferred so great a blessing upon you — for not all are given saving faith.

If so, realize the importance of this faith — which renders Christ so precious.
It is the eye — which sees the beauty of Christ.
It is the foot — which travels to Christ.
It is the hand — which lays hold of Christ.
It is the mouth — which tastes the sweetness of Christ.
It is the inward principle — which clings and cleaves to Christ.

Avoid therefore whatever weakens faith, or interrupts its exercise; and prize whatever strengthens it, and makes it vigorous!

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None of God's elect die before they are converted!

(Ralph Venning, "Learning in Christ's School", 1675)

None of God's elect die before they are converted!

"These whom He predestined — He also called;
 and these whom He called — He also justified;
 and these whom He justified — He also glorified."
     Romans 8:30

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If your religion does not make you holy!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

If your religion does not make you holy, it will damn you!
It is simply painted pageantry to go to Hell in!

"God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life." 1 Thessalonians 4:7

"God who has saved us and called us to a holy life." 2 Timothy 1:9

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As well might a babe step between the railroad tracks!

(Arthur Pink, "The Godhood of God")

"All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of Heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: What have you done?" Daniel 4:35

As well might a worm seek to resist the tread of an elephant;
as well might a babe step between the railroad tracks and attempt to push back the on-rushing train;
as well might a child seek to prevent the ocean from rolling —
as for a creature to try and resist the outworking of the purpose of the Lord God!

Ah, my reader, this is the first great lesson we have to learn:
  that God is the Creator — and we are the creature;
  that He is the Potter — and we are the clay!

"O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in Heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you!" 2 Chronicles 20:6

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A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct!

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

"A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct — but a man of understanding delights in wisdom." Proverbs 10:23

"A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct!" That man has arrived at an advanced stage of folly, who takes as much pleasure in evil conduct, as if it were an agreeable amusement. But it would be far safer to sport with fire, than with sin — which kindles a fire that will burn to the lowest Hell! It may now be a sport to do evil — but in the lake of fire and brimstone, it will be no sport to have done it!

"But a man of understanding delights in wisdom." And therefore it is impossible that he should be so infatuated with sin. He is deeply sensible of the misery and ruin that is in sin. His delight is in holiness — and in the exercises of holiness, he experiences that heartfelt pleasure, which the sweetest sins could never afford!

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For one sin!

(Arthur Pink, "The Godhood of God")

The God of Scripture is infinite in Holiness. The "only true God" is He who hates sin with a perfect abhorrence, and whose nature eternally burns against it.

He is the One who beheld the wickedness of the antediluvians, and who opened the windows of Heaven and poured down the flood of His righteous indignation!

He is the One who rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and utterly destroyed these cities of the plain!

He is the One who sent the plagues upon Egypt, and destroyed her haughty monarch together with his hosts at the Red Sea!

He is the One who caused the earth to open its mouth and swallow alive Korah and his rebellious company!

Yes, He is the One who "spared not His own Son" when He was "made sin for us — that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

So holy is God, and such is the antagonism of His nature against evil, that . . .
  for one sin, He banished our first parents from Eden;
  for one sin, He cursed the posterity of Ham;
  for one sin, He turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt;
  for one sin, He sent out fire and devoured the sons of Aaron;
  for one sin, Moses died in the wilderness;
  for one sin, Achan and his family were all stoned to death;
  for one sin, the servant of Elisha was smitten with leprosy!

And this is the God that every Christ-rejector has yet to meet in judgment!

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The best name by which we can think of God!

(Martin Luther)

"This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in Heaven . . . " Matthew 6:9

The best name by which we can think of God is Father. It is a loving, deep, sweet, heart-touching name, for the name of Father is in its nature, full of inborn sweetness and comfort.

Therefore, also, we must confess ourselves to be His children — for by this name we deeply touch our God, since there is not a sweeter sound to the father than the voice of the child.

"He shall cry to Me: You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation!" Psalm 89:26

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Such hopes are highly pleasing to the devil!

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

"When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes!" Proverbs 11:7

Men derive almost the whole of their happiness from the hope of some future good.

Wicked men may indulge themselves in hopes of eternal happiness also. Such hopes are highly pleasing to the devil, who keeps his slaves quiet by means of them, until they are brought into the same hopeless condition with himself! Thus the life of a wicked man is spent in vain wishes, and toils, and hopes — until death kills at once his body, his hope, and his happiness!

Does the wicked man expect Heaven?
How terrible will be the punishment of his presumptuous hopes, when he shall be hurled down headlong into the depths of eternal despair!

"But the hopes of the wicked come to nothing!" Proverbs 10:28

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A virtuous woman!

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

"A virtuous woman is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like rottenness in his bones." Proverbs 12:4

A virtuous woman . . .
  fears the Lord,
  reverences her husband,
  manages her house with prudence and care,
  behaves charitably to the poor, and kindly to all.

To what should we compare such a woman? Should we compare her to a bracelet, or say that she is a necklace of gold to her husband? Such comparisons would be quite below her worth. She makes him as happy as a king, and procures him such respect and honor, that she deserves to be compared to that royal ornament that encircles the head of Majesty. She is to her husband, a crown enriched with those lovely virtues, which shine with more radiant luster than diamonds! She is health to her husband's bones, for the sight of her amiable behavior, and the pleasure of her society, inspires him with that habitual cheerfulness which does good like a medicine.

But the woman who lacks virtue disgraces her husband, and is as rottenness in his bones.
Her peevish temper or her passionate behavior,
her extravagant expenses or her sordid avarice,
the levity of her speech or the scandal of her vices —
make him the object of pity or scorn when he is abroad, and fill him with anguish at home. She is not a help — but a torment to him. A man may get out of a fever in a few weeks — but the misery of this living disease is that it will prey upon a man's bones and spirits, until the death of one of the married parties brings relief.

Let wives consider seriously, whether they wish for happiness and honor to their husbands — or misery and disgrace; and whether it is better for themselves to prove helpers to the joy, and crowns to the head of their husbands — or living plagues to them, and fires to consume their vitals!

Let husbands give honor to their wives, and encourage them in virtue, by their kindness and approbation. What tender love does Christ show to those whom He is pleased to betroth to Himself in loving-kindness! So ought husbands to love their wives.

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The great clock of eternity has only just begun to tick!

(George Everard, "Bright and Fair! A Book for Young Ladies" 1882)

Life is great beyond all expression, because eternity is inseparably linked to it.

If the comfort and happiness of the rest of your life depended upon the use of one day or one hour — you would be very careful to use it aright! But infinitely greater is the disproportion between our little day of life here — and the vast eternity that follows. Yet upon the one, hangs the other.

How shall we think of eternity? How shall we measure it? How shall we grasp it? How shall we get at least some faint idea of that ever-abiding, unending existence, which stretches away into the far horizon, and whose boundary we can never reach?

Take it in this way. Suppose that for every flower that blooms in summer, you count a thousand years — and add together the sum of all.

Suppose that, for every leaf that trembles in the breeze, you also count a thousand years — and then add together these two sums.

In a similar manner, for every bird or insect that flies in the air, for every living creature that treads the earth, for every fish that is found in the mighty deep — count a thousand years.

Then, if you can, add together these vast totals and imagine the time they demand, and remember that when these cycles of ages have rolled by, the great clock of eternity has only just begun to tick!

And this great eternal future hangs on this short passing life! What a reality does this give to it! What a vast importance attaches to every moment of it!

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

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He was infinitely happy and glorious without us!

(James Smith, "The Pastor's Evening Visit")

"Christ, who loved us!" Romans 8:37

No condition can possibly be more dreary, than to feel that no one loves or cares for us!

There is something peculiarly sweet and pleasant — in being the object of another's love. Even the love of a poor child is sweet. But to be loved by one who is most wealthy, most exalted in station, and most honorable in character — must be peculiarly delightful!

How, then, should we rejoice; how happy should we be — who are loved by the Lord Jesus! Especially when we consider:
on the one hand . . .
  how despicable,
  how poor,
  how worthless, and
  how unlovely WE are!
And, on the other hand . . .
  how glorious,
  how wealthy,
  how worthy,
  how lovely JESUS is!

To be loved by Jesus — is to be preferred before the possession of a world!

Think of . . .
  the glory of His person,
  the vastness of His possessions,
  the number of His angelic attendants,
  the unlimited sovereignty which He exercises,
  and the excellent character He bears!

Also bear in mind — that He knew what loving us would cost Him — how He would be treated by us and by others — for our sakes!

Yet He fixed His love upon US!

He loved US — just because He would!

He passed by others more dignified in nature, more exalted in station — but He chose US!

He did not, could not, NEED us — for He was infinitely happy and glorious without us!

Yet He loved us!

He still loves us!

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Either God or they must change!

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

"Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips." Proverbs 14:7

We must not willingly enter into the company of fools. But if, through ignorance of their character, we happen to do so — we must not stay in it, lest we be corrupted by their foolish conduct. We are either like those whose company we frequent — or shall soon be like them. Evil companionships will efface our impressions of the evil of sin, and corrupt our own morals and character.

Lukewarm professors, who are perhaps the least dangerous of bad companions, will, if we take pleasure in their company — transfuse their lukewarmness into us.

When are we to leave the company of a foolish man?
As soon as we perceive that he has not the lips of knowledge. As trees are known by their fruit, so men are known by their words and works. But they are soonest known by their words, which are the most plentiful and the easiest products of the heart.

We are not to suppose men to be fools without evidence — but profane or foolish words come from folly in the heart. A godly man out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good things — but an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart, brings forth evil things.

This commandment should strike terror into the wicked!
Since God will not allow His redeemed children to keep company with them on earth — it cannot be supposed that He will admit them to His own eternal home in Heaven. Either God or they must change — before they can be received into Heaven!

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It is far better to dwell in a poor cottage!

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

"The house of the wicked will be destroyed — but the tent of the upright will flourish." Proverbs 14:11

The upright man is far happier in the poorest circumstances — than a wicked man in his greatest prosperity. Though a wicked man surmounts his neighbor as far as the cedars of the mountain overtop the creeping shrubs of the valley — yet he shall be filled with the strokes of divine vengeance. Though he dwells in a magnificent palace — the tempest of divine indignation shall beat it down!

But the righteous man, though at present he appears like the incarnate Savior, a tender plant — shall grow like the cedar in Lebanon. And though his dwelling place is but a tent, it shall flourish, and prosper, and grow into a heavenly mansion! It is far better to dwell in a poor cottage where the blessing of God rests, and in which is heard the melody of joy and praise — than in a palace which lies under the curse of the Lord!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Half of the happiness of Heaven!

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

Salvation from Hell is half of the happiness of Heaven!

"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him." Romans 4:7-8

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A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct!

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

"A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct." Proverbs 10:23

"Fools mock at sin." Proverbs 14:9

"Folly delights a man who is destitute of wisdom — but a man of understanding walks uprightly." Proverbs 15:21

"The mouth of the wicked gulps down evil!" Proverbs 19:28

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

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

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

It is a sign of prodigious folly for a man to take pleasure in sin, which . . .
  gives mortal wounds to the soul,
  provokes the wrath of the Almighty God, and
  could not be expiated, but in the groans and blood of a Redeemer.
And yet all wicked men take pleasure in sin. It is with the utmost propriety, that Solomon gives the name of fool to the wicked — and allows the character of wisdom to none but the godly.

The godly are not wise in every instance of their conduct, for weakness and temptation too often betray them into sin — yet they hate sin, and long to be rid of their indwelling corruption.

This is the difference between the disposition of godly and wicked men, with relation to sin. Wicked men may for many reasons abstain from the outward commission of sin — but godly men hate sin, and everything that leads to it.

Sin is not only practiced by the wicked — but it is loved by them. Folly is their joy, and therefore they sin even without a temptation. It is their food and drink to sin, and they roll iniquity under their tongue as if it were a sweet morsel. They do not hate those sins that are condemned by God's Word — but the Word that condemns them. They dislike salvation itself — because it is a deliverance from sin.

But the wise man's employment is to walk uprightly. He hates the sin that dwells in him, and loathes himself for his impurities. He takes pleasure in holiness, and loves the law of God, because it testifies against his iniquities. He joins earnestly with the Psalmist in that prayer, "O that my ways were directed to keep your statutes!" And instead of being satisfied with such a degree of holiness as may amount to the lowest evidence of true grace — he will not count himself completely happy, until his grace is completed in the glory of the heavenly state!

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It would be a pitiful compensation!

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

If men could obtain what they seek by sin — it would be a pitiful compensation for eternal misery in Hell!

"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" Matthew 16:26