Grace Gems for May 2003

Microscopic love?

(John MacDuff, "The Night Dream of the Desert")

Our Omnipotent God keeps watch over the lichen
on the rock, and the lily on the mountain side.
He tempers His wind to the fragile flower as it
trembles on the lip of the Alpine glacier. He follows
the timid bird to its cleft; feeds the young raven's
brood; and notes the fall of the sparrow.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not
one of them will fall to the ground apart from the
will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your
head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are
worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31

We see here, the personal love of God for
every individual member of His vast family.

The heavenly Shepherd has a special, particular
for each sheep of the fold. As it utters its
apparently unheard bleat on the lonely moorland,
or amid the thorny thicket of its wanderings, He
tracks its truant footsteps, as if it engrossed all
His interest, restoring it to the green pastures by
the side of the fold.

Yes, there is surely nothing more cheering, more
, than the thought of this unwearying tending
of the Great Shepherd; this individual, (if we may so
call it), this microscopic love, of our Great Father.


If the world satisfies you?

(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
among his papers after his death, at the age of 21)

No being knows the trials I have undergone the past
week, but Jesus. And as He only knows, so He only
can help me through.

I have felt such a willingness to die! a feeling that
death would be no dreadful thing to me, having a
wish to leave this more dreadful world. But painful,
yet no less blessed trial has done it all.

And oh, may I be able from my heart to thank God
for having made the world my enemy, and Christ
my Friend!

But mark this: if the world does not suit you, you
will be sure to have a welcome in heaven. But if the
world satisfies you
, hell will be the most adapted
to receive you.



The obstinate man

(Alexander Whyte, "Pictures from Pilgrim's Progress)

"Do not be like the the mule . . ."  Psalm 32:9

Most unfortunately, it is in the very best things of
life that the true 'mulishness' of the obstinate man
most comes out. He shows worst in his home life.

The obstinate man may be affable, entertaining, the
best of company, when abroad with others. But when
he turns the latch key in his own door, he will instantly
relapse into silence, and sink back into utter . . .
   mulishness and
His sunshine, his smile, and his refinement is all gone
now; he is discourteous to nobody but to his own wife.  

The obstinate man makes his house a very prison to
himself and to all those who are condemned to suffer
with him!

Little Obstinate

(Alexander Whyte, "Pictures from Pilgrim's Progress)

"Do not be like the the mule . . ."  Psalm 32:9

Little Obstinate was born and brought up in the City of
Destruction. His father was old 'Spare the Rod', and his
mother's name was 'Spoil the Child'. Little Obstinate
was the only child of his parents. He was born when
they were no longer young, and they doted on their
only child, and gave him his own way in everything.
Everything he asked for he got, and if he did not
immediately get it you would have heard his screams
and his kicks three doors off! His parents were not in
themselves bad people, but, if Solomon speaks true,
they hated their child, for they gave him all his own
way in everything, and nothing would ever make them
say 'no' to him, or lift up the ROD when he said 'no'
to them.

Little Obstinate's two parents were far from ungodly
people, though they lived in such a city; but they were
daily destroying their only son by letting him always have
his own way, and by never saying no to his greed, and his
lies, and his anger, and his noisy and disorderly ways. Eli
in the Old Testament was not a bad man, but he destroyed
both the ark of the Lord and himself and his sons also,
because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained
them not.

The meekness, the sweetness, the docility, and the love
of a chastised child has gone to all our hearts in a way
we can never forget. There is something sometimes almost
past description in the way a chastised child clings to and
kisses the hand that chastised it. But poor old 'Spare the Rod'
never had experiences like that. And little Obstinate, having
been born like Job's wild donkey's colt, grew up to be a man
like David's unbridled mule, until in after life he became the
author of all the evil and mischief that is associated in our
minds with his evil name.

In old 'Spare the Rod's' child also this true proverb was
fulfilled, that 'the child is the father of the man'. For all that
little Obstinate had been in the nursery, in the schoolroom,
and in the playground; all that, only in an aggravated way;
he was as a youth and as a grown up man.

As to the cure of obstinacy; the ROD in a firm, watchful,
wise, and loving hand will cure it.  

And much agonizing prayer will above all cure it.

"He who spares the ROD hates his son, but he who loves
 him is careful to discipline him."  Proverbs 13:24

"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the ROD of
 discipline will drive it far from him."  Proverbs 22:15

"Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish
 him with the ROD, he will not die. Punish him with the
 ROD and save his soul from death."  Proverbs 23:13-14

"The ROD of correction imparts wisdom, but an undisciplined
 child disgraces his mother."  Proverbs 29:15


You owe the whole to sovereign grace!

(Henry Law, "Deuteronomy" 1858)

Believer! Only the grace of God makes
you to differ from the world around you!

You once were dead in trespasses and sins.

You moved as a living carcass with a lifeless soul.

Your every step was hellward.

Your every moment hurried you towards endless woe.

Your life was . . .

But now the darkness is dispersed, and true light
shines. You see the cross! You stand in a new
world of spiritual delight. You are a new creation of  

You live for God; to God; with God; in God.

But whence the change?

Did it result your own resolve?

Did rolling years beget this wisdom?

Oh, no!

You owe the whole to sovereign grace!

God, of His own free will, looked down with favor
on your ruined soul. His grace gave you, as a jewel,
to His Son; and gave His Son to be your uttermost

You owe the whole to sovereign grace!

The silly moth is caught!

(Henry Law, "Deuteronomy" 1858)

Why is this world such a wide sea of evil?

Why do earth's multitudes roll so easily to hell?

The tastes of the mass of the human race are
groveling and vile. They only care to sip the
vulgar cup of time and sense. Their sin soiled
garments and polluted feet prove, that they
wallow in defiling mire.

See the worldling.

A temptation meets him.

A gilded bait allures.

A sweet indulgence opens its inviting arms.

What follows?

The silly moth is caught!

Pleasure whispers, "Come and partake."
Desire acquiesces. Nature surrenders.

Thus Satan leads his crowds down misery's
downward slope.
Quickly; easily; they glide
along. The rolling pebble has no power to stop.
The downhill torrent is incapable of turning.

To them, liberty is unknown. The clash of
heavy chains attests their bondage. Satan
drags them; and they must obey. The world
gives laws; they tremblingly submit. They
crouch the slaves of many an insulting tyrant.


Filled with the red wine of righteous wrath!

(Spurgeon, "Nearness to God" #851)

The great attracting magnet of the
gospel is the doctrine of the cross.

God is glorified because Christ was
punished for the sin of His people.

On the cross we see sin fully
punished and yet fully pardoned.

We see justice with her gleaming sword
triumphant; and mercy with her silver
scepter prevailing in sublimest splendor.

Glory be to the wondrous wisdom which
discovered the way of blending vengeance
with love, making a tender heart to be
the mirror of unflinching severity, causing
the crystal vase of Jesus' loving nature to be
filled with the red wine of righteous wrath.

The omnipotent grace of God

(MacDuff, "A Chapter in Providence and Grace")

The omnipotent grace of God can change
and transform the worst and most hopeless;
quicken those who are dead; and animate
the groveling spirit with . . .
    new motives,
    new principles,
    new tastes,
    new feelings,
    new aspirations!


No serpent crawls along that pavement!

(Henry Law, "The Gospel in Numbers" 1858)

Heaven!  It is . . .
  our looked for rest;
  the goal to which we press;
  the haven of our storm tossed voyage;
  the end of weary pilgrimage;
  the soul's eternal home;
  the land of every delight!

Heaven! Here . . .
  thought flags;
  mind fails;
  all words seem emptiness;
  all images fall short.

No angel's tongue can adequately paint
the brightness of those realms. Mortal
powers shrink into very nothingness.
None can describe heaven, but those
who enter it. And those who enter it,
find their delight . . .
  an ever swelling flood;
  an ever brightening day;
  an ever opening flower;
  a volume, which eternity cannot read through!

Heaven! It is the palace of the great Eternal.

Salvation is its walls; its gates are praise.

Its pavement is purity's most golden luster.

Its atmosphere is perfect love.

Heaven! It is the home prepared by God before
the worlds were made, for His redeemed children.
It is the mansion, which the ascended Jesus still
labors to make fit.

Heaven! It is so attractive, that all Jehovah's
skill cannot increase the beauty. It is so full,
that nothing can be added. It is so rich, that
it can hold no more.

Perfection is the essence of our heaven.
Nothing can enter there . . .
  to stain,
  to soil,
  to vex,
  to humble.

Oh! what a contrast to our present state!

Our hearts are daily pierced.

We loathe and we abhor ourselves.

We would be holy; but, alas! a treacherous
adversary rolls us in the mire. The foul tempter
all day long is spreading nets. There is no saint
too saintly for his vile approach. But in heaven
this misery has ceased. No serpent crawls
along that pavement!
Satan is outside; far
off; the bottomless pit has shut its mouth
upon him.

Our high home is barricaded against all sin.

Never, never, never, can iniquity again intrude.

The soul forever joys; righteous, as
God is righteous; pure, as God is pure.

Reader, seek heaven.


God's dealings with a sin slain race!

(Henry Law, "Numbers" 1858)

"Buds will sprout on the rod belonging to
the man I choose
. . . When he went into the
Tabernacle of the Covenant the next day, Moses
found that Aaron's rod, representing the tribe of
Levi, had budded, blossomed, and produced
" (see Numbers 17:1-8)

The twelve rods at first seem all alike. They are all
sapless twigs. The same grove saw their birth. Man's
eye sees but one likeness in their dry forms. But
suddenly one puts forth loveliness; while the others
still remain worthless and withered. Here is a picture
of God's dealings with a sin slain race!

Since Adam's fall, all are born lifeless branches of
a withered stock. Many abide so, and thus pass as
fuel to the quenchless fire.

But in a chosen remnant, a new birth occurs.

The grave sprouts into life.

The sapless put forth buds.

Blossoms appear.

Fruit ripens.

Whence is the difference? It is not
nature's work. No dry stick can restore
itself. No 'withered helplessness' can
deck itself with verdure. This cannot be.

When any man arises from the death of sin,
and blooms in grace, God has arisen with
divine almightiness.

Free, sovereign love decrees rebirth.

Boundless power achieves it.

What is its voice of the Budded Rod to
unregenerate worldlings? Alas! these are a
forest of sticks, wholly dry. The curse, which
fell on Eden's garden, blasted their nature
to the core. Thus withered they were born.
Thus withered they continue.

What will their end be?

That end draws near. What then awaits them?
Can they be beams and rafters in the palace of
heaven's King! Oh, no!

The decree is sure. Faithfulness has warned.
Almighty power will execute. "That, which bears
thorns and briers, is rejected, and is near unto
cursing, whose end is to be burned." Heb. 6:8.


(Henry Law, "Numbers" 1858)

Earth is affliction's home.

A troop of sorrows compass us about.

Tears stream.

The bosom sighs.

The brow is furrowed by the lines of care and worry.

Death tears away the much loved friend.

Sickness invades the frame.

The home is desolate.

The table is destitute.

We look to the right hand, and there is trouble;
on the left, and still fresh troubles frown.

But heaven is a wide sea of bliss without a ripple.

All tears are wiped away.

All faces beam with one enraptured smile.

All lips confess, 'The cup of happiness overflows'.

We bathe in oceans of delight.

In heaven . . .
  sin is shut out;
  temptations banished;
  fears buried in an unfathomable grave;
  sorrow and unbelief have fled away;
  knowledge is perfect;
  our souls are purity;
  our bodies are imperishable beauty;
  we completely share the glory of our all glorious Lord.

Jesus is the crown of heaven! This is the
pinnacle of bliss! The revelation of the Lord,
without one intervening cloud, is the grand
glory of the endless kingdom.
Heaven is full
heaven, because Christ shines there exactly
as He is; seen and admired by every eye.

In heaven Jesus ever stands conspicuous
in one undiminishable blaze!

Believer, what will it be to gaze on the
manifested beauty of Him, who is so
altogether lovely!

What! to read clearly all the deep
mysteries of His redeeming will!

What! to dive down to the vast
depths of His unfathomable heart!

What! to fly upward to the very
summit of His boundless love!

What! to trace clearly all His
dealings in providence and grace!

What! to comprehend all that Jesus is!

What! never to lose sight of
Him; no, not for a moment!

What! to be ever drinking fresh
raptures from His present smile!

What! to feel, that this joy is mine forever!

This! this is heaven!

One incessant fight!

(Henry Law, "Numbers" 1858)
The life of faith is one incessant fight.
Beneath the cross, a sword is drawn, of
which the scabbard is cast far away. Until
the victor's crown is won, unflinching
must go on. The foes are . . .

They meet us, at each step.

They lurk in every corner.

They infest our public walk.

They enter our closed doors.

They are outside; around; within.

Count, if you can, the hateful legions
who compose hell's hosts. They all rush
at the soul.

Survey the WORLD . . .
  its snares,
  its foul seductions,
  its enticing arts,
  its siren calls,
  its smiles,
  its venomed sneers,
  its terrifying threats.
Each in its turn assails; and each,
when foiled, renews the assault.

Behold the HEART, and all its brood
of lusts and raging passions.
How often it betrays!
How often it deceives!

Believer go forth in hope! You have a Captain,
by whose side no battle can be lost; beneath
whose banner, no warrior was ever slain.

Face all your foes.

Grasp manfully your sword.

Use skillfully your shield.

Lift up the head, safe in salvation's helmet.

Shout boldly your great Leader's name.

The fight will soon be over.

The victor's song will soon be on your lips!


The vilest reptile and the proudest prince?

(Henry Law, "Numbers" 1858)
"All your life you will sweat to produce food, until
 your dying day. Then you will return to the ground
 from which you came. For you were made from
 dust, and to the dust you will return.
" Gen. 3:19

What is our body?

It is nothing but clay!

These bodies have one origin; the dust.

The vilest reptile and the proudest prince
are composites of one poor mire.  Is it not
folly, then, to pamper and admire this flesh?

How soon our bodies crumble back to dust!
No care; no thought; no art can lengthen out
their continuance.

The countless families of foregone ages;
where are they now? Dust they were. To
dust they are gone back!

The many families of this our day; where are
they speeding to? Dust they are. To dust they
hasten! How fleeting is life's day!

The bodies must fall. But when?

Perhaps this very hour!

Is he not then the fool of fools, who
boasts himself of tomorrow's dawn!

Happy the inhabitants of these crumbling
bodies, if only they are Christ's!

They now are vilest dust! They soon will
shine more brightly than ten thousand suns!

Their vile bodies shall be changed!

Weakness and frailty shall put on unfading
freshness! The lowly bud shall bloom into a
glorious flower!

The expulsive power of a new affection.

(John MacDuff, "Paul's Song of Songs")

"But you are not controlled by your sinful
 nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if
 you have the Spirit of God living in you."
     Romans 8:9

God has made gracious provision to secure,
on the part of His ransomed people, a holy
walk and obedience; and that, not through
their own strength, but through the strength
and power of His indwelling Spirit.

By that Spirit we are not only renewed, but
'led;' sweetly constrained to walk in harmony
with the divine will, and the impulses of our
regenerated natures. We have here what is
called the expulsive power of a new affection.

It is a plant which our Heavenly Father plants.

Not indigenous to the natural soil of the
human heart; it is of supernatural growth.

The power of sin becomes slowly weaker and
weaker. The power of grace, slowly, it may be
imperceptibly, becomes stronger and stronger.

Reader, have you in any feeble measure, been
able to realize the presence and power of this
indwelling Spirit
; conscious of the surrender
of heart and life to Christ; implying the gradual
conquest of sin; the expulsion of whatever is
base and impure, corrupt and selfish, grasping
and covetous, unloving and unholy; our wills
blending in greater harmony with the divine?

The slimy trail and the deadly venom of the serpent!

(Winslow, "Counsel and Consolation for the Tempted")

"So that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are
 very familiar with his evil schemes." 2 Cor. 2:11

There is nothing in our individual history which
Satan may not make the occasion and instrument
of a temptation. Our social position in the world
may be one of peculiar snare; our calling in life
especially so; our sore trials, crushing afflictions,
and pressing needs all may furnish ample material
for the purpose and schemes of the Enemy.

Yes, there is nothing that may not be an
instrument of great temptation:
  our poverty or wealth;
  our exalted position or our low estate;
  the publicity, or the privacy of our life;
  our loves and hatreds;
  our friends and foes;
may all become powerful engines of evil in the
hands of our great, terrible, powerful, and
unslumbering Enemy.

The books we read;
the literature we cultivate;
the science we pursue;
the recreations we indulge;
yes, the very religion we profess,
and the Christian service we promote;
may, with all their apparent innocence and
sanctity, but conceal from our eye the slimy
trail and the deadly venom of the serpent!

He gave so much that He could give no more!

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

With what a price has Christ redeemed His people!

He paid not silver and gold for their ransom.

He gave not all the precious things of earth as
their equivalent. He heaped not worlds upon worlds
and placed them as payment in the balance of God's
justice. All such expenditure would have been as
unavailing as the chaff.

He gave . . .
      His life,
      His blood.

He gave so much that He could give no more!

And He gave this to bear the extremest curse of
God, to endure all the punishment, and all the
miseries, and all the anguish which His people
must have suffered if they had wailed through all
the endless ages amid the torments of the lost!

A vast hospital of anguish

(John MacDuff, "The Dirge of Creation")

"Our dying bodies make us groan and sigh."
    2 Cor. 5:4

The wailing lamentation has been voiced for six
millenniums: "Naked I came from my mother's
womb, and naked I will depart."  Job 1:21

Everywhere we see . . .
  the suffering of sick beds,
  the agony of bereavement,
  the sudden close of lives of promise,
  human ties formed only to be sundered,
  births superseded by deaths,
  marriage chimes followed by the funeral bell.

Yes, say as we will; this world, while a home
of beauty, the vestibule of heaven; may be
described, with equal truth, as a vast hospital of
; a cemetery and receptacle for the dead!

"He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and
 change them into glorious bodies like His own."
    Phil. 3:21

What is heaven?

(Henry Law, "Holy Blood")

Heaven is one ocean of repose.

No billow heaves.

No storm affrights.

No foe can enter.

No change can cloud the calm
expanse of the unruffled sky.

But what is heaven, but to see Christ as
He is; to gaze forever on His unveiled
beauty; to sit with Him; to realize, that
never for one moment can there be absence
from Salvation's home? Heaven is heaven,
because it is an eternal rest by the side of

Our journey is drawing to an end.

(Mary Winslow, "Life in Jesus")

Bless God with me, that we are both so near
our home, each day's travel bringing us nearer
and nearer. Our eyes shall behold Him whom
our souls love beyond all created good. What
a prospect is before us! Forever with the Lord!

Our journey is drawing to an end.

Look forward, look upward. Jesus' eye is
upon you; His heart is towards you.

A few more severe trials, a few more
staggering steps, and we are there!

Come what may

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

I had some sweet sights of Jesus by faith, some
feeble glimmerings of the happiness and glory
which we shall realize above.  It is only these
glorious feelings that will solace the Christian in
his toilsome journey through this weary world.

Come what may, pleasure or pain, happiness or
woe, life or death, I am in the hands of the Lord
of Creation, the King of kings, and in His keeping
no evil will befall me.

The thorns

(Octavius Winslow, "Christ and the
 Christian in Temptation" 1877)

"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will
 bow down and worship me." Matthew 4:9

Alas! the world constitutes one of the most
seductive temptations of the Christian.

The world is Satan's great weapon.

Satan is constantly presenting it in endless
forms of attraction
, wearing as many disguises,
and backed by every species of argument.

It is his chicanery to present only the bright
of the world, carefully concealing the
darker and more repulsive one. He presents
the flower; and conceals the thorns . . .
  its emptiness and heartlessness,
  its selfishness and malice,
  its deceitfulness and malignity,
  its ingratitude and baseness,
  its hollow friendships and its false loves.
Oh! these are the thorns the cunning Tempter
conceals when he presents the world and the
glory thereof, in exchange for the homage and
the worship he asks.

There is not a stratagem Satan does not
employ by which to bring the world to bear
upon the Christian . . .
  the eye delighting in beauty;
  the ear ravished with sounds;
  the taste delicate and dainty.

"The lust of the flesh and the lust of the
eye and the pride of life" are so many media
through which the attractive power and
ascendancy of the world attain an easy
conquest in the mind of the Christian.

Seduced by its power,
convinced by its arguments,
ensnared by its glitter,
the world may enchained you a slave at its feet.

The deceiver attempts to draw . . .
  the heart from Christ;
  the mind from devout meditation;
  and the whole soul from things that
  are divine, heavenly and eternal!

The Gospel

(Octavius Winslow, "Morning Thoughts")

The gospel is the 'master work' of Jehovah,
presenting the greatest display of His manifold
wisdom, and the most costly exhibition of the
riches of His grace. In constructing it He would
seem to have summoned to His aid all the
resources of His own infinity . . .
   His fathomless wisdom,
   His boundless love,
   His illimitable grace,
   His infinite power,
   His spotless holiness,
all contributed their glory, and conspired
to present it to the universe as the most
consummate piece of Divine workmanship!

The revelations it makes,
the facts it records,
the doctrines it propounds,
the effects is produces,
proclaim it to be the "glorious
gospel of the blessed God."

We live encircled by SHADOWS . . .
  our friends are shadows,
  our comforts are shadows,
  our supports are shadows,
  our pursuits are shadows, and
  we ourselves are shadows passing away.

But in the precious gospel we have SUBSTANCE,
we have reality, we have that which remains
with us when all other things disappear, leaving
the soul desolate, the heart bleeding, and the
spirit bowed in sorrow to the dust.

But the gospel . . .
   guides our perplexities,
   mitigates our griefs,
   sanctifies our sorrows,
   heals our wounds,
   dries our tears,
because it leads us to . . .
   the love,
   the tenderness,
   the sympathy,
   the grace of JESUS.

The gospel . . .
   reveals Jesus,
   speaks mainly of Jesus,
   leads simply to Jesus,
and this makes it "glad tidings of great joy," to
a poor, lost, ruined, tried, and tempted sinner! 

Can he embrace the monster?    

(Henry Law, "Leviticus")

He most flees sin, whose eye is riveted
upon the Cross. Can he love that which
gave those wounds to Christ?

Can he embrace the monster
, which
pierced Jesus' heart?

It cannot be!

The sight of Calvary slays the love of sin.

The Cross unmasks the hideous form, and
kindles righteous hate.

Bring me your misery

(Henry Law, "Leviticus")

Christ is a sure and present help.

Trials thicken; temptations threaten; and
affliction's tide runs strong. Death, also,
draws near, and shows a chilling form.

But still take comfort. He, who is with you, has  . . .
  an arm of power;
  a heart of tenderness;
  and a voice of love.

In deepest billows, He will hold you up. And the
last wave will waft you safely to Canaan's shore.
Thick blows may batter, but will not beat down.
The last blow breaks the gates of flesh, and sets
your happy spirit free.

Reader, there is no need in life; in death; in
present or in future days; for which Christ is
not an all sufficient support.

Behold Him! He is . . .
  life for the dead,
  sight for the blind,
  feet for the lame,
  strength for the weak,
  joy for the sad,
  cleansing for the filthy,
  freedom for the bound,
  clothing for the naked,
  purity for the unclean,
  redemption for the captive;
  a God within to cheer,
  a God above to bless,
  a God who came in flesh to die,
  a God who reigns in power to help,
  a God who comes in glory to receive.

Bring me your misery, and I will
show you its relief in Christ.

He loves, as God.

He aids, as God.

He saves, as God.

All fullness is in Christ for His beloved flock.


There are many tyrants!

(Henry Law, "Leviticus")

"If the Son shall make you free, you
 shall be free indeed." John 8:36.

Each soul, apart from Jesus, is a poor slave.

There are many tyrants, and their yoke is hard.

SATAN enchains the heart, and drags His
vassals to vile service. They have no will;
no power, to resist. By nature all lie
prostrate at Satan's feet.

But Jesus wrestles with this cruel tyrant,
hurls him from his throne, breaks his
scepter, and gives him a death wound.

This vile WORLD, also, a foul tyrant.

Its smiles allure.

Its frowns deter.

Its fashions force compliance.

Its laws exact submission.

It drives its millions to a slavish toil.

But when Jesus unmasks this monster's
hideous filth; when He reveals the beauties
of the Gospel; then the chain snaps, the
tyrant is loathed, and its debasing ways
are shunned. The Gospel sets free from
the world's snares.

Fit for the Bride!

(Henry Law, "Psalms" 1878)

"For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
 He will beautify the meek with salvation."
    Psalm 149:4

It is the wonder of wonders that the
great and glorious God should stoop
to regard such creatures as we are.

But wonder is immeasurably magnified
when we are taught that thoughts of us
are pleasure to Him.

Not only does He take pleasure in His people,
He beautifies the meek with salvation!

Meekness is their lovely characteristic.

This grace proves them to be followers of Him
who avows Himself as meek and lowly in heart.

Beautiful robes of salvation are prepared for
them. These garments are heavenly in structure,
fit for the Bride, the Lamb's wife, suited to
adorn the palace of our God.

Such is the career of thousands!

(Bonar, "The Way Of Cain" 1846)

Man is weary, toiling for that which is
not bread; trying to wring water out of
the world's dry sands and broken cisterns.

Such is the career of thousands . . .
  a fruitless worldliness;
  a life of vanity;
  a soul utterly empty;
  a being wholly wasted.

The wretched idol, SELF!

(Octavius Winslow, "Christ and the Christian
 in Temptation" 1877)

Of all the sins common to our fallen nature, God
has the most signally marked that of Idolatry, or
False Worship.

Man is by nature an idolater. His sinful mind,
being alienated from God, seeks some object
of worship other than the true and living God.

The 'renewed' man is not entirely exempt from this sin.
Hence the exhortation of the Apostle addressed to the
early Christians, and in these last days addressed to us:
"Little children, keep yourselves from idols." "My dearly
beloved, flee from idolatry."

Surely, it was not the gross and senseless idolatry of
the heathens to which the Apostles thus refer; from
this many of those saints to whom they wrote had
already been delivered; but to other idols and other
, less palpable and degrading, but not less
superstitious or offensive to God.

The worship of SELF is a natural and fearful form of
idolatry. It is an innate and never entirely eradicated
principle of our nature, but clings to us to the very last
of life. Alas! the holiest and the best of us want to be
something, and to do something, when in reality we
are nothing, and can do nothing.

We walk in our religious life, for the most part, upon
stilts; always appearing in the eyes of others taller
than we really are!

But real greatness and true humility have ever been
in alliance with entire abnegation of SELF.

Who can stand before the cross and gaze upon the
Creator of all worlds impaled between two criminals,
Himself dying as the chief, and not shrink into his
own nothingness, bewailing that he should ever have
been betrayed into the folly and the sin of burning
the incense of idolatry before the wretched idol,

Beware of SELF idolatry!

It is the most insidious, hateful, and degrading
form of idolism to which the soul can be subjected.

Two paths

(Henry Law, "Psalms")

 "For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
  but the path of the wicked leads to destruction."
     Psalm 1:6

Amid all their trials, sorrows, pains and
reproaches; let the godly lift up rejoicing heads.

The eye of God rests on their way.

He called them to the narrow path.

He upholds their feeble steps.

He safely leads them to the glorious end.

Unfailing watchfulness surrounds them.

But the broad path, with its unrighteous
throng, goes down assuredly to hell.


The sin offering!

(Henry Law, "The Sin Offering")

"He must bring to the Lord a young bull
 without defect as a sin offering for the
 sin he has committed." Leviticus 4:3

Sin! The sound is brief, but it
presents a dark abyss of thought.

No mind can trace its birth.

No eye can see its death.

Before the worlds it scaled the
heavens, and dragged angels down.

In life's first dawn it entered
Eden and slew innocence.

It ends not with the end of time. It
ever rolls an ever deepening course.

Reader, think much of sin!

It is earth's death blow.

It marred the beauty of a beauteous
world. It stripped it of its lovely robe.

It caused the soil to harden; and the
leaves to wither and decay. It turned
fertility to weeds, and armed the brier
with its bristling thorns.

It made the clouds to blacken, and
the storm to rage. It raised the
tempest's roar, and plumed the
lightning with its forked wings.

It placed its foot upon a perfect work,
and left it a disordered wreck.

Reader, think much of sin!

It is man's ruin. It drove the soul from
peaceful fellowship with God. It changed
the loving child into a hardened rebel.

It robbed the mind of light.

It rendered reason a bewildered maze.

Sin made the heart . . .
  a nest of unclean birds;
  a spring of impure streams;
  a whirlpool of tumultuous passions;
  a hot bed of ungodly lusts;
  a den of God defying schemes!

Sin is . . .
  the malady;
  the misery;
  the shame
of our whole race!

It is the spring of every tear.

Each sigh, which rends the breast;
each frown, which ploughs the brow;
each pain, which racks the limbs,
are cradled in sins arms!

It is the mother of that mighty monster, death.

It digs each grave in every graveyard.

Each widow and each orphan tastes its gall.

It fills each hospital with sick.

It strews the battlefield with slain.

It is the core in every grief.

It is the worm which gnaws the root of peace.

Reader, think much of sin!

Its terrible destructions die not in the
grave. There is a region, where its full
blown torments reign.

It built the prison house of hell.

It kindled quenchless flames.

It forged the chains, which bind
lost sinners to their burning beds.

It sharpened the undying sting
of an upbraiding conscience.

It arms the jailer, Satan, with his scourge.

It bars the hopeless in that outer darkness,
where weeping ever weeps; and wailing ever
wails; and teeth forever gnash; and all is woe,
which knows no respite and no end.

Reader, here is a picture, in which all horrors
meet! Regard it with an earnest eye. No fiction
colors it. No power can over paint the terrible
reality. No artist's skill can represent a flame.
The dreadful truth exceeds report. The lost
writhe out eternity in fully learning the deserts
of sin!

Reader, think much of sin!

Though sin is death, the sinner need not die.

There is a fortress of escape.

There is a remedy to heal these wounds.

What though your sins be as countless
as the sands? They all may disappear!

What though the dye of each be double
crimson? Each may be washed away!

The filth may all be cleansed!

The debts may be wiped out!

The soul may meet Jehovah's eye without one stain!

There is a way, by which the vilest may stand pure!

God's love decreed a plan. He willed a ransom,
and His Son achieved it. Let us draw nearer
to the amazing sight!

Each sin must bear its merited load of woe.
Each curse must be endured. Each violation
of the holy law must drink the dregs of

Jesus comes forth to help!

The guiltless One, takes the guilty place.

He stands as their ready and complete sin offering.

He pays in anguish and in blood their every due.

Wrath is endured.

Penalties are paid.

Sufferings are suffered.

Agonies are agonized.

The work requires infinity of woe.
Infinity of woe is borne by Him.

Wrathful fury seized the soul of Jesus.

All torments dealt most fiercely with Him.

He suffered, until eternal vengeance asked no more.

Thus sin is fully punished.

Thus the redeemed are fully saved.

"For God made Christ, who never sinned,
to be the offering for our sin, so that we
could be made right with God through Christ."
 2 Cor. 5:21

Believer, your sins slew Christ!

They cannot now slay you.

His death is yours. Therefore you live.

God's smile is on you, not because you have
no sins, but because each has died in Christ.

Reader, if you are one with Christ, hell pains
are past for you. If you are not, they still
remain. Alas! how shall you bear them!

Hold me up!

(Alexander MacLaren, "Open Sins")

"Hold me up, and I shall be safe!" Ps. 119:117

The first lesson we have to learn is that
without Divine help we cannot stand;
and that with it we cannot fall. We must
cultivate a spirit of lowly dependence, of
self conscious weakness.

We need a mightier strength than our own,
which shall curb all this evil nature of ours,
and restrain us from sin.

When God's Spirit comes into a man's heart,
He will deaden his desires after earth and
forbidden ways. He will bring blessed higher
objects for all our affections. He who has
been fed on "the hidden manna" will not be
likely to hanker after the leeks and onions
that grew in the Nile mud in Egypt, however
strong their smell and pungent their taste.

He who has tasted the higher sweetnesses of
God will have his heart's desires after lower
delights, strangely deadened and cooled.

My heart, touched by the Spirit of God dwelling
in me, will turn to Him, and I shall find little
sweetness in the otherwise tempting delicacies
that earth can supply.

God desires to cleanse us from the filth of the
swine trough and the rags of our exile, and
clothe us in fine linen, clean and white. If you
will put yourselves into His hands, He will give
you new powers to detect the serpents in the
flowers, and new resolution to shake off the
vipers into the fire.

"Hold me up, and I shall be safe!" Ps. 119:117