Grace Gems for DECEMBER 2006

Such a wretch you would have been!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ")

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have
 drawn you with loving-kindness." Jeremiah 31:3

There are but few upon whom God bestows His saving love.

Tell me, are not the gifts which Christ has given you—rare
gifts? What would you have been—if Christ had not made
a difference between you and others—by those glorious gifts
which He has conferred upon you? You look upon some, and
see they are very ignorant of spiritual truth. O! What would
you have been
—if God had not bestowed saving knowledge
upon you? You look upon others who are unclean, profane,
and filthy. Why! such a wretch you would have been—if
the Lord had not made a difference between you and them,
by bestowing Himself, His grace, and Spirit upon you.

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom
 of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor
 idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual
 offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers
 nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 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 6:9-11

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Your spots and blots

(Thomas Brooks, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ")

"The Lord our righteousness." Jeremiah 23:6

"They are without fault before the throne of God." Rev. 14:5

Weak hearts are apt to sit down troubled and discouraged,
when they look upon that body of sin which is in them, and
those imperfections which attend their best services. They
are ready to say, "We shall one day perish by the strength
of our lusts, or by the defects of our services!" Oh but, to
strengthen them against all discouragements, they  should
remember this—that they stand before God, clothed with
the righteousness of their Savior. "They are without fault
before the throne of God." Revelation 14:5

So in Cant. 4:7, "All beautiful you are, my darling; there is
no flaw in you." There is no flaw in God's account. God looks
upon weak saints in the Son of His love—and sees them all
lovely. Ah, poor souls! you are apt to look upon your spots
and blots
, and to cry out with the leper not only "Unclean!
unclean!" but "Undone! undone!" Well, forever remember
this—that you stand before God in the righteousness of
Christ; upon which account you always appear before the
throne of God without fault; where you are all lovely, and
where there is no flaw in you.

"They are without fault before the throne of God." Rev. 14:5

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Dolls and rattles

(Thomas Brooks, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ")

The thoughts and hearts of weak Christians are more
taken up with the good things they have from Christ—
than with Christ Himself. Oh, their graces, their comforts,
their enlargements, their meltings, and their warmings,
are the things which most absorb them. Their thoughts
and hearts are so exercised about these things—that
Christ Himself is much neglected by them.

The child is so absorbed with dolls and rattles,
that the mother is not thought of. And such is
the behavior of weak Christians towards Christ.

Those who are strong in grace are more taken up with
Christ Himself, than they are with His love-tokens. They
bless Christ indeed for every grain of grace—but Christ
Himself is more to them than all these. Christ is the
most sparkling diamond in the ring of glory!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Rattles and baubles

(Thomas Brooks, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ")

Weak Christians are usually much concerned and taken
up with the poor base things of this world. They are
much in carking and caring for them, and in pursuing
and hunting greedily after them. All which does clearly
evidence—that their graces are very weak, and their
corruptions very strong.

Certainly there is but little of Christ and grace within,
where the heart is so strongly concerned about earthly
things. Where there is such strong love and workings
of heart after these poor things—it shows the soul's
enjoyment of God to be but poor and low. Those who
are rich and strong in grace, look upon the world with
a holy scorn and disdain.

The greatest bargain which a soul rich in grace will
make with God for himself is this, "Give me but bread
to eat and clothes to wear—and you shall be my God."
So it was with that brave soul in Genesis 28:21. Jacob
desires but bread and clothing. Mark, he asks bread
—not dainties; clothing—not ornaments.

Grown men prefer one piece of gold, above a thousand
new pennies. A soul who is strong in grace, who is high
in its spiritual enjoyments, prefers one good word from
God, above all the dainties of this world. Souls who know
by experience what the bosom of Christ is, what spiritual
communion is, what the glory of heaven is—will not be
put off with things which are mixed, mutable, and
momentary. "Lord," he prays, "Warm my heart with
the beams of Your love—and then a little of these
things will suffice."

It is childish to be concerned more with the rattles
and baubles
of this world, than with heavenly riches.

A little of this world will satisfy one who is strong in grace,
much will not satisfy one who is weak in grace,
nothing will satisfy one who is void of grace.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Satan's apes

(Brooks, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ")

Pride sets itself against the honor, being, and
sovereignty of God. Other sins strike at the word
of God, the people of God, and the creatures of
God—but pride strikes directly at the very being
of God. He bears a special hatred against pride.

It was pride which turned angels into devils.
They would be above others in heaven—and
therefore God cast them down to hell.

Pride is a sin which of all sins, makes a person
most like Satan. Pride is Satan's disease. Pride
is so base a disease, that God had rather see His
dearest children to be buffeted by Satan, than
that in pride they should be like Satan.

Humility makes a man like to angels—and pride
makes an angel a devil. Pride is worse than the
devil, for the devil cannot hurt you until pride
has possessed you.

If you would see the devil portrayed to the life
—look upon a proud soul; for as face answers
to face, so does a proud soul answer to Satan.

Proud souls are Satan's apes, and none imitate
him to the life like these. And oh that they were
sensible of it, before it is too late, before the
door of darkness be shut upon them!

"The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure
 of this: They will not go unpunished." Prov. 16:5

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

If this does not humble you

(Thomas Brooks, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ")

Dwell much upon the greatness of God's mercy and
goodness to you. Nothing humbles and breaks the
heart, like God's mercy and love. In Luke 7, the Lord
Jesus shows mercy to that notorious sinner, and then
she falls down at His feet, and loves much and weeps
much, etc.

Oh, if ever you would have your souls kept humble,
dwell upon the free grace and love of God to you in
Christ! Dwell upon . . .
  the firstness of His love,
  the freeness of His love,
  the greatness of His love,
  the fullness of His love,
  the unchangeableness of His love,
  the everlastingness of His love, and
  the ardency of His love.
If this does not humble you
, there is nothing
on earth which will do it. Dwell upon what God has
undertaken for you. Dwell upon the choice and
worthy gifts which He has bestowed on you. Dwell
upon that eternal glory and happiness which He has
prepared for you—and then be proud if you can.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

If you are not as wicked as others

(Thomas Brooks, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ")

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corin. 15:10

Whatever evil you behold in other men's practices, realize
that you have the same evil in your own nature.

There is the seed of all sins, of the vilest and worst of
sins—in the best of men. When you see a drunkard—you
may see the seed of that sin in your own nature. When
you see an immoral man—you may see the seeds of
immorality in your own nature. If you are not as
wicked as others
—it is not because of the goodness
of your nature—but from the riches of God's grace!

Remember this—there is not a worse nature in hell
than that which is in you, and it would manifest itself
accordingly—if the Lord did not restrain it!

There was one who was a long time tempted to three
horrid sins: to be drunk, to lie with his mother, and to
murder his father. Being a long time followed with
these horrid temptations, at last he thought to get
rid of them, by yielding to what he judged the least,
and that was to be drunk; but when he was drunk, he
did both lie with his mother and murdered his father.

Why, such a hellish nature is in every soul that breathes!
And did God leave men to act according to their natures,
all men would be incarnate devils, and this world a total
hell. In your nature you have that that would lead you . . .
  with the Pharisees—to oppose Christ;
  and with Judas—to betray Christ;
  and with Pilate—to condemn Christ;
  and with the soldiers—to crucify Christ.

Oh, what a monster, what a devil you would be—should
God but leave you to act suitable to that sinful and woeful
nature of yours!

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corin. 15:10

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Watch your life and doctrine closely

"Be an example to all believers in what you
 teach, in the way you live, in your love, your
 faith, and your purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

"A preacher's life should be a commentary of his
 doctrine; his practice should be a counterpart of
 his sermons. Heavenly doctrines should always be
 adorned with a heavenly life." (Thomas Brooks)

"We preach to people who must live forever in heaven
 or hell—with God or devils—in an eternity of joy or
 of torment!" (Thomas Doolittle)

"Watch your life and doctrine closely." 1 Tim. 4:16

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Meditate, practice, pray

(Thomas Brooks, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ")

You must meditate and dwell upon what you read;
otherwise your pains and mine will be lost. The more any
man is in the contemplation of truth, the more deep and
firm impression is made upon his heart by truth. Heavenly
meditation brings out the sweetness that is in divine truths.
Not those who get most—but those who keep most, are
richest. So not those who hear most, or read most—but
those who meditate most, are most edified and enriched.

You must also practice and live out what you read. To
read much and practice nothing—is to hunt much and catch
nothing. Ah! what cause have most to sigh, that they have
heard so much, and read so much—and yet done so little!

You must also pray over what you read. Many read much,
and pray little, and therefore get little by all they read. Galen
writes of a fish called Uranoscopos, that has but one eye,
which looks continually up to heaven. When a Christian has
one eye upon his book—the other should be looking up to
heaven for a blessing upon what he reads!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Your enemy!

(Joseph Alleine, "Alarm to the Unconverted" 1671)

"I myself, the Sovereign Lord, am now your enemy!"
    Ezekiel 5:8

Unconverted sinner! You are not only against God—but
God is against you! As there is no friend like Him—so
there is no enemy like Him. As much as heaven is above
the earth, omnipotence above impotence—so much more
terrible is it to fall into the hands of the living God, than
into the paws of bears and lions, yes, furies or devils!
God Himself will be your tormentor! Who or what shall
deliver you out of His hands? Sinner, I think this would
go like a dagger to your heart—to know that God
Himself is your enemy! Oh where will you go?
Where will you shelter yourself?

The infinite God is engaged against you! He hates all workers
of iniquity. Man, does not your heart tremble to think of your
being an object of God's hatred? "As surely as I live, when I
sharpen My flashing sword and begin to carry out justice, I
will bring vengeance on My enemies and repay those who
hate Me!" (Deuteronomy 32:40-41)

The power of God is mounted like a mighty cannon against
you. Sinner, the power of God's anger is against you—and
power and anger together make fearful work. There is no
escaping His hands—no breaking loose from His prison. 

"O consider this, you who forget God, lest He tear you in
 pieces, and there be none to deliver!" (Psalm 50:22)

Submit to mercy. Let not dust and stubble battle against
the Almighty. "Woe to him who strives with his Maker!"
(Isaiah 45:9)

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

But now the tune is changed

(Joseph Alleine, "Alarm to the Unconverted" 1671)

Conversion turns the bent of the affections. These all
run in a new channel. Christ is now his hope. This is his
prize. Here his eye is—here his heart. He is content to
cast all overboard, as the merchant in the storm about
to perish—so that he may but keep this jewel.

The first of his desires is not after gold—but grace. He
hungers for it, he seeks it as silver, he digs for it as for
hidden treasure. He had rather be gracious than great.
He had rather be the holiest man on earth than the most
learned, the most famous, the most prosperous. While
carnal, he said, 'O if I were but in great esteem, rolling
in wealth, and swimming in pleasure—then I would be
a happy man!' But now the tune is changed. 'Oh!'
says the convert, 'if I had but my corruptions subdued,
if I had such a measure of grace, and fellowship with
God—though I were poor and despised, I would not
care, I would account myself a blessed man!'

Reader, is this the language of your soul?

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

We have but added fuel to those burning coals!

(Thomas Brooks, "A String of Pearls" 1657)

"And they will go away into eternal punishment, but
 the righteous will go into eternal life." Matthew 25:46

Oh! what trouble of mind,
what horror of conscience,
what distraction and vexation,
what terror and torment,
what weeping and wailing,
what crying and roaring,
what wringing of hands,
what tearing of hair,
what dashing of knees,
what gnashing of teeth
will there be among the wicked—when they shall
see the saints in all their splendor, dignity, and
glory—and themselves forever shut out of heaven!

Then shall the wicked lamentingly say, "Lo! these
are the men whom we counted fools, madmen, and
miserable! Oh but now we see that we were deceived
and deluded! Oh that we had never despised them!
Oh that we had never reproached them!
Oh that we had never trampled upon them!
Oh that we had been one with them!
Oh that we had imitated them!
Oh that we had walked as they, and done as they
—that so we might now have been as happy as they!
Oh but this cannot be!
Oh this may not be!
Oh this shall never be!
Oh that we had never been born!
Oh that now we might be unborn!
Oh that we might be turned into a bird, a beast, a toad, a stone!
Oh that we were anything but what we are!
Oh that we were nothing!
Oh that now our immortal souls were mortal!
Oh that we might die—so that we may not eternally exist!
But it is now too late!
Oh we see that there is a reward for the righteous!
And we see, that by all the contempt which we have
cast upon these glorious shining saints, whose splendor
and glory does now darken the very glory of the sun,
that we have but treasured up wrath against the day
of wrath! We have but added fuel to those burning
, to those everlasting flames—in which we must
now lie forever! "And they cried to the mountains and
the rocks—Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One
who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

No mind has imagined

(Thomas Brooks, "A String of Pearls" 1657)

Surely there is no believer but who finds that sometimes
sin interrupts his joy, and sometimes Satan disturbs his
joy, and sometimes afflictions eclipse his joy. Sometimes
the cares of the world, and sometimes the snares of the
world, and sometimes the fears of the world—mar his joy.

Here on earth, our joy is mixed with sorrow; our
rejoicing with trembling. The most godly have . . .
  sorrow mixed with their joy,
  water mixed with their wine,
  vinegar mixed with their oil,
  pain mixed with their ease,
  winter mixed with their summer, etc.

But in heaven, they shall have . . .
  joy without sorrow,
  light without darkness,
  sweetness without bitterness,
  summer without winter,
  health without sickness,
  honor without disgrace,
  glory without shame, and
  life without death.

"In His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right
 hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11

  for quality—there are pleasures;
  for quantity—fullness;
  for dignity—at God's right hand;
  for duration—forevermore.
And millions of years multiplied by millions, do
not make up one minute of this eternity of joy
which the saints shall have in heaven! In heaven
there shall be no sin to take away your joy, nor
any devil to take away your joy, nor any man
to take away your joy!

As they shall have in heaven pure joy, so they shall
have in heaven fullness of joy. Here on earth all joy
is at an ebb—but in heaven is the flood of joy! Here
shall be joy above joy, joy surmounting all joy. Here
shall be such great joys—as no geometrician can
measure; so many joys—as no arithmetician can
number; and such wonderful joys—as no rhetorician
can utter, had he the tongue of men and angels!

Sometimes great crosses, sometimes hard losses, and
sometimes unexpected changes—turn a Christian's
harping into mourning.

Here shall be joy within you, and joy without you,
and joy above you, and joy beneath you, and joy
about you. Joy shall spread itself over all the members
of your bodies, and over all the faculties of your souls.

In heaven,
  your knowledge shall be full,
  your love full,
  your visions of God full,
  your communion with God full,
  your enjoyment of God full,
  and your conformity to God full;
and from thence will arise fullness of joy.

If all the earth were paper, and all the plants of the
earth were pens, and all the sea were ink, and if every
man, woman, and child, had the pen of a ready writer;
yet they would not able to express the thousandth part
of those joys which saints shall have in heaven!

All the joy which we have here in this world is but
pensiveness—compared to that joy which we shall
have in heaven. All the pleasure which we have
here in this world is but heaviness—compared to that
joy which we shall have in heaven. All sweetness
which we have here in this world is but bitterness—
compared to that joy which we shall have in heaven.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind
 has imagined
what God has prepared for those
 who love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

What do you now think of the delights of sin?

(Thomas Doolittle, "How we should eye eternity, that
it may have its due influence upon us in all we do

Death is our passing out of time into eternity.

Death is dreadful to the ungodly, because it opens the
door into everlasting misery. Did you who are yet Christless,
impenitent, and unbelieving, see where you are going, and
where you must within a little time take up your everlasting
lodgings—what fear and trembling would seize upon you!
Before your bodies are carried by men unto your graves,
your souls will be dragged by devils into hell! If you sleep
on in sin until you die, you will be awakened by the
flames of hell!

Sin would plunge you into unseen, eternal torments,
into endless flames and everlasting burnings. If you
could speak with a soul departed into hell but a month
ago, and ask him, "What do you now think of the
delights of sin
, of your pleasant cups and delightful
games, of your pleasing of the flesh, and gratifying of
its lusts?"

What a sad reply would he return, and what a doleful
answer would he make! "Sin! O sin was my ruin! It
was sin which has brought me (miserable wretch!) to
everlasting torment! It was sin which shut me out of
heaven—and sank me down to hell! The devil showed
me the delights of sin—but concealed from me the
extremity and eternity of the pain which sin has
brought me to! The pleasure is past—but the
pain continues
, and I am lost forever! All this
sin has brought me to!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

O, my son, my son!

(Thomas Doolittle, "How we should eye eternity, that
it may have its due influence upon us in all we do

You parents, why do you not bewail the doleful state
of your unsaved children, who in their sinful courses,
are hastening to eternal pains?

"What, my son! the son of my womb! did I bear you
with so much sorrow—and shall you be eternally damned?
Did I travail with you with so much pain, and brought and
nursed you up with so much labor—and must you be
forever fuel for the flames of hell?
Have I brought
forth my child to be a prey to devils, and a companion
with them to all eternity? O, my son, my son! what
shall I do for you, my son, my son!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

This is not your resting-place

(Thomas Brooks, "A String of Pearls" 1657)

This life is full of trials, full of troubles, and full of changes.
Sin within, and Satan and the world without, will keep a
Christian from rest, until he comes to rest in the bosom of
Christ. The life of a Christian is a race—and what rest have
those who are still a-running their race? The life of a Christian
is a warfare—and what rest have those who are still engaged
in a constant warfare? The life of a Christian is the life of a
—and what rest has a pilgrim, who is still a-traveling
from place to place? The fears, the snares, the cares, the
changes, etc., which attend believers in this world, are such
that will keep them from taking up their rest here. A Christian
hears that word always sounding in his ears, "Arise, for this is
not your resting-place
, because it is polluted." Micah 2:10.
A man may as well expect to find heaven in hell—as expect to
find rest in this world! Rest is a jewel very desirable on earth;
but we shall not wear it in our bosoms until we come to heaven.

Man's sorrows begin when his days begin, and his
sorrows are multiplied as his days are multiplied;
his whole life is but one continued grief:
  labor wears him,
  care tears him,
  fears toss him,
  losses vex him,
  dangers trouble him,
  crosses disquiet him,
  nothing pleases him.

The rest reserved in heaven for
believers is a universal rest—
  a rest from all sin;
  a rest from all sorrow;
  a rest from all afflictions;
  a rest from all temptations;
  a rest from all oppression;
  a rest from all vexations;
  a rest from all labor and pains;
  a rest from all trouble and travail;
  a rest from all aches, weaknesses, and diseases. 

"Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on.
 Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they
 will rest from all their toils and trials!
" Rev. 14:13

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Paying for admittance into heaven

(Horatius Bonar, "Bible Thoughts and Themes")

"He saved us—not by works of righteousness that
 we had done, but according to His mercy." Titus 3:5

Ritualism, or externalism, or traditionalism
are all different forms of self-righteousness; man's
self-invented ways of pleasing or appeasing God,
or paying for admittance into heaven. These
forms of self-righteousness are a human apparatus
for procuring God's pardon. They are the means by
which the performer of them hopes to win God's
favor—perhaps, also, man's praise—most certainly,
his own esteem.

Every act, or performance, or ceremony, which honors self,
exalts self, or gives prominence to self—is an accursed thing.
It is an abomination in the sight of God—however religious,
or sacred, or solemn, or devout, it may seem to man.

It is to self-righteousness in some form or other, that man
is always tending. Man attempts to make up for this badness,
or to cover it over, by works, and devotions, and ceremonies.
All this is pure self-righteousness.

The religion of self-righteousness in our day consists
of works, feelings, fancies, music, rites, festivals, fasts,
gestures, postures, garments. It is something which
gratifies self; which pleases the natural man; which
makes a man think well of himself; which gives a
man something to do or to feel in order to earn
pardon and merit heaven. Pride, religious pride, is
at the root. Ritualism is man's expression of rejection
of Christ. It was self-righteous religion which crucified
the Son of God. All human rites and ceremonies are
man's ways of getting rid of Christ. What can all
these things do? Can they save?
Can religious postures save?
Can religious garments save?
Can religious candles save?
Can religious music save?
Can religious architecture save?
Can religious cathedrals save?
No! They lead away from Jesus! They make void
the cross, and trample on His blood!

"He saved us—not by works of righteousness that
 we had done, but according to His mercy." Titus 3:5

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

The saints' hell—and the sinners' heaven

(Thomas Brooks, "A String of Pearls" 1657)

"And they will go away into eternal punishment,
 but the righteous will go into eternal life."
    Matthew 25:46

This present life is the saints' hell—and
the sinners' heaven
The next life will be the saints' heaven
—and the sinners' hell.

Here on earth wicked men have their heaven,
hereafter they shall have their hell. The time
of this life is the day of their joy and triumph;
and when this short day is ended—then eternal
lamentations, mournings, and woes follow!

Ah sinners! sinners! that day is hastening
upon you, wherein you shall have  . . .
  punishment without pity,
  misery without mercy,
  sorrow without support,
  pain without pleasure, and
  torments without end!

Ah, sinners! sinners! Ah! your portion is below,
and you are already adjudged to those torments
which are endless, easeless, and remediless; where
the worm never dies, and the fire never goes out!
The day is coming upon you, sinners, when . . .
  all your sweet shall be turned into bitter;
  all your glory into shame;
  all your plenty into scarcity;
  all your joys into sorrows;
  all your recreations into vexations; and
  all your momentary comforts into everlasting torments!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

The secret of being content

(Thomas Brooks, "A String of Pearls" 1657)

A man needs very little of this world's goods to
carry him through his pilgrimage, until he comes
to his home—until he comes to heaven.

A little will satisfy the demands of nature;
though nothing will satisfy a man's lusts!

"I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances
 I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how
 to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned
 the secret of being content—whether well-fed or hungry,
 whether in abundance or in need." Philippians 4:11-12

A Christian, in the midst of all his worldly delights, comforts,
and entertainments, says, "Oh these are not the delights, the
comforts, the contentments which my soul looks for, which
my soul expects and hopes to enjoy. I look and hope  . . .
  for choicer delights,
  for sweeter comforts,
  for more satisfying contentments,
  for more durable riches!

A Christian's motto always is, or always should be, "I hope
for better things! I hope for better things than any the world
can give to me, or than any that Satan can take from me!"

"They admitted that they were aliens and strangers on
 earth. Instead, they were longing for a better country
 —a heavenly one." Hebrews 11:13, 16

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

The happy exchange

(Thomas Brooks, "A String of Pearls" A sermon
 preached in London in 1657, at the funeral
 of that triumphant saint, Mrs. Mary Blake)

I heartily wish that all who are concerned in
this sad loss, were more taken up in minding
the happy exchange
which Mary has made,
than with your present loss.

She has exchanged:
  earth—for heaven,
  a wilderness—for a paradise,
  a prison—for a palace,
  a house made with hands—for one eternal in the heavens,
  imperfection—for perfection,
  sighing—for singing,
  mourning—for rejoicing,
  petitions—for praises,
  the society of sinful mortals—for the company of God,
  pain—for ease,
  sickness—for health,
  a bed of weakness—for a bed of spices,
  her brass—for silver,
  her pennies—for gold,
  her earthly contentments—for heavenly enjoyments,
  an imperfect, transient enjoyment of God—for a more
  clear, full, perfect, and permanent enjoyment of God.

And as I desire that one of your eyes may be fixed upon
her happiness—so I desire that your other eye may be
fixed upon Christ's fullness. Though your brook be dried
up, yet Christ the fountain of light, life, love, grace, glory,
comfort, joy, goodness, sweetness and satisfaction—is still
at hand—and always full and flowing—yes, overflowing!

As the worth and value of many pieces of silver is contracted
in one piece of gold—so all the sweetness, all the goodness,
all the excellencies which are in husbands, wives, children,
friends, etc., are concentrated in Christ! Yes, all the whole
volume of perfections which is spread through heaven and
earth—is epitomized in Christ!

Oh, that your hearts and thoughts were thus busied about
Christ, and taken up with Christ, and with those treasures
of wisdom, knowledge, grace, goodness, sweetness, etc.,
which are in Him! This would very much allay your grief and
sorrow, and keep your hearts quiet and silent before the Lord.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

He would be double-damned

(Thomas Brooks, "Apples of Gold" 1660)

"Then I beg you—send Lazarus to my father's house,
 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that
 they will not also come to this place of torment."
     Luke 16:27-28

Dives knew that if his brethren were damned—that
he would be double-damned, because he had
largely contributed to the bringing of them to hell
by his wicked example. Therefore he desires that
they might be kept out of hell—not out of any love
or goodwill to them—but because their coming
there would have made his hell more hot, his
torments more insufferable.

The lowest, the darkest, the hottest place in hell,
will be for those who have drawn others there by
their example. "It would be better for him to be
thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around
his neck—than for him to cause one of these little
ones to sin." Luke 17:2