Grace Gems for April 2005

Pilgrims and strangers on this earthly ball

(J. C. Philpot)

"To God's elect, strangers in the world." 1 Peter 1:1

"Live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear."
    1 Peter 1:17

Our life on earth is but a vapor! We are but pilgrims
strangers on this earthly ball, mere sojourners,
without fixed or settled habitation, and passing through
this world as not our home or resting-place. The Apostle,
therefore, bids us pass this time, whether long or short,
of our earthly sojourn under the influence, and in the
exercise, of reverent fear.

We are surrounded with enemies, all seeking, as it
were, our life; and therefore we are called upon to
move with great caution, knowing how soon we may
slip and fall, and thus wound our own consciences,
grieve our friends, gratify our enemies, and bring
upon ourselves a cloud of darkness which may long
hover over our souls.

Our life here below is not one of ease and quiet—but
a warfare, a conflict, a race, a wrestling not with flesh
and blood alone, but with principalities and powers
and spiritual wickedness in high places. We have to
dread ourselves more than anything or anybody else,
and to view our flesh as our greatest enemy!

"Dear friends, I urge you, as pilgrims and strangers
 in the world, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which
 war against your soul." 1 Peter 2:11


In this scene of confusion and distraction

(J. C. Philpot, "Meditations on the Holy Spirit")

"The Spirit helps us in our infirmities. We do not
 know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit
 Himself intercedes for us with groans that
 words cannot express." Romans 8:26

"We do not know what we ought to pray for."
How often do we find and feel this to be our case.
Darkness covers our mind;
ignorance pervades our soul;
unbelief vexes our spirit;
guilt troubles our conscience;
a crowd of evil imaginations, or foolish or worse
than foolish wanderings distract our thoughts;
Satan hurls in his fiery darts thick and fast;
a dense cloud is spread over the mercy seat;
infidelity whispers its vile suggestions,
until, amid all this chaos, such confusion and
bondage prevail that words seem idle breath, and
prayer to the God of heaven but empty mockery.

In this scene of confusion and distraction, when all
seems going to the wreck, how kind, how gracious
is it for the blessed Spirit to come, as it were, to the
rescue of the poor bewildered saint, and to teach him
how to pray and what to pray for.

He is therefore said "to help us in our infirmities,"
for these evils of which we have been speaking are
not willful, deliberate sins, but wretched infirmities
of the flesh. He helps, then, our infirmities . . .
  by subduing the power and prevalence of unbelief;
  by commanding in the mind a solemn calm;
  by rebuking and chasing away Satan and his fiery darts;
  by awing the soul with a reverential sense
     of the power and presence of God;
  by presenting Jesus before our eyes and
     drawing forth faith upon His Person and work;
  and, above all, by Himself interceding for us and in
     us "with groans that words cannot express."

When the soul is favored thus to pray, its petitions are
a spiritual sacrifice, and its cries enter the ears of the
Lord Almighty, for "He who searches our hearts knows
the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for
the saints in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:27


That is what some of you were!

(J. C. Philpot)

The Holy Spirit undertakes to sanctify the objects
of the Father's eternal choice, and of the Son's
redeeming death.

Sanctification is as needful, as indispensable
for the Church's salvation, as redemption!

For O! how low was the Church sunk in the Adam fall! The
image of God, in which she was created—how defaced and
as if blotted out! Death spreading itself with fatal effect
over her every mental and bodily faculty! Sin, like a hideous
leprosy, infecting her to the very heart's core! A thousand
base lusts plunging her deeper and deeper into a sea of
guilt and crime! Enmity against God boiling up in waves
of ceaseless rebellion! Satan tyrannizing over her with
cruel sway, sometimes drawing and sometimes driving,
but by one or the other dragging her without hope or
help towards the brink of the bottomless pit!

Hear that bold blasphemer!

See that drunken, raving prostitute!

Look at that murderer with his blood-red hand
stealing off from his mangled victim!

Or, if you shrink from such sounds and such sights, picture
to your imagination the vilest wretch who ever disgraced
human nature—and you see in that portrait the features of
the Church as implicated in the Adam fall—and sunk into
original and actual transgression!

What a work, then, was undertaken by that most gracious
and condescending Spirit, who solemnly pledged Himself,
in the eternal covenant, to sanctify such wretches, and
to fit and frame them to be partakers of holiness, and
live forever in God's spotless presence!

It were easier for the wolf to dwell with the lamb, and
the leopard to lie down with the sheep—than for ungodly
sinners, unwashed, unregenerated, unsanctified, to dwell
forever before the throne of God and of the Lamb!

But O, the wonders of wisdom, grace, and love!

Sinners, the vilest sinners, the worst of wretches, the
basest of mortals—can and will enter through the gates
into the holy city!

Paul, having enumerated some of the vilest crimes which
stain human nature and sink it below the beasts that perish,
says, "And that is what some of you were! But you were
washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in  the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
    1 Corinthians 6:11

To be washed and sanctified is as needful, as indispensable
as to be justified.


Hidden treasure!

(J. C. Philpot, "Meditations on the Holy Spirit")

"Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all
 day long!" Psalm 119:97

"Truly, I love your commands more than gold,
 even the finest gold!" Psalm 119:127

"Your decrees are my treasure; they are truly
 my heart's delight!" Psalm 119:111

To a spiritual mind, sweet and soul-rewarding is
the searching of the Word as for hidden treasure.

No sweeter, no better employment can engage
heart and hands than, in the spirit . . .
  of prayer and meditation,
  of separation from the world,
  of holy fear,
  of a desire to know the will of God and do it,
  of humility, simplicity, and godly sincerity,
to seek to enter into those heavenly mysteries which
are stored up in the Scriptures; and this, not to furnish
the head with notions, but to feed the soul with the
bread of life!

Truth, received in the love and power of it . . .
  informs and establishes the judgment,
  softens and melts the heart,
  warms and draws upward the affections,
  makes and keeps the conscience alive and tender,
  is the food of faith,
  is the strength of hope,
  is the mainspring of love.

"My child, listen to Me and treasure My instructions.
 Search for them as you would for lost money or
 hidden treasure!" Proverbs 2:1,4


The kingdom of Christ

(J. C. Philpot, "Jesus, the Enthroned King")

"The kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:21

A true experimental knowledge of Christ as Lord
and King, has a holy sanctifying influence over a
believer's heart and life!

That Christ may reign and rule in the heart, there
must be a previous breaking to pieces of all other
authority and power . . .
  the reign of sin must give way to the reign of grace;
  idols must be dethroned;
  rivals banished;
  lusts subdued;
  the flesh mortified and crucified;
  the old man put off, the new man put on.

Pride and self-righteousness,
unbelief and infidelity,
hypocrisy and vain confidence,
carnality and worldly mindedness,
sin and self in all their various shapes and forms,
must be smitten as with a deadly blow,
and scattered to the winds of heaven!

This fall and ruin of self, makes way for the
setting up of the kingdom of Christ in the heart.
Jesus reveals Himself to the soul, thus broken
and humbled, as its Lord and King.

But who is sufficient for these things? Who will pluck
out his own right eye, or cut off his own right hand?
Who will drive the nails of crucifixion into his own
quivering flesh? No one! The Lord, then, must do it
all for and in us by His Spirit and grace.

"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,"
 says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6


It has an influence over the life

(J. C. Philpot, "The Precepts of the Word of God")

"When you received the word of God, which you heard
 from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but
 as it actually is, the word of God, which effectually
in you who believe." 1 Thessalonians 2:13

Where God's word effectually works in the heart,
it has an influence over the life. It . . .
  separates from the world and the spirit of it;
  keeps the consciences alive and tender in the fear of God;
  produces uprightness and integrity of conduct;
  extends its influence to the various relationships of life;
  subdues pride, covetousness, and selfishness;
  softens and meekens the spirit;
  gives tender feelings and gracious affections;
  fosters prayer, meditation, and spirituality of mind; and
  makes itself manifest in the life, walk, and conversation.


The believer's rule of life

(J. C. Philpot, "The Precepts of the Word of God")

Were there no precepts in the New Testament, we
would be without an inspired rule of life, without an
authoritative guide for our walk and conduct before the
Church and the world. We rightly discard and reject
the 'law of Moses' as the believer's rule of life.

What, then, is our rule? Are we a set of lawless wretches
who may live as we desire, according to the libelous charge
of the enemies of truth? God forbid! We have a divine,
authoritative rule of life, a code of directions of the amplest,
fullest, minutest character, intended and sufficient to regulate
and control every thought, word, and action of our lives; and
all flowing from the eternal wisdom and will of the Father,
sealed and ratified by the blood of the Son, and inspired
and revealed by the Holy Spirit.

When, then, it is thrown in our teeth that, by discarding the
'law of Moses' as our rule of life, we prove ourselves licentious,
lawless Antinomians; this is our answer, and let God and His
word decide whether it be not a sufficient one. We have a rule
of life as far exceeding the 'law of Moses' as the new covenant
of grace and truth—exceeds and outshines the old covenant of
works; and as much as the ministration of the Spirit, of life,
and of righteousness—excels in glory the ministration of the
letter, of death, and of condemnation. (2 Corinthians 3:6-11)

The gospel, not the Mosaic law, is the believer's rule of life.

In a word, the precepts of the New Testament, in all their
fullness, minuteness, and comprehensiveness, are the
believer's rule of life


Is any spot too low for me to creep into and lie in?

(J. C. Philpot, "The Precepts of the Word of God")

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of
God." (1 Peter 5:6.) I am here directed and enjoined to
humble myself under the mighty hand of God. But can I do
so? No, I cannot! I may make the attempt. I may fall on my
knees, confess my sins, put my mouth in the dust—at least
do all this in words. But can I produce in my soul . . .
  that solemn humbling of my whole spirit before God,
  that self-loathing,
  that self-abhorrence,
  that brokenness and contrition of heart,
  that lying at His feet with weeping and supplications,
  that giving up of myself into His hands,
without which all my humbling of myself is but lip service?
No! I can do none of these things! I am so thoroughly
destitute and helpless that I cannot produce one grain
of real humility in my own soul.

But let the Holy Spirit graciously work upon my heart;
let Him fill me with a deep sense of the mighty hand of
God over me and under me; let Him humble me in my
inmost soul as the very chief of sinners; let my heart
be broken and my spirit made contrite under a sight
of my sins; and a sight, too, of the life and sufferings
and death of my dear Redeemer—how then, can I not
humble myself under the mighty hand of God?

Is any spot too low for me to creep into and lie in?

Where are my pride and self-righteousness now?

Does not sweet humility fill and possess my soul?

All doctrine, all experience, all precept

(J. C. Philpot, "The Precepts of the Word of God")

All doctrine, all experience, all precept center, as one
grand harmonious whole, in the glorious Person of the
Son of God. From Him they all come; to Him they all flow.

Severed from Him . . .
  doctrine is seen to be but a withered branch;
  experience but a delusive dream;
  precept but a legal service.

But His light enlightening, His life quickening, His power
attending the word of His grace—doctrine is seen to be
no longer doctrine dry and dead, but glorious truth;
experience to be not a mere matter of fluctuating feeling,
but a blessed reality, as the very kingdom of God set up
with a divine power in the heart; and obedience not a
legal duty, but a high, holy, and acceptable service.

Gospel fruit

(J. C. Philpot, "Meditations on 1 Peter")

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or
 make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a
 tree is recognized by its fruit." Matthew 12:33

Gospel fruit can only grow upon a gospel tree,
and thus the fruits of a holy and godly life must
spring out of the divine operations of the Holy
Spirit upon the heart.

Over-indulgence of fond and foolish parents!

(J. A. James, "The duties of PARENTS" 1838)

"I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his
. I have warned him continually that judgment is
 coming for his family, because his sons are blaspheming
 God and he hasn't disciplined them." 1 Samuel 3:12-13

There is, in some households,
  no family government,
  no order,
  no subordination,
  no discipline.
The children are kept under no restraint, but are
allowed to do what they like. Their faults are
intentionally unnoticed and unpunished, and their
corruptions allowed to grow wild and headstrong;
until, in fact, the whole family becomes utterly
lawless, rebellious against parental authority—and
grievous to all around them!

How many have had to curse the over-indulgence of
fond and foolish parents!
How many, as they have
ruminated amid the desolations of poverty, or the walls
of a prison, have exclaimed, "O, my cruelly fond parents,
had you exercised that authority with which God entrusted
you, over your children, and had you checked my childish
corruptions, and punished my boyish disobedience; had
you subjected me to the beneficial restraint of wholesome
discipline, I would not have brought you with a broken heart
to your grave, nor myself with a ruined life to the jail!"

Overindulgence of children is awfully common, and continually
making shocking ravages in human character. It is a system of
great cruelty to the children, to the parents themselves, and
to society. This practice proceeds from various causes; in some
instances, from a perverted and intentional sentimentalism;
in others, from absolute indolence, and a regard to present
ease, which leads the silly mother to adopt any means of
coaxing, and yielding, and bribing—to keep the "young rebels"
quiet for the time!

It is not uncommon for parents to treat the first acts of
infantile rebellion, rather as accidents to be smiled at,
than as sins to be disciplined. "O," says the mother, "it
is only play, he will know better soon. He does not mean
any harm. I cannot discipline him."

Lack of parental discipline, from whatever cause it
proceeds, it is in the highest degree injurious to the
character of the children!

Your treasure!

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

"Wherever your treasure is, there your heart
 and thoughts will also be." Luke 12:34

Let us see whether we have treasure in heaven,
or whether all our good things are here upon earth.

Would we know what our treasure is?

Let us ask ourselves what we love most.

This is the true test of character.

It matters little . . .
  what we say, or
  what we profess, or
  what preaching we admire, or
  what place of worship we attend.

What do we love?

On what are our affections set?

This is the great question.

"Wherever your treasure is, there your heart
 and thoughts will also be." Luke 12:34

The so-called innocence of children


"Every inclination of man's heart is evil from
 childhood." Genesis 8:21

The so-called innocence of children is more a
matter of weakness of limb, than purity of heart.

"I have been evil from the day I was born; from
 the time I was conceived, I have been sinful."
     Psalm 51:5

For wives only!

(J. A. James, "The Christian Wife" 1828)

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord."
    Ephesians 5:22

In every society, there must be authority vested somewhere,
and some ultimate authority, some last and highest tribunal
established, from the decision of which there lies no appeal.
In the family constitution this authority rests in the husband
—he is the head, the law-giver, the ruler. In all matters
concerning the 'little world in the house', he is to direct,
not indeed without taking counsel with his wife. But in all
differences of view, he is to decide—unless he chooses to
waive his right; and to his decision the wife should yield,
and yield with grace and cheerfulness.

Usurpation of authority is always hateful, and it is one of
the most offensive exhibitions of it, where the husband is
degraded into a slave of the queen mother.

I admit it is difficult for a sensible woman to submit to
imbecility, but she should have considered this before she
united herself to it. Having committed one error, let her not
fall into a second, but give the strongest proof of her good
sense which circumstances will allow her to offer, by making
that concession to the God-given authority of her husband.
She may reason, she may persuade, she may solicit—but if
ignorance cannot be convinced, nor obstinacy turned, nor
kindness conciliated, she has no resource left but to submit.

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord."
    Ephesians 5:22

For husbands only!

(J. A. James, "A Help to Domestic Happiness" 1828. This quote
 is longer, but it is a choice summary of the husband's role.)

"And you husbands must love your wives with the same
 love Christ showed the church. He gave up His life for
 her to make her holy." Ephesians 5:25-26

Christ's love is SINCERE.
He did not love in word only, but in deed, and in truth. In
Him there was no deceitfulness; no epithets of endearment
going forth out of untruthful lips; no actions varnished over
with a mere covering of love. We must be like Him, and
endeavor to maintain a principle of true love in the heart,
as well as a manifestation of it in the conduct.

It is a miserable thing to have to act the part of love, without
feeling it. Hypocrisy is base in everything; but next to religion,
is most base in affection. Besides, how difficult is it to act the
part well, to keep on the mask, and to pretend the character
so as to escape detection! Oh, the misery of that woman's
heart, who at length finds out to her cost, that what she had
been accustomed to receive and value as the attentions of a
lover—are but the tricks of a cunning deceiver!

The love of the Redeemer is ARDENT.

Let us, if we would form a correct idea of what should be the
state of our hearts towards the woman of our choice, think of
that affection which glowed in the bosom of a Savior, when He
lived and died for His people. We can possess, it is true, neither
the same kind, nor the same degree of love—but surely when we
are referred to such an instance, if not altogether as a model,
yet as a motive, it does teach us, that no weak affection is due,
or should be offered to the wife of our bosom. We are told by the
Savior Himself, that if He laid down his life for us, it is our duty to
lay down ours for the brethren; how much more for the "friend that
sticks closer than a brother." And if it be our duty to lay down our
life, how much more to employ it while it lasts, in all the offices
of an affection—strong, steady, and inventive!

She who for our sake has forsaken the comfortable home, and
the watchful care, and the warm embrace of her parents—has
a right to expect in our love, that which shall make her "forget
her father's house," and cause her to feel that with respect to
happiness, she is no loser by the exchange. Happy the woman,
and such should every husband strive to make his wife, who can
look back without a sigh upon the moment, when she left forever,
the guardians, the companions, and the scenes of her childhood.

The love of Christ to His church is SUPREME.

He gives to the world His benevolence—but to the church His
love! "The Lord your God in the midst of you," said the prophet,
"is mighty; He will save you, He will rejoice over you with joy;
He will rest in His love—He will rejoice over you with singing."

So must the husband love his wife, above all else—he must
"rest in his love." He should love her not only above all outside
his house—but above all within it. She must take precedence
both in his heart and conduct, not only of all strangers, but of
all relatives, and also of all his children. He ought to love his
children for her sake, rather than her for their sake.

Is this always the case? On the contrary have we not often
seen men, who appear to be far more interested in their
children than in their wives; and who have paid far less
attention to the latter than to grown-up daughters? How
especially unseemly is it, for a man to be seen fonder of
the society of any other woman, than that of his wife, even
where nothing more may be intended than the pleasure of
her company. Nor ought he to forsake her, in his leisure
hours, for any companions of his own sex, however pleasant
might be their demeanor or their conversation.

The love of Christ is UNIFORM.

Like Himself, it is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Marital affection should have the same character; it should
be at all times, and in all places alike; the same at home
as abroad; in other peoples houses as in our own. Has not
many a wife to sigh and exclaim—"Oh! that I were treated
in my own house, with the same tenderness and attention
as I receive in company!" With what almost loathing and
disgust must such a woman turn from endearments, which
under such circumstances she can consider as nothing but
hypocrisy! Home is the chief place for fond and minute
attention; and she who has not to complain of a lack of
it there, will seldom feel the need or the inclination to
complain of a lack of it abroad—except it be those silly
women, who would degrade their husbands, by exacting not
merely what is really kind, but what is actually ridiculous.

The love Jesus is PRACTICAL and LABORIOUS.

He provided everything for the welfare and comfort of
the church, and at a cost and by exertions of which we
can form no idea.

The business of providing for the family belongs chiefly
to the husband. It is yours my brethren to rise up early,
to sit up late, to eat the bread of carefulness, and to
drink if necessary, the waters of affliction, that you may
earn by the sweat of your brow, a comfortable support for
the family circle. This is probably what the apostle meant,
when he enjoined us to give honor to the wife as to the
weaker vessel—the honor of providing for her, which she
in consequence of the weakness of her frame, and the
frequent infirmities which the maternal relation brings
upon her, is not so well able to procure for herself.

In most barbarous countries, and in some half-civilized
ones, the burden of manual labor falls upon the woman,
while her tyrant husband lives in indolence, feeding upon
the industry of the hapless being whom he calls a wife—
but treats as a slave! And are there no such idle tyrants
in our age and country, who so as they can live in indolence,
and gratify their appetites, care not how they oppress their
wives—wretches who do little or nothing for the support of
the family? How utterly lost to every noble and generous
sentiment must that man be, whose heart cannot be moved
by the entreaties or tears of his own wife, and who can hear
in vain her pleadings for his child at her bosom, and his child
by her side, and who by such appeals cannot be induced to
give up his daily visits to the tavern, or his habits of
sauntering idleness, to attend to his neglected business,
and hold off the approaching tide of poverty and ruin.

Such a creature is worse than a brute—he is a monster! And
it seems a pity that there is no law and no prison-ship to
take him away to a land where, if he will not work, so neither
could he eat!

A practical affection to a wife extends to everything! It should
manifest itself in the most delicate attention to her comfort,
and her feelings; in consulting her tastes; in concealing her
failings; in never doing anything to degrade her, but everything
to exalt her before her children and others; in acknowledging her
excellencies, and commending her efforts to please him; in meeting,
and even in anticipating all her reasonable requests; in short, in
doing all that ingenuity can invent for her substantial happiness
and general comfort.

Christ's love to His church is DURABLE and UNCHANGEABLE.
"Having loved His own, He loved them to the end"—without
abatement or alteration. So ought men to love their wives, not
only at the beginning; but to the end of their union; when the
charms of beauty have fled before the withering influence of
disease; when the vigorous and sprightly frame has lost its
elasticity, and the step has become slow and faltering—when
the wrinkles of old age have followed the bloom of youth, and
the whole person seems rather the monument, than the
resemblance of what it once was. Has she not gained in mind,
what she has lost in exterior fascinations? Have not her mental
graces flourished amid the ruins of personal charms? If the 'rose'
and the 'lily' have faded on the cheek—have not the 'fruits of
righteousness' grown in the soul? If those blossoms have
departed, on which the eye of youthful passion gazed with so
much ardor, has it not been to give way to the ripe fruit of
Christian excellence? The woman is not what she once was—
but the wife, the mother, the Christian—are better than they

For an example of marital love in all its power and excellence,
point me not to the bride and bridegroom displaying during the
first month of their union, all the watchfulness and tenderness
of affection—but let me look upon the husband and wife of fifty,
whose love has been tried by the lapse and the changes of a
quarter of a century, and who through this period and by these
vicissitudes, have grown in attachment and esteem; and whose
affection, if not glowing with all the fervid heat of a midsummer's
day, is still like the sunshine of an October noon—warm and
beautiful, as reflected amid autumnal tints!

"So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies—he who
loves his wife loves himself." A man's children are parts of himself;
his wife is himself—"for the two shall be one flesh." This is his duty
and the measure of it too; which is so plain, that, if he understands
how he treats himself, there needs nothing be added concerning his
demeanor towards her. For what tender care does he take of his body,
and uses it with a delicate tenderness, and cares for it in all
contingencies, and watches to keep it from all evils, and studies to
make for it fair provisions. So let a man love his wife as his own body.

Husbands! It is in your power to do more for your wife's happiness,
or misery, than any other being in the universe! An unkind husband
is a tormentor of the first class. His victim can never elude his grasp,
nor go beyond the reach of his cruelty, until she is kindly released by
the 'king of terrors', who, in this instance, becomes to her an angel of
light, and conducts her to the grave as to a shelter from her oppressor!

For such a woman there is no rest on earth—the destroyer of her
peace has her always in his power, for she is always in his presence,
or in the fear of it. The circumstances of every place, and every day,
furnish him with the occasions of cruel neglect or unkindness, and it
might be fairly questioned, whether there is to be found on earth a
case of greater misery, than a woman whose heart daily withers
under the cold looks, the chilling words, and repulsive actions of
a husband who loves her not. Such a man is a murderer, though in
this world he escapes the murderer's doom; and by a refinement
of cruelty, he employs years in conducting his victim to her end,
by the slow process of a lingering death.


Pride shrinks before the appalling spectacle!

(Thomas Reade, "Christian Meditations")

"When the Spirit comes, He will convict the world
 of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the
 coming judgment." John 16:8

The teaching of the Holy Spirit is enlightening,
convincing, purifying, and consoling. The first
operation of the Spirit is light. This light, darting
into the conscience, produces conviction of sin,
by discovering, in all its hideousness, the
monster that dwells within!

Sin becomes truly odious when viewed by the
light of the Eternal Spirit. Its nature and effects
are then known, and felt, and deplored.

This sight of ourselves is truly humbling.

'Self-abhorrence' is the fruit of deep conviction.

Nothing can lay the sinner in the dust of humiliation
but the searching light of the Spirit. This candle of the
Lord, shining into the inward parts, into the chambers
of imagery, discovers the secret abominations which
are practiced there.

Oh what hidden evils are made manifest by the
light; evils of every name, the progeny of hell.

'Self-love' sickens at the view.

Pride shrinks before the appalling spectacle!

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


Oh, what a loving, gentle, skillful healer is Jesus!

(Octavius Winslow, "Daily Need Divinely Supplied" 1870)

"He heals all your diseases." Psalm 103:3

Jesus is the Great Healer of all our spiritual diseases.
He loves to undertake the care of the sin sick soul, and
never lost one who betook itself to His cross. Come with
your spiritual disease, O my soul. It may have baffled
every physician and evaded every remedy. Jesus can
cure it! He . . .
  binds up the broken heart,
  heals our backslidings,
  restores our wanderings,
  revives our declensions;
  and when faith droops through trial,
  and the spirit faints in adversity,
  and love chills through temptation,
Jesus the Healer comes, and by the fresh application of
His blood, and by the renewed communication of His grace,
and by the quickening energy of His Word, He heals us!

Beware, O my soul, of any healing but Christ's, and
of any remedy but His blood. Watch against a false
of your wound. Go . . .
  to no minister,
  to no church,
  to no rite,
  to no duty,
but go at once to Jesus and His blood, and cry,
"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed!"

Oh, what a loving, gentle, skillful healer is Jesus!

With not a frown of displeasure,
with not a look of coldness,
with not a word of upbraiding,
He will cure you!

He . . .
  heals sin's worst malady,
  cures man's incurables, and
  never loses a patient who seeks His saving touch.

Take your case, as it is, to Him!

"Lord, be merciful unto me. Heal my soul, for
 I have sinned against You." Psalm 41:4


The purpose of all our sorrow and trouble

(William Bridge)

The purpose of all our sorrow and trouble is . . .
  to embitter our sin to us,
  to make us prize Jesus Christ,
  to wean us from the delights and pleasures of the creature,
  to reveal the deceitfulness and wickedness of our own hearts.

A ball, a concert, a festivity, a party!

(J. A. James, "Female Piety—The Young Woman's
 Guide Through Life to Immortality")

Some of you are bent upon present worldly enjoyment.
The apostle has described your taste and your pursuits
where he says, "Lovers of pleasure more than lovers
of God.
" Ponder that description. Does it not startle and
horrify you? Lovers of parties, of the dance and the song,
of the gay scene and frivolous chat—more than God!

Just look at this thought in all its naked deformity. A ball,
a concert, a festivity, a party
—loved more than God! Not
to love God at all for higher objects than these—for science,
literature, fame, rank, wealth—is a dreadful state of mind!
But to neglect and despise God for scenes of frivolity,
mirth, and pleasure—is it not shocking?

Did you ever yet seriously reflect thus—"What a dreadful
heart I must have—which can love pleasure, but cannot
love God!"

Consider what this desire for pleasure will do for you . . .
  in the hour of sickness,
  in the scenes of poverty,
  in the season of calamity,
  in the agonies of death,
  in the bottomless pit?

Woman's mission

(J. A. James, "Woman's Mission")

The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be
alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Gen. 2:18

Woman's mission is to be the suitable help-mate
of that man, to whom she has given herself as the
companion of his pilgrimage upon earth.

She is, in wedded life, to be his constant companion,
in whose companionship he is to find one, who meets
him hand to hand, eye to eye, lip to lip, and heart to
heart—to whom he can unburden the secrets of a heart
pressed down with care, or wrung with anguish;
whose presence shall be to him above all other friendship;
whose voice shall be his sweetest music;
whose smiles his brightest sunshine;
from whom he shall go forth with regret; and to whose
company he shall return with willing feet, when the toils
of the day are over; who shall walk near his loving heart,
and feel the throbbing of affection as her arm leans on
his, and presses on his side.

In his hours of private companionship, he shall tell her
all the secrets of his heart; find in her all the capabilities,
and all the promptings, of the most tender and endeared
fellowship; and in her gentle smiles, and unrestrained
speech, enjoy all to be expected in one who was given
by God to be his companion and friend.

That companionship which woman was designed to afford
to man, must of course be included the sympathetic offices
of the comforter. It is hers, in their hours of retirement, to
console and cheer him; when he is injured or insulted, to
heal the wounds of his troubled spirit; when burdened by
care, to lighten his load by sharing it; when groaning with
anguish, to calm by her peace-speaking words the tumult
of his heart; and act, in all his sorrows, the part of a
ministering angel.

The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be
alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Gen. 2:18

God's hand—God's heart

(Charles Spurgeon)

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward
 you, says Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and
 not of evil."  Jeremiah 29:11

We cannot always trace God's hand,
but we can always trust God's heart.


All our little cares

(Newman Hall, "Meditations on the Lord's Prayer" 1889)

"You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;
You encourage them, and you listen to their cry."
     Psalm 10:17

We may draw near to God in our chamber, and
amidst the varied toils, sorrows and joys of daily
life. Not only may we bring to Him our greatest
necessities and bitterest griefs; but all our little
, purposes, hopes and fears, and know He
loves to listen.

"Cast all your cares on Him because He cares
 for you." 1 Peter 5:7


Dreadful and murderous cruelty!

(J. A. James, "A Help to Domestic Happiness")

What genuine believer can for a moment question
whether his children's eternal salvation ought to
be the supreme solicitude of his heart?

If we look to the great bulk of mankind it is perfectly
evident that true religion hardly enters into their view.
They are very willing that their children should go to
church; but as to any concern for the religious character,
and the formation of pious habits—they are as destitute
of everything of this kind, as if religion were a mere fable, 
or were nothing more than a mere form. Their chief object
is either elegant and fashionable accomplishments, or
learning and science—and provided their children excel in
these, they never make any enquiry or feel any concern
whether they fear God. They would be not only surprised,
but would either laugh you to scorn, or scowl upon you
with indignation, for proposing such fanatical questions
in reference to their children! Yes, this is the way of the
greater part of parents, even in this religious country.
To train them up to shine and make a figure in society,
is all they seek.

Amazing folly!

Dreadful and murderous cruelty!

Degrading and groveling ambition!

To lose sight of the soul, and neglect salvation, and forget
immortality! To train them in every kind of knowledge but the
knowledge of religion! To instruct them in an acquaintance with
every kind of subject, but to leave them in ignorance of God
their Creator, their Preserver and Benefactor! To fit them to
act their part well on earth, and to leave them unprepared for
heaven! To qualify them to go with advantage through the
scenes of time, and then to leave them unfit for the glorious
and enduring scenes of eternity!

O strange fondness of irreligious parents!

O miserable destiny of their hapless offspring!

In direct opposition to this, the chief end of every Christian
parent must be the spiritual interests, the religious character,
the eternal salvation of his children. His highest ambition, his
most earnest prayer, his most vigorous pursuit, his eye, his
heart, and his hope should be engaged for their eternal welfare!

This should be the nature and exercise of his concern—"I am
desirous, if it pleases God, that my children should be blessed
with the enjoyment of reason, of health, of such a moderate
portion of worldly wealth, and worldly respectability as is
compatible with their station in life; and with a view to this
I will give them all the advantages of a suitable education.
But above and beyond this, I far more intensely desire, and
far more earnestly pray, and far more anxiously seek, that
they may have the fear of God in their hearts, may be made
partakers of true religion, and be everlastingly saved. And
provided God grants me the latter, by bestowing upon them
His grace, I shall feel that my chief object is accomplished,
and be quite reconciled to any circumstances which may
otherwise befall them. For rather would I see them in the
humble valley of poverty, if at the same time they were true
Christians—than on the very pinnacle of worldly grandeur,
but destitute of true piety."

Such should be the views and feelings and desires of all true
Christian parents. Religion should be at the very center of all
their schemes and pursuits for their offspring. This should be
the guiding principle, the directing object, the great landmark
by which all their course should be steered.


The rib

(J. A. James, "Female Piety—The Young Woman's
 Guide Through Life to Immortality")

"Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He
 had taken from the man, and brought her to Adam."
    Genesis 2:22

Woman was the finishing grace of the creation.

Woman was the completeness of man's bliss in Paradise.

Woman is the mother of the human race.

Woman was the cause of sin and death to our world.

The world was redeemed by the seed of the woman.

Woman is our companion, counselor, and comforter in the
pilgrimage of life—or our tempter, scourge, and destroyer.

Our sweetest cup of earthly happiness—or our bitterest
draught of sorrow, is mixed and administered by her hand.

She not only renders smooth or rough our path to the
grave—but helps or hinders our progress to immortality.

In heaven we shall bless God for her aid in assisting
us to reach that blissful state—or amid the torments
of unutterable woe in another region, we shall deplore
the fatality of her influence!

I look beyond the painted and gaudy scene of earth's
fading vanities
, to the everlasting ages through which
you must exist in torment or bliss; and, God helping me,
it shall not be my fault if you do not live in comfort,
die in peace, and inherit salvation!


Hammer, anvil, file & fire!

(Charles Spurgeon, "A Song Concerning Lovingkindnesses")

"I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, that
 in faithfulness You have afflicted me." Psalm 119:75

O, my brethren, how much we owe to the hammer
and the anvil and the file and the fire! Thanks be to
God for the little crosses of every day; yes, and for the
heavy crosses which He sends us at certain seasons.

He does not gather the twigs of His rod on the 'mountains
of wrath', but He plucks them in the 'garden of love', and
though He sometimes makes blue marks upon us as He
smites us heavily, yet His strokes are fewer than our
crimes—and lighter than our guilt.

Love bathes all the wounds which it makes, and kisses
away the smart. Blessed be a chastening God! Set down
your chastenings among your choicest mercies!

"For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises
 every son whom He receives." Hebrews 12:6


The first book they read

(J. A. James, "A Help to Domestic Happiness")

"Train up a child in the way he should go."
    Proverbs 22:6

Education in modern parlance, means nothing
more than instruction, or the communication of
knowledge to the mind; and a good education
means, the opportunity of acquiring all kinds
of learning, science, and what are called

But properly speaking, education in the true
and higher import of the term, means . . .
  the implanting of right dispositions,
  the cultivation of the heart,
  the guidance of the temper,
  the formation of the character.

The most important part of education is that
which relates to the communication of godly
, and the formation of moral habits.

You educate your children by . . .
  your example,
  your conversations,
  your likings and dislikings,
  your home life,
  your daily behavior,
these, these will educate them!

You began educating your children the moment they
were capable of forming an idea. This unconscious
education is of more constant and powerful effect,
and of far more consequence than that which is
direct and apparent. This education goes on at
every instant of time. It goes on like time—you
can neither stop it nor turn its course.

Your children may read many books, but the first
book they read
, and that which they continue to
read, and by far the most influential—is that of
their parents' example and daily deportment.


It is only by the Spirit's teaching

(William Tiptaft)

As a child of God, you are not of the world, but
are chosen out of it. You are only a stranger and
a pilgrim here.

You will meet with many professing to love the
true doctrines of the gospel; but, alas! they at
the same time love their sins, and too evidently
show themselves to be . . .
  lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

The gospel conforms God's people to the
image of His dear Son.

It is only by the Spirit's teaching that we learn to
be humble, meek, and lowly of heart; we see our
helpless and lost state by nature, and are surprised
to find our hearts so unclean and sinful.


True conversion

(Arthur Pink, "Profiting from the Word")

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve
 the living and true God." 1 Thessalonians 1:9

True conversion is . . .
  a tearing down of every idol,
  a renouncing of the empty vanities of a cheating world,
  taking God for our portion, our ruler, our all in all.

The Death of John Paul II

I grieve for John Paul II who gained the whole world
but forfeited his soul. Year after year he was the most
loved and admired man in the world, but because he
was blinded by the prince of this world, he never saw
the light of the gospel or the glory of Christ. Had he
been a devoted follower of Jesus Christ he would have
been hated and persecuted by the world. I also grieve
for the many who have been deceived by this pope and
his religion. It breaks my heart to see so many professing
Christians who cannot discern truth from error and genuine
Christianity from its counterfeit.

If ever there was a more important time for faithful servants
of our Lord Jesus Christ to take a stand for the truth, it is now.
The religious corruption of Rome has been on constant display
for the whole world to see. The splendor and pageantry has
been extraordinary. Thousands of deceived people have stood
in long lines to venerate a dead man with a rosary in his hands
and a twisted crucifix by his side. Bishops and Cardinals are
now encouraging Catholics to pray to and for this dead pope
whose body is constantly being "blessed" with incense and holy
water. Praying prayers with meaningless repetition to anyone
other than God is an abomination to God (Matthew 6:5-7;
Deut. 18:11). The bizarre veneration and adoration of this man
has been unprecedented. It appears no one is concerned with
the words of Jesus who said, "Woe to you when all men speak
well of you" (Luke 6:26)

Tragically the pope has had greater success in deceiving the
world since he died than during his 26 year pontificate. The
global media has become his mouthpiece and willing partner
in spreading his perverted theology. Through non-stop television
coverage, the pope's church has become the world's stage. Its
princes have been masquerading in their purple and scarlet robes
as "ministers of righteousness." They have cast a spell over the
TV audience with the splendor or their rituals and the pomp and
pageantry of their pagan traditions. The magnificence and
grandeur of this corrupt religion has bewitched much of the
gullible world into believing this is what Christianity is all about.

Few evangelical leaders will speak about the pope's false gospel
that shut the kingdom of heaven to those who wanted to enter.
They refuse to acknowledge that he was condemned by God's
word for preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). Instead they
are saying that since he "believed in Jesus," he went directly
to heaven. His salvation has been guaranteed by some
evangelicals because of his suffering, goodness, and holiness.
There are times in the lives of evangelicals when our faith is
tested. This is indeed one of those tests and sadly we see
many failing the tests by capitulating with enemies of the
Gospel. Could it be that they are seeking the favor and
approval of men rather than the approval of God?

Many are praising John Paul II for being a great spiritual leader.
But why give such honor to the head of an apostate church which
keeps over a billion people in spiritual darkness. While he never
claimed to be God, he took pleasure in being addressed with
titles reserved for the triune God alone. He usurped the title
"Holy Father" from God the Father, "The Head of the Church"
from the Lord Jesus Christ and "The Vicar of Christ" from the
Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised to send in His place.

The pope said he represented Jesus Christ, yet he lived in stark
contrast to the Savior who had no place to lay His head. He
denied Jesus was man's Creator by teaching evolution is true.
On several occasions he denied that Jesus was the only way to
the Father. When he addressed Muslim leaders, he said there is
"a common spiritual bond that unites us." In 1999 he denied the
blood of Jesus was the only purification for sin by awarding a
plenary indulgence for anyone who quit smoking or drinking
alcohol. John Paul is acclaimed as a great moral leader, yet
he failed to discipline American Bishops for tolerating the
wicked sexual abuse of deviant priests.

One thing is certain—the pope knows the truth now. I believe
he is experiencing what the rich man in Luke 16 endured. Both
of them dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in splendor
every day. When the rich man died and found himself tormented
in the flames of Hades, he begged the Father to send someone
to tell his family the truth so they would repent and not end up
in the same place. The pope may now be making the same request.

The passing of John Paul II opens up a tremendous opportunity
for Christians to talk about spiritual issues. We must speak the
truth in love and proclaim the Gospel with clarity and completeness!
We must also earnestly contend for the faith against everything
that stands opposed to God's word. May God help us to be faithful
in these times of great deception and compromise!
Mike Gendron,


Give no glory to this rubbish!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Christ the Glory of His People")

Alas! alas! It makes a Christian's blood boil to see
glory given to a pack of scamps who call themselves

Does it not make a man feel, when you see pictures
of 'his holiness' and the cardinals, and so on, scattering
their benedictions at the Vatican, or at St. Peter's, while
admiring crowds fall down and worship them, that it were
infinitely better to bow to the devil himself?

We give glory unto God, but not a particle of glory to
anything in the shape of a man, or an angel either.

Have I not stood and seen the crowds by hundreds fall
down and worship images and dressed up dolls? I have
seen them worship bones and old teeth; I have seen
them worship a skeleton, dressed out in modern costume
said to be the skeleton of a saint.

I have marveled to see people so infatuated as to think
that such idolatry was pleasing to the most high God.

We, brethren, the people of God, who know Christ, can give
no glory to this rubbish
, but turn away from it with horror!

Our glory must be given to Christ, and to Christ alone!

Christ and Christ only must be the grand object of the
Christian; the promotion of His glory must be that for
which he is willing to live, and for which, if needs be,
he would be prepared to die.

Oh! down, down, down, with everything else—but up,
up, up, with the cross of Christ!

Down with your baptism, and your masses, and your
sacraments! Down with your priest-craft, and your rituals,
and your liturgies! Down with your fine music, and your
pomp, and your robes, and your garments, and all your

But up, up, up, with the doctrine of the naked cross,
and the expiring Savior!