Grace Gems for July 2003

The only thing that makes you differ

(Octavius Winslow, "Jesus, Full of Grace")

"But by the grace of God I am what I am."
     1 Cor. 15:10

Christian! the only thing that makes you differ
from the vilest being that pollutes the earth, or
from the darkest fiend that gnaws his chains in
hell, is the free grace of God!


What delusions!

(Thomas Reade, "Christian Experience")

"The human heart is most deceitful and
  desperately wicked."  Jeremiah 17:9

O! what a wretched being is man, when
left to himself! Every evil nestles in his
, producing a thousand stings to
torment him in time and through eternity.

It is awful to think what delusions men
practice upon themselves. Through the
artifices of Satan, and the false reasonings
of their own hearts, they are deceived to
their own ruin.

They compare themselves with those who
are more notoriously wicked; and thus think
themselves good.

They magnify their supposed virtues,
and soften down their vices.

They presume upon the mercy of God, as if He
were too benevolent to put His threatenings into
execution; or in other words, too good to be true.

They depend upon a 'death bed repentance',
not considering that repentance is the work
of the Holy Spirit.

They disbelieve the eternity of hell torments,
as being a punishment too cruel and severe
for the all bounteous Creator to inflict upon
His erring creatures.

They deny the particular providence of God;
esteeming it beneath His glorious Majesty,
to inspect their trivial concerns, or to notice
each trifling deviation from His Law.

They suppose the Almighty to be such
a one as themselves.


Opinions?  Theology?  Religion?

(Horatius Bonar)

It is not opinions that man needs, it is TRUTH.

It is not theology that man needs, it is GOD.

It is not religion that man needs, it is CHRIST.

Entangling things?

(Spurgeon, "The One Thing Needful" #1015)

Around us are a thousand entangling things.

I see all around me a crowd of alluring,
fascinating, pleasurable and dazzling things.

Pleasure calls to me; I hear her siren song.

Philosophy and learning charm me;
fain would I yield my heart to them.

This world is very much like the pools we have
heard of in India, in which grows a long grass of
so clinging a character that, if a man once falls
into the water, it in almost certain to be his death,
for only with the utmost difficulty could he be
rescued from the meshes of the deadly, weedy
net, which immediately wraps itself around him.

This world is even thus entangling.

All the efforts of grace are needed to preserve
men from being ensnared with the deceitfulness
of riches, and the cares of this life . . .
  the ledger demands you,
  the shop requires you,
  the warehouse bell rings for you;
  the theater invites,
  the ballroom calls.

You must live, you say, and you must have
a little enjoyment, and, consequently,
you give your heart to the world.


These things, I say, are very entangling;
but we must be disentangled from them,
for we cannot afford to lose our souls. 

"What shall it profit a man if he gains
the whole world and lose his own soul?"

If a ship is going down, and a passenger has
his gold in a bag about him, see how he acts.
With regret he flings his bag of treasure down
upon the deck, for his life is dearer than gold.
If he may but save his life, he is willing to lose
all else besides.

Oh, sirs! for the one thing needful, all
entangling things
must be given up.


Half the diseases of Christianity

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

"These are the names of the twelve apostles . . .
and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him." Mt. 10:2-4

We are taught here, that all ministers are not
necessarily saved men.
We see our Lord choosing
a Judas Iscariot to be one of His apostles. We
cannot doubt that He who knew all hearts, knew
well the characters of the men whom He chose.
And He includes in the list of apostles one who
was a traitor!

We shall do well to bear in mind this fact.

Ordination does not confer the saving grace of the
Holy Spirit. Ordained men are not necessarily
We are not to regard them as infallible,
either in doctrine or in practice.

We are not to make popes or idols of them,
and insensibly put them in Christ's place. We
are to regard them as "men of like passions"
with ourselves, liable to the same infirmities,
and daily requiring the same grace.

We are not to think it impossible for them
to do very bad things
, or to expect them to
be above the reach of harm from flattery,
covetousness, and the world.

We are to prove their teaching by the word
of God, and follow them so far as they follow
Christ, but no further.

Above all, we ought to pray for them, that they
may be successors not of Judas Iscariot; but of
James and John. It is an dreadful thing to be
a minister of the Gospel!

Ministers need many prayers.

It is plain that the life of a faithful minister of
Christ cannot be one of ease.
He must be ready
to spend body and mind, time and strength, in
the work of His calling. Laziness and frivolity are
bad enough in any profession, but worst of all in
that of a watchman for souls.

It is plain, for another thing, that the position
of the ministers of Christ is not that which
ignorant people sometimes ascribe to them,
and which they unhappily sometimes claim for
themselves. They are not so much ordained
to rule as to serve. They are not intended so
much to have dominion over the Church, as
to supply its needs, and serve its members.

Happy would it be for the cause of true religion,
if these things were better understood! Half the
diseases of Christianity
have arisen from
mistaken notions about the pastor's office!

Money can hire workers.

Universities can give learning.

Congregations may elect.

Bishops may ordain.

But the Holy Spirit alone can
make ministers of the Gospel.


Satan's spiritual dominion over young people

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

"Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of
the boy, and he was healed from that moment."
     Matthew 17:18

We must not forget that there are many instances
of Satan's spiritual dominion over young people,
which are quite as painful, in their way, as the case
described in this passage.

There are thousands of young people who seem
to have wholly given themselves up to Satan's
temptations, and to be led captive at his will.

They cast off all fear of God, and
all respect for His commandments.

They serve diverse lusts and pleasures.

They run wildly into every excess of riot.

They refuse to listen to the advice
of parents, teachers, or ministers.

They fling aside all regard for health,
character, or worldly respectability.

They do all that lies in their power to ruin
themselves, body and soul, for time and eternity.

They are willing bondslaves of Satan.

Who has not seen such young people?

They are to be seen in town and in country.

They are to be found among rich and among poor.

Surely such young people give mournful proof,
that Satan still exercises a fearful dominion
over some men's souls.

Yet even about such young people as these, we
must never despair. We must call to mind the
almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Bad as
this boy's case was, of whom we read in these
verses, he was "was healed from that moment"
that he was brought to Christ!

Parents, and teachers, and ministers should go
on praying for young people, even at their worst.

Hard as their hearts seem now,
they may yet be softened.

Desperate as their wickedness now
appears, they may yet be healed.

They may yet repent, and be converted, and
their last state prove better than their first.

Who can tell?

Let it be a settled principle with us, when we
read our Lord's miracles, never to despair of
the conversion of ANY soul.


This is a golden rule indeed!

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

"So in everything, do to others what you
 would have them do to you." Matt. 7:12

Jesus here lays down a general principle for
our guidance in all doubtful questions between
man and man.

We are not to deal with others as others deal
with us. This is mere selfishness and heathenism.

We are to deal with others as we would like
others to deal with us. This is real Christianity.

This is a golden rule indeed! It does not merely
forbid all petty malice and revenge, all cheating
and deceit. It does much more. It settles a
hundred difficult points
, which in a world like
this are continually arising between man and man.

It prevents the necessity of laying down endless
little rules for our conduct in specific cases. It
sweeps the whole debatable ground with one
mighty principle. It shows us a balance and
measure, by which every one may see at once
what is his duty.

Is there a thing we would not like our neighbor
to do to us? Then let us always remember, that
this is the thing we ought not to do to him.

Is there a thing we would like him to do to us?
Then this is the very thing we ought to do to him.

How many intricate questions would be decided
at once, if this rule were honestly used!

"So in everything, do to others what you
 would have them do to you." Matt. 7:12


The rarest and most beautiful of graces?

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

Pride is the oldest and commonest of sins.

Humility is the rarest and most beautiful
of graces.

For humility let us labor.

For humility let us pray.

Our knowledge may be scanty.
Our faith may be weak.
Our strength may be small.
But if we are disciples of Jesus,
let us at any rate be humble.

Humility is the very first letter
in the alphabet of Christianity.

Every thread in the web of life

(by John MacDuff)

Every thread in the web of life is woven by the
Great Craftsman! Not one movement in these
swiftly darting needles is chance; but all is by
His direction, and all is to result in good!

A powerful and persuasive influence

(MacDuff, "Words of Comfort to the Christian Pilgrim")

Every believer may exercise a powerful and
persuasive influence
, by a daily, consistent
Christian walk; by showing to all around him,
brotherly kindness and love; and by manifesting
in every word and action, meekness, patience,
and humility.


A most difficult science?

(Thomas Reade, "Christian Experience")

The knowledge of ourselves is a most
difficult science, owing to the vanity of
our minds, and the influence of 'self love'.

We are blind to our own faults, but
quick sighted to the failings of others.

The mote in our brother's eye is readily
discerned, while we are unconscious of
the beam so apparent in our own.


(MacDuff, "Words of Comfort to the Christian Pilgrim")

"As your days, so shall your strength be." Deut. 33:25

The Christian is frequently compared to a pilgrim,
traveling onwards through a dreary wilderness, to
the promised land of Canaan.

His experience is varied and chequered. The
path before him may be steep and arduous.
He may have to pass through . . .
  rough and stony places;
  dark, thick forests;
  rapid streams;
  raging hurricanes.

His days may be such, as to require great . . .
  and energy,
  and perseverance.

Oftentimes, when he strives to anticipate the future,
his heart sinks within him, his courage fails, and he is
apt to give way to despondency and doubt. But, such
a promise, "As your days, so shall your strength be,"
may well suffice to calm the believer's fears, and
reanimate his fainting spirit.

It is true, that changes and vicissitudes will come;
true, that the heart, which today is cheerful and happy,
may tomorrow be wounded and bleeding; true, that the
full cup, now held with gladness, may be dashed in pieces,
before the lips have tasted the refreshing draught; true,
that the bright hope, which, like a guiding star, allures
the traveler onwards, may speedily be enwrapped in
pitchy gloom.

But to the child of God, there is a supply of strength
to meet the hour of trial.
He is not permitted to escape
from the burden, the cross, the difficulty. But he is
enabled to make his way through them all; to struggle
with, and finally to overcome them.

Many a time, when the believer has been well near
crushed under the oppressive weight; when, conscious
that ordinary strength would not avail, he has cried
unto the Lord, and a fresh supply of grace has been
given to meet the emergency; so that he could say
with David, "I waited patiently for the Lord to help
me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted
me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the
mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied
me as I walked along." Psalm 40:1-2

It would be easy for God, to make the path heavenward,
plain and unobstructed to His children; easy, to remove
all care, anxiety, and sorrow. But such is not His purpose.

Earth is the training school for Heaven. God wills that
His children should be tried; that their spiritual natures
should be refined and purified in the furnace of affliction.
And that thus, by the very struggles and pains of their
earthly pilgrimage, they should become more and more
fit for serving Him in this world; and more and more fit
for the inheritance of the saints in light.

The Christian, by each difficulty he is called on to
encounter; by each trial he is summoned to bear;
by each virtue he is required to call into exercise;
becomes more vigorous, earnest, faithful, and
Christlike. His soul is gradually training and
strengthening by duty, trial, and endurance here;
for glory, honor, and immortality hereafter.

Every fresh victory . . .
  over pride,
  over vanity,
  over avarice,
  over selfishness,
  over fretfulness,
makes us stronger for the time to come, and
insures the fulfillment of the promise, "As your
days, so shall your strength be."

Christian! mark again these words. They do not
give the pledge, that we shall not feel the burden
and heat of the day. All they promise is, that we
shall get safely through. They do not say that we
shall not feel the weight of our duties, trials,
temptations, conflicts. All they say is, that we
shall have strength to bear their weight, and
journey on with our load.

The grace imparted, will then be "sufficient" for
us; sufficient for our actual necessities; sufficient
strength equal to our day.

Strength to encounter the tempest will
be given when the tempest rages.

Strength to breast the foaming surges will be
given when the hurricane has actually come.

Strength to grapple with the last enemy will
be given when he comes forth to meet you.

Yes, Christian! be assured, grace and strength
will be imparted when you need them, as certainly
as they will be withheld before you need them.

He who guides you, knows your necessities, and,
in the day of trouble, will not leave you comfortless.

Journey on, then, with firmness, relying on His
promise. Your day is coming. You will, before long,
enter into your final rest, and repose from all your
labors. You will take possession of the promised
inheritance, and will then acknowledge with a grateful
heart, "As my days, so my strength has been."


Where did God find you?

(MacDuff, "Words of Comfort to the Christian Pilgrim")

"He found him in a desert land, and in the waste
howling wilderness. He led him about, He instructed
him, He kept him as the apple of His eye." Deut. 32:10

Christian! see here an emblem of yourself.

Where did God find you?  He found you in "a
desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness."

Yes, earth with all its loveliness and beauty is a
desert place, until the sinner has been found by God.
There is much, it is true, to attract the eye and to
gratify the sense; but fair and lovely though it be,
in a moral and spiritual view it is "a desert land."

The soul can find in it no sustenance, and no refuge
in this desert. In this "waste howling wilderness," he
is surrounded, on every side, by dangers; and exposed
to countless perils.

But, oh! it is a blessed thing to know, that God seeks
out, and finds the wanderer, in the desert; and, when
He has found him, "He leads him," not always by a direct
path, to the promised land, but by a circuitous route,
and in the right way, to "a city with eternal foundations,
a city designed and built by God."

Reader! has God permitted you to encounter the sharp
stroke of affliction? Has He taken from you the earthly
prop, upon which you were used to lean all too fondly?

Remember! God is leading you! These unexpected trials;
these heart rending bereavements; are just so many
turnings in your pilgrimage. No thorn has been scattered
on your path, but what is common to the one family of God.
The Shepherd is leading you, as all the flock are led, with
a skillful hand, and in the right way.

He "instructs us" in . . .
  His love, and faithfulness, and goodness;
  our own weakness, and His all sufficiency;
  our impotence, and His omnipotence;
  our corruption, and His grace;
  our own frailty, and His steadfastness;
  our unbelief, and His unwavering faithfulness to His word.

Mark the believer's security, "He keeps him as
the apple of His eye." Such is God's watchful
guardianship over His saints; such His unceasing

Yes! humble, unknown, obscure believer; dwelling
in a lowly cottage, in some sequestered glen, far
removed from the hum of human voice or occupation,
if only you can say of God, that He is your reconciled
Father, you are more to be envied than princes of the
earth, for you are in possession of a blessedness, such as . . .
  no monarch can bestow,
  no wealth can purchase,
  no earthly power procure.

Be sure that God, even your God, does not, for
a solitary instant, forget or overlook you! Your most
trivial actions are not without interest in His sight.
Not a hair falls to the ground without your Father.
He orders all things, for the discipline of your soul,
to prepare you for the glories and the blessings of

God has found you!
God is leading you!
God is instructing you!

Oh, then, leave to Him to choose your path in life!

As you stand upon the cloudless summits of the
heavenly Zion, welcomed by angelic bands, greeted
with the loud hosannas of the redeemed, methinks
this will prove the theme of your song, "He found
me in a desert land, and in the waste howling
wilderness. He led me about, He instructed me,
He kept me as the apple of His eye." Deut. 32:10

"Is this the way, my Father?" "Yes, my child.
You must pass through the tangled, dreary wild,
If you would reach the City undefiled,
    Your peaceful home above."

"But enemies are round!" "Yes, child, I know
That where you least expect you will find a foe,
But victor you shall prove o'er all below,
    Only seek strength above."

"My Father, it is dark!" "Child, take my hand;
Cling close to Me; I'll lead you through the land;
Trust My all seeing care; so shall you stand
    Midst glory bright above."

"My footsteps seem to slide!"
"Child, only raise
Your eye to Me, then in these slippery ways
I will hold up your goings; you shall praise
    Me for each step above."

"O Father, I am weary!" "Child, lean your head
Upon My breast; it was My love that spread
Your rugged path; hope on still, until I have said,
    Rest; rest forever above."  (Monsell)


God's providential reign

(Octavius Winslow, The Lord's Prayer)

This world is not. . .
  a kingdom without a throne,
  a throne without a sovereign,
  or a sovereign without a scepter.

By no blind accident are the
affairs of this planet governed.

God is in the history of the world . . .
  its past,
  its present, and
  its yet unshapen future.

The statesman and the politician may
not recognize this fact; but it is so.

God rules the kingdom of providence.

His hand is moving and controlling all events
and circumstances
, national and social, public
and private; giving birth, and shape, and tint
to those phenomena in the history of nations,
and to those affairs in the history of individuals,
which to human perception are often enshrouded
in mystery so dreadful and profound.

Let this view of God's providential reign hush
all murmurings at our lot, making us content
with such things as we have, assured that He
will never leave us nor forsake us.

Let it bow our soul in meek submission to His
sovereign will
, in view of those painful and
inexplicable events which sometimes cast the
darkest shade upon our sunniest landscape,
and dash from our lips their sweetest cup of joy.

Let it incite our gratitude for the blessings
loaned us so long, though now removed; and
for the blessings which still remain to soothe,
and gladden, and cheer us onward.

Let it strengthen our faith in the
Divine assurance that . . .
  our daily bread shall be given us,
  our path shielded amid encircling evil,
  and our soul, guided by His counsel and
kept by His power, eventually and safely
conducted home to glory.

"Yes, Lord, the kingdom of providence is Yours, and
I would see Your hand, and trace Your wisdom, and
taste Your goodness in all the shaping and tinting
of my whole history. I would deal alone with You in
all the lights and shadows of my daily life. Those
lights and shadows are of Your penciling, O Lord. If
joy thrills my heart, it is of Your inspiration. If sorrow
breaks it, it is of Your sending. Teach me that I have,
in all things, to do only with You."

The sad record of many a religious professor

(Octavius Winslow, "The Lord's Prayer" 1866)

The believer has great temptation from the world.

We must pass through it, for there is no escape.

The world is the empire of the Evil One, and it is
the empire of evil. It is essentially and emphatically
an evil world, all its works evil, and nothing but evil.

The ungodliness of the world is appalling.

Whether we view it in its savage or its civilized state,
in its refined or its gross forms of society, "we know
that the whole world lies in wickedness." Thus from
every quarter is the world a snare and a temptation
to the God's children.

Awed by its frowns we may be dissuaded from
taking up Christ's cross. Seduced by its smiles we
may be persuaded to lay it down.

Our very circumstances in life may expose
us to peculiar temptation. Affluence may
ensnare us into wasteful extravagance and
worldly living. Poverty may tempt us to
depart from strict uprightness and integrity.

And then there is the worldliness of the
How powerful and ever present a
snare is this to the child of God!

"Demas has forsaken me, having loved this
present world," is the sad record of many
a religious professor
once standing so high;
but now no more walking with Jesus, swept
away by the resistless current of . . .
  the world's gaieties,
  the world's enterprises,
  and even the world's religion.


What! Lord! after all that I have done!

(Octavius Winslow, "The Lord's Prayer" 1866)

"Only acknowledge your guilt. Admit that you
rebelled against the Lord your God and committed
adultery against Him by worshiping idols under
every green tree. Confess that you refused to
follow Me. I, the Lord, have spoken!" Jer. 3:13

God has laid great stress in His word upon the
confession of sin. How touching His language
addressed to His backsliding people, whose
backslidings were of a most aggravated character;
than which none could have been of deeper guilt,
seeing that they had committed the sin of idolatry!

"Only acknowledge your guilt." This was all that
He required at their hands. "Only acknowledge."

Poor penitent soul, bending in tears and self
reproaches over this page, read these words again
and again, and yet again, until they have scattered
all your dark, repelling thoughts of this sin forgiving
God, winning you to His feet as His restored and
comforted child, "only acknowledge your guilt."

"What! Lord! after all that I have done, after . . .
  my base returns,
  my repeated wanderings,
  my aggravated transgressions,
  my complicated iniquity,
  my sins against conviction, light, and love;
do You still stretch out your hand to me, a poor,
wretched wanderer as I am? Do You go forth to
meet, to welcome, to pardon me? Do You watch
the first kindling of penitence, the first tear of
contrition, the first word of confession, 'Father,
I have sinned!' Lord, I fall at Your feet, the
greatest of sinners . . .
  Your power has drawn me,
  Your love has subdued me,
  Your grace has conquered me!"

They are not too young to go to hell

(James Janeway)

Your children are not too young to die;
they are not too young to go to hell.


Small progress in holiness?

(Hannah More, "Practical Piety")

Many Christians make but small
in holiness because . . .
  their difficulties may be great;
  their natural capacity may be weak;
  their temptations may be strong; and
  their instruction may be defective.

The secret of our growth in grace

(Octavius Winslow, "The Lord's Prayer" 1866)

"May Your will be done." Matthew 6:10

The great secret of all quietness and contentedness
of mind under all circumstances, is in the resignation
of our own will to God's will.

The moment there arises in the breast the least
hostility to what God does, or enjoins, there is

The cheerful doing and the patient suffering
of our Father's will resolves itself into perfect
satisfaction with all that He does. This is . . .
  the daily lesson of life,
  the secret of our growth in grace
  the essence of our personal holiness.

"May Your will be done!" This is the most
solemn prayer it is possible for man to breathe.

Dead or Wounded?

(Henry Law, "Beacons of the Bible" 1869)

When grace subdues the heart, a wondrous
change ensues!
Earth knows no greater. But
words are weak to picture it. Images lend not
sufficient aid.

Light shines, where once night brooded.

Satan's chains no more enslave.

The prison bars are broken.

Right principles direct.

Right ends are sought.

Right means are used.

Life now is life indeed,
for the man lives to God.

Such is a feeble outline of the new creation.

But is SIN therefore dead?

Wounded indeed it is, but it retains power to
sting. Sometimes it revives in fearful strength.

Though crippled, it strives to conquer. It may
seem for a season to regain its hold, and win
brief victory. It may roll the new man in the
mire. But it cannot keep him down.

Its real dominion is gone.

Its existence only lingers, until full escape
from this world delivers wholly from its touch.

Where is the saint who is not conscious
that the foe still lives? Witness the closet
prayers of the man of God . . .
What bitter humblings!
What smitings of the breast!
What sensitive laments!
What writhing under the motions of corruption's filth!

Tears, sobs, and cries are frequent.

"When I would do good, evil is present with me."

"O wretched man that I am! who shall
deliver me from the body of this death?"

"God be merciful to me a sinner."

Faithful Scripture warns of this constant
. It tells that the heavenward
march is over treacherous roads
where many pilgrims slip and stumble!

One of the greatest mysteries in religion

(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of John" 1873)

The extent to which one man may have true
saving grace, together with much ignorance;
and another may have much head knowledge
and yet no true saving grace; is one of the
greatest mysteries in religion
, and one
which the last day alone will unfold.


The first drunkard!

(Henry Law, "Beacons of the Bible" 1869)

"After the Flood, Noah became a farmer and
 planted a vineyard. One day he became drunk
 on some wine he had made and lay naked in
 his tent." Genesis 9:20-21

Alas! this is a world of snares! To be beyond
temptation is to soar high above this earth.

Beneath the flower the viper lurks!

The pathway is beside a precipice.

The goblet may beguile. In the deep draught
there is poison! Excess brings death.

There is no mercy incapable of abuse.

There is no privilege, which may not be misused.

The cheering wine may make a drunkard. The
strengthening bowl may hurl a saint from his
high pinnacle.

Could it be so with Noah?

Fact must be heard.

The record cannot be erased.

"One day he became drunk on some wine
 he had made and lay naked in his tent."

Who will not sigh!

Who can restrain the pitying tear!

Alas! that such a sin should foully stain
so great; so good a man! But it is so!

His sun goes down behind this darksome cloud.

This miserable blot pollutes the goodness of his name.

This vile transgression soils his pure life!

The day cannot be canceled.

The deed cannot be recalled.

Intoxication was incurred.

Concealment cannot hide it.

The sin was done.

Noah, the glory of the ancient world, the first
fruits unto God of the new world, is dishonored
as the first drunkard! "One day he became
drunk on some wine he had made and lay
naked in his tent."

All sin is . . .  
  frightful in its nature,
  fearful in its course,
  destructive in its outcome.

The devil kindles it.

God hates it.

Wrath pursues it.

But where is the sin so pregnant with all
as drunkenness? Mark its effects upon
its miserable victims . . .
  It puts out the lamp of reason.
  It quenches the light of every faculty.
  It cripples every power.
  It destroys each spark of consciousness.

Behold the besotted man . . .
  His eyes possess no more clear perception.
  His ears receive not the true sound.
  His feet refuse to lead him in straight paths.
  His tongue gives vent; at best to folly; more
frequently to blasphemy, and every vileness.

Ah! what a spectacle!

No beast is so degraded!

No fiend outside hell's confines can be more foul.

He lies contemptible below contempt.

Oh! wine, what have you done?

Wherever drunkenness appears, it comes
as a heartless and destructive pest.

Unhappiness in every form attends its steps . . .
  and withered bodies,
  and early death are its sure fruits.

Whoever would contemplate wretchedness,
let him mark the wretched drunkard. Whoever
would see misery, let him enter the
drunkard's home
. Whose are . . .
  the trembling limbs?
  the feverish pulse?
  the aching head?
  the restless mind?
  the gnawing remorse?
  the hardened heart?
  the reckless disregard of reputation?
  the stifling of conscience?

These woes are the drunkard's lot!

He is unhappy, and the cup is his relief. He
drinks again to lull remorse. He awakens to
deeper sorrow, and to drink the more. The
more he drinks, the more he thirsts.

Disease soon shows its face.

The bodily and mental powers fade.

Trembling imbecility follows.

So the drunkard goes downhill to a drunkard's grave!

Whose is that wretched home? Poverty
and filth have the possession. Neglect and
squalidness occupy it as their own.

The wife, unaided and downcast, with weeping
eye and broken heart, sees hopeless poverty.
The children, famished, naked, untaught;
proclaim the shameless father's hardened heart.
The wages needful to sustain them, supplies
the parent's poison!

This is a drunkard's home!

Noah, an aged, experienced saint is entrapped in
this snare! No warning can be louder. It speaks with
trumpet tongue. We learn, that no advance in grace
can raise above the devil's far extending arm!

No lengthened walk with God mounts to a path above
Satan's reach. Many years of holy living do not screen
from his assaults. While flesh is the tabernacle, there
is danger. While earth is the home, it will be haunted
by this untiring foe. There is no moment when the
watchtower may be left.

The constant attitude must be the bended knee.
The arm must ever wield the sword of the Spirit,
which is the eternal Word. The shield may not be
laid aside. Satan never ceases to hate and tempt.

Draw then nearer and nearer to the sheltering side
of your beloved Lord. Let your eyes ever gaze upon
the cross! The more you see redeeming blood, the
more you will abhor iniquity.

Trust not, however, to previous grace.
It was sufficient for its day. But each day
needs its own supply . . .
  This help is ready.
  The treasury is open.
  Approach by faith.
  Go in by prayer.
  Receive heaven's bounty.

Remember that each day is full of peril.
Therefore never cease to watch.

Do not forget, that in one unguarded
a terrible downfall may occur!

Think, also, that one false step brings
terrible disgrace on your good reputation,
and causes hell to laugh, and all the enemies
of God to revel in blaspheming sneers.

Your sin may ruin multitudes.

A good man's sin may be exposed to many
eyes. But God alone sees . . .
  the deep humiliation of the wounded spirit;
  the many tears;
  the earnest cries for mercy;
  the self abhorring anguish;
  the increased self distrust;
  the life long grief.

Noah would well learn, that the atoning blood
was rich to wash out all his crimson stains. He
would not doubt that divine righteousness would
completely cloak his terrible defilement. But,
pardoned by God, he never would forgive himself.

Until the grave covered him, he would walk . . .
  with downcast head;
  with bleeding heart;
  with many a self condemning thought.

"After the Flood, Noah became a farmer and
 planted a vineyard. One day he became drunk
 on some wine he had made and lay naked in
 his tent." Genesis 9:20-21


The Bible

(Henry Law, "Beacons of the Bible" 1869)

The Bible is the richest treasure of the world.

Without it the palace is a dark blank.

With it the humble cottage sparkles with celestial light.

It is the transcript of God's heart.

It tells, what human reason is weak to find.

It is pure truth without one shade of error.

It gives knowledge on all things
needful for time and for eternity.

It is a safe guide through life's entangled path.

It is a compass . . .
  through shoals and rocks;
  amid winds and waves;
  to heaven's eternal rest.

The sage is ignorant without it.

The peasant learns from it salvation's road.

It is a solace for every hour.

It is a companion always ready to converse.

It cheers when other comforts fail.

It is arrayed in every charm for intellect.

It never wearies.

It is always fresh.

Its oldest truths cannot grow old.

Its readers become more wise; more holy.

Other books may puzzle and corrupt. The
 is from heaven, and leads to heaven.
It enters the heart with purifying grace.

The more you search the Bible, the more your
minds will wonder, and your hearts will love.

Read it as literally true. Then no human
philosophy will beguile you.

Ponder its characters. You will find on
them the intrinsic stamp of truth.

Break its alluring spell.

(by John MacDuff)

Blessed Jesus, alas! I have to mourn
that the world which crucified You . . .
  should be so much loved by me;
  that its pleasures should be so fascinating;
  and its pursuits so engrossing.

Wean me from it.

Break its alluring spell.

Strip it of its counterfeit charms.

Discover to me . . .
  its hollowness;
  the treachery of its promises;
  the precariousness of its best blessings;
  the fleeting nature of its most enduring friendship.

The world has deceived me, but You never
have. Guide me by Your counsel. Savior, let
me come up from this wilderness leaning
on Your arm; exulting, amid its legion foes,
that greater is He who is with me than all
those who can be against me.

Bend Your pitying eye upon me, as I travel,
burdened with sin and sorrow, through this
valley of tears.
So "sanctify me through Your
truth," that, though in the world, I may not
be conformed to its sinful practices and lying

No cradle holds an innocent one!

(Henry Law, "Beacons of the Bible" 1869)

When evil fills the heart,
evil effects will soon appear.

>From tainted sources, tainted waters flow.

The tree proclaims the qualities of its root.

When poison permeates the veins,
the whole body sickens.

The plague begun, spreads an infecting course.

When Adam fell, the inner man became entirely
corrupt. Now, corruption cannot but propagate

The parent reproduces his own likeness.

Hence every child is born in sin.

No cradle holds an innocent one!

Each offspring of the human
family steps upon earth . . .
  dead towards God;
  corrupt in inward bias;
  prone to iniquity.

He brings . . .
  no eye to see God's will;
  no ear to hear His voice;
  no feet to climb the heavenly hill.

He is . . .
  an alien from righteousness;
  a willing slave of Satan;
  blinded in intellect;
  a pilgrim towards a lost land;
  a vessel fitted for destruction;
  a current strongly rushing downwards.

His heart has many tenants; but God is no
longer there. The palace once so fair is now
overrun with weeds. Like Babylon in ruins,
wild beasts of the desert lie there, and the
houses are full of doleful creatures. Is. 13:21.

Reader, such surely is your birth state!

Has your soul realized the dreadful truth?

Do you abhor natural self?

Has the life giving Spirit quickened you with
renovating might? Are you a new creation in
Christ Jesus? If so, surely you will bless God's
rescuing grace. If otherwise, may this dark
picture scare you from delusion's dream!


An iceberg in the Church!

(Henry Law, "Beacons of the Bible" 1869)

"The former preach Christ out of selfish
ambition, not sincerely." Philippians 1:17

A lukewarm ministry is a withering blight.

It is an iceberg in the Church!

It freezes and deadens.

Can lips be cold which speak . . .
  of heaven;
  of hell;
  of never dying souls;
  of God's everlasting love in Christ!

With such themes . . .
  hearts should glow;
  words should burn;
  arguments should put forth giant strength;
  entreaties should agonize.

Can I then speak with chilly apathy?

Away with indifference when
such interests are at stake!


Proceed with your chiselings

(Octavius Winslow, "DIVINE REALITIES" 1860)

"And we know that all things work together for
to those who love God, to those who are
 the called according to His purpose." Rom. 8:28

Why are afflictions for the best? Because they
never come, but beneath their raven wings they
enfold some hidden blessing. Embosomed in the
somber cloud there reposes some covenant mercy.

Repeated afflictions are repeated blessings!

They fall not as lightning on the scathed tree,
blasting it yet more; but as the strokes of the
on the marble block, forming it to the
image of life and loveliness.

Gash may follow gash, stroke may follow stroke,

but it is only to mold and fashion the soul of the
child more into the image of its Heavenly Parent.

"If this be so, my Lord, proceed with your chiselings,
until your child, molded beneath your hand, becomes
more really and more visibly a partaker of your holiness."

The all sufficiency of Christ

(Octavius Winslow, "It Is Well" 1860)

"From the fullness of His grace we have all
received one blessing after another." John 1:16

Look away from . . .
  your sins,
  your backslidings,
  your unfruitfulness,
  your infirmities,
  your shortcomings,
  and your flaws.

Look to Christ
, and get a closer,
clearer, fuller view of the cross.

The all sufficiency of Christ meets your case.

Sweet truth!

I ask not how peculiar, how aggravated, how
desperate, how discouraging, the state of your
soul may be. I hesitate not to affirm that such
is Christ, such His love, His compassion, His
fullness, His power. Your condition of soul
comes within the scope of His sufficiency.

Christ's merit meets your demerit.
Christ's unchangeableness
meets your backslidings.

Christ's grace meets your corruptions.

Christ's blood meets your guiltiness.

Christ's fullness meets your emptiness.

Christ's power meets your impossibilities.

Christ's compassion meets your misery.

Christ's sympathy meets your sorrow.

Christ's intercession covers all
your circumstances and needs.

"From the fullness of His grace we have all
received one blessing after another." John 1:16


Bubbles on life's ocean

(by John MacDuff)

What are the hopes of the worldling?

They are transient and illusory; mere
bubbles on life's ocean, sparkling their
little moment, then vanishing forever!


Oh it is a sweet and holy life!

(Octavius Winslow, "Divine Realities" 1860)

"My times are in Your hand." Psalm 31:15

Learn to be content with your present lot, with
God's dealings with, and His disposal of, you.

You are just where His providence has, in its
inscrutable, but all wise and righteous decision,
placed you. It may be a painful, irksome, trying
position, but it is right. Oh yes! it is right!

Strive, then, to live a life of daily dependence upon
God. Oh it is a sweet and holy life! It saves . . .
  from many a desponding feeling,
  from many a corroding care,
  from many an anxious thought,
  from many a sleepless night,
  from many a tearful eye, and
  from many an imprudent and sinful scheme.

Thus you shall walk with God through this
valley of tears, until you exchange . . .
  sorrow for joy,
  suffering for ease,
  sin for purity,
  labor for rest,
  conflict for victory,
and all earth's chequered, gloomy scenes, for the
changeless, cloudless happiness and glory of heaven!

"My times are in Your hand." Psalm 31:15


From the fullness of His grace

(Winslow, "The Untrodden Path")

"From the fullness of His grace
 we have all received one blessing
 after another." John 1:16

All wisdom to guide,
all power to uphold,
all love to soothe,
all grace to support,
all tenderness to sympathize,
dwells in Christ.