Grace Gems for July 2002

How astonishing the sight!
David Harsha, "The Crucifixion"

Emmanuel, God in our nature, suffering by
the hands of those whom He came to redeem;
wearing the piercing crown of thorns, and
bleeding for sinners! He whose throne is in
the heavens, and who is exalted far above
all principality, and power, and might, and
dominion, stooping to such torture!

This is certainly a sight which, if seriously
beheld, is calculated to make the deepest
impression on our hearts.

Oh, let us draw near, and with the eye of faith,
'behold the Man'. Behold the face of Him, who is
fairer than the children of men, crimsoned with
blood; see His sacred head bowed in agony amid
the shouts of derision, and the cries of, "Crucify
Him! Crucify Him!"

Let us look steadily and earnestly on our suffering
Savior, until He becomes unspeakably precious to
our souls; until His love is abundantly shed abroad
in our hearts; until in the blissful light of heaven
we behold Him in the midst of the throne, as the
Lamb who was slain, and join in the unending song
of the church triumphant; a song sweeter than angels
sing: "All praise to Him who loves us and has freed us
from our sins by shedding His blood for us. Give to Him
everlasting glory! He rules forever and ever! Amen!"

There is no sight so purifying and elevating to the
soul operated upon by the gracious influences of
the Holy Spirit, as that of a suffering Savior
voluntarily taking upon Himself the burden of
our guilt, and making atonement for our sins.

May this sight never fade from our view during
our passage through life; may it refresh our souls
in the hour of death!

Oh, what heavenly peace flows down to the
faithful beholders of the Man Christ Jesus,
wearing the thorny crown, and the purple robe!

How astonishing the sight!

'See! from His head, His hands, His feet,
 Sorrow and love flow mingled down
 Did ever such love and sorrow meet,
 Or thorns compose so rich a crown?'

He beholds the idol in its natural deformity.
from Thomas Reade's, "On Conversion"

The converted sinner daily feeds upon Christ
by faith, and daily derives strength from this
gracious source of blessedness.

He feels his own weakness, and experiences the
power of Jesus. He loathes himself and truly loves
his Savior, in whose righteousness he appears all
lovely in the eyes of his heavenly Father.

As a pilgrim, he journeys onwards under the
guidance of that Holy Spirit who dwells in him
as in a temple, and who has promised to keep
him by his mighty power through faith unto

The world fascinates no longer. The mask
falls from its face, and he beholds the idol
in its natural deformity.

He sees....
  the emptiness of human applause;
  the madness of ambition;
  the deceitfulness of riches;
  the folly of extravagance.

Every thing beneath the sun assumes its true
character while he views it through the medium
of God's holy Word.

The converted sinner lives by faith; he longs
for heaven; he desires to be daily conformed
to Jesus, and to glorify him more, whether it
be by life or death.

To him, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Such is the character of the converted sinner.

Oh, how precious, how divine, how rare a character!

The great Sympathizer
David Harsha, "The Savior's Ministry"

'Jesus wept.'  John 11:35

The Son of God, the Creator of the
universe, the Lord of glory in tears!

Amazing sight!

How plainly do those tears show the tenderness
of Jesus! And how animating for the mourner in
Zion to think that the heart of Jesus, now that
He reigns in glory, is still full of sympathy, and full
of love for His suffering disciples in this valley of tears!

Oh, this is a sweet, a delightful thought!

Weeping believer, you whose tears are flowing, come
to Jesus for sympathy, and tell Him all your grief.

He has words of comfort for you; precious promises.

He can console you as none else can.

He is the same in all ages; the same yesterday, today,
and forever. The eye that dropped its tears at the tomb
of Lazarus, will be fixed upon you in all the scenes of
anguish through which you may be called to pass, before
reaching the bright world of everlasting joy.

Remember that He who is now seated on the throne
of heaven, radiant in celestial glory, was once afflicted
on earth, that He might know how to sympathize with
you in the hour your unutterable anguish.

Oh, rejoice that you have so sympathizing a Friend,
who is ready to mitigate your grief, and to conduct you
to those happy mansions, where God shall wipe away
all tears from the eye.

Who can tell how great is the sympathy of the Son
of God, who came from the bosom of the Father; from
the unapproachable splendor of Heaven; to bear our
infirmities, to lighten our burdens, to wipe the tears from
our eyes, and to turn our sorrows into everlasting joys?

Always view Jesus as the great Sympathizer of His
disciples; and in the time of your keenest anguish,
look to Him for compassion and relief.

He will regard your cries of misery.

Yes, He whose heart felt and bled for sinners, will
speak soothingly to you, and give you a foretaste
of heaven, even in a world of tribulation.

Oh, the ineffable compassion of our blessed Redeemer!

In seasons of devout retirement let us often
muse on these affecting words: "Jesus wept!"

The idol, SELF, falls prostrate before Jesus Christ!
from Thomas Reade's, "On Conversion"

When the Savior was born into the world, there
was no room for Him in the inn. Just so it is with
our depraved hearts.

Satan puts on the threefold hindrances
of unbelief, pride, and prejudice.

Inbred sin, afraid of losing its darling gratifications,
opposes every effort to admit so kind a Friend.

The flesh pleads hard for self indulgence.

The world spreads its painted baubles, its
deceitful riches, its empty honors, its intoxicating
pleasures; and thus the sinner is held in vassalage
to the powers of darkness.

Is, then, the heart forever barred against the
Prince of peace? Forever barred it would be, did
not Sovereign Grace, by its almighty power, drive
out the strong man armed, crucify each rebellious
lust, and bring every thought into captivity to the
obedience of Christ!

When grace opens the sinner's heart, all the
powers of the soul are made willing to admit
the conquering Savior, and to acknowledge
Him to be the Lord.

Old favorite sins now become hateful.

Darling lusts appear like inbred vipers.

Satan is beheld in all his horrors.

Vice in perceived its true deformity.

The world loses its charms.

Heaven opens on the enraptured eye of faith.

Holiness captivates the heart by its celestial beauties.

Jesus is beheld with rising admiration, and
becomes each day more precious to the soul.

Such is the wonderful change wrought in the
conversion of a sinner, through the power of
the Holy Spirit.

Unbelief gives way to faith;
pride gives way to humility;
anger gives way to meekness;
impatience gives way to resignation;
hatred gives way to love, and
sin gives way to universal holiness.

The idol, SELF, falls prostrate before Jesus Christ;
and nothing is extolled, or trusted in, or pleaded
before the throne of God, but the precious blood
and righteousness of Emmanuel.

Low lifes
From Octavius Winslow's "Soul Heights"

The highest life of an unregenerate man
is, in a spiritual sense, but a low life!

He lives in the depths of sin and selfishness,
of enmity against God, and of ruin against
his own being.

Take the most intellectual pursuit, the most
refined enjoyment; be it science, or art, or
music; viewed as bounded only by the present
life, as ending in self, having no relation to the
higher interests of the soul, the claims of eternity,
and the glory of God; how low the life!

In the strong language of inspiration,
"He feeds on ashes"  "feeds on wind."

Is this life worthy of a rational, responsible,
immortal being? Is it worthy of one soon to
confront death, judgment, and eternity?
soon to appear at Christ's bar, to give an
account of a stewardship of intellect, and
of rank, and of wealth, and of time, and of

Is this the life you are living, my reader?

Is this the mere existence in which you vegetate?

Don't you know that, "we must all appear before
the judgment seat of Christ, to give account of
the deeds done in the body"?  That "every one
must give account of himself to God"?

Rise to a higher life, a nobler
purpose, a more glorious end!

But conversion reverses this sad picture.

When the soul is 'born again,' it emerges
from its lower life, and ascends into a new,
a divine, a heavenly life; a life from God,
and for God; a life in Christ, and by Christ,
and with Christ; a life best described by
the language of one who lived it fully, lived
it nobly, lived it until crowned with a martyr's
diadem; "For me to live is Christ."

Oh, upon what a 'high place' does the soul
born from above now walk! Truly, it is a new
birth, a re-creation! Old things have passed
away, and God's Spirit has made all things
in that life new.

How revolutionized the whole soul!

It has awakened as from a dream, a trance,
a death, and finds itself in a new world of
thought and feeling, of life, holiness, and love!

It never really lived until now. Oh the blessedness
of now truly living, and of living for God!

He came!
David Harsha, "The Incarnation of Christ"

The grand design of the Savior's coming from heaven
to earth, was for the purpose of saving sinners.

He came that we might find in Him a hiding place
from the storm and tempest of divine wrath, which
is ready to break over an ungodly world.

He came to break the chains of sin.

He came to bruise Satan under our feet.

He came to open the prison doors, and to confer
on us the glorious liberty of the children of God.

He came to enrich our impoverished souls
with all spiritual and heavenly blessings.

He came to lead us beside the still waters of divine grace.

He came to implant holy desires in our hearts.

He came to elevate our affections above a vain and perishing world.

He came to clothe us with the garments of salvation.

He came to give unto us who mourn in Zion,
beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

He came to feed us with living bread.

He came to open for us a fountain of immortal life.

He came to pour out His Spirit upon us.

He came to guide us to the shores of Emmanuel's land.

He came to receive us to mansions of everlasting joy and glory in heaven.

He came  to confer endless happiness upon myriads
of our guilty race, who might justly have been left
to reap the fruit of their transgression with the fallen
angels, in the regions of eternal darkness and despair.

Who can tell what it is to be delivered from the
thraldom of sin, and the fearful realities of hell; to
be reinstated in the favor and love of God; and to be
crowned with the imperishable diadem of beauty and
glory through those infinite ages of bliss, which roll
beyond the grave!

All that our blessed Savior did on earth was to
accomplish this great work of redemption; to glorify
His Heavenly Father in the salvation of precious,
immortal souls. He never failed to make this the
grand design of His high mission. For this very
object He became a man of sorrows.

For US Jesus visited earth, and trod the
thorny path of life, until He endured the
excruciating death of the Cross!

Where, in the wide universe of God, can be found an
instance of love so marvelous as that which Christ
displayed, when He left the throne of heavenly glory,
and the songs of seraphim and cherubim, to be cradled in
the manger of Bethlehem and become a man of sorrows?

How truly amazing!

An unfailing spring of joy and consolation!
from David Harsha's, "A Guide to the Savior"

   "O Lord, you have examined my heart
        and know everything about me.
    You know when I sit down or stand up.
        You know my every thought when far away.
    You chart the path ahead of me
        and tell me where to stop and rest.
        Every moment you know where I am.
    You know what I am going to say
        even before I say it, Lord.
    You both precede and follow me.
        You place your hand of blessing on my head.
    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
        too great for me to know!"   Psalm 139:1-6

Jesus has a perfect knowledge of every event
that is transpiring in the remotest part of His
mighty empire. Heaven, earth, and hell, are all
unveiled before Him. His eyes, which are as a
flame of fire, are in every place, beholding the
evil and the good. He knows perfectly well what
is the present inclination of our minds; whether
our hearts are absorbed with the empty pleasures
of earth, or whether we love Him supremely.

This is an unfailing spring of joy and consolation
for the real Christian. How inspiring to feel that
we have a Savior who knows all our needs; whose
eye is ever upon us for good; whose ear is always
opened to our petitions. 'For the eyes of the Lord
watch over the righteous, and His ears are open
to their prayers.'

Come then, you afflicted, tempest tossed child
of earth, and lay all your sorrows before an
omniscient and compassionate Savior!

Make all your desires known to Him.

He has....
  a willing ear to hear you,
  a willing heart to love you,
  a willing hand to save you!

"O Omniscient Savior, we beseech You to watch
over us amid all the scenes of earth. We are still
on the 'ocean of life', exposed to its storms and
its tempests; but while the waves dash on every
side of us, may we see Your glorious Form on the
troubled sea; may we hear Your animating voice,
'Be of good cheer; it is I; do not be afraid.' May
we rejoice in the belief that You know all things,
and are intimately acquainted with all our ways.
Guide us with Your counsel. Show us the path of
life. Be our guiding Star until we reach the harbor
of eternal rest. Be very near us in all the
wanderings of our earthly pilgrimage."

The most interesting, profitable, and elevating theme
David Harsha, "A Guide to the Savior"

The most interesting, profitable, and elevating theme
that can be presented for the contemplation of the Christian
on his way to immortality, is the Person and glory of the
Savior; the nature and excellences of His divine perfections;
and the various relations He sustains to His people.

In vain will we search for another theme which possesses
such irresistible charms for the truly pious.

The excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus
in His person and work! How captivating a subject!

With what pleasure should we dwell upon it!

It is not worth a straw!
by Mary Winslow

Do not be concerned with all the tinsel
glory of this empty, unsatisfying world.
It is not worth a straw when compared
with what awaits us!

What an unsatisfying world this is, to have
our all in! How trifling does everything appear
which is not in some way connected with God's
glory. Look upon all you now see or admire as
passing away, yourself passing away with it.

This world is a waste land, a howling desert!

Oh, that we did but consider it as such, and
expect nothing in it, but thorns and thistles;
looking unceasingly, with the anticipation of
holy joy, to the period when He shall say to us,
"Come away, my love, my fair one, enter into
 the joy of your Lord!"

by John MacDuff

"Like as a father pities his children, so
 the Lord pities those who fear Him." Ps. 103:13

"Abba, Father!" is a Gospel word.

A father bending over the sick bed of his weak or
dying child; a mother pressing, in tender solitude,
an infant sufferer to her bosom. These are the
earthly pictures of God. "As a father pities." "As one
whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you!"

When tempted in our season of overwhelming sorrow
to say, "Never has there been so dark a cloud, never
a heart so stripped and desolate as mine," let this
thought hush every murmur, "It is your Father's good

The love and pity of the most tender parent is but
a dim shadow compared to the pitying love of God.

If your heavenly Father's smile has for a moment been
exchanged for the chastening rod; be assured there is
some deep necessity for the altered discipline.

If there be unutterable yearnings in the soul of the
earthly parent as the lancet is applied to the body
of his child; infinitely more is it so with your covenant
God as He subjects you to those deep wounds of heart!

Finite wisdom has no place in His ordinations.

An earthly father may err; is always erring.
But "as for God His way is perfect."

This is the explanation of His every dealing with you: "Your
heavenly Father knows you have need of all these things!"

Trust His heart when you cannot trace His ways.

Without one misgiving commit your way to Him.

While now bending your head like a bulrush; your
heart breaking with sorrow; remember His pitying eye
is upon you. Be it yours, even through blinding tears,
to say, "Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure!"
True Christian discipleship
(Winslow, "The Sensitiveness of Christ to Suffering")

"Then He said to them all: "If anyone would
 come after Me, he must deny himself and take
 up his cross daily and follow Me." Luke 9:23

True Christian discipleship demands an
uncompromising avowal of attachment to
Christ, and of adherence to His truth.

The offense of the cross has not ceased!

A real decision for the Redeemer cannot exist
without some sacrifice, demanded and made,
as a term of discipleship.

May the Lord to give you grace henceforth,
'Caleb like', wholly and unreservedly to follow
Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.

We read of the first disciples of the Lord,
"And they forsook all and followed Him."

The solemn confession of Christ you have made
before the world pledges you to the offense, the
shame, the crucifixion, and the self-denial of the
cross of Jesus.

You have bound that cross around your heart!

You have identified yourself with....
  its reproach and its boast,
  its defeats and its victories,
  its humiliation and its glory.

Onward you must bear it....
  through flood and flame,
  through good and through evil report,
  glorying in its doctrine,
  enduring its crucifixion,
until the Master bids you exchange your sword
for a scepter, your cross for a crown, which His
own hands will place upon your head!

Blessed, thrice blessed, you who, when that blessed
moment arrives, will be enabled calmly, exultantly to
exclaim, "As for me, my life has already been poured
out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race,
and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits
me; the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the
righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of His
return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who
eagerly look forward to His glorious return." 2 Tim. 4:6-8.

The world's religion
Spurgeon, "Hidden Manna" #980. Jer. 15:16

Blessed are they who go to their Lord outside
the camp, leaving the world's religion as well
as its sin, in obedience to that sacred call:
    "Therefore, come out from them
        and separate yourselves from them.
    Don't touch their filthy things,
        and I will welcome you.
    And I will be your Father,
        and you will be my sons and daughters,
        says the Lord Almighty."  2 Cor. 6:17-18

Submit to the appointments of our Maker!
by John Newton (author of Amazing Grace)

How highly does it become us, both as creatures
and as sinners, to submit to the appointments of
our Maker! and how necessary is it to our peace!

This great attainment is to often unthought of and
overlooked; we are prone to fix our attention upon
the second causes and immediate instruments of
events; forgetting whatever befalls us is according
to His purpose, and therefore must be right and
seasonable in itself, and shall in the issue be
productive of good.

From hence arise impatience, resentment, and secret
repinings, which are not only sinful but tormenting;
whereas if all things are in His hand, if the very hairs
of our head are numbered, if every event, great and
small are under the direction of his providence and
purpose; and if he has a wise, holy, and gracious
end in view, to which everything that happens is
subordinate and subservient; then we have nothing
to do, but with patience and humility to follow as
He leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue.

The path of present duty is marked out; and the
concerns of the next and every succeeding hour
are in His hands.

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

Unworthy of an idiot!
Spurgeon, "More and More" 1871

"I will praise You more and more." Psalm 71:14

The world has their songs.

They are, many of them, so absurd and
meaningless as to be unworthy of an idiot.

I would insult an idiot if I would suppose that
such songs as people sing nowadays would really
be agreeable to him. Yet these things will be sung
by men, and places will be thronged to listen to
hear the stuff.

Let us sing the songs of Zion as cheerful as they
sing the songs of Sodom. Let us drown the
howling nonsense of Gomorrah with the melodies
of the New Jerusalem.

May you march like pilgrims towards heaven, singing, all the way.

"I will praise You more and more." Psalm 71:14

The weather?
"He who complains of the weather, complains
   of the God who ordained the weather!"
-William Law

Here is my heart, my poor heart
"Inexpressibly precious Jesus, Savior of sinners,
 Redeemer of my never dying soul, my best and
 dearest Friend, here is my heart, my poor heart;
 take it just as it is, and make it all that You
 would have it to be; cast it into Your mold,
 and let it receive and reflect Your image."
-Mary Winslow, from her diary

Bring your wounded heart!
from Octavius Winslow's, "Morning Thoughts"

"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?"
  Jeremiah 8:22

There is!

The physician is Jesus, the balm is His own most precious blood.

He binds up the broken heart, He heals the wounded spirit.

All the skill, all the efficacy, all the tenderness
and crucial sympathy needed for the office meet
and center in Him in the highest degree.

Here then, disconsolate soul, bring your wounded heart!

Bring it simply to Jesus.

One touch of His hand will heal the wound.

One whisper of His voice will hush the tempest.

One drop of His blood will remove the guilt.

Nothing but a faith's application to Him will do for your soul now.

Your case is beyond the skill of all other physicians.

Your wound is too deep for all other remedies.

Do not let the freeness of the remedy keep you away.

The cost is "without money, and without price."

The ground on which the healing is bestowed is....
  not worthiness on the part of the applicant,
  not merit of the creature,
  not tears,
  not convictions,
  not faith.

Oh no! It is all of grace!

It is all God's free gift, irrespective
of any worth or worthiness in man.

Your only motive to come to Christ is your very sinfulness.

The reason why you go to Him is that....
  your heart is broken, and that He only can bind it up;
  your spirit is wounded, and that He only can heal it;
  your conscience is burdened, and that He only can lighten it.

It is enough for Christ....
that you are covered with guilt;
that you have no plea that springs from yourself;
that you have no money to bring in your hand,
  but have spent your all upon physicians, yet
  instead of getting better you only grow worse;
that you have wasted your substance in riotous
  living, and now are insolvent; and
that you really feel a drawing towards Him, a longing for Him;
that you ask, you seek, you crave, you earnestly implore His
compassion; that is enough for Him.

His heart yearns!

His love is moved!

His hand is stretched out!

Come and welcome to Jesus, come!

Christ or Moses?
from Spurgeon, "The Fourfold Treasure" #991

Let Jesus always be the motive for your sanctification.

Is it not a strange thing that some professors should
look to Christ alone for pardon and justification, and
run away to Moses when they desire sanctification?

How then should we urge the child of God to holiness?

Should it not be in this way: "You are God's child;
walk worthy of him who is your Father. His love to
you will never cease. He cannot cast you away; he
is faithful and never changes, therefore love him
in return."

This is a motive fit for the child of the free woman,
and it moves his heart. The child of the bond woman
is driven by the whip, but the child of the free woman
is drawn by cords of love.

"The love of Christ constrains us."

Not fear of hell, but love of Christ.

Not fear that God will cast us away, for that he
cannot do, but the joy that we are saved in the
Lord with an everlasting salvation constrains us
to cling to him with all our heart and soul, forever
and ever.

Rest assured, if motives fetched from the gospel will
not kill sin, motives fetched from the law never will.

If you cannot be purged at Calvary, you
certainly cannot be cleansed at Sinai.

If "the water and the blood, from the riven side which
flowed," are not sufficient to purify you; no blood of
bulls or of goats; I mean, no argument from the Jewish
law, will ever furnish motives sufficiently strong to
cast out sin.

Let your reasons for being holy be found in Christ,
for he is made of God unto you sanctification!

I have ever found that the more entirely I lean upon
my Lord, the more conscious I am of my own emptiness
and unworthiness. And the more completely I rest my
whole salvation upon the grace of God in Christ Jesus,
the more carefully do I walk in my daily life.

"He that has this hope in him purifies himself, even
as he is pure." Jesus, the Savior, saves us from our
sins, and is made of God to us "sanctification."

All that you can possibly want, O Christian, is in Christ!

You cannot conceive a need which Jesus does not supply!

The old man is not sent to the hospital
from Spurgeon's, "The Fourfold Treasure" #991

If any man is in Christ, he is not an old creature
mended up. He is a new creature. "Old things are
passed away; behold all things are become new."

That which becomes holy in us is the new life.

The old nature never changes into a holy thing.

The old man is not sent to the hospital to
be healed, but to the cross to be crucified.

The old nature is not transformed and improved,
but doomed to die and to be buried.

There is a 'boasting bump' on all our heads?
from Spurgeon's, "The Fourfold Treasure" #991

How foolish are those who are proud of the beauty
of their bodies; worms' food at the best!

How foolish are they who are proud of their
wisdom! The wisdom of which a man is proud,
is but folly in a thin disguise.

How foolish are those who are vain of their
wealth! He must be a poor man who can think
much of gold. He must be a beggar indeed who
counts a piece of dirt a treasure!

Those who know Christ, always value these things
at their right estimate, and that is low indeed.

If any boasting; and I suppose it is natural to
us to boast; there is a 'boasting bump' on all
our heads; let us boast in the Lord.

O men, O angels, O cherubim, O seraphim, boast in
Jesus Christ! Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification,
and redemption is he, therefore you may boast and
boast, and boast again!

You will never exaggerate.

You cannot exceed his worth, or reach the tenth of it.
You can never go beyond the truth, you do not even
reach beyond the skirts of his garments.

So glorious is he that all the angels harps cannot
sound forth half his glory. So blessed is Christ that
the orchestra of the countless multitudes of the
redeemed, though it continue forever and forever
its pealing music, can never reach to the majesty
of his name or the glory of his work.

"Give unto the Lord, O you mighty, give unto the
Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the
glory due unto his name."

A cup of love
by John MacDuff 

Affliction has always been God's peculiar
method of dealing with His own people.

It is because He loves them He chastises
them. 'I have chosen you,' says He, 'in the
furnace of affliction.'

Was it not needed?

Has not the world been becoming too much to
you; engrossing your affections, alienating your
love, dimming your view of 'the better country'?

Ah! commune with your own heart, and say, was
not this affliction (terrible though it be) the very
discipline I required?

Less would not have done to wean you from
the poor nothings of earth. You were lulled in
a guilty self security. You were living in a state
of awful forgetfulness of God, insensible of
His mercies, unmindful of His goodness, taking
your blessings as matters of course; a secret

Dear Reader! if this is a truthful picture of your heart,
I ask you; was it not kindness, unspeakable kindness
in your covenant God to bring back your truant,
wandering, treacherous heart, and fix once more
your traitor affections on Himself as their only
satisfying portion?

"Your Heavenly Father never thought this world's
painted glory a gift worthy of you, and therefore
He has taken out the best thing it had in your sight,
that He might Himself fill the heart He had wounded
with Himself." (Evans).

The threads of life were weaved into too bright
a cord; God had to snap them. The loved one
you are now mourning was a clay idol.

He had to break it in pieces.

He had to drag it from the usurped throne
that He might resume that throne Himself.

He gave you prosperity but you could not or would
not use it for His glory. It was a curse to you!
He would not allow you to be left alone, to settle
in the downy nest of self ease and forgetfulness.

He has roused you on the wing, and pointed your
upward soarings to their only true resting place,
in His own everlasting presence, and friendship,
and love.

Your wayward heart was throwing out its tendrils
on every side and rooting them down to earth. He
had to unroot them; to wrench these groveling
affections from the things that are of 'earth, earthy,'
and fasten them on Himself as their all in all.

Child of God! there is not one drop of wrath in
the bitter cup you are now drinking. He took all
that was bitter out of it, and left it a cup of love!

Seek to exercise simple faith in the wisdom of
God's dealings, the unswerving rectitude of His
dispensations. He does all well. Nothing can
come wrong to you, that comes from His hand.

He has dealt tenderly, wisely and lovingly, with you.

Confide where you can not understand.

Trust where you can not trace.

Repress all guilty murmurings.

Check all rebellious thoughts.

The Refiner of silver sits by the furnace of His
own lighting, tempering its heat; regulating
the fury of the flames; quenching the violence
of the fires; designing all, ALL not to consume
and destroy; but to purify, brighten, refine!
Glorify God in the fires.

Think often of heaven! Every day is bringing
you nearer that home of joy! Nearer to Him
who is now standing with the hoarded treasures
of eternity in His hand, and the hoarded love
of eternity in His heart!

How will one brief moment there, banish in
everlasting oblivion, all the pangs and sorrows
of this present valley of weeping!

Soon the last ripple of sorrow will be heard
murmuring on the other side of Jordan, and then
every vestige of its sound will die away, and
that forever! Entering the triumphal arch of Heaven,
you will read in living characters the history of a
sinless, sorrowless future: "And God shall wipe
away all tears from their eye; and there shall be
no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither
shall there be any more pain; for the former things
are passed away." Rev. 21:4.

They go on stumbling in the dark?
(Thomas Reade, "On Perverted Views of the Gospel")

Oh the pride and blindness of the human heart!

People, in general, have awfully low conceptions
of true religion. They neither understand its nature,
nor desire to understand it.

When we look into the 'nominally Christian' world,
it would almost seem as if the great bulk of professing
Christians thought nothing about the holy design of
the gospel, or of their own responsibility respecting it.

Such 'self deceivers' love darkness rather than light,
because their deeds are evil. Of divine truth, they
are "willingly ignorant."

Their views are alarmingly erroneous, on a subject
of all others the most important. Taking their own
wisdom for their guide, they go on stumbling in
the dark, until either Sovereign Grace makes them
wise unto salvation, or Infinite Justice allows them
to reap the fruit of their own folly, in "the blackness
of darkness forever."

Oh encouraging truth!
(Octavius Winslow "Morning Thoughts")

"I the Lord search the heart." Jeremiah 17:10.

Solemn as is this view of the Divine character, the
believing mind finds in it sweet and hallowed repose.

What more consolatory truth in some of the
most trying positions of a child of God than
this; the Lord knows the heart.

The world condemns, and the saints may
wrongly judge, but God knows the heart.

And to those who have been led into deep discoveries
of their heart's hidden evil, to whom have been made
startling and distressing unveilings, how precious is
this character of God, "He that searches the heart!"

Is there a single recess of our hearts we
would veil from His penetrating glance?

Is there a corruption we would hide from His view?

Is there an evil of which we would have Him ignorant?

Oh no!

Mournful and humiliating as is the spectacle, we would
throw open every door, and uplift every window, and
invite and urge His scrutiny and inspection, making no
concealments, and indulging in no reserves, and framing
no excuses when dealing with the great Searcher of hearts,
exclaiming, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test
me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that
offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."

And while the Lord is thus acquainted with the evil of
our hearts, He most graciously conceals that evil from
the eyes of others. He seems to say, by His benevolent
conduct, "I see my child's infirmity." Then, covering it
with His hand, exclaims, "but no other eye shall see it,
but my own!" Oh, the touching tenderness, the loving
kindness of our God! Knowing, as He does, all the evil
of our nature, He yet veils that evil from human eye,
that others may not despise us as we often despise
ourselves. Who but God could know it? Who but God
would conceal it?

And how blessed, too, to remember that while God
knows all the evil, He is as intimately acquainted
with all the good that is in the hearts of His people!

He knows all that His Spirit has implanted;
all that His grace has wrought.

Oh encouraging truth!

That spark of love, faint and flickering;
that pulsation of life, low and tremulous;
that touch of faith, feeble and hesitating;
that groan,
that sigh;
that low thought of self that leads a man to seek the shade;
that self-abasement that places his mouth in the dust;
oh, not one of these sacred emotions is unseen, unnoticed by God!

His eye ever rests with infinite complaisance and
delight on His own image in the renewed soul.

by John MacDuff

"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken
 away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21

Noble posture this; to kneel and to adore!

To see no hand but ONE!

Sabeans; Fire; Whirlwind; Sword; are all overlooked.

The Patriarch recognizes alone "The Lord"
who gave and "The Lord" who has taken.

What is the cause of so much depression, needless
sorrow, unchristian murmuring in our hours of trial?
It is a refusal to hear His voice; His own loving voice,
mingling with the accents of the severest storm; "It is I!"

"Is there evil in the city, and the Lord has not done it?"

Is there a bitter drop in the cup, and the Lord
has not mingled it? He loves His people too well
to intrust their interest to any other.

We are but clay in the hand of the Potter;
vessels in the hand of the Refiner of silver.

He metes out our portion.

He appoints the bounds of our habitation.

"The Lord God prepared the gourd."

"The Lord God prepared the worm."

He is the Author alike of mercies and
sorrows, of comforts and crosses.

He breathes into our nostrils the breath
of life; and it is at His summons the spirit
returns "to the God who gave it!"

Oh, that we would seek to regard our own lives
and the lives of those dear to us as a loan. God,
as the Great Proprietor, Who, when He sees fit,
can revoke the grant or curtail the lease He gave!

All mercies are....
  by Him bestowed;
  by Him continued;
 by Him withheld.

And how often does He take away, that He may
Himself enter the vacuum of the heart and fill it
with His own ineffable presence and love!

No loss can compensate for the lack of Him,
but He can compensate for all losses.

Let us trust His love and faithfulness
as a taking, as well as a giving God.

Faith, resting on the promise, can  exult, "Even
so, Father, for it seems good in your sight!"

It is the wrath of the Lamb!
(Octavius Winslow, "The Emotion of Anger in Christ")

    And the sky was rolled up like a scroll
and taken away. And all of the mountains
and all of the islands disappeared. Then the
kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals,
the wealthy people, the people with great
power, and every slave and every free person;
all hid themselves in the caves and among
the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to
the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and
hide us from the face of the One who sits on
the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
For the great day of their wrath has come,
and who will be able to survive?" Rev. 6:14-17

The wrath of the Lamb!

What is it?  Who can describe, who
can fathom, who can stand before it?

It can only be conceived or estimated by...
the glory from which He descended,
the humiliation to which He stooped,
the sufferings which He endured, and
the sacrifice which He offered in order to save sinners.

It is the wrath of Incarnate Deity!

It is the wrath of Him who sorrowed in Gethsemane!

It is the wrath of Him who bled on Calvary!

It is the wrath of Him who gave His life a ransom for many!

It is the wrath of Him who pardons the guiltiest!

It is the wrath of Him who reclaims the vilest!

It is the wrath of Him who saves to the uttermost!

It is the wrath of Him who holds out His hand
all day long to poor, lost sinners, rushing past
it in scorn and madness to swift destruction,
choosing death rather than life!

It is The wrath of the Lamb!

Unconverted reader! the judgment is approaching,
the great white throne will descend, the books will
be opened, the dead will be raised, and all, all will
confront this gracious or this angered Lambof God.

From His presence there will be no escape.

Every eye shall see Him.

The mountains will not hide you,
the rocks will not shelter you,
the grave will not retain you,
the sea will not entomb you,
but when the trumpet of the archangel
sounds, at that bar you must stand, and
by that Lamb you must be judged.

It is The wrath of the Lamb!

Religion, preachers, and sermons?
(from Mary Winslow's, "Life in Jesus")

When Christians meet together, do they not talk
too much about religion, preachers, and sermons?
I cannot but think, that if they communed less about
religion, and more of Jesus, it would give a higher
tone of spirituality to their conversation, and prove
more refreshing to the soul. He would then oftener
draw near, and make Himself one in their midst,
and talk with them by the way.

God notices the most trivial act; accepts
the poorest, most threadbare little service;
listens to the coldest, feeblest petition;
and gathers up with parental fondness all
our fragmentary desires and attempts to
serve Him.

Oh, if we could only begin to conceive how He
loves us, what different creatures we would be!
("Stepping Heavenward" by Elizabeth Prentiss)

There goes John Bradford!
(Spurgeon "Moab Is My Washpot" Psalm 60:8)

When we read in the newspaper a sad case of
lasciviousness, or any other breach of the laws of
God and man, if we were aforetime guilty of the
like sin, and have now been renewed in heart, it will
make us blush; it will humble us, and cause us to
admire the power and sovereignty of divine grace.

Now the blush of repentance, the shamefacedness of
humility, and the tear of gratitude, are three helpful
things, and all tend under God's grace to set us
purging out the old leaven.

Remember, O believer, that there is no wretch
upon earth so bad, but what you were once his
equal in alienation from God and death in sin!

In outward acts there may have been much
difference, but in the inner man how little!

The seed of all the sin which you see in him,
lies in your corrupt nature, and needs only a
fit season to bring forth and bud.

You were once in that fire of sin, in which he
is consumed by his passions. You have been
plucked as a brand from the burning, else
you would be there still.

Yonder is a prodigal, all bespattered from head
to foot. But we also once were plunged into the
ditch, until our own clothes abhorred us; and we
would be sinking in the mire even now, if the
mighty hand of grace had not lifted us up from
the horrible pit, and washed us in the Savior's blood.

We were "heirs of wrath even as others."

"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

Our sins may be different, but we were
all without exception, shaped in iniquity.

The old nature so remains in us, that, if we were
to be deserted by God, we should even yet become
such as the ungodly are. Need I quote to you the
speech of John Bradford, one of the godliest of men?
When he saw a wretch taken out to be hanged, the
tears were in his eyes, and when they asked him
why, he said, "There goes John Bradford, but for
the grace of God."

Ah, and when we see a prodigal plunging into excess
of riot, there goes the best among us, if we are not
preserved in Christ Jesus.

Ay, and when the damned go down to hell, there
must I go, unless the same grace which restrains
me now from sin, shall uphold me to my last day;
and keep me from falling.

Madam Bubble we have seen with her mask off,
and are not to be fascinated by so ugly a witch!

(from Spurgeon's "Moab Is My Washpot" Psalm 60:8)

You can be very certain that unconverted
and ungodly people are not solidly happy.

What roaring boys they sometimes are!

How vociferous are their songs!

How merry their dances!

How hilarious their laughter!

You would think that there were no happier
people to be found under the sun. But as, on
many a face, beauty is produced by art rather
than by nature; and a little paint creates a
transient loveliness; so, often the mirth of
this world is a painted thing, a base imitation,
not so deep even as the skin.

Ungodly men know nothing of heart joy; they
are strangers to the deep, serene happiness
which is the portion of believers.

Their joy comes and goes with the hour.

See them when the feast is over.

Mark them when alone; they are ready to die with boredom.

They want to kill time, as if they had an surplus of
it and would be glad to dispose of the superfluity.

A man's face must be very ugly when he never cares
to look at it, and a man's state must be very bad
indeed in when he is ashamed to know what it is.
And yet in the case of tens of thousands of people,
who say they are very happy. There is a worm
inside the apple; and you may be sure it is so,
for they dare not examine into matters.

Ungodly men at bottom are unhappy men.

"The way of transgressors is hard."

"There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked."

When I read of aching hearts, and hear that great
worldling, who had all the world could give him, sum
it all up with this sentence, "Vanity of vanities, all
is vanity," does not my heart say at once, "Oh, empty
world, you tempt me in vain, for I see through the cheat."

Madam Bubble we have seen with her mask off,
and are not to be fascinated by so ugly a witch!

We follow not after yonder green meadows and
flowing brooks, because they are not real, and are
only a mirage mocking the traveler.

Why should we pursue a bubble or chase the wind?

We no longer spend our money for that which is not bread.

Indifference, worldly mindedness,
formality, and hypocrisy, render the
mere nominal professors of Christianity
barren as the sand; and tend more to
check the spread of the Gospel, than all
the united attacks of its most hostile foes.
(Thomas Reade, "On the Two Great Instruments")

Let us live more for eternity,
and less for this poor dying world.
(Mary Winslow, "Life in Jesus")