Grace Gems for March 2007

An outlet and an inlet

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"Death has been swallowed up in victory!" 1 Cor. 15:54

DEATH is an outlet and an inlet to a holy man.

Death is an eternal outlet . . .
  to all sins,
  to all sorrows,
  to all shame,
  to all sufferings,
  to all afflictions,
  to all temptations,
  to all oppressions,
  to all confusions, and
  to all vexations.

Death is an eternal inlet into . . .
  the clear, full, and constant enjoyment of God,
  the sweetest pleasures,
  the purest joys,
  the highest delights,
  the strongest comforts, and
  the most satisfying contentments.

Death is the funeral of all a holy man's sins and miseries—and
the perfection of all his joys, graces, and spiritual excellencies.

Death is not the death of the man—but the death of his sin.

Death is a Christian's discharge from all trouble and misery!

Death came in by sin—and sin goes out by death.

Death cures all diseases—the aching head and the unbelieving
heart; the diseased body and the defiled soul. Death will cure
the holy man of all natural and spiritual distempers.

Death is God's gentle usher to conduct us to heaven.

Death to a holy man, is nothing but the changing of . . .
  his grace—into glory,
  his faith—into vision,
  his hope—into fruition, and
  his love—into eternal rapture!

Oh, who would not go through death . . .
  to heaven!
  to eternal life!
  to immortality and glory!

Death, to a Christian, is . . .
  a welcome guest,
  a happy friend,
  a joyful messenger!

"Death has been swallowed up in victory!" 1 Cor. 15:54

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Many divine miracles

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new
: old things are passed away; behold,
 all things are become new!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

In every saved person, there are many divine
; there is . . .
  a dead man—restored to life,
  a dumb man—restored to speech,
  a blind man—restored to sight,
  a deaf man—restored to hearing,
  a lame man—restored to walking,
  a man possessed with devils—possessed with grace,
  a heart of stone—turned into a heart of flesh, and
  a life of wickedness—turned into a life of holiness.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Genuine assurance

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

Genuine holiness will yield you a heaven hereafter; but
genuine assurance will yield you a heaven here. He
who has holiness and knows it, shall have two heavens
—a heaven of joy, comfort, peace, contentment, and
assurance here—and a heaven of happiness and
blessedness hereafter.

Genuine assurance will be a spring of joy and comfort                       
in you. It will make heavy afflictions light, long afflictions
short, and bitter afflictions sweet. It will make you frequent,
fervent, constant, and abundant in the work of the Lord. It
will strengthen your faith, raise your hope, inflame your love,
increase your patience, and brighten your zeal. It will make
every mercy sweet, every duty sweet, every ordinance sweet,
and every providence sweet. It will rid you of all your sinful
fears and cares. It will give you ease under every burden,
and make death more desirable than life. It will make you
more strong to resist temptation, more victorious over
opposition, and more silent in every difficult condition.

Genuine assurance will turn . . .
  every winter night into a summer's day,
  every cross into a crown, and
  every wilderness into a paradise.

Genuine assurance will be . . .
  a sword to defend you,
  a staff to support you,
  a cordial to strengthen you,
  a medicine to heal you, and
  a star to lead you.

Well, remember this—next to a man's being saved, it is the
greatest mercy in this world—to know that he is saved.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I look to You for strength

(A Puritan Prayer)

O Lord of grace,
The world is before me this day, and I am weak
and fearful—but I look to You for strength.
If I venture forth alone, I stumble and fall—but
on the Beloved's arms I am firm as the eternal
hills. If left to the treachery of my heart, I shall
shame Your name—but if enlightened, guided,
upheld by Your Spirit, I shall bring You glory.
Be . . .
  my arm to support,
  my strength to stand,
  my light to see,
  my feet to run,
  my shield to protect,
  my sword to repel,
  my sun to warm.

To enrich me will not diminish Your fullness.
All Your loving-kindness is in Your Son. I bring
Him to You in the arms of faith. Accept . . .
  His worthiness for my unworthiness,
  His sinlessness for my transgressions,
  His purity for my uncleanness,
  His sincerity for my deceit,
  His truth for my lies,
  His meekness for my pride,
  His steadfastness for my backslidings,
  His love for my enmity,
  His fullness for my emptiness,
  His faithfulness for my treachery,
  His obedience for my lawlessness,
  His glory for my shame,
  His devotedness for my waywardness,
  His holy life for my unchaste ways,
  His righteousness for my dead works,
  His death for my life.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Other men's sins

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

By other men's sins, a holy man is put in mind of the
badness of his own heart. Bernard makes mention of an
old man, who, when he saw any man sin, lamented and
wept for him; and being asked why he grieved so, for
other men's sins, answered, "He fell today—and I may
fall tomorrow!" The falls of others puts a holy man in
mind of the roots of sinfulness which are in himself.
Other men's actual sins are as so many glasses, through
which a holy man comes to see the manifold seeds of sin
which are in his own heart—and such a sight as this
cannot but melt him and break him.

A holy heart knows that the best way to keep himself
pure from other men's sins, is to mourn for other men's
sins. He who makes conscience of weeping over other
men's sins—will rarely be defiled with other men's sins.

A holy heart looks upon other men's sins as their bonds
and chains—and this makes him mourn. Ah, how can
tears but trickle down a Christian's cheeks, when he sees
multitudes, fast bound with the cords of their iniquity,
trooping to hell? Who can look upon a sinner as a bound
prisoner to the prince of darkness—and not bemoan him?

If holy people thus mourn for the wickedness of others,
then certainly those who take pleasure in the wickedness
of others—who laugh and joy, who can make a sport of
other men's sins—are rather monsters than men! There
are none so nearly allied to Satan as these—nor any so
resemble Satan as much as these! (The devil always joys
most—when sinners sin most!) To applaud them, and take
pleasure in those who take pleasure in sin—is the highest
degree of ungodliness!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The diamond in that ring!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

The whole Scripture is but one entire love-letter, all
written in golden letters, dispatched from the Lord
Christ to His beloved spouse on earth. In it, there
is so much to be read of . . .
  the love of Christ,
  the heart of Christ,
  the kindness of Christ,
  the grace of Christ, and
  the glory of Christ,
that a holy heart cannot but love, and embrace,
and endeavor to conform to every line.

The whole word of God is a field—and Christ
is the treasure which is hidden in that field!

The whole word of God is a ring of gold—
and Christ is the diamond in that ring!

"The Scriptures point to Me!" John 5:39

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A silver vein of sanctity

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"In that day shall there be upon the bridles of the horses,
 Holiness unto the Lord
. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem
 and in Judah shall be Holiness unto the Lord Almighty."
    Zechariah 14:20-21

Here is holiness written upon the bridles of the horses they
ride on, and upon the cups and pots they drink with. A holy
heart will be holy in the use of common things.
piece of his life shall savor of sanctity; and in all the parts of
his every-day life, you shall be able to discern something of
the power of true religion.

He who is truly holy—will be holy in the use of earthly and
common things, as well as in the use of spiritual and heavenly
things. He will be spiritual in the use of mundane things; and
heavenly in the use of earthly things. There is a silver vein
of sanctity
which runs through all his worldly concernments.
If you look upon him in his eating and drinking—you shall find
him holy. If you look upon him in his buying and selling—you
shall find him holy. He is holy in his commerce, and holy in his
converse. Holiness is written upon his dealings with others, and
upon his behavior towards his family and friends. Whatever he
puts his hand to in his home—has holiness written upon it.

A holy man makes a Jacob's ladder of all his earthly enjoyments.
All the comforts in his home, lead him on in a way of holiness,
and lead him up to a holy God. Look upon a holy man in his
vocation—and you shall find him holy. Look upon him in the
use of earthly things—and you shall find him holy. Look upon
him in his recreations—and you shall find him holy. The habitual
frame and bent of his heart is to be holy in every earthly thing
which he puts his hand unto. A spirit of holiness runs and shines
in all the common actions of his life.

But for the false professor—all his religion, all his holiness, lies in
a few religious duties! Take him out of these, and you shall find
him as carnal, as vain, as foolish, as filthy and as frothy, as light
and as slight—as those who have not so much as a cloak of
upon them!

Look! as an unholy heart is carnal in spiritual things, and earthly
in heavenly things, and unholy in holy things—just so, a man who
is truly holy—he is as well holy in the ordinary affairs and actions
of this life, as he is holy in any of the exercises of piety.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do—do it
 all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Heaven would be a very hell

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"Yet they say to God—Leave us alone! We have no
 desire to know Your ways." Job 21:14

Heaven would be a very hell to an unholy heart.
If now—the presence of God in His servants, and the
presence of God in His ordinances—is such a hell to
unholy souls; ah, what a hell would the presence of
God in heaven be—to unholy hearts!

It is true, an unholy heart may desire heaven—as
it is a place of freedom from troubles, afflictions,
oppressions, vexations, etc., and as it is a place of
peace, rest, ease, safety, etc. But this is the least
and lowest part of heaven.

To desire heaven as it is . . .
  a place of purity,
  a place of grace,
  a place of holiness,
  a place of enjoying God, etc.
—is above the reach of an unholy heart.

The company of heaven are all holy,
the employments of heaven are all holy,
the enjoyments of heaven are all holy—
therefore heaven would be a most undesirable
thing to unholy hearts.

An unholy heart is no way desirous nor ambitious
of such a heaven . . .
  as will rid him of his darling sins,
  as will make him conformable to a holy God,
  as will everlastingly divorce him from his precious lusts,
  as will link him forever to those gracious souls whom
he has scorned, despised, and persecuted in this world.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Holy hatred

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"I hate every false way." Psalm 119:104

Where there is real holiness, there is a holy
, detestation, and indignation—against
all ungodliness and wickedness.

A holy man knows that all sin strikes . . .
  at the holiness of God,
  at the glory of God,
  at the nature of God,
  at the being of God,
  at the law of God—
and therefore his heart rises against all sin.

He looks upon every sin as a grieving of the Spirit,
as a vexing of the Spirit, and as a quenching of the
Spirit; and so nothing will satisfy him but the ruin
of them all. He looks upon every sin—
  as a dishonor to God,
  as an enemy to Christ,
  as a wound to the Spirit,
  as a reproach to the gospel,
  as a moth to his holiness—and therefore
his heart and his hand are against every sin.

He looks upon every sin . . .
  as that Judas who betrayed Christ;
  as that Pilate who condemned Christ;
  as those soldiers who scourged Christ;
  as those spears which pierced Christ.
He looks upon every sin as having a hand in the
death of his Savior—and therefore he cries out,
"Crucify them all, crucify them all!"

Look! as every lion has his den, every dog his kennel,
every swine his sty, and every crow his nest—just so,
every unholy person has one sin or another, to which
his heart is engaged and married; and that sin will
undo him forever!

As Lysimachus lost his earthly kingdom by drinking
one draught of water—just so, many lose a heavenly
kingdom by indulging some one sin or another.
One flaw spoils the diamond,
one treason makes a traitor,
one wrong turn brings a man quite out of the way,
one leak sinks the ship,
one wound strikes Goliath dead,
one Delilah betrays Samson,
one broken wheel spoils the whole clock,
one dead fly spoils the whole box of ointment.

And as one bastard son destroyed Gideon's seventy sons,
(Judges 8,)—just so, one predominant sin is enough to
destroy the soul forever. As by taking one nap Samson
lost his strength, and by eating one apple Adam lost his
paradise—just so, many men, by favoring one sin—lose
God, heaven, and their souls forever! He who favors any
sin, though he frowns upon many—does but as Benhadad
—recover of one disease and die of another; yes, he takes
pains to go to hell. Sin favored—always ends tragically.

Sometimes you shall have an unholy person
angry with sin, because it has . . .
  cracked his credit, or
  clouded his honor, or
  hindered his profit, or
  embittered his pleasure, or
  enraged his conscience, or
  exposed him to shame here and hell hereafter;
but never because . . .
  a righteous law is transgressed,
  a holy God is dishonored,
  a loving Savior is afresh crucified,
  or the blessed Spirit grieved.

A holy heart rises against sin because of its defiling nature.
An unholy heart rises against sin because of its damning nature.

A holy man is most afflicted with the evil which is in sin.
An unholy heart is most afflicted with the punishment which is due to sin.

A holy person hates sin because it pollutes his soul.
An unholy person hates it because it destroys his soul.

A holy person loathes sin because it makes against God's holiness.
An unholy person loathes it because it provokes God's justice.

A holy person detests sin because of the hell which is in sin.
An unholy person detests sin because of the hell which follows sin.

A holy heart abhors all sin.
An unholy heart is still in league with some sin.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The foolish Indians

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

The foolish Indians preferred every toy and trifle,
before their mines of gold. Just so, many foolish 
professors prefer the trifling vanities of this world,
before the glorious treasures and endless pleasures
which are at God's right hand. Witness that high
price which they set upon . . .
  the toys,
  the trifles,
  the vanities,
  the empty honors,
  the fading riches, and
  the fleeting pleasures of this world!

How severely are they to be censured—who prefer
the poor, base, empty nothings of this world—before
all the glory and happiness of the eternal world!

Were there but more holiness in your hearts—all
the mirthful and gallant things of this world, would be
more contemptible in your eyes.

"Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with
 the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
 I have discarded everything else, counting it all as
 garbage, so that I may have Christ." Philippians 3:8

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Marthas and Marys

J. C. Ryle, Mary & Martha, Luke 10:38-42)

Observe how different the characters and
personalities of true Christians may be. The
two sisters of whom we read in this passage
were faithful disciples. Both had believed. Both
had been converted. Both had honored Christ
when few gave Him honor. Both loved Jesus,
and Jesus loved both of them. Yet they were
evidently women of very different character.

Martha was active, stirring, and impulsive,
feeling strongly, and speaking out all she felt.
Mary was quiet, still, and contemplative,
feeling deeply, but saying less than she felt.

Martha, when Jesus came to her house, rejoiced
to see Him, and busied herself with preparing a
suitable refreshment. Mary, also, rejoiced to
see Him, but her first thought was to sit at His
feet and hear His word.

Grace reigned in both hearts, but each showed
the effects of grace in different ways.

We shall find it very useful to ourselves to remember
this lesson. We must not expect all believers in Christ
to be exactly like one another. We must not set down
others as having no grace, because their experience
does not entirely tally with our own.

The sheep in the Lord's flock have each their own peculiarities.

The trees in the Lord's garden are not all precisely alike.

All true servants of God agree in the principal
things of religion. All are led by one Spirit.
All feel their sins, and all trust in Christ.
All repent, all believe, and all are holy.

But in minor matters, they often differ widely.

Let no one despise another on this account.

There will be Marthas and there will be Marys
in the Church, until the Lord comes again.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A self-loather

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

True repentance is a daily turning of the soul further
and further from sin—and a daily turning of the soul
nearer and nearer to God.

True repentance includes . . .
  a true sense of sin,
  a deep sorrow for sin,
  a hearty loathing of sin, and
  a holy shame and blushing for sin.

To repent is to make . . .
  a clean head and a clean heart;
  a clean lip and a clean life.

To repent is for a man to loathe himself, as well as his sin.
Is this easy for man, who is so great a self-lover, and so
great a self-exalter, and so great a self-admirer—to
become a self-loather? To repent is to cross sinful self,
it is to walk contrary to sinful self, yes, it is to revenge
a man's self upon himself.

True repentance lies in a daily dying to sin, and in a
daily living to Him who lives forever.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Hell would be the place of greatest pleasure

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"They delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the
 perverseness of evil." Proverbs 2:14

Unsanctified people . . .
  take pleasure in unrighteousness,
  rejoice to do evil,
  make a sport of sin,
  delight to dishonor God,
  damn their own immortal souls.

Holiness only debars men from the sinful
joys, delights, and pleasures of life.

What a mercy it is, to be taken off from that carnal
which ends in mourning—and from those vain
which end in unspeakable torments—and from
that foolish jollity which leads to everlasting misery!

Ah, what folly and madness it is, for men to run the
hazard of losing the kingdom of heaven, and the
eternal pleasures which are at God's right hand—for
those short-lived pleasures which are like the early
dew which soon passes away! Ah, who would
endure an ocean of torture—for a drop of
sensual pleasure?

All sensual pleasures . . .
  defile the soul,
  debase the soul,
  debauch the soul,
  take off the heart from God,
  deaden the heart towards God.

Sensual pleasures and delights cannot satisfy the
soul of man; they are but frothy and flashy. They
only wet the mouth—they never warm the heart.
Sensual pleasures seem substantial in the pursuit
—but are mere clouds in the enjoyment.

There is nothing in carnal delights, but imagination
and expectation. For they can neither fill the heart,
nor satisfy the heart.

O sirs, there is no real pleasure in sin! All the
pleasures of sin are counterfeit pleasures; they are
but the shapes and shadows of pleasure. They are
the seeds of future grief; they are but a pledge laid
down for sorrow or ruin. Certainly if there were the
least real delight in sin—hell could never be hell.
Yes, then it would follow that hell would be the
place of greatest pleasure
—for doubtless hell
is the place of greatest sin.

Oh, don't deceive your own souls! There can be no real
joy in sensual pleasures. What real delight or pleasure
can there be in fooling and staggering in an ale-house
or tavern; in swaggering and swearing; in dicing and
carding; in dancing, partying, and whoring; in pursuing
after lying vanities? Surely none! As for those seeming
pleasures which attend the ways of sin—ah, how soon
do they vanish and leave a sting behind them!

Look! all the pleasures which manhood takes a person
off from—are babyish and toyish pleasures; such as from
delighting in a rattle, a doll, a feather, a hobby-horse, a
wooden sword, etc. Just so, all the pleasures and delights
which holiness takes a man off from—they are babyish
and foolish; yes, they are vile, dangerous, and devilish!

Holiness is only an exchange . . .
  of sinful delights—for those which are holy;
  of carnal delights—for those which are spiritual;
  of earthly delights—for those which are heavenly.

He who delights in sensual pleasures shall find at
last—that his greatest pleasures will become his
bitterest pains!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Killing lust

(Henry Law, "Christ is All" 1854)

You pant to be conformed to the image
of Christ. This is well. But holiness can
be learned only at the cross. It is a sight
of the dying Jesus—which kills lust. It is
the shadow of the cross—which causes
evil to wither.

"They will look on Me whom they have
 pierced and mourn for Him as for an
 only son." Zechariah 12:10

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Head, hand, heart, lip, and life

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

True holiness is diffusive. It extends, diffuses,
and spreads itself all over the whole person . . .
  the head and the heart;
  the lip and the life;
  the inside and the outside.
The understanding is nourished on holiness,
the mind is adorned with holiness,
the will is bowed to holiness, and
all the affections are sprinkled,
yes, clothed with holiness—
  love is holy love,
  grief is holy grief,
  joy is holy joy,
  sorrow is holy sorrow,
  fear is holy fear,
  care is holy care,
  zeal is holy zeal.

Real holiness spreads itself over
head, hand, heart, lip, and life

"May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you
 through and through. May your whole spirit, soul
 and body be kept blameless at the coming of our
 Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The plague of unsatisfiedness

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of
 covetousness; a man's life does not consist in
 the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15

Covetousness is . . . 
  a very great and grievous sin;
  a mother-sin;
  a breeding sin;
  a sin which has all sin in its womb;
  a very vile and heinous sin;
  the root of all evil.

Covetousness makes the soul earthly
—which should be celestial.

Covetousness is an evil which subjects
men to the basest and vilest evils.

Covetousness makes a man a fool! "You fool!
This very night your life will be demanded
from you. Then who will get what you have
prepared for yourself?" Luke 12:20

Covetousness robs a man of all true peace,
comfort, contentment and quiet.

Covetousness brings men into snares which
drown their souls in perdition.

Covetousness renders men unsatisfied under all
their outward enjoyments. Though a covetous
wretch has enough to sink him—yet he can never
have enough to satisfy him. First he wishes for a
bag full, and then a chest full, and then a room
full, and then a house full, etc.

The plague of unsatisfiedness—is the great
plague which covetous men are under. Certainly
you shall as soon fill a triangle with a circle, and
a chest with grace—as you shall be able to fill
and satisfy a covetous mind with money.

A covetous man is like a swine—which is good for
nothing while it lives. The horse is good to carry,
the ox is good to draw, the sheep is good for cloth,
the cow is good to give milk, and the dog is good
to guard the house—but the hog is good for nothing
while he lives! Just so, a covetous man is only
serviceable when he is dead. That scripture often
proves true, "the riches of a sinner are laid up
for the just." Job 27:17

No sin lays men under greater woes!

"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and
 a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that
 plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of
 money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager
 for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced
 themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:9-10

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Tears have a voice

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping."
     Psalm 6:8

Tears have a voice. God has an eye as well upon
a man's tears—as upon his prayers. Penitent tears
are divine ambassadors, which never return from
the throne of grace without answers of grace. Peter
said nothing, but went out and wept bitterly—and
obtained mercy. Tears are a kind of silent prayers,
which will at last prevail for mercy.

"I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears."
    Isaiah 38:5

A sinner's face never shines so beautiful, as
when it is bedewed with penitential tears.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God's love-letter

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

The Scripture is God's love-letter to men. Here the
lamb may wade—and here the elephant may swim!

The blessed Scriptures are of infinite worth
and value! Here you may find . . .
  a remedy for every disease,
  balm for every wound,
  a plaster for every sore,
  milk for babes,
  meat for strong men,
  comfort for the afflicted,
  support for the tempted,
  solace for the distressed,
  ease for the wearied,
  a staff to support the feeble,
  a sword to defend the weak.

The holy Scriptures are . . .
  the map of God's mercy—and man's misery,
  the touchstone of truth,
  the shop of remedies against all maladies,
  the hammer of vices,
  the treasury of virtues,
  the exposer of all sensual and worldly vanities,
  the balance of equity,
  the most perfect rule of all justice and honesty.

Ah, friends, no book befits your hands like the Bible!

The Bible is the best preacher. This book,
this preacher will preach to you . . .
  in your shops,
  in your chambers,
  in your closets,
  yes, in your own bosoms!
This book will preach to you at home and abroad;
it will preach to you in all companies; and it will
preach to you in all conditions.

By this book you shall be saved—or
by this book you shall be damned!
By this book you must live.
By this book you must die.
By this book you shall be judged in the great day!

Oh, therefore . . .
  love this book above all other books,
  prize this book above all other books,
  read this book before all other books,
  study this book more than all other books!
For he who reads much—and understands nothing,
is like him who hunts much—and catches nothing.

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

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Spit out the sweet morsels of sin

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"When He comes, He will convict the world about sin."
    John 16:8

A man never comes . . .
  to see his sins, nor
  to be sick of his sins, nor
  to loathe his sins, nor
  to arraign his sins, nor
  to condemn his sins, nor
  to judge himself for his sins—
until he comes to be possessed by the Holy Spirit.

A man never comes . . .
  to spit out the sweet morsels of sin,
  to make a sacrifice of his only Isaac,
  to hack his trembling Agag in pieces,
  to strangle his Delilah,
and in good earnest to set upon an utter extirpation
of his most cherished sins—until the Spirit of holiness
comes upon him. Until the Holy Spirit falls upon the
hearts of sinners, they will never be turned out of . . .
  their pride,
  their formality,
  their carnality,
  their sensuality,
  their security.

To make a man holy—is greater than to create a world;
it can be done by none but by the Holy Spirit. It is the
great work of the Spirit—to shape and form holiness,
in all the vessels of glory.

The Spirit sweetly and strongly moves His people . . .
  to mind holiness,
  to fall in love with holiness,
  to press after holiness;
  to leave off their sins,
  to turn to God,
  to embrace Christ,
  to tremble at threatenings,
  to embrace promises.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Murder all his hearers at once!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"The leaders of the people have led them down the
 path of destruction." Isaiah 9:16

Take heed of settling yourselves under an unholy minister
—of one whose life gives the lie to his doctrine. An unholy
preacher is the greatest destroyer of the souls of men! He
who preaches well—but lives bad—does what he can, to
murder all his hearers at once! There is no greater
bar to holiness, than ministers' unholy lives. An unholy
life mars the soundest and the sweetest doctrine. The
sins of teachers
are the teachers of sins!

An unholy minister is the greatest pest, the worst
, and the greatest mischief—that can be to
a people; for his enormities, his wickednesses, will
have the strongest influences upon the souls and
lives of men—to make them eternally miserable.
His falls will be the fall and ruin of many; for
people are prone to . . .
  live more by examples—than by precepts;
  mind more what the minister doesthan what he says;
  eye more how he walks—than how he talks.

Let a minister be ever so learned, solid, quaint, elegant,
zealous, judicious, sententious, etc.—yet if he is carnal,
covetous, worldly, vain, and loose in his life and walk,
his hearers will rather slight and abhor the holy things
of God.

When the preacher departs out of the way of holiness,
the people will quickly wander from all that is good. He
whose life is not a standing reproof to sin, will, by his
life, encourage sinners more and more in a way of sin.
There is nothing which keeps men so off from the love
of holiness, and from the pursuing after holiness—than
the unholy lives of their ministers.

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

"Set an example for the believers in speech, in life,
 in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

"In everything set them an example by doing what
 is good." Titus 2:7

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Those who hunt after it are dogs!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

Though of all losses, the loss of the soul is the greatest, the
saddest, the sorest, the heaviest, and the most intolerable,
inconceivable, and irrecoverable loss—yet a man bewitched
with the world will run the hazard of losing his eternal soul,
of damning it—to enjoy the world.

Men who are bewitched with this world in these days, oh, how
do they prefer their sensual delights, their brutish contentments,
and their carnal enjoyments—before the beauties of holiness, and
before heavenly glory, where holiness sparkles and shines in all
its refulgence, and where their souls might be abundantly satisfied
and delighted with the most ravishing joys, the most surpassing
delights, and the most transcendent pleasures which are at God's
right hand!

The Arabic proverb says that "the world is a carcass—and
those who hunt after it are dogs!"
If this proverb is true,
what a multitude of professors will be found to be dogs—
  who hunt more after earth—than heaven;
  who hunt more after terrestrial things—than celestial things;
  who hunt more after worldly nothingnesses and emptinesses
—than they do after those fullnesses and sweetnesses which
are in God, Christ, heaven, and holiness!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Painted holiness

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for
 you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make
 long prayers; therefore you shall receive the greater
." Matthew 23:14

Who had a greater name for holiness, and who made a
greater show of holiness, and who did more despise and
insult other men for the lack of holiness—than the Scribes
and Pharisees? And who so miserable now—as they?

Pretended holiness will double-damn souls at last!

None have so large a portion in hell as hypocrites have.
No man at last will be found so miserable, as he who has
the name of a saint upon him—but not the divine nature
in him; who has a profession of holiness upon him—but no
principles of holiness in him; who has a form of godliness
—but not the power; who can cry up godliness—but in
practice denies it; who is a professor outwardly—but
an atheist, a pagan, a devil inwardly.

Artificial sanctity is double iniquity. He who professes
piety without being pious, and godliness without being
godly; he who makes counterfeit holiness a cloak to
impiety, and a midwife to iniquity; he who is . . .
  a Jacob without—and an Esau within,
  a David without—and a Saul within,
  a John without—and a Judas within,
  a saint without—and a Satan within,
  an angel without—and a devil within,
is ripened for the worst of torments!

Sirs, do not deceive your own souls!
A painted sword shall as soon defend a man, and
a painted mint shall as soon enrich a man, and
a painted fire shall as soon warm a man, and
a painted friend shall as soon counsel a man, and
a painted horse shall as soon carry a man, and
a painted feast shall as soon nourish a man, and
a painted house shall as soon shelter a man—as
a painted holiness shall save a man! He who
now thinks to put off God with a painted holiness,
shall not fare so well at last—as to be put off with
a painted happiness. The lowest, the hottest, and
the darkest habitation in hell will be his portion,
whose religion lies all in shows and shadows.

Well, spiritual counterfeits, remember this—it will
not be long before Christ will unmask you; before
He will uncloak you; before He will disrobe you;
before He will take off your masks, your cloaks,
and turn your rotten insides outward—to your
eternal shame and reproach before all the world!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

These Gergesites had rather lose
Christ, than lose their porkers

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"When they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave
 their region." Matthew 8:34

A man bewitched with the world will prefer the most base
and contemptible things, before the Lord Jesus Christ. He will,
with the Gergesenes, prefer his swine before a Savior,
Matthew 8:28-34. When they saw what a sad market their
hogs were brought to, they desired Christ to depart out of
their country. These Gergesites had rather lose Christ,
than lose their porkers
. They had rather that the devil
should possess their souls—than that Jesus should drown
their pigs. They prefer their swine, before their salvation!
They present a wretched petition for their own damnation;
they pleaded with Him to leave their region. Though there is
no misery, no plague, no curse, no wrath, no hell—compared
to Christ's departure from a people; yet men bewitched with
the world will desire this. "When they saw Him, they pleaded
with Him to leave their region." Matthew 8:34

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Turned into beasts, birds, stones, trees, or air

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

ur God is a consuming fire." Hebrews 12:29

Chaff and stubble cannot stand before that God, who is
a consuming fire. Oh, how will the ungodly tremble and
quake when the whole frame of heaven and earth shall
break in pieces, and be set in a flame about their ears!
Oh, what trouble of mind,
  what horror and terror of conscience,
  what weeping and wailing,
  what crying and roaring,
  what wringing of hands,
  what tearing of hair, and
  what gnashing of teeth,
will there be among the ungodly in this day—when
they shall see their sins charged upon them on the one
side—and divine justice terrifying them on the other
side! When they shall look upward, and there see an
angry God frowning upon them; and look downward,
and there see hell gaping ready to receive them; and
look inward, and there find conscience accusing and
gnawing of them! When they shall look on their right
, and there behold the holy angels standing with
so many flaming swords to keep them out of heaven;
and look on their left hand, and there behold the devil
and his demons ready to drag them down to the lowest
hell! Oh, now how will they wish for the rocks to fall
upon them, and the mountains to cover them! How
will they wish that they had never been born; or that
they might now be unborn! How will they now wish
that their immortal souls were mortal; or that they
might be turned into beasts, birds, stones, trees,
or air
—or anything rather than what they are!

Alas! what heart is able to conceive, or what tongue
is able to express—the fear and dread, the horror and
terror, the astonishment and amazement, which will
fall upon all ungodly people in that day!

"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to
 receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
     1 Thessalonians 5:9

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The dregs of old age!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

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

Many desire to repent when old age comes—when . . .
  their wits are cracked,
  their souls distracted,
  their senses stupefied,
  their hearts astonished,
  their minds darkened, and
  their bodies diseased and distempered.
Oh, then they think that they will be able to leap into
heaven, with a "Lord have mercy upon me" in their
mouths. Even though they have lived like devils
—yet they hope they shall die like saints!

Do you think, O vain man—that after you have spent your
time, and wasted your strength, and exhausted your energies
in the work of Satan, and in the service of your lusts—that
God will receive you to His grace and favor? If you do thus
flatter yourself—it is ten thousand to one—that you will
deceive yourself! Though true repentance is never too
late—yet late repentance is seldom true.
Ah, how many
millions are now in hell—who have thought, and resolved, and
said that they would repent hereafter—but that hereafter
never came!

You say "Tomorrow, tomorrow I will repent," when you know
not what a tomorrow will bring forth. Alas! how many thousand
ways may death surprise you before tomorrow comes! Though
there is but one way to come into the world—yet there are a
thousand thousand ways to be sent out of the world.
Oh, the
diseases, the hazards, the dangers, the accidents, the deaths
—which daily—which hourly attend the life of man!

Ah friends! it is a dangerous thing to make repentance to be
the task of old age. The longer any man defers his repentance,
the more difficult it will be for him to repent:
 his heart will every day grow more and more hard, and
 his will more and more perverse, and
 his judgment more and more corrupted, and
 his affections more and more disordered, and
 his conscience more and more benumbed or enraged, and
 his whole life more and more defiled and debauched.

Friends, do not deceive yourselves! Old age is but a tottering
and sinking foundation for you to build your eternal hopes
and happiness upon—your eternal making or marring upon!
Are the dog-days of old age—are the trembling hands, the
wrinkled face, the failing eyes, the gasping lungs, the fainting
heart, the feeble knees, and the broken down legs—are these
a sacrifice worthy of a majestic God? Is a body full of sores,
aches, and diseases—and a soul full of sin—an offering worthy
of a holy God? Surely not!

Oh, what madness, what wickedness is this—to serve Satan,
your lusts, and this world with full dishes—and to put off God
with scraps! To serve Satan, your lusts, and this world in the
flower, in the prime and primrose of your days—and to put
off God with the dregs of old age! Oh, do not let Satan
deceive you, do not let your own hearts delude you!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The beauty and glory of a Christian

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

Holiness will render you most beautiful and amiable. As
holiness is the beauty of God, and the beauty of angels
—so it is the beauty and glory of a Christian also.
Holiness casts such a beauty upon man, as makes him
very amiable and desirable.

The redness of the rose, the whiteness of the lily, and all
the beauties of the natural universe—are but deformities,
compared to that beauty which holiness puts upon us. If
all natural beauty were contracted into one beauty—yet
it would be but an obscure and an unlovely beauty,
compared to that beauty which holiness puts upon us!

Holiness is lovely, yes—loveliness itself. Purity is a Christian's
splendor and glory. There is no beauty compared to that of
sanctity; nothing beautifies and bespangles a man like holiness.
Holiness is so attractive and so lovely a thing—that it draws all
eyes and hearts to an admiration of it. Holiness is so great a
beauty—that it puts a beauty upon all other excellencies in a
man. That holiness is a very beautiful thing, and that it makes
all those beautiful who have it—is a truth that no devil can deny!

"Demetrius," says Plutarch, "was so lovely of face, that no
painter was able to draw him." Just so, holiness puts so rare
a beauty upon man—that no painter under heaven is able to
draw him! Scipio Africanus was so lovely a person, that the
Spaniards stood amazed at his loveliness. Holiness puts such
a loveliness, and such an amiableness upon a person—that
many admire it, and stand amazed at it.

O sirs, as ever you would be amiable and desirable—be holy!

As ever you would be attractive and lovely—be holy!

As ever you would outshine the sun in splendor and
glory—labor to be holy!

Many have ventured their names, their estates, their liberties,
their lives, yes, their very souls—to enjoy a lovely Bathsheba,
an attractive Helena, a beautiful Diana, a lovely Cleopatra, etc.,
whose beauties have been but clay, well-colored. Oh, how
much more, then, should you be provoked to labor and venture
your all for holiness—which will imprint upon you that most
excellent and most exquisite beauty—which will go to the grave
and to glory with you; yes, which will render you not only amiable
and excellent in the eyes of men—but also lovely in the eyes of God!

Unholy souls are . . .
  foul souls,
  ugly souls,
  deformed souls,
  withered souls,
  wrinkled souls,
  altogether unlovely souls.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The richest man in the world

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"Having nothing—and yet possessing all things." 2 Cor. 6:10

This is a riddle the world cannot understand. A holy man
cannot be a poor man. A holy man is always the richest
man. The riches of a Christian have no bottom. All a
saint's bags, are bottomless bags.

Experience tells us that unholy men's bags, purses, coffers,
and mints—may be drawn dry. But the treasury, the riches
of a saint—can never be exhausted, for he possesses all
things in Christ and with Christ! The Christian has the
God of all—he has Him who has all.

Though he has nothing in hand—yet he has all things
in hope. A holy man is the richest man in the world,
for he has the great and glorious God engaged by many
thousand promises to own him, to bless him, to stand
by him, to give grace and glory to him, and to withhold
nothing from him that may be good for him.

When wicked men brag of their great possessions and
riches, a holy man may make his boast of God, and say,
"God is mine! God is mine! He is my great all; He is my
all in all; and therefore I am richer and a greater possessor
than any wicked man in the world—yes, than all wicked
men in the world put together!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Without holiness

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"Without holiness no one will see the Lord." Heb. 12:14

To 'see' implies both vision and fruition. Without holiness, no
man—be he high or low, noble or ignoble, rich or poor, etc.,
shall ever come to a blessed acquaintance with God here, or
to a glorious fruition and enjoyment of God hereafter.

Oh, how great a misery,
how great a punishment,
how great an affliction,
how great a trouble and torment,
how great a tribulation,
how great a hell
—will it be for all unholy people to be forever and ever
banished the court of heaven, and to be shut out from
the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His
power—and to be everlastingly confined to the prison
of hell, and to the society and company of that damned
crew who will be still a-cursing and a-blaspheming God,
and adding to one another's torments!

Ah, friends! without holiness all is lost . . .
  your soul is lost,
  Christ is lost,
  God is lost,
  heaven is lost,
  glory is lost!
What are all other losses, compared to these losses?

Well, sirs, if none of these arguments can prevail
with you to labor after holiness, I must conclude . . .
  that divine justice has hardened you,
  that Satan has blinded you,
  that your lusts have besotted you,
  that this world has bewitched you,
and that it would have been ten thousand thousand
times better for you, to have never been born, than
  to live without holiness, and
  to die without holiness, and
  to be everlastingly damned for lack of holiness.

"Without holiness no one will see the Lord." Heb. 12:14

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

You should follow in His steps

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"He who says he abides in Him, ought himself also
 to walk even as He walked." 1 John 2:6

Christians are to set all Christ's moral actions before them
as a pattern for their imitation. In Christ's life, a Christian
may behold the picture or lineaments of all virtues—and
accordingly he ought to order his life in this world.

To walk as Christ walked
is to walk . . .

To walk as Christ walked is to . . .
  slight the world,
  despise the world,
  make a footstool of the world,
  to live above the world, and
  to triumph over the world as Christ did.

To walk as Christ walked is . . .
  to love those who hate us,
  to pray for those who persecute us,
  to bless those who curse us, and
  to do good to those who do evil to us.

To walk as Christ walked is to be patient, and silent,
and submissive, and thankful, under the vilest reproaches,
the heaviest afflictions, and the greatest sufferings.

"Leaving you an example, that you should follow
 in His steps
." 1 Peter 2:21

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Such guilty, filthy, and polluted souls!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

"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."
     1 Corinthians 6:9-10

What a sad roster of vile people! These monstrous sinners and
prodigious sins were enough to have brought another flood upon
the world; or to have provoked the Lord to rain hell out of heaven
upon them—as once he did upon Sodom and Gomorrah; or to have
caused the ground to open and swallow them up—as once it did
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram! 

And yet behold some of these are changed and sanctified!
"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." verse 11.

Oh, the infinite goodness!

Oh, the infinite grace!

Oh, the infinite wisdom and power of God—which has
pardoned, washed, sanctified, and cleansed such guilty,
filthy, and polluted souls!
The worst of sinners should
never despair of being made saints—considering what
notorious sinners have been made holy. There is no
heart so wicked—but grace can make it holy.

Well! sinners, remember this—it is possible that those . . .
  proud hearts of yours may be humbled;
  hard hearts of yours may be softened; 
  unclean hearts of yours may be sanctified;
  blind minds of yours may be enlightened;
  stubborn wills of yours may be tamed;
  disordered affections of yours may be regulated;
  defiled consciences of yours may be awakened and purged;
  vile and polluted natures of yours may be changed and purified.