Grace Gems for OCTOBER 2007

The Trojan horse

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"Deliver us from evil." Matthew 6:13

In this petition, we pray to be delivered from the
evil of our heart, that it may not entice us to sin.

The heart is the poisoned fountain, from whence
all actual sins flow. "For from within, out of the heart
of man
, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft,
murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit,
sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness."
Mark 7:21-22.

The cause of all evil lies in a man's own bosom—all
sin begins at the heart. Lust is first conceived in the
heart—and then it is midwifed into the world. Whence
comes rash anger? The heart sets the tongue on fire.
The heart is the shop where all sin is contrived and
hammered out.

The heart is the greatest seducer "Each one is
tempted when he is carried away and enticed by
his own lust." James 1:14. The devil could not hurt
us—if our own hearts did not give consent.
All that
he can do is to lay the bait—but it is our fault to
swallow it! How needful, therefore, is this prayer,
"Deliver us from the evil of our hearts!"

It was Augustine's prayer, "Lord, deliver me from
that evil man—myself!"

Beware of the bosom traitor—the flesh. The heart
of a man is the Trojan horse—out of which comes
a whole army of lusts! O let us pray to be delivered
from the lusts and deceits of our own heart!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Your cup of the curse

(Octavius Winslow)

"Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has
 given Me?" John 18:11

Christ took your cup of grief—your cup of the curse,
pressed it to His lips, and drank it to its dregs. Then He
filled it with His sweet, pardoning, sympathizing love—
and gave it back to you to drink, and to drink forever!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
First she looked—and then she lusted!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"Watch!" Mark 13:37

Many have lost heaven, for lack of watchfulness.
Our hearts are ready to decoy us into sin, and
the devil lies in ambush with his temptations.
We must every day keep sentinel in our souls.
"I will stand upon my watch." Habakkuk 2:1.

Watch your eyes! "I made a covenant with my
eyes." Job 31:1. Much sin comes in by the eye.
First Eve saw that the tree was good for food,
and pleasant to the eyes—then she took and ate
it! First she looked—and then she lusted. The
eye, by beholding an impure object, sets the heart
on fire. The devil often creeps in, at the window
of the eye! Watch your eyes!

Watch your ears! Much poison is conveyed through
the ear. Let your ear be open to God—and shut to sin!

Watch your hearts! "The human heart is most
deceitful and desperately wicked." Jeremiah 17:9.

Watch your heart when you are about holy things—it
will be slipping out to vanity. When Christ had been
praying and fasting, the devil tempted Him. Mt. 4:3.
After combating with Satan in prayer, we are apt to
grow secure and take our spiritual armor off—and
then the devil falls on us and wounds us!

Watch your hearts when you are in bad company.
The breath of the wicked is infectious. Nay, watch
your hearts when you are in good company. The
devil is subtle, and he can as well creep into the
as he did once into the serpent. Satan
tempted Christ by an apostle.

Watch your hearts in prosperity. Now you are in
danger of pride! The higher men's estates rise—the
higher their hearts are lifted up in pride. It is hard
to carry a full cup without spilling. Just so, it is hard
to carry a full, prosperous estate without sinning.
As Samson fell asleep in Delilah's lap—so many
have fallen so fast asleep in the lap of prosperity,
that they never awoke until they awoke in hell!

Oh, if you would get to heaven, be always upon your
watch-tower! Keep close sentinel in your souls. Who
would not watch—when it is for a glorious kingdom!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The Delilah in the bosom!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

If you would not come short of the kingdom of heaven,
take heed of indulging any sin. One millstone will drown,
as well as more. One sin lived in will damn, as well as more.
If any one sin reigns—it will keep you from reigning in the
kingdom of heaven.

Especially keep from sins of your natural constitution;
your darling sin. "I kept myself from my iniquity"—that
sin which my heart would soonest decoy and flatter me
into. As in the hive there is one master bee—so in the
heart there is one master-sin. Oh, take heed of this!

How may this darling-sin be known?

1. That sin for which a man cannot endure the arrow of
a reproof, is the bosom-sin. Men can be content to have
other sins declaimed against; but if a minister puts his
finger upon the sore, and touches upon that one special
sin—then their eyes flash with fire, they are enraged,
and spit the venom of malice!

2. That sin which a man's heart runs out most to, and he
is most easily captivated by—is the Delilah in the bosom!
One man is overcome with wantonness, another by worldliness.
It is a sad thing for a man to be so bewitched by a beloved sin
that he will part with the whole kingdom of heaven—to gratify
that lust!

3. That sin which a man is least inclined to part with, is the
endeared sin. Of all his sons, Jacob could most hardly part with
Benjamin. "Will you take Benjamin away!" Gen 42:35. So says
the sinner, "This and that sin I have left—but must Benjamin go
too? Must I part with this delightful sin? That goes to my heart!"

Take heed especially of this master-sin. The strength of sin
lies in the beloved sin, which, like a cancer striking at the
heart, brings death.

I have read of a monarch, who being pursued by the enemy,
threw away the crown of gold on his head—that he might run
the faster. Just so, the sin which you wore as a crown of gold
must be thrown away—that you may run the faster to the
kingdom of heaven.

Oh, if you would not lose glory, mortify the beloved sin! Set it,
as Uriah—in the forefront of the battle to be slain. By plucking
out this right eye—you will see the better to go to heaven!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The world's golden sands!

 (Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")
 "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
 If you would not fall short of the kingdom of heaven,
 take heed of worldly-mindedness. A covetous spirit
 chokes holy affections, as the earth puts out the fire.
 "The riches of the world, are the snares of the devil!"
 Riches are golden snares! If a man were to climb up a
 steep rock, and had weights tied to his legs—it would
 hinder him in his ascent. Just so, many golden weights
 will hinder us from climbing up the steep rock which
 leads to heaven.
 The world is no friend to grace. The more the babe
 sucks—the weaker the mother is. Just so, the more
 the world sucks—the weaker our grace is.
 Had a man a monopoly of all the wealth of the world;
 could he heap up riches to the stars—yet his heart
 would not be filled. Covetousness is never satisfied.
 Joshua could stop the course of the sun—but could not
 stop Achan in his covetous pursuit of the wedge of gold.
 He whose heart is locked up in his chest, will be locked
 out of heaven!
 Some ships which have escaped the rocks—have
 been wrecked upon the sands. Just so, many who
 have escaped gross sins—have been wrecked upon
 the world's golden sands!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

An eyesore to the damned in hell

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth,
 when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the
 prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves
 thrown out!"
Luke 13:28

A great aggravation of the loss of heaven will be to
look upon others who have gained the kingdom. The
happiness of the godly in heaven, will be an eyesore
to the damned in hell
. When the wicked shall see
those whom they hated and scorned—exalted to the
kingdom, and shine with robes of glory, and they
themselves miss the kingdom—it will be a dagger at
the heart, and make them gnash their teeth for envy!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The prosperity of the wicked

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity
 of the wicked.
This is what the wicked are like—
 always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely
 in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have
 I washed my hands in innocence."
    Psalm 73:3, 12-13

The children of God have little cause to envy the
prosperity of the wicked.
They may have all they
can desire; nay, they may have "more than heart
can wish." Psalm 73:7. They steep themselves in
pleasure! "They sing to the music of tambourine
and harp; they make merry to the sound of the
flute." Job 21:12. The wicked are high—when
God's people are low in the world.

The goats scramble up the mountains of prosperity;
when Christ's sheep are below in the valley of tears!
The wicked are clothed in purple; while the godly
are in sackcloth. The prosperity of the wicked is
a great stumbling block. But there is no cause of
envy them, if we consider two things:

First—that this is all they have! "Son, remember
that you in your lifetime received your good things"
—you had all your heaven here.

Secondly—that God has laid up better things for
His children
. He has prepared a kingdom of glory for
them! They shall have the beatific vision; they shall
be crowned with the pleasures of paradise forever!
Oh, then do not envy the fleeting prosperity of the

The wicked go through a pleasant way—to execution!
The godly go through a foul way—to coronation!

See how happy all the saints are at death! They go
to a kingdom! They shall see God's face, which shines
ten thousand times brighter than the sun in its meridian
glory. The godly at death shall be installed into their
honor, and have the royal crown set upon their head.
They have in the kingdom of heaven—the quintessence
of all delights. They shall lie in Christ's bosom, that bed
of spices.

There is such a pleasant variety in the happiness of heaven,
that after millions of years it will be as fresh and desirable
as the first hour's enjoyment! In the kingdom of heaven,
the saints are crowned with all those perfections which they
are capable of. The desires of the glorified saints are infinitely
satisfied; there is nothing absent which they could wish might
be enjoyed; there is nothing present which they could wish
might be removed.

In the kingdom of heaven there is . . .
  knowledge without ignorance,
  holiness without sin,
  beauty without blemish,
  strength without weakness,
  light without darkness,
  riches without poverty,
  ease without pain,
  liberty without restraint,
  rest without labor,
  joy without sorrow,
  love without hatred,
  plenty without surfeit,
  honor without disgrace,
  health without sickness,
  peace without discord,
  contentment without cessation,
  glory in its highest elevation!
Oh, the happiness of those who die in the
Lord! They go into this blessed kingdom!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

True faith

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

True faith is joined with holiness. As a little
musk sweetens, so a little faith purifies. Though
faith does but touch Christ—it fetches a healing
virtue from Him. Justifying faith does that in a
spiritual sense, which miraculous faith does—it
removes the mountains of sin, and casts them
into the sea of Christ's blood!

True faith is prolific. It brings forth fruit; it has
Rachel's beauty—and Leah's fruitfulness. Faith is
full of good works. It believes as if it did not work
—and it works as if it did not believe. Faith is the
spouse-like grace which marries Christ; and good
works are the children which it bears!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The fire, the worm, the prison are eternal!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

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

See what opposite ways, the godly and the wicked go
at death! The godly go to a glorious kingdom; the
wicked go to a loathsome prison! The devil is the jailer,
and they are bound with the chains of darkness. Jude 6.
What are these chains?
Not iron chains—but worse; the
chain of God's decree, decreeing them to righteous
torment; and the chain of God's power, whereby He
binds them fast under eternal wrath!

The deplorable condition of impenitent sinners, is that
when they die—they go to a dreadful dungeon. Oh,
think what horror and despair will possess the wicked,
when they see themselves engulfed in misery, and their
condition hopeless, helpless, endless! They are in a fiery
prison—and there is no possibility of getting out!

A servant under the law, who had a hard master—at
every seventh year might go free. But in hell there is
no year of release when the damned shall go free—
the fire, the worm, the prison are eternal!

If the whole world, from earth to heaven, were filled with
grains of sand, and once in a thousand years an angel
should come and fetch away one grain—how many millions
of ages would pass before that vast heap of sand would be
spent! Yet, if after all this time the sinner might come out
of hell, there would be some hope. But this word "forever!"
breaks the heart with despair!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

My sweet pomegranate wine

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"Christ's love compels us." 2 Corinthians 5:14

True love to love God turns the soul into a seraphim;
it makes it burn in a flame of affection. Love is the
truest touchstone of sincerity.

Love is the queen of the graces; it commands the
whole soul. If our love to God is genuine, we let Him
have the supremacy of our love. We will set Him in
the highest place of our soul. We will give Him the
purest of our love. "I would give You spiced wine to
drink, my sweet pomegranate wine." Canticles 8:2.
If the spouse had anything better—a cup more juicy
and spiced—Christ would drink of that!

We give the creature the milk of our love;
but God gets the cream!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

No serpent of sin will breed there

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

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

The kingdom of heaven excels all other kingdoms in
holiness. Earthly kingdoms are for the most part unholy;
there is a common sore of luxury and uncleanness running
in them. Earthly kingdoms are stages for sin to be acted on.
"All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot
without filth." Isaiah 28:8. But the kingdom of heaven is so
holy—that it will not mix with any corruption. It is so pure a
soil—that no serpent of sin will breed there. There, beauty
is not stained with lust, and honor is not swelled with pride.
Holiness is the brightest jewel of the crown of heaven.

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

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What would the damned in hell
give, for one hour's sleep!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

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

In the kingdom of heaven—we shall be freed
from the torments of hell.

Consider the multiplicity of those torments.
In this life, the body is usually exercised with
only one pain at one time; but in hell there
is a diversity of torments. There is . . .
  darkness to affright,
  fire to burn,
  a lake of sulphur to choke,
  chains to bind, and
  the worm to gnaw!

The torments of hell will seize upon every part of the
body and soul.
The eye shall be tortured with the sight
of devils; and the tongue that has sworn so many oaths,
shall be tortured. "Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip
of his finger in water, and cool my tongue." Luke 16:24.
The memory will be tormented to remember the mercies
that have been abused, and seasons of grace neglected.
The conscience will be tormented with self-accusations.

The pains of hell are unmitigated, with no mixture of
mercy. In this life, God in anger remembers mercy. But
in hell there is no alleviation or lessening of the pains.
In hell, there is no oil of mercy to assuage the sufferings
of the damned.

In the pains of hell, there is no intermission. "The
smoke of their torment rises forever and ever, and they
will have no rest day or night!" Rev 14:11. What would
the damned in hell give, for one hour's sleep!
are perpetually on the rack. There is no expiration in the
pains of hell; they must always lie scorching in flames of

But in the heavenly kingdom, the elect shall be freed
from all infernal torments. "Jesus, who rescues us from
the coming wrath!" A prison is not made for the King's
Christ drank that bitter cup of God's wrath—
that the saints might never drink it!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Your dying day

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father
 has been pleased to give you the kingdom!"
    Luke 12:32

What little cause have the saints to fear death!
Are any afraid of going to a glorious kingdom?
What is there in this world that should make us
desirous to stay here? Is not this world "a valley
of tears"—and do we weep to leave it? Are we
not in a wilderness among fiery serpents—and
are we afraid to leave these serpents?

God is ever displaying the banner of His love in
heaven, and is there any love like His? Are there
any sweeter smiles, or softer embraces than His?
What hurt can death do to them—but lead them
to a glorious kingdom! Let this be
a gospel
to expel the fear of death.

Christian, your dying day will be your wedding
day—and do you fear it? Is a slave afraid to be
set free? Is a virgin afraid to be matched into the
crown? Death may take away a few worldly comforts
—but it gives that which is better; it takes away a
flower—and gives a jewel! If the saints possess a
kingdom when they die, they have no cause to
fear death. A prince would not be afraid to cross
the sea, though tempestuous—if he were sure to
be crowned as soon as he came to shore!

Faith gives a title to heaven—but death gives a
of heaven! Death brings us to the end
of our sorrow, and the beginning of our joy! Death
is the entrance into a blessed eternity!

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father
 has been pleased to give you the kingdom!"
    Luke 12:32

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God shoots many kinds of arrows

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"May Your will be done." Matthew 6:10

We pray here, that we may have grace to submit
to God's will patiently—in whatever He inflicts.

Patient submission to God's will, is a gracious frame
of soul, whereby a Christian is content to be at God's
disposal, and acquiesces in His wisdom. "It is the Lord's
will—let Him do what He thinks best." 1 Samuel 3:18

Patient submission to the will of God, lies in seeing His
in the affliction. "Affliction does not spring from
the soil, and trouble does not sprout from the earth."
Job 5:6. Affliction does not come by chance! Job eyed
in all that befell him. "The Lord gave me everything
I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name
of the Lord!" Job 1:21. Job looks beyond second causes
—he sees God in the affliction! "The Lord has taken it
away." There can be no submission to God's will—until
there is an acknowledging of God's hand in the affliction.

Patient submission to God's will, lies in justifying God.
God is holy and just, not only when He punishes the
wicked—but when He afflicts the righteous. "Now we
are being punished because of our wickedness and our
great guilt. But we have actually been punished far
less than we deserve." Ezra 9:13

While we live here in this valley of tears, patient
submission to God's will is much needed. The Lord
sometimes lays heavy afflictions upon us. "Your
have struck deep, and Your blows are
crushing me!" Psalm 38:2. God sometimes lays
afflictions upon us. "He multiplies my
wounds." Job 9:17. God shoots many kinds
of arrows.

God sometimes afflicts with POVERTY—which is a
great affliction. To have an estate reduced almost to
nothing, is hard to flesh and blood. "The Almighty has
made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the
Lord has brought me home empty." Ruth 1:20, 21

God sometimes afflicts with REPROACH. Dirt may be
cast upon a pearl; and those names may be blotted,
which are written in the book of life. Piety shields
from hell—but not from slander.

God sometimes afflicts with the DEATH of loved ones.
"Son of man, I am going to take away your dearest
treasure. Suddenly she will die!" Ezekiel 24:16

God sometimes afflicts with INFIRMITY of body.
Sickness takes away the comfort of life. Sometimes
God lets the infirmity continue long. Some diseases
are chronic, and linger and hang about the body
for many years. The Lord is pleased to exercise
many of His precious ones with chronic affliction.

God tries His people with various afflictions—so that
they have need of patient submission to His will.

Murmuring is not consistent with submission to
God's will. Murmuring is the height of impatience,
it is a kind of mutiny in the soul against God. "They
began to murmur against God." Numbers 21:5

When water is hot—then the scum boils up; when
the heart is heated with anger against God—then
murmuring boils up!

Murmuring springs from pride! Men think they
have deserved better at God's hand; and, when
they begin to swell with pride—they spit poison!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God's file and flail

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"God disciplines us for our profit."
Hebrews 12:10

What profit is in affliction? Afflictions are
disciplinary. Afflictions teach us—they are the
school of the cross.

Affliction shows us more of our own hearts.
Water in a glass looks clear—but set it on the fire,
and the scum boils up. Just so, when God sets us
upon the fire—corruption boils up which we did not
discern before. Sharp afflictions are to the soul, as
a soaking rain to the house; we do not know that
there are holes in the roof until the shower comes
—but then we see it drop down here and there. Just
so, we do not know what unmortified lusts are in
the soul, until the storm of affliction comes—then
the hidden evils of the heart come dropping down
in many places. Affliction is a sacred eye-salve, it
clears our eye-sight. Thus the rod gives wisdom.

Affliction quickens the spirit of prayer. Jonah
was asleep in the ship—but at prayer in the whale's
belly. Perhaps in a time of health and prosperity we
prayed in a cold and formal manner, we put no coals
to the incense. Then God sends some affliction or
other—to stir us up to take hold of Him. "They
poured out a prayer—when Your chastening was
upon them." Isaiah 26:16. In times of trouble
we pray feelingly and fervently.

Affliction is a means to purge out our sins.

Affliction cures the pestilence of pride—and the
fever of lust. Affliction is God's file—to scrub
off our rust. Affliction is God's flail—to thresh
off our husks. The water of affliction is not to
drown us—but to wash off our spots.

Affliction is a means to wean us the world.
The world often proves, not only a spider's web—but
a cockatrice egg. Corrupting worldly things, are great
enchantments. They hinder us in our passage to heaven.
Affliction sounds a retreat, to call us off the immoderate
pursuit of earthly things. When two things are frozen
together—the best way to separate them is by fire; so,
when the heart and the world are together—God has no
better way to separate them than by the fire of affliction.

Affliction is a means to purify us. It works us up to
further degrees of sanctity. "God disciplines us for our
profit—that we may share in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10.
The vessels of mercy are the brighter for scouring. As you
pour water on your linen when you would whiten it—so
God pours the waters of affliction upon us to whiten our
souls. Afflictions are in themselves bitter—but they bring
forth the sweet fruits of righteousness. Hebrews 12:11.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Here is a strange sight!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"Happy is the man whom God corrects." Job 5:17

Affliction is a means to make us happy. It seems
strange to flesh and blood—that affliction should
make us happy. When Moses saw the bush burning
and not consumed, he said "I will turn aside and see
this strange sight!" Exodus 3:3. Likewise, here is a
strange sight
—a man afflicted, and yet happy. The
world counts them happy—who can escape affliction;
but truly happy is the man whom God corrects.

How do afflictions contribute to our happiness?

Afflictions make us happy—as they are a means of
bringing us nearer to God. The loadstone of prosperity
does not draw us so near to God, as the cords of affliction.
When the prodigal was pinched with need, he said, "I will
arise—and go to my father!" Luke 15:18. As the deluge
brought the dove to the ark—the floods of sorrow make
us hasten to Christ, our ark!

Afflictions make us happy—as they are safe guides to
glory. The storm drives the ship into the harbor. Blessed
storm—which drives the soul into the heavenly harbor!
Is it not better—to go through momentary affliction to
eternal glory—than to go through momentary pleasure to
eternal misery? The wicked must drink a sea of wrath;
but the godly have only a cup of affliction.

Think, O Christian—what affliction leads to! It leads to
paradise, where rivers of pleasure are always running!

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we
 are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed
 day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are
 achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs
 them all." 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Three worms which often breed in prosperity

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

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

To make us content with "daily bread," though God
straitens us in our allowance, think seriously of the
danger there is in a high, prosperous condition.

Some are not content with "daily bread," but desire
to have their barns filled, and heap up silver as dust;
which proves a snare to them. "Those who will be rich
fall into a snare." 1 Tim 6:9. Pride, idleness, and lust
are three worms which often breed in prosperity.

Prosperity often deafens the ear against God. "I spoke
unto you in your prosperity, but you said—I will not hear."
Jer 22:21. Soft pleasures harden the heart. In the body,
the more fat—the less vitality. Just so, the more outward
plenty—often the less piety.

Prosperity has its honey—and also its sting! Anxious care
is the evil spirit which haunts the rich man—and will not
let him rest. When his chests are full of money—his heart
is full of care, either how to manage or how to increase,
or how to secure what he has gotten.

Should this not make us content with that allowance which
God gives us—if we have daily bread, though not dainties?
Think of the danger of prosperity! The spreading of a full
table may be the spreading of a snare! Many have been
sunk to hell, with golden weights!

"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!" 1 Timothy 6:9.

The world's golden sands are quicksands, which should
make us take our daily bread, though it be but coarse,
contentedly. If we have less prosperity—we have less
snare. As we lack the rich provisions of the world—so
we lack their temptations. "If we have food and clothing,
we will be content with that." 1 Timothy 6:8.

If God keeps us to a spare diet—if He gives us less of
temporal things—He has made it up in spiritual things.
He has given us the Pearl of great price—the Lord Jesus,
who is the quintessence of all good things. To give us
Christ, is more than if God had given us all the world.
He can make more worlds—but He has no more Christs
to bestow. Christ is such a golden mine, that the angels
cannot dig to the bottom! His riches are unsearchable!
Ephes. 3:8. From Christ we have justification, adoption
and glorification!

Consider that it is not having an abundance, which makes
us content. It is not a fancy cage which will make the bird
sing. Having an abundance may make one less content.
One staff may help the traveler—but a bundle of staffs
will be a burden to him. A great estate may be like a
long trailing garment—more burdensome than useful.

He who can say, "My God," has enough to rock his
heart quiet in the lowest condition. What can he lack
—who has the all-sufficient God for his portion!

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be
 content with what you have, because God has said,
 Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
    Hebrews 13:5

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

They are never separated

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"You were sanctified, you were justified."
    1 Corinthians 6:11

Justification and sanctification are not the same.

Justification is without us—sanctification is within us.
The one is by righteousness imputed—the other is by
righteousness imparted. Justification is once and for
all—sanctification is gradual. One person is sanctified
more than another—but one cannot be more justified
than another. One has more grace than another—but
he is not more justified than another.

The matter of our justification is perfect, namely,
Christ's righteousness; but our sanctification is
imperfect, there are the spots of God's children. Our
graces are mixed with sin, our duties are defiled.

Thus justification and sanctification are not the same.

Yet, for all that, they are never separated. God never
pardons and justifies a sinner—but He also sanctifies him.
"This is He who came by water and blood, even Jesus
Christ." 1 John 5:6. Christ comes to the soul by blood,
which denotes remission of sin; and by water, which
denotes sanctification. Let no man say he is pardoned,
who is not made holy!
This I urge against those who
talk of their sin being forgiven, and having a part in
Christ—and yet remain unconverted, and live in the
grossest sins!

Where God pardons, He purifies. Whoever God forgives,
He transforms. Let no man say his sins are forgiven—who
does not find an inherent work of holiness in his heart.
"I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow
My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances."
Ezekiel 36:27

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God is either blind or forgetful

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven,
 whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose
 sin the Lord does not count against him."
    Psalm 32:1-2

All the curses of God stand in full force against
an unpardoned sinner
. It is astonishing, that an
unpardoned man could be merry, who is heir to
all God's curses!

Luther professed there were three things
which he dared not think of, without Christ:
  his sins,
  the day of judgment.

Death to a Christless soul, is the "king of terrors."
Death is sent to the unpardoned soul with dreadful
tidings. Death is God's jailer to arrest him. Death
is a prologue to damnation. It takes away all earthly
comforts; it takes away sugared morsels; no more
mirth or music. "The music of harpists and musicians,
flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in
you again." Rev 18:22. The sinner shall never more
taste of luscious delights, for all eternity; his honey
shall be turned into the "gall of asps." Job 20:14.

The sinner dying unpardoned, must go into damnation!
This is the second death—an undying death. He must
forever bear the anger of a sin-revenging God. As long
as God is God—so long the vial of His wrath shall be
dropping upon the damned soul.

Oh! how sad, then, is it to live and die unpardoned!
You may lay a grave-stone upon that man, and write
this epitaph upon it, "It would have been good for that
man—if he had never been born!" He will be engulfed
in a dreadful a labyrinth of fire and brimstone for all

Now, if the misery of an unpardoned state is so
inexpressible—what is the reason why so few seek
after pardon? If they lack health—they go to the
physician; but if they lack forgiveness of sin, they
seem to be unconcerned, and do not seek after it.

Why is this?

Men do not seek earnestly after forgiveness of sin,
for lack of conviction. Few are convinced what a
dreadful thing sin is—that it is distillation of all evil,
that it brings all plagues on the body, and curses
on the soul. Unless a man's sins are forgiven, there
is not the vilest creature alive—the rat, serpent or
toad, which is in a worse condition than the sinner!
For when they die they go but into the earth; but
he, dying without pardon, goes into hell torments
forever! Men are not convinced of this—so they
play with the viper of sin!

Men do not seek earnestly after forgiveness of sin,
because they are seeking other things. They seek
the world immoderately. The world is a golden snare.
"The riches of the world, are the snares of the devil."
The wedge of gold hinders many from seeking after

Men do not seek earnestly after forgiveness of sin,
out of hope of impunity. They flatter themselves in
sin, and because they have been spared so long,
therefore think God never intends to reckon with
them. "He has said in his heart—God has forgotten;
He hides His face and will never see it." Psalm 10:11.
They think that God is either blind or forgetful.
But let sinners know—that long forbearance is not
forgiveness. God bore with Sodom a long time, but
at last rained down fire and brimstone upon them.
The adjourning of the court, does not acquit the
prisoner. The longer God is taking the blow—the
heavier it will be at last, if sinners repent not!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh, this is heaven, the heaven of heaven!

(Octavius Winslow)

"I desire to depart and be with Christ,
 which is better by far!" Philippians 1:23

Fellowship with Jesus is the highest, purest,
sweetest mercy, a saint of God can have on
earth! Yes, it is the highest, purest, sweetest
bliss, the saints of God can have in heaven!

What is the enjoyment of heaven?
Not merely . . .
  exemption from trial,
  freedom from sorrow,
  rest from toil,
  release from conflict.

Oh no! it is the presence—the full
unclouded presence of Christ!

To be with Christ,
to behold His glory,
to gaze upon His face,
to hear His voice,
to feel the throbbings of His bosom,
to bask in the effulgence of His presence,
Oh, this is heaven, the heaven of heaven!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

This lion of hell is ever hunting after his prey!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil,
 your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring
 lion, looking for some victim to devour!" 1 Peter 5:8

Consider Satan's diligence in tempting. He neglects
no time. He who would have us idle—is always busy
himself. This lion of hell is ever hunting after his
He compasses sea and land to make a proselyte.
He prowls around—he watches where he may throw in
the fireball of temptation. He is a restless spirit; if we
repulse him, he will not desist—but come again with
a new temptation.

Satan's diligence in tempting, is seen in the variety
of temptations he uses. He does not confine himself
to one kind of temptation—he has more plots than
one. He has many tools to work with. If he finds one
temptation does not prevail—he will utilize another.

If he cannot tempt to lust—he will tempt to pride.

If temptation to covetousness does not prevail—he
will tempt to extravagance.

If he cannot make men profane—he will try to make
them religious formalists.

If he cannot make them wicked—he will tempt them
to be erroneous. Error damns as well as vice. Vice
pistols; error poisons!

Satan has acquired long experience in the art of
He has been a tempter for as long as
he has been a devil. Having such experience, he
knows what the temptations are, which have foiled
others, and are most likely to prevail—as the fowler
lays those snares which have caught other birds.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

To damn them with delights!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"So that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are very
 familiar with his evil schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11

The serpent beguiled Eve with his subtlety; let
us not be beguiled by his hellish snares and plots.

Satan has a dexterity in subtle contrivances.

He hurts more as a fox than a lion.

His snares are worse than his darts.

His error damns as well as His vice;
poison kills as well as a pistol.

Satan bewitches and ensnares men, by setting
pleasing baits before them; as the riches, pleasures,
and honors of the world. "All these things will I give
you." Matthew 4:9. How many does he tempt with
this golden apple! Pride, idleness, luxury—are the
three worms which are bred by prosperity. "Those
who will be rich fall into temptation and a snare."
1 Timothy 6:9. Satan kills with these silver darts!
How many are ensnared by his luscious delights!

The pleasures of the world are the great engine by
which Satan batters down men's souls. His policy is to
tickle them to death—to damn them with delights!
The flesh would gladly be pleased, and Satan prevails
by this temptation—he drowns them in the sweet
waters of pleasure.

Such as have abundance of the world, walk in the
midst of golden snares! We had need watch our hearts
in prosperity, and pray not to be led into temptation.
We have as much need to be careful that we are not
endangered by prosperity—as a man has to be careful
at a feast where there are some poisoned dishes of food.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Buffeted by Satan's temptations

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

Why does God allow His people to be buffeted
by Satan's temptations
? He does it for many wise
and holy ends.

God allows His children to be tempted, to test their love.
Our love to God is seen, when we can look a temptation
in the face—and turn our back upon it. Though the devil
comes as a subtle serpent, and offers a golden apple—yet
the one who loves God will not touch the forbidden fruit.
When the devil offered Christ all the kingdoms of the
world, and the glory of them—such was Christ's love to
His Father, that He abhorred the temptation. True love
will not be bribed. When the devil's darts are most fiery
—a saint's love to God is most fervent. "If you love Me,
you will keep My commandments." John 14:15

God allows His children to be tempted, to test their courage.
Many have no heart to resist a temptation. No sooner does
Satan come with his solicitations—but they yield. They are
like the coward, who as soon as the thief approaches, delivers
his purse. He is a valorous Christian, who brandishes the sword
against Satan, and will rather die than yield. The heroic spirit
of a saint is never more seen than in a battlefield, when he is
fighting with the red dragon—and by the power of faith puts
the devil to flight!

God allows His children to be tempted, that they may be kept
from pride. Pride keeps grace low, so that it cannot thrive. As
the head swells—the other parts of the body waste away. Just
so, as pride swells—grace wastes away. God resists pride; and,
that He may keep His children humble, He sometimes allows
them to fall into temptation. "To keep me from getting puffed
up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan
to torment me and keep me from getting proud." The thorn
in the flesh was to burst the bubble of pride!
Better is the
temptation which humbles me—than the duty which makes
me proud. Rather than a Christian should be proud, God lets
him fall into the devil's hands a while—that he may be cured
of swelling pride.

God allows His children to be tempted, that they may be fitter
to comfort others who are in the same distress, and speak a
word in due season to such as are weary. Paul was trained up
in the fencing-school of temptation, and was able to acquaint
others with Satan's wiles and stratagems, 2 Cor 2:11. A man
who has ridden over a place where there are quicksands, is
the fittest to guide others through that dangerous way. Just
so, he who has been buffeted by Satan, and has felt the claws
of the roaring lion—is the fittest man to deal with one who is

God allows His children to be tempted, to make them long
more for heaven, where they shall be out of gunshot, and
freed from the hissing of the old serpent! Satan vexes and
molests the saints. He lays his snares, and throws his fireballs!
But this only makes the children of God long to be gone from
hence, and pray that they had the wings of a dove, to fly
away and be at rest! Heaven is the place of rest—no bullets
of temptation fly there! The eagle that soars aloft in the air,
and sits perching upon the tops of high trees—is not troubled
with the stinging of serpents below. Just so, when believers
have got into heaven above, they shall not be stung by the
old serpent! The devil is cast out of the heavenly paradise.
Heaven is compared to an exceeding high mountain. It is so
high, that Satan's fiery darts cannot reach up to it! Death calls
the saints off the battlefield, where the bullets of temptation
fly thick—so that they may receive a victorious crown!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The sword which wounds the red dragon!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"In every situation take the shield of faith, and
 with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming
 arrows of the evil one!" Ephesians 6:16

No grace more bruises the serpent's head—than faith.
It is both a shield and a sword, defensive and offensive.
It is a shield to guard the head and defend the vitals.
The shield of faith prevents the fiery darts of temptation
from piercing us through. Faith is also the sword which
wounds the red dragon!

How does faith come to be so strong—that it can resist
Satan and put him to flight?

Because faith brings the strength of Christ into the soul.
Samson's strength lay in his hair—ours lies in Christ. If a
child is assaulted—it runs and calls to its father for help.
Just so, when faith is assaulted, it runs and calls Christ,
and in His strength overcomes!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The burdens of prosperity

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

People are usually better in adversity, than prosperity.
A prosperous condition is not always so safe. True, it
is more pleasing to the flesh—but it is not always best.
In a prosperous state, there is more burden. Many
look at the shining and glittering of prosperity—but
not at the burdens of prosperity.

[1] There is the burden of CARE. Therefore God calls
riches "cares." Luke 8:14. A rose has its prickles—so
have riches. We think them happy, who flourish in
their silks and gold—but we do not see the troubles
and cares which attend them! A shoe may have silver
lace on it—yet pinch the foot. Many a man who goes
to his hard labor, lives a more contented life than he
who has millions. Disquieting care is the evil spirit
which haunts the rich man. When his chests are full
of gold—his heart is full of care how to increase them,
or how to secure what he has gotten. A large estate,
like a long, trailing garment—is often more
troublesome than useful.

[2] In a prosperous estate there is the burden of
ACCOUNT. Such as are in high places, have a far
greater account to give to God than others. "Unto
whom much is given—of him shall be much required."
The more golden talents any are entrusted with—the
more they have to answer for. The more their revenues
—the more their reckonings. God will say, "I gave you
a great estate—what have you done with it? How have
you employed it for My glory?"

[3] A prosperous condition has more DANGER in it.
Such as are on the top of the pinnacle of honor—are
in more danger of falling. They are subject to many
temptations. Their table is often a snare. Millions are
drowned in the sweet waters of pleasure.

A large sail overturns the vessel. Many, by having a too
large sail of prosperity, have had their souls overturned!
He has need have much wisdom and grace, to know how
to wisely bear a high condition. It is hard to carry a full
cup without spilling—and a full estate without sinning!

Prosperity breeds pride. When the tide rises higher in
the river, the boat rises higher; so, when the tide of an
estate rises higher, many men's hearts rise higher in
pride. Prosperity breeds carnal security. Samson fell
asleep in Delilah's lap—so do men in the lap of ease
and plenty. The world's golden sands, are quicksands.

God knows what is best for us. If we have less estate, we
are in less danger. If we lack the riches and honors of
others—so we lack their temptations. "How hard it is for
rich people to get into the Kingdom of God! It is easier
for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a
rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!" Luke 18:24-25.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Looking for some victim to devour!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"Deliver us from evil." Matthew 6:13

In this petition, we pray to be delivered from the
evil of Satan—"the wicked one." Matthew 13:19.

In what respect is Satan the wicked one?

He was the first inventor of evil. John 8:44.

His inclination is only to evil. Ephesians 6:12.

His constant practice is doing evil. 1 Peter 5:8.

He has some hand in all the evils and mischief
which happen in the world.

He hinders from all good.

He provokes to evil. The devil blows the fire of lust
and strife. When men are proud, the old serpent has
poisoned them, and makes them swell!

He is a restless adversary—he never sleeps.

Satan is a subtle contriver; there is no place that
can secure us from his assaults and inroads.

Satan is a mighty adversary. He is called the
"strong man." Luke 11:21. He takes men captive
at his pleasure. "Who are taken captive by him
at his will." 2 Tim 2:26.

The devil glories in the damnation of souls. His work
is to angle for men's souls; he lays suitable baits.

He allures the ambitious man with honor.

He allures the covetous man with riches;
he baits his hook with silver!

He allures allures the lustful man with beauty;
he tempts men to Delilah's lap—to keep them
from Abraham's bosom!

How needful then is this prayer, "Lord, deliver
us from the evil one!"

"Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the
 Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around
 like a roaring lion, looking for some victim
 to devour!
" 1 Peter 5:8.

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A vexing vanity!

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

"Deliver us from evil." Matthew 6:13

In this petition, we pray to be delivered from the
evil world. "He died for our sins, just as God our
Father planned—in order to rescue us from this
evil world
in which we live." Galatians 1:4

It is an evil world, as it is a DEFILING world. The
opinions and examples of the world are defiling.
How easily are we hurried to sin, when we have the
tide of natural corruption, and the wind of example
to carry us! "You shall not follow a multitude to do
evil." Exodus 23:2. Bad examples are contagious.
"They mingled among the pagans—and adopted
their evil customs." Psalm 106:35.

Living in the world, is like traveling on a dirty road.
It requires a high degree of grace to keep ourselves
"unspotted by the world." James 1:27.

It is an evil world, as it is an ENSNARING world. The
world is full of snares. Company is a snare; recreation
is a snare; riches are golden snares. The apostle John
speaks of the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes
and the pride of life." 1 John 2:16. The lust of the flesh
is beauty; the lust of the eye is money; the pride of life
is honor. These are the natural man's trinity.

The world is a flattering enemy. Whom it kisses—it betrays;
it is a silken halter. The pleasures of the world, like opium,
cast men into the sleep of carnal security. Lysimachus sold
his crown for a cup of water. Just so, many part with heaven
—for the world. They are enslaved with the world's golden
The world bewitched Demas. 2 Timothy 4:10. One
of Christ's own apostles was caught with a silver bait. It is
hard to drink the wine of prosperity—and not be giddy. The
world, through our innate corruption, is evil, as it is a snare.

It is an evil world, as it is a DEADENING world. It dulls and
deadens the affections to heavenly objects. Earthly things
choke the seed of the Word. A man entangled in the world
is so taken up with secular concerns, that he can no more
mind the things above—than an elephant can fly in the air!
And even such as have grace in them—when their affections
are beslimed with earth, they find themselves much
indisposed to meditation and prayer; it is like swimming
with a heavy stone around the neck!

It is an evil world, as it is a DECEITFUL world. The
world makes us believe it will satisfy our desires—
but it only increases them!

It is an evil world, as it is a VEXING world. It is full of
trouble. "In this world you will have trouble." John 16:33.

Basil was of opinion that before the fall—the rose grew
without prickles; but now every sweet flower of our life
has its thorns!
There are many things which cause trouble.
Some are troubled that they have no children, others that
they have children. The world is a vexing vanity! If a
man is poor—he is despised by the rich; if he is rich—he
is envied by the poor. If we do not find an ensnaring
world, we shall find it an afflicting world; it has more
in it to trouble us than tempt us.

The world is a sea, where we are tossed upon the surging
waves of sorrow
, and often in danger of shipwreck!

The world is a wilderness, full of fiery serpents!

What great need then, have we to pray, "Lord,
deliver us from being hurt by this evil world!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

O the love of His royal heart!

(William Mason, "The Believers Pocket Companion")

"Christ is all!" Colossians 3:2

O for the pen of a ready writer, to set forth the matchless
glory and unparalleled excellence of the King—the King of
Kings—the King of saints, even King Jesus!

We were once stout-hearted rebels against His crown and
government! But, O the love of His royal heart! Instead
of executing fierce vengeance upon us, for our sins—lo, He
came from heaven to earth, with a flame of love in His
heart, and matchless grace on His lips—on purpose . . .
  to die for us,
  to wash us from our sins in His own blood,
  to conquer the rebellion of our hearts against Him,
  and to win our affections to Him!

Has He saved us by His precious blood? Has He made us
His willing, loving disciples, by His powerful grace? Surely
then, we should live in the sweet enjoyment of all the rich
blessings of his kingdom, and be holy and happy every
day, yes, every hour—IN HIM. This is His loving will
concerning us.

O for a single eye to look unto Jesus, a humble heart to
sit at His feet, and a simple soul to hear and believe every
word from His gracious lips, that we may know the love of
Christ—constantly know it by a heartfelt sense of it. This,
this is the one thing needful—to make poor sinners rich,
and miserable sinners happy in time, and joyful to all

Remember your chief employment. It is not merely to
make a profession, and to keep up a form of godliness;
but to maintain and keep up a warm, lively, comfortable
sense of the love of Christ in your hearts, from day to
day, yes, from hour to hour!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

If the eye is once inflamed

(Thomas Watson, "The Lord's Prayer")

If we would be kept from actual sins—let us be
careful to avoid all the inlets and occasions of sin.

Do not run into evil company. He who would not
catch the plague—must not go into an infected house.

Guard your senses, which may be the inlets to sin.
Keep the two portals—the eye and the ear. Especially
guard your eyes. Much sin comes in by the eye; the
eye is often an inlet to sin; sin takes fire at the eye.

The first sin in the world, began at the eye. "When
the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for
food and pleasing to the eye—she took some and ate
it." Genesis 3:6

Intemperance begins at the eye,
"Do not gaze at wine
when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup. In the end it
bites like a snake and poisons like a viper!" Pr. 23:31-32

Covetousness begins at the eye. "When I saw among
the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and a wedge
of gold, I coveted them and took them." Joshua 7:21

The fire of lust begins to kindle at the eye. David walking
upon the roof of his house, saw a woman washing herself,
and she was, says the text, "beautiful to look upon," and
he sent messengers and took her, and defiled himself with
her. 2 Samuel 11:2.
Looking begat lusting!

Therefore watch your eyes! Job made a covenant with
his eyes. Job 31:1. If the eye is once inflamed, it will
be hard to stand out long against sin. If the outworks
are captured by the enemy, there is great danger of the
whole castle being captured!

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A continual supply of grace, comfort, and strength

(William Mason, "The Believers Pocket Companion")

"I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me
 and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

That the believer may live cheerfully and comfortably,
he is exhorted to the free and constant use of Christ.

O consider—Christ is given to us—to be enjoyed by us!

He is the bread of life. We are to feed upon Him daily.

He is the water of life, which our souls are to drink of

He is our righteousness. We are to put Him on continually.

So then, we not only have a precious Christ—but we are
also to use Him—and enjoy His preciousness! He is not
only a well of salvation—but we must draw water out of
it with joy—and drink of it to the refreshing of our souls!

Deeply consider, that without this inward enjoyment
of Christ—you cannot be . . .
  happy in your soul,
  comfortable in your walk,
  nor holy in your life.

We must live by faith upon Christ—so as to derive a
continual supply of grace, comfort, and strength

from Him! "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved
me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

    ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

 How is all this to be done?
 (William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make
  Poor Sinners Rich—and Miserable Sinners Happy")
 Before the believer arrives to the full enjoyment
 of Christ in eternal glory, he has . . .
   many enemies to encounter;
   many trials and troubles to conflict with;
   a body of sin and death to be delivered from;
   many lusts to be mortified;
   many corruptions to be subdued;
   a legion of sins to strive against;
   graces to be exercised;
   duties to be performed;
 in one word—he has to glorify Christ
 in the world, by his life and walk.
 How is all this to be done?
 Only by Christ strengthening him. Therefore
 he is constantly to put on Christ—to attain a
 greater knowledge of Christ—more rich and
 sweet experience of His grace and love—to be
 more strongly rooted in His love. He must have
 his heart, his hopes, his affections more with
 Christ, and his soul more swallowed up in the
 ocean of God's everlasting love in Christ—that
 he may be more conformed to Christ's image;
 and that thus, as a good soldier of Christ, he
 may manfully fight under His banner against
 the world, the flesh, and the devil, unto his
 life's end.
 "I can do all things through Christ, who
  strengthens me." Philippians 4:13