Grace Gems for April 2003

No pilgrim has perished on the road!
(Henry Law, "Psalms" 1878)

"Happy are those who are strong in the Lord,
who set their minds on pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs,
where pools of blessing collect after the rains!
They will continue to grow stronger, and each
of them will appear before God in Jerusalem."
   Psalm 84:5-7

We see the picture of the tribes pursuing their
journey to the great festivals at Jerusalem. They
faint not, neither are weary. The needful strength
is supplied. They are upheld in the journey.

A gloomy valley must be passed, but in it they
find refreshment. Water fails not. The wells have
been replenished by the seasonable rains. Their
limbs each day are girded with fresh strength.
At last each pious Israelite safely treads the
sanctuary for which his heart had panted.

This is a picture of believers toiling through the
journey of life.
The way is sometimes long; dark
valleys must be passed; but sweet streams are
ever near. Needful vigor is maintained.

The heavenly Zion is surely reached.

No pilgrim has perished on the road!

They went forth to go into the land of Canaan,
and into the land of Canaan they came!

A human religion?
(Horatius Bonar, "The Way Of Cain")

"Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain . . ."
        Jude 11

Cain is not an atheist, nor an altogether irreligious man.

He acknowledges a God, and brings his fruits to the altar.

But he brings no lamb, no blood, nothing that speaks of death.

He comes with no confession, no cry for mercy.

He has a religion, but it is self made; a human religion,
something of his own; without Christ, or blood, or pardon.

Rejection of God's religion, and of His Messiah; this is
"the way of Cain."

"Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain . . ."
        Jude 11

The heathen deity of CHANCE?
(MacDuff, "A Chapter in Providence and Grace")

God's providence extends to all the minute and
trifling occurrences of life. Have nothing to do with
the heathen deity of CHANCE.

He who wheels the planets in their courses,
marks the sparrow's fall.

Events, often apparently trivial and unimportant;
what the world calls 'accidents', form really and truly
the mighty levers of life, altering and revolutionizing
our whole future.

Let us rejoice in the simple but sublime assurance
that all that happens is ordered for us. It is for us
to know, and to rejoice in the knowledge, that every
event is in the hands of the Savior who died for us,
and who has given us this mightiest proof and pledge
of dying love, that all things (even the most
mysterious) are working together for our good.

It was not sects, or creeds, or doctrines, or
or ecclesiastical organizations!
(MacDuff, "A Chapter in Providence and Grace")

It is not dead doctrine, dry formulated dogma
which the soul needs, but a living Being.

Paul thus exults, in what may be called a dying
testimony, "I know WHOM I have believed."

It was not . . .
  or creeds,
  or doctrines,
  or churches
  or ecclesiastical organizations
that the dying hero clung to, in the
hour of departure, but . . .
  the glorious Person of the divine Immanuel,
  the living Presence of the ever living, ever loving Savior;
  the Brother,
  the Friend on the throne,
whom he had learned to love more
dearly than all the world beside!

This is one of the most foolish of all lies!
(Spurgeon, "Life's Ever Springing Well" #864)

Some of you think, perhaps, because you
have been to a place of worship from your
youth up, and have been doing your best
to lead reputable and respectable lives,
that perhaps you shall obtain salvation
as a matter of course; but it is not so.

You must learn that saving grace can
only come to you as the gift of mercy.

I have heard it said, and I have been
horrified when I have heard so gross a
falsehood, that there is in man something
good, noble, spiritual
; and that the object
of the Christian minister in delivering the
gospel is to take away the ignorance and
folly that may overlay this innate nobility,
and so to bring out and train up the
precious vital spiritual life which lays
latent within the human heart.

This is one of the most foolish of all lies!

There is nothing spiritually good in man
whatever by nature. The carnal mind is
at enmity against God. We might rake
the ash heap of human nature a long
time before we found the priceless jewel
of spiritual life concealed within it.

Man is dead in sin.

How long will you search the sepulcher
before you shall discover life within the
ribs of death?

Long enough may you ransack yonder
mouldering bones in the cemetery, before
you shall discover the germs of immortality
within the ashes of the departed.

If man were but faint, we might, perhaps,
by a sort of 'spiritual friction' or electricity,
arouse him to life.

If he were lying in a state of coma, we
might, by some 'gracious surgery', at
length rekindle the embers, and make
the life burn forth in its strength.

But when we are informed, over and
over again, by the Holy Spirit himself,
that man is not only dead, but that he
is corrupt, where is the hope of finding
spiritual life within him?

The living and incorruptible seed of
grace is not produced in men, by efforts
of their own, through the imitation of
good example, or through early instruction,
or through gradual reform.

Though for centuries the dead should be
located in the neighborhood of the living,
they will not thereby come to life.  For
many a day might you read a homily upon
life in the ears of the corpse before you
shall thereby cause the skeleton to make
any effort towards vitality.

Spiritual life is a gift, wholly a gift.
It is given according to the good will
and purpose of God. If the Lord gives
this spiritual life to some and not to
others, he is perfectly free to do as
he wills with his own.

God will be debtor to no man.

He owes nothing to sinful man but wrath!

Justice awards me nothing but death.

Sovereign grace alone can bring me life.

If God chooses according to his good pleasure
to give a new and spiritual life to his chosen,
none shall dare to question him.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
(Henry Law, "Psalms" 1878)

"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

"God sees me," is the sweet solace of the
true believer. "He knows the way that I take,"
will make that rugged way seem smooth.

If perils and distress so shake the heart that
plenteous tears give evidence of suffering,
these tears are marked on high, and tender
compassion will wipe them all away.

The day has not yet come when there shall be
no more tears. But the day is always present
when they awaken sympathy in the Redeemer's
breast. He who wept on earth will soon wipe
all tears away!

"And God will wipe away every tear from their
 eyes."  Rev. 21:4

Pope SELF?
(John Newton, author of "Amazing Grace")

"I have read of many wicked popes, but the
 worst pope I ever met with is Pope SELF."

Severe, yet wise and loving

(Octavius Winslow, commenting on the
sudden death of his beloved son at the
age of 21.)

Severe, yet wise and loving, has been
the discipline by which God has sought to
chasten and subdue the heart's idolatry.

That heart, sincere and undivided, He will have.

Were every being and every object in the
universe annihilated but JESUS, He were
enough to fill the soul with happiness,
and eternity with admiration and praise.

JESUS is all sufficient for life's heaviest
calamity, for the heart's deepest woe.

How frail the thread!

(written by Whitmore Winslow at the age of 14)

How short is time, and what a small portion
is allotted to man to prepare for another world!

And yet how careless is he of that time!

How frail the thread upon which life hangs!

A few hours' illness may carry him away into
a world of endless happiness or of endless woe!

What a vain world it is!

(Whitmore Winslow, written at the age of 14)

What a fallen creature is man!

Day by day calls forth more hidden depravity
of his heart; and yet his whole affections are
set upon the very object which is fostering
and encouraging that depravity.

His great ambition is to win the approbation
of the world; a world that slew the King of kings;
a world full of sin and sorrow, the medium by
which Satan endeavors to blind the eyes of the
children of men.

And yet, after all, what a vain world it is!

It promises much, but realizes nothing.

The more we expect pleasure, the more are we
disappointed in it.

Oh, what would man be, if instead of seeking
the friendship and the love of a dying world, he
would seek that of Jehovah!

And yet how prone are we to lament when we
are frowned upon by the world. If we did not
seek its smiles, we would not mind its frowns.

But the more we are delighted at the world's
praise, the more are we discomforted and made
unhappy by its disapprobation.

But take the world as a whole; what is it?
A speck in the universe; a ball floating in
the air, surrounded by other worlds greater
and more magnificent than itself.

Shall we love the world which hated and scorned,
and ultimately slew our beloved Redeemer?

We chase it like a bubble in the air!

(Whitmore Winslow, written at the age of 14)

What could the Christian do in a poor world
like this if he had not Christ for his Friend?

Truly is he often seeking other friends, but
God will make him know, by sad yet blessed
experience, that there is no friend like Jesus;
and that while other friends are fickle and
changeable, He changes not.

Oh that we followed not this poor world as we do!

We chase it like a bubble in the air, and with
all its apparent beauty, it fades into nothing!

But oh, when we taste the preciousness of Jesus,
what a heavenly morsel it is! It raises our drooping
spirits to contemplate the joy that awaits us in
another world, the happiness that is laid up for
us above, the glory that will crown the final end
of our weary pilgrimage through a dying and
unsatisfying world.

That ever promising, yet ever deceiving world?

(Whitmore Winslow, written at the age of 14)

How little have appearances to do with realities!

The outward show has often the effect of deceiving.

Deceit is, indeed, one of the prominent features
in man; he deceives others, he deceives himself.

The world is truly a false world. And does it not
show the depravity of man's heart when after tasting
its bitters, feeling its pains, and experiencing its
disappointments and sorrows, he should still cling
to that ever promising, yet ever deceiving world?

Pride eats at the root of all happiness!

(Whitmore Winslow, written at the age of 14)

Ah! blessed is he to whom God shows his own weakness
and insufficiency to do anything of himself. Deem it not
a curse, but a blessing, when God humbles your pride,
however severe the discipline may be by which He does it.
When He teaches you to lean upon Him alone for support,
thank Him for it.

Pride eats at the root of all happiness; and a proud
spirit God will abase, but the humble spirit He will exalt.

The hard couch of sorrow

(Henry Law, "Gleanings from the Book of Life")

Then the Lord told Moses, "You can be sure I
have seen the misery of My people in Egypt.
I have heard their cries for deliverance from
their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am concerned
about their suffering.
" Exodus 3:7

Exquisite tenderness melts in these words.

Assurance of compassion is most sweetly stated.

Let no believer faint in the hour of trial.

His feet may travel in affliction's road.

He may be called to lie on the hard couch of sorrow.

Troubles may roll over him as wave upon wave.

But the eye of love ever watches him,
the heart of love ever throbs sympathetically for him,
the ear of love ever listens to his cry,
the hand of love will in due season be outstretched to help him.

The patient sufferer will sing with David, "He led
me to a place of safety; He rescued me because
He delights in me." Psalm 18:19

Salvation turns the soul completely around!

(Henry Law, "Gleanings from the Book of Life")

By nature our course of life is wholly downward.

Every step is deviation from the ways of God.

The back is turned to heaven and heavenly things.

This world, with . . .
  its polluting pleasures,
  its empty vanities,
  its unsatisfying shadows,
  its deceitful pomps and honors,
is sought with blinded zeal.

The daily movement is descent towards hell.

But Salvation turns the soul completely around!

Objects once shunned are now desired.

That is now loved which once was hated.

Former pleasures retain no relish.

The mask which hid the hideous
features of the world has fallen.

The other lords which so long exercised
dominion are now renounced as cruel
tyrants; their yoke is broken, and their
scepter shattered!

Surrounded with trouble at almost every step?

(Whitmore Winslow, written at the age of 14)

Today I have been surrounded with trouble at
almost every step
. But with all this, I can fly to
Jesus as my never failing Friend, and He can give
me all I need.

A bountiful Savior and a needy sinner just suit
each other!

In love

(Law, "Gleanings from the Book of Life")

Behold the overflowing riches of the grace
and love of Jesus. Every page of the Gospel
story teaches the feelings of His heart.

In love He receives His people as His own.
Before the world was framed, He inscribed
them on the tablets of His heart.

In love He undertakes their cause, and
espouses them as His bride.

In love He works out for them a
righteousness so bright, so perfect, so
glorious, that Jehovah's eye can find no
flaw, no spot, no blemish in it.

In love He beautifies them with His
shining robe, and fits them for the
banquet in the heaven of heavens.

In love He guards them from every foe,
and makes them more than conquerors
over all the hosts of darkness.

In love He makes all things to work
together for their good.

In love He leads them to lie down in the
rich pastures of Bible truth, and instructs
them in the Word which is "able to make
them wise unto salvation."

In love He will come again to receive
them to Himself.

In love He will present them pure and
blameless to His Father with exceeding joy.

In love He will dwell among them through
the ages of eternity!

Justice sheaths its avenging sword in His heart!

(Henry Law, "Gleanings from the Book of Life")

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin
 for us, so that in Him we might become
 the righteousness of God." 2 Cor. 5:21

It is a comforting thought, that the sins thus
removed from the guilty and transferred to the
guiltless, leave the real transgressor relieved
from the weight of evil.

Thus unrighteousness is removed.

Jesus thus laden with iniquities, endures
all that sin merits and the law denounces.

He approaches the altar of the Cross.

He there presents Himself the willing victim.

He there lays down His life, the all sufficient sacrifice.

He there sheds His blood, worthy to make atonement.

Wrath pours out on Him all its vials.

Justice sheaths its avenging sword in His heart!

The law pours on His head its total curse.

He endures to the uttermost all that justice required.

Where now are the believer's sins?

That which is blotted out can no more be found.

None who are washed in His most precious blood
can be borne off to hell. Satan can offer no charge
against those on whom no sin is found.

He found their hearts estranged from Him

(Henry Law, "Gleanings from the Book of Life")

Jesus loves His people with everlasting love,
and has inscribed their names upon His heart.

He has received them as the jewels of His
crown, the signet ring upon His right hand.

He delights over them as a bridegroom over
his spouse.

He knew that another master had obtained
usurped dominion over them; He encountered
this foe, and rescued them from his cruel
grasp. So they became His by conquest.

He found them poor and wretched and
, and He wrought out a glorious robe
of righteousness to adorn them for His palace.

He knew that their debts were many. He laid down
His life and shed His blood to satisfy each demand.

He found their hearts estranged from Him, and
their affections given to the poor baubles of this
fleeting world. He sent His Holy Spirit to create
new hearts within them, to win their love, to lead
them to choose Him as their all forever. Thus they
became His by voluntary surrender.

What a world of wickedness!

(Thomas Reade, "Christian Meditations")

What a world of wickedness may be in
the heart, while no glaring irregularity is
visible in the life.


Lovers of themselves?

(Hannah More)
"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the
 last days. People will be lovers of themselves"
    2 Tim. 3:1-2

Self love is a Proteus of all shapes, shades and
complexions. It has the power of expansions and
contractions as best serves the occasion.

There is no crevice so small through which its
subtle essence cannot stretch itself to fill.

It is of all degrees of cultivation; so coarse and
hungry as to gorge itself with the grossest adulation,
so fastidious as to require a homage as refined as itself;
so deceptive as to elude the detection of ordinary
observers; so delusive as to escape the observation
of the very heart in which it reigns paramount.

Yet, though so extravagant in its appetites, self
love can adopt a moderation which imposes a
refinement which veils its deformity; an artificial
character which keeps its real one out of sight.

We are apt to speak of self love as if it were
only a symptom, whereas it is the disease itself.
It is a malignant disease which has possession
of the moral constitution and leaves nothing
uncorrupted by its touch.

This corrupting principle pollutes, by coming into
contact with it, whatever is in itself great and noble.

Is that all?   

(Mary Winslow)

I was at the very zenith of earthly happiness.

On returning from the ball, I took a hasty review
of the evening I had passed, as I lay sleepless
upon my pillow . . .
  the glitter;
  the music;
  the dance;
  the excitement;
  the attention;
  the pleasure;
all passed before me.

But, oh! I felt a deficiency I could not describe.

I sighed, and, throwing my arm over my head,
whispered to myself these expressive words,
"Is that all?"

"Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again."
     John 4:13

The gods of the unregenerate soul

(MacDuff, "The Mind of Jesus" 1870)

The gods of the unregenerate soul
are the world, self and sin.

While we sojourn in this world

(The following was written by Whitmore Winslow
at the age of 14. It was gleaned from his journal,
which was unknown to his family, until found
after his unexpected death at the age of 21.)

Oh, to realize the happiness in store for us in the
next world! If we more anticipated the blissful future,
we would not so much mind the miserable present.

A few short years will bring the Christian to the end of
his pilgrimage, and to the beginning of his eternal rest!

But, oh, let us never forget that while we sojourn in
this world
we have a never failing Friend to whom we
can take all our trials and sorrows!

The great law of our degenerated nature.

(John MacDuff, "The Mind of Jesus" 1870)

"For even Christ did not please Himself."
    Romans 15:3

Too legibly are the characters written on the fallen
heart and a fallen world, "All seek their own!"

Selfishness is the great law of our degenerated nature.

When the love of God was dethroned from the soul,
SELF vaulted into the vacant seat, and there, in
some one of its Proteus shapes, continues to reign.

Jesus stands out for our imitation a grand
solitary exception in the midst of a world of
selfishness. His entire life was one abnegation
; a beautiful living embodiment of that
love which "seeks not her own."

Reader! Seek to live more constantly and habitually
under the constraining influence of the love of Jesus.

Selfishness withers and dies beneath Calvary!

Lured and dazzled, the worldling
pursues the phantom!

(John MacDuff, "Grapes of Eschol" 1861)

"In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your
 right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
    Psalm 16:11.

FULLNESS of joy! Can that be said of anything
on this side Heaven?

There is a restless craving in the human bosom
for something better than this world can give.

There are aching voids; deep, yawning chasms
in the soul of man, which the world and all its
tinsel pleasures can never fill.

Hope is ever gilding the future with the prospect
of that happiness which the present denies.

The worldling will cleave to the world as the
center of its system. It holds its happiness to
consist in "minding earthly things."

Lured and dazzled, the worldling pursues the
But each successive failure more painfully
convinces him that all here is a delusion. Happiness,
the object of his life search, is as far from him as ever!

Only in Heaven will the soul will have, in the
enjoyment of God, the perfection of bliss.

All earthly bliss has its bounds and limits. In Heaven
and in God's presence, that bliss will be unbounded.

"In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your
 right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
    Psalm 16:11.

The world is . . .

(by Horatius Bonar)

The world is . . .
   blind, and knows it not;
   poor, and thinks itself rich;
   foolish, and thinks itself wise.

It is not aware of the extent of its
ruin, alienation, and depravity.

It is not alive to its danger, its
hopeless prospects; nor its doom.


The very cream of heaven!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Now, and Then")

There have been many suggestions of what we
shall do in heaven, and what we shall enjoy;
but they all seem to me to be wide of the mark
compared with this one: that we shall be with
Jesus, be like Him, and shall behold His glory.

Oh, to see the feet that were nailed,
and to touch the hand that was pierced,
and to look upon the head that wore the thorns,
and to bow before Him who is . . .
  ineffable love,
  unspeakable condescension,
  infinite tenderness!

Oh, to bow before Him, and to kiss that blessed face!

Brethren, is not this the very cream of heaven?

The streets of gold will have small attraction to us,
and the harps of angels will but slightly enchant us,
compared with the King in the midst of the throne!

He it is who shall...
   rivet our gaze,
   absorb our thoughts,
   enchain our affections, and
   move all our sacred passions to
their highest pitch of celestial ardor!

We shall see Jesus!

"Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children,
 and we can't even imagine what we will be like
 when Christ returns. But we do know that when
 He comes we will be like Him, for we will see
 Him as He really is." 1 John 3:2



Defective behavior at home?

(Hannah More, "Practical Piety")

Our neglect of minor duties and virtues is
particularly injurious to the minds of our families.
If they see us peevish, vacillating, volatile,
petulant or inconsistent in our daily conduct,
they will not give us credit for those higher
qualities which we may possess and those
superior duties which we may be more careful
to fulfill. Our greater qualities will do them little
good, while our lesser but incessant faults do
them much injury.

Seeing us so defective in the daily course of our
behavior at home, though our children may obey
us because they are obliged to it, they will neither
love nor esteem us enough to be influenced by
our instruction or advice.