Grace Gems for MAY 2004

Eternity with all its magnitudes

(Henry Law, "The Bronze Altar")

TIME is, at most, but very short,
and rapid is its ceaseless flight.

Eternity with all its magnitudes is at the door.

The last breath may be quivering on the lip.

Undying souls are on the threshold of eternal doom!

And SATAN strives, with every art, to
close our eyes and lure us to his nets.

The WORLD surrounds us with its poisoned
baits. It checks us with its sneers and frowns.
It courts us with its treacherous smiles.

SELF, also, is no friend to the soul. It acts a
traitor's part. It opens to the murderous foe.

That which is highly esteemed among men

(J. C. Philpot)

"That which is highly esteemed among men is
 an abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:15

The pride,
the ambition,
the pleasures,
the amusements,
in which we see thousands and tens of thousands
engaged—and sailing down the stream into a dreadful
gulf of eternity—are all an abomination in the sight of

Whereas, such things as . . .
  brokenness of heart,
  tenderness of conscience,
  contrition of spirit,
  sorrow for sin,
  looking to Jesus,
  taking up the cross,
  denying one's self,
  walking in the strait and narrow path that leads to
eternal life—in a word, the power of godliness—these
things are despised by all
—and by none so much as
mere heady professors who have a name to live while

"That which is highly esteemed among men is
 an abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:15


How did those poor scorched Sodomites run!

Andrew Gray (1634-1656) "Door Unto Everlasting Life"

Poor sinner, are not you as well as others, tumbling
towards the grave?
Every moment of life, you come
nearer death.

Your strength is but ashes, your glory but a flower.

You eat today of the meat of birds and animals,
and soon—it may be in two or three months time,
your flesh may be dished out for crawling worms!

Oh, it is but one spurn with God's foot—one touch
with God's finger—and you are gone!

But where, oh where!

You may be wise, and rich, and educated,
and yet damned at last—if not holy.

For all the wicked shall be turned into hell.

No matter how quietly a wicked man may pass out
of this world—unspeakable and intolerable misery
will most certainly overtake him at last.

Sin is the highway to hell. Those who persevere in
sin while they live, cannot escape hell when they die.
Such may read their doom, "They must drink the wine
of God's wrath. It is poured out undiluted into God's
cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire
and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels
and the Lamb." Rev. 14:10

Hell is mixed with all stinging ingredients, but
unmixed with any relief or offer of mercy! No
tortures so great as fire, and no fire worse than
that of brimstone.

How did those poor scorched Sodomites run,
howling and yelling, and lamenting their pains,
when God rained hell out of heaven upon them!

How then will poor damned creatures howl and
lament their pains, in that lake of fire and brimstone!

What can be more horrible than that place
where both soul and body must be crowded into
a fiery dungeon, with torments that can neither
be avoided nor endured! Oh, the bitterness, the
multitude, the everlastingness of their pains!

Oh, eternity, eternity! Who can comprehend it?
After the expiration of millions of years, eternity
will not be one minute less.

Oh, when eternity is added to extremity,
then hell is hell indeed!

The torments of hell are without measure, and
the continuance in these torments is without end.
The damned shall be punished in hell, so long as
there is a God in heaven!

And yet, will you, O man, for the pleasure
of an hour, incur these everlasting pains?

Will you rather lose your soul—than leave your sins?

Will you rather part with eternal life—than with your lusts?

Is sin more sweet—than the wrath of God would be bitter?

Holiness is the only way to happiness.

Grace is the only way to glory.

No holiness—no heaven.

God calls us to follow Him in the way of holiness
to eternal glory. The devil calls us to follow him
in the way of sin to eternal torments.


Watch against the master sins

(by Richard Baxter)

Sin dwells in hell, and holiness in heaven.

Remember that every temptation is from
the devil, to make you like himself.

Remember when you sin, that you are learning
and imitating of the devil, and are so far like him.
And the end of all, is that you may feel his pains.
If hell-fire be not good, then sin is not good.

Watch against the master sins of . . .
  flesh pleasing and
  the excessive love of earthly things.

Take care against being drawn into earthly
mindedness and excessive cares—or covetous
designs for rising in the world, under the
pretense of diligence in your calling.

Love Christ, and you will hate that which
caused His death. Love Him, and you will
love to be made like Him—and hate that
which is so contrary to Him.


If I did perish, it would be at Mercy's feet!

(Anne Dutton, "A Brief Account of the Gracious Dealings
 of God, with a Poor, Sinful, Unworthy Creature")

It pleased the Lord to work savingly upon my heart when I was
about thirteen years of age. There was a mighty impression
made upon my heart—of the reality and consequence of a future
state either of misery or of glory—of unspeakable happiness, or
inconceivable torment—together with the nearness of its approach.

O, eternity! eternity! was ever before my eyes! And the
worth of my own soul, as an immortal spirit, was strongly
impressed upon my mind.

Again, the misery of my natural estate was set before me,
as a transgressor of the holy law. I thought all the curses
in God's book belonged to me. This raised a cry in my soul,
"What must I do to be saved?"

Now, to know whether I was elected, was my chief concern.
I wanted to know these things for my own soul. Yet though
attended with so many fears, I pressed through all difficulties,
and cast myself at the foot of free grace in Christ; resolving
that if I did perish, it would be at Mercy's feet!

The blessed Spirit took me, as it were, by the hand and led
me to take a survey of Christ. I viewed all my sins meeting
on Jesus! In the finished work of redemption, I viewed my
salvation wrought out—and a perfection of peace, pardon,
life, and glory, came flowing down to me in free grace,
through the blood of Christ!


Invincibly and irresistibly drawn

(J. C. Philpot, "True Discipleship", 1869)

As the Lord is pleased to enlighten
his mind, the Christian sees . . .

  such a beauty,
  such a blessedness,
  such a heavenly sweetness,
  such a divine loveliness,
  such a fullness of surpassing grace,
  such tender condescension,
  such unwearied patience,
  such infinite compassion,
in the Lord of life and glory—that he is as
if invincibly and irresistibly drawn by these
attractive influences to come to His feet to
learn of Him. So far as the Lord is pleased to
reveal Himself in some measure to his soul,
by the sweet glimpses and glances which he
thus obtains of His Person and countenance,
he is drawn to His blessed Majesty by cords
of love to look up unto Him and beg of Him
that He would drop His word with life and
power into his heart.


A worldly Christian?

(Thomas Reade, "Deadness to the World")

"I have given them Your word. And the
 world hates them because they do not
 belong to the world—just as I do not."
        John 17:14

To be a worldly Christian is a contradiction
in terms. Nothing can be more evident than
this—that every true disciple of Christ, like
his Lord and Master, is not of the world.

He is different in spirit and in practice.

A heart glued to the world—a heart
enchained by its pleasures, profits,
and cares—a heart in which the world
sits enthroned—can never be a heart
acceptable unto God.

Such a heart can never serve both God
and Mammon. Two masters so opposite in
their commands, can never, by the same
servant, be wholly and universally obeyed.

A heart in which Christ reigns, knows well
how to estimate the vanities of time, and
the glories of eternity!

Your burden

(Octavius Winslow, "Daily Need Divinely Supplied")

"Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall
 sustain you." Psalm 55:22

Wonderful words! Their sense is magical—their
sound is music—their very utterance is repose!

It is one of those flowers culled from the Lord's
garden—penciled with beauty and laden with
perfume, which defies all human art to heighten
the loveliness of the one, or to increase the
sweetness of the other.

And yet, as most flowers are more fragrant when
crushed, and as the grape yields its sweetest
juice when pressed—a simple exposition of these
precious words, however gentle the pressure, may
prove a spiritual fragrance and refreshment to some
burdened child of God.

O my soul, what is your burden? Remember the
invitation is a personal one, and therefore includes
every care and need, sin and sorrow, that you have.
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain

Whatever your burden, cast it in the prayer of faith
on the Lord. Peculiar and heavy though it may be,
His strength and grace and love will sustain you.

Encircled by His almighty arm,
upheld by His promises,
strengthened by His grace,
soothed by His sympathy,
comforted by His Spirit,
you shall not sink, for it is written, "Cast your
upon the Lord, and He shall  sustain you."

Woman's chief besetting sins

(J. C. Philpot, "Filth and Blood Purged by the Spirit
of Judgment and the Spirit of Burning

"The Lord will strip away their artful beauty—their
 ornaments, headbands, and crescent necklaces;
 their earrings, bracelets, and veils. Gone will be
 their scarves, ankle chains, sashes, perfumes, and
 charms; their rings, jewels, party clothes, gowns,
 capes, and purses; their mirrors, linen garments,
 head ornaments, and shawls." Isaiah 3:18-23

"The Lord will wash away the filth of the women
 of Zion." Isaiah 4:4

These women of Zion are typical representatives of
women professing godliness in all ages. The Lord
looked at their hearts, and the motives of their gaudy
attire. There He saw pride, luxury, love of dress and
woman's chief besetting sins—and all
this was in His eyes so much filth!

But as I do not wish to be too hard upon the women,
I may say, that we men have our hidden filth to as
great, or worse degree, than they. In us there are . . .
  many secret and powerful lusts,
  much hypocrisy, self-righteousness, pride, and
  various other sinful and sensual abominations.

You are not your own!

(J. C. Philpot, "Not Our Own—Bought with a Price")
"You are not your own! For you are bought with
 a  price—therefore glorify God in your body, and in
 your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19

Your eyes are not your own—that you may feed your
lusts, that you may go about gaping, and gazing, and
looking into every shop window to see the fashions of
the day—learn the prevailing pride of life—and thus lay
up food for your vain mind—either in coveting what
must be unfitting to your profession—or applying your
money to an improper use—or being disappointed
because you cannot afford to buy it.

Your ears are not your own—that you may listen to
every foolish tale—drink in every political, worldly, or
carnal report which may fall upon them—and thus feed
that natural desire for news, gossip, and even slander
—which is the very element of the carnal mind.

Your tongue is not your own—that you may speak
what you please, and blurt out whatever passes in
the chambers of your heart, without check or fear.

Your hands are not your own—that you may use them
as implements of evil—or employ them in any other way
than to earn with them an honest livelihood. Our hands
were not given us for sin—but for godly uses.

Your feet are not your own—that you may walk in
the ways of the world—or that they should carry you
to haunts where all around you are engaged upon
errands of vanity and sin.

All must be held according to the disposal of God,
and under a sense of our obligations to Him.

But perhaps you will say, in the rebellion of your carnal
mind, "What restraint all this lays upon us. Cannot we
look with our eyes as we like—hear with our ears as we
please—and speak with our tongues as we choose? Will
you so narrow our path that we are to have nothing of
our own—not even our time or money, our body or soul?
Surely we may have a little enjoyment now and then—a
little recreation, a little holiday sometimes, a little
relaxation from being always so strict and so religious—
a little feeding of our carnal mind which cannot bear all
this restraint?"

Well, but what will you bring upon yourself by . . .
  the roving eye,
  the foolish tongue,
  the loose hand,
  the straying foot?


"But," you say, "we are not to be tied up so
tightly as all this! We have gospel liberty,
but you will not allow us even that!"

Yes, blessed be God, there is gospel liberty, for
there is no real happiness in religion without it;
but not liberty to sin—not liberty to gratify the
lusts of the flesh—not liberty to act contrary to
the gospel we profess, and the precepts of God's
Word—for this is not liberty but licentiousness.

"You are not your own! For you are bought with
 a price—therefore glorify God in your body, and in
 your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19


Do you seek you great things for yourself?

(J. C. Philpot, "Life Given for a Prey" 1868)

"Do you seek you great things for yourself?
 Seek them not!"
Jeremiah 45:5

O the pride of man's heart! How it will work and show
itself even under a guise of religion and holiness!

Few can see that in religion, what are considered
great things—are really very little; and what are
considered little—are really very great.
How few can see that . . .
  a broken heart,
  a contrite spirit,
  a humble mind,
  a tender conscience,
  a meek, quiet, and patient bearing of the cross,
  a believing submission and resignation to the will of God,
  a looking to Him alone, for all supplies in providence and grace,
  a continual seeking of His face,
  a desiring nothing so much as the visitations of His favor,
  a loving, affectionate, forbearing, and forgiving spirit,
  a bearing of injuries and reproaches without retaliation,
  a liberal heart and hand, and
  a godly, holy, and separate life and walk—
are the things which in God's sight are great.
While a knowledge of doctrine, clear insight into
gospel mysteries, and a ready speech are really
very little things—and are often to be found side
by side and hand in hand with a proud, covetous,
worldly, unhumbled spirit, and a living in what is
sinful and evil.

How many ministers are seeking after great gifts
thirsting after popularity, applause, and acceptance
among men! They are not satisfied with being
simply and solely what God may make them by
His Spirit and gracewith the blessing which He
may make them to a scattered few here and there.
This inferior position, as they consider it, so beneath
their grace and gifts, their talents and abilitiesdoes
not satisfy their restless mind and aspiring desires.
Their ambition is . . .
  to stand at the very head of their peers,
  be looked up to and sought after as a leader and a guide,
  have a larger building,
  have a fuller congregation,
  have a better salary, and
  have a wider field for the display of their gifts and abilities.
Gladly would they . . .
  stand apart from all others,
  brook no rival to their 'pulpit throne', and
  be lord paramount at home and abroad.

And what is the consequence of this proud, ambitious
spirit? What envy, what jealousy, what detraction do
we see in men who want to stand at the top of the tree!
How, again and again, do they seek to rise by standing,
as it wereon the slain bodies of others!

"Do you seek you great things for yourself?
 Seek them not!"
Jeremiah 45:5


As a little helpless child

(Mary Winslow)

Who can subdue sin in us but Jesus? I might
as well attempt to remove mountains as to
reason away one corruption of my fallen nature.
But if we, the moment we detect it, carry it to
Jesus—He will do it all for us.

This is one of the most difficult lessons to learn in
the school of Christ. I am but just beginning to learn
it—and therefore I am placed in the youngest class,
traveling to Jesus more as a little helpless child—for
Him to do all for and all in me. My imagined strength
is all vanished—my boasted reason turned into folly,
and now, thus living on Christ in childlike simplicity,
my peace, joy, and consolation are past expression.

Oh, the love—the matchless love of Jesus to a poor
sinner lying thus at His dear feet—waiting to receive
a welcoming smile beaming from His countenance.

Dear friend, keep close to Him. Let not the world
or its cares come between you and Christ.


We would not be such muck-worms!

(J. C. Philpot, "The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation")

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be
—in order that you may know the hope
 to which He has called you—what a rich and glorious
 inheritance He has given to His people." Ephes. 1:18

If the Spirit would but enlighten the eyes of our heart,
how this would lift us up out of the mud and mire of this
wretched world! We would not be such muck-worms,
raking and scraping a few straws together—or running
about like ants with our morsel of grain!
We would have
our affections fixed more on things above. We would . . .
  know more of Christ,
  enjoy more of Christ,
  be more like Christ,
  walk more like Christ walked, and
  look forward to our glorious inheritance.

If these things were brought into our hearts with divine
power—how they would sweeten every bitter cup, and
carry us through every changing scene, until at last we
were landed above—to see the Lord as He is, in the full
perfection of His infinite glory!


The multitude of Your tender mercies

(J. C. Philpot, "Man's Misery and God's Mercy" 1867)

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your
 loving-kindness—according unto the multitude of
 Your tender mercies
blot out my transgressions."
    Psalm 51:1

What a sweet expression it is—and how it seems
to convey to our mind that God's mercies do not
fall 'drop by drop'—but are as innumerable . . ..
  as the sand upon the sea-shore;
  as the stars that stud the midnight sky;
  as the drops of rain that fill the clouds before
they discharge their copious showers upon the earth.

It is the multitude of His mercies that makes Him so
merciful a God. He does not give but a drop or two of
mercy—that would soon be gone, like the rain which
fell this morning under the hot sun. But His mercies
flow like a river! There is in Him . . .
  a multitude of mercies,
  for a multitude of sins,
  and a multitude of sinners!

This felt and received in the love of it—breaks, humbles,
softens, and melts
a sensible sinner's heart—and he says,
"What, sin against such mercies? What, when the Lord has
remembered me in my low estate, and manifested once
more a sense of His mercy? What, shall I go on to provoke
Him again—walk inconsistently again—be entangled in
Satan's snares again? O, forbid it God, forbid it gospel,
forbid it tender conscience, forbid it every constraint of
dying love!"

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your
 loving-kindness—according unto the multitude of
 Your tender mercies
blot out my transgressions."
    Psalm 51:1


Can Christ love one like me?

(J. C. Philpot, "Christ Dwelling in the Heart by Faith")

"To grasp how wide and long and high and deep
 is the love of Christ, and to know this love that
 surpasses knowledge." Ephesians 3:17-19

You may wonder sometimes—and it is a wonder that
will fill heaven itself with anthems of eternal praise—
how such a glorious Jesus can ever look down from
heaven upon such crawling reptiles, on such worms
of earth—what is more, upon such sinners who have
provoked Him over and over again by their misdeeds.
Yes, how this exalted Christ, in the height of His glory,
can look down from heaven on such poor, miserable,
wretched creatures as we—this is the mystery that
fills angels with astonishment!

We feel we are such crawling reptiles—such undeserving
creatures—and are so utterly unworthy of the least notice
from Him, that we say, "Can Christ love one like me?
Can the glorious Son of God cast an eye of pity and
compassion, love and tenderness upon one like me—who
can scarcely at times bear with myself—who sees and
feels myself one of the vilest of the vile, and the worst
of the worst? O, what must I be in the sight of the
glorious Son of God?"

And yet, He says, "I have loved you with an everlasting
love." His love has breadths, and lengths, and depths,
and heights unknown!
Its breadth exceeds all human span;
its length outvies all creature line;
its depth surpasses all finite measurement;
its height excels even angelic computation!

Because His love is . . .
  so wondrous,
  so deep,
  so long,
  so broad,
  so high;
it is so suitable to our every want and woe.

"To grasp how wide and long and high and deep
 is the love of Christ, and to know this love that
 surpasses knowledge." Ephesians 3:17-19


The ulcer that sits on a creature's heart

(Andrew Gray "Door Unto Everlasting Life")

Sin is the ulcer that sits on a creature's heart,
and robs him of all true contentment and sound
joy. Oh the secret gnawings that envy, and
pride, and covetousness give a man's soul.

Sin is the soul's disease. It . . .
  blinds the mind,
  hardens the heart,
  enthralls the will,
  defiles the conscience,
  deadens the affections, and
  hurls the whole man into confusion.

Sin brings more evils than either tongue
can speak—or heart can think.


He then sank back, like his son, smiled, and expired!

(Extracted from the journal of Julian Young, 1840)

During this year I lost one of my best parishioners.

His death was very striking.

He was one of the poorest of the poor.

He had been disabled from all work by illness for years.
Severely afflicted as he was, he bore his heavy burden
with a patience I never saw equaled. I never went to
him that I did not carry away from him more good than
I left behind me. It was impossible to be in his company
without feeling one's immeasurable inferiority to him
in all the essentials of vital religion.

The last time I saw him was under circumstances not
easily forgotten. During the four years I had known him
he was never entirely free from pain. From the crown of
his head to the sole of his feet he was a mass of putrefying
scrofulous sores—and yet his face always shone with an
inward peace, which no amount of bodily anguish was
able to disturb. In a crude upper chamber—with a flooring
so rickety and full of holes as to be dangerous—with a roof
so dismantled and rotten that the rain dropped through it—
stretched on a scanty pallet—lay this brave martyr—along
with his only son, a youth of fifteen years—their hands
clasped together, their countenances reflecting back on
each other the mutual love that glowed within their hearts
—fellow sufferers from the same hereditary malady—fellow
believers in the same Jesus—rejoicing in their common
sufferings—and dying almost together.

They were alone when I entered. I had not been there
half an hour, when I heard a gulp, a gurgle, a gasp! Then
I saw the son clutch the father's hand and heard him say,
"Come, father—come quickly! I'm going—don't be long
behind me!" and then he sank back and breathed his last!

The father smiled, raised himself in bed, looked on his
son, kissed him, clasped together his emaciated hands,
lifted them high, and in tones of heavenly rapture,
uttered these lines:
"My sins are countless as the stars,
  Or sands upon the shore;
  But yet the mercies of my God
  Are infinitely more.
Manasseh, Paul, and Magdalene
  Were pardoned all by thee;
  I read it, and believe it, Lord,
  For You have pardoned me."

He then sank back, like his son, smiled, and expired!

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth
 comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
    Romans 8:18

"Let me die the death of the righteous, and may
 my end be like theirs!"  Numbers 23:10


A woman's best ornament

(J. C. Philpot, "Every Man's Work to be Tried with Fire")

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty
 that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive
 jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be
 known for the beauty that comes from within,
 the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
 which is so precious to God." 1 Peter 3:3-4

This "beauty that comes from within" is that . . .
  brokenness of heart,
  contrition of spirit,
  humility of mind,
  tenderness of conscience,
which are fitting to the children of God.

A gentle and quiet spirit is a woman's best ornament.

As to other gay and unbecoming ornaments, let those
wear them, who wish to serve and to enjoy . . .
   the lust of the flesh,
   the lust of the eyes,
   and the pride of life.

Let the "daughters of Zion" manifest they have other
ornaments than what the world admires and approves.
Let them covet . . .
  the teachings of God,
  the smiles of His love,
  the whispers of His favor.
The more they have of these, the less will they care
for the adornments which the "daughters of Canaan"
run so madly after; by which also they often impoverish
themselves, and by opening a way for admiration, too
often open a way for seduction and ruin.


A tear makes no great noise, yet has a voice.

(John Sheffield, 1654)

God is pleased to take notice of every
gracious inclination
in any of His children.

To fear His name is no great matter—yet
these have a promise (Malachi 4:2).

To think on His name less—yet these are written
down in a book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16).

A desire is a small matter—yet God regards
the desire of the poor (Psalm 10:17).

A tear makes no great noise, yet has a voice.
"God has heard the voice of my weepings" (Ps. 6:8).
It is not pleasant water—yet God bottles it up.

A groan is a poor thing—yet is the best part
of a prayer sometimes (Romans 8:26).

A sigh is less—yet God is awakened and
raised up by it (Psalm 12:5).

A look is less than all these—yet this is
regarded by God (Psalm 5:3).

Breathing is less—yet the church could
speak of no more (Lam. 3:56).

Panting is less than breathing—yet this is all
the godly can sometimes boast of (Psalm 42:1).

Never did Hannah pray better than when she could
get out never a word—but cried. (1 Sam. 1:15)

Nor Mary Magdalene, than when she came behind
Christ, sat down, wept, but kept silence.


O you filthy creature!

(Philpot, "The Eternal God the Refuge of His Saints")

"Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me
 from this life that is dominated by sin?" Romans 7:24

No doubt you have your enemies—and so have we all.

But I will tell you where you have an enemy—and a
greater enemy than ever you have found in others—
yourself! I have often felt that I could do myself more
harm in five minutes, than all my enemies could do me
in fifty years! I need not fear what others may do or
say—I fear myself more than them all—knowing what
I am as a sinner—the strength of sin—and the power
of temptation.

Be sure of this—that YOU are the worst
enemy you ever had . . .
  your sin,
  your lust,
  your covetousness,
  your pride,
  your self-righteousness.

God Himself will make you feel your enemy.
You shall see something of his accursed designs;
how sin has deceived you, betrayed you, brought
guilt upon your conscience, and made you a burden
to yourself. You shall be brought to feel, and say,
"There is nothing I hate so much as my own vile
heart—my own dreadfully corrupt nature. O what
an enemy do I carry in my own bosom! Of all my
enemies, he is surely the worst! Of all my foes,
he is the most subtle and strong!"

Have you not sometimes felt as though you could
take your lusts by the neck and dash their heads
against a stone? Have you not felt you could take
out of your breast this vile, damnable heart, lay
it upon the ground, and stamp upon it?
And when tempted with . . .
  or unbelief,
  or infidelity,
  or blasphemy,
  or any hateful lust,
how you have cried out again and again with
anguish of spirit, "O this heart of mine!"

We hate our sins, and would, if possible, have no
more to do with them, and would say to this lust,
idol, or temptation, "O you filthy creature! What
an enemy you are to my soul! O that I could
forever be done with you!"

"Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me
 from this life that is dominated by sin? Thanks be to
 God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord."
    Romans 7:24-25


Which of our senses shall be most enthralled?

Andrew Gray (1634-1656) "Christ Precious to Believers"

"My beloved is radiant and dazzling, better
 than ten thousand others!" Canticles 5:10

When we shall come to heaven, we will not know
which of our senses shall be most enthralled.

The eye shall be enchanted. What joy to see there
the sparkling brightness in the face of Christ! There
you may see the lily and the rose mixed—white and
reddish. Canticles 5:10.

The ear shall be filled with melody. What joy
to the spouse to hear Christ's voice—to hear
Him say, "My love, My dove, My undefiled!"

The smell shall be filled with sweet savor. What
joy to smell that fragrancy and perfume which
comes from Christ! All His garments smell of
myrrh, aloes, and cassia—giving forth His
fragrance as the wine of Lebanon.

The taste shall be delighted. O what joy is
there to be drinking in the fountain of Christ,
who is the water of life!

The touch shall be charmed. The saints shall
be forever in the embraces of Christ! "Behold
My hands and My feet—handle Me, and see."
That will be our occupation in heaven, when
we shall dwell between those sweet arms that
were once stretched out upon the cross!

"My beloved is radiant and dazzling, better
 than ten thousand others!" Canticles 5:10


You never knew what real happiness was!

(J. C. Philpot, "A Bold Challenge" 1866)

One false charge against the children of God, is that
they are a poor, moping, miserable people, who . . .
  know nothing of happiness,
  renounce all cheerfulness, mirth, and gladness,
  hang their heads down all their days like a bulrush,
  are full of groundless fears,
  nurse the gloomiest thoughts in a kind of melancholy,
  grudge others the least enjoyment of pleasure and happiness,
  and try to make everyone else as dull and as miserable as
their dull and miserable selves.

Is not this a false charge?

You know—that you never had any real happiness
in the things of time and sense—that under all your
'pretended gaiety' there was real gloom—that every
'sweet' was drenched with bitterness—that vexation
was stamped upon all that is called pleasure and

You never knew what real happiness was, until you
knew the Lord, and were blessed with His presence,
and some manifestation of His goodness and mercy!


Were it no bigger than a child's doll

(J. C. Philpot, "The Clean Water Sprinkled
and the New Heart Given" 1866)

"I will cleanse you from all your idols." Ezekiel 36:25

Idolatry takes a wide range. There are 'respectable' idols
and 'vulgar' idols—just as there are marble statues, and
other objects of worship made up of shells and feathers.

And yet each will still be an idol.

Respectable idols we can admire—vulgar idols we detest.

But an idol is an idol—however respectable, or however
vulgar—however admired, or however despised they may be.

But O how numerous are these respectable idols!

Love of money,
craving after human applause,
desire to rise in the world;
all these we may think are natural desires that
may be lawfully gratified. But O, what idols may
they turn out to be!

But there are more secret and more dangerous idols.
You may have a husband, or wife, or child—whom you
love almost as much as yourself—you bestow upon
this idol of yours all the affections of your heart.
Nothing is too good for it, nothing too dear for it.

You don't see how this is an idol.

But, whatever you love more than God,
whatever you worship more than God,
whatever you crave for more than God,
is an idol.

It may lurk in the chambers of imagery—you may
scarcely know how fondly you love it. But let God
take that idol out of your breast—let Him pluck that
idol from its niche—and you will then find how you
have allowed your affections to wander after that
idol and loved it more than God Himself. It is when
the idol is taken away, removed, dethroned—that
we learn what an idol it has been.

How we hug and embrace our idols!

How we cleave to them!

How we delight in them!

How we bow down to them!

How we seek gratification from them!

How little are we aware what affections entwine
around them—how little are we aware that they
claim what God has reserved for Himself when
He said, "My son, give Me your heart."

Many a weeping widow learns for the first time that
her husband was an idol. Many a mourning husband
learns for the first time how too dearly, how too fondly,
how too idolatrously he loved his wife. Many a man
does not know how dearly he loves money until he
incurs some serious loss. Many do not know how
dearly they hold name, fame, and reputation until
some slanderous blight seems to touch that tender
spot. Few indeed seem to know how dear SELF is,
until God takes it out of its niche and sets Himself
there in its room.

the love of money
the love of name and fame—
these idols you cannot take with you into the courts
of heaven. How would God be moved to jealousy if
you could you carry an idol
were it no bigger than
a child's doll
into the courts above!

"I will cleanse you from all your idols." Ezekiel 36:25


Your filth will be washed away!

(J. C. Philpot, "The Clean Water Sprinkled" 1866)

O, what loathsome monsters of iniquity—how
polluted, filthy, and vile do we feel ourselves
to be—when the guilt of our sin is charged home
upon our conscience! Have you not sometimes
loathed yourselves on account of your abominations?
Has not the filth of your sin sometimes disgusted you;
the opening up of that horrible, that ever running
sewer, which you daily carry about with you?

We complain, and justly complain—of a reeking sewer
which runs through a street—or of a ditch filled with
everything disgusting. But do we feel as much—do
we complain as often—of the foul sewer which is
ever running in our soul—of the filthy ditch in our
own bosom?

As the sight of this open sewer meets our eyes—and
its stench enters our nostrils, it fills us with self-loathing
and self-abhorrence before the eyes of a holy God.

"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you
 will be clean. Your filth will be washed away!"
    Ezekiel 36:25-26

Philippians 3:7

(Philpot, "The Loss of All Things for Christ's Sake")

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider
 loss for the sake of Christ." Philippians 3:7

This includes the loss . . .
  of all your fancied holiness,
  of all your vaunted strength,
  of all your natural or acquired wisdom,
  of all your boasted knowledge;
in a word, of everything in creature religion of which
the heart is proud, and in which it takes delight.

All, all must be counted loss for Christ's sake—all,
all must be sacrificed to His bleeding, dying love.

Our dearest joys,
our fondest hopes,
our most cherished idols,
must all sink and give way to the grace,
blood, and love of an incarnate God.

Strangers & Pilgrims

(J. C. Philpot, "Life and Death of a Pilgrim")

"They confessed that they were strangers
and pilgrims on the earth." Hebrews 11:13

You feel yourself a stranger in this ungodly world;
it is not your element—it is not your home. You are
in it during God's appointed time—but you wander
up and down this world a stranger . . .
  to its company,
  to its maxims,
  to its fashions,
  to its principles,
  to its motives,
  to its lusts,
  to its inclinations, and
all in which this world moves as in its native element.

Grace has separated you by God's distinguishing power,
that though you are in the world, you are not of it. You
feel yourself to be a stranger here—as David says, "a
stranger and a sojourner, as all my fathers were."

I can tell you plainly . . .
  if you are at home in the world;
  if the things of time and sense are your element;
  if you feel one with . . .
    the company of the world,
    the maxims of the world,
    the fashions of the world,
    the principles of the world,
grace has not reached your heart—the faith
of God's elect does not dwell in your bosom.

The first effect of grace is to SEPARATE.

It was so in the case of Abraham. He was called
by grace to leave the land of his fathers and go
out into a land that God would show him.

And so God's own word to His people is now,
"Come out from among them, and be separate."

Separation, separation, separation from the world
is the grand distinguishing mark of vital godliness!

There may be indeed separation of body where there
is no separation of heart. But what I mean is . . .
  separation of heart,
  separation of principle,
  separation of affection,
  separation of spirit.

And if grace has touched your heart and you are
a partaker of the faith of God's elect—you are a
stranger in the world, and will make it manifest
by your life and conduct that you are such.

But they were also pilgrims—that is, sojourners
through weary deserts—longing, longing for home,
possessing nothing in which they could take
pleasure—feeling the weariness of a long journey
and anxious for rest.

Are you not at times almost worn out by . . .
so that you would gladly lay down your weary
body in the grave—that your soul might rest
in the sweet enjoyment of the King of kings?

If such is your spirit, you have something
of the spirit of the pilgrim sojourning in a
weary land, and and longing for . . .
  and peace
in a better country.

"But they desire a better place—a
 heavenly homeland." Hebrews 11:16


I am growing worse every day!

(Archibald Alexander, "Practical Directions How
to Grow in Grace and Make Progress in Piety")

One circumstance attends the growth in grace of
a real Christian, is the clearer and deeper insight
which he obtains into the evils of his own heart.

Now this is one of the best evidences of growth.

But his first conclusion is apt to be, "I am growing
worse every day! I see innumerable evils springing
up within me which I never saw before!"

This person may be compared to one shut up in a dark
room where he is surrounded by many loathsome objects.
If a single ray of light be let into the room, he sees
the more prominent objects. But if the light gradually
increases, he sees more and more of the filth by
which he has been surrounded. It was there before,
but he did not perceive it.


The besetting sin of Christians

(Gardiner Spring, "The Mission of Sorrow")

"Do not love the world or anything in the world."
    1 John 2:15-16

It is not only true that the love of the world
is the ruin of worldly men—it is the besetting
sin of Christians

The lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eye,
and the pride of life,
in some of their insinuating and multifaceted
forms, are evermore ensnaring them. The best
of men love the world far more than they ought.
Nor are they always sensible of its depressing
and secularizing power. The love of the world . . .
  eclipses their faith,
  limits and obscures their spiritual vision.
  allures their affections from God,
  confuses their contemplations of the realities of eternity,
  and is frequently so entwined about their heartstrings, that
  they, for a time, appear in no way different from other men.

God loves His people too well to allow them to
rest undisturbed in their idolatrous attachments.

He has a cure for their spiritual declension and their
outward backsliding. He casts them into the furnace.
He purifies them as silver is purified. If the dross is
massive and unyielding, He heats the furnace seven
times more than it is used to be heated, until the
mass melts away and is consumed.

When He does this, and they endure the trial,
they come forth like gold seven times purified.
They return to Him from whom they have revolted;
their graces are stronger and brighter—and shine
in all the beauties of holiness.

Better, unspeakably better is it to enjoy the Divine
presence and the light of His countenance, without
our idols—than to have our idols without His favor.

Oh, what wanderers would we be, if God did not
sometimes hedge up our way with thorns! Surely
it is not for lack of love to His people that He
severely chastises them.

"The dearest idol I have known,
 Whatever that idol be,
 Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
 And worship only Thee."


We groan

(T. Bradbury, "A Forgetful Servant" 1877)

"I am feeble and utterly crushed—I groan
 in anguish of heart. All my longings lie
 open before You, O Lord—my sighing is
 not hidden from You." Psalm 38:8-9

We groan, being burdened.

We sigh, being troubled.

We pray, being poor.

We cry, being helpless.

It is our mercy to know that our God catches . . .
  every sigh,
  every groan,
  every longing,
  every desire,
of His children.

"I am feeble and utterly crushed—I groan
 in anguish of heart. All my longings lie
 open before You, O Lord—my sighing is
 not hidden from You." Psalm 38:8-9


Every tear that falls upon the pallid face of sorrow

(Gardiner Spring, "The Mission of Sorrow")

"When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human
 race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread
 to everyone, for everyone sinned." Romans 5:12

The empire of suffering stands abreast with
the empire of sin—there never was a sufferer
who was not a sinner.

There is no suffering where there is no sin.

The reason for all the suffering in this sinful
and sinning world—is the mournful fact that
it is a sinful and sinning world.

When this planet on which we dwell came
from the hands of its Maker, it was a happy,
because it was a holy world.

The Tempter's foot had not trodden it, nor
had it been poisoned by the venom, nor
polluted by the slime of the old Serpent.

God Himself was their supreme good, and
they were happy. The heavens and the earth,
every creature, and every object and event
around them ministered to their enjoyment.

The ground was not then cursed—nor was it
smitten with barrenness. They were not thorns
and thistles which it brought forth—nor did
savage beasts roam its mountains or its plains.

There was . . .
  no poisonous atmosphere,
  nor burning sun,
  nor stormy wind,
  nor creeping pestilence,
  nor bloody sword.

Men did not sicken and die upon it, nor had
it yet entered upon its sad career of mourning
and tears.

Everything was lovely, because it was unblemished–
everything beautiful, tranquil, and joyous, until its
beauty was marred, its tranquillity disturbed, and
its joys infected by sin.

Then all was changed.

The ground was cursed.

The air was cursed.

The streams were cursed.

The very flowers and plants of Eden were cursed.

Man himself was cursed.

The woman was cursed.

And all their descendants are born under
the curse. They . . .
  inherit a fallen nature,
  are 'embryo sinners', and
  "go astray from the womb."

The varied and complicated sorrows which now
attend them from the cradle to the grave, whether
they be individual domestic, social, or public, are
God's visitation for their iniquity. From that hour
to the present—every pang that shoots through
the bosom—every tear that falls upon the pallid
face of sorrow
—is a token of God's displeasure
against sin and against man the sinner.

'Sorrow' teaches the lesson of unworthiness and
ill desert—and conveys to the proud and haughty
mind the resistless, indelible impression of
personal guilt and vileness.


Looking down into a filthy pit!

(J. C. Philpot, "Prevailing Pleas" 1865)

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

Sometimes we are so astonished . . .
  at what we are,
  at what we have been, or
  at what we are capable of.

We stand sometimes and look at our heart, and see
what a seething, boiling, and bubbling is there!
And we look at it with indignant astonishment, as
we would look into a pool of filthy black mud, all
swarming and alive with every hideous creature!

So when a man takes a view of his own heart . . .
  its dreadful hypocrisy,
  its vile rebellion,
  its alarming deceitfulness,
  its desperate wickedness,
  of what his heart is capable of plotting,
  of what evil it can conceive and imagine,
it is as if he stood looking down into a filthy pit and
saw with astonishment, mingled with self-abhorrence,
what his heart is, as the fountain of all iniquity.

A man must have some knowledge of his own heart
to understand such language as this.

You that are so exceedingly 'pious' and so 'extra good',
and from whose heart the veil has never been taken away
to show you what you are, will perhaps think that I am
drawing a caricature of human nature, and painting it as
the haunt of thieves and prostitutes.

Could you but have the veil taken off your heart,
you would see that you were capable of doing all
that wickedness that others have done, or can do!

By this sight of ourselves, we learn what a wonderful
God we have to deal with!
Surely none so highly prize
the grace of God as those who are most led into a
knowledge of the fall, and the havoc and ruin, and the
guilt and misery which it has brought into our own hearts.