Grace Gems for May 2002

"He has done all things well."
Mark 7:37
(Octavius Winslow, "The Sigh of Christ")

Yes, from first to last, from our cradle to our grave,
from the earliest pang of sin's conviction to the last
thrill of sin's forgiveness, from earth to heaven; this
will be our testimony in all the way the Lord our God has
led us in the wilderness: "He has done all things well."

In providence and in grace,
in every truth of His Word,
in every lesson of His love,
in every stroke of His rod,
in every sunbeam that has shone,
in every cloud that has shaded,
in every element that has sweetened,
in every ingredient that has embittered,
in all that has been mysterious, inscrutable,
    painful, and humiliating;
in all that He gave,
in all that He took away,
this testimony is His just due, and this our grateful
acknowledgment through time and through eternity:
"He has done all things well."

Has He converted us through grace by a way we
had thought the most improbable? Has He torn
up all our earthly hopes by the roots? Has He
thwarted our schemes, frustrated our plans,
disappointed our expectations? Has He taught
us in schools most trying, by a discipline most
severe, and lessons most humbling to our nature?
Has He withered our strength by sickness, reduced
us to poverty by loss, crushed our heart by

And have we been tempted to exclaim, "All
these things are against me?" Ah! no! faith will
yet obtain the ascendancy, and sweetly sing:
   "I know in all things that befell,
    My Jesus has done all things well."

Beloved, it must be so, for Jesus can do nothing
wrong. Study the way of His providence and grace
with the microscopic eye of faith, view them in
every light, examine them in their minutest detail,
as you would the petal of a flower, or the wing of
an insect; and, oh, what wonders, what beauty,
what marvellous adaptation would you observe in all
the varied dealings with you of your glorious Lord!

I'll sing of Jesus crucified,
The Lamb of God who bled and died,
A healing balm, a crimson tide,
Flowed from His head, His feet, His side!
Above the rest this note shall swell,
'My Jesus has done all things well.'

He sought me in the wilderness,
And found me there in deep distress;
He changed and washed this heart of mine,
And filled me with His love Divine!
Above the rest this note shall swell,
'My Jesus has done all things well.'

For what the Lord has done for me,
For boundless grace so rich and free,
For all His mercies that are past,
I'll praise Him while my life shall last!
Above the rest this note shall swell,
'My Jesus has done all things well.'

When sorrow's waves around me roll,
His promises my mind console;
When earth and hell my soul assail,
His grace and mercy never fail.
Above the rest this note shall swell,
'My Jesus has done all things well.'

When death shall steal upon my frame,
To damp and quench the vital flame,
I'll look into my Savior's breast,
And there recline and sweetly rest.
Above the rest this note shall swell,
'My Jesus has done all things well.'

And when we join the ransomed throng,
To chant the sweet immortal song,
With tuneful heart, and voice, and tongue,
We'll roll the lofty note along!
Above the rest this note shall swell,
'My Jesus has done all things well.'

To Him who washed us in His blood,
And made us kings and priests to God;
Hosanna we will ever sing,
And make the heavenly arches ring!
Above the rest this note shall swell,
'My Jesus has done all things well.'

"He has done all things well." Mark 7:37


What wretched work!
(by Mary Winslow)

What wretched work it is to depend upon
'the creature', who changes and varies in all its
feelings, purposes, and affections every moment!

But our best, dearest, and only Friend changes not.

He cannot change, because He is God.

A God, too, all sufficient and almighty.

Such is your Friend and mine.

So never be cast down.

If He has given His Son for us, will
He withhold any other good thing?

He knows the end from the beginning.

We know nothing beyond the present moment.

If left to ourselves, we would destroy ourselves;
but He has promised to provide, and to care for,
and to preserve us, even to the end.


The happiness of the believer?
(adapted from Mary Winslow's, "Life in Jesus")

If the religion of Christ does not make us
happy, nothing else will. But the happiness
of the believer is very different from that of
the world. It arises from a sublimer source,
and shuts out unbecoming levity and mirth.

The highest state of enjoyment here below,
which can arise from a believing view of Him
who was pierced for our sins and wounded for
our transgressions, will ever be accompanied
with the humble and contrite heart; a deep
sense of our rebellion before conversion, and
of our ingratitude and unprofitableness since.

So here is joy, yet mixed with sorrow.

This is happiness the world knows nothing of.

Be assured I am happy, and do rejoice in God,
while I often have occasion to sigh at what I
feel within, and at what I behold around me.


The grand duty of the believer!
(adapted from Octavius Winslow's, "The Glory
  of the Redeemer in His Second Coming")

The grand duty of the believer is to live
above the world. He is not of the world,
even as Christ was not of it.

The very name of a Christian implies his
crucifixion to the world. In his profession,
his joys, his pursuits, his hopes, he seems
to say, with the soaring eagle, "I was born
on the earth, but I live in the sky."

But we require powerful motives to influence
us to this. We are moved by motive, and the
religion of Jesus is preeminently a religion of
motive. The certain and speedy coming of Christ
to glorify His Church, oh, what a motive is here!

Were you to rise in the morning impressed with
this truth, how sweetly would it carry you through
your day! How effectually would it....
  dim the luster of the world's pomp,
  deaden its joys,
  soothe your sorrows,
  dry your tears,
  lighten your burdens,
  reconcile you to poverty, to crosses, to losses,
    yes, to whatever your Lord ordains!

You would feel, "What have I to do with the world's
vanities, its smiles, and its glories? I am waiting,
expecting, looking, hoping, praying, for that blessed
hope, the appearing of my Redeemer."

Oh what an eminent Christian would you be!

What a burning and shining light!

What vigorous faith, what lively hope, what fervent
love, what a holy living for God, for Christ, and for
eternity, would henceforth distinguish you!

Belief in the Lord's coming reduces all worldly glory
into the emptiness and nothingness; and  gives the
believer a holy elevation above all sublunary enjoyments.

Surely, if our affections were supremely fixed on Jesus;
were He to us the "chief among ten thousand;" and did
we really feel in our hearts the sentiment which our lips
so often utter, "Whom have I in heaven but You? and
there is none upon earth that I desire besides You;"
the return of our Lord would be to us a matter of most
delightsome expectation and joyous desire.


Ornamental Christians?
(edited from Spurgeon's "The Master's Profession;
 The Disciples' Pursuit" #977. Psalm 40:9, 10)

In all our churches there is a very large
proportion of idle people. I hope they are
saved; the Lord knows whether they are or
not. But whatever else they are saved from,
certainly they are not saved from laziness.

We seem to get some people who are but half
converted. I hope their hearts are converted,
as their hands do no work.

Albeit, there are some portions of the body
which may be said to be ornamental; it is
equally true that they also have some distinct
service; there is not one of them put there
to do nothing.

Some Christians seem to imagine that they
are ornaments, for certainly they are of no use.
They think that their whole duty consists in
taking their seat, filling up their place, and
listening with more or less attention to the
sermons that are preached.

As to the idea of everybody doing something
for Christ, and the exhortation as good
soldiers of the cross not to shirk their duty;
these people say that it is sheer madness.

Sleepy souls, they presently become victims
of their own infatuation. As men who habituate
themselves to take opium, they grow soporific.

Then their Christianity becomes like a dream.

The apathy of the church, which has lasted so
long, is truly disheartening. With many a deep
drawn sigh do we bewail it. O that we could
get the church to awake!


(by John MacDuff)

"I know their sorrows." Exodus 3:7

Man cannot say so. There are many sensitive
fibers in the soul the best and most tender
human sympathy cannot touch.

But the Prince of Sufferers, He who led the
way in the path of sorrow, "knows our frame."

When crushing bereavement lies like ice on the
heart, when the dearest earthly friend cannot
enter into the peculiarities of our grief, Jesus
can, Jesus does!

He who once bore my sins also carried my sorrows.

That eye, now on the throne, was once dim with weeping!

I can think in all my afflictions, "He was
afflicted," in all my tears, "Jesus wept."

"I know their sorrows!"

He may seem at times thus to forget and forsake
us; leaving us to utter the plaintive cry, "Has God
forgotten to be gracious," when all the while He
is bending over us in the most tender love.

He often allows our needs to attain their extremity,
that He may stretch forth His supporting hand, and
reveal the plenitude of His Grace!

"The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy."

And "knowing" our sorrows, is a guarantee that none
will be sent but what He sees to be needful. "I will
not," says He, "make a full end of you, but I will
correct you in measure." (Jer. 30:11)

All He sends is precisely meted out; wisely apportioned.

There is nothing accidental or fortuitous; no
unneeded thorn; no superfluous pang.

He "puts our tears in a bottle." (Psalm 61:8)

Each one is counted, drop by drop, tear by tear,
they are sacred things among the treasures of God!

Suffering believer, the iron may have entered deeply
into your soul; yet rejoice! Great is your honor; you
are partaker with Christ in His sufferings. Jesus, a
sorrowing, sympathizing Jesus, "knows" your aching
pangs and burning tears, and He will "come down to
deliver you!"


He has a bottle for that tear!
(From Octavius Winslow's, "The Indwelling of the Spirit")

The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the
Holy One, says this: "I live in that high and holy
place with those whose spirits are contrite and
humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage
to those with repentant hearts." Isaiah 57:15

It is the humble broken heart that forms the true
temple of the Holy Spirit.  He only dwells here.

It may be a temple despised by man, but
God prepares and chooses it for His abode.

The proud and haughty spirit of self righteous
man may overlook it as valueless; the tear that
falls in silence, the sigh that is breathed in secret,
the heart that mourns over sin may be thought
little of by the passer by, but with God it is of
"great price."

He has a bottle for that tear, a record for that
 sigh, and that mourning is music in His ear.


Such a Father is ours!
(edited from Octavius Winslow's "Hoping in the Lord")

How sweet and assuring is the trust of a
child in a parent's love, care, and protection.

Such a Father is ours!

We may trust in His forgiveness,
to cancel our greatest sins.

We may trust in His wisdom,
to guide our most intricate perplexity.

We may trust in His power,
to raise up from the lowest depth.

We may trust in His love,
to soothe our profoundest grief.

We may trust in His resources,
to supply our every need.

Let your condition be ever so extreme;
human friendship disappointing you, earthly
supplies failing you, human sympathy refused
you, and dark despair enthroned grimly and
coldly upon your heart; there yet is hope in God!

The Lord has....
  withered this fleshly arm,
  dried up that creature spring, and
  blown upon this worldly hope,
that you might be shut up to Him alone.

Never was He so near as at this moment,
when human help is far; never so loving,
and compassionate, as now, when human
love has failed!

Such a Father is ours!


(adapted from Octavius Winslow's, "The Tears of Christ")

"Jesus wept."  John 11:35

The Creator of all worlds, the Author of all
beings, the Upholder of the universe, raining
tears of human woe and sympathy upon a grave!

Oh, there lives not a being in the universe who
can enter into our bereavements with the sympathy,
the support, and the soothing of Christ!

They were  tears of sympathy.

His heart was not only touched with a sense of
His own personal affliction, but it was also touched,
deeply touched, with sympathy for the sorrow of others.

He wept because the mourning sisters wept.

He mingled His tears with theirs.

This is true sympathy, "weeping with those that weep,"
making their sorrow our own. How really our Lord does
this with His people. So completely is He our Surety,
that He takes our sins and infirmities, our trials and
sorrows upon Himself, as if they were all and entirely
His own. Our sins were so completely laid upon Him,
that not one remains charged to the account of those
who believe in Jesus.

And our present griefs are so entirely absorbed in Him,
that, softened by His love, soothed by His sympathy,
supported by His grace; trial is welcome, affliction is
sweet, and the rod of a Father's chastening, buds and
blossoms into delectable fruit.

Bereaved mourner! the sympathy of Christ is yours!

The Savior who wept at the gave of Bethany,
now shares your grief and joins your tears.

Deem not your sorrow is isolated, or that your tears
are forbidden or unseen. You have a merciful and faithful
High Priest who is touched with your present calamity.

There exists no sympathy.....
  so real,
  so intelligent,
  so deep,
  so tender,
  so sanctifying
as Christ's sympathy.

And if your heavenly Father has seen it wise and
good to remove from you the spring of human pity,
it is but that He may draw you closer beneath the
wing of Jesus' compassion, presence, and love.

O child of sorrow! will not this suffice, that you
possess Christ's sympathy, immeasurable and
exhaustless as the ocean, exquisite and changeless
as His being? Yield your heart to His rich compassion!

Will Jesus be regardless of what I feel, and the
sorrows under which I groan? Oh no! The sigh
that bursts in secret from my heart is not secret
to Him; the tear that is my food day and night,
and drops unperceived and unknown, is known
and remembered by Him!

"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 only effectual means for reforming mankind?
by John Newton

The Gospel of Christ, the glorious Gospel
of the blessed God, is the only effectual
means for reforming mankind.

To the man who possesses and knows the use
of this grand, this wonderful machine, if I may
be allowed the comparison, what is otherwise
impossible becomes easy.

The Gospel removes difficulties insurmountable
to human power. It causes the blind to see, the
deaf to hear; it softens the heart of stone, and
raises the dead in trespasses and sins to a life
of righteousness.

No force but that of the Gospel is sufficient to
remove the mountainous load of guilt from an
awakened conscience, to calm the violence of
tumultuous passions, to raise an earthly soul
from groveling in the mire of sensuality or
avarice to a spiritual and divine life, a life
of communion with God.

No system but the Gospel can communicate
motives, encouragements, and prospects,
sufficient to withstand and counteract all the
snares and temptations with which the spirit
of this world, by its frowns or its smiles, will
endeavor either to intimidate or to bribe us
from the path of duty.

But the Gospel, rightly understood and cordially
embraced, will inspire the slothful with energy
and the fearful with courage. It will make the
miser generous, melt the grouch into kindness,
tame the raging tiger in the breast, and, in a
word, expand the narrow selfish heart and fill
it with a spirit of love to God, cheerful unreserved
obedience to His will, and benevolence to mankind.


You spit into the very face of God!
(adapted from Spurgeon's sermon, #964
"The Essence of the Gospel" John 3:18)

Do you not see, O unbeliever, how the matter stands?
The infinite Lord of mercy, that you might not perish,
has devised a wondrous way of salvation, which has
astonished cherubim and seraphim, and made heaven
ring with song; and this you utterly reject!

When you imagine that your church goings and
good works will save you, you set a low estimate
upon what Jesus did. These very actions of yours,
which you think to be good, are setting up an
Antichrist in opposition to Him, upon which He
looks with abhorrence.

God says He will save by Christ, and in no other way!

And so long as you seek salvation another way,
you do as it were, spit into the very face of God
by the insolence of your self righteousness!

That God should send a Savior, His one and
only Son, the Lord of heaven and earth; and
that He should come with testimony of love,
the love of God to sinners, and seal that
testimony with His blood; and that men
should refuse to believe in Him, is the most
monstrous iniquity that could be imagined!

O sinner! Will you spurn almighty love?

Can you turn away from boundless mercy?

You must be infinitely wicked, you must be
enormously, monstrously, diabolically at
enmity with God, or else surely a blessing
so precious you would not slight, a plan of
mercy so adapted to your condition you
could not have the impertinence to reject.

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
 but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,
 for God's wrath remains on him."  John 3:36

Solemn words! Hear them and tremble!

This is no idle threat!

The Lord has power to fulfill His sentence.

What power have you to resist it?

Who is there that can help you to withstand Him?

You are utterly in His hands, you cannot break
prison and escape. If you climbed up to heaven
He is there; if you dived to hell He is there;
the whole universe is but one great prison
for an enemy of God!

You cannot escape Him, neither can you resist Him.
If your bones were granite and your heart were steel,
His fires would melt down your spirit. Against Him
you can no more stand than the chaff against the
fire, or the dust against the whirlwind.

O that you would feel this and desist from your insane rebellion!

O unbeliever! God is angry with you now. This
statement is no invention of mine, it is written by
the pen of inspiration that "God is angry with the
wicked every day: if he turn not, He will whet His
sword: He has bent His bow, and made it ready."

God is more angry with some of you
than He is with some already in hell!

An angry God holds you over the gulf of hell; justice
demands that you fall into it, and it is nothing but
His mercy that keeps you out of it. He has but to
will it, and before the clock shall tick again, you
who are condemned already would be forever where
the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched!

God's wrath, though it has not come on you yet, is like
a stream that is dammed up. Every moment it gathers
force, every hour it is swelling the dyke. Each day,
and each moment of each day in which you remain an
unbeliever, you are treasuring up wrath against the
day of wrath when the measure of your iniquity is full.

How earnestly would I persuade you to escape from condemnation!

It is not within the power of thought to conceive what
God's wrath is! No language, even though it should
make both the ears to tingle, can ever fully express it.

I am not one of those who would so delude your poor
souls, O unbelievers, as to make you think it a light
thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

O turn! turn! turn!   Why will you die?

Oh, why do you stand out against Jesus, and pull
down upon your heads the wrath of an angry God?

"I will think about it," says one. Think about it!
You will think yourself into hell before long.


Like swine in their stye?
(edited from Spurgeon's "Compassion for Souls")

Is it our object in life merely to live comfortably?

Are we such brute beasts that comfort is
all we care for; like swine in their stye?

No, brethren! let us recall to our memories the
tens of thousands of our race who are passing
constantly into eternity!

Look at them!

Do not close those eyes!

Does the horror of the vision make your eyeballs ache?

Then look until your heart aches too!

Look down into hell a moment; open wide the
door; listen, and listen yet again. You say you
cannot, it sickens your soul. Let it be sickened!

It is a matter of fact that in this congregation many
are going down to hell; that in this city there are
multitudes who are hastening as certainly to perdition
as time is hastening to eternity.

Hell is no dream, no fiction of a fevered brain!

Since assuredly there is a dreadful hell, do not shut
your eyes to it. Come and look, come and look, till
your hearts break at the sight. Hear the groans of
spirits who are feeling the sure consequences of sin,
where sin's cure will never avail them.

You tell me I preach dreadful things. Yes, but they
are needed, they are needed! Have we done all that
it is possible for us to do for the unconverted
around us? Can you say, "If a soul perishes, I, at
least, will have done all in my power to reclaim it."

Were there ever such sleepy people as ourselves?

O dear friend, if you love Jesus, burst the bonds
of timidity, or it may be of laziness; snap all fetters,
and from this day feel that you cannot bear to think
of the ruin of a soul, and must seek its salvation.


You sell them to be slaves to Satan!
(by Richard Baxter, edited)

Parents! It is in your hands to do your children
the greatest kindness, or cruelty, in all the world!

Help them to know God and to be saved, and
you do more for them than if you helped them
to be lords or princes.

If you neglect their souls, and breed them in
ignorance, worldliness, ungodliness, and sin;
you betray them to the devil, the enemy of
souls, even as truly as if you sold them to him!

You sell them to be slaves to Satan!

You betray them to him that will deceive them
and abuse them in this life, and torment them
in the next!


Immanuel's Land!
(by Gene Fedele, edited)

What can be more delightful for the weary pilgrim
who is hastening to his heavenly mansion than to
meditate on the unspeakable wonders of his future
home beyond the skies?

There is much of Immanuel's Land to engage our
hearts in sacred contemplation even while we sojourn
and toil in this world as strangers and pilgrims.

Heaven is the most cheering and attractive occupation
to which we may set our hearts. Yet I wonder why many
of us fail to avail ourselves of the enjoyment and
spiritual strength afforded in such a holy pursuit.

Could it be that the allurements of the world keep
us from recognizing how near we are to the unseen,
supernatural, and eternal state? Instead of dwelling
on the world to come, do we choose to become
subjects of the mere momentary pleasures of time?

We do well to examine ourselves, with judgement day
honesty, that we may check the affections of our heart.

It is the influence of the future, heavenly realities
exercised in our hearts and lives which gives vitality
and beauty to our religion. It reveals genuine piety
as our aim in contrast to the passing pleasures of
this fleeting earth. It affords light along the path of
life's dark trials and points to the realms of bliss,
where there shall be no more tears and sorrow is
banished forevermore!

The glorious rest that remains for our earth wearied
souls; the sweet consolation of the redeemed in glory;
the unending fellowship of that precious society of
saints; the incalculable riches laid up in store for us
to receive on that glorious day; are all facets of
Immanuel's Land prepared before the world began,
that we might set an adoring eye towards the one
object of our affections, Christ Jesus our Lord!

Let us, therefore, 'set our affections on things above'
and fix our hearts steadfastly upon the heavenly joys
and glory of Immanuel's Land!
O Christ He is the fountain,
The deep sweet well of love.
The 'streams' on earth I've tasted,
More deep I'll drink above.

There to an ocean's fullness,
His mercy does expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth,
In Immanuel's land.

O I am my Beloved's,
And my Beloved is mine.
He brings a poor vile sinner,
Into His house of wine.

I stand upon His merit,
I know no other stand.
Not e'en where glory dwelleth,
In Immanuel's land.

The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom's face.
I will not gaze at glory,
But on the King of grace.

Not at the crown He giveth,
But on His pierced hands,
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel's land!
   (author of poem unknown)


I shall lie prostrate at His feet!
(adapted from Mary Winslow's, "Life in Jesus")

In heaven I will see my own most precious
Redeemer, enthroned in all His glory, His
countenance radiant with ineffable love,
and a welcome beaming from every feature!

So shall I behold Him who loved me with
an everlasting love and landed me at last
in the kingdom of glory!

The redeemed shall all be encircling the
throne, and basking in the full sunshine of
the Redeemer's countenance; while I shall
lie prostrate at His feet in wondering joy
and adoring love at the matchless grace
that brought me there!


I am a wayward foolish child.
(from "Stepping Heavenward" by Elizabeth Prentiss)
I am a wayward foolish child.

But God loves me!

I have disobeyed and grieved Him ten
thousand times. But He loves me!

All this time, while I was caring for nobody
but myself and fancying He must almost hate
me, He was loving and pitying me.

I knelt down to pray, and all my wasted,
childish wicked life came and stared me in
the face. I looked at it and said with tears
of joy, "But He loves me!"

Never in my life did I feel so rested, so
quieted, so sorrowful and yet so satisfied.


Mr. Cox's Museum?
by John Newton, August 1772.

I think I received some instruction where I little
expected it: I mean, at Mr. Cox's Museum. The
efforts of his ingenuity amazed me, while at the
same time I was struck with their insignificance.

His fine things were curious beyond all I had any
idea of; and yet what are they better than toys and
amusements, suited to the taste of children! And
notwithstanding the variety of their motions, they
were all destitute of life.

There is unspeakably more wisdom and creativity
in the mechanism of a butterfly or a bee, that flies
unnoticed in the fields, than in all Mr. Cox's
contraptions put together!

But the works of God are disregarded, while the
feeble imitations of them which men can produce
gain universal applause.

If you and I could make self moving dragons
and elephants, what would it profit us?

God has given us in His Word a greater treasure
than all that we ever beheld with our eyes, and
a hope which shall flourish when the earth and
all its works shall be burnt up. What will all the
fine things of men's device be worth in that day?


("The Bow in the Clouds" by John MacDuff)

"I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is
 why you descendants of Jacob are not already
 completely destroyed." Malachi 3:6

The Unchangeableness of God.

What an anchor for a storm tossed sea!

Change is our portion here!

Scenes are altering. Joys are fading.

Friends! some of them are removed at a distance;
others have gone to their 'long home'.

Who, amid these checkered experiences, does not
sigh for something permanent, stable, enduring?

The vessel has again and again slipped its earthly
moorings. We long for some secure and sheltered harbor.

"I am the Lord, and I do not change!" Heart
and flesh may faint; yes, do faint and fail.

But there is an unfainting, unfailing, unvarying God.

All the changes in the world around cannot affect Him.

Our own fitfulness cannot alter Him. When we are
depressed, downcast, fluctuating; our treacherous
hearts turning aside "like a broken bow," He does
not change.

"God who cannot lie," is the superscription on His
eternal throne; and inscribed on all His dealings.

"I am the Lord, and I do not change!" This forms
a blessed guarantee that nothing can befall
me but what is for my good. I cannot doubt His
faithfulness. I dare not arraign the rectitude
of His dispensations. It is 'covenant love' which
is now darkening my earthly horizon. This hour He
is the same as when He "spared not His own Son!"

Oh, instead of wondering at my trials, let me
rather wonder that He has borne with me so long!
It is because of the Lord's unchanging mercies that
I am not consumed. Had He been man, changeful,
vacillating, as myself, long before now would He
have spurned me away, and consigned me to the
doom of the cumberer.

"I am the Lord, and I do not change!"


Fool, monster, beast or devil?
(by John Newton, author of "Amazing Grace")

There is indeed a difference among men, but it is
owing to the restraints of Divine Providence, without
which earth would be the very image of hell. Education
and self interest, fear and shame, human laws, and
the secret power of God over the mind, combine to
form many characters that are 'externally decent and
respectable'. And even the most abandoned are under
a restraint which prevents them from manifesting a
thousandth part of the wickedness which is in their hearts.

But the heart itself is universally
deceitful, and desperately wicked!

Man, with all his boasted understanding and attainments,
is a fool; so long as he is destitute of the saving grace of
God. His conduct, as to his most important concernments,
is more absurd and inconsistent then that of the lowest idiot.

Man is a fool.

The most admired philosophers, legislators, logicians,
orators, and artists, are as destitute as infants of that
knowledge which alone deserves the name of true wisdom.
Professing themselves to be wise they became fools.

There is no fool like the sinner, who prefers the toys
of earth to the happiness of heaven, who is held in
bondage by the customs of the world, and is more
afraid of the breath of man, then the wrath of God.

Man in his fallen estate is a monster; a vile, base,
stupid, obstinate, and mischievous creature; no words
can fully describe him. With respect to his affections
and pursuits, he is degraded far below the beasts!

Man in his natural state is a beast, yes below the
beasts that perish. In two things he strongly resembles
them: in looking no higher then to sensual gratifications,
and in that selfishness of spirit which prompts him to
propose himself and his own interest as his proper and
highest end.

But in many respects he sinks sadly beneath them. Men
are worse than beasts in their obstinacy; they will not
be warned. If a beast escapes from a trap he will be
cautious how he goes near it again, and in vain is the
net spread in the sight of any bird. But man, though he
is often reproved, hardens his neck; he rushes upon his
ruin with his eyes open, and can defy God to his face,
and dare damnation.

And as for malignity and wickedness of his will, can
be compared to nothing so properly as the devil. Man
resembles Satan in pride; this stupid, weak creature
values himself upon his wisdom, power, and virtue,
and will talk of being saved by his good works.

I have drawn but a sketch, a few outlines of the
picture of fallen man. To give an exact copy of him,
to charge every feature with it's full aggravation of
horror, and to paint him as he is, would be impossible.

Fallen men take different courses, but all are traveling
down to the pit; and, unless sovereign mercy interpose,
will soon sink to rise no more.

But Jesus is mighty to save. His grace can pardon
the most aggravated offenses, and subdue the most
inveterate habits of sin.


It gushes from His heart!
(adapted from Winslow's, "The Believer Drawing near to God")

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with
 confidence, so that we may receive mercy and
 find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

Why is it called a throne of grace?

Because a God of grace sits upon it, and the
scepter of grace is held out from it, and all the
favors bestowed there are the blessings of grace.

This is just the throne we need!

We are....
  the poor,
  the needy,
  the helpless,
  the vile,
  the sinful,
  the unworthy.

We have nothing to bring but our deep wretchedness
and poverty, nothing but our complaints, our miseries,
our crosses, our groanings, our sighs and tears.

But it is the throne of grace!

For just such is it erected.

It is set up in a world of woe, in the midst of the
wilderness, in the very land of the enemy, in the
valley of tears!

It is a God of grace who sits upon it, and all the
blessings He dispenses from it are the gifts of grace.
Pardon, justification, adoption, peace, comfort, light,
direction; all, all is of grace!

No worth or worthiness in the creature extracts these
blessings; no price he may bring purchases them; no
tears or complainings or misery move the heart of
God to compassion; all is of grace.

God is so full of compassion, and love, and mercy,
He does not need to be moved to pour it forth. It
gushes from His heart as from a full and overflowing
fountain, and flows into the bosom of the poor, the
lowly, the humble and the contrite; enriching,
comforting and sanctifying their souls.

Therefore whatever your case, you may come.

If it is a throne of grace (as indeed it is) then why
not come? To keep away from the throne of grace
because of unfitness and unpreparedness to approach
it, is to alter its character from a throne of grace to
a throne of merit.

Why, stand a long way off?

If the poor, the penniless, the disconsolate and the
guilty are welcome here, if this throne is crowded by
such; why make yourself an exception?

Why not come too?

What is your case?
What is your sorrow?
What is your burden?

Ah! perhaps you can disclose it to no earthly ear.
You can tell it to God only. Then take it to Him.

Let me tell you for your encouragement that God
has His secret audience chamber, where He will
meet you alone, and where no eye shall see you
and no ear shall hear you but His, where you may
open all your heart, and reveal your real case,
and pour all your secrets into His ear!

Precious encouragement!

The throne of grace is for the needy!

What a blessing then is the throne of grace!

It is for those who are in need, those to whom
all other doors are closed, with whom all other
resources have failed, who have nowhere else
to look, nowhere else to fly.

To such is the throne of grace always open.

Behold, then, the throne of grace, and draw near!

You are welcome.

Come with your cross,
come with your infirmity,
come with your guilt,
come with your need,
come with your wounded spirit,
come with your broken heart,
come and welcome to the throne of grace!

Come without price,
come without worthiness,
come without preparation,
come without fitness,
come in a bad state of mind,
come with a hard heart,
come and welcome to the throne of grace!


It is a wonder God does not
kick us out of His  presence!

("The Happiness of Drawing near to God" Thomas Watson)

"But it is good for me to draw near to God." Psalm 53:28.

To draw near to God is our honor.

It is counted an honor to converse with noble
personages. What high dignity is it, that the great
God will allow sinful dust to draw near to Him!

Surely the apostle did speak of it with a holy boasting,
"Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus."
As if he had  said, we do not walk with peasants of the
world; we are of the royal blood of Heaven! we live
above other men!

That the King of kings will hold forth a golden scepter
to us, invite and welcome us into His presence, and
bid us draw near; this is no small favor!

"Every one that was distressed and in debt drew near
to David, and he became a captain over them." 1 Sam. 22:2.

So that we who  are distressed and in debt, may draw
near to God; and that He will not only be our captain,
but our husband. Isaiah 54:5.

What transcendent dignity is this!

It is a wonder God does not kick us out of His  presence!

But that we should be admitted to see the King's face
and that He should send us dainties from  his own table,
is an honor more fit for angels than men!


The humble heart!

(edited from Spurgeon's "Rest, Rest" #969. Mt. 11:28-30)

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me,
 for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you
 will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29

The humble heart says, "Not my will, but Yours
be done. All I ask is that God is glorified in me.
Rich, poor, sick, or in health, it is all the same
to me. If God, the great One, has the glory,
what does it matter where such a little one
as I am may be placed?"

The humble heart does not seek after great
things for himself; he has learned to be content
whatever the circumstances.

If he is poor, "Never mind," says the humble heart,
"I never aspired to be rich. I never desired to shine
among the great ones of this earth."

If he is denied honor, the humble heart says,
"I never asked for earthly glory, I seek not my
own honor, but the honor of Him who sent me.
Why should I be honored, a poor worm like me?
If nobody speaks a good word of me, that is fine.
If only Jesus says, 'Well done, good and faithful
servant,' that is enough for me."

And if the humble heart has little worldly pleasure,
he says, "This is not my place for pleasure, I deserve
eternal pain, and if I do not have pleasures here I
shall have them hereafter. I am well content to bide
my time."

Our blessed Lord was always of that humble heart.
He did not strive, nor cry out, nor cause His voice
to be heard in the streets. The baubles of empire
had no charm for Him. Had fame offered to sound
her trumpet for none but Him he would have cared
not one whit for the offer. The kingdoms of this
world and the glory thereof were offered Him, and
He repelled the tempter.

He was gentle, unobtrusive, self denying; hence He
treated His burden of poverty and shame as a light
thing, "He endured the cross, despising the shame."

If we once learn Christ's humble heart
   we shall find rest for our souls.

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me,
 for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you
 will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29


Perhaps in the time of our humiliation
(from "Thoughts Concerning the King" by Elizabeth Prentiss)

God never places us in any position in which we
cannot grow. We may imagine that He does. We
may fear we are so impeded by fretting petty
cares that we are gaining nothing; but when we
are not sending any branches upward, we may
be sending roots downward.

Perhaps in the time of our humiliation, when
everything seems a failure, we are making the
best kind of progress. Look on and look up!
Lay hold on Christ with both your poor, empty
hands. Let Him do with you what seems good
to Him. Though He slay you, still trust in Him,
and I dare in His name to promise you a sweeter,
better life than you could have ever known, had
He left you to drink of the full dangerous cups
of unmingled prosperity.


"Jesus, my heart cries out with sorrow and
 regret for the sin I've committed. How can
 I possibly forgive myself for such a deed? I
 know I've hurt You, because You love me so.
 I try and try to do what is right, but I just
 mess up time after time. Please forgive me
 and help me to forgive myself."

"My dear child, I've washed all that away
 with My blood. Forgive as I forgive you."
(Anita Donihue, "When I'm On My Knees")


The school of Christ!
(edited from Mary Winslow's, "Life in Jesus")

How wonderful is God in all His great and gracious
dealings with His children. He places us, as soon
as the spiritual eye is opened, in His school.

First, the infant school; and then onward and upward,
from class to class, losing no opportunity of spiritual
instruction. Many hard lessons have we to learn and
to relearn. But, oh, the unwearied patience and
tenderness of our Teacher!

Some of His children are slow learners, dull scholars,
and require the discipline of the rod to stimulate them
to more earnestness, attention, and submission.

Some imagine they have arrived at the end of their
education, and sit down at their ease; but presently
they are called upon to solve some hard problem, and
they find that they know less than they thought, and
for their boasting are sent back to a lower class, and
made to commence where they first began.

Such is the school of Christ.

"Lord, teach me more and more of Yourself; and of my
own poverty, misery, and weakness. And oh, unfold to
my longing eyes and heart what there is in Yourself to
supply all my need; and in Your loving, willing heart,
to do all for me, and all in me, to fit me for Your service
here, and for your presence hereafter! Sanctify abundantly
all Your varying dispensations to the welfare and prosperity
of my soul, and increase in me every gift and grace of Your
Spirit, that I may show forth Your praise, and walk humbly
and closely with You.
You know what a poor, worthless worm I am, and how
utterly unworthy of the least mercy from Your merciful
hands; but You love to bestow Your favors upon the poor
and needy, such as me, most precious Lord. You have
been a good and gracious, sin pardoning God to my soul,
and a very present help in every time of trouble. I feel
my dependence on You more than ever. Without You
I can do nothing. Helpless as an infant I hang upon
You, to do all for me and all in me."


God's arrows!
(from "The Heart Wounded" by John MacDuff)

"For the Almighty has struck me down with His
arrows. He has sent His poisoned arrows deep
within my spirit. All God's terrors are arrayed
against me." Job 6:4

There is the blanched arrow of sickness; the
rusted arrow of poverty; the lacerating arrow
of bereavement, stained and saturated with
tears, and feathered from our own bosoms.

Yet, blessed be God, these are often arrows
which wound only to heal; or rather, which,
from the wounds they create, send the bleeding,
panting, thirsting soul to seek the waters of
comfort in God Himself.

Suffering one! be thankful for your wounds!

But for these arrows you might have been, at
this moment, sleeping on the mountain heights
of self righteousness, or worldliness, or sin,
with no thought of your soul.

Affliction, worldly calamity, and bereavement
 are sent to drive you nearer to your God.

Has an arrow from the quiver of God wounded
your heart? Are you, in your agony, seeking rest
and finding none? Do you have a gnawing feeling
of dissatisfaction with all 'created things', and an
undefined longing for a solace they cannot give?

Yes for your gaping, bleeding wound there
 is "balm in Gilead, and a Physician there."

Thirsty, faint, forlorn, wounded, weary one; go to
Jesus! He is all that you need, all that you require,
in sickness and health, in joy and in sorrow, in life
and in death, in time and through eternity!

"He drew His bow and made me the target for
 His arrows. He pierced my heart with arrows
 from His quiver." Lament. 3:12-13


(by John McDuff, edited)

"For the Lord disciplines those He loves." Heb. 12:6

What!  God loves me when He is discharging His
quiver upon me, emptying me from vessel to vessel,
causing the sun of my earthly joys to set in clouds?

Yes! O afflicted one, tossed with tempest;
He chastens you because He loves you!

This trial comes from His own tender, loving
hand; from His own tender, unchanging heart!

Are you laid on a sickbed; are sorrowful months and
wearisome nights appointed unto you? Let this be
the pillow on which your aching head reclines: It is
because He loves me!

Is it bereavement that has crushed your heart and
desolated your dwelling? He appointed that chamber
of death, because He loves you!

As it is the suffering child of the family which claims
a mother's deepest affections and most tender
solicitude; so have you at this moment allured to
your side the most tender love and solicitude of
your heavenly Father.

He loved you into this sorrow, and will love you through it!

There is nothing capricious in His dealings.

LOVE is the reason of all He does. There is no drop
of wrath in that bitter cup you are called to drink.

Believer! rejoice in the thought that the
rod, the chastening rod, is in the hands of
the living, loving Savior, who died for you!

Tribulation is the King's Highway and
yet that highway is paved with love.

As some flowers before shedding their fragrance
require to be crushed, so does your God think it
suitable to bruise you.

As some birds are said to sing their sweetest notes
when the thorn pierces their bosom, so does He
appoint affliction to lacerate, that you may be driven
to the wing, singing, in your upward soaring, "My
heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed!"

Be it ours to say, "Lord, I will love You not only
despite Your rod, but because of your rod. I will
rush into the very arms that are chastening me!"


Grovel in the dust to gather pebbles?
Is it not strange that we can for one moment
lose sight of heaven, and the increasing glory;
and grovel in the dust to gather pebbles, for
the pleasure of throwing them afterwards away?
(adapted from Mary Winslow's, "Life in Jesus")


What a poor, uncertain, dying world is this!
(by John Newton)

What a wilderness in itself! How dark, how
desolate, without the light of the Gospel and
knowledge of Jesus! It does not appear so to
us in a state of nature, because we are then
in a state of enchantment, the magical lantern
blinding us with a grand delusion.

It is a great mercy to be undeceived in time;
and though our gay dreams are at an end, and
we awake to everything that is disgustful and
dismaying, yet we see a highway through the
wilderness, an infallible guide at hand to conduct
us through; and we can discern, beyond the limits
of the wilderness, a better land, where we shall
be at rest and at home.

What will the difficulties we met by the way then
signify? The remembrance of them will only remain
to heighten our sense of the love, care, and power
of our Savior and Leader. O how shall we then
admire, adore, and praise Him, when He shall
condescend to unfold to us the beauty, propriety,
and harmony of the whole train of his dispensations
towards us, and give us a clear retrospect of all
the way and all the turns of our pilgrimage!

In the meanwhile, the best method of adorning
our profession, and of enjoying peace in our souls,
is simply to trust Him, and absolutely to commit
ourselves and our all to His management.

By casting our burdens upon Him, our spirits
become light and cheerful; we are freed from a
thousand anxieties and inquietudes, which are
wearisome to our minds, and which with respect
to events, are needless for us, yes, useless.

But though it may be easy to speak of this trust,
and it appears to our judgement perfectly right
and reasonable, the actual attainment is a great
thing; and especially so to trust the Lord, not by
fits and starts, surrendering one day and retracting
the next, but to abide by our surrender, and go
habitually trusting through all the changes we meet,
knowing that His love, purpose, and promise are

Some little faintings perhaps none are freed from;
but I believe a power of trusting the Lord in good
measure at all times, and living quietly under the
shadow of His wing, is what the promise warrants
us to expect, if we seek it by diligent prayer; if not
all at once, yet by a gradual increase.

May it be your experience and mine!


Tinsel and toys?
(by Mary Winslow)

When we turn from earth and gaze upon the glorious
prospect that is before us; when we see what rich
provision is made in the gospel for such poor sinners
as we are; when we see Jesus at the right hand of
God waiting to receive us home; when we realize
that but a very few steps we have to take and then
we are done with time, and a vast eternity burst
upon us with all its solemn and glorious realities;
oh, how does the world, with all its tinsel and toys,
its emptiness and nothingness, sink into the dust
beneath our feet!

The present world is but.....
    disappointment, and
    vexation of spirit.

Take it in whatever form you may, it
brings its troubles and its sorrows.


"The more I see of Jesus, the more He opens to me
 His loving heart, the deeper is my sorrow for sin.
 I lie down in the dust of His feet closer than ever
 I did before. I can truly say I abhor myself in dust
 and ashes before Him. My heart seems ready to
 melt into contrition in view of the ten thousand
 thousand sins, willful and aggravating, that I have
 committed against Him, who loved me with an
 everlasting love, and with loving kindness drew
 me to Himself."   Mary Winslow