Grace Gems for NOVEMBER 2007

Ready to sink and faint?

(Mason, "A Spiritual Treasury for the Children of God")

Are our hearts weak and low, ready to sink and faint?

Are our graces upon the decline?

Are our enemies strong—and our troubles increased?

To whom should we fly—but to our almighty God and
Savior, Jesus! Faith receives all its courage and strength
from its author, Jesus. It is armed with Omnipotence!

Paul says, "I can do all things!" Why? because he was
a great apostle? No! Paul was no stronger than the
weakest believer! "It is Christ who strengthens me!"

"The Sovereign Lord is my strength!" Habakkuk 3:19

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A little book, which contains only three pages

(William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make
Poor Sinners Rich—and Miserable Sinners Happy

I have read of a godly man who was once very dissolute.
When converted, his former companions sought to bring
him back to his former wicked courses. But he told them,
"I am deeply engaged in meditating on a little book,
which contains only three pages
; so at present I
have no time for other business."

Sometime after, being asked if he had finished his book,
he replied, "No; for though it contains only three pages,
yet there is so much comprised in them, that I have
devoted myself to read therein, all the days of my life.

The first page is red. Here I mediate on the sufferings
of my Lord and Savior, His shedding His precious blood,
as an atonement for my sins, and a ransom for my soul,
without which I must have been a damned sinner in
hell, to all eternity!

The second
page is white. This cheers my heart with
the wonderful consideration of the unspeakable joys
of heaven obtained for me by Christ—and of being
forever with Him!

The third
page is black. Here I think of the horrible
state of the damned—and the perpetual torments
they are suffering in hell. O this excites thankfulness
to my Savior, for His wonderful love and rich grace,
in snatching me as a brand out of hell-fire, and
saving me from eternal destructions!"

Here is a good man, a good book, and a good
for you and I. "Let us go and do likewise."
Constantly meditate upon Christ; upon the wrath He
has saved us from—and the glory He has saved us to!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A rod of love to whip you!

(William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make
Poor Sinners Rich—and Miserable Sinners Happy

"The one who will not use the rod hates his son, but the
 one who loves him disciplines him diligently." Prov. 13:24

There are certain plants which grow in the Red Sea,
which, though they are covered with water, and beat
upon by the waves—they stand like an immovable rock.
They are bettered by the roughness of the sea.

Just so, a Christian planted in the Red Sea of Christ's
blood—is armored against all waves of trouble. He is
improved by afflictions; yes, the more he is beat
upon, and though overwhelmed with the billows of
distress and trouble—the better he thrives, and the
more his soul flourishes in spiritual grace! For this is
the loving design of our Lord in all our troubles and
afflictions—to wean us from the world, and to endear
Himself to us! Every affliction has its commission from
Him. It comes with the impress of His love upon it.

I have often found by experience, and confessed
with joy—that a sick bed has proved like a hotbed
to my soul. It has drawn up warm desires, and longing
affections to Christ. And I have sweetly found the Sun
of Righteousness arising upon me—reviving, cheering
and comforting my soul.

It is your wisdom to see the rod of chastisement, in
the hand of your loving heavenly Father. All your
afflictions are chastenings from the Lord—they are
all sent in love! He deals with you as with a son in
whom He delights, and whom He designs to profit.
He does not punish you with vindictive wrath—He
is not taking vengeance of you for your sins. Your
Father is not so much punishing you for your sins,
as from your sins. That is, in all His chastisements,
He intends your spiritual good . . .
  that you should be more a partaker of His holiness;
  that sin may be more exceedingly sinful;
  that you should more humble and vile in your own eyes,
  that Jesus should be more inestimably precious to you.

All affliction is a rod of love to whip you from the
world, self, and sin—into Christ, that you should more
love and enjoy Him, who is your righteousness, life
and salvation!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

We have been admiring our vile selves!

(William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make
Poor Sinners Rich—and Miserable Sinners Happy

"I hate pride and arrogance!" Proverbs 8:13

What a monster of pride is man! How full of that
cursed venom, is human nature! We cannot receive any
grace or blessing from the Lord—but corrupt nature is
prone to be proud of it—and to boast in it! No one is
exempt from this. I appeal to your hearts. I refer to
your experience. When your heart has been enlarged
in prayer; when your soul has been carried out in
humblings, meltings, longings, aspirings, etc.; when
you have heard the Word with warm affections and
heavenly joy; when your tongue has with sweetness
and liberty, talked of Christ to others; when your hand
has been stretched forth to do any good work; now in
all these—have you not found pride very busy? Have
not you been ready to stroke yourself with pleasure,
and to reflect with delight: "Well, now the Lord loves
me indeed! Surely He loves me better—now that I
find myself so holy—and feel myself so heavenly!"

But where is our precious Jesus all this while? We have
looked at ourselves—until we have lost sight of Him!

We have been admiring our vile selves for our
—instead of being in raptures with Christ, who
is altogether lovely, in whom all fullness of grace
dwells, and out of whose fullness we receive grace
upon grace!

"The Lord detests all the proud of heart!" Proverbs 16:5

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

They lick the dust!

(Thomas Watson)

For where your treasure is—there your heart
will be also." Matthew 6:21

Covetous people make the world their treasure.
Their treasure does most command their hearts.
They can no more live above the world—than a
fish can live out of the water. They have the 
serpent's curse upon them—
they lick the dust!

"Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the
 wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you
 will eat dust all the days of your life!" Genesis 3:14

Without God—O how empty and insignificant
are all worldly things! They are . . .
    earthly in their matter,
    painful in their procuring,
    glutting in their fruition,
    fleeting in their duration,
    damning in their

"But godliness with contentment is a great gain!"
     1 Timothy 6:6

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Christ sin self

(William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make
Poor Sinners Rich—and Miserable Sinners Happy

Where Christ is most precious—
  there sin is exceedingly sinful;
  and self is humbled and loathed!

But—do we not grow stronger in ourselves, and
find more help and power from ourselves—
  to withstand our enemies,
  to fight our good fight,
  to run our race, and
  to perfect holiness?

No! If we think so—it is plain that we are not
growing up into Christ—but growing down into
self! If the Lord has given me to know anything
of this matter, after being upwards of twenty
years in precious Christ, I sincerely declare, that
I find myself to be just that weak, helpless sinner
I was when I first came to Jesus with, "Lord help
me! Lord save me—or I perish!" Yes, I find myself
more helpless now
—than I thought myself then.
I see more constant need to put on Christ, and
to say, "truly in the Lord (not in myself) I have

I never more firmly believed than now, this truth
of my Lord, "Without Me, you can do nothing." John
15:5. Never, never did I see less cause to trust in
my own strength!

"Hold me up—and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Death cannot hurt you!

(William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make
Poor Sinners Rich—and Miserable Sinners Happy

Christian! Death cannot hurt you! Death is your
best friend—who is commissioned by Christ to summon
you from the world of vanity and woe, and from a body
of sin and death—to the blissful regions of glory and
immortality, to meet your Lord, and to be forever
with Him!

In the Marian persecution, a godly woman was
brought before "Bloody Bonner", bishop of London,
on account of her faith in Christ.

The bishop threatened he would take her husband.
Said she, "Christ is my husband!"

Said he, "I will take away your child."
Said she, "Christ is better to me than ten sons!"

Said he, "I will strip you of all your comforts."
Said she, "Christ is mine, and you cannot strip me
of Him! Take away whatever you will—you cannot
take away my Christ from me!"

Just so, death may threaten to take all from you.
But you may boldly put death at defiance, as she
did Satan's bishop. Having Christ in your heart,
you will take a smiling leave of the world, and (as
good old Simeon, with Christ in his arms) say,
"Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You now
dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have
seen Your salvation!" Luke 2:29, 30.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

If God left us!

(Thomas Watson, "Four Sad Evils" 1663)

The sins of the ungodly are looking-glasses in which we
may see our own hearts. Do we see a heinous, impious
wretch? Behold a picture of our own hearts! Such would
we be—if God left us! What is in wicked men's practice
—is in our nature. Sin in the wicked—is like fire which
flames and blazes forth. Sin in the godly—is like fire hid
in the embers. Christian, though you do not break forth
into a flame of scandalous sin—yet you have no cause
to boast, for there is as much sin in the embers of your
nature! You have the root of all sin in you, and would
bear as hellish fruit as any ungodly wretch—if God did
not either curb you by His power, or change you by
His grace!

Why might not God have left you—to the same excess
of wickedness? Think with yourself, O Christian—why
should God be more merciful to you, than to another?
Why should He snatch you, as brand plucked out of
the fire—and not him? How should this make you to
adore free grace! What the Pharisee said boastingly,
we may say thankfully—"God, I thank you that I am
not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers, etc."

If we are not as wicked as others—we should adore the
riches of free-grace! Every time we see men hastening
on in sin—we are to thank God that we are not such!
If we see a crazy person—we thank God that it is not
so with us. When we see another infected with the
plague—how thankful are we, that God has preserved
us from it! Much more when we see others under the
power of Satan—how thankful we should be, that this
is no longer our condition!

"For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived,
 captives of various passions and pleasures, living in
 malice and envy, hateful . . . ." Titus 3:3

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The key of heaven

(Watson, "God is His People's Great Reward")

Prayer is the key of heaven which, being turned
by the hand of faith—opens all God's treasures!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Put all the 'creatures' into a cup

(Thomas Watson, "God is His People's Great Reward")

"I am your exceeding great reward." Genesis 15:1

In the Hebrew it is, "I am your superabundant, very
exceeding much reward." The text rises higher and
higher—"I am your reward; your great reward; and
your exceeding great reward."

God Himself is His people's reward! Nothing
besides God, can be His people's reward. Nothing on
earth can be their reward. The glittering of the world
dazzles men's eyes; but, like the apples of Sodom, it
does not so much delight—as delude. The world is but
"gilded emptiness!" The world is circular; but the heart
is a triangle. A circle cannot fill a triangle. The world is
enough to busy us, not to fill us. When we enjoy most
of 'the creature'—yet there is always something lacking.
When King Solomon had put all the 'creatures' into
a cup
, and went to extract and distill out their worth,
they turned to froth! "Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly
meaningless! Everything is meaningless!" Ecclesiastes 1:2.
God never intended that we should dig happiness—out of
the earth which He has cursed!

Heaven itself is not a saint's reward! Psalm 73:25, "Whom
have I in heaven but You?" There are angels and archangels
—yes, but though these are for a saint's comfort—yet they
are not properly for his reward. Communion with seraphim
is excellent—but God Himself is His people's reward!

"I am your exceeding great reward." Genesis 15:1

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Be acquainted with the whole range of sensual desires

(Richard Baxter, "The Sinfulness of Flesh-Pleasing")

Be acquainted with the whole range of sensual desires
, and
pay attention to them, and watch them in all their extravagances.
Otherwise, while you are stopping one gap, they will be running
out at many more. I will here briefly set some before your eyes:

1. Watch your appetites as to food and drink—both quantity
and quality. Gluttony is a common sin. The flesh enslaves men
most—by the appetite; as we see in drunkards and gluttons.

2. Take heed of the lust of uncleanness, and all degrees of it, and
approaches to it; especially immodest embraces and behavior.

3. Take heed of ribald, filthy talk, and love songs, and of such
sensuous snares.

4. Take heed of too much sleep and idleness.

5. Take heed of taking too much delight in your riches
and lands, your buildings, and delectable conveniences.

6. Take heed lest honors, or worldly greatness, or men's
applause—become too great a pleasure to you.

7. And take heed lest the success and prosperity of your
affairs do too much please you—as the rich fool, "And I'll
say to myself—You have plenty of good things laid up for
many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."
Luke 12:19

8. Take
heed of an inordinate pleasure in your children,
relations, or nearest friends.

9. Take heed of a delight in vain, unprofitable, sinful company.

10. Take heed of fineness of apparel—to set you out to
the eyes of others.

11. Take heed of a delight in romances, novels, useless
news—which corrupt the mind, and waste your time.

12. Take heed of a delight in any recreations which are
excessive, needless, devouring time, discomposing the
mind, enticing to further sin, hindering any duty—especially
our delight in God. They are miserable souls, who delight
themselves in such unprofitable things—as cards, and dice,
and theaters, and immodest dancing.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Where then, are all my spots?

(Susannah Spurgeon, "A Basket of Summer Fruit")

"You are all beautiful, My beloved; there is no spot
 in you!" Song of Songs 4:7

"Ah!" I hear some timid, trembling believer say, "Such
a text can have nothing to do with me! I am the very
opposite of all that is beautiful and spotless. The eyes
of my soul have seen hideous sights within, which I can
never forget; and I loathe myself and my sin so much,
that though I believe God has forgiven me for Christ's
sake—I feel it impossible to take those precious words
as addressed to one so sinful and imperfect as myself!"

Yet, trembling soul, I would bid you take courage, and
look up! Christ's love for His people is marvelously set
forth in this Song of Songs. The same precious blood
was poured out to redeem the least lamb of the flock,
as for the choicest sheep!

Come, then, timid one—rejoice in the blessed fact that
you are indeed precious to the Lord—and He says, "You
are all beautiful, My beloved!" Adoringly bow before Him
in wonder—at the miracle His love has wrought in you.

It ill becomes the bride of Christ to ignore His loveliness,
which He has put upon her, and go about bemoaning the
scars and blemishes which His great love overlooks and

It is quite true that, in themselves, believers are sorrowfully
imperfect and sinful; but if the Lord Jesus, in His marvelous
mercy, unrobes Himself to cover over their unrighteousness,
they may well be content to be thus made "beautiful" in His
sight. We cannot comprehend the mystery and sublimity of
Divine love; but it is the sole and all-sufficient reason for the
dear Lord's estimate of us; and when He uses such endearing
language—our hearts melt and are ravished by His wondrous
condescension. With reverence we say it—when our dear
Master deigns to address us in accents of love and admiration,
our souls are thrilled with heavenly bliss, and we are uplifted
beyond all the sorrows and vexations of this world, into an
atmosphere of unspeakable spiritual joy!

"My beloved!" Oh, say it again, dear Savior! Let the music
of Your voice touch and vibrate through the deepest chords
of my nature, and awaken sweet responses in my soul! You
are the fount and source of all love; oh, fill me, overwhelm
me, plunge me in this sea of mercy and of grace! I would be
swallowed up in it—knowing no other joy or bliss comparable
to that of being able to say, "My Beloved is mine—and I am His!"

"There is no spot in you." Can our loving Lord really mean
this? He does, indeed! "Where then, are all my spots,
dear Lord, for they were legion—and sin must render me
vile and loathsome in Your pure sight?"

All the sins—past, present, and future—all the deformity and
blackness—are cleansed away by Christ's blood—covered by
His righteousness! And so completely is this done, that God
Himself can find no remnant or stain of that which would
have meant eternal death to an unwashed soul. The poor
sinner is lifted from the depths of sin—to the heights of
heavenly bliss! "What kind of love is this?" It is so Divine
and incomprehensible that, in the contemplation of it,
we are lost in wonder and amazement!

Lord Jesus, what a glorious Savior You are! All the sin,
which made Your bride so black and vile—was laid upon

"There is no spot in you." An old writer says—"Now, if
God sees no spot—why should you be prying after one?
Poring over your misery, searching after your blackness
and depravity—will be no help to you. This only keeps
your eyes off Jesus, instead of up unto Jesus. You cannot
look two ways at once. How did the poor serpent-bitten
Israelites in the wilderness get relief and healing? By
looking to their sores, their wounds, their malady? Oh,
no! It was by looking to the brazen serpent! And if you
would get relief—it must be by looking to Jesus Christ!"

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

All the whys and wherefores

(Susannah Spurgeon, "A Basket of Summer Fruit")

"The Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing
 unto you, because the Lord your God loved you."
     Deuteronomy 23:5

Here, my soul, in this most sweet assurance, you will
find your Lord's one reason for all His dealings with
you—whether tender or severe.

In this earthly pilgrimage, you do meet with so many
experiences and providences that are inexplicable and
mysterious, that you are apt to say, "Why this trial,
Lord?" "Why this affliction?" "Why this disappointment
of all my hopes and plans?"

Blessed be the Name of the Lord for such a full and
amazing answer as is this precious verse—to all the
questions with which a doubting heart or a feeble faith
can vex me! It must needs be that my finite mind fails
to understand the ways of God; but if I can believe
that He loves me—this is faith's sufficiency.

My heart, until you have learned the lesson of perfect
trust—doubts and misgivings are sure to arise, and cloud
your fairest prospects. The darkness looks impenetrable
when you do try to peer into it—the rough places seem
impassable when your weary feet stumble over the big
stones in the pathway—the mountains of difficulty appear
inaccessible when the mists of unbelief veil their true
proportions. Truly, the Lord is a God who hides Himself;
and, oftentimes, His purposes are carried out on our
behalf under cover of the thick clouds, in which He
enwraps Himself.

But what a bright star amidst the darkness, what a
lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path—are
the blessed words of this Divinely-illuminated text,
"Because the Lord your God loved you!"
This verse . . .
  completely solves all doubts,
  wipes away all tears,
  is a remedy for every fear, and
  a refuge from every distress!
No sweeter assurance could fill my trembling heart
with joy, no softer resting-place could be found for
a weary, heavy-laden sinner!

To know, of a surety, that all God's dealings with
me are those of a loving Father towards a dear and
well-beloved child; to be absolutely certain that
every sorrow conceals a blessing, because He has
appointed it; to look upon pain, and trial, and bitter
experiences as the outcome of a love which is so
infinite that I cannot fathom it—this is to live in
"the secret place of the Most High," this is to
"abide under the shadow of the Almighty!"

If we would but meet every affliction, be it small
or great, with a brave confidence in our Father's
mighty love to us, and an unquenchable faith in
His power—our trials would either vanish altogether,
or be transformed into triumphs which would bring
honor to our King!

"My heart melts within me, Lord, when, by Your Holy
Spirit's aid, I can get even a glimpse of that wonderful
love which You have for me—so undeserving and so vile!
It does seem "too good to be true," sometimes, that I,
notwithstanding all my faults and failings, and despite
all my hardness of heart and guilty indifference, should
be the recipient of such free, unmerited favor! Lord,
open my understanding as well as my heart—that my
love may sun itself in Yours, and have a blessed
realization of what Your grace really means to my
poor soul!"

Now, my soul, from this time forth, decide to answer
all the whys and wherefores
which perplex your
life, by the simple response, "Because the Lord loved
Can you imagine a condition more blissful—than
that of being so sheltered and surrounded by God's
wondrous love?

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

This I cannot understand

(author unknown)

The grace of God is the unhindered, wondrous, boundless
love of His heart, poured out upon His people in a countless
variety of ways, without stint or measure—not according to
our deserving, but according to His infinite heart of love! This
I cannot understand
—so unfathomable are its heights and
depths! God's love is infinitely tender, and self-sacrificing,
and devoted, and patient, and eager to lavish its best of
gifts and blessings, upon the objects of His love.

Put together all the tenderest love you know of, the deepest
love you have ever felt, and the strongest love that has ever
been poured out upon you—and heap upon it all the love of
all the human hearts in the world, and then multiply it by
infinity—and you will begin, perhaps, to have some faint
glimpse of the love and grace of God towards His people!

"May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so
 great you will never fully understand it." Ephesians 3:19

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A great change

(Thomas Watson, "Until My Change Comes")

"All the days of my appointed time will I wait
 until my change comes." Job 14:14

That is, I will wait until my death comes.

Death, whenever it comes, makes a great change.

Death will make a certain change; there is no
avoiding it. "No one can live forever; all will die.
No one can escape the power of the grave!"
Psalm 89:48

It is neither strength, nor courage, nor any worldly
grandeur—which can exempt from death. The godly
must die, as well as others. Though death does not
destroy the treasure of grace—yet death breaks the
vessel that this treasure is in. We are not so sure to
lie down in our beds—as we are to lie down in our
graves! Our days are certain to God—but they are
uncertain to us. The Lord alone, knows how long our
hour-glass will be running. For all we know, there are
but a few sands more to run. Life may expire in an
instant. When we breath out—we never know
whether we will ever take a breath in again!

Death will make a visible change. One scarcely knows
their friends, they are so disfigured by death! The eyes
are hollow, the jaws are fallen; death carries away all
the goodly spoil of beauty. It changes a living body, into
a foul carcass, Psalm 39:11, "You make his beauty to
consume like a moth." Take a body of the finest spinning,
once death like a moth gets into it, it consumes all the
luster and glory of it. Death puts the body into such a
frightful state—that nothing can desire it but worms!

Death will make an unalterable change. As the
tree falls—so it lies to eternity. Death is a change
which puts us into an unchangeable condition.

"It is appointed unto men once to die—and after
 that to face judgment." Hebrews 9:27

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What a comfort is this!

(Thomas Watson, "The Good Shepherd")

"I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep."
    John 10:14

Christ knows all His sheep. His knowing His sheep
—is His loving them. This is a great consolation.

He knows every one of their names. John 10:3,
"He calls His own sheep by name."

He knows all the sighs and groans they make.
Psalm 38:9, "My groaning is not hidden from You."

Christ knows every tear they shed. "I have seen
your tears!" 2 Kings 20:5. He bottles their tears as
precious wine. Psalm 56:8, "You keep track of all
my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your
bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book."

He knows all their sufferings. "I have seen the
way the Egyptians are oppressing them." Ex. 3:9.
"The Lord saw the bitter suffering of everyone in
Israel." 2 Kings 14:26

Christ knows all their good works—all their works
of piety and charity. "I know all the things you do.
I have seen your hard work and your patient
endurance." Revelation 2:2

"I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep."
What a comfort is this!

"He will place the sheep at His right hand and the
 goats at His left. Then the King will say to those
 on the right—Come, you who are blessed by My
 Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from
 the foundation of the world!" Matthew 25:33-34

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh it is a sweet and holy life!

(Octavius Winslow, "Divine Realities" 1860)

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

Learn to be content with your present lot—with
God's dealings with you, and His disposal of you.

You are just where His providence has, in its
inscrutable, but all wise and righteous decision,
placed you. It may be a painful, irksome, trying
position—but it is right. Oh yes—it is right!

Strive, then, to live a life of daily dependence upon
God. Oh it is a sweet and holy life! It saves . . .
  from many a desponding feeling,
  from many a corroding care,
  from many an anxious thought,
  from many a sleepless night,
  from many a tearful eye, and
  from many an imprudent and sinful scheme.

Thus you shall walk with God through this
valley of tears, until you exchange . . .
  sorrow—for joy,
  suffering—for ease,
  sin—for purity,
  labor—for rest,
  conflict—for victory,
and all earth's chequered, gloomy scenes—for the
changeless, cloudless happiness and glory of heaven!

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

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

We must fly to God!

(Thomas Watson, "His Heart is Fixed")

"Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies.
 I will fly to You
to hide me." Ps. 143:9

Faith is the heart-strengthening grace. If we
trust in God aright, then, in all our danger—
we will fly to God.

There are some who, when trouble arises—fly
to their own wisdom and ability. Alas! Whatever
else we trust besides God, will never shelter us
in an hour of danger. There is no trusting in riches. Proverbs 23:5,
"Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to
the sky like an eagle."

There is no trusting in friends; they may die,
or, which is worse, they may deceive. Our Lord
Jesus was betrayed by a friend.

There is no trusting in great men. "It is better
to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in
princes." Psalm 118:9.

There is no trusting in our own hearts. Why,
alas! the heart is full of lust, full of deceit! It
is a bosom traitor! "He who trusts in his own
heart is a fool!" Proverbs 28:26

Oh! We must fly to God! My brethren, trust in
God! He alone, is a never-failing refuge. A little
boat, while it is tied fast to a large rock—is very
safe. So, when the soul is tied by faith to Christ
Jesus, the Rock of Ages—then it is safe. "My God
is the Rock of my refuge." Psalm 46:11

Faith shores up the heart when it is likely to sink.
Oh! Get this heart-fixing grace of faith. Thus you
will be undaunted even in the worst of times and

When Satan shoots his fiery darts of temptation,
then we must fly under Christ's wing to shelter us!

When a hawk pursues the dove, it casts itself into
the clefts of the rock—and there it hides. So, when
Satan pursues us with temptation, we get into the
bleeding wounds of Christ, these clefts of the Rock
—and there we rest and are safe.

"Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies.
 I will fly to You
to hide me." Ps. 143:9

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A complementary kiss

(Thomas Watson, "The Peace of Christ")

"Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed
 in your way, for His wrath can flare up in a moment.
 Blessed are all who take refuge in Him." Psalm 2:12

Kiss Christ with a kiss of obedience. This is to kiss Christ
—when we submit to Him, when we obey His laws, when
we are under His jurisdiction. There are many who give
Christ a complementary kiss. They seem devout—they
bow and cringe. O but they don't obey the Son! They kiss
Christ as their Savior—but they will not submit to Him as
their King. The truth is, they would have Christ and their
lusts together. They would embrace His promises—but
they will not obey His commands. O kiss the Son with
a kiss of subjection!

Those who will not have Christ's laws to rule them—shall
never have Christ's blood to save them! He who has no
part in the blood of the Lamb—will have a part in the wrath
of the Lamb
, "They called to the mountains and the rocks
—Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on
the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!"

Those who will not be ruled by Christ's royal scepter, His
scepter of grace—shall be broken by His rod of iron. "You
will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay
pots!" Psalm 2:9. Those who oppose Christ, shall be as so
many ripe clusters of grapes to be cast into the great
winepress of God's wrath, to be trodden by the Son of
God until their blood flows out.

The Lord Jesus shoots His arrows very deep into the very
hearts of His enemies, "Your arrows are sharp, piercing
Your enemies' hearts." Psalm 45:5. The Persians dip their
arrows in poison—to kill more mortally. So Jesus Christ
shoots His arrows of poison; and because they cannot
endure the wrath of the Lamb all at once, they will be
enduring it to eternity. Here is terror to all those who
do not kiss the Son.

"Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed
 in your way, for His wrath can flare up in a moment.
 Blessed are all who take refuge in Him." Psalm 2:12

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God laughs

(Thomas Watson, "Kiss the Son")

"The Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows
 their day is coming." Psalm 37:13

"Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw
off their fetters." The One enthroned in heaven
; the Lord scoffs at them. Then He rebukes
them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath!"
Psalm 2:3-5

God laughs to see men's folly—to see poor, weak
clay strive with the Almighty Potter. But let the
wicked remember that God is never more angry
with them—than when He laughs!
After His
laughing, then He shall speak to them in His wrath.
"I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock
 when calamity overtakes you!" Proverbs 1:26

"Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed
 in your way, for His wrath can flare up in a moment!
 Blessed are all who take refuge in Him." Psalm 2:12

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

When He does not punish!

(Thomas Watson, "The Comforting Rod")

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten."
    Revelation 3:19

God's afflicting rod has comfort in it—as it is a token of
the special favor He bears towards us. We think that
God cannot favor us—unless He pampers us in His lap.
Yet He loves and favors us—when He gives us the bitter
drink of affliction. God's chastening rod and God's love
both stand together. The rod is a token of God's love.
It is no love in God, to let men go on in sin—and never
smite. Is it love to your child—to let him run into the
water and drown? To be without the rod of God's
discipline—is a sign of a bastard child, a mark of
reprobation. "But if you are without chastisement,
then you are bastards, and not sons." Hebrews
12:8. God's rod whips us to heaven!

If God will let any fall upon the rock of ruin, then He
will allow them to go on in sin and not correct them.
"I will not punish your daughters when they commit
whoredom." Hosea 4:14. Take notice:
  God spares the rod—in anger!
  God's hand is heaviest—when it is lightest!
  God punishes most—when He does not punish!

But God smites His people—that He may save them,
and is that not love? Let me feel God's smiting hand
—so that I may have His loving heart.

The Lord comes down with a murdering axe to hew
down His enemies—but He has only a rattling rod for
His children. This is all the hell they ever shall feel.
1 Corinthians 11:32, "We are judged and disciplined
by the Lord—that we should not be condemned with
the world." Is not this comfort to know—that this is
the worst we shall have? God lays upon us a light
affliction—and saves us from wrath to come! What is
the drop of sorrow which the godly taste—compared
to the bottomless sea of wrath, which the damned
endure forever?

"Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not
 despise the discipline of the Almighty." Job 5:17

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Fear Him!

(John MacDuff, "The Precepts of Jesus"
 A guide through life to immortality!)

"Who would not fear You, O King of nations?"
    Jeremiah 10:7

How reasonable it is, that this glorious Being, whose
greatness is unsearchable—should be regarded with
feelings of the profoundest reverence. It is, indeed, His
due, and as such He claims it from all His creatures.

"Concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There
 is no fear of God before his eyes." Psalm 36:1

To have no fear of God before their eyes—is at once
the greatest injustice, and the most unutterable folly!
All who have the impudence to lift up their puny
arms in rebellion against Him, are engaged in a
conflict, which, if persisted in, is sure to terminate
in their utter destruction!

Reader, think of His incomprehensible greatness
and majesty. Think of Him as the High and Lofty
One who inhabits eternity—
  the heavens His throne,
  the earth His footstool,
  the light His garment,
  the clouds His chariot,
  the thunder His voice!

Viewing Him thus—it will be impossible for you to
treat Him with indifference, far less with scornful
disdain. If you are only brought in some measure,
to realize the fact of God's greatness and majesty,
you cannot fail to acknowledge that He is greatly
to be feared, and to be held in reverence by all
His creatures.

Just so, with all the other attributes of His nature.

Who can think of His power so mighty, so irresistible
—a power which is able to crush us into atoms with
infinitely greater ease than we can tread the crawling
worm beneath our feet—and not fear Him?

Who can think of His knowledge, nothing being
hidden from His omniscient glance, the darkness of
midnight and the splendor of noon, being altogether
alike to Him—and not fear Him?

Who can think of the terrors of His avenging justice,
and not fear Him—especially, as when He proclaims
from His exalted throne, "There is no god other than
 Me! I am the one who kills and gives life; I am the
 one who wounds and heals; no  one delivers from
 My power! As surely as I live, when I sharpen My
 flashing sword and begin to carry out justice, I will
 bring vengeance on My enemies and repay those
 who hate Me!" Deuteronomy 32:39-41
Our God is, truly, a consuming fire! It is most befitting
for us, to regard Him with reverence and godly fear!

It is not those who can deprive us of our present life,
whom we should so much dread. Limited, and of brief
duration—is the power of all mortal foes at best. "Do
not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that
can do no more. But I will show you whom you should
fear: Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has
power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, Fear
" Luke 12:4-5

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The most effective eloquence!

(John MacDuff, "The Precepts of Jesus"
 A guide through life to immortality!)

"Let your light so shine before men, that they
 may see your good works, and glorify your
 Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

What unspeakable injury has been done to the
cause of Christ, by the inconsistent lives of many
professors of religion! To unholy lives, must be
ascribed the comparatively little progress which
Christianity has hitherto made. It is this . . .
  which emboldens the scoffer,
  which encourages the profligate,
  which strengthens the hands of the infidel,
  which seals the eyes of the impenitent in
death-like slumber!

Those who bear the name of Jesus should ever
remember—that the eyes of an ungodly world
are upon them, and that their impression of the
gospel, both in its nature and results—is derived
from what they witness in the conduct of those
who are identified with it!

"The Bible," as one observes, "is God's revelation
to Christians; and Christians are God's revelation
to the world." The sacred Scriptures are not read
by the careless and ungodly multitude—but they
are eager in reading the character of the followers
of Christ!

How important is it, then, that they should give, by
their spirit and deportment—a correct representation
of our holy religion!

Great is the power of impassioned oratory, as embodied
in burning words, dramatic gestures, and flowing tears.
But, after all, the most effective eloquence—is that
of a pure, upright, consistent life!
This shames the
accusers of our holy faith; and puts to silence the
ignorance of foolish men.

Christian, let it be your earnest prayer and daily
endeavor, to adorn the doctrine of your Savior,
not in some things—but in all things. Adorn it . . .
  by the purity of your conversation,
  by the blamelessness of your life,
  by the integrity of your dealings,
  by your abhorrence of all which is base or impure.

Adorn it in the various conditions
in which you may be placed—
  in prosperity or adversity;
  in obscurity or eminence;
  in health or sickness;
  in joy or sorrow;
  in youth or old age;
  in life or death.

"For this very reason, make every effort to
  add to your faith goodness;
  and to goodness, knowledge;
  and to knowledge, self-control;
  and to self-control, perseverance;
  and to perseverance, godliness;
  and to godliness, brotherly kindness;
  and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing
measure, they will keep you from being ineffective
and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord
Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:5-8

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The house appointed for all living

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

"For I know that you will bring me to death, and to
 the house appointed for all living." Job 30:23

While we are in the body, we are but at an inn—on
our way homeward. When we come to our grave—we
come to our home, our long home. All living must be
inhabitants of this house—good and bad, old and young.

Man's life is a stream, running into death's
devouring deeps. Those who now live in palaces,
must leave them—and go home to this house;
and those who have not where to lay their
heads—shall thus have a house at length.

It is long since death began to transport men
into another world—and vast multitudes are
gone there already. Yet the work is going on
still; death is carrying off new inhabitants
daily, to the house appointed for all living.

Who has ever heard the grave say, "It is enough!"

Long has it been getting—but still it asks.

We do but come into the world—to go out again.

This world is like a great market—where some
are coming in, others going out. "One generation
passes away, and another generation comes."
Ecclesiastes 1:4

Death is an inexorable, irresistible messenger,
who cannot be diverted from executing his
orders by . . .
  the force of the mighty,
  the bribes of the rich, or
  the entreaties of the poor.

Death does not reverence the hoary head, nor pity
the harmless babe. The bold and daring cannot
outbrave it; nor can the faint hearted obtain a
discharge in this war. The strongest are but
brittle earthen vessels, easily broken in shivers.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

If He denies us

(William Mason, "A Spiritual Treasury")

The swarms of corrupt lusts, worldly affections,
and carnal desires, which are found with us—are
ever opposing the glory of Jesus, and exciting us
to seek that happiness in self, which can only be
found in the spiritual reign of Jesus, in the heart.

"The Lord bestows grace and glory; no good
 thing does He withhold
from those whose
 walk is blameless." Psalm 84:11

The Lord delights in the prosperity of His people;
therefore withholds no good thing from them. Yet,
it is not our erring judgment—but His unfailing
wisdom—which must determine what is best for
us. We would pray to be in the height of earthly
comfort—and on the pinnacle of worldly joy. But
in love, God answers by keeping us in the safe
valley of humility and self-abasement. Granting
our requests, is not always the effect of love.

So kind and gracious is our dear Savior—that He
crosses our wills, and denies our requests—when
they are contrary to our spiritual interest. Thus in
love, He answers our prayers—by withholding what
we ask for! He gives what He knows is best for us.
If we ask what is harmful for us to receive—shall
we complain of God's love—if He denies us?

"Those who seek the Lord will not lack any good
 thing." Psalm 34:10

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What a wretched place would heaven be!

(Jonathan Edwards, "
The Way of Holiness")

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

Everyone hopes for heaven—and if everyone who hoped
for heaven actually went there—heaven would be full of
murderers, adulterers, swearers, drunkards, and thieves!
It would be full of all manner of wickedness and wicked
men—those who are no better than wild beasts, howling
wolves, and poisonous serpents. Yes, heaven would be
full of incarnate devils! What a wretched place would
heaven be
—if it were so! That pure, undefiled, glorious
place—would be turned into a hell.

There would be no happiness there for those who are
holy—if they were all mixed up together with wicked
men and devils! How would one unsanctified person
interrupt their happiness—and fill those regions with
the loathsome stench of his sin and filthiness!

It is impossible that a God of infinite holiness, who
is perfect and hates sin with perfect hatred, who is
infinitely lovely and excellent—could embrace in
His arms—a filthy, abominable creature, a hideous,
detestable monster, more hateful than a toad and
more poisonous than a viper! So hateful, base, and
abominable—is every unsanctified man!

What a pitiable, miserable condition are they in—to
step out of this world into an uncertain eternity, with
an expectation of finding themselves exceedingly happy
and blessed in heaven—and all at once find themselves
undeceived—and sinking in the bottomless pit!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Charging God with wrongdoing

(Thomas Watson, "A Divine Cordial" 1663)

"It is the Lord's will. Let Him do what He thinks best."
1 Samuel 3:18

One who genuinely loves God, interprets all His dealings
in the best sense. Though He afflicts sharply—the soul
takes all well. This is the language of a gracious spirit:
"My God sees what a hard heart I have, therefore He
drives in one wedge of affliction after another—to break
my heart. He knows how full I am of the cancer of
covetousness, or the swelling of pride, or the fever of
lust—therefore He gives me bitter remedies, to save my
life. This severe dispensation is either to mortify some
corruption—or to exercise some grace. How good is God,
who will not let me alone in my sins—but smites my body
to save my soul!"
Thus genuine piety puts a good gloss
upon all God's afflictive dealings. It is Satan who makes
us have high thoughts of ourselves, and hard thoughts
of God. "Take away everything he has—and he will
surely curse You to Your face!" Job 1:11

"Then Job fell to the ground in worship and said, 'Naked
I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the
name of the Lord  be praised.' In all this, Job did not sin
by charging God with wrongdoing." Job 1:20-22

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A beast with a man's head!

(Thomas Watson, "A Divine Cordial" 1663)

Love to God is an expansion of soul, or the inflaming
of the affections—by which a Christian breathes after
God as the supreme and sovereign good.

"There is nothing on earth that I desire beside You."
Psalm 73:25. The Christian loves God above all other
objects. God is the quintessence of all good things;
He is superlatively good. The soul admiring in Him
that constellation of all excellencies—is carried out
in love to Him in the highest degree. God, who is
the chief of our happiness—must have the chief of
our affections. The creature may have the milk of
our love—but God must have the cream! Though
some drops of love may run to our kindred and
friends—yet the full torrent must run out after
Christ. Relations may lie on the bosom—but
Christ must lie in the heart!

We set a high value upon God as being the most sublime
and infinite good. We so esteem God, as that if we have
Him—we do not care though we lack all other things. The
vanish, when the sun appears. All creatures vanish
in our thoughts, when the Sun of righteousness shines in
His full splendor. The soul that loves God, rejoices in Him
as in his treasure—and rests in Him as his center. The
heart is so set upon God—that it desires no more.

We must love God more for what He is (His intrinsic
excellencies)—than for what He bestows. True love is
not mercenary. You need not hire a mother to love her
child. Just so, a soul deeply in love with God needs not
be hired by rewards. It cannot but love Him—for that
luster of beauty which sparkles forth in Him!

"And we know that all things work together for
 good to those who love God." Romans 8:28

Despisers and haters of God—have no lot or part
in this privilege. It is children's bread—it belongs
only to those who love God.

This is a sharp reproof to those who do not love God,
to such as have not a grain of love to God in their
hearts—and are there such reprobates alive? He who
does not love God—is a beast with a man's head!
Oh wretch! Do you live upon God's bounty every day
—yet not love Him! These are monsters in nature—
devils in the shape of men! Let them read their doom:
"If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is
cursed!" 1 Corinthians 16:22

How can he expect love from God—who shows no
love to Him? Will God ever lay such a viper in His
bosom—as casts forth the poison of malice and
enmity against Him?

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Five sharp stings!

(Thomas Watson, "A Divine Cordial" 1663)

Many love sin, more than God. "They are haters of
God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever
inventing new ways of sinning." (Romans 1:30)

What is there in sin—that any should love it?

Sin is a debt. "Forgive us our debts" (Matthew 6:12).
Sin is a debt which binds over to the wrath of God!
And will you love sin? Does any man love to be in debt?

Sin is a disease. "The whole head is sick" (Isaiah 1:5).
And will you love sin? Will any man hug a disease? Will
he love his plague sores?

Sin is a pollution. The apostle calls it "filthiness" (James
1:21). It is compared to leprosy and to poison of asps!

God's heart rises against sinners. "My soul loathed
them!" (Zechariah 11:8).

Sin is a hideous monster. Lust makes a man brutish;
malice makes him devilish! What is in sin to be loved?
Shall we love deformity?

Sin is an enemy. It is compared to a
"serpent". Sin has five sharp stings:

Will a man love that which seeks his death?
Surely then it is better to love God than sin.
God will save you—but sin will damn you!
Is he not a fool—who loves damnation!

But love to God will never let sin thrive in the heart.
The love of God withers sin. The flower of love kills the
weed of sin!
How should we labor for that grace of love
to God
—which is the only corrosive to destroy sin!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Temptations work for our good

(Thomas Watson, "Four Sad Evils" 1663
 Note: this excerpt is longer—but choice!)

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Even temptations are overruled for good, to the children of God. A tree which is shaken by the wind is more settled and rooted. Just so, the blowing of a temptation does but settle a Christian the more in grace.

Temptations are overruled for good in eight ways:

(1.) Temptation sends the soul to prayer. The more furiously Satan tempts, the more fervently the saint prays. The deer being shot with the dart—runs faster to the water. When Satan shoots his fiery darts at the soul—it then runs faster to the throne of grace. When Paul had the messenger of Satan to buffet him, he says, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me" (2 Cor. 12:8). That which makes us pray more, works for good.

(2.) Temptation to sin, is a means to keep from the perpetration of sin. The more a child of God is tempted—the more he fights against the temptation. The more Satan tempts to blasphemy, the more a saint trembles at such thoughts, and says, "Away from me, Satan!" When Joseph's mistress tempted him to lust—the stronger her temptation was, the stronger was his opposition. That temptation which the devil uses as a spur to sin—God makes a bridle to keep back a Christian from sin!

(3.) Temptation works for good—as it abates the swelling of pride. "T
o 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!" (2 Cor. 12:7). The thorn in the flesh was to puncture the puffing up of pride! Better is that temptation which humbles me—than that duty which makes me proud! Rather than a Christian shall be haughty minded—God will let him fall into the devil's hands awhile, to be cured of his swelling pride!

(4.) Temptation works for good—as it is a touchstone to try what is in the heart. The devil tempts—that he may deceive us; but God allows us to be tempted—that He may try us. Temptation is a trial of our sincerity. It argues that our heart is chaste and loyal to Christ—when we can look a temptation in the face, and turn our back upon it. Many have no heart to resist temptation. No sooner does Satan come with his bait—but they yield; like a coward who, as soon as the thief approaches, gives him his purse. But he is the valorous Christian, who brandishes the sword of the Spirit against Satan, and will rather die than yield. The valor and courage of a saint is never more seen than on a battlefield, when he is fighting the red dragon, and by the power of faith puts the devil to flight. That grace is tried gold, which can stand in the fiery trial, and withstand Satan's fiery darts!

(5.) Temptations work for good—as God makes those who are tempted, fit to comfort others in the same distress. A Christian must himself be under the buffetings of Satan, before he can speak a word in due season to him who is weary. Paul was well-versed in temptations. "We are very familiar with his evil schemes" (2 Cor. 2:11). Thus he was able to acquaint others with Satan's cursed wiles (1 Cor. 10:13). A man who has ridden over a place where there are bogs and quicksands—is the fittest to guide others through that dangerous way. He who has felt the claws of Satan, the roaring lion, and has lain bleeding under those wounds—is the fittest man to deal with one who is tempted. None can better discover Satan's subtle devices—than those who have been long in the fencing school of temptation.

(6.) Temptations work for good—as they stir up fatherly compassion in God to those who are tempted. The child who is sick and bruised—is most looked after. When a saint lies under the bruising of temptations, Christ prays, and God the Father pities. When Satan puts the soul into a fever, God comes with a cordial; which made Luther say, that "temptations are Christ's embraces," because He then most sweetly manifests Himself to the soul.

(7.) Temptations work for good—as they make the saints long more for heaven. There they shall be out of gunshot; heaven is a place of rest, no bullets of temptation fly there. The eagle which soars aloft in the air, and sits upon high trees—is not troubled with the stinging of the serpent. Just so, when believers are ascended to heaven, they shall not be molested by the old serpent, the devil. In this life, when one temptation is over, another comes. This makes God's people wish for death—to call them off the battlefield where the bullets fly so quick—and to receive a victorious crown, where neither the drum nor cannon—but the harp and violin, shall be eternally sounding.

(8.) Temptations work for good—as they engage the strength of Christ. Christ is our Friend, and when we are tempted, He sets all His power working for us. "Since He Himself has gone through suffering and temptation, He is able to help us when we are being tempted" (Heb. 2:18). If a poor soul was to fight alone with the Goliath of hell, he would be sure to be vanquished! But Jesus Christ brings in His auxiliary forces—He gives fresh supplies of grace. "We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!" (Romans 7:37). Thus the evil of temptation is overruled for our good.

Question. But sometimes Satan foils a child of God. How does this work for good?

Answer. I grant that, through the suspension of divine grace, and the fury of a temptation—a saint may be overcome; yet this foiling by a temptation shall be overruled for good. By this foil, God makes way for the augmentation of grace. Peter was tempted to self-confidence; he presumed upon his own strength; and Christ let him fall. But this wrought for his good—it cost him many a tear. "He went out, and wept bitterly" (Matt. 26:75). And now he grows less self-reliant. He dared not say he loved Christ more than the other apostles. "Do you love me more than these?" (John 21:15). He dared not say so—his fall into sin broke the neck of his pride!

The foiling by a temptation causes more circumspection and watchfulness in a child of God. Though Satan did before decoy him into sin—yet for the future he will be the more cautious. He will beware of coming within the lion's chain any more! He is now more vigilant and fearful of the occasions of sin. He never goes out without his spiritual armor—and he girds on his armor by prayer. He knows he walks on slippery ground, therefore he looks wisely to his steps. He keeps close sentinel in his soul, and when he spies the devil coming—he grasps his spiritual weapons, and displays the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16).

This is all the hurt the devil does when he foils a saint by temptation—he cures him of his careless neglect; he makes him watch and pray more. When wild beasts get over the hedge and damage the grain—a man will make his fence the stronger. Just so, when the devil gets over the hedge by a temptation, a Christian will be sure to mend his fence; he will become more fearful of sin, and careful of duty. Thus the being worsted by temptation, works for good.

Objection. But if being foiled works for good, this may make Christians careless whether they are overcome by temptations or not.

Answer. There is a great difference between falling into a temptation, and running into a temptation. The falling into a temptation shall work for good—not the running into it. He who falls into a river is fit for help and pity—but he who desperately runs into it, is guilty of his own death. It is madness running into a lion's den! He who runs himself into a temptation is like king Saul—who fell upon his own sword.

From all that has been said, see how God disappoints the old serpent—by making his temptations turn to the good of His people. Luther once said, "There are three things which make a godly man—prayer, meditation, and temptation." The wind of temptation is a contrary wind to that of the Spirit; but God makes use of this cross wind, to blow the saints to heaven!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Treasures and pleasures!

(Thomas Watson, "God is His People's Great Reward")

"I am your exceeding great reward." Genesis 15:1. God Himself is His people's reward! In what way is God the reward of His people?

God is a satisfying reward. God is a whole ocean of blessedness, so that the soul, while it is bathing in it, cries out in a divine ecstasy, "I have enough!" Here is fullness—but no excess. Psalm 17:15, "I shall be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness." That is—when I awake out of the sleep of death, having my soul embellished with the illustrious beams of Your glory—I shall be satisfied. In God there is not only sufficiency—but redundancy; not only the fullness of the vessel—but the fullness of the fountain! In God, this Ark of blessedness, are all good things to be found. Therefore Jacob, having God for his reward, could say, "I have enough!" or, as it is in the original, "I have all!" Genesis 33:11. God is all marrow and fatness. He is such an plenteous reward as exceeds our very faith. If the Queen of Sheba's heart fainted when she saw all King Solomon's glory—what would it have done to have beheld the astonishing and magnificent reward which God bestows upon His favorites!

God is a suitable reward. The soul, being spiritual, must have something comparable and suitable to make it happy—and that is God. Light is no more suitable to the eye, nor melody to the ear—than God is to the soul. He pours spiritual blessings into the soul, Ephesians 1:3. He enriches it with grace, feasts it with His love, and crowns it with heavenly glory!

God is a pleasant reward. He is the quintessence of delight! He is all beauty and love! To be feeding upon thoughts of God is delicious. Psalm 104:34, "My meditation on Him shall be sweet." It is delightful to the bee to suck the flower. Just so, by holy musing, to suck out some of the sweetness in God, carries a secret delight in it. To have a prospect of God only by faith is pleasant. 1 Peter 1:8, "In whom believing you rejoice." Then what will the joy of vision be—when we shall have a clear, personal sight of Him—and be laid in the bosom of divine love! What a delicious reward will God be in heaven! This will be better felt—than expressed. The godly, entering upon their celestial reward, are said to enter into the joy of their Lord, Matthew 25:21. Oh, amazing! The saints enter into God's own joy! They have not only the joy which God bestows—but the joy which God enjoys!

God is a transcendent reward. The artist, going to paint the picture of Helena, not being able to draw her beauty—drew her face covered with a veil. Just so, when we speak of God's excellencies—we must draw a veil. He is so super-eminent a reward, that we cannot set Him forth in all His luster and magnificence. Put the whole world in scale with Him—and it is as if you should weigh a feather compared to a mountain of gold. God is far better than all other things put together! He is better than the world—and better than heaven! He is the original cause of all good things. Nothing is sweet without Him. He perfumes and sanctifies our comforts!

God being an infinite reward, there can be no defect or scantiness in it. There is no lack in that which is infinite. Some may ask, "Is God sufficient for every individual saint?" Yes! If the sun, which is but a finite creature, disperses its light to the universe; then much more God, who is infinite, distributes glory to the whole number of the elect. As every person enjoys the whole sun to himself—so every believer possesses the whole God to himself. The Lord has land enough to give all His heirs. Throw a thousand buckets into the sea—and there is water enough in the sea to fill them. Though there are millions of saints and angels—there is enough in God to fill them. God is an infinite reward, and though He is continually giving out of His fullness to others—yet He has not the less. His glory is imparted—not impaired. It is a distribution, without a diminution.

God is an honorable reward. Honor is the height of men's ambition. Aristotle calls it the greatest of blessings. What greater dignity than to be taken up into communion with the God of glory, and to possess a kingdom with Him, bespangled with light, and seated with Christ upon His throne, above all the visible orbs!

God is an everlasting reward. Mortality is the flaw of all earthly things. But God is an eternal reward. Eternity cannot be measured by years nor ages. Eternity makes glory, weighty. Psalm 48:14, "This God is our God forever and ever!" Oh, saints of God, your praying and repenting are but for a while—but your reward is forever! As long as God is God, He will be rewarding you! Hosea 2:19, "I will betroth you unto me forever." God marries Himself to His people, and this admits of no divorce. God's love for His elect is as unchangeable as His love for Christ! Psalm 73:26, "My portion forever." This portion cannot be spent—because it is infinite; nor can it be lost—because it is eternal.

In God are treasures which can never be emptied—and pleasures which can never be ended!

You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!" Psalm 16:11