Body of Practical Divinity

By Thomas Watson

CHOICE EXCERPTS

 

Mirror and fountain

The Scripture is a mirror to show us our sins;
Christ's blood is a fountain to wash them away.

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A lamp for my feet

"Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may
 live according to Your truth!" Psalm 86:11

Let us lead Scripture lives. Oh that the Bible might
be seen printed in our lives! Obedience is an excellent
way of commenting upon the Bible. Let the Word be
the sun-dial by which you set your life. What are we
the better for having the Scripture, if we do not direct
all our speech and actions according to it? What is a
carpenter the better for his rule about him, if he sticks
it at his back, and never makes use of it for measuring
and squaring his work? So, what are we the better for
the rule of the Word, if we do not make use of it, and
regulate our lives by it? How many swerve and deviate
from the rule!

"Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my
path." Psalm 119:105. It is not only a light to our eyes
to mend our sight--but to our feet to mend our walk.
Oh, let us lead Bible lives!

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Why is salvation by faith?

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through
 faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift
 of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."
    Ephesians 2:8-9

"Jesus said to the woman--Your faith has saved
 you; go in peace." Luke 7:50

Why is salvation by faith?

To exclude all glorying in the creature. Faith is a
humble grace. If salvation were by repentance or
works
, a man would say, "It is my righteousness
which has saved me!" But if it is of faith, where is
boasting? Faith fetches all from Christ--and gives
all the glory to Christ!


God's believing people are a humble people. 
"Be clothed with humility." God's people shrink into
nothing in their own thoughts. David cries out, "I am
a worm, and not a man!" Though a saint, though a
king--yet a worm! When Moses' face shined, he
covered it with a veil. When God's people shine most
in grace--they are covered with the veil of humility.
Abraham the father of the faithful, confesses, "I am
nothing but dust and ashes." "God resists the proud."
Surely, God will not take to be with Himself in glory,
such as whom He resists.

God's believing people are a willing people.
Though they cannot serve God perfectly--they serve
Him willingly. They do not grudge God a little time
spent in His worship. They do not murmur at sufferings.
They will go through a sea and a wilderness--if God calls.
"Your people shall be a willing people." This spontaneity
and willingness is from the attractive power of God's
Spirit. The Spirit does not force--but sweetly draws the
will. This willingness makes all our services acceptable.
God sometimes accepts of willingness without the
work--but never the work without willingness.

God's believing people are a consecrated people.
They have "holiness to the Lord" written upon them.
"You are a holy people to the Lord your God." God's
people are separated from the world--and sanctified
by the Spirit. The priests under the law were not only
to wash in the laver--but were arrayed with glorious
apparel. This was typical, to show that God's people
are not only washed from gross sins--but adorned
with holiness of life. They bear not only God's name
--but His image! Holiness is God's stamp; if He does
not see this stamp upon us, He will not own us for
His believing people.

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Worse than a dog!

Sin cleaves to us, as blackness to the skin of the Ethiopian,
so that we cannot get rid of it. Paul shook off the viper on
his hand--but we cannot shake off this inbred corruption!
Sin comes not, as a lodger, for a night--but as an indweller.
"Sin which dwells in me." Romans 7:17. Sin is an evil
spirit, which haunts us wherever we go
.

Sin, though latent in the soul, and as a spring which runs
underground--often breaks forth unexpectedly. Christian,
you cannot believe that evil which is in your heart, and
which will break forth suddenly--if God should leave you!
"Is your servant a dog that he should do this monstrous thing?"
2 Kings 8:13. Hazael could not believe he had such a root of
evil in his heart, that he would rip up pregnant women. "Is
your servant a dog?" Yes, and worse than a dog--when
that corruption within is stirred up!

If one had come to Peter and said, "Peter, within a few hours
you will deny Christ;" he would have said, "Is your servant a
dog?" But alas! Peter did not know his own heart, nor how far
that corruption within would prevail upon him. The sea may be
calm, and look clear; but when the wind blows--how it rages
and foams! So though now your heart seems good--yet, when
temptation blows--how may sin reveal itself, making you foam
with lust and passion!

Who would have thought to have found adultery in David,
and drunkenness in Noah, and cursing in Job? If God leaves
a man to himself
--how suddenly and scandalously may sin
break forth in the holiest men on the earth!

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See its ugly face!

What a heinous and execrable thing is sin! Sin is
the distillation of all evil. The Scripture calls it the
"accursed thing." It is compared to the venom of
serpents, and the stench of sepulchers. The devil
would paint sin with the pleasing colors of pleasure
and profit--that he may make it look fair; but I
shall pull off the paint, that you may see its
ugly face!
We are apt to have slight thoughts of
sin, and say to it, as Lot of Zoar, "Is it not a little
one?" But sin is a great evil.

Sin fetches its pedigree from hell; sin is from the
devil. "He who commits sin is of the devil." Satan
was the first actor of sin, and the first tempter to
sin. Sin is the devil's first-born!

Sin is a defiling thing--a polluting thing. It is to the
soul--as rust is to gold, as a stain to beauty. It makes
the soul red with guilt, and black with filth! Sin in
Scripture is compared to a "menstruous cloth," and
to a "plague-sore." Sin has blotted out God's image,
and stained the orient brightness of the soul.

Sin makes God loathe a sinner; and when
a sinner sees his sin--he loathes himself!

Sin stamps the devil's image on a man. Malice is
the devil's eye, hypocrisy his cloven foot. Sin turns
a man into a devil. "One of you is a devil!" John 6:70

Sin is an act of rebellion against God. A sinner tramples
upon God's law, crosses His will, and does all he can to
affront, yes, to spite God!

Sin strikes at the very Deity. Sin is God's would-be
murderer.
Sin would not only unthrone God--but
un-God Him. If the sinner could help it, God would
no longer be God.

Sin is an act of ingratitude and unkindness. God feeds
the sinner, keeps off evils from him, be-miracles him
with mercy; but the sinner not only forgets God's
mercies--but abuses them! He is the worse for mercy;
like Absalom, who, as soon as David had kissed him,
and taken him into favor, plotted treason against him!
Like the mule, who kicks the mother after she has given
it milk. God may upbraid the sinner, "I have given you
your health, strength, and estate; but you requite Me
evil for good; you wound Me with My own mercies! Did
I give you life--to sin against Me? Did I give you wages--
to serve the devil? Is this your kindness to your Friend?"

Sin is a disease. "The whole head is sick!" Some are sick
with pride, others with lust, others with envy. Sin has
distempered the intellectual part--it is a leprosy in the
head; it has poisoned the vitals. It is with a sinner as with
a sick patient--his palate is distempered--the sweetest
things taste bitter to him. The Word, which is "sweeter
than the honey-comb," tastes bitter to him. Nothing
can cure this disease, but the blood of the Physician!

Sin is an irrational thing. It makes a man act not only
wickedly--but foolishly. It is absurd and irrational to
prefer the less, before the greater. The sinner prefers
the passing pleasures of sin, before eternal rivers of
pleasures. Is it rational to lose heaven--for the
indulging of a lust? Is it rational to gratify an
enemy? When sin burns in the soul, Satan warms
himself at this fire. Men's sins feast the devil.

Sin is a painful thing.
It costs men much labor to
pursue their sins. How do they tire themselves in
doing the devil's drudgery! "They weary themselves
to commit iniquity." What pains did Judas take to
bring about his damnation! Many a man goes to
hell, in the sweat of his brow.

Sin is the only thing God has antipathy against.
God does not hate a man because he is poor, or
despised in the world. The only thing which draws
forth the keenness of God's hatred, is sin. "Oh, do
not do this abominable thing, which I hate!" And
surely, if the sinner dies under God's hatred, he
cannot be admitted into the celestial mansions. Will
God let that man live with Him--whom He hates?
God will never lay such a viper in His bosom!

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Well-colored dirt

Did God make our bodies out of the dust, and that
dust out of nothing? Let this keep down pride! When
God would humble Adam, He uses this expression,
"You were made from dust." Why are you proud,
O dust and ashes?


David says, "I praise You because I am fearfully
and wonderfully made." Your being wonderfully
made--should make you thankful; your being
made from the dust--should keep you humble.

If you have beauty, it is but well-colored dirt!

"For you were made from dust, and to the dust
 you will return." Genesis 3:19

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The trials and sufferings of the godly

God's own people often suffer great afflictions.

"This is what the wicked are like--always carefree,
 they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept
 my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in
 innocence. For I am afflicted all day long!"
    Psalm 73:12-14

How can this be consistent with God's justice?

'God's ways of judgment are sometimes secret, but
never unjust!' The Lord never afflicts His people
without a cause; He cannot be unjust towards them.

There is some good in the godly--therefore the wicked
afflict them; there is some evil in them--therefore God
afflicts them!

God's own children have their blemishes. "But aren't
you also guilty of sins against the Lord your God?"
2 Chr. 28:10. These spiritual diamonds--have they no
flaws?
Do we not read of the spots of God's children?
Are not they guilty of much pride, passion, worldliness?
Though, by their profession, they should resemble the
birds of paradise, to fly above, and feed upon the dew
of heaven; yet, as the serpent, they often lick the dust!

The sins of God's people, do more provoke God than
the sins of others. "The Lord saw this and was filled
with loathing. He was provoked to anger by His own
sons and daughters." Deut. 32:19. The sins of others
pierce Christ's side; the sins of His people wound His
heart! Therefore is not God just in all the afflictions
which befall them? "You only have I chosen of all the
families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for
all your sins." Amos 3:2. I will punish you sooner,
surer, sorer--than others.

The trials and sufferings of the godly, are to
refine and purify them. God's furnace is in Zion. Is
it any injustice in God to put His gold into the furnace
to purify it? Is it any injustice in God, by afflicting His
people, to make them partakers of His holiness? What
more proclaims God's faithfulness--than to take such
a course with them as may make them more holy?

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

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A sleeping lion

"Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why
do the treacherous live at ease?" Jeremiah 12:1

Such as are highest in sin--are often highest in
prosperity. This has led many to question God's
justice. Diogenes, seeing a thief live on affluently,
said, "Surely God has cast off the government of
the world, and does not care how things go on
here below."

How can it be consistent with God's justice,
that the wicked should prosper in the world?

If God lets men prosper a while in their sin--His
vial of wrath is all this while filling; His sword is
all this time sharpening. Though God may forbear
with men a while--yet long forbearance is not
forgiveness. The longer God is in taking His blow,
the heavier it will be at last! As long as there is
eternity, God has time enough to reckon with
His enemies!

God's justice may be as
a sleeping lion--but the
lion will awake at last, and roar upon the sinner!

"Yes, Lord God Almighty, Your punishments are
 true and just." Revelation 16:7

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Who are you, O man, to talk back to God?

"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I
 will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or
 effort, but on God's mercy." Romans 9:15-16

God has a sovereign right and authority over man.
He can do with His creatures as He pleases. Who shall
dispute with God? Who shall ask Him a reason of His
doings? "
Who are you, O man, to talk back to
God?
Shall what is formed say to him who formed
it--Why did you make me like this?" Romans 9:20

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

"The Lord does whatever He pleases in heaven and
 on earth, in the seas and all the depths." Psalm 135:6

God sits as judge in the highest court, and is not bound
to give a reason for His proceedings. "He puts down one,
and raises up another." He has salvation and damnation
in His power. He has the key of justice in His hand, to
lock up whomever he will, in the fiery prison of hell! And
He has the key of mercy in His hand, to open heaven's
gate to whomever He pleases! The name engraved upon
His vesture is, "King of kings, and Lord of lords!" He sits
Lord paramount, and who can call Him to account? The
world is God's house, and shall not He do what He
desires in His own house?

"My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please!"
     Isaiah 46:10

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

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God bottles every tear!

Is God a God of infinite knowledge? This is comfort
to the child of God. Christian, you set hours apart for
God, your thoughts run upon Him as your treasure;
God takes notice of every good thought! "He had a
book of remembrance written for those who thought
upon His name." You enter into your closet, and pray
to your Father in secret; He hears every sigh and
groan!
"My groaning is not hidden from You." You
water the seed of your prayer with tears--
God bottles
every tear!
"You keep track of all my sorrows. You
have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have
recorded each one in Your book!" Psalm 56:8

The infiniteness of God's knowledge is a comfort, in
the case of saints who have not a clear knowledge of
themselves. They find so much corruption--that they
judge they have no grace. "If it is so--why am I thus?
If I have grace, why is my heart in so dead and earthly
a frame?" Oh remember, God is of infinite knowledge.
He can spy grace where you cannot; He can see grace
hidden under corruption, as the stars may be hidden
behind a cloud. God can see that holiness in you, which
you cannot discern in yourself. He can spy the flower
of grace
in you, though overtopped with weeds.

"Because there is some good thing in him." God sees
some good thing in His people--when they can see no
good in themselves; and though they judge themselves
harshly, He will forgive their sins and infirmities.

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God sees through these fig-leaves!

"My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden
 from Me, nor is their sin concealed from My eyes!"
     Jeremiah 16:17

If God is a God of infinite knowledge, then see the
folly of hypocrisy
. Hypocrites carry it fair with
men--but care not how bad their hearts are; they
live in secret sin. "They say--How can God know?
Does the Most High have knowledge?" "What does
God know? Can He judge through thick darkness?"
"God has forgotten, He hides His face, He will
never see it!
"

But, "His understanding is infinite!" He has a window
to look into men's hearts! He has a key to open up the
heart. "Your Father who sees in secret." God sees in
secret. As a merchant enters debts in his book, so God
has His debt-book, in which He enters every sin!

The hypocrite thinks to disguise and juggle with God--but
God will unmask him. "God shall bring every work into
judgment, with every secret thing." "For they have done
outrageous things . . . I know it and am a witness to
it
--declares the Lord." Jeremiah 29:23

The hypocrite hopes he shall color over his sin, and
make it look very good. Absalom masks over his
treason with the pretense of a religious vow. Judas
cloaks his covetousness, with the pretense of "charity
to the poor." Jehu makes religion a cloak for his selfish
design. But
God sees through these fig-leaves!

He who has an eye to see--will find a hand to punish!

Since God is infinite in knowledge, we should always feel
as under His omniscient eye. "I have set the Lord always
before me." The consideration of God's omniscience would
be preventive of much sin. The eye of man will restrain
from sin; and will not God's eyes much more?

"Will he even assault the queen right here in the palace,
before my very eyes? the king roared." Esther 7:8. Will
we sin when our Judge looks on? Would men speak so
vainly, if they considered God overheard them? What care
would people have of their words, if they remembered that
God heard, and His pen was writing everything down in
heaven? Would they commit immorality, if they believed
God was a spectator of their wickedness, and would punish
them in hell for it? Would they defraud in their dealings,
and use false weights, if they knew God saw them; and
for making their weights lighter--would make their
damnation heavier?

Is God omniscient, and His eye chiefly upon the heart? 
Then be sincere--be what you seem! "The Lord does not
look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward
appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7

Men
judge the heart--by the actions.
God
judges the actions--by the heart.

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The best friend--but the worst enemy!

Woe to all such, as have God against them. He lives
forever to be avenged upon them. "Can your heart
endure, or can your hands be strong in the day that
I shall deal with you?" Such as oppose His people,
trampling these jewels in the dust; and such as live
in contradiction to God's Word--engage the Infinite
Majesty of heaven against them! How dreadful will
their case be! "As surely as I live, when I sharpen
My flashing sword and begin to carry out justice,
I will bring vengeance on My enemies and repay
those who hate Me!"

If it is so dreadful to hear the lion roar, what must
it be when he begins to tear his prey? "Consider
this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces!"
Oh that men would think of this--who go on in sin!
Shall we engage the great God against us? God
strikes slow--but heavy! "
Have you an arm like
God?" Can you strike such a blow? God is
the best
friend--but the worst enemy!
If He can look men
into their grave, how far can He throw them? "Who
knows the power of His wrath?" What fools are they,
who, for a drop of pleasure--drink a sea of wrath!

Paracelsus speaks of a craze some have, which
will make them die dancing. Just so--sinners
go dancing to hell!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What is the chief end of man?

Question:
What is the chief end of man?

Answer: Man's chief end is to glorify God,
and to enjoy Him forever.


"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When
 can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:2

Is the enjoyment of God in this life so sweet? How
wicked are those who prefer the enjoyment of their
lusts, before the enjoyment of God! 'The lust of the
flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life,' is the
evil trinity
they worship.

Lust is an inordinate desire or impulse, provoking the
soul to that which is evil. Lust, like a feverish heat, puts
the soul into a flame. Aristotle calls sensual lusts, brutish,
because, when any lust is violent--reason and conscience
cannot be heard. These lusts besot and brutalize the man.

How many make it their chief end, not to enjoy God--but
to enjoy their lusts! Lust first bewitches with pleasure--and
then comes the fatal dart! This should be a flaming sword
to stop men in the way of their carnal delights--Who, for
a drop of pleasure, would drink a sea of wrath?

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A weeping creature

"Open to Me, My sister, My darling, My dove,
 My flawless one." Song of Songs 5:2

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

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

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

A godly person weeps because the sins he commits
are in some sense worse than the sins of other men.
The sin of a justified person is very odious, because
it is a sin of unkindness. Peter's denying of Christ was
a sin against love. Christ had enrolled him among the
apostles. He had taken him up into the Mount and
shown him the glory of heaven in a vision. Yet after
all this mercy, it was base ingratitude that he should
deny Christ. This made him go out and 'weep bitterly.'
He baptized himself, as it were, in his own tears.

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

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

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

How far from being godly--are those
who scarcely ever shed a tear for sin!

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If our hearts are not rocks

"And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled
 Himself
, and became obedient unto death, even the
 death of the cross." Philippians 2:8

See here the astonishing humility of Christ. That Christ
should clothe Himself with our flesh--a piece of that earth
which we tread upon--oh infinite humility! For Christ to be
made flesh, was more humility than for the angels to be
made worms! He stripped Himself of the robes of His glory,
and covered Himself with the rags of our humanity!

Christ's humiliation consisted in His being born, and
that in a poor condition; and His undergoing . . .
  the miseries of this life,
  the cursed death of the cross,
  and the wrath of God.

The prime cause of Christ's humiliation was free grace!
Love was the intrinsic motive. Christ came to us, out
of pity and love. Not our deserts--but our misery,
caused Christ to humble Himself. This was a plot of
free grace--a design of pure love! Christ incarnate,
is nothing but 'love' covered with flesh!
As Christ's
assuming our human nature was a masterpiece of
wisdom, so it also was a monument of free grace!

Behold the infinite love of Christ! Had not He been
made flesh--we would have been made a curse! Had
He not been incarnate, we would have been incarcerate,
and had been forever in the prison of hell.

Consider where Jesus came from. He came from
heaven, and from the richest place in heaven--His
Father's bosom, that hive of sweetness.

Consider for whom Jesus came. Was it to His friends?
No! He came for sinful man--who had defaced His image,
and abused His love, and rebelled against Him! Yet He came
to man, resolving to conquer our obstinacy with His kindness.

If He would come to any, why not to the fallen angels?
The angels are of a more noble origin, are more intelligent
creatures, and more able for service! But behold the love of
Christ--He did not come to the fallen angels--but to sinful
mankind!

Among the several wonders of the magnet is that it will not
draw gold or pearl--but despising these, it draws the iron to
itself--one of the most inferior metals. Just so, Christ leaves
angels, those noble spirits, the gold and the pearl--and
comes to poor sinful man, and draws him into His embraces!

Consider in what manner Jesus came. He came not in
the majesty of a king, attended with His royal retinue
--but He came poor.

Consider the place Jesus was born in--
  a feeding trough was His cradle,
  the cobwebs were His curtains,
  the beasts were His companions!

Christ was so poor, that when He needed money,
He had to work a miracle to obtain it. When He
died, He made no will.

Consider why Jesus came. That He might take
our sins upon Him--and so appease God's wrath
for us, and bring us into His kingdom!
 
He was poor--that we might become rich!

He was born of a virgin--that we might be born of God!

He took our flesh--that we might have His Spirit!

He lay in the feeding trough--that we might lie in paradise!

He came down from heaven--that we might go up to heaven!

And what was all this, but love?
If our hearts are not
rocks
, this love of Christ should affect us. "May you
experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you
will never fully understand it!" Ephesians 3:19

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Do not be proud of your fine feathers!

Behold here a sacred riddle or paradox--"God was manifest
in the flesh."
That man should be made in God's image, was
a wonder--but that God should be made in man's image, is
a greater wonder!

That the Ancient of Days--should be born;
that He who thunders in the heavens--should cry in the cradle;
that He who rules the stars--should suck the breast;
that Christ should be made of a woman--and of that
    woman which He Himself made;
that the mother should be younger than the child she bore;
this is the most astonishing miracle! "God was manifest in
the flesh"
is a mystery we shall never fully understand until
we come to heaven, when our light shall be clear, as well as
our love perfect.

"He humbled Himself and became obedient to
 death--even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:8

"God made Him who had no sin--to be sin for us!"
 2 Corinthians 5:21

This was the lowest degree of Christ's humiliation.
That Christ, who would not endure sin in the angels,
should endure to have sin imputed to Himself--is the
most amazing humility that ever was!

Christian! Learn to be humble! Do you see Christ humbling
Himself--and are you proud? It is the humble saint, who is
Christ's picture! Christians, do not be proud of your fine
feathers!
Have you an estate? Do not be proud. The earth
you tread on is richer than you! It has mines of gold and
silver in its depths. Have you beauty? Do not be proud. It
is but water mingled with dirt! Have you skill and abilities?
Be humble. Lucifer has more knowledge than you! Have you
grace
? Be humble. It is not of your own making--it was
given to you by God. You have more sin than grace; more
spots
than beauty. Oh look on Christ--this rare pattern of
humility--and be humbled! It is a sad sight, to see God
humbling Himself--and man exalting himself; to see a
humble Savior
--and a proud sinner! God hates the very
semblance of pride! "I hate pride and arrogance!"
    Proverbs 8:13

"If God," says Augustine, "did not spare the angels
when they grew proud; will He spare you--who are
but dust and sin?"

 

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Walking pictures of Christ!

"Leaving you an example--so that you
 should follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21

"The one who says he remains in Him should
 walk just as He walked." 1 John 2:6

"I have set you an example that you should
 do as I have done for you." John 13:15

True religion is to imitate Christ.
There are four things in which we should
labor to be like Christ.

1. Be like Christ in DISPOSITION.
He was of a most sweet disposition.
He has a heart to pity us.
He has breasts to feed us.
He has wings to cover us.

He would not break our heart--but with mercy. Let us
be like Him in sweetness of disposition. Do not be of a
morose spirit. It was said of Nabal, "He's so ill-tempered
that no one can even talk to him!" Some are so sour, and
breathe forth nothing but revenge! Or they are like those
two men in the gospel, "possessed with devils, coming
out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could
pass that way." Let us be like Christ in mildness and
sweetness. Let us pray for our enemies--and conquer
them by love. David's kindness melted Saul's heart.
A frozen heart will be thawed, with the fire of love.

2. Be like Christ in HUMILITY.
"He humbled himself." He left the bright robes of His
glory--to be clothed with the rags of our humanity--a
wonder of humility! Let us be like Christ in this grace.
Humility is the glory of a Christian. We are never so
lovely in God's eyes--as when we are black in our own
eyes. In this let us be like Christ. Indeed, what cause
have we to be humble--if we look within us, about us,
below us, and above us!

If we look within us--here we see our sins represented
to us in the looking-glass of conscience--lust, envy, passion.
Our sins are like vermin crawling in our souls. "How many
are my iniquities!" Job 13:23. Our sins are as the sands
of the sea for number; as the rocks of the sea for weight!
Augustine cries out, "My heart, which is God's temple--is
polluted with sin!"

If we look about us--there is that which may humble us.
We may see other Christians outshining us in graces, as
the sun outshines the lesser planets. Others are laden with
fruit--and perhaps we have but here and there, a berry!

If we look below us--there is that which may humble us.
We may see the mother earth, out of which we came.
The earth is the most ignoble element. "They were viler
than the earth." Job 30:8.

"Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from
the ground." Genesis 2:7. "You will return to the ground
from which you came. For you were made from dust, and
to the dust you will return." Genesis 3:19. You who are
so proud, behold your pedigree--you are but walking dirt!
And will you be proud? What is man? The son of dust!
And what is dust? The son of nothing!

If we look above us; there is that which may humble us.
If we look up to heaven, there we may see God resisting
the proud. God pursues the proud in vengeance. He threw
proud Lucifer out of heaven! The proud man is the mark
which God shoots at--and He never misses the mark!
Oh then--be like Christ in humility!

3. Be like Christ, in the contempt of the WORLD.
Christ was not ambitious for titles or honor. He declined
worldly dignity and greatness--as much as others seek it.
When they would have made Him a king--He refused it.
He chose rather to ride upon the foal of a donkey, than
be drawn in a chariot. He chose rather to hang upon a
wooden cross--than to wear a golden crown! He scorned
the pomp and glory of the world. He ignored secular
affairs. "Who made Me a judge?" He did not come into
the world to be a judge--but a Redeemer. He minded
nothing but heaven.

Let us be made like Him--in heavenliness and contempt
of the world. Let us not be ambitious for the empty honors
and glories of the world. Let us not purchase the world--
with the loss of our soul. What wise man would damn
himself--to grow rich? or throw his soul down to hell--to
to build up an earthly estate?

Be like Christ in a holy contempt of the world.

4. Be like Christ in HOLINESS of life.
No temptation could fasten upon Him. Temptation to Christ,
was like a spark of fire upon a marble pillar, which glides off.
"As the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in
all your conduct." 1 Peter 1:15.

A Christian should be both a magnet and a diamond!
A magnet--in drawing others to Christ; a diamond
--in casting a sparkling luster of holiness, in his life.
Oh let us be . . .
  so just in our dealings,
  so true in our promises,
  so devout in our worship,
  so unblamable in our lives;
that we may be the
walking pictures of Christ!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

How shall we know if we have saving faith?

By the noble fruits and effects of saving faith.

True faith is a Christ-prizing grace--it puts a high
valuation upon Christ. "To you who believe--He is
precious." See how Paul styles all things in comparison
with Christ, "I count all things but rubbish, that I may
win Christ." Do we set a high estimate upon Christ?
Could we be willing to part with the wedge of gold
--for the Pearl of great price?

True faith is a refining grace. Faith is in the soul as
fire among metals--it refines and purifies. Morality
may wash the outside--but faith washes the inside.
"Having purified their hearts by faith." Faith makes
the heart a holy of holies. Faith is a virgin-grace;
though it does not take away the life of sin--yet it
takes away the love of sin. Examine if your hearts
are an unclean fountain, sending out the mud and
mire of pride and envy. If there are legions of lusts
in your soul, there is no faith. Faith is a heavenly
plant
, which will not grow in an impure soil.

True faith is an obediential grace. "The obedience
of faith." Faith melts our will into God's. It runs at God's
call. If God commands duty (though cross to flesh and
blood) faith obeys. "By faith Abraham obeyed." Faith is
not an idle grace. As it has an eye to see Christ--so it
has a hand to work for Him. It not only believes God's
promises--but obeys His commands. It is not having
knowledge that will evidence you to be believers; the
devil has knowledge, but lacks obedience--and that
makes him a devil. The true obedience of faith, is a
cheerful obedience. God's commands do not seem
grievous. Have you obedience, and obey cheerfully?
Do you look upon God's command as your burden--
or privilege; as an iron fetter about your leg--or as
a gold chain about your neck?

True faith is an assimilating grace. It changes the
soul into the image of the object; it makes it like Christ.
Never did any look upon Christ with a believing eye--but
he was made like Christ. A deformed person may look on
a beautiful object, and not be made beautiful; but faith
looking on Christ--transforms a man, and turns him into
His similitude.

Looking on a bleeding Christ--causes a soft bleeding heart.

Looking on a holy Christ--causes sanctity of heart.

Looking on a humble Christ--makes the heart humble.

As the chameleon is changed into the color of that
which it looks upon--so faith, looking on Christ,
changes the Christian into the similitude of Christ.

True faith grows. All living things grow. Growth of faith
is seen by doing duties in a more spiritual manner, with
more fervency. When an apple has done growing in
bigness
, it grows in sweetness. Just so, duties performed
in love and are sweeter, and come off with a better relish.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord has two heavens

"Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in
 all you do; for it is written--Be holy, because I
 am holy." 1 Peter 1:15-16

God is not drawn to any person's outward beauty,
great abilities, noble blood or worldly grandeur. But
He is drawn to a heart embellished with holiness.
Christ never admired anything but the beauty of
holiness
. He slighted the glorious buildings of the
temple--but admired the woman's faith, and said,
"O woman, great is your faith!" As a king delights
to see his image upon a piece of coin; so where
God sees His likeness--He gives His love!
The Lord
has two heavens
to dwell in--and the holy heart
is one of them!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Spiritual joys

What are the differences between worldly joys
and spiritual joys? The gleanings of spiritual joys,
are better than the vintage of the worldly joys.

Spiritual joys help to make us BETTER; worldly
joys often make us worse. "I spoke unto you in
your prosperity; but you said--I will not hear."
Pride and luxury are the two worms which
are bred from worldly pleasures.


But spiritual joy is cordial medicine, which
not only comforts, but purifies--
 it makes a Christian more holy;
 it causes an antipathy against sin;
 it infuses strength to live and suffer for Christ.
Some colors not only delight the eye--but
strengthen the sight. Just so, the joys of God
not only refresh the soul--but strengthen it.
"The joy of the Lord is your strength."

Spiritual joys are INWARD, they are heart joys.
"Your heart shall rejoice." True joy is hidden within;
worldly joy lies on the outside, like the dew which
wets the leaf. "Laughter can conceal a heavy heart;
when the laughter ends, the grief remains." Like a
house which has a gilded frontispiece--but all the
rooms within are in shambles. But spiritual joy lies
most within. "Your heart shall rejoice." Divine joy
is like a spring of water, which runs underground.
Others can see the sufferings of a Christian--but
they cannot see his joy. His joy is hidden manna
--hidden from the eye of the world; he has joyful
music which others cannot hear. The marrow lies
within--the best joy is within the heart.

Spiritual joys are SWEETER than worldly joys.
"Your love is sweeter than wine!" Spiritual joys are
a Christian's festival; they are the golden pot, and
the sweet manna. They are so sweet, that they make
everything else sweet! Spiritual joys sweeten health
and estate, as sweet water poured on flowers makes
them more fragrant and aromatic. Divine joys are so
delicious and ravishing, that they put our mouth out
of taste for earthly delights; just as he who has been
drinking cordials, tastes little sweetness in water.
Paul had so tasted these divine joys, that his mouth
was out of taste for worldly things. The world was
crucified to him--it was like a dead thing, he could
find no sweetness in it.

Spiritual joys are more PURE; they are not tempered
with any bitter ingredients. A sinner's joy is mixed with
dregs--it is embittered with fear and guilt--he drinks
wormwood wine. But spiritual joy is not muddied with
guilt--but like a crystal stream, it runs pure. Spiritual
joy is a rose without prickles; it is honey without wax.

Spiritual joys are SATISFYING joys. "Ask, that your
joy may be full." Worldly joys can no more fill the heart,
than a drop can fill an ocean! They may please the palate
or imagination--but cannot satisfy the soul. "No matter
how much we see--we are never satisfied. No matter
how much we hear--we are not content." Eccles. 1:8.
But the joys of God satisfy. "Your comforts delight my
soul." Psalm 94:19. There is as much difference between
spiritual joys and earthly joys--as between a banquet
which is eaten--and one which is painted on the wall!

Spiritual joys are STRONGER joys than worldly joys.
"Strong consolation." Hebrews 6:18. They are strong joys
indeed, which can bear up a Christian's heart in trials
and afflictions. "Having received the word in much
affliction--with joy." These joys are roses which grow
in winter!
These joys can sweeten the bitter waters of
Marah! He who has these joys--can gather grapes from
thorns, and fetch honey out of the carcass of a lion!
At the end of the rod--a Christian tastes honey! "As
sorrowing--yet always rejoicing."

Spiritual joys are UNWEARIED joys. Other joys, when
in excess, often cause loathing; too much honey nauseates.
One may be tired of pleasure--as well as labor. King Xerxes
offered a reward to him who could find out a new pleasure.
But the joys of God, though they satisfy--yet they never glut.
A drop of joy is sweet--but the more of this wine the better!
Such as drink of the joys of heaven--are never glutted. Their
satiety is without loathing, because they still desire more of
the joy with which they are satiated.

Spiritual joys are ABIDING joys. Worldly joys are soon
gone. Such as bathe in the perfumed waters of pleasure--
may have joys which seem to be sweet--but they are swift.
They are like meteors--which give a bright and sudden flash,
and then disappear. But the joys which believers have are
abiding; they are a blossom of eternity--a pledge of those
rivers of pleasure which run at God's right hand! "In Your
presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal
pleasures!" Psalm 16:11

If God gives His people such joy in this life, oh! then, what
glorious joy will He give them in heaven! "Enter into the joy
of your Lord!" God keeps His best wine until last. What joy
will that be--when the soul shall forever bathe itself in the
pure and pleasant fountain of God's love! What joy will that
be--to see the orient brightness of Christ's face, and have
the kisses of those lips which drop sweet-smelling myrrh!
How may this set us all longing for that place where sorrow
cannot live--and where joy cannot die!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

You have but a little way to go!

"Our salvation is nearer now than when we
 first believed." Romans 13:11

You are within a few days march of heaven!
Salvation is near to you. Christians, it is but a
little while, and you will be done weeping and
praying
--and be triumphing! You shall put off
your mourning garments--and put on white
robes! You shall put off your battle armor--and
put on a victorious crown! You are almost ready
to commence eternal glory!

When a man is almost at the end of a race--will
he tire, or faint away?
You have but a little
way to go
--and you will set your foot in heaven!
Though the way is uphill and full of thorns; yet
you have gone the greatest part of your way,
and shortly shall rest from your labors!

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father
 has been pleased to give you the kingdom!"
     Luke 12:32

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

For to me, to live is Christ

Paul was a great admirer of Christ. He desired to know
nothing but Christ, and Him crucified. "
For to me, to
live is Christ
and to die is gain!" Philippians 1:21

"For to me, to live is Christ." That is, "Christ is my life!"
Or thus, "My life is made up of Christ." As a wicked man's
life is made up of sin, so Paul's life was made up of Christ
--he was full of Christ. That I may give you the sense of
the text more fully, take it in these three particulars:

[1] "For to me, to live is Christ," that is--Christ is the
PRINCIPLE of my life.
I fetch my spiritual life from Christ,
as the branch fetches its sap from the root. "Christ lives in me."
Gal. 2:20. Jesus Christ sends forth life into me, to quicken me
to every holy action. Thus, Christ is the principle of my life;
from His fullness I live--as the branch lives from the root.

[2] "For to me, to live is Christ," that is--Christ is the
END of my life.
I live not for myself--but for Christ. All
my living, is to do service to Christ. "Whether we live, we
live unto the Lord." Rom. 14:8. We lay out ourselves wholly
for Christ. The design of our life is to exalt Christ, and to
make the crown upon His head flourish. In this sense, Christ
is the end of my life--when my whole life is a living for Christ.

[3] "For to me, to live is Christ," that is--Christ is the
JOY of my life.
Psalm 43:4, "God my exceeding joy,"
or the cream of my joy. A Christian can rejoice in Christ,
when worldly joys are gone. When the tulip in a garden
withers--a man still rejoices in his jewels which are locked
up in the house. Just so--when worldly joys are gone--a
saint can rejoice in Christ, the pearl of great price. In this
sense, Christ is the joy of my life--if Christ were gone, my
life would be a death to me.

"For to me, to live is Christ!" Christ is the principle of
my life, the end of my life, the joy of my life. If we can
say, "For to me, to live is Christ," we may comfortably
conclude, "and to die is gain!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A love letter sent to you from God

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."
     Colossians 3:16

STUDY the Scripture. It is a copy of God's will. Be
Scripture-men, Bible-Christians. Search the Scripture,
as for a vein of silver. This blessed Book will fill your
head with knowledge, and your heart with grace!

There is majesty sparkling in every line of Scripture.

There is a melody in Scripture. This is that blessed
harp which drives away sadness of spirit. How sweetly
does this harp of Scripture sound, what heavenly music
does it make in the ears of a distressed sinner, especially
when the finger of God's Spirit touches this instrument!

There is divinity in Scripture. It contains the marrow
and quintessence of true religion. It is a rock of diamonds,
a mystery of piety. The lips of Scripture have grace poured
into them. The Scripture speaks of faith, self-denial, and all
the graces which, as a chain of pearls, adorns a Christian.

Oh, then, search the Scripture! Had I the tongue of angels,
I could not sufficiently set forth the excellency of Scripture.
It is a spiritual telescope, in which we behold God's glory;
it is the tree of life, the oracle of wisdom, the rule of manners,
the heavenly seed of which the new creature is formed.

'The two Testaments,' says Austin, 'are the two breasts which
every Christian must suck, that he may get spiritual nourishment.'
These holy leaves of Scripture are for the healing of our souls.

The Scripture is profitable for all things. If we are deserted--
here is spiced wine that cheers the heavy heart; if we are
pursued by Satan--here is the sword of the Spirit to resist him;
if we are diseased with sin's leprosy--here are the waters of the
sanctuary, both to cleanse and cure. Oh, then, search the
Scriptures!

Read the Bible with reverence. Think, in every line you
read--that God is speaking to you. The ark wherein the
Word was put was overlaid with pure gold, and was carried
on bars, that the Levites might not touch it. Exodus 25:14.
Why was this--but to give reverence to the Word?

Read with seriousness. It is matter of life and death;
by this Word you must be tried and judged.

Read the Word with affection. Get your hearts quickened
with the Word. Labor that the Word may not only be a lamp
to direct--but a fire to warm. Read the Scripture, not only as
a history--but as
a love letter sent to you from God, which
may affect your hearts. Pray that the same Spirit who wrote
the Word may assist you in reading it; that God's Spirit would
show you the wonderful things of His law, so that the Word
will become effectual.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!

If God is infinite, see what a full portion the saints have.
They have Him who is infinite, for their portion! His fullness
is an infinite fullness; and He is infinitely sweet, as well as
infinitely full. He is infinitely full of beauty and of love. His
riches are called unsearchable, because they are infinite.
Stretch your thoughts as much as you can, there is that
in God which exceeds; it is an infinite fullness.

"Now to Him who is able to do
immeasurably more than
all we ask or imagine!
" Ephesians 3:20. What can an
ambitious person ask? He can ask crowns and kingdoms,
millions of worlds; but God can give more than we can ask,
nay, more than we can imagine, because He is infinite!

We can imagine--what if all the dust were turned to silver;
what if every flower were a ruby; what if every sand in the
sea were a diamond; yet God can give more than we can
imagine, because He is infinite. Oh, how rich are they
who have the infinite God for their portion!
Well
might David say, "Surely I have a delightful inheritance!"

We may go with the bee from flower to flower--but we shall
never have full satisfaction until we come to the infinite God!
Jacob said: "I have enough!" In the Hebrew it is, "I have all!"
because he had the infinite God for his portion!

God being an infinite fullness, there is no fear of lack for any
of the heirs of heaven. Though there are millions of saints and
angels who have a share in God's riches, yet He has enough
for them all--because He is infinite! Though a thousand men
behold the sun--there is light enough for them all. Put ever so
many buckets into the sea--there is water enough to fill them.
Though an innumerable company of saints and angels are to be
filled out of God's fullness, yet God, being infinite, has enough
to satisfy them. God has land enough to give to all His heirs.
There can be no lack, in that which is infinite.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Totus oculus

"Him who is perfect in knowledge." Job 37:16

God's knowledge is infallible; there is no mistake in
His knowledge. Human knowledge is subject to error.
A physician may mistake the treatment of a disease;
but God's knowledge is unerring. He can neither deceive,
nor be deceived. He cannot deceive--because He is
truth; nor be deceived--because He has infinite wisdom.

God's knowledge is instantaneous. Our knowledge is
successive--one thing after another. God knows things
past, present, and to come--at once. They are all
before Him in one entire prospect.

God's knowledge is retentive; He never loses any of His
knowledge; He remembers as well as understands. Many
things elapse out of our minds--but God's knowledge is
eternalized. Things transacted a thousand years ago,
are as fresh to Him as if they were done but the last
minute! Thus He is perfect in knowledge.

God is
totus oculus, "All eye!"

It ought to be so; for He is the "Judge of all the world."
There are so many causes to be brought before Him, and
so many people to be tried, that He must have a perfect
knowledge
--or He could not do justice. A human judge
cannot proceed without a jury; the jury must search the
cause, and give in the verdict. But God can judge without
a jury. He knows all things in and of Himself, and needs
no witnesses to inform Him. A human judge judges only
matters of fact--but God judges the heart! He not only
judges wicked actions--but wicked designs! He sees the
treason of the heart, and punishes it.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Enough to put them into a cold sweat!

The sinner takes liberty to sin; he breaks God's laws
with greediness, as if he could not sin fast enough.

Remember--the pleasures of sin are but for a season,
but the torments of the wicked are forever! Sinners
have a short feast--but a long reckoning!

"The smoke of their torment rises forever and ever,
 and they will have no relief day or night." Rev. 14:11

Here is thunder and lightning to the wicked. God
is eternal, therefore the torments of the wicked are
eternal! God lives forever; and as long as God lives,
He will be punishing the damned! Remember, one
of God's names is Eternal, and as long as God is
eternal, He has time enough to reckon with all
His enemies!

Origen erroneously thought, that after a thousand
years, the damned would be released out of their
misery. But the worm, the fire, the prison--are
all eternal. 

Eternity is a sea without bottom and banks. After
millions of years, there is not one minute in eternity
spent; and the damned must be ever burning--but
never consumed; always dying--but never dead.
"They shall seek death--but shall not find it."

The fire of hell is such, as multitudes of tears will
not quench it; and length of time will not finish it!
The vial of God's wrath will be always dropping upon
the sinner! As long as God is eternal, He lives to be
avenged upon the wicked.

Oh eternity! eternity! who can fathom it? Mariners
have their plummets to measure the depths of the
sea; but what line or plummet shall we use to fathom
the depth of eternity? The breath of the Lord kindles
the infernal lake, (Isaiah 30:33) where shall we get
buckets to quench that fire?

Oh eternity! If all the body of the earth and sea were
turned to sand, and all the air up to the starry heaven
were nothing but sand--and a little bird should come
every thousand years, and fetch away in her bill but
the tenth part of a grain of all that heap of sand; what
numberless years would be spent before that vast heap
of sand would be fetched away! Yet, if at the end of all
that time, the sinner might come out of hell--there would
be some hope. But that word "Forever" breaks the heart!

What a terror is this to the wicked--
enough to put
them into a cold sweat
--to think, as long as God is
eternal, He lives forever to be avenged upon them!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A divine chemistry

"For our momentary light affliction is producing
 for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight
 of glory!" 2 Corinthians 4:17

The wisdom of God is seen in making the most
desperate evils, work to the good of His children.
As several poisonous ingredients, wisely tempered
by the skill of the apothecary, make a sovereign
medicine--so God makes the most deadly afflictions
work together for the good of His children. He uses
severe afflictions to purify them, and prepare them
for heaven.

These hard frosts hasten the spring flowers of glory!
The wise God, by
a divine chemistry, turns our
afflictions into cordials. He makes His people gainers
by losses; and turns their crosses into blessings!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the belly

See the evil effects of sin!

Sin has degraded us of our honor. God made us in His
own image; but sin has debased us. Sin has plucked
off our coat of innocence, and now it has debased us,
and turned our glory into shame.

Sin disquiets the peace of the soul.
"But the wicked are
like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast
up mire and mud. "There is no peace," says my God, "for
the wicked." Isaiah 57:20-21. Whatever defiles, disturbs.
As poison corrupts the blood, so sin corrupts the soul. Sin
breeds a trembling at the heart; it creates fears, and there
is "torment in fear." Sin makes sad convulsions in the
conscience. Judas was so terrified with guilt and horror,
that he hanged himself to quiet his conscience. In order
to ease his conscience--he threw himself into hell.

Sin produces all temporal evil. It is the Trojan horse,
which has sword, and famine and pestilence, in its
belly. Sin is a coal, which not only blackens--but
burns. Sin creates all our troubles; it puts gravel into
our bread, and wormwood in our cup. Sin rots the
name, consumes the estate, buries loved ones.

Sin unrepented of, brings final damnation. The canker
which breeds in the rose is the cause of its perishing;
just so--the corruptions which breed in men's souls are
the cause of their damning. Sin's pleasure will turn to
sorrow at last; like the book the prophet ate--
sweet
in the mouth, but bitter in the belly
. Sin brings
the wrath of God--what tears can quench that fire?

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A dish which men cannot refrain from

"How long will you love vanity?" Psalm 4:2

How strange it is, that anyone should love such a deadly
evil as sin! Sin is
a dish which men cannot refrain from,
though it makes them sick. What pity it is, that so sweet an
affection as love, should be poured upon so filthy a thing as
sin! Sin brings a sting in the conscience, and a curse in the
estate; yet men love it. A sinner is the greatest self-denier;
for his sin he will deny himself a part in heaven.

Do anything rather than sin. Oh, hate sin! There is more evil
in the least sin--than in the greatest bodily evils which can
befall us. There is more evil in a drop of sin--than in a sea of
affliction! Affliction is like a rip in a coat--but sin a stab at the
heart! In affliction there is some good--in this lion there is
some honey to be found. "It is good for me that I was afflicted."
Psalm 119:71. "Affliction is God's flail to thresh off our husks.
Affliction does not consume--but refines." (Augustine) But there
is no good in sin; it is the quintessence of evil. Sin is worse than
hell; for the pains of hell are a burden to the creature only; but
sin is a burden to God!

Is sin so great an evil? Then how thankful should you be to God,
if He has taken away your sin! "I have taken away your sins."
Zech. 3:4. If you had a disease on your body--how thankful would
you be to have it taken away! Much more to have sin taken away.
God takes away the guilt of sin by pardoning grace, and the power
of sin by mortifying grace.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The devil's workshop

"The human heart is most deceitful and desperately
 wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" Jer. 17:9

Sin has defiled the heart. The heart is deadly wicked.
It is a lesser hell. In the heart are legions of lusts,
obdurateness, infidelity, hypocrisy, sinful lusts. It boils
as the sea--with passion and revenge. "The hearts of
men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness
in their hearts while they live." Ecclesiastes 9:3. The
heart is
the devil's workshop, where all mischief is
framed.

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The effectual call

"Those He predestined, He also called." Romans 8:30

The cause of the effectual call is God's electing love.
It is not because some are more worthy to partake
of the heavenly calling than others. What worthiness
is in us? What worthiness was there in Mary Magdalene,
out of whom seven devils were cast? What worthiness
in the Corinthians, before God called them by His gospel?
They were "idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes,
homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers,
and swindlers." 1 Cor. 6:9-10. Before effectual calling,
we are not only "without strength," but "enemies to
God." So that the foundation of effectual calling is
election--and not merit.

The effectual call is powerful. God puts forth infinite
power in calling home a sinner to Himself. He not only
puts forth His voice--but His arm! He conquers the pride
of the heart, and makes the stubborn will, to yield and
stoop to His grace; He makes the stony heart bleed.
The effectual call is mighty and powerful. God puts forth
a divine energy, nay, a kind of omnipotence; it is such
a powerful call, that the will of man has no power
effectually to resist.

Consider what you were before God called you! "You
were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins!"

Ephesians 2:1. When God called Paul, he found him
persecuting; when he called Zacchaeus, he found him
using extortion. When God calls a man by His grace, He
finds him seeking after his lusts; as when Saul was called
to the kingdom, he was seeking the donkeys. Admire
God's love, exalt His praise--that He should call you
when you were in the hot pursuit of sin!

What mercy is this--that God should call you, and pass
by others! "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in
Your sight!" That God should pass by wise and noble
people; or people of sweeter disposition, better morals,
greater abilities, guilty of less vice--and that the lot of
free grace should fall upon you--oh, the astonishing
love of God!

As God so governs the clouds, that He makes them
rain upon one place, and not upon another--just so,
at a sermon the Lord opens the heart of one, and
another is no more affected with it than a deaf man
with the sound of music! Here the banner of free
grace
is displayed!

When two are living together--husband and wife, or
father and child--that God should call one by His grace,
and leave the other in his sins, and let the other perish
eternally--oh infinite rich grace! How should they that
are called be affected with God's sovereign love! How
should the vessels of mercy run over with thankfulness!
Such as are trophies of mercy, should be trumpeters of
praise. Thus Paul, being effectually called by God, and
seeing what a debtor he was to free grace, breaks forth
into admiration and gratitude, "Thanks be to God for
His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

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There are many roaring devils around us!

There is nothing that more troubles a child of God, than
that he fears he shall never hold out. "These weak legs
of mine," he says, "will never carry me to heaven." But

he is kept by the power of God! Once in Christ--forever
in Christ. A believer may fall from some degrees of grace;
but not from the state of grace.

How despairing is the Arminian doctrine of falling from
grace!
Today a saint--tomorrow a reprobate; today a
Peter--tomorrow a Judas! This is like boring a hole in
a vessel--to make all the wine of his joy run out. Were
the Arminian doctrine true, what comfort would it be--to
have one's name written in the book of life--if it might
be blotted out again? But be assured, for your comfort,
that grace--if it is true--though ever so weak, shall
persevere.

"Who are kept by the power of God through
 faith unto salvation." 1 Peter 1:5


See whence it is--that believers persevere in holiness.
It is to be ascribed solely to the power of God. It is
a wonder that any Christian perseveres, if you consider:

(1.) Corruption within. There is more sin than grace;
yet grace is habitually predominant. Grace is like a
spark in the sea--it is a wonder that it is not quenched!
It is a wonder that sin does not destroy grace.

(2.) Temptations without. Satan envies us happiness,
and he raises his militia, and stirs up persecution. He
shoots his fiery darts of temptations--which are called
darts for their swiftness, fiery for their terribleness. We
are every day beset with devils! As it was a wonder that
Daniel was kept alive in the midst of the roaring lions,
so there are many roaring devils around us--and
yet we are not torn in pieces! Now, whence is it, that
we stand against these powerful temptations? We are
kept by the power of God!

(3.) The world's old snares--riches and pleasure.
How many have been shipwrecked upon these golden
rocks! "Demas has deserted me, because he loved this
present world." 2 Timothy 4:10

What a wonder any persevere in holiness--that the earth
does not choke the fire of all holy affections! Whence is
this, but from the power of God? We are kept by His power.


"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. My Father, who
 has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able
 to snatch them out of the Fatherís hand!" John 10:27-29

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Losers!

"The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but
 the expectations of the wicked are all in vain."
    Proverbs 10:28


See the great difference between the death of
the godly and the wicked. The godly are great
gainers at death--but the wicked are great
losers at death. They lose four things:

(1.) They lose the world; and that is a great
loss to the wicked. They laid up their treasure
upon earth, and to be turned out of it all at
once is a great loss.

(2.) They lose their souls. Matthew 16:26-27.
The soul is more precious than the whole world!
But the sinner's soul is lost; not that the souls
of the wicked are annihilated at death--but
tormented!

(3.) They lose heaven. Heaven is the region
of happiness and perfection.

(4.) They lose all hope. Though they lived wickedly,
they hoped God would be merciful, and they hoped
they would go to heaven. Their hope was not an
anchor--but a spider's web! At death they lose their
hopes, and see they did but flatter themselves into
hell! "Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so
perishes the hope of the godless. What he trusts in
is fragile; what he relies on is a spider's web."
Job 8:13-14. It is dreadful to have life and hope
cut off together!

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

 "The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
 but the hope of the wicked only in wrath."
     Proverbs 11:23

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The best friend!

"Man is born to trouble." Job 5:7

He is heir to trouble, it is his birthright. You may as well separate weight from lead, as trouble from the life of man.


Death frees a believer from all the troubles and encumbrances to which this life is subject. "Sin is the seed sown--and trouble is the harvest reaped!" Euripides. Life and trouble are married together. There is more in life to trouble us, than to tempt us! Parents divide a portion of sorrow to their children, and yet leave enough for themselves.

King Henry's emblem was a crown hung in a bush of thorns. There is a far greater proportion of bitterness, than pleasure in this life. "I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon." Proverbs 7:17. For one sweet ingredient there were two bitter; for the sweet cinnamon, there were bitter myrrh and aloes.

A man's grace will not exempt him from troubles. "My years have been few and difficult." Genesis 47:9. Thus said a godly patriarch, though he had met with God. "I have seen God face to face!" and yet he had his troubles. There are many things to embitter life and cause trouble--but death frees us from them all!

(1.) Death frees a believer from CARE. The mind is full of perplexed thoughts--how to bring about such a design; or how to prevent such an evil. The Greek word for care comes from a primitive in the Greek, which signifies, to cut the heart in pieces. Care torments the mind; wastes the spirits. Care is a spiritual canker, which eats out the comfort of life. Death is its only cure!

(2.) Death frees a believer from FEAR. Fear is the epilepsy of the soul, which sets it shaking. "There is torment in fear." Fear is like Prometheus' vulture gnawing the heart. There is a mistrustful fear--a fear of lack; and a distracting fear--a fear of danger; and a discouraging fear--a fear that God does not love us. These fears leave dreadful impressions upon the mind. But at death, a believer is freed from these torturing fears! He is as far from fear--as the damned are from hope. The grave buries a Christian's fear!

(3.) Death frees a believer from LABOR. "All things are wearisome, more than one can say." Eccl. 1:8. Some labor with their bodies--others with their minds. God has made a law, "In the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread." But death gives a believer a quietus--it takes him off from his hard labor. "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord: they rest from their labors." They no longer need to work--for they have entered upon their reward! They no longer need to fight--for they have the crown set on their head! "They rest from their labors."

(4.) Death frees a believer from SUFFERING. Believers are as a lily among thorns; or as the dove among vultures. The wicked have an antipathy against them; and secret hatred will often break forth into open violence. "He who was born after the flesh, persecuted him who was born after the Spirit." The dragon is described with seven heads and ten horns. Rev. 12:3. He plots with the seven heads, and pushes with the ten horns. But at death, the godly shall be freed from the molestations of the wicked! They shall never more be pestered with these vermin! "There the wicked cease from troubling." Job 3:17. Death does to a believer, as Joseph of Arimathea did to Christ--it takes him down from the cross. The eagle which flies high, cannot be stung with the serpent. Death gives the soul the wings of an eagle--to fly above all the venomous serpents here below!

(5.) Death frees a believer from TEMPTATION. Though Satan is a conquered enemy--yet he is a restless enemy. "Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour." 1 Peter 5:8. He prowls about--he is always going about his diocese. He has his snares and his darts! One he tempts with riches, another with beauty. It is a great trouble to be continually followed with temptations; it is as bad as for a virgin to have her chastity daily assaulted. But death will free a child of God from temptation, so that he shall never again be vexed with the old serpent! After death has shot its dart--the devil will be done shooting his! Grace puts a believer out of the devil's possession--but only death frees him from the devil's temptation!

(6.) Death frees a believer from SORROW. A cloud of sorrow often gathers in the heart--and drops into tears! "My life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing." It was part of the curse, "In sorrow you shall bring forth." Gen. 3:16. Many things occasion sorrow: sickness, lawsuits, treachery of friends, disappointment of hopes, and loss of estate. "Don't call me Naomi (that is, pleasant). Instead, call me Mara (that is, bitter), for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me." Ruth 1:20.

Sorrow is the evil spirit which haunts us! "The people wept loudly. So they named that place Bochim (that is, weeping)." Judges 2:4-5. The world is a Bochim! Rachel wept for her children; some grieve that they have no children, and others grieve that their children are unkind. Thus we spend our years with sighing. The world is a valley of tears! But death is the funeral of all our sorrows! "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes!" Rev. 7:17. Then Christ's spouse puts off her mourning garments; for "how can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?" Matt, 9:15. Thus death gives a believer his quietus--it frees him from sin and trouble. "The last enemy to be destroyed is death." 1 Corinthians 15:26. Though the apostle calls death the last enemy--yet it is the best friend! "To me to die is gain!"

See here that which may make a true saint willing to die. Death will set him out of gunshot, and free him from sin and trouble! There is no cause for weeping--to leave a valley of tears--to leave the stage on which sin and misery are acted. Believers are here in a strange country, why then should they not be willing to leave it? Death beats off their fetters of sin, and sets them free! Who goes weeping--when released from a jail?

Besides our own sins, there are the sins of others. The world is a place where Satan's throne is; a place where we see God daily dishonored. Lot, who was a bright star in a dark night, felt his righteous soul tormented with the filthy lives of the wicked. 2 Peter 2:7. To see God's truths adulterated, and His glory eclipsed--wounds a godly heart. It made David cry out, "Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar." Kedar was Arabia, where Ishmael's posterity lived. It was a cut to David's heart to dwell there. O then, be willing to depart out of the tents of Kedar!

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The sweetest hours

Be exhorted to prize the written Word.

"I have treasured the words of His mouth
 more than my daily bread." Job 23:12

David valued the Word more than gold.

The Word is the field where Christ the pearl
of great price is hidden! In this sacred mine
we dig, not for a wedge of gold--but for a
weight of glory! The Scripture is a sacred
eye-salve to illuminate us. Prov. 6:63, 'The
commandment is a lamp, and the law is light.'
The Scripture is the chart and compass by
which we sail to the new Jerusalem.

The Word is a sovereign cordial in all distresses.
What are the promises, but the water of life to
renew fainting spirits? Is it sin which troubles
you? Here is a Scripture cordial.

Do outward afflictions disquiet you? Here is
a Scripture cordial. Psalm 91:15, 'I will be
with him in trouble, I will deliver him.' Thus,
as manna was laid up in the ark, so promises
are laid up in the ark of Scripture.

The Scripture will make us wise. Wisdom is
above rubies. Ps. 119:104, 'By Your precepts
I get understanding.' The Scriptures teach a
man to know himself. They unmask Satan's
snares and stratagems. 2 Cor. 2:2. 'They
make one wise to salvation.' 2 Tim. 3:15.
They show us the way to the heavenly
kingdom.

David counted the Word 'more desirable than
gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter
than honey, even honey dripping from the
comb.' Psalm 19:10. There is that in Scripture
which may breed delight. Well then may we
count those the sweetest hours, which are
spent in reading the holy Scriptures; well may
we say with the prophet, 'Your words were
found, and I ate them. Your words became
a delight to me and the joy of my heart.'
Jeremiah 15:16


Oh, then, highly prize the Scriptures.

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True 'holy water'

"True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit
 and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the
 Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers
 must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:23-24

See how God is delighted with spiritual worship.
This is the savory meat which God loves. How few
mind this! They give Him more dregs than souls;
they think it enough to bring their duties, but not
their hearts!

To worship God in spirit, is to worship Him without
ceremonies. The ceremonies of the law, which God
Himself ordained, are now abrogated, and out of date.
Christ the substance being come, the shadows fly away;
and therefore the apostle calls the legal ceremonies,
carnal rites.

To worship God in spirit, is to worship Him with the
utmost zeal and intenseness of soul. The more spiritual
any service is--the more excellent it is. The spiritual
part of duty is the fat of the sacrifice: it is the soul
and quintessence of true religion. It is not pomp of
worship--but purity, which God accepts.

Repentance is not in the outward severities used to
the body--such as penance, fasting, and chastising
the body--but it consists in the sacrifice of a broken
heart. The true 'holy water' is not that which the
pope sprinkles--but is distilled from the penitent eye.


Thanksgiving does not stand in church-music, the
melody of an organ--but rather in making melody
in the heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:19.

Prayer is not the tuning of the voice into a heartless
confession, or counting over a few prayer beads;
but it consists in sighs and groans, Romans 8:26.
When the fire of fervency is put to the incense of
prayer
--then it ascends as a sweet fragrance to God.

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They are never out of His eye

God is infinite. He fills all places, and is everywhere
present. This is dreadful to the wicked. God is their
enemy, and they cannot escape Him, nor flee from
Him--for He is everywhere present! They are never
out of His eye
, nor out of His reach. "Your hand shall
find out all your enemies." What caves or thickets can
men hide in--that God cannot find them? Go where
they will--He is present.

"Where shall I flee from Your presence?" If a man owes
a debt to another he may make his escape, and flee into
another land, where the creditor cannot find him. "But
where shall I flee from Your presence?" God is infinite,
He is in all places; so that He will find out His enemies
and punish them!

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The diamond in the ring!

God is eternal, therefore He lives forever to reward the
godly. "To those who seek for glory and honor, eternal
life." The people of God are now in a suffering condition.
The wicked are clad in purple, and fare deliciously, while
the godly suffer. The goats climb upon high mountains,
while Christ's sheep are in the valley of slaughter. But
here is the comfort--God is eternal, and He has appointed
eternal recompenses for the saints. In heaven are fresh
delights, and sweetness without excess. That which is
the crown and zenith of heaven's happiness, is--that it
is "eternal." Were there but the least suspicion that this
glory must cease, it would much eclipse, yes, embitter it;
but it is eternal. "An eternal weight of glory."

What angel can span eternity? The saints shall bathe
themselves in the rivers of divine pleasure; and these
rivers can never be dried up. "At Your right hand are
pleasures for evermore." This is the highest strain in
the apostle's rhetoric--"Forever with the Lord!"
In heaven, there is . . .
  peace without trouble,
  ease without pain,
  glory without end!

Let this comfort the saints in all their troubles; their
sufferings are but short--but their reward is eternal!

Eternity makes heaven to be heaven! Eternity is the
diamond in the ring!
Oh blessed day, which shall have
no night! The sunlight of glory shall rise upon the soul,
and never set!

The saints' crown is eternal, "You shall receive a crown
of glory, which never fades away!" The wicked have a
never-dying worm; and the godly a never-fading crown!
Oh how should this be a spur to virtue! How willing
should we be to work for God! Though we have nothing
here on earth, God has time enough to reward His people.
The crown of eternity shall be set upon their head!

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A good antidote against sin


Thoughts of eternal torments, are a good
antidote against sin
. Sin tempts with its
pleasure; but when we think of eternity, it
may cool the intemperate heat of lust. Shall
I, for the pleasure of sin for a season--endure
eternal pain? Shall I venture eternal wrath?
Is sin committed so sweet--as lying in hell
forever is bitter? This thought would make
us flee from sin, as from a serpent!

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What a strong appetite!

"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one
 man, and death through sin, and in this way death
 came to all men, because all sinned." Romans 5:12

Not only is the guilt of Adam's sin imputed to us--but
the depravity and corruption of his nature is transmitted
to us, as poison is carried from the fountain to the cistern.
This is that which we call original sin. "In sin did my mother
conceive me." Psalm 51:5. Adam's leprosy cleaves to us, as
Naaman's leprosy did to Gehazi. 2 Kings 5:27.

Sin has contaminated and defiled our virgin nature. Sin has
poisoned the spring of our nature, it has turned beauty into
leprosy; it has turned the azure brightness of our souls, into
midnight darkness.

In sin there is an aversion from good. Man has a desire to be
happy--yet opposes that which would promote his happiness.
He has a disgust of holiness, he hates to be reformed. Since
we fell from God, we have no mind to return to Him.

We have a propensity to evil. Men roll sin as honey under their
tongue. "They drink iniquity as water," Job 15:16. They thirst
for sin. Though they are tired out in committing sin--yet they
sin. "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over
to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a
continual lust for more." Ephesians 4:19. "They weary themselves
to commit iniquity"; as a man who follows his game while he is
weary--yet delights in it, and cannot leave it off. Jer. 9:5. Though
God has set so many flaming swords in the way to stop men in
their sin--yet they go on in it; which all shows what a strong
appetite
they have to the forbidden fruit.

Consider the universality of sin. It has, as poison, diffused itself
into all the parts and powers of the soul. "The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart is faint." Isa. 1:5. Like a sick patient, that has
no part sound, his liver is swelled, his feet are gangrened, his
lungs are withered. Such infected, gangrened souls we have;
until Christ, who has made a medicine of His blood, cures us!

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Three keys

Christ has three keys in His hand--
the key of the grave, to open the graves
    of men at the resurrection;
the key of heaven, to open the kingdom
    of heaven to whomever He will;
the key of hell, to lock up the damned
    in that fiery prison!

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The diamond in the ring

"For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for
 His children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure
 and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and
 decay!" 1 Peter 1:4

But that which is the diamond in the ring, the glory
of this inheritance--is the eternal sight and fruition of
the blessed God! The sight of God will be a most alluring,
heart-ravishing object! "We shall see Him as He is!" Oh,
what will it be to see Him in glory, shining ten thousand
times brighter than the sun! And not only see Him--but
enjoy Him forever! All this blessedness, has Christ
purchased for us, through His death on the cross!

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He turns the wolf into a lamb


The whole world is divided into two classes--
the sons of God, and the heirs of hell.

"He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through
 Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will."
     Ephesians 1:5

Adoption is a mercy spun out of the affections of free
grace. All by nature are strangers to God, therefore
have no right to sonship. God is pleased to adopt one,
and not another; to make one a vessel of glory--
another a vessel of wrath!

God adopts us from a state of sin and misery. He
adopts us from slavery; it is a mercy to redeem
a slave--but it is more to adopt him!

It would be much for God to take a clod of dust--and
make it into a star. But it is more for Him to take a
piece of clay and sin
--and adopt it for His heir!

God adopts all His sons to a glorious inheritance.
"It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the
kingdom!" Adoption ends in coronation! The
kingdom God gives to His adopted sons and
heirs, excels all earthly kingdoms.

All whom God adopts as His sons--He makes saints.
Those whom God adopts--He sanctifies. He not only
gives a new name--but a new nature. He turns the
wolf into a lamb
; He makes the heart humble and
gracious.


See the amazing love of God, in making us His sons.
It is love in God to feed us--but more to adopt us!

God did not adopt us when we were bespangled with
the jewels of holiness--but when we were deformed
with sin, and diseased as lepers!

It is amazing that God should adopt His enemies!
For God to have pardoned His enemies would have
been much; but to adopt them for His heirs--this
astonishes the angels in heaven! All this proclaims
the wonder of God's love in adopting us.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on
 us, that we should be called children of God! And
 that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Evangelical obedience

A true Christian not only believes God's promise--but
obeys His command.  When God says "Do not drink
from sin's enchanted cup," the believer says, "my
heavenly Father has commanded me--and I dare
not drink!"

Obedience must have the Word of God for its rule. This
is the touchstone. "To the law and to the testimony!" If
our obedience is not according to the Word, it is offering
up strange fire; and God will say, "Who has required this
at your hand?" Child-like obedience is that which is
consistent with our Father's revealed will.

Obedience must be done from a right principle, from
the noble principle of faith. "The obedience of faith."
A crab-tree may bear fruit fair to the eye--but it is sour
because it does not come from a good root. A moral
person may give God outward obedience, which to the
eyes of others may seem glorious; but his obedience is
sour because it comes not from the sweet and pleasant
root of faith. A child of God gives Him the obedience of
faith, and that meliorates and sweetens his services.

All God's commands have the same stamp of divine
authority upon them. If I obey one precept because
my heavenly Father commands me, by the same rule
I must obey all. A child of God obeys one command,
as well as another. "I have respect unto all Your
commandments." To obey God in some things--and
not in others, shows an unsound heart. Child-like
obedience moves towards every command of God,
as the needle points that way which the magnet draws.
If God calls to duties which are cross to flesh and blood,
if we are children--we shall still obey our Father. "I have
kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey
Your Word."

Though a believer cannot obey every precept perfectly;
yet he does evangelically. He approves of every command.
"I consent to the law, that it is good." He delights in every
command. "O how love I Your law!" His desire is to obey
every command. "Oh, that my ways were steadfast in
obeying Your decrees!" Wherein he comes short--he
looks up to Christ's blood to supply his defects. This is
evangelical obedience; which, though we are not
satisfied with it, God accepts it.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Satan's picture!

"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 2:13-14


Jesus Christ has died for our sanctification. Christ shed
His blood to wash off our impurity. The cross was both
an altar and a laver. Christ died, not only to save
us from wrath--but from sin!

"Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all
 you do; for it is written--Be holy, because I am holy."
    1 Peter 1:15-16

Sanctification makes us resemble God. It was Adam's
sin--that he aspired to be like God in omniscience; but
we must endeavor to be like Him in sanctity. It is a holy
heart--in which something of God can be seen. Nothing
of God can be seen in an unsanctified man--but you may
see Satan's picture in him! Envy is the devil's eye,
hypocrisy his cloven foot; but nothing of God's image
can be seen in him.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Feathers fly up--but gold descends!

True assurance of salvation, always keeps the
heart in a lowly posture. "Lord," says the soul,
"what am I, that, passing by so many others, the
golden beams of Your love should shine upon me?"

Paul had assurance. Is he proud of this jewel? No!
"To me who am less than the least of all saints."
The more love a Christian receives from God, the
more he sees himself a debtor to free grace; and
the sense of his debt keeps his heart humble!

But presumption is bred from pride. He who presumes,
thinks himself better than others. "The proud Pharisee
stood by himself and prayed this prayer: I thank You,
God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else,
especially like that tax collector over there! For I
never cheat, I don't sin, I don't commit adultery,
I fast twice a week, and I give You a tenth of my
income." Luke 18:11-12.

Feathers fly up--but gold descends!
Just so, the
heart of him who has this golden assurance, descends
in humility. Pride estranges God from the soul. Be low
in humility. Paul had assurance, and he baptized
himself with the name, "chief of sinners!" The jewel of
assurance
is best kept in the cabinet of a humble heart.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

To die is gain!

As the wicked have a worm which never dies,
so the elect have an unfading crown of glory.
'Forever' is a short word--but it has no end.


"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!"
    Philippians 1:21

To show fully what a believer's gains are at death,
would be a task too great for an angel; all hyperboles
fall short of it; the reward of glory exceeds our
imagination.

Believers at death, shall bid an eternal farewell to
all sins and troubles. They shall be in a state of
impeccability. Sin expires with their life. I think
sometimes what a happy state that will be, never
to have another sinful thought, and to have a
quietus from all troubles. Here David cried out,
"My life is spent with griefs, and my years with
sighing." "Long life is merely long torment," said
Augustine.

Life begins with a cry, and ends with a groan; but
at death all troubles die. How delightful will it be,
to be freed from all our sinful corruptions, pride,
envy, passion and censoriousness--which as scars,
disfigured us here!

Believers at death, shall gain the glorious sight of
God. The sight of God will be very delightful; for
the terror of God's essence will be taken away; His
majesty will be mixed with beauty, and sweetened
with mercy. It will be infinitely delightful to the
saints, to see the amiable aspects and smiles of
God's face.

The saints at death shall not only have a sight of
God--but shall enjoy His love. There shall be no
more a veil on God's face, nor shall His smiles be
chequered with frowns--but His love shall discover
itself in all its orient beauty and fragrant sweetness.
Here the saints pray for His love, and they have a
few drops; but there they shall have as much as
their vessels can receive. To know the love that
passes knowledge, will cause a jubilation of spirit,
and create such holy raptures of joy in the saints,
as are superlative, and would soon overwhelm them,
if God did not make them able to bear it.

Forever in Christ's bosom is the highest strain
of the saint's glory!
We should be ambitious of
being with Christ. "I desire to depart and be with
Christ, which is better by far!" Phil. 1:23. We should
be content to live--but willing to die. Is it not a
blessed thing to be freed from sin, and to lie forever
in the bosom of divine love? Does not the bride desire
the marriage day, especially if she has the prospect of
a crown? What is the place we now live in--but a place
of banishment from God? We are in a wilderness! Here
we are combating with Satan--should we not desire to
be out of the bloody field, where the bullets of temptation
fly fast--and receive a victorious crown? Think what it will
be, to have always a smiling look from Christ's face! to be
brought into the banqueting-house, and have the banner
of His love displayed over us! O you saints, desire death--
it is your ascension-day to heavenly glory!

"Always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to
 share the inheritance that belongs to God's holy
 people, who live in the light. For He has rescued us
 from the domain of darkness, and He has brought
 us into the Kingdom of His dear Son." Colos. 1:12-13

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Miser ego homo!

Death frees a believer from sin. There are in the best
believers, the remnants of sin--some remainders and
relics of corruption. "O wretched man who I am! who
shall deliver me from this body of death?" By the body
of death is meant the mass and lump of sin. It may
well be called a body--for its weightiness; and a body
of death for its harmfulness.

(1.) Sin weighs us down. Sin hinders us from doing good.
Like a bird that would be flying up--but has a chain tied
to its legs to hinder it--a Christian would be flying up to
heaven with the wings of desire--but sin hinders him!
He is like a ship under sail, and at anchor! Grace would
sail forward--but sin is the anchor that holds it back!

(2.) Sin is more active in its sphere, than grace. How
stirring was lust in David, when his grace lay dormant!

(3). Sin sometimes gets the mastery, and leads a saint
captive. "For what I do is not the good I want to do;
no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing."
Romans 7:19. Paul was like a man carried down the
stream, and could not bear up against it. How often is
a child of God overpowered with pride and passion!
Therefore Paul calls sin, "a law at work in the members
of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and
making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my
members." Romans 7: 23. Sin binds as a law; it has a kind
of jurisdiction over the soul, as Caesar had over the senate.

(4.) Sin defiles the soul. Like a stain to beauty--sin
turns the soul's azure brightness into darkness.

(5.) Sin debilitates us, disarms us of our strength. "I am this
day weak, though anointed king." Though a saint is crowned
with grace, and anointed a spiritual king--he is weak.

(6.) Sin is ever restless. "The flesh lusts against the spirit."
Galatians 5:17. Sin is an inmate that is always quarreling--it
will never be quiet.

(7.) Sin adheres to us, we cannot get rid of it. It may be
compared to a wild fig-tree growing on a wall, the roots of
which are pulled up--but some fibers of it are left in the
joints of the stone-work, which cannot be gotten out.

(8.) Sin mingles with our duties and graces. It makes
a child of God weary of his life, and makes him water his
couch with his tears--to think that sin is so strong an
inhabitant, and that he often offends the God he loves.
This made Paul cry out, Miser ego homo! "Oh, what a
miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life
that is dominated by sin?" Romans 7:24. He did not cry
out because of his affliction, or his prison-chains--but
for the body of sin!

Now a believer at death is freed from sin! He shall never
again have a vain, proud thought! He shall never again
grieve the Spirit of God! Sin brought death into the world
--and death shall carry sin out of the world.

The Persians had a certain day in the year in which they
killed all serpents and venomous creatures; such a day will
the day of death be to a believer. Death will destroy all his
sins--which, like so many serpents, have stung him! Death
smites a believer as the angel did Peter--and made his
chains fall off. Acts 12:7.

Believers at death are made perfect in holiness. "The spirits
of just men made perfect." At death the souls of believers
recover their virgin purity. Oh! what a blessed privilege is
this--to be without spot or wrinkle; to be purer than the
sunbeams; to be as free from sin as the angels! This makes
a believer desirous to have his passport, and to be gone
from his sin! He would gladly live in that pure air, where
no black vapors of sin arise!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Seven eyes and an iron rod

"The Father has committed all judgment
 to the Son." John 5:22

He who once hung upon the cross--shall sit upon the
throne of judgment! He is of infinite knowledge to
understand all causes brought before Him; and of
infinite
power to execute offenders. He is described
with seven eyes, Zech. 3:9, to denote His wisdom;
and an iron rod, Psalm 2:9, to denote His power.

He is so wise that He cannot be deceived,
and so strong that He cannot be resisted.

This will be terrible to the wicked. How can a guilty
prisoner endure the sight of the judge? The Lamb
of God will then be turned into a Lion, the sight of
whom will strike terror into sinners. They, being
convicted, will be speechless. Then follows the
dismal sentence: "Depart from Me, you cursed ones,
into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his
angels!"--a dreadful, but a righteous sentence. The
sinner himself shall cry, "Guilty!" Though he has a
sea of wrath--he has not one drop of injustice.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

My sheep

"My sheep hear My voice; I know them, and
 they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and
 they shall never perish." John 10:27-28

"My sheep"--there is election.

"Hear My voice"--there is effectual calling.

"I know them"--there is justification.

"They follow Me"--there is sanctification.

"I give them eternal life"--there is glorification.

"They shall never perish"--there is preservation.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The devil's peace

"There is no peace," says my God, "for the
 wicked." Isaiah 57:21

The wicked may have something which looks like peace;
but it is not. They only have a stupefied conscience. This
is the devil's peace. He rocks men to sleep in the cradle
of carnal security; he cries, "Peace, peace!" when men
are on the precipice of hell. The seeming peace, which
a sinner has, arises from the ignorance of his danger.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The very hinge and pillar of Christianity

Justification is an act of God's free grace, whereby
He pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous
in His sight--only for the righteousness of Christ,
imputed to us, and received by faith alone. By
Christ's death and merits, God's justice is more
abundantly satisfied than if we had suffered the
pains of hell forever.

Justification is the very hinge and pillar of Christianity.
An error about justification is dangerous, like a defect
in a foundation. Justification by Christ is a spring of the
water of life. To have the poison of corrupt doctrine cast
into this spring is damnable.

God, in justifying a person, pronounces him to be
righteous, and looks upon him as if he had not sinned.

The cause, the motive or ground of justification, is the
free grace of God: "being justified freely by his grace."
The first wheel that sets all the rest running, is the love
and favor of God; as a king freely pardons a delinquent.
Justification is a mercy spun out of the affections of free
grace. God does not justify us because we are worthy;
but by justifying us makes us worthy.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Redeemed

A justified person is redeemed from the guilt of sin
--though not the stain of sin. Christ has redeemed a
justified person from the guilt of sin; He has discharged
his debts. Christ says to God's justice, as Paul to Philemon,
"If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything
--charge that to My account."

A justified person is redeemed from the power and
dominion
of sin--though not from the presence of sin.
Sin may rage in a child of God--but not reign.
Lust
raged in David, and fear in Peter--but it did not
reign; they recovered themselves by repentance. "Sin
shall not have dominion over you." Sin lives in a child
of God--but is deposed from the throne; it lives not as
a king--but a captive.

A justified person is redeemed from the curse due to sin.
"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being
made a curse for us." Gal. 3:13. Christ said to His Father,
as Rebecca to Jacob, "Upon Me, upon Me be the curse; let
the blessing be upon them--but upon Me be the curse."

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The sum and quintessence of the gospel!

Jesus Christ is the sum and quintessence of the
gospel!
He is the wonder of angels; and the joy and
triumph of saints. The name of Christ is sweet--it is as
music in the ear, honey in the mouth, and a cordial at
the heart!

"His name shall be called Jesus." Matthew 1:21. The word
for JESUS signifies a Savior; and whom He saves from hell,
He saves from sin. Where Christ is a Savior, He is a sanctifier.
There is no other Savior. "Neither is there salvation in any
other." Acts 4:12. As there was but one ark to save the
world from drowning--so there is but one Jesus to save
sinners from damning.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Minerva's eyes were upon him

God's glory lies chiefly in his attributes, which are the
several beams by which the divine nature shines forth.

"The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions
are weighed." Among other of his orient excellencies,
this is not the least--"the Lord is a God of knowledge."
He has a full idea and cognizance of all things; the
world is to Him a transparent body.

He makes a heart-anatomy. "I am He who searches
the thoughts and the heart." The clouds are no canopy,
the night is no curtain--to draw between us and His sight.
"Even in darkness I cannot hide from You. To You the
night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are
both alike to You."

There is not a word we whisper but God hears it.
"There is not a word in my tongue--but lo, O Lord,
You know it altogether." There is not the most subtle
thought
that comes into our mind--but God perceives
it. "I know their thoughts." Thoughts speak as loud in
God's ears--as words do in ours. All our actions,
though ever so subtly contrived, and secretly conducted,
are visible to the eye of Omniscience. "I know their works."
Achan hid the Babylonish garment in the earth--but God
brought it to light. Minerva was so lively painted, that
whichever way one turned, Minerva's eyes were upon
him
. Just so, whichever way we turn ourselves, God's
eye is upon us!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Baptized heathen?

"The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its
 masterís feeding-trough, but Israel does not
 know; My people do not understand." Isaiah 1:3

Are there not many in our churches, who
are no better than baptized heathen?

Ignorance is the nurse of impiety.

Where ignorance reigns in the understanding,
lust rages in the affections. When people's minds
are covered with ignorance, it is a fatal forerunner
of destruction.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Blown to hell!

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness'
before men, to be seen by them." Matthew 6:1

Many do religious duties for their own glory. They
want to be set upon a theater for others to admire
them. The oil of vainglory feeds their lamp. How
many by the wind of popular breath--have been
blown to hell!
Whom the devil cannot destroy
by intemperance, he does by vainglory! If there
is either justice in heaven, or fire in hell--they
shall not go unpunished.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The silkworm

When Herod had made an oration, and the people
gave a shout, saying, 'It is the voice of a God, and
not of a man!' 'Immediately, because Herod did not
give glory to God, an angel of the Lord struck him
down, and he was eaten by worms and died.' Acts 12:23.

We glorify God, when we sacrifice the praise and glory
of all we do--to Him. 1 Cor. 15:10. 'I have worked harder
than all the other apostles,' is a speech, one would think,
which savored of pride. But the apostle pulls the crown
from his own head--and sets it upon the head of free
grace! 'Yet it was not I but God who was working
through me by His grace.'

As Joab, when he fought against Rabbah, sent for King
David, that David might carry away the crown of the
victory; so a Christian, when he has gotten power over
any corruption or temptation, sends for Christ, that He
may carry away the crown of the victory.

As the silkworm, when she weaves her curious work,
hides herself under the silk, and is not seen; so when
we have done anything praiseworthy--we must hide
ourselves under the veil of humility, and transfer the
glory of all we have done to God.

As one used to write the name of Christ over his door--
so should we write the name of Christ over our duties.
Let Him wear the garland of praise!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Diamonds and magnets


We glorify God by laboring to draw others to God,
by seeking to convert others, and so make them
instruments of glorifying God. We should be both
diamonds and magnets; diamonds for the luster
of grace, and magnets for attractive virtue in drawing
others to Christ. It is a great way of glorifying God,
when we break open the devil's prison, and turn men
from the power of Satan to God.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Either leap over them, or tread upon them!

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than
 Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son
 or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me!"
     Matthew 10:37

If relations lie in our way to heaven, we must
either leap over them, or tread upon them!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Feathery Christians

A man may go to hell as well for heresy, as adultery!


"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth
 by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind
 of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in
 their deceitful scheming." Ephesians 4:14

To be unsettled in religion, argues lightness. As feathers
will be blown every way, so will feathery Christians.
Therefore such are compared to infants. Children are fickle;
sometimes of one mind, sometimes of another; nothing
pleases them long. Just so, unsettled Christians are childish;
the truths they embrace at one time, they reject at another.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Let us be content that God
should rule the world


Better is the loss that makes you humble,
than the success that makes you proud.

If God will give His people a kingdom when
they die--he will not deny them daily bread
while they live!

God's providences are wise and regular,
though to us they seem very strange and
crooked.

Providence is a Christian's diary--but not his Bible.

If other people do not act as we would have them
act, they shall act as God would have them act.

It may be, we think sometimes we could order things
better, if we had the government of the world in our
hands; but alas! should we be left to our own choice,
we would choose those things that are hurtful for us!

Let us be content that God should rule the
world.
Learn to acquiesce in His will, and submit
to His providence.

Does any affliction befall you? Remember God sees it
is that which is fit for you--or it would not come. God's
providence may sometimes be secret--but it is always
wise
. We should learn to be silent under His displeasure.

"I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for
You are the one who has done this." Psalm 39:9




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