Grace Gems for JUNE 2007

What a holy, happy life is this!

Octavius Winslow, "The Lord's Prayer" 1866)

"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

God will have us live a life of daily faith upon His
bounty. If we would live a life of holy victory amid
the daily conflict of the flesh—we must live a life
of daily faith upon Jesus, a life of daily waiting
upon God.

"THIS day, my Father! The supplies of yesterday
are exhausted; those of tomorrow I leave with
You. Give me this day all that its circumstances
may demand. Give me . . .
  the clearness of judgment,
  the soundness of decision,
  the resoluteness of will,
  the integrity of principle,
  the uprightness of heart,
  the moral courage,
  the Christlike meekness,
  the holy love,
  the watchfulness and prayerfulness,
  the integrity and consistency,
its yet unshaped history may require.
I know not . . .
  what temptations I shall be exposed to,
  what foes I shall be assailed by,
  what trials I shall pass through,
  what clouds will shade,
  what sorrows will embitter,
  what circumstances will wound my spirit.
Lord, give me . . .
Give me this day my daily bread."

What a holy, happy life is this!

It removes all care from the mind but the
present; and for that present, the believer
hangs upon a Father's care!

Thus begin and continue your day
with God. Its history is all . . .
  uncertain, and
You cannot . . .
  foresee one step,
  be certain of one circumstance,
  or control one event.

Let your prayer be, "Give me, Lord, all
supplies for this day. I may have . . .
  trials of my judgment,
  trials of my affections,
  trials of conscience,
  trials of my principles,
  trials from those I most tenderly love.
Lord, be with me,
guide me with Your counsel,
hold up my steps that they slide not,
let Your comforts delight my soul."

Day by day is the life of faith you are
to live upon Jesus. It is DAILY bread . . .
  Jesus for each and for every day.
  Jesus for each day's needs.
  Jesus for each day's trials.
  Jesus for each day's sins.
  Jesus for life.
  Jesus for death.
  Jesus forever!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

You would not like it!

(J. C. Ryle, "Having the Spirit")

"Nothing impure will ever enter it" Revelation 21:27

Heaven is the place to which all people hope to go
after they die. It would be well for many, if they
considered calmly what kind of dwelling-place
heaven is. It is the habitation of the King of kings,
who is "of purer eyes than to behold iniquity."
Heaven is a holy place. It is a place where there
shall be nothing wicked, sinful or sensual; nothing
worldly, foolish, frivolous or profane.

Let the covetous man remember—there
shall be no more money in heaven.

Let the pleasure seeker remember—there
shall be no more races, theaters, novel reading,
or parties in heaven.

Let the drunkard and the gambler, remember—
there shall be no more strong drink, no more dice,
no more betting, no more cards in heaven.

The everlasting presence of God; the perpetual
doing of God's will; the complete absence of
everything which God does not approve—these
are the chief things which shall make up heaven.

For this heaven we are all by nature utterly unfit.
We have no capacity for enjoying its happiness.
We have no taste for its blessings.
We have no eye to see its beauty.
We have no heart to feel its comforts.

Instead of freedom, we would find it bondage.
Instead of glorious liberty, we would find it constant constraint.
Instead of a splendid palace, we would find it a gloomy prison.

A fish on dry land, a sheep in the water, an eagle
in a cage—would all feel more at ease and in their
place, than an unholy man in heaven.

For this heaven it is the special office of the Holy
Spirit to prepare men's souls. He alone can change
the earthly heart, and purify the corrupt worldly
affections. He alone can bring their minds into
harmony with God, and tune them for the eternal
company of saints, and angels, and Christ. He
alone can make them . . .
  love what God loves,
  hate what God hates,
  delight in God's presence.

Let this also be written down on the tablet of your
memory. No entrance into heaven—without the Spirit
first entering your heart upon earth! No admission into
glory in the next life—without previous sanctification in
this life! No Holy Spirit in you in this world—then no
heaven in the world to come!

You would not be fit for it!

You would not be ready for it!

You would not like it!

You would not enjoy it!

"Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic
 arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the
 idolaters and everyone who loves and practices
 falsehood." Revelation 22:15

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

He never misses a sermon!

(William S. Plumer, "Sinners Saved by Unmerited Kindness")

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls
 around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
     1 Peter 5:8

Though it is not profane, yet it is foolish to speak lightly of the
. He is not a sacred person—but he is a dangerous person!
Thoughts of levity concerning him are quite out of place. They
throw us off our guard, make us secure, lead us to sloth and
carelessness—and thus to sin.

He who is our adversary, and has slain his thousands and tens
of thousands—is never more sure of his prey than when there
is least fear of him. He began his work of revolt in heaven,
afterwards invaded Eden, assaulted the Son of God Himself
with the greatest violence and rancor—and will always be busy
until he is chained down in the pit!

He has no pity. He is wholly malignant and unscrupulous.
To dishonor God, destroy souls, fill earth with woe, and
hell with the damned—is his trade and his delight. The
keener the anguish, and the deeper the guilt of man—
the more is Satan gratified.

He does all he can to make . . .
  earth like hell,
  men like devils,
  saints like sinners.

He delights in seeing all wickedness raging and rioting on
earth. He is the god of the men of this world. He commands
and they obey. He is the prince of the power of the air, the
spirit who now works in the children of disobedience. His
empire is built on usurpation and fraud, cruelty and crime,
blood and rebellion.

Satan rages, and hates, and lies, and murders!

His ways are various. Sometimes he appears as an angel of
. He has cordials for wounded consciences. He speaks
much of mercy. He delights in corrupting the truth. His great
object is to keep men from embracing Christ. He has much
to do with religious men and religious ordinances. He never
misses a sermon!
He knows that men can go to hell in the
pew of a church, as well as in the seat of a theater. If they
will rest in 'religious forms', and if they will go about to
establish their own righteousness—he will encourage
them, and help them to be joyful.

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your
 stand against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:11

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

That immortal bird!

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

As the mercy of God is infinite towards the elect—
so the justice of God is infinite towards the reprobate
in hell. The reprobate shall have . . .
  punishment without pity,
  misery without mercy,
  sorrow without support,
  crying without compassion,
  mischief without measure,
  and torment without end!

All men in misery comfort themselves with
the hope of an ending to their misery.
The prisoner comforts himself with hope of a deliverance.
The mariner comforts himself with hope of a safe harbor.
The soldier comforts himself with hope of victory.
The slave comforts himself with hope of liberty.

But the impenitent sinner has no hope in hell!
He shall have . . .
  death without death,
  night without day,
  mourning without mirth,
  sorrow without solace,
  bondage without liberty!

The damned shall live as long in hell,
as God Himself shall live in heaven!

Suppose, say some—that the whole world were turned
to a mountain of sand, and that a little bird should come
every thousandth year and carry away one grain of sand
from that heap. What an infinite number of years—not to
be numbered by all finite beings—would be spent and
expired before this supposed mountain would be fetched

Now if a man should lie in everlasting burnings so long a
time as this—and then have an end of his woe—it would
administer some ease, refreshment, and comfort to him.
But when that immortal bird shall have carried away
this supposed mountain a thousand times over and over;
alas! alas! man shall be as far from the end of his anguish
and torment as ever he was! He shall be no nearer coming
out of hell, than he was the very first moment that he
entered into hell.

If the fire of hell were terminable, it might then
be tolerable; but being endless, it must needs be
easeless and remediless!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Could every damned sinner weep a whole ocean!

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

"They will be tormented day and night forever and ever!"
    Revelation 20:10

Our earthly fires may be quenched and extinguished.
The hottest flames, the greatest conflagrations have
been quenched and extinguished by water. Fires on
our hearths and in our chimneys often die and go out
by themselves. Our fire is maintained with wood—and
put out with water. But the fire of hell never goes out;
it can never be quenched. It is . . .
  an everlasting fire,
  an eternal fire,
  an unquenchable fire!

In Mark 9 from verse 43 to verse 49, this fire is five
times said to be unquenchable—as if the Lord could
never speak enough of it. Beloved, the Holy Spirit is
never guilty of idle repetitions; but by these frequent
repetitions, the Holy Spirit would awaken men, and
teach them to look upon hell as a real thing, and as
a serious thing, and not sport with unquenchable
flames—nor go to hell in a dream!

Certainly the fire into which the damned shall be cast
shall be without all intermission of time or punishment.
No tears, nor blood, nor time—can extinguish the fire
of hell. Could every damned sinner weep a whole
—yet all those oceans of tears together, would
never extinguish one spark of infernal fire!

The damned are in "everlasting chains of darkness;"
they are under the "vengeance of eternal fire;"
they are "in blackness of darkness forever."

Said a poor despairing creature on his deathbed,
"Oh, that word 'forever'—breaks my heart!"

The damned in hell would gladly die—but they cannot.
They shall be always a-dying—yet never dead.
They shall be always a-consuming—yet never consumed.

"The smoke of their torment rises forever and ever!"
    Revelation 14:11

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Perpetual fuel to the flames of hell!

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

Our earthly fire destroys and consumes whatever is cast
into it. It turns all combustibles into ashes. But the fire of
hell is not of that nature. The fire of hell consumes nothing
which is cast into it. It rages—but it does not consume or
destroy either bodies or souls.

"Men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long
 to die, but death will elude them." Revelation 9:6

They shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
They shall cry to the mountains to fall upon them and
to crush them to nothing! They shall desire that . . .
  the fire which burns them—would consume them to nothing,
  the worm which feeds on them—would gnaw them to nothing,
  the devils which torment them—would tear them to nothing!
They shall cry to God, who first made them out of nothing,
to reduce them to that first nothing from whence they
came! But "their Maker has no compassion on them,
and their Creator shows them no favor." Isaiah 27:11

They shall always be burned—but never consumed.

Ah, how well would it be with the damned, if in the fire
of hell, they might be consumed to ashes! But this is their
misery—they shall be ever dying, and yet never die; their
bodies shall be always a-burning—but never a-consuming!
It is dreadful to be perpetual fuel to the flames of hell!
What misery can compare to this—for infernal fire to be still
a-preying upon damned sinners, and yet never making an
end of them! The fierce and furious flames of hell shall burn
—but never annihilate, the bodies of the damned. In hell
there is no cessation of fire burning, nor of matter burned.
Neither flames nor smoke shall consume or choke the
impenitent. Both the infernal fire, and the burning of the
bodies of reprobates in that fire—shall be preserved by
the miraculous power of God!

"Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath!"
    1 Thessalonians 1:10

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A house without light!

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

"Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness:
 there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Mt. 25:30

Our earthly fire, when it burns it shines, it casts a light.
It has light as well as heat in it. But the fire of hell burns
—but it does not shine, it gives no light at all. It retains
the property of burning—but it has lost the property of
shining. Christ calls it "outer darkness," or utter darkness
—that is, darkness beyond a darkness.

Light is a blessing that shall never shine into that infernal
prison. In Jude verse 6, you read of "chains of darkness."
It would be a little ease, a little comfort, to the damned
in hell—if they might have but light and liberty to walk up
and down the infernal coasts; but this is too high a favor
for them to enjoy; and therefore they shall be shackled
and fettered down in chains of darkness
, and in
blackness of darkness—so that they may fully undergo
the scorchings and burnings of divine wrath and fury
forever and ever.

In Jude verse 13 you thus read, "To whom is reserved
the blackness of darkness forever." The words signify
exceeding great darkness. Hell is a very dark and dismal
region, and extreme are the miseries, horrors, and
torments which are there. Sinners, when they are in
hell, when they are in chains of darkness, when they
are in blackness of darkness—they shall never more
see light! Hell is a house without light!

Though our earthly fires have light as well as heat—yet
the infernal fire has only heat to burn sinners; it has no
light to refresh sinners; and this will be no small addition
to their torment.

"He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and
 brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves!"
     Colossians 1:13

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A misery beyond all expression!

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

"Then He will say to those on His left—Depart from Me,
 you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for
 the devil and his angels!" Matthew 25:41

This solemn sentence breathes out nothing but fire and
brimstone, terror and horror, dread and woe! The last
words that Christ will ever speak to the ungodly, will be:
  the most tormenting and dreadful,
  the most stinging and wounding,
  the most killing and damning!

Here is utter rejection: "Depart from Me—Pack! Begone!
Get out of My sight! Let Me never more see your faces!

"Depart from Me!" is the first and worst of that dreadful
sentence which Christ shall pass upon the ungodly at last.
Every syllable sounds horror and terror, grief and sorrow,
dread and astonishment—to all whom it concerns.
Certainly, the tears of hell are not sufficient to
bewail the loss of heaven!

Here is imprecation: "You who are cursed!"
"But Lord, if we must depart, let us depart blessed!"
"No! Depart—you who are cursed!" You shall be . . .
  cursed in your bodies,
  and cursed in your souls,
  and cursed by God,
  and cursed by Christ,
  and cursed by angels,
  and cursed by saints,
  and cursed by devils,
  and cursed by your wicked companions!
Yes, you shall now curse your very selves,
your very souls—that ever you have . . .
  despised the gospel,
  refused the offers of grace,
  scorned Christ, and
  neglected the means of your salvation!

O sinners, sinners—all your curses, all your maledictions
shall at last recoil upon your own souls! Now you curse
every person and thing which stand in the way of your
lusts, and which cross your designs. But at last, all the
curses of heaven and hell shall meet in their full power
and force upon you! Surely that man is eternally
cursed—who is cursed by Christ Himself!

"But, Lord, if we must depart, and depart cursed, oh let us
go into some good place!" "No! Depart into the eternal fire!"
Here is vengeance and continuance of it. You shall go into
fire, into eternal fire! The eternity of hell—is the hell of hell.
If all the fires that ever were in the world, were contracted
into one fire—how terrible would it be! Yet such a fire would
be but as 'painted fire' upon the wall—compared to the fire of
hell. It is a very sad spectacle to behold a malefactor's body
consumed little by little in a lingering fire. But ah, how sad,
how dreadful, would it be to experience what it is to lie in
unquenchable fire—not for a day, a month, or a year, or a
hundred or a thousand years—but forever and ever!

"If it were," says Cyril, "but for a thousand years, I could
bear it; but seeing it is for eternity—this frightens and
horrifies me!" "I am afraid of hell," says Isidore, "because
the worm there never dies, and the fire never goes out!"

To be tormented without end—this is that which goes
beyond all the bounds of desperation.

Grievous is the torment of the damned . . .
  for the bitterness of the punishments;
  but more grievous for the diversity of the punishments;
  but most grievous for the eternity of the punishments!

To lie in everlasting torments,
to roar forever in anguish of heart,
to rage forever for madness of soul,
to weep, and grieve, and gnash the teeth forever
—is a misery beyond all expression!

Mark, everything that is conducible to the
torments of the damned, is eternal:

God who damns them is eternal!

The fire which torments them is eternal!

The prison and chains which hold them are eternal!

The worm which gnaws them is eternal!

The sentence which is upon them, shall be eternal!

Fire is the most furious of all elements, and therefore
the bodies of men cannot be more exquisitely tormented
than with fire. The bodies which sinned on earth, shall
be punished and tormented in hell. What can be more
grievous and vexatious, more afflicting and tormenting
to the bodies of men—than eternal fire? Oh, then, how
will the bodies of men endure to dwell in unquenchable
fire, to dwell in everlasting burnings! The brick-kilns of
Egypt, the fiery furnace of Babylon, are but as a spark,
compared to this tormenting hell, which has been
prepared of old to punish the bodies of sinners with.

"The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the
godless! Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?" Is. 33:14

Wicked men, who are now the jolly fellows of the times,
shall one day go from burning—to burning; from burning
in sin—to burning in hell; from burning in flames of lusts
—to burning in flames of torment; except there be found
repentance on their side, and pardoning grace on God's side.

Surely, the serious thoughts of the agonies of hell
while people live—is one blessed way to keep them
from going into those torments after they die! Look!
as there is nothing more grievous than hell—so there
is nothing more profitable than the fear of hell.

"Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath!"
    1 Thessalonians 1:10

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Fuel to your lusts, and quenchers of your graces

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

By severe providences and fiery trials—God designs
the preventing of sin. Prudent physicians sometimes
give harsh medicines to prevent diseases; and so
does the Physician of souls. Sharp trials preserve
the saints from spiritual putrefying, and from
spiritual rotting.

Wealth lays men most open to . . .
  the greatest sins,
  the worst of snares, and
  the deadliest temptations.
The best of men have fallen the foulest—under their
highest worldly enjoyments. Witness David, Solomon,
Hezekiah, etc. Under your outward fullness . . .
  how low was your communion with God!
  how languishing were your graces!
  how lean were your souls!
  how little God had of . . .
    your thoughts,
    your hearts,
    your time,
    your strength!

O sirs! how bad would you have been by this time,
if God had not removed those things, which were
but fuel to your lusts, and quenchers of your
Well, often think of this: it is a greater
mercy to be preserved from sin, yes, from the
least sin—than it is to enjoy the whole world!

"Lord, let this fiery trial be so sanctified to
me, as that it may eminently issue in . . .
  the mortifying of my sins,
  the increase of my graces,
  the mending of my affections,
  the reforming of my life,
  the weaning of my soul from everything below You,
  and the fixing of my heart upon eternal realities!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The unerring hand of infinite wisdom

(Thomas Reade, "The Sovereignty of God")

"My purpose will stand, and I will do all that
 I please." Isaiah 46:10

Nothing is so calming and comforting to the
Christian pilgrim, as the assurance of Divine
in every, even the most minute
circumstances which befall him.

Without this perception of his heavenly Father's
care, a thousand intricacies must beset his path.
He must be staggered at almost every step. But
when he beholds, by faiththe unerring hand of
infinite wisdom
, wielding the stupendous machine
of human events—causing everything to promote
the spiritual good of His people—then he quiets
himself as a little child, and can say with cheerful
resignation, "Father, not my will, but yours be done."

In such a world of change and trial, how inestimable
is a calm reliance on the wisdom, power, and love of
God. It fully compensates for the lack of temporal
ease and wealth. If, without our heavenly Father,
not even a sparrow can fall to the ground; if the
very hairs of our head are all numbered—how
composed should we be.

The reins of universal nature are in the hands of
Infinite Love!
This vast complex machine is guided
by Infinite Wisdom and Power! The Almighty Ruler
of the sky cannot be taken by surprise. Nothing
unforeseen can happen to cross His purposes or
thwart His designs. All worlds are open to His view.

If this Great and Glorious Being is our Father and
our Friend—then our privilege is to rejoice at all
times, and in everything to give thanks. How
consoling and encouraging is the assurance that
the blessed Redeemer of my soul, is the Great
Sovereign of the Universe! Without His permission
nothing can happen in the vast dominion over which
He sways His scepter! To His will every creature
must bow—either in willing obedience, or in just
and endless punishment!

"Lord, be pleased to impart unto me, your unworthy
 servant, this spirit of confidence in You. May I see
 Your hand in all the events of life
—ordering the
 the minor, as well as in the greater movements of
 Your Providence. This watching and waiting for the
 manifestations of Your guardian care—will fill me
 with thankfulness for all my mercies, and make
 me patient under all my trials."

"My times are in Your hands." Psalm 31:15

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Their dregs and dross

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

 "Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says—
 See, I will refine and test them, for what else can
 I do because of the sin of My people?" Jerem. 9:7

By severe providences and fiery trials—God designs
the mortifying and purging away of His people's sins.

"This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them
 like silver and test them like gold." Zechariah 13:9

The best of men are but men at the best; they have
much corruption and dross in them, and they need
; and therefore God by fiery trials will refine
them—as silver and gold which are purified in the fire.
He will so refine them, as that they shall leave their
dregs and dross
behind them. Look!
  What the fire is to the gold,
  what the file is to the iron,
  what the winnowing fan is to the wheat,
  what the soap is to the clothes—
that shall fiery trials be to the saints.

All the fiery trials which befall the saints, shall be as a
medicinal potion to purge away our soul diseases! May
our trials be so sanctified, as to issue in the burning
up of our lusts, and in the purging away of our filth!

O sirs! If God, by fiery trials, shall make you more
victorious over your strong lusts, and help you to live
more virtuous lives—you will have cause to bless Him all
your days, though He has turned you out of house and
home, and burnt up all your comforts round about you!

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will
purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver."
    Malachi 3:3

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God's tools and instruments

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

"I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity
 and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things."
    Isaiah 45:7

Let us see the hand of the Lord in this recent dreadful fire
which has turned our once renowned London into a ruinous
heap! London's sins were now so great, and God's wrath
was now so hot—that there was no quenching of the furious
flames. The decree for the burning of London was now gone
forth, and nothing could reverse it. The time of London's fall
was now come. The fire had now received its commission
from God—to burn down the city and to turn it into a
ruinous heap!

Certainly God is the great agent in all those dreadful
judgments which befall people, cities, and kingdoms.
Whoever or whatever be the rodit is God's hand
which gives the stroke!
The power of bringing
judgments upon cities, God takes to Himself, "When
comes to a city, has not the Lord caused
it?" Amos 3:6. Whatever that judgment is, which falls
upon a city—God is the author of it; He acts in it and
orders it according to His own good pleasure. There
is no judgment which accidentally falls upon any
person, city, or country. Every judgment is inflicted
by a divine power and providence. God had given a
commission to the fire—to burn with that force and
violence as it did—until London was laid in ashes!
Whoever kindled this fire—God blew the coal!
And therefore no arts, counsels, or endeavors of
men were able to quench it.

All judgments are at the beck of God, and under the
command of God. Whatever judgment God commands
to destroy a person, a city, or country—that judgment
shall certainly and effectually accomplish the command
of God—in spite of all that creatures can do. If God
commissions the sword of war to walk abroad, and to
glut itself with blood—who can command it into the
scabbard again? No art, power, or policy can cause
that sword to lie still!

God, as He is our Creator, Preserver, and sovereign
Lord—has an absolute power both over our persons,
lives, estates, and habitations: and when we have
transgressed His righteous laws, He may do with
us, and all we have—as He pleases.
He may turn
us out of house and home, and burn up all our
comforts round about us—and yet do us no wrong.
"Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases
Him." Psalm 115:3. "The Lord does whatever
pleases Him—in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all their depths." Psalm 135:6

Those things which seem accidental and chance to
us—are ordered by the wise counsel, power, and
providence of God. Instruments can no more stir
until God gives them a commission—than the axe
or the knife can cut by itself, without a hand. God
makes use of whatever second causes He pleases,
for the execution of His pleasure. And many times
He makes the worst of men the rod of His indignation
to chastise His people with! All inferior or subordinate
causes—are but God's tools and instruments,
which He rules and guides according to His own will,
power, and providence.

Job eyed God in the fire which fell from heaven, and
in all the fiery trials which befell him. And therefore,
he does not say, "The Lord gave—and the devil took
away!" Nor, "The Lord gave—and the Chaldeans and
Sabeans took away!" But "The Lord gave—and the
Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord
be praised!" Job 1:20-21

Certainly without the cognizance and concurrence of
a wise, omniscient, and omnipotent God—no creatures
can move. Without His foresight and permission—no
event can befall any person, city or country. Whatever
the means or instruments of our misery are—the hand
is God's! It behooves us, in every judgment, to see the
hand of the Lord, and to look through visible means to
an invisible God! "The Lord has afflicted me; the
Almighty has brought misfortune upon me!" Ruth 1:21

"The Lord brings death and makes alive; He brings
 down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends
 poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts!"
     1 Samuel 2:6-7

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh how sweet is!

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

"Better the little that the righteous have, than
 the wealth of many wicked." Psalm 37:16

The righteous man's mite, is better than the wicked
man's millions.

The righteous man has his little, from the special love
and favor of God. Lazarus' scraps, crusts and rags
—are better and greater mercies than Dives' riches,
purple robes, and dainty fare!

A godly man improves his little, to the stirring up of
his heart to thankfulness, and to be much in admiring
and blessing of God for his little. The least mercies
which the righteous man has, make him humble, "I
am not worthy of the least of all the mercies which
You have showed unto Your servant." Genesis 32:10

The righteous man enjoys his little, with a great deal
of comfort, peace, quiet and contentment. Though he
has but necessities from hand to mouth—yet seeing
that God feeds him from heaven, as it were with
manna—he is content, quiet and cheerful.

All the honors, riches, pleasures, and profits of this world,
cannot yield contentment to a worldly man—they are all
surrounded with briers and thorns. Who can sum up the
many grievances, fears, jealousies, disgraces, temptations
and vexations—which men meet with in their vain pursuit
after the things of this world! Oh how sweet is, it to
lack these bitter-sweets!

Riches may well be called thorns; because they pierce
both head and heart—the one with care of getting, and
the other with grief in parting with them. The world and
all its enchantments, are a paradise to the eye—but
painfulness to the soul.

But a righteous man, with his little, enjoys both peace of
conscience and peace of contentment; and this makes every
bitter—sweet; and every little sweet—to be exceeding sweet.
A dish of green herbs, with peace of conscience and peace of
contentment, is a noble feast, a continual feast to a gracious
soul. In every crust, crumb, drop, and sip of mercy which a
righteous man enjoys, he sees much of the love of his God,
and the care of his God, and the wisdom of his God, and the
power of his God, and the faithfulness of his God, and the
goodness of his God—in making the least provision for him.

In contrast, wicked men are like the the mule which drinks
from the brook—but never thinks of the spring. They are like
the swine which eats up the fruit—but never looks up to the
tree from whence the fruit falls.

A little will satisfy a temperate Christian. "Give me neither
poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread."
Proverbs 30:8. Agur asks only for daily bread, necessary
for his life—not for his lusts. He prays for enough to satisfy
necessity—not luxury. He asks for bread—not for delicacies.
He begs that his body may be sustained—not pampered.

A little will satisfy nature, and less will satisfy grace; yet
nothing will satisfy a wicked man's lusts! Wicked men
never have enough—they are never satisfied! Those who
are separated from the world's lusts, can live with a little.

Solomon, the wisest prince who ever sat upon a throne,
after his most diligent, critical, and impartial search into
all the creatures, gives this as the sum total of his inquiries,
"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!" And how then can any of
these things, yes, all these things heaped up together,
satisfy the soul of man!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

But woe and alas!

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

Suppose, say some, that a man were to endure
the torments of hell as many years, and no more,
as there are . . .
  sands on the sea-shore,
  drops of water in the sea,
  stars in heaven,
  leaves on the trees,
  blades of grass on the ground;
yet he would comfort himself with this poor thought,
"Well, there will come a day when my misery and
torment shall certainly have an end!" But woe and
this word "Forever! Forever! Forever!" will fill
the hearts of the damned with the greatest . . .
  horror and terror,
  wrath and rage,
  dread and astonishment!

Suppose, say others, that the torments of hell were to
end after a little bird should have emptied the sea, and
only carry out in her bill, but one drop once in a thousand
years—and so continue until the whole ocean was taken

Suppose, say others, that the whole world, from the
lowest earth to the highest heavens, were filled with
grains of sand, and once in a thousand years an angel
should come and fetch away one grain of sand—and
so continue until the whole heap were taken away.

Suppose, say others, if one of the damned in hell
should weep after this manner—namely, that he
should only weep one tear in a hundred years, and
these should be kept together until such time as they
should equal the drops of water in the sea. How many
millions of ages would pass, before they could make
up one river, much more a whole sea! And when that
were done, should he weep again after the same manner
until he had filled a second sea, a third sea, a fourth sea
—if then there should be an end of their miseries—there
would be some hope, some comfort that they would end
at last! But hell shall never, never, never end! The
eternity of hell—is that which sinks them under the
most tormenting terrors and horrors!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The true salamander's skin!

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

"The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our sins."
    1 John 1:7

O you who truly fear the Lord, and who are united
to Christ by faith, know for your everlasting comfort
and support—that Christ has secured you . . .
  from infernal fire,
  from everlasting fire,
  from unquenchable fire,
  from eternal fire, and
  from the worm which never dies!

Christ by His blood has quenched the violence
of infernal flames—so that they shall never . . .
  scorch you nor burn you,
  hurt you nor harm you!

Some say that Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace was
a type of hell. Now look! As the three Hebrew children,
or rather champions, had not one hair of their heads
singed in that fiery furnace—just so, hell-fire shall
never singe one hair of your heads!
O sirs, Christ's
blood has so quenched the flames of hell—that they
shall never be able to scorch or burn those souls who
are saved by Him! Such as are washed and cleansed
from their sins in the blood of Jesus, such shall never
experimentally know what everlasting burnings or a
devouring fire means. Such as are washed in Christ's
blood—need no purifying by hell's flames!

The fable says that a salamander cannot burn. Nero
had a shirt made of a salamander's skin, so that if he
walked through the fire in it—it would keep him from
burning. O sirs! Christ is the true salamander's
—which will certainly keep every gracious soul
from burning in everlasting flames!

"The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our sins."
    1 John 1:7

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Hush your insane murmurs, O worm!

(James W. Alexander, "Consolation" 1852)

"Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
    Genesis 18:25

The Judge of all the earth will do right! The
reverse is inconceivable. When we think of a
being who can do wrong—we no longer think
of God. Nothing which He does can be . . .
  or harsh.

Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? "It
is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that
the Almighty would pervert justice.
" Job 34:12

Hush your insane murmurs, O worm!

Submission to God's will, and that in the most
absolute sense, is the duty of every believer; and
is a state of mind to which the influences of the
regenerating and sanctifying Spirit infallibly lead.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Active, operating, influential principles of the life!

John MacDuff, "The Throne of Grace")

It is the work of the blessed Spirit to take of the
things of Christ, and to show them to the soul; to
reveal to us the precious benefits of redemption,
and the riches of Divine grace—and to present them
to us in such a transforming, and convincing, and
penetrating form, as that they shall not only become
sources of abiding comfort to the heart—but active,
operating, influential principles of the life!

It is the work of the blessed Spirit to be the
of the children of God. Yes . . .
  wherever a believer is afflicted;
  wherever he sheds a sorrowful tear;
  wherever he is pained by some heart-rending grief;
  wherever he is bowed beneath some oppressive burden
—there is the Comforter to cheer, to solace, to sustain;
pointing him . . .
  from the wound—to its balm,
  from the grief—to its ultimate cure,
  from present suffering—to eternal rest at God's right hand!

The Holy Spirit is not a traveler to sojourn for a season,
but He is a Friend to abide and dwell with you—a
spiritual mentor to be always near
. . .
  to guide you—in all seasons of perplexity,
  to strengthen you—in all times of weakness,
  when you are discouraged—to uphold you,
  when you are wandering—to lead you back,
  when you are nearly overcome in your spiritual conflict
—to bring you more of His divine strength and grace.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The outpouring of the everlasting wrath of God

(J. C. Philpot, "Daily Words for Zion's Wayfarers")

"The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
    Isaiah 53:6

What heart can conceive, what tongue express,
what the holy soul of Christ endured—when the
Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all?

In the garden of Gethsemane . . .
  what a load of guilt,
  what a weight of sin,
  what an intolerable burden of the wrath of God,
did that sacred humanity endure, until the pressure
of sorrow and woe forced the drops of blood to fall
as sweat from His brow!

When the blessed Lord was made a sin offering for
us, He endured in His holy soul, all the pangs of . . .
  guilt, and
  unutterable horror,
that all the elect would have felt in hell forever; as
they would have experienced under the outpouring
of the everlasting wrath of God!

What heart can conceive, what tongue express—the
bitter anguish which must have wrung the soul of our
suffering Substitute under this agonizing experience?

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The monsters and fools of the world

(Thomas Brooks, "The Glorious Day of the Saints Appearance")

Oh, many say with those in Job 21:15, "Who is the Almighty,
that we should serve Him? What would we gain by praying to
Him?" They are ready to say, when they look upon the sorrows,
miseries, and evils which attend the saints in this wilderness—
"Who have so many miseries, as Christians do? It is madness
and folly to live holily as they live, and to do righteously as
they do!" Oh, the world accounts them
a company of crazy,
foolish people
, who refrain from evil.

But God will have His people at last appear glorious, that the
mouths of ungodly wretches may be stopped, that they may
justify God in His goodness and mercy towards His own people.
When they shall see those who they accounted as the monsters
and fools of the world
, men not worthy to live in the world—
when they shall see crowns set on their heads, and glorious
robes put on their backs—oh how will ungodly men gnash their
teeth, and say, "Oh! we thought them fools and madmen, who
thus served God, and walked with God—but now we see that
we ourselves are the only fools, the only mad ones, who have
turned our backs on God, and have said—It is futile to serve
God. What did we gain by carrying out His requirements and
going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?"
Malachi 3:14

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

He lived poor and died poor

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

"Jesus replied—Foxes have holes and birds of the
 air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place
 to lay His head." Matthew 8:20

Jesus does not say, Kings have palaces—but I have none.
Nor He does say that rich men have houses and lands and
mansions to entertain their followers—but I have none;
but, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests,
but I have no place to lay My head."

Your outward condition is not worse than Christ's was,
when He was in the world. Christ's condition was low,
yes, very low and humble in this world. He was born
in a stable, lived on the charity of others, and did
not have enough money to pay His taxes. The great
Architect of the world had no place to lay His head—
but emptied Himself of all, and became poor to make
us rich, not in goods—but in grace; not in worldly
wealth—but in the treasures of the eternal world.
He lived poor and died poor.

Are you houseless, are you penniless, are you poor,
and low, and base in this world? So was Christ!
Remember "the servant is not greater than his Lord!"

It is unfitting to see the Head all begored with blood
and crowned with thorns—and the members to be
decked with roses and jewels, and to smell of rich
spices, and perfumes!

Are you in a worse condition than Christ was, in this
world? Oh no, no! Why then do you murmur and
complain? Why do you say there is no sorrow like
your sorrow, nor any suffering compared to your
suffering? O sirs! it is honor enough for the disciples
of Christ to fare as Christ fared in this world. Why
should the servant be in a better condition than His
Lord? Did you but seriously and frequently meditate
and ponder upon the poverty and low estate of Christ
while He was in this world, your hearts would be more
calm and quiet under all their crosses and losses!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Suffering, groaning, dying!

(Thomas Boston, "Human Nature in its Fourfold State")

"He who did not spare His own Son!" Romans 8:32

Behold how an angry God dealt with His own Son, standing
in the place of elect sinners! Sparing mercy might have been
expected here—if any place at all. If any person could have
obtained sparing mercy, surely His own Son would have! But
God did not even spare His own Son! The Father's delight—is
made a man of sorrows! He who is the wisdom of God—becomes
sore amazed, ready to faint away in a fit of horror. The weight
of this wrath makes Him sweat great drops of blood. By the
fierceness of this fire—His heart was melted like wax.

Behold, here, how severe God is against sin!
The sun was struck blind with this terrible sight!

What is a deluge, a shower of fire and brimstone, on the
people of Sodom; the terrible noise of a dissolving world,
the whole fabric of heaven and earth disuniting at once,
and angels cast down from heaven into the bottomless pit!
What are all these, I say, in comparison with this—God
in human nature suffering, groaning, dying upon a
Infinite holiness did it, to make sin look like
itself, that is, infinitely odious.

Turn your eyes, O sinners, towards the Lord Jesus Christ;
and embrace Him, as He offers Himself in the gospel.
"Salvation is found in no one else!" Acts 4:12.

God is a consuming fire; you are children of wrath; if the
Mediator does not interpose between Him and you—you
are undone forever! If you would be safe, come under His
shadow—one drop of that wrath cannot fall there, for He
"delivers us from the wrath to come," 1 Thess. 1:10. His
blood will quench that fire of wrath which burns
against you!
In the white raiment of His righteousness
you will be safe; for no storm of wrath can pierce it.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A rare grace

(Thomas Brooks, "The Legacy of a Dying Mother")

"Whoever humbles himself like this child is the
 greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 18:4

Humility is a rare grace. Whoever is little in his
own account—is always great in God's esteem.
A humble person looks upon himself . . .
  as "not worthy of the least mercies," with Jacob, Gen. 32:10;
  as "dust and ashes," with Abraham, Gen. 18:27; and
  as "a poor worm," with David, Psalm 22:6; and
  as "less than the least of all saints," with Paul, Eph. 3:8.

The more high in spiritual worth a person is—the more
humble in heart that person is. God delights to pour
grace into humble hearts. Humility makes a person . . .
  peaceable among brethren,
  fruitful in well-doing,
  cheerful in suffering,
  constant in holy walking,
  precious in the eyes of God.

Be humble Christians. As ever you would be holy
—be humble. Humility is of the essence of the "new
creature." He is not a Christian—who is not humble.

The more grace—the more humble. Those who have
been most high in spiritual worth—have always been
most humble in heart. Humility does not only entitle
to happiness—but to the highest degree of happiness.
Humility is that Jacob's ladder—which reaches from
earth to heaven.

"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward
 one another, because God opposes the proud but
 gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord's gentle usher

(Thomas Brooks, "A Heavenly Cordial" 1665)

Our life in this world is made up . . .
  of troubles and trials,
  of calamities and miseries,
  of crosses and losses,
  of reproaches and disgraces.

Death frees the Christian from all these things.
It wipes away all tears from his eyes, it turns . . .
  his miseries into mercies,
  his crosses into crowns, and
  his earthly hell into a glorious heaven!

When a godly man dies—he shall never more
be haunted, tempted and buffeted by Satan!

"Death," says one, "which was before the devil's
sergeant to drag us to hell; has now become the
Lord's gentle usher
to conduct us to heaven!"

For a saint to die, is for a saint to be eternally happy.
Death is but the entrance into glorious life. That is not
death but life—which joins the dying man to Christ!
Death will blow the bud of grace into the flower of

Death is not the death of the man—but the death of
his sin. When a believer dies—his sin dies with him.
As death came in by sin—so sin goes out by death.
Death kills sin—which bred it.

The Persians had a certain day in the year wherein
they killed all serpents and venomous creatures. Such
a day as that, will the day of death be to every believer.
All his serpentine and venomous sins will be forever
destroyed! Then he shall never again . . .
  be proud,
  nor passionate,
  nor unbelieving,
  nor worldly,
  nor neglectful of duty,
  nor grieve the Holy Spirit,
  nor wound his conscience,
  nor break peace with God!

When death takes away a godly man, it takes him away
from his sins! And as death rids the believer of all his
—so it will rid him of all his sorrows. Death cures all
diseases, the aching head and the unbelieving heart.

Death does for a godly person, that which all ordinances
could never do, and which all their duties could never do,
and which all their graces could never do. It immediately
frees them from . . .
  all their sins,
  all their sorrows,
  all their tears,
  all their temptations,
  all their oppressions,
  all their oppositions,
  all their vexations!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Death is a change of employment

(Brooks, "A Believer's Last Day, His Best Day")

A valiant Roman emperor's motto was, "No fight—no pay!"
Just so, I say, "No fight—no crown! No fight—no heaven!"

A believer's last day is his best day! Death is a
change of employment
The work of a believer
in this world, lies in . . .
  fighting, etc.

The truth is, the whole life of a believer is a
continual warfare. Believers have to deal with . . .
  subtle enemies,
  malicious enemies,
  vigilant enemies,
  untiring enemies!
They have to deal with such enemies as threw down . . .
  Adam in paradise—the most innocent man in the world,
  Moses—the meekest man in the world,
  Job—the patientest man in the world,
  Joshua—the most courageous man in the world,
  Paul—the best apostle in the world, etc.

A Christian's life is a warfare. He is continually a-fighting with
lusts and corruptions within, and with devils and men abroad!

Death is a change of employment. It changes our hard service,
our mourning, wrestling, and fighting—for rejoicing and singing
hallelujahs to the Almighty! No longer prayers—but praises!
No longer fighting and wrestling—but dancing and triumphing!
Can a believing soul look upon this glorious change, and not say,
"Surely better is the day of my death, than the day of my birth!"

Death's shroud wipes away all tears from the believer's eyes!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Death is a change of place

(Brooks, "A Believer's Last Day, His Best Day")

"The day of death is better than the day of birth."
    Ecclesiastes 7:1

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!"
    Philippians 1:21

A believer's last day is his best day! His dying-day
is better than his birthday! This is a very sweet
and useful truth to all believers.

Death is a change of place. When a believer
dies, he does but change his place. He changes . . .
  earth for heaven,
  a wilderness for a Canaan,
  a dunghill for a palace!

It is said of Judas, that "he went to his place," Acts 1:25.
An unbeliever is not yet in his place—hell is his place.

Just so, when a believer dies—he goes to his place.
Heaven, the bosom of Christ—is his place.

A believer is not at present, in his place. His soul is still
working and warring, and he cannot rest until he comes
to center in the bosom of Christ. This Paul understood
well, when he said, "I desire to depart and be with
Christ, which is better by far!" Philippians 1:23

We are not yet in our place, and therefore we groan
to be at home—that is, to be in heaven, to be in the
bosom of Christ—which is our proper place, our most
desirable home!

"Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our
 heavenly dwelling!" 2 Corinthians 5:2

"We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away
from the body and at home with the Lord." 2 Cor. 5:8

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

We must either leap over them, or tread upon them!

(Thomas Watson, "The Christian Soldier" 1669)

"A man's enemies will be the members of his own household.
 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not
 worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more
 than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take
 his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me." Matt. 10:36-38

Take heed of the snare in your family! It is one of the
Devil's great subtleties—to hinder us from piety by our
nearest relations—and to shoot us with our own rib!

He tempted Adam by his wife. Who would have suspected
the Devil there? He tempted Job by his wife, "Are you still
holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" Job 2:9
Thus would the Devil have cooled Job's love for God; but
the shield of his faith quenched this fiery dart!

Take heed of such tempters! It is better to go to Heaven
with their hatred—than to Hell with their love!
If our
dearest friends and family lie in our way to Heaven—we
must either leap over them, or tread upon them!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

One of you is a devil!

(Thomas Watson, "The Christian Soldier" 1669)

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith;
 test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in
 you—unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2 Corinthians 13:5

Self-examination is a necessary—but difficult work.

Self-examination is the setting up a court in conscience and
keeping a register there, that by strict scrutiny a man may
know how things stand between God and his own soul. By
a serious scrutiny of our hearts, we come to know to what
prince we belong—whether to the Prince of Peace, or the
prince of darkness.

Self-searching is a heart-anatomy. As a surgeon, when he
makes a dissection in the body, discovers the inward parts,
the heart, liver, and arteries—just so, a Christian anatomizes

Sentimentality and public opinion are false rules to go by.
We must judge the state of souls by the light of Scripture.

Many have foolish, presumptuous hopes. They fancy their
state to be good; and while they weigh themselves in the
balance of presumption, they pass the test.

Many take their salvation on trust. The foolish virgins thought
they had oil in their lamps, the same as the wise. How confident
are some of salvation—yet never examine their title to Heaven.

Many rest in the good opinions of others. How vain is this!
Alas, one may be gold and pearl in the eye of others—yet God
may judge him to be reprobate silver! Others may think him a
saint—and God may write him down in His black-book! Judas
was looked upon by the rest of the Apostles as a true believer
—yet he was a traitor! "Then Jesus replied—Have I not chosen
you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" John 6:70

Others can but see the outward behavior—but they cannot
tell what evil is in the heart. Fair streams may run on the
top of a river—but vermin may lay at the bottom!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

It makes men so filthy!

(Thomas Watson, "The Christian Soldier" 1669)

It is a part of our Christian profession—to fight
under Christ's banner—against the world.

The world is a flattering enemy. It shows its golden
. It is given to some—as  a snare. Take heed of
being drowned in the world's luscious delights!

It must be a strong brain that can bear heady wine.
He had need have a great deal of wisdom and grace,
who knows how to maintain a great estate. Riches
often send up intoxicating fumes, which make men's
heads giddy with pride. It is hard to climb up the hill
of God
—with too many golden weights!

The world shows its two breasts of pleasure and profit
—and many fall asleep with the breast in their mouth!

The world never kisses us—except with an intent
to betray us.

The world is a silken halter.

The world is no friend to grace; it chokes our love
to heavenly things—the earth puts out the fire.

Naturally we love the world. Too many are wedded
to their money—
they live together as man and wife.

O let us take heed of being entangled in this pleasing
Many who have escaped the rock of scandalous
yet have sunk in the world's golden quicksands!

The sin is not in using the world—but in loving it.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If
anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is
not in him." 1 John 2:15

Believers are called out of the world. "They are not
of the world, even as I am not of it." John 17:16.
They are in the world—but not of it. A true saint is
crucified in his affections, to the world, Galat. 6:14.
He is dead to the honors and pleasures of it. What
delight does a dead man take in pictures or music?

Jesus Christ gave Himself "to redeem us from this
present evil world." Galatians 1:4

Living fish swim against the stream. We must swim
against the world, else we shall be carried down the
stream, and fall into the dead sea of hell!

The world is DECEITFUL. Our Savior calls it, "The
deceitfulness of riches." Matthew 13:22. The world
promises happiness—but gives weariness. It promises
us Rachel—but gives us bleary-eyed Leah! The world
promises to satisfy our desires—but only increases
them. The world gives poisoned pills—but wraps
them in sugar!

The world is POLLUTING. "Religion that God our Father
accepts as pure and faultless is this: . . . to keep oneself
from being polluted by the world." It is called filthy lucre
—because it makes men so filthy!

Men will damn themselves to get the world. Ahab would
have Naboth's vineyard, though he swam to it in blood.

The world is PERISHING. "The world and its desires pass
away." The world is like a flower—which withers while we
are smelling it!

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

He wounded the old serpent three times!

(Thomas Watson, "The Christian Soldier" 1669)

What an infinite mercy it is, that God has blessed us
with the Scriptures! The barbarous Indians have their
golden mines—but not the Scriptures, which are 'more
to be desired than much fine gold.'

Our Savior bids us 'search the Scriptures'. We must not
read these holy lines carelessly, as if they did not concern
us, or run over them hastily—but peruse them with reverence
and seriousness. The noble Bereans 'searched the Scriptures
daily.' The Scripture is the treasury of divine knowledge;
it is the rule and touchstone of truth; out of this well—we
draw the water of life.

Read the Word as a book made by God Himself. Other
books may be written by holy men—but this book is inspired
by the Holy Spirit. It is the library of the Holy Spirit!

Read the Word as the perfect rule of faith; it contains all
things essential to salvation. The Word teaches us how to please
God; and how to order our lives in the world. It instructs us in
all things that belong either to prudence or piety, and is 'able
to make us wise unto salvation.'

When you read the Word, look on it as a soul-enriching
. Search it as for 'hidden treasure!' In this Word
are scattered many divine sayings—gather them up as so
many jewels! This blessed book will enrich you—it fills your
head with divine knowledge, and your heart with divine
In this field, the Pearl of price is hidden! What are
all the world's riches compared to these? Islands of spices,
coasts of pearl, rocks of diamonds? These are but the riches
which reprobates may have—but the Word gives us those
riches which angels have!

Look upon the Word as a spiritual armory, out of which
you fetch all your weapons to fight against sin and Satan.

Here are weapons to fight against SIN. The Word of God is
a holy sword, which cuts asunder the lusts of the heart!
When pride begins to lift up itself, the sword of the Spirit
destroys this sin! When passion vents itself, the Word of
God, like Hercules' club, beats down this angry fury! When
lust boils, the Word of God cools that intemperate passion!

Here are weapons to fight against SATAN. When the devil
tempted Christ, He wounded the old serpent three times
with the sword of the Spirit—"It is written!" Satan soon foils
that Christian when he is unarmed, and without Scripture

Look upon the Word as a spiritual looking-glass to dress
yourselves by! It is a mirror for the blind, 'The commands of
the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes!' In other mirrors
you may see your faces; in this mirror you may see your hearts!
This mirror of the Word clearly represents Christ. He is . . .
  most precious;
  altogether lovely;
  a wonder of beauty;
  a paradise of delight!

Look upon the Word as a shop of spiritual antidotes and
. If you find yourself dead in duty—here is a medicine.
If you find your heart hard—the Word will soften and mollify it.
If you are poisoned with sin—here is an herb to expel it.

Look upon the Word as a sovereign elixir to comfort you
in distress
. It comforts you against all your sins, temptations,
and afflictions. What are the promises—but divine cordials to
revive fainting souls.

   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

How do I mortify the flesh?

(Thomas Watson, "The Christian Soldier" 1669)

The flesh is a bosom traitor; it is like the Trojan horse
within the walls, which does all the mischief. The flesh
is a sly enemy—it kills by embracing. The embraces of
the flesh are like the ivy embracing the oak; which sucks
out the strength of it for its own leaves and berries. So the
flesh by its soft embraces, sucks out of the heart all good.

The pampering of the flesh, is the quenching of God's Spirit.
The flesh chokes and stifles holy motions—the flesh sides with
Satan. There is a party within us, which will not pray, which will
not believe. The flesh inclines us more to believe a temptation
than a promise. The flesh is so near to us, its counsels are more
attractive. There is no chain of adamant which binds so tightly
—as the chain of lust.

In the best of saints, do what they can, sin will fasten its
roots in them, and spring out sometimes with inordinate
desires. There is always something which needs mortifying.
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly
nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and
greed, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5.

How do I mortify the flesh?

1. Withdraw the fuel that may make lust burn. Avoid
all temptations. Take heed of that which nourishes sin.
Those who pray that they may not be led into temptation
—must not lead themselves into temptation.

2. Fight against fleshly lusts with spiritual weapons
—faith and prayer. The best way to combat with sin is—upon
our knees. Beg strength from Christ. Samson's strength lay in
his hair; our strength lies in our head—Christ. This is a mystery
to the major part of the world—who gratify the flesh rather
than mortify it.