Short pithy gems from John Newton!


I aim to speak plain truths to a plain people! May it please the God of all grace, to accompany my feeble endeavors to promote the knowledge of His truth! If my letters are owned to comfort the afflicted, to quicken the careless, to confirm the wavering—I will rejoice.

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All shall work together for good.
Everything is needful, that He sends.
Nothing can be needful, that He withholds.

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When I was young, I was sure of many things. Now there are only two things of which I am sure: one is, that I am a miserable sinner; and the other, that Christ is an all-sufficient Savior. He is well-taught, who learns these two lessons.

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Grace alone is powerful enough to break the sinner's bondage to wickedness!

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Heart-anatomy is my favorite science. I mean, the study of the human heart, with its workings and counter-workings, as it is differently affected in the different seasons of prosperity, adversity, conviction, temptation, sickness, and the approach of death.

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May we sit at the foot of the cross—and there learn . . .
  what sin has done,
  what justice has done,
  and what love has done.

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While God supports, upholds and governs all things—He is attentive to all the cares, needs and feelings of the weakest of His people.

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There is not a drop of rain which falls, which is not directed by God. There is not a particle of dust carried along by the wind, which is not carried the very place which God has appointed.

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Sin is the root and spring of all misery!

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I am persuaded that love and humility are the highest attainments in the school of Christ—and the brightest evidences that He is indeed our Master!

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My grand point in preaching, is to break the hard heart—and to heal the broken one!

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I perceive that your heavenly Father has again put you into the furnace, and I trust he will divinely impress upon your heart, that there is a needs be for it, and that the outcome of your present trial shall surely end in some good or another to your soul.

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For the most part, the Lord's children are a poor and afflicted people. The Lord chooses poverty as the safest state for them in this ensnaring world.

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John Newton's last words: "I am still in the land of the dying. I shall be in the land of the living soon!"

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If the Lord is with us, we have no cause of fear.
His eye is upon us,
His arm over us,
His ear open to our prayer,
His grace sufficient, and
His promise unchangeable.

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Our work is great.
Our time is short.
The consequences of our labors are infinite!

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Blessed are we, when we can clearly see that every event and circumstance of our lives, is under the immediate direction and appointment of Him who cares for us, and who has engaged that all things shall, notwithstanding all our doubts and misgivings, work together for good.

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God's smile will well compensate for the frowns of worms!

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I believe that the leading points of Arminianism spring from, and are nourished by, the pride of the human heart!

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We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday's burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.

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We serve a gracious Master who knows how to overrule even our mistakes—to His glory and our own advantage.

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As to myself, if I were not a Calvinist, I think I would have no more hope of success in preaching to horses or cows—than to men!

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Jesus is all-sufficient to His people in every place and circumstance. His presence can make a dungeon pleasant—and without it, a palace would prove a dungeon, to the soul that has tasted He is gracious.

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The Christian must know that the season, measure, and continuance of his sufferings—are appointed by Infinite Wisdom, and designed to work for his everlasting good; and that grace and strength shall be afforded him according to his need.

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I make it a rule of Christian duty never to go to a place where there is not room for my Master as well as myself.

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Christ has taken our nature into Heaven—to represent us.
He has left us on earth, with His nature—to represent Him.

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I can conceive a living man without an arm or a leg—but not without a head or a heart.
In the same way, there are some truths essential to vital religion, and which all awakened souls are taught.

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If two angels were to receive a commission from God—one to go down and rule earth's grandest empire, and the other to go and sweep the streets of its poorest village—it would be a matter of entire indifference to each which service fell to his lot. For the joy of the angels lies only in obedience to God's will, and with equal joy they would lift a Lazarus in his rags to Abraham's bosom—or be a chariot of fire to carry an Elijah home.

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I compare the troubles which we have to undergo in the course of the year—to a great bundle of sticks, far too large for us to lift. But God does not require us to carry the whole at once. He mercifully unties the bundle, and gives us first one stick, which we are to carry today; and then another, which we are to carry tomorrow; and so on. This we might easily manage, if we would only take the burden appointed for us each day. But we choose to increase our troubles by carrying yesterday's stick over again today—and adding tomorrow's burden to our load, before we are required to bear it.

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Many have puzzled themselves about the origin of evil. I am content to observe that there is evil, and that there is a way to escape from it—and with this I begin and end.

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What a mercy that we are only truly known to Him who alone is able to bear with us!

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Faith upholds a Christian under all trials, by assuring him that every painful dispensation is under the direction of his Lord.

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Of all people who engage in controversy, we, who are called Calvinists, are most expressly bound by our own principles to the exercise of gentleness and moderation.

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I am not what I ought to be. Ah! How imperfect and deficient!
I am not what I wish to be. I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good.
I am not what I hope to be. Soon, soon, I shall put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection.
Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be—I can truly say that I am not what I once was—a slave to sin and Satan. And I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, "By the grace of God, I am what I am!"

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If you truly love Him—you will study to please Him.

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When people are right with God, they are apt to be hard on themselves and easy on other people. But when they are not right with God, they are easy on themselves and hard on others.

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Although my memory is fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinnerand Christ is a great Savior.

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Without a feeling sense of our own weakness and insufficiency—we could not duly prize the all-sufficient and compassionate Physician.

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We know not how to properly appreciate any one blessing—until we are deprived of it.

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The whole of our profession may be comprised in looking unto Jesus—to take our eyes off from other objects, especially from ourselves, and to fix them upon Him!

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Oh! 'tis a cheering thought, that He who once bore our sins in His own body on the tree—now reigns exalted high, and does according to His pleasure in the armies of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth. What can you want, and what have you to fear—when the Lord Almighty is your Shepherd, your Savior, and your Friend?

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Were health at all times and in all respects best for those who fear Him—they would not feel a moment's illness!

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He prescribes all our afflictions—in number, weight, and measure, and season, exactly according to what our case requires!

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The main thing is to have a single eye, an upright aim, and a humble spirit before the Lord.

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I trust that your sickness will work for good—because the Lord has sent it. We are sure that He does not afflict His children without a need be. He does all things well.

He weighs the mountains in the scales, and the hills in a balance. He likewise weighs, measures, and proportions our trials to our strength and our malady—with greater accuracy than the most skillful earthly physician can prescribe his medicines.

No trial comes sooner, or falls heavier, or lasts longer—than the necessity of the case requires. He knows our frame, and remembers that we are but dust. He will lay no more upon us than He will enable us to bear.

Like as a father pities his children—so the Lord pities us. His love is perfect, and He will not withhold whatever he sees necessary to promote our best welfare—however painful and displeasing it may be to the flesh. Earthly parents often, through a weak and mistaken tenderness—spare their children to their hurt. But as He supplies His children with food—so they must take His medicines, however distasteful, when He sees they would not be so well without them.

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Beware of SELF! This is the worst enemy we have to deal with!
  Self-will,
  self-wisdom,
  self-righteousness,
  self-seeking,
  self-dependence,
  and self-boasting.
It is a large family—and I cannot count up all the branches! They are all nearly related to Satan—and they are all a sworn enemy to our peace.
If we lie low—then the Lord will raise us up.
But if we will be something—then His arm will surely pull us down.

That monster SELF has as many heads as a Hydra, and as many lives as a cat! It is more than twenty-five years since I hoped it was fast nailed to the Cross! But alas, it is alive—and still mixing with and spoiling everything I do!

(N.B. The Hydra was a serpentine mythological water monster with many heads.
 For every head chopped off—the Hydra would re-grow a couple of new heads.)

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Religion is not to be confined to devotional exercises—but rather consists in doing all that we are called to do, with a single eye to His glory and will, from a grateful sense of His love and mercy to us. This is the chemistry which turns every mundane thing into gold, and stamps a value upon common actions!

When a mother is making or mending the children's clothes, or teaching them, or cleaning the kitchen, or a saucepan—she may be as well employed, as when she is upon her knees or at the Lord's Table.

It is a great mistake to think that all time is lost—which is not spent in bible-reading, or hearing sermons, or prayer.
These are properly called means of grace—and should be attended to in their proper season.
But the fruits of grace—are to appear in our common daily course of conduct.

It would be wrong for a mother to neglect the house of God—and it would be equally wrong to neglect the prudent management of her own house. It is chiefly as a wife and mother of a family, that she can let her light shine to His praise. I would not have her think that she could serve the Lord better in any other station, than in that in which God in His providence has placed her.

A simple desire to please God, to walk by the rule of His Word, and to do all to His glory . . .
  like the fabled magic stone, turns all to gold,
  consecrates the actions of common life, and
  makes everything that belongs to our situation and duty in domestic life, a part of our religion.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do—do all to the glory of God!" 1 Corinthians 10:31

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"The LORD does whatever pleases Him—in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from His storehouses." Psalm 135:6-7

God's sovereignty is but another name for the unlimited exercise of wisdom and goodness and power. Nothing can hinder Him.

Every drop of rain hits its appointed target—and every particle of dust is carried by the wind to its appointed resting place.

If we could but grasp this in the depth of our being, our souls would be liberated to depend fully on God's governance over our lives, and to learn to count trials, all joy!

"Our God is in heaven—He does whatever pleases Him." Psalm 115:3

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

"Looking unto Jesus!" Hebrews 12:2

Look unto the Lord Jesus Christ!

Look unto Him as He hung exposed, wounded, bleeding, dead, and forsaken upon the cross!

Look unto Him again as He now reigns in glory, possessed of all power in Heaven and in earth, with thousands of thousands of saints and angels worshiping Him! And then compare . . .
  your sins—with His blood,
  your needs—with His fullness,
  your unbelief—with His faithfulness,
  your weakness—with His strength,
  your inconstancy—with His everlasting love!
If the Lord opens the eyes of your understanding, you would be astonished at the comparison!

"Looking unto Jesus" is the duty, the privilege, the safety, the unspeakable happiness, of a believer—are all comprised in that one sentence!

It is by looking to Jesus, that the believer is enlightened and strengthened, and grows in grace and sanctification.

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The greatest problem we face as a nation is
our sin; and the only ultimate solution is Christ crucified!

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

Every step along the path of life, is a battle for the Christian to keep the eyes of the heart on Jesus.

If I may speak my own experience, I find that to keep my eye simply upon Christ, as my peace, and my life—is by far the hardest part of my calling.

Hungering and thirsting for Christ, is the central daily Christian discipline.

We depend on Him for hourly supplies of wisdom, strength, and comfort!

To know Jesus, is the shortest description of true grace;
to know Him better, is the surest mark of growth in grace;
to know Him perfectly, is eternal life.

This includes all I can wish for my dear friends—that you may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus.

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Conformity to the world is the bane of many professors in this day! They remain destitute of the life, power, and comfort of religion—so long as they cleave to those things which are incompatible with it.

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I am persuaded a broken and a contrite spirit, a conviction of our vileness and nothingness, connected with a cordial acceptance of Jesus as revealed in the Gospel—is the highest attainment we can reach in this life.

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I am, by grace, kept from such sins as would openly dishonor my calling—but the wickedness of my heart is amazing!

My best service is defective,
my all is defiled,
my heart is deceitful and desperately wicked,
my every power is disordered and depraved—
so that my services and duties, my preaching and my prayers are sufficient to ruin me, if the Lord would enter into judgment.

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

Christ is . . .
  the end of the Law,
  the sum of the Prophets,
  the completion of the promises,
  the scope of the types and ceremonies, and
  the great object of the whole Old Testament dispensation!

"Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Luke 24:44

"You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me!" John 5:39

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Every new day is filled up with new things
—new mercies on the Lord's part, and new ingratitude on mine!

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Sin cannot be hated for itself—until we have seen the malignity of it in Christ's sufferings!

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Assurance is the result of a competent spiritual knowledge of the person and work of Christ as revealed in the Gospel—and a consciousness of dependence on Him and His work alone, for salvation.

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We are never more safe, and never have more reason to expect the Lord's help—than when we are most sensible that we can do nothing without Him.

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing!" John 15:5

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In Jesus, all our guilt is cancelled and blotted and swallowed up, and all our sins are sunk in His precious blood as in a deep sea—so that, even if sought for, they can no more be found!

This love of Christ to sinners is inexpressible, unsearchable, and surpassing knowledge—it is an ocean without either bottom or shore!

Oh, may His precious name be engraved upon our hearts, and sound sweeter than music to our ears—for He has loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and will save to the uttermost in defiance of all our sins, fears, and enemies!

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

Jesus has unsearchable, inexhaustible riches of grace to bestow! The innumerable assembly before the Throne have been all supplied from his fullness—and yet there is enough and to spare for us also, and for all who shall come after us.

We may confidently open our mouths wide
, for He has promised to fill them.

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God made us to be happy. But as He made us for Himself, and gave us a capacity, and a vastness of desire, which only He Himself can satisfy, the very constitution and frame of our nature render happiness impossible to us, unless in a way of dependence upon Him, and obedience to His laws!

Until we are reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus—everything to which we look for satisfaction will surely disappoint us! God formed us originally for Himself, and has therefore given the human mind such a vastness of desire, such a thirst for happiness, as He alone can answer; and therefore, until we seek our rest in him, in vain we seek it elsewhere.

Neither the hurries of business,
nor the allurements of pleasure,
nor the accomplishment of our wishes—
can fill up the mighty void that is felt within!

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Saving faith is the effect of a principle of new life implanted in the soul which was before dead in trespasses and sins.

Saving faith qualifies not only for obeying the Savior's precepts, but chiefly and primarily for receiving and rejoicing in His fullness, and admiring His love, His work, His person, His glory, His advocacy.

Saving faith makes Christ precious, enthrones Him in the heart, presents Him as the most delightful object to our meditations—as our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and strength; our root, head, life, shepherd, and husband.

Oh, if faith was in daily exercise . . .
  how little would the world, and the things of time and sense, seem in our eyes,
  and what a dreadful thing would sin appear—which spilt our Savior's blood!

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The hidden life of a Christian, as it consists in communion with God by Jesus Christ—is a continual dependence on Him for hourly supplies of wisdom, strength, and comfort.

The Christian life flows from hourly communion with Christ, because . . .
  the more you know Him—the better you will trust Him;
  the more you trust Him—the better you will love Him;
  the more you love Him—the better you will serve Him.

Ah, what trifles are capable of shutting Him out of our thoughts—of whom we say that He is the Beloved of our souls, who loved us, and gave Himself for us, and whom we have deliberately chosen as our chief good and portion!

Yet surely if we could, we would set Him always before us—and His love would be the delightful theme of our hearts.

But though we aim at this good, evil is present with us; we find we are renewed but in part.

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The holiness of a Christian seems principally to consist in self-abasement, and in admiring views of Jesus as a complete Savior—these are the main principles from whence every gracious fruit is derived. In proportion as we have these—we shall be humble, meek, patient, weaned from the world, and devoted to God.

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Indeed, my friend, you will not be steadily comfortable until you learn to derive your comfort from a simple apprehension of the person, work, and offices of Christ. He is made unto us of God, not only righteousness—but sanctification also.

One direct appropriating act of faith in Him will strengthen you more than all the earnest endeavors you speak of. Evidences, as you call them, are of use in their place. But the best evidence of faith, is the shutting our eyes equally upon our defects and our graces, and looking directly to Jesus!

Wonderful are the effects when a crucified, glorious Savior is presented by the power of the Spirit, in the light of the Word, to the eye of faith. This sight . . .
  destroys the love of sin,
  heals the wounds of guilt,
  softens the hard heart,
  fills the soul with peace, life, and joy; and
  makes obedience practicable, desirable, and pleasant.

If we could see this more, we would look less at other things. But, alas! unbelief places a veil before our sight, and worldly-mindedness draws our eyes another way.

A desire to be something that we are not, or to possess something that we have not, or to do something that we cannot—some vain hope, or vain fear, or vain delight, comes in like a black cloud, and hides our Beloved from our eyes. This shows what poor creatures we are!

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"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is! Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." 1 John 3:2-3

To see Him as He is, and to be like Him! This is worth dying for—and worth living for!

In ourselves, we are all darkness, confusion, and misery. But in Him, there is a sufficiency of wisdom, grace, and peace suited to all our needs. May we ever behold His glory in the looking-glass of the Gospel, until we are changed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit.

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A consistent Christian, whose integrity, humility, and philanthropy, mark his character and adorn his profession—will in time command respect.

But his attachment to the unfashionable truths of the Gospel, and his separation from the maxims and pursuits of the world—will render him weak and singular and odd in their eyes.

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you!" John 15:18-19

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"But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life!" 1 Timothy 1:16

You would have liked to have been with me last Wednesday. I preached at the prison in Bridewell. The bulk of my congregation were burglars, highway robbers, pickpockets, and poor unhappy prostitutes, such as infest the streets of this city, sunk in sin, and lost to shame. I had a hundred or more of these criminal before me.

I preached from 1 Timothy 1:15, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst!" and began with telling them my own story. This gained their attention more than I expected. I spoke to them nearly an hour and a half. I shed many tears myself, and saw some of them shed tears likewise.

Ah! Had you seen their present condition, and could you hear the history of some of them, it would make you sing, "O to grace, how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be!"

By nature, they were no worse than the most upright and moral people; and there was doubtless a time when many of them little thought what they would live to do and suffer.

I might have been, like them, in chains—and one of them have come to preach to me—had the Lord so pleased! In my days of folly and vanity, I was a chief sinner indeed—a vile blasphemer, and profligate to an extreme! But it has pleased Him to set me forth as a pattern of His mercy and patience to other chief sinners, that none may despair when they see me!

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Ah! how seldom am I in my study—what perhaps I appear to others to be, when in the pulpit.

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If I had a due sense of what is implied in the words sin and grace, of what passed at Golgotha, and of the states in the unseen world—then surely I could not be the cold dull creature I now am!

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"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief!" 1 Timothy 1:15

It is probable that all who are convinced and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, having a clearer knowledge of the nature, number, and aggravation of their own sins, than they can possibly have of those of any other person—account themselves among the chief of sinners, though many of them may have been preserved from gross enormities.

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My heart is like a highway—or like a city without walls or gates! Nothing so false, so frivolous, so absurd, so foolish, or so horrid—but it can obtain access, and that at any time, or in any place!

Neither the study, the pulpit, nor even the Lord's table, exempt me from their intrusion!

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The more sick I am—the more need I have to apply to such a great, compassionate, infallible physician. I cannot heal myself, and why should I wish I could, when He has undertaken my case.

It is my part to commit myself to Him as the Physician of sin-sick souls—and not to prescribe to Him how He shall treat me. To begin, carry on, and perfect the cure—is His part.

The Lord is an infallible physician—therefore I shall not suffer more than He sees needful, nor suffer in vain.

Were health at all times and in all respects best for those who fear Him
—then they would not feel a moment's illness! But the promise of strength according to the day, and that all things shall work together for good—may make us easy.

He prescribes all our afflictions, in number, weight, and measure, and season—exactly according to what our case requires!

Physician of my sin-sick soul,
To you I bring my case;
My raging malady control,
And heal me by Your grace!

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

In Jesus, we find every provision for every situation in the Christian's life. He is . . .
  a balm for every grief,
  an amends for every loss,
  a motive for every duty,
  a restraint from every evil,
  a pattern for every thing which he is called to do or suffer, and
  a principle sufficient to constitute the actions of every day, even in common life, acts of religion!

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As believers, we strive . . .
  to have a real conviction of our sin and unworthiness;
  to know that Jesus is the all-sufficient Savior, and that there is no other;
  to set Him before us as our Shepherd, Advocate, and Master;
  to place our hope upon Him alone;
  to live unto Him who lived and died for us;
  to wait in His appointed means for the consolations of His Spirit;
  to walk in His steps,
  to copy His character; and
  to be daily longing for the end of our warfare, that we may see Him as He is!

But, though the lessons are brief, it is a great thing to attain any good measure of proficiency in them.
Yes, the more we advance—the more we shall be sensible how far we fall short of their full import!

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who 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 2:11-14

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Man still retains some marks of his pristine greatness.
He is majestic—though in ruins.
He is alive as to the concerns of this world, and his attempts and success give indications of his native dignity.
The sciences and the fine arts exhibit proofs of his genius and ability.
He undertakes to measure the earth, to weigh the air, and almost to number and marshal the stars.
What discoveries have been made in geometry, natural history, and chemistry!
What powers are displayed in architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, and music!

But, with respect to the concerns of his immortal soul, and the great realities of the unseen world—man, by nature, is as dead as a stone! The dead body of Lazarus was not more incapable of performing the functions of common life—than we, by nature, are of performing one spiritual act, or even of feeling one spiritual desire; until He, who, by his commanding word, raised Lazarus from the grave—is pleased, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to raise us from the death of sin unto a new life of righteousness.

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest!" Ephesians 2:1-3

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Men as well as children, may be pleased with trifles. However one object may drive out another—it is but an exchange of trifles.

A believing view of the land that is far off, where the King reigns in His beauty—will wean our affections from the present evil world!

Nothing can turn out the love of the world, but the love of God shed abroad in the heart. Wherever the love of God is so shed abroad in the heart as to become the ruling principle—there the world loses its hold. The light of His glory, as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ—casts shame and disgrace on all worldly glory!

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"And He said to them: Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness—for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15

I consider covetousness as the most generally prevailing and ensnaring sin, by which professors of the gospel, in our commercial city, are hindered in their spiritual progress!

A disposition deeply rooted in our fallen nature, strengthened by the habits of business, the immense circulation of cash, the power of custom, and the fascinating charm of wealth—is not easily counteracted!

"For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." Ephesians 5:5

"Covetousness, which is idolatry" Colossians 3:5

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Jesus said: My kingdom is not of this world!" John 18:36

Our Lord's kingdom is not of this world; and most of his people may do their country much more essential service by pleading for it in prayer, than by finding fault with things which they have no power to alter!

A nation's safety lies more in the prayers of its people—than in the fleets of its navy!

From poison and politics, good Lord deliver me! I think a political spirit as hurtful to the life of God in the soul—as poison is to the bodily frame!

It is well both for ministers and private Christians to have as little to do with politics as possible.

To one such pastor, Newton said in a letter:

My dear Sir,
My prayer to God for you is, that God may induce you to employ the talents which He has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil—and to engage those who love and fear Him, instead of losing time in political speculation, for which very few of them are competent—to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations; and to stand in the breach by prayer—that, if it may be, wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged. This is the true patriotism—the best, if not the only way, in which Christians in private life may serve their country!

It is my part to mourn over sin, and the misery which sin causes; to be humbled for my own sins especially; to pray for peace, and to preach the gospel. Other things I leave to those who have more leisure and ability—and I leave the whole to Him who does all things well!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

There are abominations which, like nests of vipers, lie so quietly within our hearts, that we hardly suspect they are there—until the rod of affliction arouses them. Then they hiss and show their venom!

This discovery is indeed very distressing. Yet, until it is made, we are prone to think ourselves much less vile than we really are—and cannot so heartily abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes.

It was only after severe afflictions that Job could say, "Behold, I am vile!" Job 40:4

"Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes!" Job 42:6

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Those Christians who have comfortable firesides, and a competence for this world—often suffer by sickness, either in their own persons, or in the persons of those they love. But all of these crosses are mercies—if the Lord works by them to prevent us from cleaving to the world, from backsliding in heart or life, and to keep us nearer to Himself.

Let us trust our Physician, and He will surely do us good. And let us thank Him for all His prescriptions—for without them, our soul-sickness would quickly grow upon us!

Indeed, I have reason to praise him for my trials—for, most probably, I would have been ruined without them!

Afflictions are either small daily medicines which our Physician and best Friend sees that our spiritual maladies require—or they are furnaces to prove and purify our graces.

When He darkens our sky, and brings a cloud over us—it is only a background on which He designs to paint His covenant rainbow. The rainbow is a beautiful and wonderful appearance—but it is never seen in fair weather.

"Before I was afflicted I went astray—but now I obey Your Word!" Psalm 119:67

"It was good for me to be afflicted—so that I might learn Your decrees." Psalm 119:71

"I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness You have afflicted me." Psalm 119:75

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Experience testifies, that a long course of ease and prosperity, without painful changes—has an unhappy tendency to make us cold and formal in our secret worship!

Trials give new life to prayer,
Trials lay us at his feet,
Lay us low and keep us there!

It is good for us, if we have suffered enough to make us desire a better country!

Without trials, we are filled with self-will and self-dependence—and our affections cleave to the dust. Afflictions shows us what we are, what the world is—and make us look upward and long for our everlasting rest.

A considerable part of our trials are mercifully appointed to wean us from worldliness; and it is gradually weakened by the Lord's showing us at one time the vanity of the creature—and at another time, His own excellence and all-sufficiency.

We live on an enchanted ground, are surrounded with snares, and if not quickened by trials—we are very prone to sink into formality or carelessness. It is a shame it should be so, but so it is, that a long course of prosperity always makes us spiritually drowsy. With such hearts as we have, and in such a world as we live in—much discipline is needful to keep us from sleeping upon the enchanted ground!

Trials are medicines measured out with care and prescribed by our wise and gracious Physician. He proportions the frequency and the weight of each dose—exactly to what our case requires.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Trials are medicinal. They are designed by God to correct, or to restrain, or to cure—the maladies of our souls.

Though He puts forth His hand, and seems to threaten our dearest comforts—yet when we remember that it is His hand, when we consider that it is His design, His love, His wisdom, and His power—we cannot refuse to trust Him!

Every affliction in the life of the believer—is designed by God and sovereignly implemented by Him.

"Before I was afflicted I went astray—but now I obey Your Word!" Psalm 119:67

"It was good for me to be afflicted—so that I might learn Your decrees." Psalm 119:71

"I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness You have afflicted me." Psalm 119:75

There is no sting in your rod—nor wrath in your cup!
Christ's suffering was punitive—the Christian's suffering is restorative.
The cup Christ drank, was filled with Divine wrath—the cup of suffering which God calls His children to drink, is only medicinal to promote their chief good.

Like heavy weights on a grandfather clock—trials are necessary for the Christian life to operate properly.
God will allow nothing to grieve us—but what He intends to employ as means for our greater advantage.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Everything is necessary, which God sends.

Nothing is necessary, which God withholds.

How happy are those . . .
  who can resign all to Him,
  who see His hand in every dispensation, and
  who believe that He chooses better for them, than they possibly could for themselves!

Faithful are the wounds of that Friend who was Himself wounded and slain for us, and who now reigns over all!

Christ is sovereign over all of our trials. He is the Supreme Disposer of all that concerns us, that He numbers the very hairs of our heads, appoints every trial we meet with in number, weight, and measure, and will allow nothing to befall us, but what shall contribute to our good. This view of trials is a medicine suited to the disease, and powerfully reconciles us unto every cross.

What a comfort to be assured that our afflictions do not happen to us at random, but are all under the direction of infinite wisdom and love, and all engaged to work together for good to them that love the Lord!

"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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory!" 2 Corinthians 3:18

There is no teacher like Jesus, who by His Holy Spirit reveals Himself in His Word to the understanding and affections of His children. When we behold His glory in the Gospel looking-glass—we are changed into the same image. Then our hearts melt, our eyes flow, and our stammering tongues are unloosed!

In ourselves we are all darkness, confusion, and misery—but in Him there is a sufficiency of wisdom, grace, and peace suited to all our needs. May we ever behold His glory in the looking-glass of the Gospel, until we are changed into the same image from glory to glory.

It is thus by looking to Jesus, that the believer is enlightened and strengthened, and grows in grace and sanctification. The Word of God is a looking-glass in which the goodness and beauty of the Lord Jesus are manifested to the eye of faith by the light of the Holy Spirit. In this wonderful looking-glass, the whole object is not seen at once—but every view we take, strengthens the sight to discover something not previously perceived. The prospect is not only affecting, but transforming! By beholding, we are gradually formed into the resemblance of Him whom we see, admire, and love.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If obedience is the thing in question—then looking unto Jesus is the object that melts the soul into love and gratitude—and those who greatly love, and are greatly obliged—find obedience easy.

When Jesus is upon our thoughts, either in His humbled—or His exalted state; either as bleeding on the cross—or as worshiped by all the host of Heaven—then we can ask the apostle's question with a becoming disdain, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"

God forbid! What! Shall I sin against my Lord, my Love, my Friend—who once died for my sins, and now lives and reigns on my behalf; who supports, and leads, and guides, and feeds me every day?

God forbid! No, rather I would wish for a thousand hands and eyes, and feet, and tongues, for ten thousand lives—that I might devote them all to His service!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water!" Jeremiah 2:13

Alas! the deceitfulness of our hearts in a time of prosperity, exposes us to the greatest of evils—to wander from the fountain of living waters, and to sit down by broken cisterns!

"Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread." Proverbs 30:8

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh, how happy is it to know the Lord, the Fountain of living waters!

Every other acquisition without Him will prove to be a broken cistern.

Cisterns must be broken—but the Fountain of living waters is always full and always flowing!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Depend upon it—if you walk closely with God forty years, at the end of that time you will have a much lower opinion of yourself than you have now!

He will understand something of . . .
  Abraham's feeling, when he says, "I am dust and ashes!"
  Jacob's feeling, when he says, "I am unworthy of the least of all Your mercies!"
  Job's feeling, when he says, "Behold! I am vile!"
  Paul's feeling, when he says, "I am the chief of sinners!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The evil principle of SELF lies deep, and spreads wide into many branches—self-will, self-wisdom, self-dependence, self-seeking, self-righteousness. One or other of these abominations are continually sprouting up from the poisonous root within, and defiling our hearts.

The heavenly Gardener, whose love is engaged to make us fruitful, and whose wisdom chooses the best means—sees when and how far it is necessary to use the pruning-knife, to cut off the noxious growth, and prevent the increase of these weeds—that the plants of His grace may flourish in our souls.

This is the reason why we are so often afflicted and disappointed both in temporals and spirituals. A tendency to rest in creature comforts, often deprives us of what we might otherwise enjoy. And a tendency to rest our souls on something received, rather than on the unsearchable riches and fullness of Christ—brings us into many a dark distressing frame of mind, which might be avoided if we knew how to live by faith in the Son of God.

O that from a heart-felt knowledge of who Jesus is, and what He has done, we could at all times, and in all circumstances, say with the apostle, "I have all and abound—I have learned to be content; yes, But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Was it as easy to do as to say, I would be happy—for the Lord has shown me how true peace is to be possessed—even by . . .
  a simple reliance on His all-sufficiency and love,
  living upon His free grace, and sure mediation, and
  receiving strength and grace continually from Him, suited to the occasions of every hour.

I say, to talk of this is easy, but I find the experience of it is not so easily maintained.

With respect to this life of faith, I may say as Paul in another place, I delight in it after the inner man—but when I would enjoy this good, evil is often present with me—I have not yet attained.

But blessed be God I am pressing after it—and I hope, through grace, that He is, according to His promise, drawing me nearer to Himself.

I hope I do gain a more abiding sense of my own utter vileness, depravity, and helplessness—and that in consequence of this, the name of Jesus is sweeter to my soul, as I find I cannot without Him take a single step, nor enjoy one glimpse of comfort.

My heart's desire is to love Him more and more—and to live still more entirely upon Him, that He may be, as He well deserves, MY ALL IN ALL!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The forerunners of death are indeed often painful and formidable. But death itself—what is it to a believer, but to shut our eyes upon pain, grief, and temptation—and to open them the next moment in the presence of God and the Lamb!

To live is Christ, but to die is gain—because in death we commune with Him face-to-face, free from all the sinful limitations that now diminish His beauty in our lives!

O the excellency of the knowledge of Christ! It will be growing upon us through time—yes, I believe through eternity!

The redeemed shall unite in one song of endless praise to the Lamb who was slain!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The views I have received of the doctrines of grace are essential to my peace—I could not live comfortably a day, or an hour, without them.
I am an avowed Calvinist. The points which are usually comprised in that term, seem to me so consonant to scripture, reason, (when enlightened,) and experience—that I have not the shadow of a doubt about them.

If I thought a person feared sin, loved the word of God, and was seeking after Jesus, I would not walk the length of my study to proselyte him to the Calvinistic doctrines. Not because I think them mere opinions, or of little importance to a believer—I think the contrary; but because I believe these doctrines will do no one any good until he is taught them by God.

I believe a too hasty assent to Calvinistic principles, before a person is duly acquainted with the plague of his own heart, is one principal cause of that lightness of profession which so lamentably abounds in this day, a chief reason why many professors are rash, heady, high-minded, contentious about words, and sadly remiss as to the means of divine appointment.

For this reason, I suppose, though I never preach a sermon in which the tincture of Calvinism may not be easily discerned by a judicious hearer, yet I very seldom insist expressly upon those points, unless they fairly and necessarily lie in my way.

Sovereign grace has power alone
To subdue a heart of stone;
And the moment grace is felt,
Then the hardest heart will melt!

His grace can overcome the most obstinate habits.

The mercy of God is infinite, and the power of His grace is invincible!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need!" Psalm 23:1

I am prone to puzzle myself about twenty things, which are equally out of my power, and equally unnecessary—if the Lord is my Shepherd.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The doctrine of the cross is the sun in the system of truth. It is seen by its own light, and throws light upon every other subject.

The cross will soften hearts that withstand threatenings.

The cross opens a door of hope to the vilest and most despairing sinners.

The cross alone enables the ungodly to break off from the love of his sins, and overcome the world.

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians 6:14

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Look at all that appears good and pleasant in this world. Could you call it all your own, it would last but a little while, and when you go into the eternal world, the remembrance of what you had in this, will be but like remembering you once had a cake, but it is gone, quite eaten up!

But it is not so, my dear child, with respect to that feast which Jesus prepares for poor sinners. In the other world, when earthly pleasures will be quite ended, those who love Him shall have pleasure without interruption and without end—rivers of pleasure at His right hand for evermore!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Welcome to the lifelong battle for a more simple dependence upon Jesus as my all in all; and
to the lifelong struggle to account everything loss and dross which dares to stand in competition with Him;,
and the lifelong ambition . . .
  to grow in grace, and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior;
  to be more humble in our own eyes,
  to be more weaned from self,
  to be more fixed on Him as our all in all—
until at last we shall meet before His glorious throne!

Keeping the eyes of our mind focused on the glory of Christ is the sweet battle of the devotion, and the hardest part of the Christian life.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh, my dear friends, are we not truly debtors for innumerable mercies and blessings—but especially for the Gospel, without which we could not have known the true value or right enjoyment of anything else? But the knowledge of a Savior and a good hope of our acceptance in Him, like the light of the sun, gilds every object.

We are not only preserved and provided for in common with multitudes, but we know the hand that guards and feeds us. We can receive every instance of His kindness in our temporal concerns, as a token and pledge of His love, and of the better things prepared for us within the veil. We know that all we have, and all that we hope for, is not simply given to us. He shed His blood to redeem us from guilt and bondage; without this we could have had neither title nor capacity for happiness. How would it heighten our relish for all our comforts and prospects, if we could always think of the procuring price!

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord can design nothing short of His own glory—nor should we.

The constraining love of Christ has a direct and marvelous tendency, in proportion to the measure of faith—to mortify the corrupt principle SELF, which for a season is the grand spring of our conduct, and by which we are too much biased after we know the Lord. But as grace prevails—SELF is renounced. We feel that we are not our own, that we are bought with a price; and that it is our duty, our honor, and our happiness, to be the servants of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To devote soul and body, every talent, power, and faculty—to the service of his cause and will;
to let our light shine (in our several situations) to the praise of His grace;
to place our highest joy in the contemplation of His adorable perfections;
to rejoice even in tribulations and distresses, in reproaches and infirmities—if thereby Christ may be magnified in us;
to be content, yes glad, to be nothing—that He may be all in all;
to obey Him, in opposition to the threats or solicitations of men;
to trust Him, though all outward appearances seem against us;
to rejoice in Him, though we should (as will sooner or later be the case) have nothing else to rejoice in;
to live above the world, and to have our conversation in Heaven;
to be like the angels, finding our own pleasure in performing His—
this is the prize, the mark of our high calling, to which we are encouraged with a holy ambition continually to aspire.

It is true, we shall still fall short. We shall find that, when we would do good, evil will be present with us. But the attempt is glorious, and shall not be wholly in vain. He who gives us thus to will, will enable us to perform with growing success, and teach us to profit—even by our mistakes and imperfections.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I labor under a complication of disorders—summed up in one word, sin!

Every day draws forth some new corruption which before was little observed, or at least reveals it in a stronger light than before. Thus by degrees, I am weaned from leaning to any supposed wisdom, power, or goodness in myself. I feel the truth of our Lord's words, "without Me you can do nothing!" John 15:5

 

Whoever is truly humbled by his indwelling sin, will not be easily angry, and will not be bullish and rash. He will be compassionate and tender to the infirmities of his fellow-sinners—knowing that, if there is a difference between him and others—it is grace that has made it, and that he has the seeds of every evil in his own heart.

Under all trials and afflictions, he will look to the hand of the Lord, and lay his mouth in the dust, acknowledging that he suffers much less than his iniquities have deserved. These are some of the advantages and good fruits which the Lord enables us to obtain from that bitter root, indwelling sin.

Humbled I ought to be, to find I am so totally depraved But I am not discouraged, since Jesus is appointed by God, to be my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. And since I find that, in the midst of all this darkness and deadness, He keeps alive the principle of grace which He has implanted in my heart.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin which dwells in me." Romans 7:20

If you will look for a holiness that shall leave no room for the workings of corruption and temptation—then you look for what God has nowhere promised, and for what is utterly inconsistent with our present sinful state.

Indwelling sin
will be universally and always felt during our present state. It insinuates into, and mixes with all our thoughts, and all our actions. It is inseparable from us, as the shadow from our bodies when the sun shines upon us.

The holiness of a sinner does not consist in a deliverance from indwelling sin—but in being sensible of it, striving against it, and being humbled under it, and taking occasion from thence to admire our Savior, and rejoice in Him as our complete righteousness and sanctification!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord—are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18

By beholding Jesus in the looking-glass of His Word
—we are gradually formed into the resemblance of Him whom we see, admire, and love.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.

Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life compared to ours—is as the life of a gnat.

But it is immortals whom we interact with, joke with, and work with.

They are destined either to immortal horrors—or to everlasting splendors!

"They will go away to eternal punishment—but the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:46

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Jesus is mine!

In Him, I have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption!
In Him, I have a saving interest in all the promises and in all the perfections of God.

He will . . .
  guide me by His counsel,
  support me by His power,
  comfort me with His presence, while I am here.
And afterwards, when flesh and heart fail—He will receive me to His glory!

"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne!" Revelation 3:21

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The mature Christian always lives in absolute dependence on God. His ever-present mindfulness of his weakness, is his strength. In a sense he is much stronger, because he has a more feeling and constant sense of his own weakness.

His heart has deceived him so often, that he is now in a good measure weaned from trusting to it. Therefore he does not meet with so many disappointments. And having found again and again the vanity of all other helps, he is now taught to go to the Lord at once for grace to help in every time of need. Thus he is strong, not in himself—but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The life of a Christian is a life of faith in the Son of God. He, undoubtedly, is the best Christian who most exemplifies in his own life and practice, what is recorded in the Gospel of the temper, converse, and actions of the holy, the harmless, and undefiled Jesus—and depends the most absolutely upon Him, for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

"The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God—who loved me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

   ~  ~  ~  ~

In vain we set up reasonings, and arguments, and resolutions, to beat down our corruptions, and to silence our fears—but a believing view of Jesus does the business.

Opposing sin and temptation with mere resolutions to holiness, proves to be powerless. Only a sight of Christ crucified is powerful enough to wean us from the world!

The constraining love of Christ is alone able to purify the heart from selfish and sinful principles, and to overcome the world with all its allurements and threatenings!

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians 6:14

   ~  ~  ~  ~

May you have such increasing knowledge of Christ's person, character, and offices—that beholding His glory in the Gospel looking-glass, you may be changed into His image, drink into His Spirit, and be more conformable to Him.

The highest desire I can form for myself, or my friends—is that He may live in us, we may live unto Him, and for Him, and shine as lights in a dark world.

To view Him by faith, as living, dying, rising, reigning, interceding, and governing for us—will furnish us with such views, prospects, motives, and encouragements, as will enable us . . .
  to endure any cross,
  to overcome all opposition,
  to withstand temptation, and
  to run in the way of His commandments with an enlarged heart!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom—but like an oak, which increases slowly indeed but surely. Many suns, showers, and frosts, pass upon it—before it comes to perfection.

In winter, when it seems dead—it is gathering strength at the root.

Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means, and endeavor to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus—and all shall be well.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

In what they say of or to others, the tongues of believers should be bridled by a heart-felt regard to truth, love, and purity.

It is grievous to see how nearly and readily some professors of religion will venture upon the borders of a lie; either . . .
  to defend their own conduct,
  to avoid some inconvenience,
  to procure a supposed advantage,
  or sometimes merely to embellish a story!

"Therefore each of you must put off falsehood—and speak truthfully to his neighbor." Ephesians 4:25

"Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices." Colossians 3:9

"Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." Revelation 22:15

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Be careful that you do not degenerate into a mere hearer, so as to place the chief stress of your profession upon running hither and thither after preachers.

There are many who are always upon the wing. Without a due regard to what is incumbent upon them in the shop, in the family, or in the closet—they seem to think they were sent into the world only to hear sermons, and to hear as many in a day as they possibly can.

Such people may be fitly compared to Pharaoh's lean cows in Genesis 41. They devour a great deal—but, for lack of a proper digestion, they do not flourish. Their souls are lean, they have little solid comfort, and their profession abounds more in leaves than in fruit.

If the twelve Apostles were again upon earth, and you could hear them all every week; yet, if you were not attentive to the duties of the closet; if you did not allow yourself time for reading, meditation, and prayer; and if you did not likewise conscientiously attend to the concerns of your particular calling, and the discharge of your duties in family life—I would be more ready to blame your indiscretion, than to admire your zeal.

Everything is beautiful in its season, and if one duty frequently jostles out another—it is a sign either of a weak judgment, or of a wrong turn of mind. No public ordinances can make amends for the neglect of secret prayer; nor will the most diligent attendance upon them justify us in the neglect of those duties, which, by the command and appointment of God, we owe to society.

Such unsettled hearers seldom thrive. They usually . . .
  grow wise in their own conceits,
  have their heads filled with empty notions,
  acquire a dry, critical, and censorious spirit, and
  are more intent upon disputing who is the best preacher, than upon obtaining benefit to themselves from what they hear.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me!" Matthew 28:18

O what a mercy to see all power in Heaven and earth exercised by Him who was nailed to the cross for sinners!

He who loved you and died for your sins, is the Lord of glory! All power in Heaven and in earth is committed unto Him. The Lord reigns—let the earth be ever so convulsed. All creatures are instruments of His will. The wrath of man, so far as it is permitted to act—shall praise Him, and shall be made subservient to the accomplishment of His great designs.

"Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!" Revelation 19:6

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The innumerable comforts and mercies with which He enriches even our darker days, are sufficient proofs that He does not willingly grieve us. But when He sees a need-be for chastisement, He will not withhold it because He loves us. On the contrary, that is the very reason why He afflicts.

He will put His silver into the fire to purify it—but He sits by the furnace as a Refiner, to direct the process, and to secure the end He has in view—that we may neither suffer too much, nor suffer in vain!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Sooner shall the most tender mother sit insensible and inattentive to the cries and needs of her darling infant—than the Lord Jesus be an unconcerned spectator of His suffering children.

No, with the eye, and the ear, and the heart of an affectionate mother—He attends to their sorrows. He counts their sighs, and puts their tears into His bottle.

And when our spirits are overwhelmed within us—He knows our path, and adjusts the time, the measure of our trials, and everything that is necessary for our present support and seasonable deliverance, with the same unerring wisdom and accuracy as He weighed the mountains in scales and hills in a balance, and meted out the heavens with a span!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Christ who was crushed in agonizing pain for sinners—is the same Christ who governs and rules over every trial, measuring every sting with a love which can give no unnecessary pain to those for whom He died upon the cross!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I sometimes think that the prayers of believers afford a stronger proof of a depraved nature, than even the profaneness of those who despise the Lord.

How strange is it, that when I have the fullest convictions that prayer is not only my duty—not only necessary as the appointed means of receiving those supplies without which I can do nothing, but likewise the greatest honor and privilege to which I can be admitted in the present life—I should still find myself so unwilling to engage in it.

However, I think it is not prayer itself that I am weary of—but such prayers as mine. How can it be accounted prayer—when the heart is so little affected—when it is polluted with such a mixture of vile and vain imaginations—when I hardly know what I say myself—but I feel my mind collected one minute, and the next, my thoughts are gone to the ends of the earth.

If the thoughts which are passing through my heart in prayer were written down—the whole taken together would be such an absurd and incoherent jumble—such a medley of inconsistency, that it might pass for the ravings of a lunatic!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

For if I am redeemed from eternal misery by the death of Jesus; and if He is now preparing a mansion for me near Himself, that I may drink of the rivers of pleasure at His right hand for evermore—then the question is not (at least ought not to be), "How may I pass through life with the least inconvenience?"

Rather it should be: "How may my little span of life be made most subservient to the praise and glory of Him who loved me, and gave Himself for me?"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

There are silver books—and a very few golden books. But I have one book worth more than all, called the Bible—and that is a book of bank-notes!

A mixture of human infirmity is inseparable from the best human composition; but in the fountain, the truth is unmixed.

The value of the Bible is incalculable and inexhaustible.

Alas, how much time have I lost and wasted—which, had I been wise, I should have devoted to reading and studying the Bible! But my evil heart obstructs the dictates of my judgment, I often feel a reluctance to read this book of books—and a disposition to hew out broken cisterns which afford me no water, while the fountain of living waters are close within my reach!

Books and letters written in a proper spirit, may, if the Lord is pleased to smile upon them—have their use. But an awakened mind that thirsts after the Savior, and seeks wisdom by reading and praying over the Scripture—has little occasion for a library of human writings.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

God guides and directs His people, by affording them, in answer to prayer—the light of His Holy Spirit, which enables them to understand and to love the Scriptures!

The Word of God dwells richly in them, is a preservative from error, a light to their feet, and a spring of strength and consolation. By treasuring up the doctrines, precepts, promises, examples, and exhortations of Scripture, in their minds, and daily comparing themselves with the rule by which they walk—they grow into an habitual frame of spiritual wisdom, and acquire a gracious taste, which enables them to judge of right and wrong with a degree of readiness and certainty, as a musical ear judges of sounds.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

When we can fix our thoughts upon Jesus, as laying aside all His honors—and submitting, for our sakes, to drink off the bitter cup of the wrath of God to the very dregs; and when we further consider, that He who thus suffered in our nature, who knows and sympathizes with all our weakness—is now the Supreme Disposer of all that concerns us, that He numbers the very hairs of our heads, appoints every trial we meet with in number, weight, and measure, and will allow nothing to befall us but what shall contribute to our good—this view, I say, is a medicine suited to the disease, and powerfully reconciles us unto every cross.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"If you love Me, you will obey My commandments." John 14:15

"If anyone loves Me, he will obey My word." John 14:23

"He who does not love Me does not obey My words." John 14:24

You have good reason, madam, to suppose, that the love of the best Christian to an unseen Savior is far short of what it ought to be. If your heart is like mine, and you examine your love to Christ by the warmth and frequency of your emotions towards Him—then you will often be in a sad suspense whether or not you love Him at all.

The best mark to judge, and which He has given us for that purpose, is to inquire if His Word and will have a prevailing, governing influence upon our lives and temper. If we love Him—we do endeavor to keep His commandments. And if we have a desire to please Him—we undoubtedly love Him. Obedience is the best test.

I doubt not but the Lord whom you love, and on whom you depend, will lead you in a sure way, and establish and strengthen and settle you in His love and grace.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake." Psalm 23:1-3

The Lord is our Shepherd. The sheep can do nothing for themselves—the Shepherd must guide, guard, feed, heal, recover.

It is well for us that our Shepherd is the Lord Almighty. If His power, care, compassion, fullness, were not infinite—the poor sheep would be worried, starved and forsaken! But we have a Shepherd full of care, full of kindness, full of power, who has said: "I will search for My lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak." Ezekiel 34:16

"My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:27-28

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A little saving grace,
a spark of true love to God,
a grain of living faith, though as small as a mustard-seed
—is worth a thousand worlds!

One draught of the water of life gives a saving interest in, and pledge of—the whole fountain!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We may well mourn that our love to the Lord is so faint and wavering.
But oh, what a cause of joy to know that His love to us is infinite and unchangeable!

Our attainment in sanctification is weak and our progress slow.
But our justification is perfect, and our hope is sure!

"We love Him—because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
The love I bear to Him is but a faint and feeble spark—but it is an emanation from Himself.
He kindled it, and He keeps it alive. And because it is His work—many waters shall not quench it!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour!" 1 Peter 5:8

The devil knows how to aggravate sin, to strengthen unbelief, to raise objections against the truth of the gospel, or to work upon the imagination, and to fill us with dark, uncomfortable, wild, or wicked thoughts.

But he is a conquered and a chained enemy! Jesus has conquered him. He has broken his power, and taken away his dominion, so far as concerns those who flee for refuge to the hope of the gospel. And Jesus holds him on a chain, and sets limits to his rage and malice, beyond which he cannot pass!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Beware of that worst of evils, spiritual pride! Pray earnestly for a deep sense of your own insufficiency.
Could I truly know myself to be nothing—I would then cordially rejoice that Jesus is all in all.

Through grace, I can say, that, as I never saw more of my own vileness—so I never saw Jesus more precious and desirable, or was more clearly sensible of the vanity of every thing without Him, than I have of late.

As Jesus rises more glorious in the eye of faith—self is in the same degree depressed and renounced!

When we certainly see that there is no safety or stability but in Him—we as certainly feel that we expect them from Him, and from Him alone.

At the name of Jesus, our idol of self must fall like Dagon!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Whatever it is that makes us think that we are comparatively wise, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party—is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit!

Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines—as well as upon works! A man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature, and the riches of free grace.

Yes, I would add, the best of men are not wholly free from this leaven! All are too apt to be pleased with such arguments as hold up our adversaries to ridicule, and by consequence flatter our own superior judgments.

Controversies, for the most part, are so managed as to indulge rather than to repress this wrong disposition. Therefore, generally speaking, they are productive of little good. They provoke those whom they should convince—and puff up those whom they should edify!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Our sins are many—but His mercies are more.

Our sins are great—but His righteousness is greater!

Though our sins have been deep-dyed, like scarlet and crimson, enormous as mountains, and countless as the sands—the sum total is, but, Sin has abounded!

"But where sin has abounded, grace has much more abounded." Romans 5:20

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Jesus is always near, about our path by day, and our bed by night. He is nearer than the light by which we see, or the air we breathe. He is nearer than we are to ourselves—so that not a thought, a sigh, or a tear, escapes His notice!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

Those who would always rejoice, must derive their joy from a source which is invariably the same—in other words, from Jesus.

Oh, that name! What a person, what an office, what a love, what a life, what a death—does it recall to our minds!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"For I decided to know nothing among you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified!" 1 Corinthians 2:2

A minister may be diligent in his work, regular in his family, resident with his people and attentive to them, and in many respects exemplary in his outward conduct—and yet not preach Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Jesus is . . .
  the complete and all-sufficient Savior,
  the Fountain of life and comfort,
  and the Sun of Righteousness.

His beams, wherever they reach—bring healing, strength, peace, and joy to the soul!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"None but Jesus!" is my motto. All wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and happiness, which does not spring from and center in Him—my soul desires to renounce!

Take that for your motto; wear it in your heart; keep it in your eye; have it often in your mouth!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I approach the throne of grace encumbered with a thousand distractions of thought, each of which seems to engage more of my attention than the business I have in hand.

 

I am nothing—He is all. This is foolishness to the world; but faith sees a glory in it. This way is best for our safety, and most for His honor. And the more simply we can reduce all our efforts to this one point, "Looking unto Jesus"—the more peace, fervor, and liveliness we shall find in our hearts, and the more success we shall feel in striving against sin in all its branches.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I wish we may learn from all our changes, to be sober and watchful; not to rest in grace received, in experience or comforts—but still to be pressing forward, and never think ourselves either safe or happy, but when we are beholding the glory of Christ by the light of faith in the looking-glass of the Gospel.

To view Him as God manifest in the flesh, as all in all in Himself, and all in all for us—this is cheering, this is strengthening. This makes hard things easy, and bitter things sweet.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We must so yield ourselves to Jesus, as to place our happiness in His favor, and to make His glory and will the ultimate scope of all our actions. He well deserves this from us.

Jesus is the all-sufficient good. He alone is able to satisfy the vast capacity He has given us; for He formed us for Himself. Those who have tasted that He is gracious, know that His loving-kindness is better than life. His presence and fullness can supply the lack, or make up the loss of all creature-comforts.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The gospel affords no hope, but to those whose hearts are contrite, and broken by a conviction of sin.

For, while we do not feel our malady—we cannot duly prize, or rightly apply to the only Physician.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you do not do what you want to do." Galatians 5:17

It may sound like a contradiction to say, we cannot do what we want to do. But there are many enigmas in a believer's experience, at least in mine.

I never expect to meet the man that knows his own heart, who will say he is always faithful, diligent, and obedient, to the full extent of his ability. I rather expect he would confess, with me, that he feels a need of more ability, and fresh supplies of grace, to enable him to make a better improvement of what he has already received.

Without doubt, I can take the Bible in my hand, and force myself to read it. I can kneel down, and I can see I ought to mourn. But to understand and attend to what I read, to engage my heart in prayer, or to be duly humbled under the sense of so dark and dissipated a state of mind—these things, at some seasons, I can no more do than I can raise the dead!

I am satisfied that what prevents me is my sin—the sin of my nature, the sin that dwells in me. And I expect it will be thus with me at times, in a greater or less degree, until this body of sin shall be wholly destroyed.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The righteous are said to be scarcely saved (1 Peter 4:18), not with respect to the certainty of the event, for the purpose of God in their favor cannot be disappointed—but in respect of their own apprehensions, and the great difficulties which they are brought through.

The repeated experience we have of the deceitfulness of our own hearts—is a means which the Lord employs to make us willing debtors to His free grace, and teach us to live more entirely upon Jesus. He is our peace, our strength, our righteousness, our all in all.

But when, after a long experience of their own deceitful hearts, after repeated proofs of their weakness, willfulness, ingratitude, and insensibility—they find that none of these things can separate them from the love of God in Christ—then Jesus becomes more and more precious to their souls!

"My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one can snatch them out of My hand." John 10:27-28

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Submission to His will, and dependence upon Him for our all—are the main things in practical religion.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

What a cause for humiliation—that my feelings of gratitude are so faint, so disproportionate to the benefits I daily receive!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The evils of which we mutually complain, are the effects of a fallen nature. And though we feel them, if the Lord gives us grace to be humbled for them, if they make us more vile in our own eyes, and make Jesus more precious to our hearts—they shall not hurt us, but rather, we may rank them among the all things that shall work for our good.

We serve a gracious Master, who knows how to over-rule even our mistakes and sins to His glory and our own advantage.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Dear friend,
What you complain of in yourself, comprises the best marks of grace I can offer. A sense of unworthiness and weakness, joined with a hope in the Savior—constitutes the character of a Christian in this world.

But you want the witness of the Spirit. What do you mean by this? Is it a whisper or a voice from Heaven, to encourage you to believe that you may venture to hope that the promises of God are true, that he means what he says, and is able to make his word good?

Your eyes are opened, you are weary of sin, you love the way of salvation yourself—and love to point it out to others, you are devoted to God—to His cause and His people. It was not so with you once! Either you have somewhere stolen these blessings, or you have received them from the Holy Spirit.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

You say that you find it hard to believe that it is compatible with the divine purity, to embrace or employ such a monster as yourself.

You express not only a low opinion of yourself—which is right. But you express too low an opinion of the person, work, and promises of the Redeemer—which is certainly wrong!

Blessed be God, amidst so many causes of mourning in myself—it is still my duty and my privilege to rejoice in the Lord. In Him I have righteousness and strength, pardon and peace. I have sinned—I sin continually. But Christ has died, and forever lives, as my Redeemer, Priest, Advocate, and King. And though my transgressions and my enemies, are very many and very prevalent—the Lord in whom I trust is more and mightier than all that is against me!

In ourselves we are all darkness, confusion, and misery; but in Him there is a sufficiency of wisdom, grace, and peace suited to all our needs.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Depend upon it, our hearts are all alike. To know that they are deceitful and desperately wicked, and to look to Jesus for mercy, help, and salvation—are, I think, the greatest attainments we can rise to in this imperfect state.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

There is a height, a breadth, a length, and a depth, in this mystery of redeeming love, exceeding the comprehension of all finite minds! Yet the great and leading principles which are necessary for the support and comfort of our souls, may be summed up in a very few words. Such a summary we are favored with in Titus 2:11–14; where the whole of salvation, all that is needful to be known, experienced, practiced, and hoped for, is comprised within the compass of four verses.

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who 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 2:11-14

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Let us look to Jesus in His offices, power, compassion, grace, and example. When He and His glories are presented to the eye of faith in the light of the Word and Spirit—then obedience is easy, and temptations lose their force!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The truth is that our peace depends on our sin being subdued, and Christ subdues our sin through the wisely chosen medicine called trials.

Therefore, look upon Him as a physician who has graciously undertaken to heal your soul of the worst of sicknesses, sin. Yield to His prescriptions, and fight against every thought that would represent it as desirable to be permitted to choose for yourself.

When you cannot see your way—be satisfied that He is your leader.

When your spirit is overwhelmed within you—He knows your path, and will not leave you to sink.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Above all, keep close to the Throne of Grace. If we seem to get no good by attempting to draw near Him—we may be sure we shall get none by keeping away from Him.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh, the name of Jesus, when we can speak of Him as ours—this is the balm for every wound, and the cordial for every care.

The name of Jesus is as ointment poured forth, diffusing a fragrance through the whole soul, and driving away the hurtful fumes and fogs of distrust and discontent!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Prayer is not only our immediate duty—but the highest dignity, the richest privilege we are capable of receiving on this side of eternity!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified!" 1 Corinthians 2:2

It is not worth while to preach—unless we preach Christ and Him crucified.

Such a Christ is all-sufficient for every sermon, because He is all-sufficient, and the all-sufficient answer for every need in life.

It is thus the Scriptures, to help the weakness of our apprehensions, testify of Christ, under the threefold view of Prophet, Priest, and King of His people. These are his principal and leading characters, which include and imply the rest; for the time would fail to speak of Him, as He is declared to be their Head, Husband, Root, Foundation, Sun, Shield, Shepherd, Law-giver, Exemplar, and Forerunner.

In brief, there is hardly any comfortable relation, or useful office, among men; hardly any object in the visible creation, which either displays beauty, or produces benefit—but what is applied in the Scriptures, to illustrate the excellence and sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

He has delivered me, He does deliver me, and I trust He will yet deliver me.

My whole history has been a series of marvelous mercies!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The object of faith is Christ—as living, dying, rising, reigning, and interceding, for sinners.

The warrant to believe is the Word of God, "This is My beloved son, hear Him" (Matthew 17:5). "Him that comes to me, I will in never cast out" (John 6:37). "He is able to save to the uttermost" (Hebrews 7:25).

The proper act of faith is to receive and to cast ourselves on this Savior, without regarding anything in ourselves—but a consciousness that we are unworthy, helpless sinners, and that we are willing and desirous to be saved in this way of God's appointment.

The best evidences that we believe—are a broken spirit, obedience to the Lord's precepts, submission to His will, and love to His cause and people.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Self-righteousness has had a considerable hand in dictating many of my desires for an increase of spiritual comfort and strength. I have wanted some stock of my own. I have been wearied of being so perpetually indebted to Him, necessitated to come to Him always in the same strain—as a poor miserable sinner! I would have liked to have done something for myself in ordinary situations—and to have depended upon Him chiefly upon extraordinary occasions. I have found indeed, that I could do nothing without His assistance, nor anything even with it—but what I have reason to be ashamed of.

If this had only humbled me, and led me to rejoice in His all-sufficiency—then it would have been well. But it has often had a different effect, to make me sullen, angry, and discontented, as if it was not best and most desirable that He should have all the glory of His own work, and I should have nothing to boast of, but that in the Lord I have righteousness and strength.

I am now learning . . .
  to glory only in my infirmities—that the power of Christ may rest upon me;
  to be content to be nothing—that he may be all in all.

But I find this to be a hard lesson; and when I seem to have made some proficiency, a slight turn in my spirit throws me back, and I have to begin all over again!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I hope to die like the thief upon the cross! I have no hope, no comfort in myself.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Absolute resignation to God's will, is the very summit of a Christian's character—and the great secret of possessing a peaceful heart.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Assurance grows by repeated conflict—by our repeated experimental proof of the Lord's power and goodness to save. When we have been brought very low—and helped; sorely wounded—and healed; cast down—and raised again; have given up all hope—and been suddenly snatched from danger, and placed in safety; and when these things have been repeated to us and in us a thousand times over—we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God, beyond and against appearances. This trust, when habitual and strong, bears the name of assurance; for even assurance has degrees.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

There is many a thing which the world calls disappointment—but there is no such thing in the dictionary of faith. What to others are disappointments—are to believers intimations of the will of God.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary—if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of His presence is made? If our zeal is embittered by expressions of anger, invective, or scorn—we may think we are doing service of the cause of truth, when in reality we shall only bring it into discredit!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

This is faith: a renouncing of everything we are apt to call our own and relying wholly upon the blood, righteousness and intercession of Jesus.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I know I shall continually need His assistance—and am persuaded he will never be weary of affording it.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Whoever is truly humbled—will not be easily angry, nor harsh or critical of others. He will be compassionate and tender to the infirmities of his fellow-sinners, knowing that if there is a difference—it is grace alone which has made it! He knows that he has the seeds of every evil in his own heart. And under all trials and afflictions—he will look to the hand of the Lord, and lay his mouth in the dust, acknowledging that he suffers much less than his iniquities have deserved.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

God often takes a course for accomplishing His purposes directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe. He brings a death upon our feelings, wishes, and prospects—when He is about to give us the desire of our hearts.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

God works powerfully—but for the most part gently and gradually.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We must be faithful to God and conscience. Where we have scripture authority for what we should do, or for what we should forbear—then we must then be inflexible as an iron pillar!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

No man can serve two masters. The Lord Christ, and the world which crucified him—are competitors for our hearts. We must serve one—we cannot serve both.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

There is no knowledge like that which we acquire by reading the bible with prayer—and in the school of experience.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

God will either remove our difficulties—or overrule them for our good.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Alas! how different do I appear to others in my books—from what I feel myself to be in my study.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The more sick I am—the more need I have to apply to such a great, compassionate, infallible physician. I cannot heal myself, and why should I wish I could, when He has undertaken my case.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Depend upon it, our hearts are all alike. To know that they are deceitful and desperately wicked, and to look to Jesus for mercy, help, and salvation—are, I think, the greatest attainments we can rise to in this imperfect state.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

So it is and must be—this life is a chequered state. It would be dismal indeed, if it was all trial. And were it all pleasant and comfortable—it would be hurtful and dangerous to our best concerns, for with such hearts as ours, we could not bear uninterrupted prosperity!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Because the Lord loves you—He appoints trials for you. Like most effectual medicines, they are neither pleasant to the taste, nor in their operation, when first taken—but afterwards they yield the peaceful fruits of righteousness. He sends them not for His own pleasure—but for our profit. He could relieve you in a moment—but He does not. The plain inference is, that 'it is good, it is best for us to be afflicted.' I have had my trials, and I can from experience bear testimony to his all sufficiency and faithfulness. He does all things well. How can he who is infinitely wise and good do otherwise?

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Christian life is a warfare—and you must not expect an exemption from the battle. The Captain of our salvation trod a thorny path Himself—and we must trace His bloody footsteps, and not think to walk to Heaven upon a soft carpet. Those who are now reaping in joy—sowed in tears when they were here. And why should not we? The way to Heaven is through many trials and sorrows. If we did not meet with such things—we might justly suspect that we had mistaken the road!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

One view of the brazen serpent will do you more good, than poring over your own wounds for a month!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord keeps the key of comfort in His own hand.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The doctrine of the cross is the sun in the system of divine truth.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord puts us often in the furnace, that we may be a vessel of holiness, fitted and purified for His service.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

You may set it down as a maxim, that every person has a conscience.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

It is not necessary to be able to explain, or even to understand, every passage in scripture. There are, and will be, hard places. Some of these gradually become more easy as we advance, and some are always useful to keep us humble, and sensible of our own weakness. Proud self would gladly be wise, or at least appear so, and supposes he is competent to clear up every difficulty.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The best preachers are defective—and the wisest may be mistaken.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The chief thing is a new birth—which is evidenced by new desires and pursuits.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

For lack of wisdom, which perhaps is seldom learned but in the school of experience—we sometimes increase our own difficulties, and impede our probable usefulness.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Prosperity may cause us to rise in the world—but affliction is needful to raise us above the world.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Let us fear sinning—and then we need fear nothing else.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord has done it—and therefore it must be right. Our peace depends upon a childlike submission to his holy will, which may be exercised, though we sharply feel the affliction He is pleased to lay upon us. "I mourn," said a good man, "but I do not murmur." This is a weeping world, and this a weeping time.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

In our worst afflictions and lowest times—we may find innumerable causes for thankfulness.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The stoutest believer would find himself as weak—if the Lord were to suspend His gracious upholding influence.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Faith, perhaps, is never stronger—than when it is most tried. Job's faith was not weak when he said, in defiance of all dark appearances, "Though He slays me—yet will I trust in Him."

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The object of faith is Christ—as living, dying, rising, reigning, and interceding for sinners.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The best evidences that we truly believe—are a broken and contrite spirit, obedience to the Lord's precepts, submission to His will, and love to His cause and people.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Sometimes, when the Lord pardons our sins—he may permit us to feel the painful consequences for a long while, perhaps to the end of life. But if we obtain mercy—then we have no reason to complain.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Though the Lord loves his people and servants all alike—His dispensations towards them are very different. We shall see hereafter, that He has wise reasons for the difference, and that every one had the lot which, upon the whole, was best for him.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We have nothing to fear—but sin!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Every step we take, is upon the brink of danger! A slip of the foot, a fit of coughing, a bit of bread or meat going the wrong way—may be fatal! Yes, we depend upon the Lord for every breath we draw!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh for that happy spirit of absolute dependence upon the Lord—which will raise us to a noble independence upon creatures and circumstances!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The care and providence of Him whose we are and whom we desire to serve—extends to our most minute concerns!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A simple desire to please God, to walk by the rule of His Word, and to do all to His glory—like the legendary philosopher's stone—turns all to gold, consecrates the actions of common life, and makes everything that belongs to our situation and duty in civil and domestic life, a part of our religion.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

True religion does not consist in doing great things, for which few of us have frequent opportunities—but in doing the little necessary things of daily occurrence with a cheerful spirit, as to the Lord.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord's mercies and favors to us are renewed every morning; only He appoints us a daily cross. Shall we not thankfully and patiently bear it for His sake—who bore a dreadful cross for us?

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Our peace and spiritual progress do not depend upon our outward circumstances—but on the inward frame of our hearts and minds. If the heart is right—submissive to the will of God, devoted to please Him, and depending upon His faithful Word—then we may be happy in a prison; and otherwise we must be unhappy in a palace!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord knows all our needs, fears, and wishes. If we cast our cares simply upon Him—then He will choose and manage for us, better than we could for ourselves!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Now I know in part—then I shall know fully." Soon we shall see cause to number our sharpest trials among our choicest mercies! Then we shall say, "He has done all things well."

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If I was qualified to search out the best Christian in the kingdom—I would not expect to find him either in a professor's chair or in a pulpit. I would give the palm to that person who had the lowest thoughts of himself, and the most admiring and loving thoughts of the Savior. And perhaps this person would be some bed-ridden old man or woman—or a pauper in a parish workhouse. The Lord's regard to us, is not to be measured by our knowledge—but rather by the simplicity of our dependence, and the uniform tenor of our obedience to His will.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord's dispensations are various to different persons—but they are all right. "He led them forth by the right way—that they might go to a city of habitation." Psalm 107:7

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A humble frame of mind is the strength and ornament of every other grace—and the proper soil wherein they grow.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A blacksmith, when about to make a tool, puts his iron into the fire. In the same way, the Lord, when He means to make His people more holy, puts them into the furnace!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Had I a medicine that could cure all diseases, I would not deal much with people who had only a cut finger to cure. I would go among inveterate and mortal diseases, that the power of my medicine might be more manifest. God often acts so.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

No man looking at the grub-worm in the garden, would ever suspect that it would become a butterfly. In the same way, neither does it appear what believers shall be!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Little of the effects of sin were to be seen here—in comparison of what shall be seen in the eternal world!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

O what a sorry creature I am! I believe that no man in the world has more cause to be thankful than I—yet I am not thankful.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

King Herod and Saul were contemporaries. Saul was at least as wicked a man as Herod. But behold the sovereignty of God—Herod was eaten by worms and died, while Saul was converted!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I believe that my present affliction does not spring out of the ground, that it is ordained by the Lord, and that He is wise and good—and therefore, surely does, and will do, all things well.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Faith is tried like gold in the fire. If the gold is pure, it suffers no loss—but it does not gain and grow in the fire as faith does.
We are not warranted to pray for troubles; if we have a due sense of our weakness, we shall rather pray, with submission to His will, "Lead us not into temptation."
Yet when we pray for grace, more grace, and stronger grace—we do virtually pray for troubles, for such petitions are seldom answered, but by crosses.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Who is like the Lord our God! While He names and numbers the stars, and upholds them all in their orbits—He condescends to heal the broken heart, to sooth the sorrowful spirit, and to provide for the fatherless and the widow.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

How encouraging it is to think that all hearts and events are in His hands!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Though the end we propose is noble—SELF, unless watched as narrowly as a cat watches a mouse, will interpose.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

There will be some mixture of human infirmity in the best designs of the best men.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We must acknowledge His hand and care—in all those events which the world considers as trivial.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Let us remember that men are but men—and that the best men have their infirmities and mistakes.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Being now in my 74th year, I seem to take a final leave of my friends in every place. It may be otherwise, as my health is remarkably good, and I have but few of the symptoms of advancing old age. I am in the Lord's hand. If the Lord is pleased to be with me, when the time comes—I shall not be afraid to die. He has promised strength according to our day, and I aim to rely upon His faithful word.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Though we have many friends and comforts in this world—yet one bright powerful view of our heavenly home, will, when the time comes—make us willing, and ready, and glad to leave all below.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I have good reason to praise Him for what is past—and equal reason to trust Him for the future!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

My business is to preach Jesus Christ crucified—and leave political concerns in the hands of Him whose counsel shall stand, and who will do all His pleasure. Truly it shall be well with the righteous. He will either preserve them from the evils they apprehend, or give them strength according to their day. It will make little difference to them a hundred years hence, whether they lived here in peace, or in the midst of trouble.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Events are the best expounders of prophecy.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Sin first deceives—and then hardens! So it hardened me. Nothing but omnipotent grace could have softened such a heart as wicked as mine.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord is pleased to afford me much liberty and acceptance in my public service. If I was equally comfortable in private, I know not what might be the outcome—for my heart is still desperately wicked, and deeply deceitful.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Any trial should be welcome, which checks the growth of that abomination, pride; and that worst of all abominations, spiritual pride.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Perhaps the time is coming, when all sects and parties shall be reduced to two—Christians and infidels. So it was at the first promulgation of the gospel.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I desire, and by His grace I resolve to love all who love Him—regardless of denomination.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The heart is like gunpowder, which lies quiet if fire is kept away from it. But a single spark is sufficient to set it in a blaze!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Though at present I am robust and strong—but a few minutes is sufficient to produce a great change. I wish to work while it is day, and to leave tomorrow in his hands.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If one half of the country was ravaged by war, provided the distress was sanctified to stir up many careless ones to seek the Lord and his salvation—such a dispensation would be more a mercy, than a judgment.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The love of self and of the present world, make us terribly afraid when anything seems to threaten our ease and prosperity—but what are these when compared with the glory of our Lord and the welfare of precious souls?

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We ought to mourn for our own sins, and for the sins of others, and for the miseries with which sin has filled the world.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Some of my holiest hearers would startle at the word Calvinist—which therefore they never hear from me. Nor do they hear the words election or predestination—unless they lie in my text, and then I explain them in an experimental way, and they receive the truths intended, as a young child does milk. They will not allow themselves to be Calvinists; but they are humble, spiritual, peaceful—they love the Lord and His people—and they overcome the world.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

True religion is not a system of doctrines—it is a new nature, a new life—and those who have it are under divine teaching, and will in due time learn all that the Lord sees it needful for them to know.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Messengers from Satan, and thorns in the flesh, are gifts and mercies—if they preserve us from being exalted above measure. For there is that in our nature which can extract poison even from gracious manifestations and spiritual comforts.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

"Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do You say?" John 8:4-5

If my pocket was full of stones, I have no right to throw one at the greatest sinner upon earth. I have either done as bad, or worse than he—or I certainly would have done so, if the Lord had left me to myself—for I am made of just the same materials. If there is any difference between myself and the greatest wretch—it is wholly of grace.

"But by the grace of God, I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If we have not all deserved to be hanged for breaking human laws—we have all deserved much worse as transgressors of the law of God.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

It is easy to talk of death, while it is at a distance.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Blessed be His name—who can make losses, gains; and cause comforts to spring from our crosses! I rely upon His promise of strength according to the day, to enable me to meet death with composure. Let us pray for grace to live today—and to leave tomorrow at His wise disposal.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Infidelity, folly, and sinful dissipation, abound everywhere. But the Lord has a praying people, who are mourning for the evils they cannot prevent, and the miseries which are the fruits of sin.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If the scripture describes the Christian life as a warfare and a wrestling—then why should I be discouraged that I find it so?

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I see much, daily, continual, cause for humiliation—whether I look backward or inward. The sum of my complaints amounts to this—that I am a sick sinner, diseased in every part. But then, if He who is the infallible Physician has undertaken my case, I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I seldom meet with a human writer, to whose judgment I can implicitly subscribe in all points.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Word of grace, and the Throne of grace—are the two principal means which can supply the lack of all others, when not to be had. But without attending to these—the rest can yield but little solid benefit. I have met with happy, lively believers, who have had no opportunity for hearing the gospel. And I have met with others, who, like Pharaoh's lean cows—devour a great deal, but do not appear to thrive.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The times are gloomy—but the Lord reigns!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If the gospel is preached in simplicity, and honored by a meek, inoffensive behavior in those who profess it—it does not much matter, whether they meet in a church, a chapel, or a barn.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We should be more sensible of our present blessings—and more thankful for them.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We enjoy a thousand mercies in common with many who neither pray to Him nor praise Him. But to know that they come from Him in answer to prayer, and as pledges of future and better blessings—gives them an additional relish of which worldlings can have no conception!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Grace has long and strong arms!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

He who died upon the cross for us—reigns over Heaven and earth!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Our time and ways are in the Lord's hands. He does all things well! His providence extends to the minutest of our concerns. It is a great blessing, if we can cheerfully submit to the Lord's will, when it crosses our own.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The hearts of all men, women, and children—are deceitful and desperately wicked! It is a mercy to know and feel this truth—provided the knowledge of the disease, leads us to the great Physician. Grace will make you feel your inward malady, teach you to loathe it, to watch and pray, and fight against it, and to be humbled for it—but it will not free you from it, while you are in this poor world.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

It will lessen the weight of affliction, and double the relish of every temporal blessing—to see and acknowledge the hand of God in all your concerns, and to receive both the sweet and the bitter, as equally from him, and equally designed to work for your final benefit.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The time must come, and cannot be very distant—when I shall either be called away, or laid aside. The Lord knows when or which. I aim to leave it with him.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Jesus still lives—and He is still sufficient to make up every loss! When our cisterns are broken—the fountain from whence they were supplied is still full, and still flowing.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The conversion of one soul, is worth the labor of a whole life.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A good farmer will not cut down his corn while it is green—nor let it stand long after it is ripe. In the same way, we may be sure that the great and good Gardener will do everything in the proper season.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We are warranted to expect, that in a patient course of waiting upon Him, and in the use of His appointed means—He will prepare and strengthen us to do or to bear whatever His wisdom may allot to us.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We must have crosses as the Lord pleases. Prayer and patience will enable us to profit by them all.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

However you train your children—you cannot keep them out of the infectious air of the world's evil atmosphere. When you have made the most prudent use in your power of the means that the providence of the Lord affords—you can do nothing further than to commend them to Him by frequent, fervent prayer—and then in faith, patience and hope, wait for the outcome.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We are responsible for diligence and fidelity—but not for the success. You will be useful to all to whom it is the Lord's pleasure to make you so. Neither Paul nor Gabriel could do more.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Do not expect to sow one week—and to reap the next. Nothing is more desirable than to wait patiently in the use of means and in prayer—without dictating to the Lord as to the how or when.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

My times are in His hands—and I desire to leave them with Him.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The depravity of our fallen nature is, and will be, universally and always felt, during our present earthly state. It insinuates into, and mixes with all our thoughts, and all our actions. It is inseparable from us, as the shadow from our bodies when the sun shines upon us.

The holiness of a Christian does not consist in a deliverance from depravity—but in being sensible of it, striving against it, and being humbled under it; and taking occasion from thence to admire our Savior, and rejoice in Him as our complete righteousness and sanctification.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

You will never be sick—when the Lord sees that health would be upon the whole better for you.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Some preachers may amuse the ear more than others—but none can reach the heart, but by the accompanying energy of the Holy Spirit. "The Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul." Acts 16:14

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The objects of His mercy, are those who know they are utterly helpless and hopeless without Him!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Good Shepherd seeks His lost sheep, and leads them into His fold—in His own way, and His own time; sooner it cannot be done. He calls some in childhood, and some at the eleventh hour—according to His own sovereign pleasure.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Unbelief sometimes assumes the garb of humility—but it is both the root and the offspring of pride.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Obedience is the best test of sincere faith. A broken humble spirit, and an upright walk—evidence the life of God in the soul.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

My good friend, be willing that the Lord should carry on His work in His own way—and do not prescribe to Him how He shall deal with you.

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A hypocrite seldom suspects himself.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I must tell you of the Lord's goodness to us.
The old year closed with mercies—and the new year opened upon us with peace.
Our family are all well;
our friends are kind;
my flock is numerous and attentive;
my needs are well supplied;
and my trials are light and few.

What more can I ask or wish for?
Only a more thankful heart!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

My aim is not to find out reasons for thinking myself good—but to be always sensible that I am weak and vile. I pray chiefly for a broken and contrite spirit; other graces are surely connected with this—it is the soil in which they grow, and their sure and only preservative.

In proportion as we feel that we have nothing of our own, and can do nothing of ourselves—we may hope to receive all out of the Savior's fullness, and to do all things that we are called to, by His power working in us.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord Jesus is is very near us, even when we do not perceive Him. Faith can realize the presence of an unseen Savior.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Sometimes, when the Lord pardons our sins—He may permit us to feel the painful consequences for a long while, perhaps to the end of life. But if we obtain mercy—then we have no reason to complain.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The best of men are defective—and the wisest are in some points, mistaken.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A sense of our unworthiness and weakness, joined with a hope in the Savior—constitutes the character of a Christian in this world.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Go on sowing the good seed patiently—and trust the Lord for the crop.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The best advice I can give you is: Look unto Jesus, beholding His beauty in the written Word.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I endeavored to renounce society, that I might avoid temptation. But it was a poor religion—and so far as it prevailed, only tended to make me gloomy, stupid, unsociable, and useless.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We have no clear ideas of the agency of demonic spirits, nor is it necessary. The Scripture says little to satisfy our curiosity; but tells us plainly that he is always watching us, and desiring to sift us as wheat. I believe we give him no more than his due, when we charge him with having a hand in all our sins.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A soul disengaged from the world is a heavenly one. We are ready for Heaven—when our heart is there before us.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

By one hour's intimate access to the throne of grace, where the Lord causes His glory to pass before the soul that seeks Him—you may acquire more true spiritual knowledge and comfort, than a week's converse with the best of men.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

By affliction prayer is quickened—for our prayers are very apt to grow languid and formal in a time of ease.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I look upon prayer-meetings as the most profitable exercises (excepting the public preaching) in which Christians can engage. They have a direct tendency to kill a worldly, trifling spirit, and to draw down a Divine blessing upon all our concerns, compose differences, and enkindle (at least maintain) the flames of Divine love among brethren.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A real friendship should not fade as time passes, and should not weaken because of space separation.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

How many times has He delivered me! Yet, alas! How distrustful and ungrateful is my heart even until the present!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If we venture beyond the pale of Scripture—we are exposed to all the illusions of imagination and enthusiasm.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Whether men are pleased or not, we will, we must, worship the Lamb who was slain.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Many are convinced, who are not truly converted. They are afraid of the consequences of sin—though they never saw the evil of sin. They have a seeming desire of salvation—which is not founded upon a truly spiritual discovery of their own wretchedness, and the excellency of Jesus.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

There are many who stumble in the noon-day, not for lack of light—but for lack of eyes.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I know not a better rule of reading the Scripture, than to read it through from beginning to end—and when we have finished it once, to begin it again. We shall meet with many passages which we can make little improvement of—but not so many in the second reading as in the first, and fewer in the third than in the second—provided we pray to him who has the keys to open our understandings, and to anoint our eyes with His spiritual ointment!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Experience is the Lord's school, and those who are taught by Him, usually learn by the mistakes they make, that in themselves they have no wisdom; and by their slips and falls, that they have no strength.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Not only the guilt of sin—but the love of sin, and its dominion, are taken away, subdued by grace, and cordially renounced by the believing pardoned sinner.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If it were possible for me to alter any part of God's plan—I would only spoil it.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Every drop of rain hits its appointed target!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

So dress and conduct yourself—so that people who have been in your company will not recall what you had on.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Though the island of Great Britain exhibits but a small spot upon the map of the globe, it makes a splendid appearance in the history of mankind, and for a long space has been signally under the protection of God and a seat of peace, liberty and truth.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

If we seem to get no good by attempting to draw near to Himwe may be sure we will get none by keeping away from Him.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

It was great for God to speak the world into existence from nothing—but it was far greater for Him to redeem sinners from eternal misery!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

This title "The Lamb of God"—refers to Jesus' voluntary substitution for sinners, that by His sufferings and death, those who deserved to die might obtain eternal life through Him, and for His sake.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Whatever changes may affect our temporal concernments—our best interests and hopes are secured beyond the reach of change! Whatever we may lose or suffer during this little span of time, will be abundantly compensated in that glorious state of eternity which is just at hand!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Though I know enough of His sovereignty, wisdom, and faithfulness, of His right to do what He pleases, and the certainty that He does all things well, to furnish me with arguments enough to prove that submission to His will is our absolute duty—yet I am sensible, that when the trial actually comes, notwithstanding all the advice I may have offered to others, I would toss like a wild bull in a net; rebel and repine; forget that I am a sinner, and that He is sovereign.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Time is short, and our sufferings—though flesh and sense make much ado about them—yet when measured by the standard of truth, and weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, are comparatively both light and transient.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Is it not strange, that when we profess to receive the New Testament as our rule—some of the plainest and most obvious precepts should be so generally overlooked?

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Admire and trust His providence. Fear not for His church and interest—it is in safe hands. Fear not for yourself—if you believe in Him, He has all your enemies in a chain.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Look forward with joy to the full display of His glory. O what a family, what a triumph! How will His wisdom shine!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Bow before Him, or else when he makes up His jewels—He will dash you in pieces!

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