Grace Gems for December 2003

Some beloved idol?

(J. C. Philpot, "Spiritual Times and Seasons" 1841)

"Because the whole land is filled with idols, and the
 people are madly in love with them.
" Jeremiah 50:38

Have we not all in our various ways,
set up some beloved idol . . .
  something which engaged our affections,
  something which occupied our thoughts,
  something to which we devoted all the energies of our minds,
  something for which we were willing to labor night and day?

Be it money,
be it power,
be it esteem of men,
be it respectability,
be it worldly comfort,
be it literary knowledge,
there was a secret setting up of SELF in one or
more of its various forms, and a bowing down
to it as an idol.

The man of business makes money his god.

The man of pleasure makes the lust of the flesh his god.

The proud man makes his adored SELF his god.

The Pharisee makes self-righteousness his god.

The Arminian makes free-will his god.

The Calvinist makes dry doctrine his god.

All in one way or other, however they may differ
in the object of their idolatrous worship, agree in
this: that they give a preference in their esteem
and affection to their peculiar idol, above the one
true God.

"Idols will be utterly abolished and destroyed."
    Isaiah 2:18

There is, then, a time to break down these
idols which our fallen nature has set up.

And have not we experienced some measure of
this breaking down, both externally and internally?

Have not our idols been in a measure smashed
before our eyes, our prospects in life cut up and
destroyed, our airy visions of earthly happiness
and our romantic paradises dissolved into thin air,
our creature-hopes dashed, our youthful affections
blighted, and the objects from which we had fondly
hoped to reap an enduring harvest of delight
removed from our eyes?

And likewise, as to our religion . . .
  our good opinion of ourselves,
  our piety and holiness,
  our wisdom and our knowledge,
  our understanding and our abilities,
  our consistency and uprightness;
have they not all been broken down, and
made a heap of ruins before our eyes?

That monstrous creature within us!

(J. C. Philpot, "Spiritual Times and Seasons" 1841)

"I abhor the pride of Jacob." Amos 6:8

O cursed pride, that is ever lifting up its head in our
hearts! Pride would even pull down God that it might
sit upon His throne. Pride would trample under foot
the holiest things to exalt itself!

Pride is that monstrous creature within us, of such
ravenous and indiscriminate gluttony, that the more
it devours, the more it craves!

Pride is that chameleon which assumes every color;
that actor which can play every part; and yet which
is faithful to no one object or purpose, but to exalt
and glorify self!

"I will put an end to the pride of the mighty." "God
will bring down their pride."  (Ezek. 7:24, Isaiah 25:11)

God means to kill man's pride!
And oh, what cutting
weapons the Lord will sometimes make use of to kill
a man's pride!

How He will bring him sometimes into the depths
of temporal poverty, that He may make a stab at
his worldly pride!

How He will bring to light the iniquities of his youth,
that He may mortify his self-righteous pride!

How He will allow sin to break forth, if not openly,
yet so powerfully within, that piercing convictions
shall kill his spiritual pride!

And what deep discoveries of internal corruption will
the Lord sometimes employ, to dig down to the root,
and cut off the core of that poisonous tree, pride!

The Searcher of hearts dissects and anatomizes this
inbred evil
, cuts down to it through the quivering and
bleeding flesh, and pursues with His keen knife its
multiplied windings and ramifications.

"The day is coming when your pride will be brought
and the Lord alone will be exalted." Isaiah 2:11

"The arrogance of all people will be brought low.
 Their pride will lie in the dust. The Lord alone
 will be exalted!" Isaiah 2:17

"The Lord Almighty has done it to destroy your pride
 and show His contempt for all human greatness."
    Isaiah 23:9



(J. C. Philpot, "The Accuser of the Brethren)

And they were shouting with a mighty shout,
"Salvation comes from our God on the throne
and from the Lamb!" Revelation 7:10

The sweetest song that heaven ever proclaimed,
the most blessed note that ever melted the soul,
is salvation.

Saved FROM . . .

  death and hell;
  the worm which never dies;
  the fire which is never quenched;
  the sulphurous flames of the bottomless pit;
  the companionship of tormenting fiends and
  all the foul wretches under which earth has groaned;
  blaspheming God in unutterable woe;
  an eternity of misery without end or hope!

Saved INTO . . .
  the sight of Jesus as He is;
  perfect holiness and happiness;
  the blissful company of holy angels and glorified saints;
and all this during the countless ages of a blessed eternity!

What tongue of men or angels can describe the
millionth part of what is contained in the word



The best of men are only men at their very best

(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Matthew" 1856)

While He was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped
them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is My Son,
whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!"
    Matthew 17:5

Let us see in these words a striking lesson to
the whole Church of Christ. There is a constant
tendency in human nature to "hear man"
. . .
  and ministers,
are continually exalted to a place which God never
intended them to fill, and made practically to usurp
the honor of Christ.

Against this tendency let us all watch, and be on
our guard. Let these solemn words of the vision
ever ring in our ears, "Listen to Christ!"

The best of men are only men at their very best . . .
  church fathers,
all, all are sinners, who need a Savior.

They may be holy, useful, honorable in their place;
but they are sinners after all. They must never be
allowed to stand between us and Christ.

He alone is the Son, in whom the Father is well pleased.

He alone is sealed and appointed to give the bread of life.

He alone "hold the keys of death and the grave" in His hands.

Let us take heed that we hear His voice, and follow Him.

Let us value all religious teaching just in proportion as
it leads us to Jesus. The sum and substance of saving
religion is to "listen to Christ!"

The soul's natural element

(J. C. Philpot, "What Is It That Saves a Soul?")

Before the soul can know anything about salvation,
it must learn deeply and experimentally the nature
of sin, and of itself, as stained and polluted by sin.

It is proud, and needs to be humbled.

It is careless, and needs to be awakened.

It is alive, and needs to be killed.

It is full, and requires to be emptied.

It is whole, and needs to be wounded.

It is clothed, and requires to be stripped.

The soul is, by nature . . .
  buried deep in worldliness and carnality;
  utterly blind and ignorant;
  filled with . . .
      and enmity;
  hateful to all that is heavenly and spiritual.

Sin, in all its various forms, is
the soul's natural element.

Some of the features of the unregenerate
nature of man are . . .
  worldly pleasure,
  desire of the praise of men,
  an insatiable thirst after self-advancement,
  a complete abandonment to all that can please
    and gratify every new desire of the heart,
  an utter contempt and abhorrence of everything that
    restrains or defeats its mad pursuit of what it loves.

moral restraints,
or the force of habit,
may restrain the outbreaking of inward corruption,
and dam back the mighty stream of indwelling sin,
so that it shall not burst all its bounds, and desolate
the land. But no moral check can alter human nature.

A chained tiger is a tiger still.

"The Ethiopian cannot change his
 skin, nor the leopard his spots."

To make man the direct contrary of what
he originally is; to make him . . .
 love God instead of hating Him;
  fear God, instead of mocking Him;
  obey God, instead of rebelling against Him;
to do this mighty work, and to effect this wonderful
change, requires the implantation of a new nature
by the immediate hand of God Himself.

Natural light,
natural love,
natural faith,
natural obedience,
in a word, all natural religion,
is here useless and ineffectual.

Godly sorrow

(J. C. Philpot, "What Is It That Saves a Soul?")

Godly sorrow springs from a view of a suffering
Savior, and manifests itself by . . .
  hatred of self,
  abhorrence of sin,
  groaning over our backslidings,
  grief of soul for being so often entangled by our lusts and passions,
  and is accompanied by . . .
      meltings of heart,
      flowings of love to the Redeemer,
      indignation against ourselves,
      and earnest desires never to sin more.

But our coward flesh shrinks from them!

(J. C. Philpot, "The Afflicted Remnant" 1845)

"I have refined you but not in the way silver
 is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the
 furnace of suffering.
" Isaiah 48:10

What benefit is there in afflictions?

Does God send them without an object in view?

Do they come merely, as the men of the world think,
by chance? No! There is benefit intended by them.

The branch cannot bear fruit unless it be pruned.

The love of sin cannot be cast out; the soul cannot
be meekened, humbled, softened, and made contrite;
the world cannot be embittered; the things of time
and sense cannot be stripped of their false hue and
their magic appearance--except through affliction.

Our greatest blessings usually spring from our greatest
afflictions--they prepare the heart to receive them; they
empty the vessel of the poisonous ingredients which
have filled it, and fit it to receive gospel wine and milk.

To be without . . .
  these afflictions,
  these griefs,
  these trials,
  these temptations,
is to write ourselves destitute of grace.

But our coward flesh shrinks from them!

We are willing to walk to heaven; but not to walk
there in God's way. Though we see in the Scripture
that the path to glory is a rough and rugged way;
yet when our feet are planted in that painful and
trying path
, we shrink back; our coward flesh refuses
to walk in that road.

God therefore, as a sovereign, brings those afflictions
upon us which He sees most fit for our profit and His
glory, without ever consulting us, without ever allowing
us a choice in the matter.

And He will generally cause our afflictions to come from
the most unexpected source, and in a way most cutting
to our feelings--in the way that of all others we would
least have chosen--and yet in a way which of all others,
is most for our profit.

God deals with us like a surgeon dealing with a
diseased organ. How painful the operation!

How deep the knife cuts!

How long it may be before the wound is healed!

Yet every stroke of the knife is indispensable!
A skillful and faithful surgeon would not do his
duty if he did not dissect it to the very bottom.

As pain before healing is necessary, and must be
produced by the knife; so spiritually, we must be
wounded and cut in our souls, as long, and as
deeply as God sees needful
, that in His own
time we may receive the consolation.

Do the afflictions we pass through humble us?

Do they deaden the love of the world in our hearts?

Do they purge out hypocrisy?

Do they bring us more earnestly to the throne of grace?

Do they discover to us sins that we have not before seen?

Do they penetrate into our very hearts?

Do they lay bare the corrupt fountain that we carry within us?

Do they search and test us before a heart-searching God?

Do they meeken and soften our spirit?

"I have refined you but not in the way silver
 is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the
 furnace of suffering.
" Isaiah 48:10

The filthy holes and puddles in which it grovels

(Joseph Philpot, "Daily Words for Zion's Wayfarers")

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

The sin of our fallen nature is a very mysterious thing.
We read of "the mystery of iniquity". Sin has depths
which no human plumbline ever fathomed, and lengths
which no mortal measuring line ever yet measured out.

Thus the way in which sin sometimes seems to sleep;
and at other times to awake with renewed strength;
its active, irritable, impatient, restless nature;
the many shapes and colors it wears;
the filthy holes and puddles in which it grovels;
the corners into which it creeps;
its deceitfulness;
its hypocrisy;
its craftiness;
its persuasiveness;
its intense selfishness;
its utter recklessness;
its desperate madness;
its insatiable greediness;
are secrets, painful secrets,
only learned by bitter experience.

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

The Lord's secret power in our souls?

(J. C. Philpot, "Power Given to the Faint", 1845)

"He gives power to those who are tired and worn
 out; and increases strength to the weak." Is. 40:29

The Lord's people are often in the state that they have
no might. All their power seems exhausted, and their
strength completely drained away; sin appears to have
gotten the mastery over them; and they feel as if they
had neither will nor ability to run the race set before
them, or persevere in the way of the Lord.

Now what has kept us to this day? Some of you have
made a profession ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years.

What has kept us?

When powerful temptations were spread for our feet,
what preserved us from falling headlong into them?

When we felt the workings of strong lusts, what kept
us from being altogether carried captive by them?

When we look at the difficulties of the way, the
perplexities which our souls have had to grapple with,
the persecutions and hard blows from sinners and
saints that we have had to encounter--what has still
kept in us a desire to fear God, and a heart in some
measure tender before Him?

When we view the . . .
  pride, and
  presumption of our fallen nature,
what has kept us still . . .
and looking to the Lord?

When we think of our . . .
  love to evil,
  aversion to good, and
  all the abounding corruptions of our nature,
what has kept us from giving up the very profession
of religion, and swimming down the powerful current
that has so long and so often threatened to sweep
us utterly from the Lord? Is it not the putting forth
the Lord's secret power in our souls?

Can we not look back, and recall to mind our first
religious companions; those with whom we started
in the race; those whom we perhaps envied for their
greater piety, zeal, holiness, and earnestness; and
with which we painfully contrasted our own sluggishness
and carnality; admiring them, and condemning ourselves?

Where are they all, or the greater part of them?
Some have embraced soul-destroying errors; others
are buried in a worldly religious system; and others
are wrapped up in delusion and fleshly confidence.

Thus, while most have fallen into the snares of the devil;
God, by putting forth His secret power in the hearts of His
fainting ones
, keeps His fear alive in their souls; holds up
their goings in His paths that their footsteps slip not; brings
them out of all their temptations and troubles; delivers them
from every evil work; and preserves them unto His heavenly
kingdom. He thus secures the salvation of His people by
His own free grace.

How sweet and precious it is . . .
  to have our strength renewed;
  to have fresh grace brought into the heart;
  to feel the mysterious sensations of renovated life;
  to feel the everlasting arms supporting the soul . . .
    fighting our battles for us,
    subduing our enemies,
    overcoming our lusts,
    breaking our snares, and
    delivering us out of our temptations!

The worldling's happiness

(Mary Winslow)

I have been thinking of the
worldling's happiness . . .
  it never satisfies;
  it affords no real enjoyment;
  it does not reach the soul.

Ten thousand worlds could not satisfy me,
now that I have tasted the unspeakably
precious love of Christ!


God's house?

(J. C. Philpot, "Servants and Sons" 1841)

In the New Testament Scriptures, we find mention
made in several places of "the house of the God."
The New Testament never, in any one instance,
means, by "the house of God," any material building.

It has come to pass, through the traditions
received from the fathers, that . . .
  buildings erected by man,
  collections of bricks and mortar,
  piles of squared and cemented stones,
are often called "the house of God."

In ancient Popish times they invested a consecrated
building with the title of "God's house", thus endeavoring
to make it appear as though it were a holy place in which
God specially dwelt. They thus drew off the minds of the
people from any internal communion with God, and
possessed them with the idea that He was only to be
found in some holy spot, consecrated and sanctified
by rites and ceremonies.

The same leaven of the Pharisees has infected the
Church of England; and thus she calls her consecrated
buildings, her piles of stone and cement, "churches,"
and "houses of God."

And even those who profess a purer faith, who dissent
from her unscriptural forms, have learned to adopt the
same carnal language, and even they, through a
misunderstanding of what "the house of God" really
is, will call such a building as we are assembled in
this morning, "the house of God."

How frequently does the expression drop from the
pulpit, and how continually is it heard at the prayer
meeting, "coming up to the house of God," as though
any building now erected by human hands could be
called the house of the living God.

It arises from a misunderstanding of the Scriptures,
and is much fostered by that priestcraft which is in
the human heart, inciting us to believe that God is
to be found only in certain buildings set apart for
His service.

New Testament believers met in HOMES.

" . . . the church that meets in their home." Romans 16

" . . . who gather in their home for church meetings." 1 Cor. 16:19

" . . . the church in her house." Col. 4:15

" . . . the church that meets in your house." Philemon 1:2


When the Holy Spirit preaches the gospel

(J. C. Philpot)

We often know the theory of the gospel,
before we know the experience of the gospel.

We often receive the doctrines of grace into
our judgment, before we receive the grace of
the doctrines into our soul.

We therefore need to be . . .
  brought down,
  stripped of every prop;
that the gospel may be to us . . .
  more than a sound,
  more than a name,
  more than a theory,
  more than a doctrine,
  more than a system,
  more than a creed;
that it may be . . .
  soul enjoyment,
  soul blessing,
  and soul salvation.

When the Holy Spirit preaches the gospel
to the poor in spirit, the humbled, stripped,
and tried--it is a gospel of glad tidings indeed
to the sinner's broken heart.


The cry of weary, care worn humanity

(John MacDuff, "Hospice of the Pilgrim" 1891)

"Oh, where can rest be found?"

This is the cry of weary, care worn humanity.

This is the cry embracing every nation and every
climate, from the yearnings of heathendom to the
longings and aspirations of the present hour.

>From the tumultuous sea of the world's unrest,
this cry has gone up like a dirge of baffled souls,
"Oh, where can rest be found?"

"Come unto me," is the address of many
siren voices, titillating tones of questionable
or forbidden pleasure, leading only to . . .
  heart weariness,
  life failure;
tinted soap bubbles with a momentary
iridescence, then collapsing.

The existence of many is a pursuit after spurious
and counterfeit rest, misnamed happiness; an
aimless, vapid life of pleasure; engrossed with
objects which bring with them no sense of
satisfaction; a dull, weary round on the world's
monotonous treadmill.

Some strive to find rest through the gateway
of ethical systems and philosophic tenets.

Others, through the gateway of human merit.

Others through . . .
  ceremonial observances,
  fasts and vigils,  
  penances and pilgrimages,
  rites and ceremonies,
  creeds and dogmas.

These, and such as these, are
alike spurious and unavailing.

"Oh, where can rest be found?"

"Come to Me, all of you who are weary
 and carry heavy burdens, and I will give
 you rest
."   Matthew 11:28

We get entangled with some idol

(J. C. Philpot)

Wherever the grace of God is, it constrains its
partaker to desire to live to His honor and glory.

But he soon finds the difficulty of so doing.
Such is . . .
  the weakness of the flesh,
  the power of sin,
  the subtlety of Satan,
  the strength of temptation, and
  the snares spread on every side for our feet,
that we can neither do what we want, nor be
what we want. Before we are well aware, we
get entangled with some idol
, or drawn aside
into some indulgence of the flesh, which brings
darkness into the mind, and may cut us out
some bitter work for the rest of our days.

But we thus learn not only the weakness of the
flesh, but where and in whom all our strength lies.

And as the grace of the Lord Jesus, in its suitability,
in its sufficiency and its super-aboundings, becomes
manifested in and by the weakness of the flesh; a
sense of His wondrous love and care in so bearing
with us, in so pitying our case, and manifesting mercy
where we might justly expect wrath, constrains us
with a holy obligation to walk in His fear and to live
to His praise.

The sins and slips of the saints?

(J. C. Philpot)

The Scriptures faithfully record
the falls of believers . . .
  the drunkenness of Noah,
  the incest of Lot,
  the unbelief of Abraham,
  the peevishness of Moses,
  the adultery of David,
  the idolatry of Solomon,
  the pride of Hezekiah,
  the cowardice of Mark and
  the cursing and swearing of Peter.

But why has the Holy Spirit left on record
the sins and slips of the saints?

First, that it might teach us that they were
saved by grace as poor, lost, and ruined sinners;
in the same way as we hope to be saved.

Secondly, that their slips and falls might be
so many beacons and warnings, to guard the
people of God against being overtaken by
the same sins; as the apostle speaks, "All
these events happened to them as examples
for us. They were written down to warn us."

And thirdly, that the people of God, should
they be overtaken by sin, might not be cast
into despair; but that from seeing recorded
in the Scripture the slips and failings of the
saints of old, they might be lifted up from
their despondency, and brought once more
to hope in the Lord.

Cain, Esau, Saul, Ahab, Judas

(J. C. Philpot)

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that
 leads to salvation and leaves no regret,
 but worldly sorrow brings death."
    2 Cor. 7:10

These two kinds of repentance are to be carefully
distinguished from each other; though they are often
sadly confounded. Cain, Esau, Saul, Ahab, Judas, all
But their repentance was the remorse of
natural conscience, not the godly sorrow of a broken
heart and a contrite spirit. They trembled before God
as an angry Judge, but were not melted into contrition
before Him as a forgiving Father.

They neither hated their sins nor forsook them.

They neither loved holiness nor sought it.

Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.

Esau plotted Jacob's death.

Saul consulted the witch of Endor.

Ahab put honest Micaiah into prison.

Judas hanged himself.

How different from this forced and false repentance
of a reprobate, is the repentance of a child of God;
that true repentance for sin, that godly sorrow, that
holy mourning which flows from the Spirit's gracious

Godly sorrow does not spring from a sense of the
wrath of God in a broken law, but from His mercy
in a blessed gospel; from a view by faith of the
sufferings of Christ in the garden and on the cross;
from a manifestation of pardoning love; and is always
attended with self-loathing and self-abhorrence; with
deep and unreserved confession of sin and forsaking
it; with most hearty, sincere and earnest petitions to
be kept from all evil; and a holy longing to live to the
praise and glory of God.

Here, and here alone

(J. C. Philpot)

Standing then at the cross of our adorable Lord,
we may see . . .
  the law thoroughly fulfilled,
  its curse fully endured,
  its penalties wholly removed,
  sin eternally put away,
  the justice of God amply satisfied,
  all His perfections gloriously harmonized,
  reconciliation completely effected,
  redemption graciously accomplished,
  and the church everlastingly saved.

Here, and here alone, we see sin in its blackest
colors, and holiness in its most attractive beauties.

Here, and here alone, we see the love of God
in its tenderest form, and the anger of God in
its deepest expression.

Here, and here alone, we see the eternal and
unalterable displeasure of the Almighty against sin,
and the rigid demands of His inflexible justice, and
yet the tender compassion and boundless love of
His heart to the election of grace.

Here, and here alone, are obtained pardon and peace.

Here, and here alone, penitential grief and
godly sorrow flow from heart and eyes.

Here, and here alone, is . . .
  sin subdued and mortified,
  holiness communicated,
  death vanquished,
  Satan put to flight, and
  happiness and heaven begun in the soul.

What a holy meeting-place for repenting sinners
and a sin-pardoning God! What a healing-place
for guilty, yet repenting and returning backsliders!
What a door of hope in the valley of Achor for the
self-condemned and self-abhorred! What a safe
for seeking souls! And what a blessed
for the whole family of grace
in this valley of grief and sorrow.

Experimental knowledge

(J. C. Philpot, "Letters & Memoirs" 1840)

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know
 You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ,
 whom You have sent." John 17:3

An experimental knowledge of Christ in
the soul, is the only relief for sin's . . .
  and damnation.

This is the true way of preaching Christ crucified;
not the mere doctrine of the Cross, but a crucified
Jesus experimentally known to the soul.

I am deeply conscious of my own . . .
  and folly.
But my malady is too deeply rooted to be healed by
dry doctrines and speculative theological opinions.

The blood of the Lamb, spiritually and supernaturally
sprinkled and applied, is the only healing balm for a
sin-sick soul.


It was His own love that fastened Him there!

(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

"Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen
 to Him."  John 18:4

His voluntariness was not founded on ignorance.
He well knew what the covenant of redemption
involved; what stern justice demanded. The entire
scene of His humiliation was before Him, in all its
dark and somber hues . . .

  the manger,
  the bloodthirsty king,
  the scorn and ridicule of His countrymen,
  the unbelief of His own kinsmen,
  the mental agony of Gethsemane,
  the bloody sweat,
  the bitter cup,
  the waywardness of His disciples,
  the betrayal of one,
  the denial of another,
  the forsaking of all,
  the mock trial,
  the purple robe,
  the crown of thorns,
  the infuriated cries, "Away with Him, away
        with Him! Crucify Him, crucify Him!"
  the heavy cross,
  the painful crucifixion,
  the cruel taunts,
  the vinegar and the gall,
  the hidings of His Father's countenance,
  the concentrated horrors of the curse,
  the last cry of anguish,
  the falling of the head,
  the giving up the spirit;
all, all was before the omniscient mind of the
Son of God, with vividness equal to its reality.
And yet He willingly rushed to the rescue of
ruined man!
He voluntarily, though He knew
the price of pardon was His blood, gave Himself
up thus to the bitter, bitter agony.

And did He regret that He had undertaken the work?


Every step He took from Bethlehem to Calvary
did but unfold the willingness of Jesus to die.

Oh, how amazing was the love of Jesus!

This, this was the secret why He did not spare
His own life. He loved sinners too well.

He loved us better than Himself. With all our
sinfulness, guilt, wretchedness, and poverty;
He yet loved us so much as to give Himself an
offering and sacrifice unto God for us. Here was
the springhead where these streams of mercy
flowed from. This was the gushing fountain
that was opened when He died.

And when they taunted Him and said, "If You are
the King of the Jews, save Yourself," oh, what a
reply did His silence give, "I came not to save
Myself, but My people. I hang here, not for My
own sins, but for theirs. I could save Myself,
but I came to give My life a ransom for many."

They thought the nails alone kept Him
to the cross.
He knew it was His own love
that fastened Him there!

Behold the strength of Immanuel's love!

Come, fall prostrate, adore and worship Him!

Oh, what love was His!

Oh the depth!

Do not content not yourself with standing upon
the shore of this ocean; enter into it, drink largely
from it. It is for you, if you but feel . . .
   your nothingness,
   your poverty,
   your vileness;
this ocean is for you!

It is not for angels, it is for men.

It is not for the righteous, but for sinners.

Then drink to the full from the love of Jesus.

Do not be satisfied with small supplies.

Take a large vessel to the fountain.

The larger the demand, the larger the supply.

The more needy, the more welcome.

The more vile, the more fit.

Friend, can you understand my riddle?

(J. C. Philpot, "Letters & Memoirs")

I find that sin has such power over me, that
though I call on the Lord again and again for
deliverance, I seem to be as weak as ever
when temptation comes.

If a window were placed in my bosom,
what filth and vileness would be seen by all.

"O you hideous monster sin,
What a curse, have you brought in!"

I love it; I hate it.

I want to be delivered from the power of it;
and yet am not satisfied without drinking
down its poisoned sweets.

Sin is my hourly companion; and my daily curse.

Sin is the breath of my mouth; and the cause of my groans.

Sin is my incentive to prayer; and my hinderer of it.

Sin made my Savior suffer; and makes my Savior precious.

Sin spoils every pleasure; and adds a sting to every pain.

Sin fits a soul for heaven; and ripens a soul for hell.

Friend, can you understand my riddle?

Is your heart, as my heart?

Alas! Alas! We feel sin's power daily and hourly.
We sigh and groan at times, to be delivered from
the giant strength of our corruptions, which seem
to carry us captive at their will. Though sin is a
sweet morsel to our carnal mind, it grieves our soul.

I am sure I must be a monument of grace and mercy,
if saved from the guilt, curse, and power of sin!

Romans 7:18-25
"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful
nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot
carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no,
the evil I do not want to do; this I keep on doing. Now if I
do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but
it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work:
When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my
inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at
work in the members of my body, waging war against the law
of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work
within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will
rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through
Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave
to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?

(by John Newton)

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek more earnestly His face.

'Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer;
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He'd answer my request;
And, by His love's constraining power,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart,
And let the angry powers of hell,
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea, more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

"Lord, why is this?" I trembled cried;
"Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?"
"Tis in this way," the Lord replied,
"I answer prayer for grace and faith."

"These inward trials I employ,
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou mayst seek thy all in Me."


My greatest enemy?

(J. C. Philpot, "Israel's Happiness" 1859)

I have ever found myself to be my greatest
. I never had a foe that troubled me so
much as my own heart; nor has any one ever
wrought me half the mischief or given me half
the plague that I have felt and known within.
And it is a daily sense of this which makes me
dread myself more than anybody that walks
upon the face of the earth!

Keep a watchful eye upon every inward foe;
and if you fight, fight against the enemy that
lurks and works in your own breast!


It is the hand of Him who was crucified!

(J. C. Ryle)

Are you a distressed believer?

Is your heart . . .
  pressed down with sickness,
  tried with disappointments,
  overburdened with cares?

To you I say, "Behold the cross of Christ!"

Think whose hand it is that chastens you!

Think whose hand is measuring to you the
cup of bitterness which you are now drinking!

It is the hand of Him who was crucified!

It is the same hand that in love to your
soul, was nailed to the accursed tree!

Surely that thought should comfort and
encourage you. Surely you should say to
yourself, "A crucified Savior will never lay
upon me anything that is not good for me.
There is a needs be. It must be well."

There are many devices in a man's heart

(Philpot,  "Mans Devices and the Lord's Counsel")

"There are many devices in a man's heart;
 nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that
 shall stand.
" Proverbs 19:21.

The devices of our heart are generally to find some
easy, smooth, flowery path. Whatever benefits we
have derived from affliction, whatever mercies we
have experienced in tribulation, the flesh hates and
shrinks from such a path with complete abhorrence.

And, therefore, there is always a secret
devising in a man's heart . . .

  to escape the cross,
  to avoid affliction, and
  to walk in some flowery meadow,
away from the rough road which cuts
his feet, and wearies his limbs.

Another "device in a man's heart" is, that he shall
have worldly prosperity; that his children shall grow
up around him, and when they grow up, he shall be
able to provide for them in a way which shall be best
suited to their station in life; that they shall enjoy
health and strength and success; and that there shall
not be any cutting affliction in his family, or fiery trial
to pass through.

Now these devices the Lord frustrates. What grief,
what affliction, what trouble, is the Lord continually
bringing into some families! Their dearest objects of
affection removed from them, at the very moment
when they seemed clasped nearest around their hearts!

And those who are spared, perhaps, growing up in such
a searedness of conscience and hardness of heart, and,
perhaps, profligacy of life, that even their very presence
is often a burden to their parents instead of a blessing;
and the very children who should be their comfort,
become thorns and briars in their sides!

Oh, how the Lord overturns and brings to nothing the
"devices of a man's heart" to make a paradise here
upon earth.

When a man is brought to the right spot, and is in a
right mind to trace out the Lord's dealings with him from
the first, he sees it was a kind hand which "blasted his
gourds, and laid them low;" it was a kind hand that swept
away his worldly prospects; which reduced him to natural
as well as to spiritual poverty; which led him into exercises,
trials, sorrows, griefs, and tribulations; because, in those
trials he has found the Lord, more or less, experimentally

"There are many devices in a man's heart."

Now you have all your devices; that busy workshop is
continually putting out some new pattern; some new
fashion is continually starting forth from the depths of
that ingenious manufactory which you carry about with
you; and you are wanting this, and expecting that, and
building up airy castles, and looking for that which shall
never come to pass; for "there are many devices in a
man's heart
; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord,
that shall stand.

And so far as you are children of God, that counsel is
a counsel of wisdom and mercy. The purposes of God's
heart are purposes of love and affection toward you,
and therefore you may bless and praise God, that
whatever be the devices of your hearts against God's
counsel, they shall be frustrated, that He may do His
will and fulfill all His good pleasure.

All are more or less deeply infected with it

(J. C. Philpot, "Life Given for a Prey" 1841)

"Are you seeking great things for yourself?
 Don't do it!"  Jeremiah 45:5

As we are led aside by the powerful workings
of our corrupt nature, we are often seeking
great things for ourselves.

worldly comforts,
to be honored, admired, and esteemed by men,
are the objects most passionately sought after
by the world. And so far as the children of God
are under the influence of a worldly principle,
do they secretly desire similar things.

Nor does this ambition depend upon station in life.
All are more or less deeply infected with it, until
delivered by the grace of God. The poorest man
in these towns has a secret desire in his soul after
"great things," and a secret plotting in his mind
how he may obtain them.

But the Lord is determined that His people shall
not have great things. He has purposed to pour
contempt upon all the pride of man.
He therefore
nips all their hopes in the bud, crushes their
flattering prospects, and makes them for the most
part, poor, needy, and despised in this world.

Whatever schemes or projects the Lord's people may
devise that they may prosper and get on in the world,
He rarely allows their plans to thrive. He knows well
to what consequences it would lead; that this ivy
creeping round the stem would, as it were, suffocate
and strangle the tree.

The more that worldly goods increase . . .
  the more the heart is fixed upon them,
  the more the affections are set upon idols,
  the more is the heart drawn away from the Lord.
He will not allow His people to have their portion
here below. He has in store for them a better city,
that is a heavenly one, and therefore will not allow
them to build and plant below the skies.

A child of God may be secretly aiming at great
things, such as respectability, bettering his
condition in life, rising step by step in the scale
of society. But the Lord will usually . . .
  disappoint these plans,
  defeat these projects,
  wither these gourds,
  and blight these prospects.

He may reduce him to poverty, as He did Job; smite
him with sickness, as He did Lazarus and Hezekiah;
take away wife and children, as in the case of Ezekiel
and Jacob; or He may bring trouble and distress into
his mind by shooting an arrow out of His unerring
into the conscience.

God has a certain purpose to effect by bringing this
trouble, and that is to pull him down from "seeking
great things." For what is the secret root of this
ambition? Is it not the pride of the heart?
the Lord, then, would lay this ambition low, He
makes a blow at the root. He strips away fancied
hopes, and breaks down rotten props, the great
things (so through ignorance esteemed) sought
for previously, and perhaps obtained, fall to pieces.

"Are you seeking great things for yourself?
 Don't do it!
"  Jeremiah 45:5

Ministers are often desirous of . . .

(J. C. Philpot, "Life Given for a Prey" 1841)

"Are you seeking great things for yourself?
 Don't do it!"  Jeremiah 45:5

Ministers are often desirous of . . .
   a greater gift in preaching,
   a readier utterance,
   a more abundant variety,
   a more striking delivery than they possess.
And this, not for the glory of God, but for the
glory of the creature. Not that praise may be
given God, but that pride, cursed pride, may
be gratified; that they may be admired by men.

My desire and aim is . . .
  not to deceive souls by flattery;
  not to please any party;
  not to minister to any man's pride or presumption;
but simply and sincerely, with an eye to God's glory,
with His fear working in my heart, to speak to the
edification of His people.

A minister who stands up with any other motives,
and aiming at any other ends than the glory of God,
and the edification of His people, bears no scriptural
marks that he has been sent into the vineyard by
God Himself.

He will bruise His darling Son

(by Francis Covell, 1875)

"But He was pierced for our transgressions, He
 was crushed for our iniquities
; the punishment
 that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His
 wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

What are we?

We are only lumps of sin and dirt.

But see the eternal love of God towards sinful men.
His love set His wisdom to work how to save these
sinful and sinning creatures from the burning pit!

It pleased the Lord Himself to bruise His Son.

He thrust the sword of justice into the heart of His
own dear Son
, that mercy might flow to the "objects
of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory."

His dear Son must suffer that they might be spared.

There was such love in God towards sinful men that
many waters could not quench it. He did not spare
His Son one iota. The Darling of heaven cried out,
"Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me!"

But that we might go eternally free, and that God
might look on us in justice and holiness with smiles
and kisses; He bruised His own Son.

Jesus bore thousands of hells in His own sufferings
in the garden and on the tree; and the Father never
withdrew the sword
until He cried out, "It is finished!"
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed
upon us!" to save us from a burning pit; to bring us to
the heights of bliss!

O the depths of God's love!

If He will pardon sin; if He will save a wretch, a rebel,
a man damned by the law; if He will let His heart's love
run out to save him from what he deserves; then He
must part with the love of His heart, the joy of His soul,
His only begotten Son!

Will He do that?

Is His love so surprisingly great, boundless, full,
and free, that to save an enemy, a vile and a
cursed sinner, He will bruise His darling Son?

He will! "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief
." Isaiah 53:10

Have we nothing to give to Christ?

(J. C. Philpot, "Daily Words for Zion's Wayfarers")

Have we nothing to give to Christ?

Our sins,
our sorrows,
our burdens,
our trials, and above all
the salvation and sanctification of our souls.

And what has He to give us? What? Why . . .
  everything worth having!
  everything worth a moment's anxious thought!
  everything for time and eternity!

O self! Self!

(J. C. Philpot, "Letters & Memoirs")

Oh, to be kept from myself; my . . .
  obscene self.

O self! Self!
Your desperate wickedness,
your depravity,
your love of sin,
your abominable pollutions,
your monstrous heart wickedness,
your wretched deadness, hardness,
  blindness, and indifference.

You are a treacherous villain,
and, I fear, always will be such!

Continual salvation?

(Joseph Philpot)

"I cried unto You; save me, and I shall
 keep Your testimonies." Psalm 119:146

If you know anything for yourself,
inwardly and experimentally of . . .
  the evils of your heart,
  the power of sin,
  the strength of temptation,
  the subtlety of your unwearied foe,
  and that daily conflict between nature and
grace, the flesh and the spirit, which is the
peculiar mark of the living family of heaven;
you will find and feel your need of salvation
as a daily reality.
There is present salvation:
an inward, experimental, and continual salvation
communicated out of the fullness of Christ as
a risen Mediator.

You need to be daily and almost
hourly saved from the . . .
  love, and
of indwelling sin.

"I cried unto You; save me, and I shall
 keep Your testimonies." Psalm 119:146

His heaven mine; my hell His!

(Octavius Winslow)

It is astonishing that I should so be one
with Christ, that all that He is becomes
mine; and all that I am becomes His!

His glory mine; my humiliation His!

His righteousness mine; my guilt His!

His joy mine; my sorrow His!

His riches mine; my poverty His!

His life mine; my death His!

His heaven mine; my hell His!

The daily walk of faith is a continuous
development of the wonders of this
wondrous truth. That in traveling to Him
empty; I should return from Him full.
That in going to Him weak; I should come
away from Him strong. That in bending
my steps to Him in all darkness, perplexity,
and grief; I should retrace them all light,
and joy, and gladness.