Grace Gems for February 2001


The dark pit of ignorance!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Sinner's End" #486. Psalm 73:17,18

Lack of understanding has destroyed many.

The dark pit of ignorance
has engulfed its thousands!

Where the lack of understanding has not
sufficed to slay, it has been able seriously
to wound.

Lack of understanding upon doctrinal truth,
providential dealing, or inward experience
has often caused the people of God a vast
amount of perplexity and sorrow, much of
which they might have avoided had they been
more careful to consider and understand the
ways of the Lord.
 

Beware of light reading!
(from Horatius Bonar's book, "Follow the Lamb")

Beware of light reading!
Shun novels; they are the literary curse of
the age. If you are a parent, keep novels
out of the way of your children. But whether
you are a parent or not, neither read them
yourself, nor set an example of novel reading
to others. Don't let novels lie on your table,
or be seen in your hand. This light reading
has done deep injury to many a young man
and woman.

The light literature of the day is working
a world of harm; vitiating the taste of the
young, enervating their minds, unfitting
them for life's plain work, eating out their
love of the Bible, teaching them a false
morality, and creating in the soul an unreal
standard of truth, and beauty, and love.

Let your reading be always select; and
whatever you read, begin with seeking
God's blessing on it.

But see that your relish for the Bible be above
every other enjoyment, and the moment you
begin to feel greater relish for any other book,
lay it down till you have sought deliverance from
such a snare, and obtained from the Holy Spirit
an intenser relish, a keener appetite for the
Word of God.

"Christ is the very essence of
 all delights and pleasures, the
 very soul and substance of them.
 As all the rivers are gathered
 into the ocean, which is the
 meeting place of all the waters
 in the world, so Christ is that
 ocean in which all true delights
 and pleasures meet." John Flavel
 

"Christian contentment is that sweet,
 inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit,
 which freely submits to and delights in
 God's wise and fatherly disposal in
 every condition."    Jeremiah Burroughs
 

Little, little, little things!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Vital Force" #891. Hebrews 10:38.
"Now, the just shall live by faith."

 To live by faith is the very
essence of the Christian life!

We fail to bring little troubles to God,
and perhaps on account of their being
so little, we fancy that we must not
mention them to the Most High.

And are not our little things, after all,
but the fractions of a considerable sum
to such little creatures as ourselves?

These little, little, little things are of
momentous concern to such little ones
as we are. And the God that stoops to
us has already brought himself down
in condescension so low that we need
not fear that we shall bring him lower.

No, you may go to him if you like about
that lost key; or about that child's swelling
finger, or about that word that irritated
you just now.

There is nothing little to a father in the
thing that troubles his little child. And your
great God, having once condescended to
observe and care for you, numbering the very
hairs of your head, and not allowing a sparrow
to fall to the ground without his purpose and
decree, will not think that you intrude upon him
if you bring your daily little troubles to him.

Let the righteous live by faith in
the little common affairs of life.

"Now, the just shall live by faith."
 

Peculiar  People!
(from Spurgeon)

As soon as the Lord gives to any man
spiritual light, he proceeds to separate
himself from the darkness around.

He secedes from a merely worldly religion
of outward ceremonial; for nothing short of
the gospel of Christ will now satisfy him.

He withdraws himself from worldly society
and frivolous amusements, and seeks the company
of the saints. The light gathers to itself, and the
darkness to itself.

As Christ went outside the camp, bearing his
reproach, so let us come out from the ungodly,
and be a peculiar people.

Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate
from sinners.   As he was, so we are to be
nonconformists to the world, dissenting from
all sin, and distinguished from the rest of
mankind by our likeness to our Master.
 

The cross must be carried
before the crown can be worn.

We must follow our Lord in his
humiliation, or we shall never
rest with him in glory.

An hour with Jesus will make
up for ages of pain and labor.
     -Spurgeon
 

Death!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Christ with the Keys of Death and Hell" #894.
"I have the keys of hell and of death." Rev. 1:18.

All the issues of death are at Christ's disposal.

No man can die unless Jesus opens the mystic
door of death. It is our consolation that our death
is entirely in his hands. In the midst of fever and
pestilence, we shall never die until he wills it.

In the times of the greatest healthiness, when all
the air is balmy, we shall not live a second longer
than Jesus has purposed; the place, the circumstance,
the exact second of our departure, have all been
appointed by him, and settled long ago in love and wisdom.

A thousand angels could not hurl us to the grave,
nor could a host of cherubim confine us there one
moment after Jesus says, "Arise."

This is our comfort. We are "immortal until our
work is done;" mortal still, but immortal also.

Let us never fear death, then, but rather
rejoice at the approach of it, since it comes
at our dear Bridegroom's bidding!

Christ has the key of death, and therefore
 death to us is no longer a gate of terror.

"Fear not" may be specially applied to the matter
of the grave. We need not fear to die, because
Jesus has the key of the grave. We shall never
pass through that iron gate with an angel to be
our conductor, or some grim executioner to lead
us into a dreary place of hideous imprisonment.
No, Jesus shall come to our dying bed, in all the
glory of his supernal splendor, and shall say,
"Come with me my spouse, for the day
 breaks, and the shadows flee away."

The sight of Jesus, as he thrusts in the key and
opens that gate of death, shall make you forget
the supposed terrors of the grave, for they are
but suppositions, and you shall find it sweet to die.

Since Jesus has the sepulcher's key,
never fear it again, never fear it again.

Depend upon it, your dying hour will be the best
hour you have ever known! Your last moment
will be your richest moment, better than the day
of your birth will be the day of your death.

It shall be the beginning of heaven, the rising
of a sun that shall go no more down forever!

Let the fear of death be banished
from you by faith in a living Savior.

"I have the keys of hell and of death."

 
The divine hammer!
"Preach, Preach, Preach Everywhere"
#900.  Mark 16:15, 16.

You do not know who the elect are.

You do not know whose heart will be
broken by the divine hammer of truth.
But it is your responsibility to use the
divine hammer on the hard heart.

And as the gospel is preached it will
attract to itself, by its own power,
through the Holy Spirit, those whom
God has ordained unto eternal life.

"Is not my word like fire," declares the Lord,
"and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?"
 Jeremiah 23:29
   

"Every Christian family ought to be,
 as it were, a little church consecrated
 to Christ, and wholly influenced and
 governed by his rules."  Jonathan Edwards

 
Hell  and  Death!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Christ With the Keys of Death and Hell"
#894. Rev. 1:18. "I have the keys of hell and of death."

Hell and death, terrible powers as they are, are
not left to riot without government. Jesus holds
the keys of these dreadful regions!

Death is a land of darkness, yet a sovereign eye
 surveys it, and a master hand holds its key.

Hell also is a horrible region, where powers of evil
and of terror hold their high court and dread assembly;
but hell trembles at the presence of the Lord, and
there is a throne higher than the throne of evil.

Let us rejoice that nothing in heaven, or earth,
or in places under the earth, is left to itself to
engender anarchy. Everywhere, serene above
the floods, the Lord sits as King forever and ever!

No province of the universe
is free from the divine rule!

Things do not come by chance. Nowhere do chance
and chaos reign, nowhere is evil really and permanently
enthroned. Rest assured that the Lord has prepared his
throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.

Christ has the keys of hell and death!

He is the Lord over those dark regions, and rules them
by his sovereignty. Christ is Lord over hell and death.

He actually rules and manages in all the issues of the
grave, and overrules all the councils of hell, restraining
the mischievous devices of Satan, or turning them to
subserve his own designs of good.

Our Lord Jesus Christ still is supreme!  His
kingdom, willingly or unwillingly, extends over
all existences in whatever regions they may be!

Jesus rules over the damned spirits!

In this life they would not have him to rule over
them, but in the life to come they must submit
whether they will or not. In that seething caldron
of hell, every wave of fire is guided by the will
of Christ, and the mark of his sovereignty is on
every iron chain.

Thus the ungodly will be compelled to feel his rule with
terror, for although the ferocity of their natures will
remain, yet the boastfulness of their pride shall be
taken from them. Though they would still revolt,
they shall find themselves hopelessly fettered, and
powerless to accomplish their designs.

Though they would sincerely continue stouthearted
as Pharaoh, and cry, "Who is the Lord, that we should
obey his voice?" They shall wring their hands in anguish
and bite their tongues in despair.

One of the great terrors of the lost in hell will be this,
that he who came to save was rejected by them,
and now only reveals himself to them as mighty to
destroy. He who held out the silver scepter when they
would not touch it, shall forever break them with a
rod of iron for their willful impenitence.

"Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you be destroyed
 in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment."

"Beware you that forget him, lest he tear
 you in pieces and there be none to deliver."
 

What must his wrath be?
The following is from Jonathan Edwards sermon,
 "Wrath Upon the Wicked to the Uttermost"

"The wrath of God has come upon
  them to the uttermost." 1 Thes. 2:16

How dreadful the wrath of God is, when it is
executed to the uttermost. To make you in
some measure sensible of that, I desire you
to consider whose wrath it is.

The wrath of a king is as the roaring of a lion;
but this is the wrath of Jehovah, the Lord
God Omnipotent!

How dreadful must be the wrath of such a
Being, when it comes upon a person to the
uttermost, without any pity or moderation!

What must the uttermost of his wrath be,
who made heaven and earth by the word
of his power; who spoke, and it was done,
who commanded, and it stood fast!

What must his wrath be, who
commands the sun, and it rises
not, and seals up the stars!

What must his wrath be, who shakes
the earth out of its place, and causes
the pillars of heaven to tremble!

What must his wrath be, who rebukes
the sea, and makes it dry, who removes
the mountains out of their places, and
overturns them in his anger!

What must his wrath be, whose
majesty is so awesome, that no
man could live in the sight of it!

What must the wrath of such a Being be,
when it comes to the uttermost, when he
makes his majesty appear and shine bright
in the misery of wicked men!

And what is a worm of the dust before the
fury and under the weight of this wrath,
which the stoutest devils cannot bear, but
utterly sink, and are crushed under it!

If a slight apprehension of wrath is so dreadful
and intolerable, what must his wrath be, when
it comes upon people to the uttermost!

When a few drops or little sprinkling of wrath is
so distressing and overbearing to the soul, how
must it be when God opens the flood gates, and
lets the mighty deluge of his wrath come pouring
down upon men's guilty heads, and brings in all
his waves and billows upon their souls!

There will be no safety to any but those who are
in the ark! Therefore it behooves all to hasten and
flee for their lives, to get into a safe condition, to
get into Christ! Then they need not fear, though
the earth be removed, and the mountains carried
into the midst of the sea; though the waters roar
and rage; though the mountains shake with the
swelling thereof: for God will be their refuge and
strength; they need not be afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts may be fixed, trusting in the Lord.

"All of us also lived among them at one time,
 gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and
 following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest,
 we were by nature objects of wrath." Ephes. 2:3

"Since we have now been justified by his
 blood, how much more shall we be saved
 from God's wrath through him!"  Romans 5:9

"Jesus is the one who rescues us
 from the coming wrath." 1 Thes. 1:10

"For God did not appoint us to suffer
 wrath but to receive salvation through
 our Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Thes. 5:9
 

A hand, a divine and omnipotent hand!
The following is from Bonar's book,
    "The Night of Weeping"

The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. He is
mighty to comfort as well as to sanctify.
His name is "the Comforter."
His office is to console.
In the discharge of this office He puts forth
His power, not only mediately and indirectly
through the Word, but immediately and
directly upon the soul, sustaining and
strengthening it when fainting and troubled.

It is an unspeakable consolation to know that
there is a hand, a divine and omnipotent hand,
laid upon our wounded spirit, not only upholding
it, but drying up, as it were, the very springs of
grief within.

In the day of oppressive sorrow, when bowed
down to the dust, what is it that we feel so
much our need of, as a hand that can come
into close and direct contact with our souls
to lift them up and strengthen them?

It is here that human consolation fails.
Friends can say much to soothe us, but they
cannot lay their finger upon the hidden seat
of sorrow. They can put their arm around the
fainting body, but not around the fainting spirit.

Here the heavenly aid comes in!
The Spirit throws around us the everlasting
arms, and we are invincibly upheld.   We
cannot sink, for He sustains, He comforts,
He cheers.  And who knows so well as He
how to sustain, and comfort, and cheer?
 

The posy and the ring!
"In flowers you have a separate beauty belonging
to each; no one flower is just like another, but each
one blushes with its own loveliness. But in our Lord
these separate and distinct beauties are found
united in one. Christ is the posy in which all the
beauties of the garden of perfection are bound up.

Each gem has its own radiance: the diamond is
not like the ruby, nor the ruby like the emerald.
But Christ is that ring in which you have sapphire,
ruby, diamond, emerald, set in choice order, so that
each one heightens the other's brilliance.

Do not look for anything lovely outside of Jesus,
for he has all loveliness. All perfections are in him
making up ONE CONSUMMATE PERFECTION; and
all the loveliness which is to be seen elsewhere is but
a reflection of his own unrivaled charms."  -Spurgeon
 

What, lovely in His sufferings?
The following extracts are from Thomas
Watson's sermon "Christ's Loveliness"

"Yes, He is altogether lovely." Song 5:16

Lost men of this world cannot see the
stupendous beauty of Christ. All sparkling
beauties are found in Him, but they lack eyes!

He is infinitely and superlatively lovely!
All that we could ever say about Jesus
falls infinitely short of his worth. He is
pure, unspotted beauty. There is an
infinite resplendency, a sparkling luster
to His beauty!

Jesus is most lovely in His sufferings,
when he made an atonement for our sins.

What, lovely in His sufferings?
Lovely when He was buffeted, spit
upon, and besmeared with blood?

Oh yes, He was most lovely upon the cross,
when He showed most love to us.  He bled
love at every vein!  Those drops were love
drops!  The more bloody, the more lovely!

Oh how lovely ought a bleeding Savior
be to our eyes! Let us wear this blessed
crucifix always in our heart!

The cross of Christ is the key
 that opens paradise to us!

How beautiful is Christ on the cross!

The ruddiness of His blood took
 away the redness of our guilt!

Christ's crucifixion is our coronation!

He left His Father's bosom, that hive of
sweetness, to come and live here. Truly,
He exchanged the palace for the dunghill.

"The unsearchable riches of Christ." Not
even the angels can dig to the bottom
of this mine!  They adore Christ, being
ravished with His amazing beauties!

Jesus is the very extract and quintessence
of beauty. He is a whole paradise of delights!
 

Many suck poison from this sweet flower!
(by Thomas Watson)

There is no rowing to paradise except
 upon the stream of repenting tears.

Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.

Some bless themselves that they have a
stock of knowledge, but what is knowledge
good for, without repentance? Learning and
a bad heart, is like a pretty face with a cancer
in the breast! Knowledge without repentance
will be but a torch to light the way to hell.

Repentant tears may be compared to myrrh,
which though it is bitter in taste, has a sweet
smell and refreshes the spirit. So repentance,
though it is bitter in itself, yet it is sweet in
the effects. It brings inward peace.

We are to find as much bitterness in weeping for
sin as ever we found sweetness in committing it.
Surely David found more bitterness in repentance
than ever he found comfort in Bathsheba.

Tears have four qualities: they are
moist, salt, hot, and bitter.

It is true of repenting tears, they are
hot to warm a frozen conscience;
moist, to soften a hard heart;
salt, to season a soul decaying in sin;
bitter, to wean us from the love of the world.

And I will add a fifth, they are sweet, in
that they make the heart inwardly rejoice.
David, who was the great weeper in Israel,
was also the sweet singer of Israel.

Be as speedy in your repentance as you
would have God be speedy in His mercies.

Many are now in hell that intended to repent.
Satan does what he can to keep men from
repentance. When he sees that one begins
to take up serious thoughts of reformation,
he bids them wait a little longer.  It is
dangerous to procrastinate repentance.
The longer any go on sinning, the harder
they will find the work of repentance.

Delay strengthens sin, hardens the heart
  and gives the devil fuller possession.

A plant at first may be easily plucked up,
but when it has spread its roots deep in
the earth, a whole team cannot remove it.

It is hard to remove sin when
  it comes to be rooted.

The longer the ice freezes the harder it is to
be broken. The longer a man freezes in sin,
the harder it will be to have his heart broken.

Presuming upon God's mercy
can be eternally fatal. Many suck
poison from this sweet flower!

Oh, one says, "Christ has died; He has done all
for me; therefore I may sit still and do nothing."
Thus they suck death from the tree of life!

So I may say of God's mercy, it accidentally
causes the ruin of many.  Because of His
mercy, some men presume and think they
may go on sinning.

The psalmist says, "there is mercy with God,
that he may be feared," but not that we may sin.

Can men expect mercy by provoking justice?
God will hardly show those mercy who sin
because mercy abounds.

Many would rather go sleeping
to hell than weeping to heaven.
 

Self-righteousness
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Self-righteousness; a Smoldering Heap of Rubbish"
#1497. Isaiah 65:5.

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all
 our righteousnesses are as filthy rags..."

Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness!

The man who counts himself to be righteous
by his own works, worships himself. Practically,
the object of his adoration is his own dear,
delectable, excellent self; all his confidence
is in himself, his boasting is in himself.

O wretched egotist, you do at once lie and blaspheme!

Self-righteousness is born in the house
of folly, and it is nursed by human fancy.
Cease from doting upon your own fancied
beauties and worshiping your own foolish image.

Self-righteousness is a great, God defying sin.

Soul poverty and destitution bring a man
to God. Self-righteousness is the ruin of
all who harbor it.

Self-righteousness most effectually bars
a man from all hope of salvation.  Beware,
you who are self-righteousness, lest all
your 'good works' be like millstones about
your necks, to sink you low as the lowest hell.

This weed of self-righteousness will grow
on any dunghill. No heap of rubbish is too
rotten for the accursed toadstool of proud
self to grow upon.

Among those who profess to be religious,
self-righteousness very frequently comes
in, because they have not truly received
the religion of Jesus Christ.

If they were true believers they would be
humble and contrite, for self-righteousness
and faith in Christ are diametrically opposed.

He who is saved by grace finds no room
for boasting in himself. A sinner washed in
Jesus' blood and clothed in Jesus' righteousness,
boasts only in the Lord. He is done once for all
with that which glories in self.
Self-righteousness is detestable in his sight.
His cry is "God forbid that I should boast
save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The heavens are not pure in God's sight; he
charges his angels with folly; and do you, who
are defiled from head to foot, dare to talk about
self-righteousness?  Righteousness, indeed!
when you are a mass of sin!

To what a pitch of madness does pride lift itself!

Oh, the absurdity of self-righteousness!

Self-righteousness is a mass of lies!

Self-righteousness is such a proud thing.
God is always provoked with pride. It is
one of the evils which his soul hates.
He daily fits his arrow upon his string
to fetch down the proud in heart.

This pride is loathsome to the last degree!

Self-righteousness is always afraid of the
gospel, lest the uncompromising truth should
unmask its self deceit.

See Jesus on the cross dying, the just for the
unjust, to bring us to God. As you see him
dying, your self-righteousness will die.  In
the heights and depths of dying love I read
the heights and depths of my accursed sin.
In the infinity of the atonement I read the
boundless blackness of my guilt, and lie
humble before God.

When a man sees himself to be altogether lost
and ruined, covered all over with the defilement
of sin, and in no part free from pollution; when
he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and
pleads guilty before the Lord, then he is justified
by the grace of God.
 

A fallen, degenerate creature!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Real Grace for Real Need" #889. Luke 9:11.

Lost man, you are a fallen,
 degenerate creature!

You are daily living in sin. Your sins are speeding
as messengers up to the record office in heaven,
and there you shall find written down every idle
word, every sinful thought, and every guilty
action of your whole life. You are scarlet, you are
crimson, you are double dyed with your iniquities.

Your overpowering disposition is towards that
which is evil.  Your nature, like an evil tree,
brings forth evil fruit. Your love to sin is engraven,
as with a diamond, into your heart of stone.
Your heart seems to be made of hell hardened
steel, and to be like the nether millstone.

Vain are your filmings over of your deadly
sore; your heart is in itself vile and deceitful
above all things, and desperately wicked.

You may wash the platter as you may, you
may make the outside of the cup as clean
as you will, but your inward parts are replete
with wickedness.  The imaginations of the
thoughts of your heart are evil, only evil,
and that continually.

"You must be born again."
Your nature is too depraved for mending.
 
All Christians confess their natural depravity.
 There is a sad bias in us all towards sin.

We are compelled to own that David's
confession must be ours, "Behold, I was
born a sinner; yes, from the moment my
mother conceived me."

Our nature was corrupted at its fountain head.

We tend towards evil.

We loved darkness naturally rather than light.

Our sin was of the heart, not of the
surface, "The leprosy was deep within."
The taint was in our vital blood.
The disease had corrupted our essential
being, and rendered us hopelessly unclean.

The Son of Man came to seek and to save
us when we were lost, dreadfully lost.
He has healed us, but it has not been of a
superficial disease; he has healed us of
a disease that was most deadly, and most
damnable!

See the Savior as his shoulders are crimsoned
with streams of gore for sinners who were his
enemies. Stand beneath the cross and view the
hands, and feet, and side, all pouring forth his
life blood. These are the drops that take our
sins away!  These are the griefs of him who
took our guilt, that our guilt might be forgiven.
 

Cosmic treason!
"Any sin is more or less heinous depending
 upon the honor and majesty of the one
 whom we had offended. Since God is of
 infinite honor, infinite majesty, and infinite
 holiness, the slightest sin is of infinite
 consequence. The slightest sin is nothing
 less than cosmic treason when we realize
 against whom we have sinned."   Edwards
 

The  Artist!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Singular Origin of a Christian Man"
No. 1829,  Ephesians 2:10.

He who has begun a good work in us
will perform it unto the day of Christ.

What an amount of patience,
what an amount of power,
what an amount of skill,
what an amount of love,
what an amount of grace,
has God spent upon us hitherto!

Think of the power that has cut lines
 of beauty in such steel as we are!

Think of the patience that lent its arm,
and its eye, and its heart, and its infinite
mind, to the carrying on of the supreme
work of producing the image of Christ in
those who were born in sin!

Think of the skill which makes heirs
  of God out of heirs of wrath!

See how he has continued to work upon
us, year after year, with final perseverance
of undiminished love!

How much more power will still be needed,
and how much more patience, and how
much more careful wisdom, before we
shall be perfect and complete!

He who has begun a good work in us
will perform it unto the day of Christ.

This is one of the greatest of marvels!

It behooves all of us who know that
God has been at work with us, to adore
him continually for what he has done.

I know you sigh because a part of the
picture still looks rough and incomplete.
Consider that the Artist has not ended
his labor upon that portion of us!

Sanctification in its practical issues is not
yet ended. But do not sigh so much over the
incomplete part as to fail in rejoicing over
that which is accomplished.

Rejoice that a hand has been laid upon the
canvas which is matchless even in its outlines,
and foundation colors; a hand, moreover, which
was never yet known to throw away a canvas
upon which it had once commenced a masterpiece!
 

Even the little things!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Godís Will about the Future" #2242. James 4:13-17

There is a divine will which governs
all things.   Nothing happens apart
from divine determination and decree.

Even the little things in life are not
overlooked by the all-seeing eye. "The
very hairs of your head are numbered."

The station of a reed by the river is as fixed
 and foreknown as the station of a king!

The chaff from the hand of the winnower is
as much steered as the stars in their courses!

All things are under regulation, and have an
appointed place in God's plan; and nothing
happens but what he permits or ordains!
 

The Godly Man Weeps!
(by Thomas Watson)

Christ calls His spouse His "dove" (Song 2:14).
The dove is a weeping creature. Grace dissolves
and liquefies the soul, causing a spiritual thaw.
The sorrow of the heart runs out at the eye.

A godly heart grieves that it is not more holy.
It troubles him that he falls short of the rule
and standard which God has set. "I should",
he says, "love the Lord with all my heart.
But how defective my love is! How far short
I come of what I should be, no, of what I
might have been!"

A godly man sometimes weeps out of the
sense of God's love. Gold is the finest and
most solid of all the metals, yet it is soonest
melted in the fire. Gracious hearts, which
are golden hearts, are the soonest melted
into tears by the fire of God's love.

I once knew a holy man, who was walking
in his garden and shedding plenty of tears
when a friend came on him accidentally
and asked him why he wept. He broke
forth into this passionate expression:
"Oh, the love of Christ, the love of Christ!"
Thus we have seen the cloud melted into
water by the sunbeams.

A godly person weeps because the sins he
commits are in some sense worse than the
sins of other men. The sin of a justified
person is very odious, because it is a sin
of unkindness.

Peter's denying of Christ was a sin against love.
Christ had enrolled him among the apostles.
He had taken him up into the Mount and
shown him the glory of heaven in a vision.
Yet after all this mercy, it was base
ingratitude that he should deny Christ.
This made him go out and "weep bitterly."
He baptized himself, as it were, in his own tears.

The sins of the godly go nearest to God's heart.

The sins of the wicked anger the Lord.
  The godly man's sins grieve Him.

The sins of the wicked pierce Christ's side.
 The sins of the godly wound his heart.

The unkindness of a spouse goes
nearest to the heart of her husband.

How far from being godly are those who
scarcely ever shed a tear for sin! If they
lose a near relation, they weep, but
though they are in danger of losing God
and their souls, they do not weep. How
few know what it is to be in an agony
for sin or what a broken heart means!
Their eyes are not like the "fishpools in
Heshbon", full of water (Song 7:4), but
rather like the mountains of Gilboa, which
had no dew upon them (2 Sam. 1:21).

Others, if they sometimes shed a tear,
are still never the better. They go on in
wickedness, and do not drown their sins
in their tears. Let us strive for this divine
characteristic:  to be weepers.

This is "a repentance not to be repented of"
(2 Cor. 7:10). It is reported of Mr. Bradford, the
martyr, the he was of a melting spirit; he
seldom sat down to his meal but some tears
trickled down his cheeks.

There are two lavers to wash away sin:
blood and tears. The blood of Christ washes
away the guilt of sin; tears wash away the filth.

Repenting tears are precious.
God puts them in His bottle (Psalm. 56:8).

Repenting tears are beautifying.
A tear in the eye adorns more than a ring of
the finger. Oil makes the face shine. (Ps. 104:15).

Repenting tears make the heart shine.

Repenting tears are comforting.
A sinner's mirth turns to melancholy.
A saint's mourning turns to music.

Repentance may be compared to myrrh,
which though it is bitter to the taste,
is comforting to the spirits.

Repentance may be bitter to the fleshy part,
but, it is most refreshing to the spiritual.
Wax that melts is fit for the seal. A melting
soul is fit to take the stamp of all heavenly
blessing.  Let us give Christ the water of our
tears and He will give us the wine of His Blood!
 

The masterpiece of Satan!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Rubbish"  No. 1156.  Nehemiah 4:10.

Soon after apostolic times there came the old
Roman rubbish, which in the end proved a
worse hindrance to the gospel than all the
errors which had preceded it.

This Popish rubbish was found in layers; first
one doctrinal error, and then another, and then
another, and then another, and then another,
until at this time the errors of the Church of
Rome are as countless as the stars, as black
as midnight, and as foul as hell.

Her abominations reek in the nostrils of all
Christian men. Her idolatries are the scorn
of reason and the abhorrence of faith.

The iniquities of her practice, and the
atrociousness of her doctrine, almost
surpass belief.

As the gospel is the masterpiece of God,
'Popery' is the masterpiece of Satan!

There can scarcely be imagined anything of
devilish craftiness or Satanic wickedness
which could be compared with her.

She is the unparalleled queen of iniquity!

Behold upon her forehead the name, Mystery,
Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and
abominations of the earth.

The church of Rome and her teachings are a
vast mountain of rubbish covering the truth.
 

Infant Christians?
(from Richard Baxter's "Directions to Weak Christians")

The church is full of feeble, unstable,
  wavering, infant Christians!

How few Christians keep any
constant watch upon their hearts?

How many Christians feed on covetous,
proud, malicious or lustful thoughts, and
have no great concern over it?

Where are those Christians who
acquainted with the life of faith?

How few Christians can use their
prosperity in riches, health, and
reputation with a heavenly mind?

How little hearty love do most
  Christians have to Christ?

Alas, how much pride prevails with many
  that seem to be good Christians?

How worldly, how closed-handed, and
eager for gain, are many Christians
who say that they despise the world?

How few are the Christians that are
eminent in humility, meekness and self
denial; that are willing to be nothing
so that Christ may be all in all?

How many Christians live as men devoted to God?

How many Christians live with the world
under their feet, and their hearts above
with God, making him their delight?

How many Christians long to be with Jesus,
to be rid of sin, see his blessed face, and
live in his love and praises?

Where is the man who is eminent in
humility, patience and self-denial?

Where are those who have crucified
the flesh with its desires and lusts?

What a lamentable case it is, that the church
should consists of so many infant Christians!
 

Blessed suffering!
The following is from Bonar's book,
    "The Night of Weeping"

Afflictions help us to get rid of sin.
Each pain is a nail driven through some
sin, another blow inflicted on the flesh,
destroying the very power of sinning.

We have not yet fully parted company
with this sinful world.  And, therefore,
God drives affliction like a wedge
between us and the world; or He sends
it like a plowshare right across our most
cherished hopes and brightest prospects
until He thoroughly wearies us of all below.

"He has made me weary," said Job.
Nor do we wonder at the complaint.
Wearisome nights were his.  The
"ploughers ploughed upon his back,"
and drew many a long furrow there.
He might well be weary.

So with us. God makes us weary, too,
weary all over; thoroughly weary.
We are weary of a present evil world,
    weary of self,
    weary of sin,
    weary of suffering,
    weary of this mortal body,
    weary of these vile hearts,
    weary of earth,
weary of all but Jesus!
Of Him no trial can weary us.
Suffering only endears Him the more.

Blessed suffering! that makes Jesus
appear more precious and the world viler!

Blessed suffering! that brings Jesus nearer
to our hearts and thrusts the world away!
 

Afflictions!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Bellows Burned" #890. Jeremiah 6:29.

Some afflictions are sent for a
trial of our graces, that God may
be glorified by our victories.

Other afflictions may be
sovereignly sent by God.

Other afflictions are intended to
 promote our advance in grace.

Other afflictions may be indications of
indwelling sin. The rod in God's house is
principally used because of the offendings
of the children. I am persuaded that if
you would be spared that rod, so far as
it is a chastening rod, you can only escape
it by obedience, and by a very careful
observance of the gentle motions of your
Father's eye.

Afflictions melt us to repentance,
 and cause us to let go our sins.

There are some stubborn children, who will
even rebel until they draw down blows upon
themselves, and even then hold out until
the strokes are multiplied, and the father
proceeds to repeated chastenings.

I am afraid the most of us are such
children.  We cause our Father to
chasten us very frequently.
 

Worldliness!
The following is from Bonar's book,
    "The Night of Weeping"

There is much worldliness among the saints!
There is worldliness in their motives and
actions; worldliness in their domestic life
and in their interaction with society; there
is worldliness in the arrangements of their
households and in the education of their
families; there is worldliness in their
expenditure, so much being laid out for
self, so little for God; there is worldliness
in their religious schemes, and movements,
and societies; there is worldliness in their
reading, and in their conversation.

There is, in short, too much of the spirit
of fervent worldliness about their whole
deportment, and little of calm, happy
superiority to the things of earth.

They are fretted, disturbed, bustled just like
the world. They grudge labor, or fatigue, or
expense, or annoyance in the cause of Christ,
or in serving their fellow men. They have
much of earth, little of Heaven about them.

They are not largehearted or openhanded;
not willing to spend and be spent, unmoved
and unruffled, as those whose eye is ever set
on the incorruptible inheritance on which they
so soon shall enter. They are low and
unaspiring in the things of God.

Perhaps there are few things against which
we require to be more warned than against
this spirit of worldliness.  The Church is very
prone to forget her pilgrim character in this
present evil world and to live as a citizen
of earth. Her dignity as the eternally chosen
of the Father is lost sight of; her hope as
the inheritor of the glory and the kingdom
of the Son is obscured.

God's cure for worldliness is the bringing
before us of another, eternal world, more
glorious than that which He calls on us to
forsake.

There is no thorough cure for worldliness
but this. It is lack of faith in eternal realities,
that makes us worldlings! When the believing
eye gets fixed on the world to come, then we
learn to set our affections on things above.

So long, however, as all here in our present
sphere of existence is bright, we are content
with this world. We allow ourselves to sink
down and settle quietly among the things of
earth.

Why should we whose home and treasure
are above, ever again seek our home or our
treasure here on this poor earth?

Why should we stoop from our heavenly
elevation to mingle again with the company
which we have forsaken? Are we ashamed
of our pilgrim staff and our pilgrim road?
Surely not. To be a pilgrim on earth is to
be divided from sin and sinful appetites,
from the seducing vanities and worthless
mockeries of the world, from the fascinating
beauty and perilous splendor of this decaying
scene. To be a pilgrim on earth is to be a
friend of God, a member of the heavenly
household, an expectant of the kingdom,
an heir of the crown of glory.

The opposite of worldliness is heavenly
mindedness or spiritual mindedness.
This, the new relish which the Holy Spirit
imparts at conversion, in some measure
produces. But it is feeble. It easily gives
way. It is not strong enough to withstand
much temptation.

God's wish is to impart a keener relish for
eternal things, and to destroy the relish
for the things of time.

This He effects by blighting all objects in
which there was earthly sweetness, so
that by being deprived of objects to "mind"
on earth, it may of necessity be led to "mind"
the things above. He dries up all the "nether
springs" of earthly joy, that we may betake
ourselves to the "upper springs" which can
never fail.

When God unroofs our dwelling, or tears up
its foundation by an earthquake, then we
are forced to look upward and seek a better
and more enduring portion!

Many such shocks, however, are often
needed before our souls are broken off
from their cleaving to the dust.

What are this world's allurements to us?
What to us are the sights and sounds of
earth, who "shall see the king in his beauty,"
and hear His voice, into whose lips grace is
poured? What to us is the green fertility of
earth, who shall enter into the possession
of the new earth? What to us is the gay
glory of a city's wealth and pomp, who shall
be made citizens of the New Jerusalem,
where dwells the glory of God and of the
Lamb, whose foundations are of precious
stones, whose walls are of jasper, whose
gates are of pearl, whose streets and
pavements are of transparent gold?

Be zealous and repent and do your first
works. Come out, be separate, touch not
the unclean thing! Put off the works of
darkness!  Put on the armor of light.
Get up to a higher level in the spiritual
life, be done with wavering, indecision,
and compromise.

Church of the living God!  Be warned.
Live for Jesus, not for yourself, for Him,
not for the world. Walk worthy of your
name and calling, worthy of Him who
bought you as His bride, worthy of your
everlasting inheritance.

Consider the LAMB and
  walk in His steps!
 

The World Passes Away!
(by Horatius Bonar)

The things that are seen are temporal.
Ours is a dying world, and here we have no
continuing city. But a few years, it may be
less, and all things here are changed.

Like a dream of the night, the world passes
away.  We lie down to rest; we fall asleep; we
dream; we awake at morn; and lo, all is fled
that in our dream seemed so stable and so
pleasant! So hastes the world away. O child of
mortality, have you no brighter world beyond?

Like the mist of the morning, the world
passes away.   The night brings down the
mists upon the hills, the vapor covers the
valleys; the sun rises, all has passed off,
hill and vale are clear. So the world passes
off, and is seen no more. O man, will you
embrace a world like this? Will you lie down
upon a mist, and say, "This is my home"?

Like a shadow, the world passes away.
There is nothing more unreal than a shadow.
It has no substance, no being. It is dark, it
is a figure, it has motion, that is all! Such is
the world. O man will you chase a shadow?
What will a shadow do for you?

Like a wave of the sea, the world passes
away.  It rises, falls, and is seen no more.
Such is the history of a wave. Such is the
story of the world.  O man will you make
a wave your portion?  Have you no better
pillow on which to lay your wearied head
than this? A poor world this for human heart
to love, for an immortal soul to be filled with!

Like a rainbow, the world passes away.
The sun throws its colors on a cloud, and for
a few minutes all is brilliant. But the cloud shifts,
and the brilliance is all gone. Such is the world.
With all its beauty and brightness; with all its
honors and pleasures; with all its mirth and
madness; with all its pomp and luxury; with
all its revelry and riot; with all its hopes and
flatteries; with all its love and laughter; with
all its songs and splendor; with all its gems
and gold, it vanishes.  And the cloud that knew
the rainbow knows it no more. O man, is a passing
world like this all that you have for an inheritance?

Like a flower, the world passes away.
Beautiful, very beautiful; fragrant, very
fragrant, are the summer flowers. But
they wither away.  So fades the world
from before our eyes. While we are looking
at it, and admiring it, behold, it is gone!
No trace is left of all its loveliness but a
little dust! O man, can you feed on flowers?
Can you dote on that which is but for an hour?
You were made for eternity; and only that
which is eternal can be your portion or your
resting place. The things that perish with the
using only mock your longings. They cannot fill
you; and even if they filled, they cannot abide.
Mortality is written on all things here;
immortality belongs only to the world to come.

Like a ship at sea, the world passes away.
With all its sails set, and a fresh breeze blowing,
the vessel comes into sight, passes before our
eye in the distance, and then disappears.
So comes, so goes, so vanishes away this
present world, with all that it contains. A few
hours within sight, then gone! The wide sea
over which it sailed as calm or as stormy
as before; no trace anywhere of all the life
or motion or beauty which was passing
over it! O man, is that vanishing world your
only dwelling place? Are all your treasures,
your hopes, your joys laid up there? Where
will all these be when you go down to the
tomb?  Or where will you be when these
things leave you, and you are stripped of all
the inheritance which you are ever to have
for eternity? It is a poor heritage at the best,
and its short duration makes it poorer still.
Oh, choose the better part, which shall not
be taken from you!

Like a tent in the desert, the world passes
away.  They who have traveled over the
Arabian sands know what this means.  At
sunset a little speck of white seems to rise
out of the barren waste. It is a traveler's tent.
At sunrise it disappears. Both it and its inhabitant
are gone. The wilderness is as lonely as before.
Such is the world.   Today it shows itself;
tomorrow it disappears. O man,  is that your
home? Will you say of it, "This is my rest," when
we tell you that there is a rest, an everlasting
rest, remaining for the people of God?

THE WORLD PASSES AWAY.  This is the
message from heaven. All flesh is grass, and all
the goodness thereof as the flower of the field.

THE WORLD PASSES AWAY.
But God ever lives. He is from everlasting to
everlasting; the King eternal and immortal.

THE WORLD PASSES AWAY.
But man is immortal. Eternity lies before each
son of Adam as the duration of his lifetime.
In light or in darkness forever! In joy or in
sorrow forever!

THE WORLD PASSES AWAY.
What then? This is the question that so deeply
concerns man. If the world is to vanish away,
and man is to live forever, of what importance
is it to know where and what we are to be
forever!  Life is no plaything, and time is no
child's toy, to be flung away. Life here is the
beginning of the life which has no end; and
time is but the gateway of eternity.

THE WORLD PASSES AWAY.
What then? You must, O man, make sure
of a home in that world into which you are
so soon to pass. One who had lived a worldly
life at last lay down to die; and when about
to pass away he uttered these terrible words,
"I am dying, and I don't know where I am going."
Another in similar circumstances cried out,
"I am within an hour of eternity and all is dark."
O man of earth, it is time to awake!

In the cross there is salvation; nowhere else.
In the day of darkening prospects, of thickening
sorrows, of heavy burdens, of pressing cares;
when friends depart, when riches fly away, when
disease oppresses us, when poverty knocks at
our door; then the cross shines out, and tells
us of a light beyond this world's darkness,
the Light of Him who is the light of the world!