Short pithy gems from John Flavel

1628 - 1691
 

The soul is of more value than ten thousand worlds!

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Whatever we have over-loved, idolized, and leaned upon—God has from time to time broken it, and made us to see the vanity of it. So that we find the readiest course to be rid of our comforts—is to set our hearts inordinately upon them!

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Brethren, it is easier to declaim against a thousand sins of others—than to mortify one sin in ourselves!

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The whole world is not a theater large enough to show the glory of Christ upon, or unfold the one half of the unsearchable riches that lie hidden in Him!

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The Christian shall gain that which he cannot lose—by parting with that which he cannot keep.

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Those who know God, will be humble.
Those who know themselves, cannot be proud.

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Jesus is the fountain, ocean, and center of all delights and joys!

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Out of Christ's condemnation—flows our justification!
Out of His agony—comes our victory!
Out of His pain—comes our ease!
Out of His stripes—comes our healing!
Out of His gall and vinegar—comes our honey!
Out of His curse—comes our blessing!
Out of His crown of thorns—comes our crown of glory!
Out of His death—comes our life!
O what a melting consideration is this!

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Christ is not sweet—until sin is made bitter to us!

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If God should damn you to all eternity—your eternal sufferings could not satisfy for the evil that is in one vain thought! O the depth of the evil of sin!

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Labor after an inward experimental taste of all those truths which you profess.

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We must renounce not only sinful self—but religious self!

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Eternity itself, hangs upon this little moment of time!

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O remember what a mere feather you are in the gusts of temptation!

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Jesus is . . .
  bread to the hungry,
  water to the thirsty,
  a garment to the naked,
  healing to the wounded.
Whatever a soul can desire—is found in Him.

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Affliction is a bitter pill, which, being enrapt up in patience and quiet submission, may be easily swallowed. But discontent chews the pill, and so embitters the soul.

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No man who is in his wits would leave the pure, cold, refreshing stream of a crystal fountain—to go to a filthy puddle or an empty cistern. In the same way, the best enjoyments of this world are not to be compared with Jesus Christ.

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Every lost man loves the mercies of God—but a saint loves the God of his mercies. The mercies of God, as they are the fuel of a wicked man's lusts—so they are fuel to maintain a godly man's love to God.

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It is not the having, but the over-loving of the world—which ruins us.

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To have lovely and well-pleased thoughts of God, even when He smites us in our nearest and dearest comforts—argues plainly that we love Him for Himself, and not for His gifts alone!

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The Supreme Being must needs be an unaccountable and uncontrollable being.

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Forgotten mercies bear no fruit.
A bad memory makes a barren heart and life.

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The saints have their secret delights in God, their hidden manna—which no man knows but he who eats of it.

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When God gives you comforts—it is your great evil not to observe His hand in them.

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Jesus Christ is in every way sufficient to the vast desires of the soul.

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Fear nothing but sin!
Study nothing so much as how to please God!

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You can never depend too much upon God—nor too little upon the creature.

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"It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment!" Hebrews 9:27
As the tree falls at death and judgment—so it lies forever!
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" Hebrews 10:31

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I have eyed creatures too much—and God too little!

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It would much conduce to the settlement of your heart, to consider that by fretting and discontent—you do yourself more injury than all your afflictions could do. Your own discontent is that which arms your troubles with a sting. You make your burden heavy by struggling under it. Did you but lie quietly under the hand of God, your condition would be much more easy than it is.

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All the tears of a penitent sinner—should he shed as many as there have been fallen drops of rain since the creation—cannot wash away one sin. The everlasting burnings in Hell cannot purify the flaming conscience from the least sin.

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The loveliness of Christ is fresh to all eternity!

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He chose us not because we were lovely—but that He might make us lovely.

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The same hour you are saved by Christ—you shall also be at the fountainhead of all consolations.
O come to Christ! Until you come to Christ—no true comfort can come to you.

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We are charmed with the present pleasure and sweetness there is in sin, but how bitter will the after-fruits thereof be!

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Do not follow the holiest of men, one step farther than they follow Christ.

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O if the records of our mercies could be gathered and kept—what vast volumes would they swell to!

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The Scriptures teach us . . .
  the best way of living,
  the noblest way of suffering, and
  the most comfortable way of dying.

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The law wounds—the gospel cures!

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Worldlings of the earth prefer the dirt and dung of the world, before the precious Savior!

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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 waters in the world—so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet.

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No doctrine is more excellent, or necessary to be preached and studied—than Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

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Did Christ finish His work for us? Then there can be no doubt but He will also finish His work in us.

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We say that we have trusted God with our souls to all eternity—and yet cannot trust Him for our daily bread!

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The mercy of God to eternal life, or His saving mercies—are only dispensed to us through Jesus Christ.

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What a mercy was it to us to have parents that prayed for us before they had us, as well as in our infancy when we could not pray for ourselves!

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As God did not at first choose you because you were high—He will not now forsake you because you are low.

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The knowledge of Christ is profound and large. All other sciences are but shadows—this is a boundless, bottomless ocean. Eternity itself cannot fully reveal Him.

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The worldly person fears man—not God.
The strong Christian fears God—not man.
The weak Christian fears man too much—and God too little.

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To see a man humble under prosperity, is one of the greatest rarities in the world!

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The converted soul goes to prayer—as a hungry man to a feast, or as a covetous man to his treasures.

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"He took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying: I am innocent of this man's blood!" Matthew 27:24
Could Pilate be free from Christ's blood, because he washed his hands in water? No, no! He could never be free—unless his soul had been washed in that blood which he shed!

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As the blood of Christ is the fountain of all merit—so the Spirit of Christ is the fountain of all spiritual life. Until He quickens us and infuses the principle of the divine life into our souls—we can put forth no hand, or vital act of faith, to lay hold upon Jesus Christ.

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Let all whom the Lord has graciously saved—fall down at the feet of God in humble admiration of the unsearchable riches of free grace, and never open their mouths to complain under any adverse or bitter providences of God.

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If you neglect to instruct children in the way of holiness—will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No! If you will not teach them to pray—he will teach them to curse, swear, and lie. If ground are uncultivated—then weeds will spring.

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We must not think that faith itself is the soul's rest; it is only the means of it. We cannot find rest in any work or duty of our own—but we may find it in Christ, whom faith apprehends for justification and salvation.

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Christ is so in love with holiness, that at the price of His blood He will buy it for us.

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The object of spiritual delight is Jesus Himself, and the things which relate to Him. He is the blessed ocean into which all the streams of spiritual delight pour themselves! The reason why so many easily part with religion is, because their souls never tasted the sweetness of it; they never delighted in it.

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O the blessed chemistry of God—to extract such mercies out of such miseries!

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Jesus, our head, is already in Heaven; and if the Head is above water, the body cannot drown.

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The Providence of God is like Hebrew words—it can be read only backwards.

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One word of God can do more than ten thousand words of men to relieve a distressed soul.

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There are few among those who profess Christianity, who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity.

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Tell me, you vain professor, when did you shed a tear for the deadness, hardness, unbelief, or earthliness of your heart? Do you think that such an easy religion can save you? If so, we may invert Christ's words and say, "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to life, and may there be that go in there."

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To keep the heart then, is carefully to preserve it from sin which disorders it; and maintain that spiritual and gracious frame, which fits it for a life of communion with God.

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This winter weather shall be useful to destroy those rank weeds, which the summer of prosperity bred.
By wintry trials—God will mortify and purge our corruptions!

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Our most pleasant enjoyments, wives, children, and estates, like the gourd in which Jonah so delighted himself—may wither in a night!

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The more grace there is—the more humility there will be.

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As our delight in God is the measure of our holiness—so our delight in sin is the measure of our sinfulness!

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Oh sirs, deal with sin as sin—and speak of Heaven and Hell as they are, and not as if you were in jest.

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In Heaven we shall meet many whom we never thought to see there—and miss many whom we were confident we would meet there!

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In Heaven the redeemed shall view Jesus with as much wonder, and love Him with as much ardor after millions of years—as they did at their first sight of Him. O there is no bottom in the love of Christ—it surpasses knowledge.

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Providence so orders the case, that faith and prayer come between our needs and supplies, and the goodness of God may be the more magnified in our eyes thereby.

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We acknowledge no righteousness but what the obedience and satisfaction of Christ yields us. His blood, not our faith; his satisfaction, not our believing it—is the matter of our justification before God.

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If God has given you but a small portion of the world—yet if you are godly, He has promised never to forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

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Providence has ordered that condition for you which is really best for your eternal good. If you had more of the world than you have—your heads and hearts might not be able to manage it to your advantage.

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The heart of a Christian, like the moon, commonly suffers an eclipse when it is at the full, and that by the interposition of the earth.

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Look around in the world, and you may see some in every place who are objects of pity, bereaved by sad accidents of all the comforts of life—while in the meantime Providence has tenderly preserved you.

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You may look upon some providences once and again, and see little or nothing in them—but look "seven times," that is, meditate often upon them, and you will see their increasing glory, like that increasing cloud (1 Kings 18:44).

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Whatever is the ground of one's distress—it should drive him to God.

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What is a child—but a piece of the parent enrapt up in another skin? And yet our dearest children are but as strangers to us, in comparison of the unspeakable dearness that was between the Father and Christ. Now, that He should ever be content to part with a Son, and such an only One—is such a manifestation of love, as will be admired to all eternity.

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Let us see that our knowledge of Christ is not a powerless, barren, unpractical knowledge. O that, in its passage from our understanding to our lips—it might powerfully melt, sweeten, and ravish our hearts! Remember, brethren, a holy calling never saved any man—without a holy heart. If only our tongues are sanctified—then our whole man must be damned. We must be judged by the same gospel, and stand at the same bar, and be sentenced to the same terms, and dealt with as severely as any other men.

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That which does not begin with prayer, seldom winds up with comfort.

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The more afflictions you have been under—the more assistance you have had for this life of holiness.

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Providence is like a curious piece of tapestry made of a thousand threads, which, single, appear useless—but put together, they represent a beautiful history to the eye.

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Surely if He would not spare His own Son one stroke, one tear, one groan, one sigh, one circumstance of misery—it can never be imagined that ever He should, after this, deny or withhold from His people, for whose sakes all this was suffered—any mercies, any comforts, any privilege, spiritual or temporal, which is good for them.

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The Spirit must first take hold of us, before we can live in Christ; and when he does so, then we are enabled to exert that vital act of faith, whereby we receive Christ.

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Christian! You know you carry gunpowder about you. You should keep those who carry fire, at a distance. It is a dangerous crisis when a proud heart meets with flattering lips!

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There is no grace more excellent than faith. There is no sin more execrable and abominable then unbelief. Faith is the saving grace—and unbelief the damning sin. Men's heart's are full of self-righteousness and vain confidence.

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The opening of your hearts to receive the Lord Jesus Christ is not a work done by any power of your own—but the arm of the Lord is revealed therein.

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Sometimes God makes use of instruments for good to His people, who designed nothing but evil and mischief to them. Thus Joseph's brethren were instrumental to his advancement in that very thing in which they designed his ruin (Genesis 50:20).

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Turn in upon yourselves, get into your closets, and now resolve to dwell there. You have been strangers to this work too long; you have kept other vineyards too long; you have trifled around the borders of religion too long. Will you now resolve to look better to your hearts? Will you come out of the crowds of business and clamors of the world—and retire yourselves more than you have done? Oh, that this day you would resolve upon it!

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God's unspotted faithfulness never failed any soul that dared trust himself in its arms.

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When the world smiles upon us, and we have got a warm nest, how do we prophesy of rest and peace in those acquisitions, thinking with Baruch, great things for ourselves—but Providence by a particular or general calamity overturns our plans (Jeremiah 45:4,5)—and all this to turn our hearts from the creature to God.

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Providences often puzzle and entangle our thoughts—but bring them to the Word, and your duty will be quickly manifested. "Until I went into the sanctuary of God—then understood I their end" (Psalm 73:17). And not only their end—but his own duty, to be quiet in an afflicted condition, and not envy their prosperity.

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For the infinite glorious Creator of all things, to become a creature, is a mystery exceeding all human understanding!

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Observed duties maintain our credit with men; but secret duties maintain our life with God.

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Let us consider and marvel that ever this great and blessed God—should be so much concerned about such vile, despicable worms as we are! He does not need us—but is perfectly blessed and happy in Himself without us. We can add nothing to Him.

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No repentance, obedience, self-denial, prayers, tears, reformation or ordinances, without the new creation, avail anything to the salvation of your soul.

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It is the duty of the saints, especially in times of straights, to reflect upon the performances of Providence for them in all the states and through all the stages of their lives.

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I look upon every good man, as a good book, lent by its owner for another to read, and transcribe the excellent notions and golden passages that are in it for his own benefit, that they may return with him when the owner shall call for the book again. But in case this excellent book shall be thrown into a corner and no use made of it, it justly provokes the owner to take it away in displeasure.

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Guilt is to danger, what fire is to gunpowder; a man need not fear to walk among many barrels of powder—if he has no fire about him.

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Providence is wiser than you, and you may be confident it has suited all things better to your eternal good, than you could do had you been left to your own option.

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What, at Peace with the Father, and at War with the His children! It cannot be.

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It is better to be as low as Hell with a promise—than in Paradise without one.

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It is the great support and solace of the saints in all the distresses that befall them here, that there is a wise Spirit sitting in all the wheels of motion, and governing the most eccentric creatures and their most pernicious designs to blessed and happy outcomes.

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Wrath to come implies both the futurity and perpetuity of this wrath.... Yes, it is not only certainly future—but when it comes it will be abiding wrath, or wrath still coming. When millions of years and ages are past and gone, this will still be wrath to come. Ever coming as a river ever flowing.

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The soul of man, like the bird in the shell, is still growing or ripening in sin or grace—until at last the shell breaks by death, and the soul flies away to the place it is prepared for, and where it must abide forever.

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All the dark, intricate, puzzling providences at which we were sometimes so offended—we shall one day see to be to us; as the difficult passage through the wilderness was to Israel, "the right way to the city of habitation".

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Ah, did we but rightly understand what the demerit of sin is, we would rather admire the bounty of God, than complain of the straithandedness of Providence. And if we did but consider that there lies upon God no obligation of justice or gratitude to reward any of our duties, it would cure our murmurings!

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Christ and his benefits go inseparably and undividedly. Many would willingly receive his privileges—who will not receive his person; but it cannot be. If we will have one, we must take the other too, Yes, we must accept his person first, and then his benefits. As it is in the marriage covenant, so it is here.

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Christ comes with kingly power to rescue sinners, as a prey from the mouth of the terrible one.

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He feels all our sorrows, needs, and burdens as his own. That is why it is said that the sufferings of believers are called the sufferings of Christ.

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Men, like pictures, are fairest at a certain distance. But it is not so with Christ—the nearer the soul approaches Him, and the longer it lives in the enjoyment of Him—still the sweeter and more desirable He becomes!

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Regeneration expresses those supernatural, divine, new qualities imparted by the Spirit to the soul, which are the principle of all holy action.

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That soul is dead to which the Spirit of Christ is not given in the work of regeneration—and all its works are dead works.

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How often has providence convinced its observers, upon a sober recollection of the events of their lives, that if the Lord had left them to their own counsels—they had as often been their own tormentors, if not executioners!

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When our needs are permitted to grow to an extremity, and all visible hopes fail—then to have relief given wonderfully enhances the price of such a mercy.

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If time is a ring of gold—then opportunity is the rich diamond which gives it both its value and glory.

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Herein the sovereign grace of God appears—that Jesus Christ passed by millions of creatures of more excellent gifts and temperaments, and never makes them one offer of salvation—never turns aside to give one knock at the door of their hearts. But He comes to you, the vilest and basest of creatures, and will not be gone from your heart's door without His errand's end!

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It is true, some wicked men die in apparent peace, and some godly men die in turmoil—but both are mistaken. A few moments will clear up the mistake of both!

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Study the Word more—and the concerns and interests of the world less.

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How great a pleasure is it to discern how the most wise God is providentially steering everything to the port of His own praise, and His redeemed people's happiness. "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28

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The life of a believer in this world is a life of labor and expectation. He must expect no rest or satisfaction on this side of Heaven, and the full enjoyment of God. As the rivers cannot rest until they pour themselves into the bosom of the sea—so neither can renewed souls find rest until they come into the bosom of God!

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O when you go to God in any duty, take your heart aside, and say, "O my soul, I am now addressing myself to the greatest work that ever a creature was employed about—I am going into the solemn presence of God about business of everlasting importance!"

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We should call our hearts to account every evening, and say, "O my heart! Where have you been today? Where have your thoughts been wandering? O naughty heart! O vain heart! Could you not abide by the fountain of delights? Is there better pleasure with the creature, than with your redeemer God?"

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Repentance will cost you more than a few cheap words against sin!


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The candle of your life is almost burnt down—the hour-glass of time almost run out. Yet a few, a very few days and nights more—and then time, nights and days shall be no more!

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The whole world is not a theater large enough to display the glory of Christ upon—or unfold the one half of the unsearchable riches which lie hidden in Him! What shall I say of Christ? His excelling glory dazzles apprehension, and swallows up all expression!

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God's divine care thus engaged for you, is your convoy to accompany and secure you, until it sees you safe into your harbor of eternal rest!

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"Guard your heart above all else—for it determines the course of your life!" Proverbs 4:23
The heart is the seat of principles—and the fountain of actions. The eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be—principally fixed upon it.
The greatest difficulty in conversion—is to win the heart to God.
The greatest difficulty after conversion—is to keep the heart with God.
Here lies the very pinch and stress of religion; here is that that makes the way to life a narrow way, and the gate of Heaven a straight gate.
The keeping and right managing of the heart in every condition—is the great business of a Christian's life!
"Oh, for a holier heart!
 Oh for a heart to hate sin more!
 Oh for a heart to love God more—and to walk more closely with Him!
 Lord, whatever you deny me—do not deny me such a heart!
 Give me a heart to fear You, love You and delight in You!"

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Fear is both a multiplying and a tormenting passion. Fear represents troubles much greater than they are, and so tortures and wracks the soul much worse than when the suffering itself comes!

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It would much support the heart under adversity, to consider that God, by such humbling providences—may be accomplishing the thing for which you have long prayed and waited. And should you be troubled at that? Say Christian, have you not offered many prayers to God such as these—that He would . . .
  keep you from sin;
  reveal to you the emptiness and insufficiency of the creature;
  kill and mortify your darling lusts;
  your heart may never find rest in any enjoyment but Christ?
Why now, by such humbling and impoverishing strokes—God may simply be fulfilling your prayers and desires!
Is it not enough that God is so gracious as to do what you desire—but must you be so impudent to expect He should do it in the way which you prescribe?

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Remember that this God, in whose hand are all creatures—is your Father. He is much more tenderly concerned with you, than you are or can be over yourselves!
Not a creature can move hand or tongue against you—but by His permission.
"He who touches you, touches the apple of My eye!" Zechariah 2:8

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Though God has reserved to Himself a liberty of afflicting His people when He sees the necessity of it—yet He has tied His own hands by promise, never to take away His loving-kindness from them.
O my heart, my haughty heart! Why should you be discontented, when God has given you the whole tree, with all the clusters of comfort growing on it—because He allows the wind to blow down a few leaves? Indeed, if He had cut off His love, or discovenanted my soul—I would have had reason to be cast down. But this He has not done—nor can He do it.
"I will make an everlasting covenant with them! I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me!" Jeremiah 32:40

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The improvement of our graces, depends upon the keeping our hearts. I never knew grace to thrive in a negligent and careless soul. The habits and roots of grace are planted in the heart, and the deeper they penetrate there—the more thriving and flourishing grace is.
A man may go with an heedless spirit from ordinance to ordinance, abide all his days under the choicest teachings—and yet never be improved by them; for heart neglect is a leak in the bottom! No heavenly influences however rich, abide in that soul. "Guard your heart above all else—for it determines the course of your life!" Proverbs 4:23

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O how many have been carried smoothly to Hell in the chariots of earthly pleasures—while others have been whipped to Heaven by the rod of affliction!

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The candle of life is almost burnt down!
The hour-glass of time is almost run out!
Yet a very few more days and nights—and then time, nights and days shall be no more!
"So teach us to number our days carefully—so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts." Psalm 90:12

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We should call our hearts to account every evening, and say: "O my heart—where have you been today? Where have your thoughts been wandering? O naughty heart! O vain heart! Could you not abide by the fountain of delights? Is there better pleasure with the creature, than with God?

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Though He afflicts us—He still loves us.
Nay, though we grieve Him—yet still He loves us!

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"The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you! He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid—do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8 
This care of God, thus engaged for you, is your convoy to accompany and secure you until it sees you safe into your harbor of eternal rest.
"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:28

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Mercy and pardon are designed for, and bestowed upon, the greatest and vilest of sinners—to enhance and raise the glory of free grace to the highest pitch. God picks out such sinners as you are, on purpose to illustrate the glory of His grace in and upon you. He knows that you, to whom so much is forgiven, will love much!

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The faith that receives the righteousness of Christ may be very different in degrees of strength—but the received righteousness is equal upon all believers.
A piece of gold is as much worth in the hand of a child, as it is in the hand of a man.
O the exceeding preciousness of saving faith!

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New wonders will appear in Christ—if we behold Him to eternity!

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A drop of saving grace—is better than a sea of spiritual gifts!

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We usually consider providences to be either good or evil—by the effect that they have on the ease and pleasure of our flesh.

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It is a poor comfort to have an increasing estate—and a dead and declining soul.

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A saving, though an imperfect knowledge of Christ—will bring us to Heaven. But a mature, as well as a saving knowledge of Him—will bring Heaven into us!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

It is true, some wicked men die in seeming peace—and some godly men die in great trouble of heart. But both are mistaken. The wicked man errs, as to the good estate he imagines himself to be in; and the godly man errs, as to his seeming bad estate. A few moments will clear up the mistake of both!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We should call our hearts to account every evening, and say: "O my heart—where have you been today? Where have your thoughts been wandering? Where have you made a road today? O naughty heart! O Vain heart! could you not abide by the fountain of delights? Is there better entertainment with the creature than with God?

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The candle of life is almost burnt down—and the hour-glass of time is almost run out! Yet a very few more days and nights—and then time, nights and days shall be no more!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Whenever you go to God in prayer—take your heart aside, and say: "O my soul, I am now addressing myself to the greatest work that ever a creature was employed about. I am going into the solemn presence of God about business of everlasting importance."

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Jesus Himself was deserted of God for a time—that His people might not be deserted forever.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Herein the sovereign grace of this heavenly suitor appears, that Jesus Christ passed by millions of creatures of more excellent gifts and temperaments, and never makes them one offer of himself; He never turns aside to give one knock at their door. But He comes to you, the vilest and basest of creatures, and will not be gone from your door without his errand's end.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Death, to the saints, is the door by which they enter into the enjoyment of God! The dying Christian is almost at home, yet a few more pangs and agonies, and then he is come to God, in whose presence is the fullness of joy. The same day we loose from this shore—we shall be landed upon the blessed shore, where we shall see and enjoy God forever.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Learn from the certainty of death—the vanity of the creature, and the emptiness, and nothingness of the best things here below!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

He indeed is rich in grace—whose graces are not hindered by his riches.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

O how many have been carried to Hell in the soft chariots of earthly pleasures—while others have been whipped to Heaven by the rod of affliction?

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerate—and the best afterwards. The heart is the seat of principles, and the fountain of actions. The eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be—principally fixed upon it. The greatest difficulty in conversion—is to win the heart to God. The greatest difficulty after conversion—is to keep the heart with God. Here lies the very pinch and stress of religion; here is that that makes the way to life a narrow way, and the gate of Heaven a straight gate.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Remember that this God, in whose hand are all creatures, is your Father, and is much more tenderly concerned with you, than you are or can be over yourselves! "He who touches you, touches the apple of My eye!" Zechariah 2:8

   ~  ~  ~  ~

You say, do what I can, yet I cannot keep my heart with God. Soul, if you do what you can—you have the blessing of an upright heart, though God sees good to exercise you under the affliction of a discomposed heart. There remains still some sinfulness in the thoughts and imagination of the holiest men, to humble them.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The improvement of our graces depends upon the keeping our hearts. I never knew grace thrive in a negligent and careless soul. The habits of grace are planted in the heart—and the deeper they are rooted there, the more thriving and flourishing grace is. "Guard your heart above all else—for it determines the course of your life!" Proverbs 4:23

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Not a creature can move hand or tongue against you—but by His permission.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

When providence has blasted your estates, your summer friends may grow strange towards you, as fearing you may be troublesome to them. But will God do so? No, no! "I will never leave you, nor will I forsake you!" Indeed if adversity and poverty could bar you from access to God—it would be a sad condition; but you may go to God as freely as ever.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

You lie too near His heart, for Him to needlessly hurt you. Nothing grieves Him more—than your groundless and unworthy suspicions of His designs do. Would it not grieve a faithful, tender-hearted physician when he has studied the case of his patient, and prepared the most excellent remedies to save his life—to hear him cry out, "O he has undone me, he has poisoned me!"—because the operation pains him?

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Settle this great truth in your hearts—that no trouble befalls you, but by the permission of your Savior-God. He permits nothing out of which He will not bring much good at last to His redeemed people.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

I confess that poverty has its temptations as well as prosperity. Yet I am confident that prosperity has not these excellent advantages that poverty has: for in a state of poverty you have an opportunity to discover the sincerity of your love to God, when you can live upon Him, find enough in Him, and constantly follow Him—even when all external inducements and motives fail.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

As soon as the body is dead, the gracious soul is swallowed up in life! As soon as you have loosed from this earthly shore—your souls will be wafted over upon the wings of angels to the other shore of a glorious eternity!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The heart is a hungry and restless thing—it must have something to feed upon. If it enjoys nothing from God—then it will hunt for something among the creatures, and there it often loses itself, as well as its end.
There is nothing more engages the heart to a constancy and evenness in walking with God—than the sweetness which it tastes therein.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

When the waters of relief run low, and poverty begins to pinch hard, how prone are the best hearts to distrust the fountain! When the meal in the barrel, and the oil in the cruse, are almost spent—then our faith and patience are almost spent too. Now it is difficult to keep down the proud and unbelieving heart in a holy quietude and sweet submission at the foot of God.
It is an easy thing to talk of trusting God for daily bread—while we have a full barn and purse. But to say as the prophet "Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!"—surely this is not easy!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:5-6
It will signify more to my comfort to spend one solitary hour in mourning before the Lord over my heart corruption, than many hours in a seeming zealous, but really dead performance of common duties with the greatest enlargements and richest embellishments of parts and gifts.
By this very thing, Christ distinguishes the formal and sincere Christian. The one is for the street and synagogue, for the observation and applause of men—but the other is a closet-man. He drives on a home-trade, a heart-trade.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Never be troubled then for the lack of those things that a man may have, and yet be eternally damned; but rather bless God for that which none but the favorites and darlings of Heaven have!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

God will shortly put a blessed end to all of your soul troubles, cares, and watchings.
The time is coming, when your heart shall be as you would have it, when you shall be discharged of all these cares, fears, and sorrows, and never more cry out: "O my hard, my proud, my vain, my earthly heart!"
The time is coming, when all darkness shall be banished from your understanding, and you shall clearly discover all truths in God, that crystal ocean of truth.
The time is coming, when all vanity shall be purged perfectly out of your thoughts—and they be everlastingly, ravishingly, and delightfully entertained and exercised upon that supreme goodness, and infinite excellency of God!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

It is as hard for some to look upon other men's gifts, without envy—as it is to look upon their own, without pride.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Alas for my poor neighbors! Must so many of them perish at last? Lord, by what arguments shall people be persuaded to be everlastingly happy?

    ~  ~  ~  ~

There is no doctrine more excellent in itself, or more necessary to be preached and studied—than the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified!
The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the very marrow and kernel of all the Scriptures—the scope and center of all divine revelation! Both Testaments meet in Christ.
The knowledge of Christ is profound and large. All other sciences are but shadows—this is a boundless, bottomless ocean! Though something of Christ is unfolded continually, yet eternity itself cannot fully unfold Him.
O then devote and wholly give yourself, your time, your strength—to this most sweet transcendent study!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Poor Christian, if you know Jesus Christ—then you know enough to comfort and save your soul. Many learned philosophers are now in Hell—and many illiterate Christians are now in Heaven!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

It is our calling, as the Bridegroom's friends—to woo and win souls to Christ, and to set Him forth in all His attractive excellencies, that all hearts may be ravished with His beauty, and charmed into His loving arms.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

That is the best sermon, which is most full of Christ. The excellency of a sermon, lies in the plainest discoveries and liveliest applications of Jesus Christ.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Christ is the great favorite in Heaven! His image upon your souls, and his name in your prayers, makes both accepted with God.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

How worthy is Jesus Christ of all our love and affection! You see how infinitely the Father delights in Him, and how He ravishes the heart of God—and shall He not ravish our hearts?
Jesus is able to ravish any soul that will but view and consider Him. O that you did but see this lovely Lord, Jesus Christ—then you would be love-sick!
Why do you lavish away your precious affections upon vanity—when none but Christ is worthy of them? You spend your precious affections upon other objects—what is this, but to dig for dross with golden shovels?
O that our hearts, loves and delights might meet and center with the heart of God in this most blessed object! O let Him who left God's bosom for you—be embosomed by you!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

If puzzled and perplexed Christians would turn their eyes from the defects that are in their own obedience, to the fullness and completeness of Christ's obedience—how happy they would be! They should view themselves as complete in Christ—when most lame and defective in themselves!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

As your good was Christ's end—so let His glory be your end!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

In the name Jesus, the whole gospel is contained!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Let Christ have the whole glory of your salvation ascribed to him. It is highly reasonable that He who laid down the whole price—should have the whole praise!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Others may know more in other things than you—but if you savingly know Jesus Christ, and the truth as it is in Him—then one drop of your knowledge is worth a whole sea of their learning. One truth sucked by faith and prayer from the breast of Christ—is better than ten thousand dry notions!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Reader, let me beg you, if you are one of this pardoned number—to look over the cancelled bonds, and see what vast sums are remitted to you. What can you do less than fall down at the feet of free grace, and kiss those feet that moved so freely towards so vile a sinner? O let these things slide sweetly to your melting heart!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Do you complain of the hardness of your hearts, and lack of love to Christ? Behold him as offered up to God for you—and such a sight (if any in the world will do it) will melt your hard hearts.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Sincere faith in the Lord Jesus—pleases God more than all the obedience, repentance and strivings to obey the law through your whole life can do!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

No serpent hisses in that heavenly paradise!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

There is no possibility of being or doing anything that is truly evangelically good—outside of Christ.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The best of men, cannot escape sin in their most holy actions!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

None does, or can love like Christ! His love to His people is matchless!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Who ever loved after this rate—to lay down his life for enemies! O unutterable and inconceivable love! How glorious is love in His red garments!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

A carnal heart glories in revenge.
A gracious heart glories in forgiveness.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh, forever bless the Lord, that has saved you from your sins—which none else could do for you; and which He has done but for few besides you.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Is there an eternal state into which souls pass after this life? How precious then is the present time—upon the improvement thereof, that state depends!
O what a huge weight has God hung upon a small wire! God has set us here on earth, in a state of trial. According as we use these few hours—so will it fare with us to all eternity. Every day, every hour, nay, every moment of your present time—has an influence into your eternity. Surely, our wastefulness in the expense of time—argues we have but little sense of the great eternity.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

There are graves in the church-yard of every length!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

O Christians, if the dust of this earth were but once blown out of your eyes, that you might see the divine glory—how weary would you be to live! How willing to die!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

God's forsaking of Jesus on the cross, though but for a few hours, is equivalent to his forsaking you forever.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

If Christ complained, "I thirst," when He had conflicted but a few hours with the wrath of God—what is their state then, who are to grapple with it forever? When millions of years are past and gone—ten thousand million more are yet coming!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Whatever the law demanded—Christ has perfectly paid. Whatever a sinner needs—is perfectly obtained and purchased. Nothing can be added to what Christ has done. He put the last hand to it, when he said, "It is finished!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~

O it is a hard thing to bring these proud hearts to live upon Christ for righteousness. Certainly God takes the right way to humble proud nature, in calling sinners wholly from their own righteousness to Christ's for their justification.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Nothing but God can please a gracious soul in this world—and nothing but God can make it content when it goes hence. It is not the glory of the place where the gracious soul is going—but the bosom of the blessed God who dwells there, which it so vehemently pants after. The gracious soul does not so much desire the Father's house—but the Father's arms and bosom!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Set ten thousand thousand new-made worlds of angels and elect men, and double them in number ten thousand thousand thousand times; let their hearts and tongues be ten thousand times more agile and large than the hearts and tongues of the seraphim that stand with six wings before Him. When they have said all for the glorifying and praising of the Lord Jesus—they have spoken little or nothing.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

If Christ lives—then believers cannot die.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Christ's blood the only fountain to wash away sin. But, in the virtue and efficacy of that blood, sanctified afflictions are cleansers and purgers too.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

"Such a great salvation!" Hebrews 2:3. Christ's salvation is a wonderful salvation. It would weary the arm of an angel to write down all the wonders that are in this salvation. It is astonishing that ever such a design should be laid, such a project of grace contrived in the heart of God—who might have allowed the whole species to perish. These are such wonders as will take up eternity itself to search, admire, and adore them!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

If Christ died to reconcile God and man—then how horrid an evil is sin! And how terrible was that breach made between God and the creature by it—which could no other way be made up but by the death of the Son of God!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Examine your relation to Christ. Are you His spouse? Have you forsaken all for Him? Are you ready to take your lot with Him—as it falls in prosperity or adversity?

    ~  ~  ~  ~

"We have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in Heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay!" 1 Peter 1:4. Admire the love of Christ. O how intense and ardent was the love of Jesus—who designed such an inheritance for you! Before this love, let all the saints fall down astonished, humbly professing that they owe themselves, and all that they are, or shall be worth, to eternity—to this love!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Imagine Christ upon His glorious throne, surrounded with myriads and legions of angels—with a poor unbeliever trembling at the bar; an exact scrutiny made into his heart and life; the dreadful sentence given; and then a cry; and then His delivering him over to the executioners of the eternal vengeance—never, never, to see a glimpse of hope or mercy any more!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

O do not allow the trifles of time—wipe off the impressions of death, judgment, and eternity from your heart.

     ~  ~  ~  ~

God orders your poverty, to be as poison to kill your pride.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

He will make the best teacher—who studies on his knees!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

A little sin may rob a Christian of a great deal of comfort!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The gospel requires nothing of you but repentance and faith. Can you think it hard when a prince pardons a rebel—to require him to fall upon his knees, and stretch forth a willing and thankful hand to receive his pardon?

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Blessed Jesus! nothing but the strength of Your own love, could ever have drawn You out of that bosom of delights—to suffer so many things for the sake of poor sinners. There is nothing like love, to draw love. When Christ was lifted up upon the cross He gave such a glorious demonstration of the strength of His love to sinners, as one would think should draw love from the hardest heart that ever lodged in a sinner's breast. Here is the triumph, the riches and glory of divine love—never was such love manifested in the world. Before it was none like it—and after it shall none appear like unto it.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Duties cannot justify me, tears cannot wash me, reformation cannot save me. Nothing but your righteousness can save me. I come to you as a poor, naked creature. To Jesus I go—and if I perish, I perish!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Christ bestows Himself wholly upon you—and He expects the same from you. Give up all—or you will get nothing from Him! "Any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:33. If I am the Lord's—then my time, my talents, and all that I have are His!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

God in His grace, gives His people soul-reviving sights of the invisible world—without which this world would be a dungeon to us!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

If there is but one fountain in a town, and not a drop of water to be had elsewhere—then all the inhabitants of that town would resort there for water.
In the same way, in the whole city of God there is but one fountain, and that is Christ! There is not a drop of righteousness, holiness, strength or comfort to be had elsewhere! All the believer's fresh springs are in Christ.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The grace of God is a superabounding grace. Waters do not so abound in the ocean, nor light in the sun—as grace and compassion do in the affections of God towards broken-hearted and poor sinners!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Nothing is required of us in our coming to Christ—but such a sense of, and sorrow for sin, as makes us heartily willing to accept Christ, and subscribe the terms on which he is offered in the gospel!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Your former vileness and present unworthiness can be no bar to receiving Christ's righteousness! "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31-32

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Their way to Heaven lies through much tribulation. All our troubles are not over when we are saved by Christ; nay, then commonly our greatest outward troubles begin! "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." John 16:33

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Will a king from Heaven come and sup with you? Does He feed your soul with pardon, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, and promise a priceless inheritance of future glory? Then you live at a higher and nobler rate than any of your carnal neighbors do.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Religion indeed denies us all sinful pleasure—but it abounds with all spiritual pleasure.
What light and vain things are all those pleasures of sin, for the sake whereof you deprive your souls of the everlasting comforts of Jesus Christ! It is true, you shall have no more pleasure in sin—but instead of that, you shall have peace with God, joy in the Holy Spirit, and solid comforts forevermore!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

It is sweet, Christian—when the heavenly cheerfulness and spirituality of your conversations with men, shall convince them that you have been with Jesus!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Those are most like God—who converse most frequently with Him.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

All union with Christ—must evidence itself by a life of communion with Him, or our pretensions to it are vain and groundless.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

What sweeter outlet and vent to all your troubles can you find, than prayer? This would sweeten all your labors and sorrows in the world.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord does not regard eloquence in prayer. But your broken expressions, yes, your groans and sighs—please Him more than all the eloquence in the world!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

According to the measure of our delight in, and expectation from the creature—is our sorrow and disappointment when we part from it!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The special gracious presence of God is with you—in the deepest plunges of distress which can befall you.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

One soul is of more value than all the bodies in the world!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

What merchant will not part with a few pounds of glass beads—for a ton of gold? What man will not part with a few tinsel toys, for as many rich diamonds?

    ~  ~  ~  ~

In Adam, all were shipwrecked and cast away! Christ is the plank of mercy, let down from Heaven to save some!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

An incarnate God is the world's wonder! Here is . . .
  finite and infinite joined in one;
  eternity matched with time;
  the Creator and creature making but one person!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Surely Jesus did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because you were better than others—but because He loved you.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The approbation of God is infinitely better than the most glorious name among men, before or after death.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The Most High God is not limited by means.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

"He gave Himself for us—to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." Titus 2:14
Alas, it was not Christ's intent to purchase for His people a sensual contentment in the enjoyment of earthly comforts. It was His intent to . . .
  redeem you from all iniquity,
  purge your corruptions,
  sanctify your natures,
  wean your hearts from this vain world—that you might the more ardently pant and sigh after the rest which remains for the people of God.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

That man must be acknowledged to be very rich in grace—whose grace suffers no diminution or eclipse by his riches.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The most compendious way to ruin, is to cast off prayer.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

God will have everything fetched from Him by prayer.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Learn the vanity of the creature—and the emptiness and nothingness of the best things here below.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Can the seed of sin, bring forth a crop of peace and comfort?

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Christless people have a great deal of reason to fear death. Their dying day—is their eternal undoing day!
But for Christians to fear death, is strange—considering how great a friend death will be to them.
What are you afraid of?
What, are you afraid to go to Christ?
Are you afraid to be freed of sin and affliction too soon?

    ~  ~  ~  ~

It is of trembling consideration, how many thousands of families among us are mere nurseries for Hell. The parents are breeding up children for the devil! There is not one word of God (except it be in the way of blasphemy, or profaneness) to be heard among them. How naturally their ignorant and wicked upbringing puts their children in the course and tide of the world, which carries them away irresistibly to Hell!
"For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just" Genesis 18:19

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Who made me to differ? How did I come to be thus wonderfully saved? Surely, it is by God's free-grace, and nothing else, that I am what I am!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

At present we are tossed upon an ocean of troubles, fears, and temptations—but these will make Heaven all the sweeter. Cheer up, then, O my soul, your salvation is now nearer than when you first believed! Yet a few more days—and then comes that blessed day you have so long waited and panted for.
"Then the King will say to those on His right: Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world!" Matthew 25:34

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Our new birth does not free us from troubles—though they be sanctified, sweetened, and turned into blessings to us.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

A new nature, will produce new words and actions!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Christ's service is perfect freedom!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Desperate is that disease, which scorns the remedy!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Did God give you a body—to be but as a strainer for foods and drinks?

    ~  ~  ~  ~

God's unspotted faithfulness never failed any soul that dared trust himself in its arms.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

It was an excellent reply that a Christian mother once made—when her beloved and only child lay in a dangerous sickness at the point of death.
The friend asked the mother, "What would you now ask of God, in reference to your child? Would you beg Him for your child's life?"
The mother answered, "I refer that to the will of God."
"But," said her friend, "if God would refer it to you—what would you choose then?"
"Why truly," said she, "if God would refer it to me—I would refer it back to Him again!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The carnal person fears man—not God.
The strong Christian fears God—not man.
The weak Christian fears man too much—and God too little.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

To take the Lord for our God—essentially includes our taking Him for our supreme good!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

To droop and tremble at the hazard of earthly comforts, while heavenly and eternal things are safe—is as if a man that had gotten his pardon from the king, and had it safe in his bosom, should be found weeping upon the way home, because he has lost a glove.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Everything you lean on beside God, will shift!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

In God's working, there is no expense of His strength.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

I truly believe that the sweetest hours Christians enjoy in this world, are when they retire into their closets, and sit there concealed from all eyes—but Him who made them; looking now into the Bible, then into their own hearts, and then up to God!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Those who have found mercy, pity and forgiveness from God—should of all men in the world, be most ready to show it.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Christians may have joy unspeakable, amidst severe outward troubles!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Poor men! O that you did but once know what the life of holiness, and dedication to God is! How willingly and joyfully would you trample all the sordid pleasures of sin under your feet, to enjoy them!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Faith animates prayer—and prayer increases faith.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

How rich and great a Person—do the little arms of faith clasp and embrace!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

All the delights in the sensual life, all the pleasure that ever your lusts gave you—are but as the putrid stinking waters of a corrupt pond, where toads lie croaking and spawning—compared to the crystal streams of the most pure and pleasant fountain!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Souls never tire in the study or love of Christ, because new wonders are eternally rising out of him. He is a deep—which no line of any created understanding, angelical or human, can fathom!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

There is an intimate and indissoluble connection between the mortification of sin—and the life of grace. What a Heaven upon earth must then be found in mortification! Certainly Christians, the tranquility and comfort of your whole life depends upon it.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

A man is fast asleep in a house on fire—and while the consuming flames are round about him, his imagination is sporting itself in some pleasant dream. This is a very vivid emblem of the unregenerate soul.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

How groundless and irrational is the mirth and jollity of all carnal and unregenerate men! They feast in their prison—and dance in their fetters!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

God is the fountain of all true comfort. Creatures, the very best and sweetest—are but cisterns to receive, and convey to us what comfort God is pleased to communicate to them.