Grace Gems for JULY 2004

That hideous idol SELF in his little shrine

(J. C. Philpot, "Israel's Departure and Return" 1849)

Never again will we say any more to the work
of our hands—"You are our gods!"  Hosea 14:3

The besetting sin of Israel was the worship of idols.

Perhaps, if you have walked into the British Museum,
and seen the idols that were worshiped in former days
in the South Sea Islands, you have been amazed that
rational beings could ever bow down before such ugly

But does the heart of a South Sea Islander differ from
the heart of an Englishman? Not a bit! The latter may
have more civilization and cultivation—but his heart
is the same!
And though you have not bowed down to
these monstrous objects and hideous figures—there
may be as filthy an idol in your heart! Where is
there a filthier idol than the lusts and passions of
man's fallen nature?

You need not go to the British Museum to see
filthy idols and painted images. Look within!

Where is there a more groveling idol than Mammon,
and the covetousness of our heart? You need not
wonder at heathens worshiping hideous idols—when
you have pride, covetousness, and above all that
hideous idol SELF in his little shrine
, hiding himself
from the eyes of man—but to which you are so often
rendering your daily and hourly worship!

If a person does not see that the root of all
is SELF, he knows but little of his heart.

They amass its gilded baubles

(Henry Law, "Psalms")

Unbelievers are of the earth, and earthly!

They seek no portion beyond this sin-soiled world!

They glean abundance of its worthless husks!

They feast on its unsubstantial pleasures!

They amass its gilded baubles, and leave
their hoarded treasures to their children!

"And this world is fading away, along
 with everything it craves." 1 John 2:17


A subtle enemy!

(Thomas Reade, "On Indwelling Sin")

"I hate pride and arrogance." Proverbs 8:13

Pride is a subtle enemy.

Pride spoils all that we think, and speak, and do.

Pride is the last sin which dies, and expires only with
the life of the believer. Through his whole pilgrimage
he has to contend against spiritual pride, in all its
specious and multiplied forms.

Self love,
self seeking,
self will,
self confidence,
self righteousness,
all spring from pride!

Pride is a root of bitterness, out of which
the following vices profusely grow . . .  
  love of human applause,
  seeking of honor,
  contempt of others,

There is no end to this extensive evil,
which infects the hearts of men, and
fills the earth with misery and blood.

Such a perpetual and unceasing conflict?

(Philpot, "The Groaning Captive's Deliverance" 1847)

"I do not understand what I do! For what I want
 to do I do not do; but what I hate I do. I know
 that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful
 nature. For I have the desire to do what is good,
 but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the
 good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do
 —this I keep on doing. So I find this law at work:
 When I want to do good, evil is right there with
 me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue
 me from this body of death?" Rom. 7:15,18,19,21,24

What a picture of that which passes in a godly
man's bosom! He has in him two distinct
, two different natures—one . . .
  panting after the Lord, and
  finding the things of God its element.

And yet in the same bosom a principle . . .
  totally corrupt,
  thoroughly and entirely depraved,
  perpetually striving against the holy principle within,
  continually lusting after evil,
  opposed to every leading of the Spirit in the soul,
  and seeking to gratify its filthy desires at any cost!

Now, must there not be a feeling of misery in a man's
bosom to have these two armies perpetually fighting?
That when he desires to do good, evil is present with
him—when he would be holy, heavenly minded, tender
hearted, loving, seeking God's glory, enjoying sweet
communion with Jehovah—there is a base, sensual,
earthly heart perpetually at work—infusing its baneful
poison into every thought, counteracting every desire,
and dragging him from the heaven to which he would
mount, down to the very hell of carnality and filth?

There is a holy, heavenly principle in a man's bosom
that knows, fears, loves, and delights in God. Yet he
finds that sin in himself, which is altogether opposed to
the mind of Christ, and lusts after that which he hates.
Must there not be sorrow and grief in that man's bosom
to feel such a perpetual and unceasing conflict?

Is there ever this piteous cry forced by guilt, shame,
and sorrow out of your bosom, "O wretched man that
I am!" If not, be assured that you are dead in sin, or
dead in a profession.

If God restrained us not

(John Arrowsmith)

There is no affliction so small, but we would
sink under it—if God upheld us not. And there
is no sin so great, but we would commit it—if
God restrained us not

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

But who is our greatest enemy?

(J. C. Philpot, "The Conqueror's Inheritance" 1845)

The pride of our heart,
the presumption of our heart,
the hypocrisy of our heart,
the intense selfishness of our heart,
are often hidden from us.

This wily devil, self, can wear such
masks and assume such forms.

This serpent, self, can so creep and crawl,
can so twist and turn, and can disguise
itself under such false appearances,
that it is often hidden from ourselves.

Who is the greatest enemy we have to fear?

We all have our enemies.

But who is our greatest enemy?

He who you carry in your own bosom—your daily,
hourly, and ever-present companion, that entwines
himself in nearly every thought of your heart—that . . .
  sometimes puffs up with pride,
  sometimes inflames with lust,
  sometimes inflates with presumption, and
  sometimes works under feigned humility and fleshly holiness.

God is determined to stain the pride of human
glory. He will never let self (which is but another
word for the creature) wear the crown of victory.
It must be crucified, denied, and mortified.

Now this self must be overcome. The way to
overcome self is by looking out of self to Him
who was crucified upon Calvary's tree—to receive
His image into your heart—to be clothed with His
likeness—to drink into His spirit—and "receive out
of His fullness grace for grace."

Glad for crumbs of mercy

(Anne Dutton's Letters on Spiritual Subjects)

Never was a poor sinner more unworthy of favor
from God or His people than myself. I deserve not
a name and a place among God's children, but am
as vile as a dog
, and would be glad for crumbs of
that fall from the children's table. But such
is the free grace of God towards me, through the
slain Lamb, that He deals with me as a child—a
dear child—and feasts me as a prince with Him
according to the royalty, the dignity of His own
infinite state.

If salvation in all its parts were not all of grace, it
would not suit such a wretched, miserable sinner as
I am. But oh, blessed be God, there is salvation to
be had of the freest grace—of grace in which there
is no scantiness—but an immense and eternal fullness
to fill my needy soul, through all time and to eternity!

And glad am I, under all my sins, miseries and needs,
to live under the reign of grace—of this grace which
reigns through righteousness, unto eternal life, by
Jesus Christ my Lord!

Oh, the heights, depths, lengths, and breadths of grace!

(Anne Dutton's Letters on Spiritual Subjects)

My Dear Brother in Christ,
Grace unto you, and peace be multiplied. May the God of all grace reward you with the more abundant displays of His love—His free, undeserved, rich and endless love!

Oh, my brother, I am surely the most unworthy of love from God, of any that ever found grace in His sight. Hell, the hottest hell, is my desert! Oh, what a sinner am I! The sin of my nature, that deluge of filth and guilt which overspread all my parts and powers as soon as quickened in the womb, and in which I was born—together with my actual sins, my going astray from the womb, when I did nothing else but sin—until mighty grace laid hold of me! These sins of mine I saw, when the Lord opened my eyes, did deserve the damnation of hell—and I wondered at the infinite forbearance of God in allowing me to live so long out of hell, when I was such fit fuel for everlasting burnings! And I could have justified Him if He had sent me down to the pit the next moment.

But oh, behold, I was a vessel of mercy; and therefore the Lord made known unto me the riches of His glory, not only in sparing, but in pardoning mercy also. He not only spared me from hell, but forever delivered me from going down to the pit by the ransom which He had found—by His own Son, to bear my sin, to be made a curse, and to die for me! By this mighty ransom—this infinite price of the life of the Son of God laid down for my redemption, did the God of all grace let me go free. And oh, the riches, the exceeding riches of His grace, which He then displayed, in the forgiveness of all my sins through the Lamb's blood! Where sin had abounded grace did much more abound!

Oh, how freely did my heavenly Father receive me, a poor prodigal, when under His own drawings I came to Him by Jesus Christ! He did not upbraid me with my vile transgressions, nor deal with me in wrath according to my sins—but graciously opened His arms and let me into His bosom—His heart's love—no more to be separated from His love, nor to fall out of love's arms forever! No! having loved me with an everlasting love, and thus manifested His love through the slain Lamb, He resolved to love me forever—that He would never cast me off, nor cast me out of His free love for all that I had done. 

Oh, astonishing! That abundant pardon which my heavenly Father then granted, and I received, carried in the bosom of it not only the forgiveness of my past and present sins, but of my future sins also—of all my transgressions, even to my life's end. He forgave me all trespasses—resolved to be merciful to my unrighteousness and to remember my sins no more. He took away my filthy garments and clothed me with change of clothing—put a ring on my hand and shoes on my feet—set me with Him at His table—made a feast for me of the flesh and blood of His own Son—and rejoiced over me with singing! Oh, the heights, depths, lengths, and breadths of grace!

And with this wondrous love of God He melted my hard heart, revived my dying soul, put a new song of joy and praise into my mouth, and drew me to give up myself unto Him, to be entirely His forever. Oh, then I said I would not transgress, when He had thus broken my yoke and burst my bonds, and brought me into liberty—the glorious liberty of the sons of God!

But ah! I have not rendered to the Lord according to all the great things which He has done for me, but have ill-requited Him for all His kindness. I am indeed bent to backsliding from God, and have dealt very treacherously with my gracious Father. I see, to my shame and grief, the seeds of all sin in my vile heart—a hell of iniquity there! I feel that my carnal mind is enmity, entire and irreconcilable enmity, against God—and such are the ebullitions of this unsearchable deep, this horrid fountain, that I am frequently struck with amazement that I am not sent down to hell—that my life is not among the unclean—that so vile a sinner has not a portion among the damned, in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone!

Ah, not because I do not deserve a place there am I spared—but because Jehovah will be gracious unto whom He will be gracious, and show mercy on whom He will show mercy. Oh, if the love of God was not free, sovereign, and independent of my goodness—which as the morning cloud and the early dew quickly passes away—I would perish still, and sink into the pit with the additional weight of 'abused kindness'.

Oh, my sins, since the Lord manifested His love to me, I see to be of a greater guilt, a deeper dye, than all that I was guilty of before I knew the Lord, or rather was known of Him. And these, in a special manner, break my heart and humble me before the Lord, when He breaks in upon my soul with the displays of His infinite favor.

For lo! the love of God and the blood of Christ are depths that infinitely surpass and swallow up all my sin! Oh, what are my vast, numberless, aggravated transgressions, to the boundless depth of Jehovah's love—to the infinite merit of the blood of the Son of God? Here, through the blood and righteousness of Jesus, grace reigns and triumphs gloriously over all my abounding sin. It not only began to reign thus in the first glorious displays thereof made to my poor soul when just ready to perish, but it reigns still—and will reign on in its infinite, majestic state, until all my sins, which are now pardoned, shall be fully subdued and utterly destroyed out of my nature—until all sin and death are swallowed up in the victory of eternal life to the praise of its own glory. Oh, glorious grace!


We shall be so ravished

(Anne Dutton's Letters on Spiritual Subjects)

We have had many sweet feasts with our Beloved in the
'wilderness'; but the richest provisions and the best wine
are reserved until the last, and the Marriage Supper hastens.

Oh, how little have we seen of His transcendent beauty!
We have beheld so much of His glory as to make Him the
chief of ten thousand in our esteem. But there is enough in
Him to fill men and angels with new wonder to all eternity!

Christ's riches are absolutely unsearchable; a mine that
we can never bottom to eternity! We shall see more and
more of His glory as we pass on towards perfection. And
oh, the wonderful grace that is to be brought unto us at
our Lord's next appearing, which will be the Revelation
of Jesus Christ.

The views of His glory, which we have had here, though
true and real, yet are so small that if compared with what
we shall have then, it will be as if we had never seen
, and as if He was but then revealed to us.

We shall be so ravished with the views of His glory that
we shall never be able to look off His bright face forever!

Trials are intended . . .

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

A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to
Him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy
on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from
demon possession!" Matthew 15:22

We see here, that affliction sometimes proves
a blessing to a person's soul.

This Caananitish mother no doubt had been
severely tried. She had seen her darling child
vexed with a devil, and been unable to relieve
her. But yet that trouble brought her to Christ,
and taught her to pray. Without it she might
have lived and died in careless ignorance, and
never seen Jesus at all. Surely it was good for
her that she was afflicted. (Psalm 119:71)

Let us mark this well. There is nothing which
shows our ignorance so much as our impatience
under trouble. We forget that every trial is a
message from God—and intended to do us
good in the end. Trials are intended . . .
  to make us think,
  to wean us from the world,
  to send us to the Bible,
  to drive us to our knees.

Health is a good thing. But sickness
is far better, if it leads us to God.

Prosperity is a great mercy. But adversity
is a greater one, if it brings us to Christ.

Anything, anything is better than living in
carelessness, and dying in sin. Better a
thousand times be afflicted, like the
Canaanitish mother, and like her flee
to Christ; than live at ease, like the rich
"fool," and die at last without Christ and
without hope.


We need grace, free grace

(Philpot, "Precious Faith, with its Benefits and Blessings")

"May grace and peace be multiplied unto you."
     2 Peter 1:2

When we see and feel how we need grace every
moment in our lives
, we at once perceive the beauty in
asking for an abundant, overflowing measure of grace.

We cannot walk the length of the street without sin.

Our carnal minds, our vain imaginations, are all on the
lookout for evil. Sin presents itself at every avenue, and
lurks like the prowling night-thief for every opportunity
of secret plunder. In fact, in ourselves, in our fallen nature,
except as restrained and influenced by grace, we sin with
well near every breath that we draw. We need, therefore,
grace upon grace, or, in the words of the text, grace to be
"multiplied" in proportion to our sins. Shall I say in
proportion? No! If sin abounds, as to our shame and sorrow
we know it does, we need grace to much more abound!

When the 'tide of sin' flows in with its muck and mire,
we need the 'tide of grace' to flow higher still, to carry
out the slime and filth into the depths of the ocean,
so that when sought for, they may be found no more.

We need grace, free grace . . .
  grace today,
  grace tomorrow,
  grace this moment,
  grace the next,
  grace all the day long.
We need grace, free grace . . .
healing grace,
  reviving grace,
  restoring grace,
  saving grace,
  sanctifying grace.

And all this multiplied by all our . . .
  wants and woes,
  falls, and
  unceasing and aggravated backslidings.

We need grace, free grace . . .
  grace to believe,
  grace to hope,
  grace to love,
  grace to fight,
  grace to conquer,
  grace to stand,
  grace to live,
  grace to die.

Every moment of our lives we need . . .
  keeping grace,
  supporting grace,
  upholding grace,
  withholding grace.

"May grace and peace be multiplied unto you."
     2 Peter 1:2


Are you seeking great things for yourself?

(J. C. Philpot)

Oh, how many ministers do I see led by . . .
  self-interest, or

How few have singleness of eye to God's glory!

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

Ministers often seek . . .
  great gifts,
  great eloquence,
  great knowledge of mysteries,
  great congregations,
  great popularity and influence.

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

We are not flogged into loving Him

(Philpot, "A Spiritual Death and a Hidden Life")

"Set your affections on things above,
 not on things on the earth."
Col. 3:2

Where are your affections to be set?

Are they to be set on "things on the earth" . . .
  those perishing toys,
  those polluting vanities,
  those carking cares,
which must ever dampen the life of God in the soul?

The expression, "things on the earth," takes in a wide
scope. It embraces not only the vain toys, the ambitious
hopes, the perishing pleasures in which a gay, unthinking
world is sunk and lost—but even the legitimate calls of
business, the claims of wife and home, family and friends,
with every social tie that binds to earth. Thus . . .
  every object on which the eye can rest;
  every thought or desire that may spring up in the mind;
  every secret idol that lurks in the bosom;
  every care and anxiety that is not of grace;
  every fond anticipation of pleasure or profit that the
world may hold out, or the worldly heart embrace
—all, with a million pursuits in which man's fallen nature
seeks employment or happiness—are "things on the earth"
on which the affections are not to be set.

We may love our wives and children. We should
pursue our lawful callings with diligence and industry.
We must provide for our families according to the good
providence of God. But we may not so set our affections
on these things, that they pull us down from heaven to
earth. He who is worthy of all our affections claims
them all for Himself. He who is the Bridegroom of
the soul
demands, as He has fairly won, the unrivaled
love of His bride.

But how are we to do this?

Can we do this great work by ourselves? No! it is only the
Lord Himself, manifesting His beauty and blessedness to
our soul, and letting down the golden cord of His love
into our bosom, that draws up our affections, and fixes
them on Himself. In order to do this, He captivates the
by . . .
some look of love,
  some word of His grace,
  some sweet promise, or
  some divine truth spiritually applied.

When He thus captivates the soul, and draws it up,
then the affections flow unto Him as the source and
fountain of all blessings.

We are not flogged into loving Him, but are drawn by
love into love.
Love cannot be bought or sold. It is an
inward affection that flows naturally and necessarily
towards its object, and all connected with it. And thus,
as love flows out to Jesus, the affections instinctively
and necessarily set themselves "on things above, and
not on things on the earth."

Jesus must be revealed to our soul by the power of God
before we can see His beauty and blessedness—and so
fall in love with Him as "the chief among ten thousand,
and the altogether lovely One." Then everything that . . .
  speaks of Christ,
  savors of Christ,
  breathes of Christ,
becomes inexpressibly sweet and precious!

In no other way can our affections be lifted up from earth
to heaven. We cannot control our affections—they will run
out of their own accord. If then our affections are earthly,
they will run towards earthly objects. If they are carnal and
sensual, they will flow towards carnal and sensual objects.

But when the Lord Jesus Christ, by some manifestation
of His glory and blessedness—or the Holy Spirit, by taking
of the things of Christ and revealing them to the soul—sets
Him before our eyes as the only object worthy of, and
claiming every affection of our heart—then the affections
flow out, I was going to say naturally, but most certainly
spiritually, towards Him. And when this is the case, the
affections are set on things above.


(Octavius Winslow, "The Holy Spirit
 Glorifying the Redeemer")

Heaven is before you!

Soon you will be freed, entirely and forever
freed, from all the remains of sin.

Soon the last sigh will heave your breast.

Soon the last tear will fall from your eye.

Soon the last pang will convulse your body.

Soon, oh how soon, will you "see the
King in His beauty," the Jesus who . . .
  loved you,
  died for you,
  ransomed you,
  and loves you still!

Soon you will fall at His feet, and be raised in
His arms, and be hushed to rest in His bosom!

Soon you will mingle, as a pure and happy spirit,
with all who sleep in Jesus, who have gone but
a little before you. See how they line the shores
on the other side, and wait to welcome you over!
See how they beckon you away!

Above all, sweetest and most glorious of all,
see Jesus prepared to receive you to Himself!

O what a company of lusts!

(J. C. Philpot, "The Battle Is the Lord's" 1851)

"We are powerless against this mighty army
 that is attacking us! We do not know what to
 do. But our eyes are upon You!"
2 Chr. 20:12

There is no use fighting the battle in our own
strength. We have none.

O, when temptation creeps like a serpent into the
carnal mind, it winds its secret way and coils around
the heart. As the boa-constrictor is said to embrace
its victim, entwining his coil around it, and crushing
every bone without any previous warning—so does
temptation often seize us suddenly in its powerful
. Have we in ourselves any more power to
extricate our flesh from its slimy folds, than the poor
animal has from the coils of the boa-constrictor?

So with the corruptions and lusts of our fallen nature.
Can you always master them? Can you seize these
serpents by the neck and wring off their heads?

To examine our heart
is something like examining
by the microscope a drop of ditch-water—the more
minutely it is looked into, the more hideous forms
appear. All these strange monsters, too, are in
constant motion, devouring or devoured. And, as
more powerful lenses are put on the microscope,
more and more loathsome creatures emerge into
view, until eye and heart sicken at the sight.

Such is our heart. Superficially viewed—passably fair.
But examined by the spiritual microscope, hideous
forms of every shape and size appear—lusts and
desires in unceasing movement, devouring each
other, and yet undiminished—and each successive
examination bringing new monsters to light! O what
a company of lusts!
How one seems to introduce and
make way for the other! and how one, as among the
insect tribe, is the father of a million!

We must take these lusts and passions by the neck,
and lay them down at the feet of God, and thus bring
the omnipotence of Jehovah against what would destroy
us—"Here are my lusts, I cannot manage them. Here are
my temptations, I cannot overcome them. Here are my
, I cannot conquer them. Lord, I do not know
what to do. Will You not subdue my enemies?"

This is fighting against sin—not in the flesh, but in the
Spirit. Not by the law, but by the gospel. Not by self,
but by the grace of God. And if your soul has had many
a tussle, and many a wrestle, and many a hand-to-hand
conflict with sin, you will have found this out before now
—that nothing but the grace, power, and Spirit of Christ
ever gave you the victory, or the least hope of victory.

"We are powerless against this mighty army
 that is attacking us! We do not know what to
 do. But our eyes are upon You!"
2 Chron. 20:12

As if this beautiful viper had no poison fang!

(Philpot, "The Appeal and Prayer of a Waiting Soul" 1843)

"Deliver me from all my transgressions!" Psalm 39:7

Ah! how rarely it is that we see sin in its true colors
—that we feel what the apostle calls, "the exceeding
sinfulness of sin!" O how much is the dreadful evil of
sin for the most part veiled from our eyes! Our deceitful
hearts so gloss it over, so excuse, palliate, and disguise
it—that it is daily trifled, played, and dallied with, as if
this beautiful viper had no poison fang!

It is only as the Spirit is pleased to open the eyes to
see, and awaken the conscience to feel "the exceeding
sinfulness of sin," and thus discover its dreadful character,
that we have any real sight or sense of its awful nature.

Sins of heart,
sins of lip,
sins of life,
sins of omission,
sins of commission,
sins of ingratitude,
sins of unbelief,
sins of rebellion,
sins of lust,
sins of pride,
sins of worldliness!
As all these transgressions, troop after troop, come
in view, and rise up like spectres from the grave, well
may we cry with stifled voice, "Deliver me, O deliver
me from all my transgressions! Deliver me from . . .
  the guilt of sin,
  the filth of sin,
  the love of sin,
  the power of sin, and
  the practice of sin!"


The very remedy for all the maladies
which we groan under!

(J. C. Philpot, "The Spiritual Chase" 1843)

Grace only suits those who are altogether
guilty and filthy. Grace is completely opposed
to works in all its shapes and bearings.

Thus no one can really desire to taste the
sweetness and enjoy the preciousness of grace,
who has not "seen an end of all perfection" in
the creature, and is brought to know and feel
in the conscience, that his good works would
damn him
as equally with his bad works.

When grace is thus opened up to the soul,
it sees that grace flows only through the
Savior's blood—and that grace . . .
  superabounds over all the aboundings of sin,
  heals all backslidings,
  covers all transgressions,
  lifts up out of darkness,
  pardons iniquity,
and is just the very remedy for all the
maladies which we groan under!

Weaned from feeding on husks and ashes

(J. C. Philpot, "Zion's Blessings" 1843)

"I will satisfy her poor with bread." Psalm 132:15

The Lord has given a special promise to Zion's
poor—"I will satisfy her poor with bread."

Nothing else?  Bread?  Is that all?

Yes! That is all God has promised—bread,
the staff of life.

But what does He mean by "bread"?

The Lord Himself explains what bread is. He says,
"I am the Bread of life. He who comes to Me will
never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will
never be thirsty. I am the living Bread who came
down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread,
he will live forever." John 6:35,51

The bread, then, that God gives to Zion's poor is
His own dear Son—fed upon by living faith, under
the special operations of the Holy Spirit in the heart.

"I will satisfy her poor with bread." Psalm 132:15

But must not we have an appetite before we can
feed upon bread? The rich man who feasts continually
upon juicy meat and savory sauces, would not live upon
bread. To come down to live on such simple food as bread
—why, one must be really hungry to be satisfied with that.

So it is spiritually. A man fed upon 'mere notions' and a
number of 'speculative doctrines' cannot descend to the
simplicity of the gospel. To feed upon a crucified Christ,
a bleeding Jesus!
—he is not sufficiently brought down to
the starving point, to relish such spiritual food as this!

Before, then, he can feed upon this Bread of life he must
be made spiritually poor.
And when he is brought to be
nothing but a mass of wretchedness, filth, guilt, and misery
—when he feels his soul sinking under the wrath of God,
and has scarcely a hope to buoy up his poor tottering heart
—when he finds the world embittered to him, and he has no
one object from which he can reap any abiding consolation
—then the Lord is pleased to open up in his conscience,
and bring the sweet savor of the love of His dear Son
into his heart—and he begins to taste gospel bread.

Being weaned from feeding on husks and ashes, and
sick "of the vines of Sodom and the fields of Gomorrah,"
and being brought to relish simple gospel food, he begins
to taste a sweetness in 'Christ crucified' which he never
could know—until he was made experimentally poor.

The Lord has promised to satisfy such.

"I will satisfy her poor with bread." Psalm 132:15

That secret loveliness

(Philpot, "The Sacrifice Bound to the Horns of the Altar")

"I drew them with My cords of kindness and love."
     Hosea 11:4

Where Christ is made in any measure experimentally
known, He has gained the affections of the heart. He
has, more or less, taken possession of the soul. He
has, in some degree, endeared Himself as a bleeding,
agonizing Savior to every one to whom He has in any
way revealed Himself. And, thus, the strong cord of
love and affection is powerfully wreathed around the
tender spirit and broken heart. Therefore . . .
  His name becomes as 'ointment poured forth',
  there is a preciousness in His blood,
  there is a beauty in His Person,
  there is that secret loveliness in Him,
which wins and attracts and draws out the tender
affections of the soul. And thus this cord of love
entwined round the heart, binds it fast and firm
to the cross of the Lord Jesus.

"I drew them with My cords of kindness and love."
     Hosea 11:4

Lord, I feel my own utter helplessness!

(J. C. Philpot, "Sending Out of Light and Truth" 1841)

"O send forth Your light and Your truth,
 let them guide me." Psalm 43:3

The Christian is often dissatisfied with his state. He
is well aware of the shallowness of his attainments
in the divine life, as well as of the ignorance and the
blindness that are in him. He cannot perceive the path
of life. He sees and feels so powerfully the workings
of sin and corruption, that he often staggers, and is
perplexed in his mind.

And therefore, laboring under the feeling of . . .
  his own shortcomings for the past,
  his helplessness for the present,
  and his ignorance for the future,
he wants to go forward wholly and solely
in the strength of the Lord, to be . . .
not by his own wisdom and power—but by
the supernatural entrance of light and truth
into his soul.

When thus harassed and perplexed, he will at times
and seasons, as his heart is made soft, cry out with
fervency and importunity, as a beggar that will not
take a denial, "O send forth Your light and Your truth,
let them guide me!" As though he would say, "Lord,
I feel my own utter helplessness!
I know I must go
astray, if You do not condescend to guide me. I have
been betrayed a thousand times when I have trusted
my own heart. I have been entangled in my base
. I have been puffed up by presumption. I have
been carried away by hypocrisy and pride. I have been
drawn aside into the world. I have never taken a single
step aright when left to myself. And therefore feeling
how unable I am to guide myself a single step of the
way, I come unto You, and ask You to send forth Your
light and Your truth, that they may guide me, for I
am utterly unable to lead myself

The child of God—feeling his own ignorance, darkness,
blindness, and sinfulness—causes him to moan, and
sigh, and cry unto God—that he might be . . .
  led every step,
  kept every moment,
  guided every inch.

"O send forth Your light and Your truth,
 let them guide me." Psalm 43:3

O what a way of learning religion!

(J. C. Philpot, "Strength Made Perfect in Weakness")

"I was caught up into paradise and heard things so
 astounding that they cannot be told!" 2 Cor. 12:4

Now, doubtless, the apostle Paul, after he had been
thus favored—thus caught up into paradise—thought
that he would retain the same frame of mind that he
was in when he came down from this heavenly place;
that the savor, the sweetness, the power, the unction,
the dew, the heavenly feeling would continue in his soul.
And no doubt he thought he would walk all through his
life with a measure of the sweet enjoyments that he
then experienced. But this was not God's way of
teaching religion!

God had another way which Paul knew nothing of, and
that was—if I may use the expression—to bring him
from the third heaven, where his soul had been blessed
with unspeakable ravishment—down to the very gates
of hell. For he says, "I was given a thorn in my flesh,
a messenger from Satan to BUFFET me

The idea "buffeting" is that of a strong man beating
a weak one with violent blows to his head and face
—bruising him into a shapeless mass!

O what a way of learning religion!

Now I want you to see the contrast we have here.

The blessed apostle caught up into the third heavens,
filled with light, life, and glory—enjoying the presence
of Christ—and bathing his soul in the river of divine

Now for a reverse—down he comes to the earth.

A messenger of Satan is let loose upon him, who buffets,
beats and pounds this blessed apostle into a shapeless
mummy—no eyes, no nose, no mouth, no features—but
one indistinguishable mass of black and blue!

Such is the mysterious way in which a man learns religion!

But what was all this for?

Does it not appear very cruel—does it not seem very
unkind that, after the Lord had taken Paul up into
the third heaven, He would let the devil buffet him?

Does it not strike our natural reason to be as strange
and as unheard of a thing, as if a mother who had been
fondling her babe in her arms, suddenly were to put it
down, and let a large savage dog ravage it—and look
on, without interfering, while he was tearing the child
which she had been a few minutes before dandling in
her lap, and clasping to her bosom?

"But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given
a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to BUFFET
me and keep me from getting proud." Here we have
this difficult enigma solved, this mysterious knot untied!

We find that the object and end of all these severe
dealings was to keep Paul from pride!

Three times Paul besought his loving and sympathizing
Redeemer, that the trial might be taken away, for it
was too grievous to be borne. The Lord heard his prayer
and answered it—but not in the way that Paul expected.

His answer was, "My grace is sufficient for you." As though
He would say, "Paul, beloved Paul, I am not going to take
away your trial; it came from Me—it was given by Me. But
My grace shall be sufficient for you, for My strength shall
be made perfect in your weakness. There is a lesson to be
learned, a path to be walked in, an experience to be passed
through, wisdom to be obtained in this path—and therefore
you must travel in it. Be content then with this promise
from My own lips—My grace is sufficient for you, for My
strength is made perfect in your weakness."

The apostle was satisfied with this—he wanted no more,
and therefore he burst forth, "Most gladly therefore will
I rather glory in my infirmities—that the power of Christ
may rest upon me."

O what a way of learning religion!

In a most mysterious and inexplicable manner

(J. C. Philpot, "The Going Forth of the Lord" 1841)

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

I am often a marvel to myself, feeling at times . . .
  such barrenness,
  such leanness,
  such deadness,
  such carnality,
  such inability to any spiritual thought.

It is astonishing to me how our souls are kept alive.

Carried on, and yet so secretly—worked upon,
and yet so mysteriously—and yet led on, guided
and preserved through so many difficulties and
obstacles—the Christian is a miracle of mercy!

He is astonished how he is preserved amid all his . . .
  trials, and

Sometimes he seems driven and sometimes drawn,
sometimes led and sometimes carried—but in one
way or another the Spirit of God so works upon him
that, though he scarce knows how, he still presses on!

His very burdens make him groan for deliverance.

His very temptations cause him to cry for help.

The very difficulty and ruggedness of the road
make him want to be carried every step.

The very perplexity of the path compels him to cry out
for a guide—so that the Spirit working in the midst of, and
under, and through every difficulty and discouragement,
still bears him through, and carries him on—and thus brings
him through every trial and trouble and temptation and
—until He sets him in glory!

He will then understand, that he has . . .
  not had one trial too heavy,
  nor shed one tear too much,
  nor put up one groan too many,
but all these things have, in a most mysterious
and inexplicable manner
, worked together for
his spiritual good!

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

Wrought with divine power

(J. C. Philpot, "The Veil Taken Away" 1844)

"Our gospel came to you not simply with words,
 but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and
 with deep conviction." 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Most men's religion is nothing else but
'a round of forms' . . .

  some have their 'doings',
  some have their 'doctrines',
  and others have their 'duties'.

And when the one has performed his doings,
the other learned his doctrines, and the third
discharged his duties—why, he is as good a
Christian, he thinks, as anybody. While all the
time, the poor deceived creature is thoroughly
ignorant of the kingdom of God, which stands
not in simply in word—but in power.

But as the veil of ignorance is taken off the heart,
we begin to see and feel that there is a power in
vital godliness—a reality in the teachings of the
Spirit—that religion is not to be put on and put
off as a man puts on and off his Sunday clothes.

Where vital godliness is wrought with divine power
in a man's heart, and preached by the Holy Spirit into
his conscience—it mingles, daily and often hourly,
with his thoughts—entwines itself with his feelings
—and becomes the very food and drink of his soul.

Now when a man comes to this spot—to see and feel
what a reality there is in the things of God made
manifest in the conscience by the power of the Holy
Spirit—it effectually takes him out of dead churches,
cuts him off from false ministers, winnows the chaff
from the wheat, and brings him into close communion
with the broken-hearted family of God.

"Our gospel came to you not simply with words,
 but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and
 with deep conviction." 1 Thessalonians 1:5

The more lovely does Jesus appear!

(J. C. Philpot, "Spiritual Mysteries" July 14, 1844)

The poor believer feels, "I continually find all kinds
of evil working in my mind; every base corruption
crawling in my heart; everything vile, sensual, and
filthy rising up from its abominable deeps. Can I
think that God can look down in love and mercy
on such a wretch?

When we see . . .
  our vileness,
  our baseness,
  our carnality,
  our sensuality,
  how our souls cleave to dust,
  how we grovel in evil and hateful things,
  how dark our minds,
  how earthly our affections,
  how depraved our hearts,
  how strong our lusts,
  how raging our passions;
we feel ourselves, at times, no more
fit for God than Satan himself!

"You see, at just the right time, when we were
 utterly helpless, Christ died for the ungodly!"
    Romans 5:6

Christ does not justify those who are naturally
righteous, holy, and religious.

But He takes the sinner as he is, in all his filth
and guilt; washes him in the fountain opened
for sin and uncleanness; and clothes the naked
shivering wretch, who has nothing to cover him
but filthy rags, in His own robe of righteousness!

The gospel of the grace of God brings glad tidings . . .
  of pardon to the criminal,
  of mercy to the guilty, and
  of salvation to the lost!

That the holy God should look down in love on
wretches that deserve the damnation of hell; that
the pure and spotless Jehovah should pity, save,
and bless enemies and rebels, and make them
endless partakers of His own glory; this indeed
is a mystery, the depth of which eternity itself
will not fathom!

The deeper we sink in self-abasement under a
sense of our vileness, the higher we rise in a
knowledge of Christ. And the blacker we are
in our own view, the more lovely does Jesus

Have you not brought this on yourselves?

(J. C. Philpot, "The FOOL; His Character, Affliction, and
Deliverance" Providence Chapel, London, July 27, 1851)

"Have you not brought this on yourselves
 by forsaking the Lord your God when He led
 you in the way?" Jeremiah 2:17

"Have you not brought this on yourselves?"
says the Lord to His sinning Israel. Who
dares say he has not by . . .
  his sins,
  his carnality,
  his pride,
  his covetousness,
  his worldly-mindedness,
  his unbelief,
  his foolishness,
  his rebelliousness,
procured to himself many things that
have grieved and distressed his soul?

If indeed we take no notice of the sin that dwells
in us; and pay no regard to our thoughts, desires,
words, and actions; and take our stand on our own
righteousness; we may refuse to believe that we
are such vile sinners.

But if we are compelled to look within, and painfully
feel that SIN is an indweller, a lodger, whom we are
compelled to harbor; a serpent that will creep in and
nestle in our heart, whether we will or not; a thief
that will break through and steal, and whom no bolt
nor bar can keep out; a traitor in the citadel who will
work by force or fraud, and against whom no resolution
of ours has any avail; if such be our inward experience
and conviction, I believe there is not a man or woman
here who will not confess, "Guilty, guilty! Unclean,

"Some became fools through their rebellious ways,
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities."
    Psalm 107:17

We bring affliction upon ourselves. We procure
suffering by our own iniquities. "O!", says the fool . . .
"my worldly-mindedness,
my pride,
my covetousness,
my carnality,
my neglect of divine things,
my rebelliousness,
my recklessness,
the snares I entangled myself in,
my various besetting sins;
this it is which has provoked the Lord to afflict
me so severely, and leave me, fool that I am,
to reap the fruit of my own devises!"


Don't be afraid!

(Octavius Winslow)

Are you going through a sorrowful affliction?

"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid!"
    Matthew 14:27

What a Friend,
what a Brother,
what a Helper,
is Jesus!

Never, no never, does He leave His suffering
child to travel that mournful night unvisited
and unsoothed by His presence.

He is with you now.

His faithfulness never falters.

His love never changes.

His tenderness never lessens.

His patience never wearies.

His grace never decays.

His watchfulness never slumbers.

Jesus loves to visit us in the stormy night of
our grief. He says, "It is I. Don't be afraid!"

The incarnate God delights to be near His
helpless and timid children. He is near to
you as the strength of your sinking soul.

"And surely I am with you always, even to
 the very end of the world." Matthew 28:20

We are traveling fast

(Mary Winslow)

What is the world, or the glory of a thousand
such perishing worlds as this, when compared
with the glory that shall be revealed in those
who love His appearing?
We are traveling fast, and at every step
are nearing our heavenly home! We shall
see Jesus soon! Oh, how soon! Jesus sits,
in all the majesty of heaven, waiting to
welcome His pilgrims home!

A religious animal

(Philpot, "The Exercise and Profit of Godliness" 1850)

"Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious,
 for as I was walking along I saw your many altars.
 And one of them had this inscription on it—TO AN
 UNKNOWN GOD." Acts 17:22-23

Man has been called, and perhaps with some truth,
a religious animal. Religion of some kind, at any rate,
seems almost indispensable to his very existence—for
from the most civilized nation, to the most barbarous
tribe upon the face of the earth—we find some form of
religion practiced. Whether this is ingrained into the
very constitution of man, or whether it be received by
custom or tradition—I will not pretend to decide. But
that some kind of religion is almost universally
prevalent, is a fact that cannot be denied.

We will always find these two kinds of religion . . .
  false and true,
  earthly and heavenly,
  fleshly and spiritual,
  natural and supernatural.

Compare this vital, spiritual, heavenly,
divine, supernatural religion . . .
  this work of grace upon the soul,
  this teaching of God in the heart,
  this life of faith within
—with its flimsy counterfeit.

Compare the actings of . . .
  real faith,
  real hope,
  real love;
the teachings, the dealings, the leadings, and
the operations of the blessed Spirit in the soul
—with rounds of . . .
  superstitious forms,
  empty ceremonies, and
a notional religion, however puffed up and varnished.

Compare the life of God in the heart of a true Christian,
amid all his dejection, despondency, trials, temptations,
and exercises; compare that precious treasure, Christ's
own grace in the soul—with all mere . . .
  external religion,
  superficial religion,
  notional religion.

O, it is no more to be compared than a grain of dust
with a diamond! No more to be compared than a criminal
in a dungeon to the King on the throne! In fact, there is
no comparison between them.

What a contrast!

(J. C. Philpot, "The Heavenly Sheepfold" 1854)

"Those who endure to the end will be saved." Mark 13:13


Saved from what?

Saved from hell!

Saved from an eternity of endless misery and horror!

Saved from the worm which never dies!

Saved from the fire which is never quenched!

Saved from the sulphurous flames!

Saved from the companionship of devils and damned spirits!

Saved saved from ever-rolling ages of ceaseless misery and horror!

Have you not thought sometimes about eternity?
What must an eternity of misery must be—when
you can scarcely bear the pain of toothache half an
hour! O! to be in torment forever! How it racks the
soul to think of it! What tongue, then, can express
the mercy and blessedness of being saved . . .
  from hell,
  from the billows of the sulphurous lake,
  from infinite despair!

When a soul strikes upon the 'rock of perdition',
it is at once swallowed up in a dreadful eternity!

Not only are believers saved from all this infinite
and unending misery—but they are saved into
unspeakable happiness and glory! They are . . .
  saved into heaven,
  saved into eternal communion with the infinite God,
  saved into the eternal enjoyment of His blessed presence,
  saved into the perfect enjoyment of that perfect and
everlasting love in those regions of endless bliss where
tears are wiped from off all faces!

What a contrast!

Heaven — hell!

Eternal misery — eternal bliss!

Ages of boundless joy — ages of infinite despair!

But salvation includes not only what we may call
salvation—but present salvation. Thus,
there is a being saved in the present . . .
  from the guilt, filth, love, power, and practice of sin,
  from the curse and bondage of the Law,
  from the spirit and love of the world,
  from inward condemnation,
  from the entanglements of Satan,
  from worldly anxieties and cares,
  from following after idols,
  from carelessness,
  from coldness,
  from carnality,
  from every evil way,
  from every delusive path.

Cheap and easy work

(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Luke" 1858)

"And you cannot be My disciple if you do not
carry your own cross and follow Me." Luke 14:27

It costs something to be a true Christian!

Let that never be forgotten.

To be a 'mere nominal Christian', and
go to church—is cheap and easy work.

But to hear Christ's voice,
and follow Christ,
and believe in Christ,
and confess Christ,
requires much self-denial.

It will cost us . . .
  our sins,
  our self-righteousness,
  our ease,
  our worldliness.

All—all must be given up. Our Lord Jesus
Christ would have us thoroughly understand
this. He bids us to "count the cost."

"So no one can become My disciple without
 giving up everything for Me." Luke 14:33


There is no friend like Christ!

(Octavius Winslow, "None Like Christ")

"There is a friend who sticks closer
 than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

There is no friend like Christ!

No love soothes,
no smile gladdens,
no voice cheers,
no arm supports
—like His.

Jesus is the . . .
  all powerful,
  all helpful,
  all loving,
  all tender,
  ever present
Friend and Companion of
your homeward path to God.

"O Jesus! You have ever been—you are
—and you shall ever be—my Friend.

In adversity—I will hide beneath Your sheltering wing.

In sorrow—I will nestle within Your loving bosom.

In weakness—I will entwine around Your upholding arm.

In need—I will run to Your boundless resources.

In sickness, in languor, in suffering—I will enfold around
me Your all divine, all pervading, all soothing sympathy!"

There is no friend like Christ!

Sweet buy!

(J. C. Philpot, "Heavenly Buying" 1846)

You say, "I am rich—I have acquired wealth and do
not need a thing." But you do not realize that you are
wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you
to buy from Me white garments, so you can cover
your shameful nakedness.
   Revelation 3:17-18

The only qualification is a deep feeling of our necessity,
our nakedness and our shame—and a feeling that there
is no other covering for a needy, naked, guilty soul—but
the robe of the Redeemer's spotless righteousness.

And when the soul is led to His divine feet—full of guilt,
shame, and fear—abhorring, loathing, and mourning over
itself—and comes in the actings of a living faith—in the
sighs and cries of a broken heart—in hungerings, thirstings,
and longings—desiring that the Lord would bestow upon
him that rich robe—then the blessed exchange takes place
—then there is a 'buying'—then the Lord brings out of His
treasure-house, where it has been locked up—the best
robe—puts it upon the prodigal, and clothes him from
head to foot with it!

Sweet buy!

Blessed exchange!

Our nakedness—for Christ's justifying robe!

Our poverty—for Christ's riches!

Our helplessness and insufficiency—for
Christ's power, grace, and love!

You say, "I am rich—I have acquired wealth and do
not need a thing." But you do not realize that you are
wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you
to buy from Me white garments, so you can cover
your shameful nakedness.
   Revelation 3:17-18