Grace Gems for DECEMBER 2007

All enameled and interwoven with free grace!

(Thomas Watson, "A Divine Cordial" 1663)

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.
 Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many
 were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God
 chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
 God chose the weak things of the world to shame the
 strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the
 despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify
 the things that are, so that no one may boast before
1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Without this effectual call—there is no going to heaven.

This effectual call, is a GRACIOUS call. It is the fruit and
product of free grace! That God should call some—and
not others; that some should be taken—and others left;
that one should be called who is of a more wicked
disposition—while another of a sweeter temper, is
rejected; here is free grace! That the poor should be
rich in faith, heirs of a kingdom (James 2:5), and the
nobles and great ones of the world for the most part
this is free and rich grace! "Even so, Father,
for so it seemed good in Your sight!" (Matthew 11:26)

That under the same sermon one should be effectually
wrought upon—while another is no more moved than a
dead man with the sound of music; that one should hear
the Spirit's voice in the Word—while another does not
hear it; that one should be softened and moistened with
the influence of heaven—while another, like Gideon's dry
fleece, has no dew upon him; behold here distinguishing,
sovereign grace!

What is the cause of this—but the free grace of God! It
is all enameled and interwoven with free grace!
Those who are monuments of God's mercies, will be
trumpets of His praise. "So that no one may boast
before Him!"
1 Corinthians 1:29

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Feel My bleeding heart

(Thomas Watson, "A Divine Cordial" 1663)

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
 that we should be called children of God!" 1 John 3:1

Our affections for God, should be kindled at the fire
of God's wondrous love to us. "We love Him, because
He first loved us
." 1 John 4:19

What a miracle of love it is—that God should love us,
when there was nothing lovely in us. We were rather
fit to be loathed—than loved! We had something in us
to provoke God's fury—but nothing to excite His love.
What love, passing understanding, was it—that Christ
should die for sinners! Augustine says, "The cross is a
pulpit—and the lesson Christ preached on it is LOVE."
Oh the wondrous love of a dying Savior! I think I hear
Christ say to us, "Put your hand into the wound in
My side.
Feel My bleeding heart. See if I do not
love you! And will you not bestow your love upon Me?
Will you love the world more than Me? Did the world
appease the wrath of God for you? Have I not done
all this? And will you not love Me?"

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

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As proud and carnal as ever!

(Thomas Watson, "A Divine Cordial" 1663)

Grace changes the heart!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
 the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corin. 5:17

The true Christian has a great change wrought. Not a change
of the faculties—but of the tendencies. He is altered from what
he was before. His body is the same—but not his mind. Oh
what a metamorphosis does grace make!

There is a change wrought in the UNDERSTANDING. Before,
there was ignorance—but now there is light. The first work of
God in the creation of the world was light—likewise it is in the
new creation. He now says, "I once was blind—but now I see!"
(John 9:25). He sees such evil in sin, and excellency in the ways
of God—as he never saw before! It is a marvelous light, because
it is more penetrating. Other light may shine upon the face—but
this light shines into the heart, and enlightens the conscience
(2 Cor. 4:6).

There is a change wrought in the WILL. The will, which before
opposed Christ—now embraces Him. The will, which was an iron
sinew against Christ—is now like melting wax, and readily receives
the stamp and impression of the Holy Spirit. The will now moves
heavenward—and carries all the affections along with it. The will
now says, "Lord, what will you have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). Before,
the will kept Christ out; now, it keeps sin out! Oh what a happy
change is wrought here!

There is a change wrought in the CONDUCT. He who is saved,
walks directly contrary to what he did before. He once walked
in envy and malice—now he walks in love! He once walked in
pride—now he walks in humility. In the heart there is a new
birth—and in the life there is a new conduct.

Thus we see what a mighty change grace makes.

How far are they from salvation, who never had any change!
They are the same today—as they were forty or fifty years ago.
They are as proud and carnal as ever! They have had no
change in their heart. Let not them think to leap out of the
harlot's lap (the world) into Abraham's bosom! They must
either have a gracious change while they live—or a cursed
change when they die!

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It is better to go to heaven with the few

(Thomas Watson, "A Divine Cordial" 1663)

"You can enter God's Kingdom only through the
 narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and
 its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy
 way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road
 is narrow, and only a few ever find it." Mt. 7:13-14

It is better to go to heaven with the few—than
to hell in the crowd! We must walk in an opposite
course to the people of the world.

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A sea of sin—and not a drop of sorrow!

(Thomas Watson, "A Divine Cordial" 1663)

One sign of genuine love to God—is grief for sin.
Where there is love to God—there is a grieving for
our sins of unkindness against Him. A child who
loves his father, cannot but weep for offending him.
The heart which burns in love—melts in tears. "Oh!
that I should abuse the love of so dear a Savior!
Shall I give Him more gall and vinegar to drink!
How disloyal and hypocritical have I been! How
have I grieved His Spirit, trampled upon His
royal commands, and slighted His blood!"

This opens a vein of godly sorrow, and makes the
heart bleed afresh. "He went out, and wept bitterly!"
That Peter should deny Christ after he had received
such amazing love from Him—this broke his heart
with grief! "He went out, and wept bitterly!"

By this, let us test our love to God. Do we shed the tears
of godly sorrow? Do we grieve for our unkindness against
God, our abuse of His mercy, our non-improvement the
talents which He has given us?

How far are they from loving God—who sin daily, and their
hearts never smite them! They have a sea of sin—and
not a drop of sorrow!
They are so far from being troubled,
that they make merry with their sins. "When you engage in
your wickedness, then you rejoice!" (Jer. 11:15). Oh wretch!
Did Christ bleed for sin—and do you laugh at it!

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Corrosives to eat out the proud flesh

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

"In this world you will have trouble." John 16:33

"Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly
 upward." Job 5:7

Troubles arise like sparks out of a furnace.

The present state of life is subject to afflictions.
Man comes into the world with a cry—and goes
out with a groan!

Afflictions are some of the thorns which the earth
brings forth. We may as well think to stop the sun
in its swift motion—as put a stop to troubles. The
consideration of a life exposed to troubles and
sufferings, should make us say with patience,
"May Your will be done."

It is vain to quarrel with instruments. Wicked men
are but a rod in God's hand! "O Assyria, the rod of
My anger." Isaiah 10:5. Whoever brings an affliction
—God sends it! The consideration of this should make
us say, "May Your will be done." What God does—He
sees a reason for. This believed, would rock the heart
quiet. Shall we mutiny at that which God does? We
may as well quarrel with God's works of creation—as
with God's works of providence.

Consider that there is a necessity for affliction.
"If need be, you are in heaviness." 1 Peter 1:6.
It is needful that some things are kept in brine.

Afflictions are needful to keep us humble. Often there
is no other way to have the heart low—but by being
brought low. When king Manasseh "was in affliction, he
humbled himself greatly." Corrections are corrosives
to eat out the proud flesh
. "Remembering my misery,
the wormwood and the gall; my soul is humbled in me."
Lamentations 3:19, 20. Shall not we quietly submit, and
say, "Lord, I see there is a necessity for it. May Your will
be done!"

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A new existence

(J. C. Ryle, "Regeneration")

"Truly, truly, I say to you—Unless a man
 is born again, he cannot see the kingdom
 of God." John 3:3

To be born again is, as it were, to enter
upon a new existence, to have . . .
  a new mind,
  a new heart,
  new views,
  new principles,
  new tastes,
  new affections,
  new likings,
  new dislikings,
  new fears,
  new joys,
  new sorrows,
  new love to things once hated,
  new hatred to things once loved,
  new thoughts . . .
    of God,
    of ourselves,
    of the world,
    of the life to come,
    of salvation.

He who has been born again, is a new man, a
new creature—for old things are passed away.
He receives an utterly new bias and direction.
All things have become new! It is the implanting
of a new principle which will surely bear good
fruit. It is . . .
  opening the eyes of the blind;
  unstopping the ears of the deaf;
  loosing the tongue of the dumb;
  giving hands and feet to the maimed and lame
—for he that is born again no longer allows his
members to be instruments and servants of
unrighteousness—but he gives them unto God,
and then only are they properly employed.

"You must be born again." John 3:7

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This perfume of free grace!

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs
 is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

Only those who are poor in spirit, are capable of
receiving grace. He who is swollen with self-excellency
and self-sufficiency—is not fit for Christ. He is full already.
If the hand is full of pebbles—it cannot receive gold. The
glass is first emptied, before you pour in wine. God first
empties a man of himself, before He pours in the precious
wine of His grace.

He who is poor in spirit—is a Christ-admirer. He has high
thoughts of Christ. He sees himself naked—and flies to
Christ, to be clothed in the garments of His righteousness.
He sees himself wounded—and as the wounded deer runs
to the water—so he thirsts for Christ's blood, the water of
life. "Lord!" says he, "give me Christ or I die!" His conscience
has turned into a fiery serpent and has stung him; now he
will give all the world—for a brazen serpent! He sees himself
in a state of death; and how precious is one leaf of the tree
of life, which is both for food and medicine! The poor in spirit
sees that all his riches lie in Christ—"wisdom, righteousness,
sanctification" In every need, he flies to this storehouse! He
adores the all-fullness in Christ.

He who is poor in spirit—is an exalter of free grace. None so
magnify God's mercy—as the poor in spirit. The poor are very
thankful. When Paul had tasted mercy—how thankfully does
he adore free grace! "The grace of our Lord was exceeding
abundant" (1 Timothy 1:14). It was super-exuberant grace!
He sets the crown of his salvation—upon the head of free
grace! As a man who is condemned and has a pardon sent to
him—how greatly he proclaims the goodness and mercifulness
of his prince! So Paul displays free grace in its magnificent
colors. He interlines all his epistles with free grace! As a vessel
which has been perfumed, makes the water taste of it—so Paul,
who was a vessel perfumed with mercy, makes all his epistles
to taste of this perfume of free grace! Those who are poor
in spirit, bless God for the least crumb which falls from the table
of free grace! Labor for poverty of spirit. Christ begins with this,
and we must begin here if ever we are saved. Poverty of spirit
is the foundation stone, on which God lays the superstructure
of eternal glory!

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs
 is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

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Worms should be made kings!

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"Don't be afraid, little flock, because your Father
 delights to give you the kingdom!" Luke 12:32

See here the mercy and bounty of God, who has prepared
a kingdom for His people. It is a favor that we poor worms
should be allowed to live. But that worms should be made
—this is divine bounty! It is mercy to pardon us—but it
is rich mercy to crown us! 'Behold, what kind of love is this!'

Earthly princes may bestow great gifts on their subjects—but
they keep the kingdom to themselves. Though Pharaoh advanced
Joseph to honor and gave him a ring from his finger—yet he kept
the kingdom to himself. 'Only in the throne will I be greater than
you' (Genesis 41:40). But God gives a kingdom to His people—He
sets them upon the throne!

How David admires the goodness of God in bestowing upon him
a temporal kingdom. 'Then king David went in, and sat before the
Lord and said—Who am I, O Lord God—and what is my house, that
You have brought me hitherto?' (2 Samuel 7:18). He wondered
that God should take him from the sheepfold—and set him on the
throne—that God should turn his shepherd's staff into a king's
scepter! O then, how may the saints admire the riches of grace—
that God should give them a glorious kingdom above all the
princes of the earth—nay, far above all heavens!

God thinks nothing too good for His children. We many times think
much of a tear, a prayer, or to sacrifice a sin for Him—but He does
not think a kingdom is too much to bestow upon us! How will the
saints read over the lectures of free grace in heaven, and trumpet
forth the praises of that God, who has crowned them with such
astonishing loving-kindness!

See here, that which may make the people of God long for death.
Then, they shall enter upon their glorious kingdom! Indeed the
may fear death. It will not lead them to a kingdom—but to
a horrid prison. Hell is the jail where they must lie rotting forever
with the devil and his demons!

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Only the blood of Christ can soften it!

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"I will take away their hearts of stone and
 give them tender hearts!" Ezekiel 11:19

Oh the misery of a hard heart!

A heart of stone is insensible. A stone is not
sensible of anything. Lay a heavy weight upon
it; or grind it to powder—it does not feel. So it
is with a hard heart—it is insensible to both its
own sin and God's wrath. The stone in the
is felt—but not the stone in the heart.
"Having lost all sensitivity" (Ephesians 4:19).

A heart of stone is inflexible. A stone will not
bend. Just so, the hard heart will not comply with
God's command. It will not stoop to Christ's scepter.
A heart of stone will sooner break, than bend by
repentance. It is so far from yielding to God, that
like the anvil—it beats back the hammer. A heart
of stone will "always resist the Holy Spirit." (Acts 7:51)

A hard heart is void of all grace. While the wax is
hard—it will not take the impression of the seal.
Just so, the heart, while it is hard—will not take the
stamp of grace. It must first be made tender and
melting. The plough of the Word will not penetrate
a hard heart!

A hard heart is good for nothing—but to make
fuel for hellfire. "Because of your hardness and
unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for
yourself in the day of wrath!" (Romans 2:5).

Hell is full of hard hearts—there is not one soft heart
there! There is much weeping there—but no softness.
We read of "vessels of wrath—prepared for destruction"
(Romans 9:22). Hardness of heart, fits these vessels
for hell, and makes them like withered wood, which
is fit only to burn!

Hardness of heart makes a man's condition worse
than all his other sins besides. If one is guilty of
great sins—yet if he can mourn, there is hope. But
hardness of heart binds guilt fast upon the soul. It
seals a man under wrath. It is not heinousness of
—but hardness of heart—which damns!

Oh the misery of a hard heart!

A stony heart is the worst heart. If it were bronze,
it might be melted in the furnace; or it might be
bent with the hammer. But a stony heart is such,
that only the arm of God can break it—and only
the blood of Christ can soften it!

"I will take out your stony heart of sin and give
 you a new, obedient heart." Ezekiel 36:26

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View sin in the red glass

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

View sin in the red glass of Christ's sufferings.
The least sin cost His blood. Would you take a true
view of sin? Go to Golgotha! Jesus Christ poured out
His soul, as an offering for sin! Read the greatness
of your sin—in the deepness of Christ's wounds!
not Satan cast such a mist before your eyes—that
you cannot see sin in its right colors! Remember,
not only do great sins carry men to hell—but lesser
sins as well. "The wages of sin is death!" Every sin
is damnable. There is death and hell in every sin.
The least sin without repentance—will be a lock
and bolt to shut men out of heaven.

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A tear dropping from the eye of faith

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"Blessed are those who mourn." Matthew 5:8

It is a sign that the Sun of Righteousness has risen
upon us, when our frozen hearts thaw and melt for sin.
Weeping for sin is a sign of the new birth. As soon as
the child is born—it weeps. Mourning shows a 'heart
of flesh' (Ezekiel 36:26). A stone will not melt. When
the heart is in a melting frame—it is a sign the heart
of stone is taken away.

"Let your tears flow like a river. Give yourselves no
 rest from weeping day or night." Lament. 2:18

Tears for sin, are blessed tears.

Tears poison our corruptions. Salt-water kills worms.
Just so, the brinish water of repenting tears will help to
kill that worm of sin which would gnaw the conscience.

Mourning also fences us against the devil's temptations.
Temptations are called 'fiery darts' (Ephesians 6:16),
because indeed they set the soul on fire. Temptations
enrage anger, and inflame lust. Now the waters of holy
mourning, quench these fiery darts! Wet gunpowder will
not easily catch fire. Just so, when the heart is wetted
and moistened with sorrow—it will not so easily catch
the fire of temptation.

Penitential tears are precious. Tears dropping from a
mournful, penitent eye, are like water dropping from
the roses—very sweet and precious to God. A fountain
in the garden makes it pleasant. That heart is most
delightful to God—which has a fountain of sorrow
running in it. 'Mary stood at Christ's feet weeping'
(Luke 7:38). Her tears were more fragrant than her
ointment. The incense, when it is broken, smells
sweetest. When the heart is broken for sin, then
our services give forth their sweetest perfume.

Surely, God delights much in tears—else He would
not keep a bottle for them. "You keep track of all
my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your
bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book."
Psalm 56:8. Tears are powerful orators for God's
mercy. Tears melt the heart of God. When a man
comes weeping in prayer and smites on his breast,
saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"—this melts
God's heart towards him. Tears, though they are
silent—yet have a voice, "The Lord has heard the
voice of my weeping!"
(Psalm 6:8). Tears in the
child's eye sometimes move the angry father to
spare the child. Penitential tears melt God's heart
and bind His hand. Tears have a mighty influence
upon God.

Repentant tears are sweet. Mourning is the way to
solid joy. A Christian thinks himself sometimes in the
suburbs of heaven—when he can weep. Sugar when
it melts is sweetest. When a Christian melts in tears,
now he has the sweetest joy. When the daughter of
Pharaoh descended into the river—she found a babe
there among the reeds. Just so, when we descend into
the river of repenting tears—we find the babe Jesus
there, who shall wipe away all tears from our eyes.

Tears water our graces and make them flourish. Where
the springs of sorrow run—there the heart bears a fruitful
crop. The tender-eyed Christian usually brings forth more
of the fruit of the Spirit. A weeping eye is the water-pot
to water our graces!

If there is so much profit and benefit in gospel-sorrow,
then let every Christian wash his face every morning in
the laver of tears.

Our mourning for sin here—will prevent mourning in hell.
Hell is a place of weeping (Matthew 8:12). The damned
mingle their drink with weeping. God is said to have His
bottle for our tears. Those who will not shed a bottle-full
of tears—shall hereafter shed rivers of tears. "Woe to you
who laugh now—for you shall mourn and weep!" (Luke 6:
25). You have sometimes seen sugar lying in a damp
place, dissolve into water. Just so, all the sugared joys
of the wicked, dissolve at last into the water of tears!

There is but one way to blessedness, and that is through
the valley of tears. If you do not go this way, you will miss
Paradise. "I tell you, unless you repent, you shall all likewise
perish"' (Luke 13:3). There is only one way leading to heaven,
and that is a tear dropping from the eye of faith. A man
may have a disease in his body, which twenty medicines will
heal. But only the medicine of repentance, will heal the
mortal disease of sin.

Think what a sinner you have been. You have filled God's
book with your debts—and what need you have to fill His
bottle with your tears!

He who weeps here is a blessed mourner. He who weeps
in hell is a cursed mourner. If God's bottle is not filled
with tears—His vial will be filled with wrath!

Repentant tears are but finite. It is but a short time that we
shall weep. After a few showers fall from our eyes, we shall
have a perpetual sunshine. "God shall wipe away all tears!"
(Revelation 7:17). When sin shall cease—tears shall cease!
"Weeping may endure for a night—but joy comes in the
morning!" (Psalm 30:5)

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The way to be like Jesus

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

To render evil for evil is brutish;
to render evil for good is devilish;
to render good for evil is Christian.

"Blessed are the meek." Matthew 5:5

Meekness is a grace whereby we are enabled by
the Spirit of God, to moderate our angry passions.
Meekness has a divine beauty and sweetness in
it. This meekness consists in three things:
  the bearing of injuries,
  the forgiving of injuries,
  the recompensing good for evil.

Meekness is opposed to:
  revenge and

Meekness is a great ornament to a Christian. "The
ornament of a meek spirit—which is so precious to
God!" (1 Peter 3:4). How lovely is a saint in God's
eye, when adorned with this jewel! No garment
is more befitting to a Christian, than meekness.
Therefore we are bid to put on this garment, "Put
on therefore as the elect of God—meekness."
(Colossians 3:12)

Meekness is a noble and excellent spirit. A meek man
is a valorous man. He gets a victory over himself! Anger
arises from weakness of character. The meek man is able
to conquer his fury. "He who is slow to anger is better
than the mighty; controlling one's temper is better than
capturing a city." (Proverbs 16:32). To yield to one's
anger is easy—it is swimming along with the tide of
corrupt nature
. But to turn against nature—to resist
anger, to "overcome evil with good"—this is truly

Meekness is the best way to conquer and melt the
heart of an enemy. Meekness melts and thaws the
heart of others. The greatest victory is to overcome
an enemy—without striking a blow! Mildness prevails
more than fierceness. Anger makes an enemy of a
friend. Meekness makes a friend of an enemy.

Meekness is the way to be like Jesus—"Learn of
Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart." Mat. 11:29.
It is not profession which makes us like Jesus—but
imitation. Where meekness is lacking—we are like
brutes. Where it is present—we are like Jesus.

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The hypocrite's desire

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"Let me die the death of the righteous!"
 Numbers 23:10

This was Balaam's desire. The hypocrite, when he
is about to die and can keep his sins no longer—
now he desires a passport to carry him to heaven!
Such desires as these are found among the damned.

Hypocrites have desires—but no endeavors.
They would like to go to heaven—but they
will take no pains. But true desire is always
quickened into endeavor.

The hypocrite would have . . .
  heaven—and his sins too,
  heaven—and his pride too,
  heaven—and his covetousness too.
"They have gone astray and have followed
 the path of Balaam—who loved the wages
 of unrighteousness." 2 Peter 2:15

The true Christian says, "Give me Christ on any
terms. Let God propound whatever articles He
will—I will subscribe to them. Would He have me
deny myself? Would He have me mortify sin? I
am content to do anything—just so that I may
have Christ!" Hypocrites would have Christ—but
they will not part with their beloved lust for Him!

The hypocrite does not desire grace for itself.
He desires grace—only as a bridge to lead him
over to heaven. He does not so much search
after grace—as glory. He does not so much
desire the way of righteousness—as the crown
of righteousness. His desire is not to be made
like Christ—but to reign with Christ. This is the
hypocrite's desire

But a child of God desires grace for itself, and
Christ for Himself. To a believer, not only is
heaven precious—but Christ is precious, "Yes, He
is very precious to you who believe!" 1 Peter 2:7

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The infernal dungeon of hell

(John Bunyan)

"Depart from Me, you who are cursed—into the
 eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!"
 Matthew 25:41

Those in the infernal dungeon of hell, will undergo
a variety of torments. Those who are most afflicted
upon earth, have seldom any more than one malady
at a time. But should they have the plague, the gout,
the stone, and fever all at one time—how miserable
would they think themselves! Yet all that is but like
the biting of a flea—compared to those intolerable,
pungent pains which those in hell endure! There they
have all the loathed variety of hell to grapple with—
  the unquenchable fire to burn them;
  a lake of burning brimstone ever choking them;
  eternal chains to bind them;
  utter darkness to affright them, and
  a worm of conscience which gnaws upon them
eternally. Any one of these is worse to bear, than
all the torments which mankind ever felt on earth.

But the torments in hell are also universal, afflicting
each part of the body and soul—which renders what
they suffer, most insufferable. In those illnesses which
men are seized with on earth, though some parts are
afflicted, other parts are free. But in hell, each member
of the soul and body is continually tormented. The eye
is tormented with the sight of the devils, who appear in
all the horrid and black shapes which sin can give them!
The ear is tormented with the loud yellings and continual
outcries of the damned. The nostrils are smothered with
sulphurous flames; the tongue is covered with burning
blisters; and the whole body is rolled in flames of liquid
fire! The imagination is tormented with the thoughts of
what a heaven has been lost; the memory is tormented
with reflecting on those opportunities they had of being
saved. The mind is tormented with considering how vainly
precious time has been wasted. The understanding is
tormented with the thoughts of of present pains, and
future sorrows—which are to last for ever! The conscience
is tormented with a continual gnawing worm.

Another thing which makes the misery of hell so dreadful,
is the extremity of the torments. The fire which burns is
so violent that all the water in the sea can never quench it!
The pains suffered are so extreme, that it is impossible
they should be known by any, but those who feel them.

Another part of hell's misery is the ceaselessness of the
torments. As various, as universal, and as extremely violent
as they are—they are continual, also. Nor have they the least
rest from them. If there were any relaxation—it might be
some allay. But what makes this condition so deplorable—
is that there is no easing of the torments! "They will go
away into eternal punishment!" Matthew 25:46

The company they have there, is another element of
their misery. Tormenting devils and tormented souls are
all the company. Dreadful shrieks and howlings, under
the fierceness of pain, and fearful blasphemies, is all
the conversation.

The place in which they suffer is another thing which
increases the sufferings. Hell is the epitome of all misery—
  a prison,
  a dungeon,
  a bottomless pit,
  a lake of fire and brimstone,
  a furnace of fire which burns to eternity,
  the blackness of darkness forever!

The cruelty of our tormentors is another thing which
adds to the torments. The tormentors are devils, in
whom there is no pity. Being tormented themselves,
they take pleasure in tormenting others.

But that which makes these sufferings most grievous—
is that they shall always be so—these most intolerable
sufferings shall last to all eternity. 'Depart from Me, you
who are cursed, into the eternal fire!" will perpetually
sound in the ears of the damned! The miserable
situation they are in, shall be forever!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

Cruel mercy

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain
 mercy." Matthew 5:7

When the sun shines—the ice melts. When the Sun of
righteousness once shines with beams of grace upon
the soul—then it melts in mercy and tenderness.

Mercifulness is a melting disposition whereby we lay
to heart the miseries of others, and are instrumental
for their good. We must chiefly be merciful to the
SOULS of others. Indeed soul-mercy is the chief of
mercies. The soul is the most precious thing; it is a
rich diamond set in a ring of clay. Had we seen that
madman in the gospel cutting himself with stones—
it would have moved our pity (Mark 5:5). To see a
sinner stabbing himself and having his hands imbrued
in his own blood, should cause us to sincerely pity him.

That is a cruel mercy—when we see men go on in
sin, and we let them alone. And that is a merciful
—when we are sharp against men's sins and
will not let them go to hell quietly.

Fond sentimentality
is no better than cruelty.

The surgeon cuts and lances the flesh—but it is in
order to a cure. They are healing wounds. So when
we lance men's consciences and let out the blood of
sin, we exercise spiritual surgery. This is showing

"Rescue others by snatching them from the fire!"
(Jude 23). If a man had fallen into the fire, though
you hurt him a little in pulling him out—he would be
thankful and take it as a kindness. Some men, when
we tell them of sin say, 'O, you are unloving!' No! it
is showing mercy. If a man's house were on fire, and
another should see it and not tell him of it, for fear of
waking him—would not this be cruelty? When we see
others sleeping in their sin, and the fire of God's wrath
ready to burn them up—and we are silent—is not this

They are unmerciful ministers who, instead of
breaking the bread of life—fill their people's heads
with airy speculations and notions! Some ministers
endeavor only to be admired. They go into the pulpit
only to amuse the people. Such ministers give poison
to their people in a golden cup! They are the devil's
ambassadors, who ride up and down, and with Satan
compass the earth—to deceive and devour souls!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

The children which faith bears

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"Those who have believed God might be careful
 to devote themselves to good works." Titus 3:8

Grace does not lie as a sleepy habit in the soul,
but will put forth itself in vigorous and glorious
actings. Grace can no more be concealed, than
fire. Grace does not lie in the heart as a stone
in the earth—but as seed in the earth. It will
spring up into good works!
"Our people must
also learn to devote themselves to good works."
Titus 3:14

The lamp of faith must be filled with the oil of
Faith alone justifies—but justifying faith
is never alone. You may as well separate weight
from lead, or heat from fire—as works from faith.

Good works, though they are not the causes of
salvation—yet they are evidences of salvation.
Though they are not the foundation—yet they
are the superstructure. Faith must not be built
upon works—but works must be built upon faith.
"You are married to Christ—that we should bring
forth fruit unto God." Romans 7:4. Faith is the
grace which marries Christ, and good works
are the children which faith bears.

Works are distinct from faith—as the sap in the
vine is different from the clusters of fruit which
grow upon it.

Works are the touchstone of faith. "Show me
your faith by your works." James 2:18

Works honor faith. These fruits adorn the 'trees
of righteousness'. This queen—faith, has the
handmaids of good works
waiting upon her.

Good works are more visible and conspicuous than faith.
Faith is a more hidden grace. It may lie hidden in the
heart and not be seen—but when works are joined with
it, now it shines forth in its native beauty! Though a
garden is ever so decked with flowers—yet they are not
seen until the light comes. So the heart of a Christian
may be enriched with faith—but it is like a flower in the
. It is not seen until works come. When this light
shines before men, then faith appears in its orient colors!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

Strewing flowers on a dead corpse!

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall
 see God." Matthew 5:8

External morality is not heart-purity. A person
may be clothed with great moral virtues, such as
justice, charity, prudence, and temperance—and
yet go to hell.

We must not rest in mere outward morality. A swine
may be washed—yet be a swine still. Morality does
but wash a man—grace changes him. Morality may
shine in the eyes of the world—but it differs as much
from purity, as a pebble differs from a diamond!

Morality is but strewing flowers on a dead corpse!

A man who is but highly moral—is but a tame devil.

How many have made 'morality' their Savior!
Morality will damn—as well as vice! A boat may
be sunk with gold—as well as with dung.

The moral person, though he will not commit gross
sins—yet he is not sensible of heart sins. He is not
troubled for unbelief, hardness of heart, vanity of
thoughts. He abhors gross-sins, not gospel-sins.

The snake has a fine appearance—but has a deadly
sting! Just so, the moral man is fair to look on—but
has a secret antipathy against the holy ways of God.

Morality is not to be rested in. The heart must be pure.
God would have Aaron wash the inner parts of the
sacrifice (Leviticus 9:14). Morality does but wash the
outside; the inside must be washed. "Blessed are the
pure in heart
, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

How befilthying a thing it is

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"Unto Him who loved us, and washed us from
 our sins in His own blood!" Revelation 1:5

We are all loathsome to God, before we are
washed pure in the blood of Christ!

By nature, we are all in a filthy and cursed condition.
We are a lump of clay and sin mingled together. Sin
not only blinds us—but defiles us. It is called filthiness
(James 1:21). And to show how befilthying a thing
it is
, it is compared . . .
  to a plague of the heart (1 Kings 8:38),
  to corruption (Deuteronomy 32:5),
  to vomit (2 Peter 2:22),
  to a menstrual cloth (Isaiah 30:22).

If all the evils in the world were put together and their
quintessence strained out—they could not make a thing
so black and polluted as sin is! A sinner is a devil in
a man's shape!
When Moses' rod was turned into a
serpent—he fled from it. If God would open men's eyes
and show them their deformities and damnable spots
—they would fly from themselves, as from serpents!

When grace comes—it washes off this hellish filth!
It turns ravens into swans. It makes those who are
as black as hell—to become as white as snow!

"Christ gave Himself for us to redeem us from all
wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that
are His very own." Christ shed His blood—to wash
off our filth. The cross was both an altar and a laver.
Jesus died not only to save us from wrath (1 Thes.
1:10)—but to save us from sin! (Matthew 1:21).
Out of his side came water which signifies our
cleansing—as well as blood which signifies our
justifying (1 John 5:6).

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

What Would Jesus Do?

(R. A. Torrey, "Looking to Jesus")

If at any time you are in any perplexity as to what to
do, simply ask the question—"What would Jesus do?"
Ask God by His Holy Spirit to show you what Jesus would
do. Study your Bible to find out what Jesus did do—and
follow Him.

"I have given you an example to follow." John 13:15

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

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

Caterers for their lusts!

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"If I regard iniquity in my heart" Psalm 66:18

What is it to regard iniquity in the heart?

When we INDULGE in sin. When sin not only lives
in us—but when we live in sin. Some will leave all
their sins, but one. Jacob would let all his sons go,
but Benjamin. The fowler holds the bird fast enough
by one claw. Just so, Satan can hold a man by one sin.

Others HIDE their sins. Many deal with their sins
as Moses' mother dealt with her son. She hid him
in the basket, as if she had left him—but her eye
was still upon him—and in the end, she became his
nurse (Exodus 2:9). Just so, many seem to leave
their sins—but they only hide them from the eye
of others. Their heart still goes after them, and at
last they nurse and give breast to their sins.

To regard iniquity is to DELIGHT in iniquity. Though
a child of God sins—yet he does not take a delight in
sin. "I do the very thing I hate" (Romans 7:15). But
the wicked make a recreation of sin. They "delight in
wickedness" (2 Thessalonians 2:12). Never did one
feed with more delight on a meal he loves—than a
wicked man does upon the forbidden fruit!

To regard iniquity is to make PROVISION for sin. "Make
no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."
(Rom. 13:14). The wicked are caterers for their lusts.
This is to make provision for the flesh—when one studies
to satisfy the flesh and provide fuel for lust. Thus Amnon
made provision for the flesh (2 Samuel 13:5). He pretends
to be sick, and his sister Tamar, must be his nurse. She
must serve his food to him—by which means he defiled
her virginity. It is sad when men's concern is not to be
holy—but to satisfy lust!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

If death gives them a jog

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and
 after that to face judgment." Hebrews 9:27

The wicked tread upon the banks of the bottomless
pit. If death gives them a jog—they tumble in!

"Prepare to meet your God!" Amos 4:12

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

Run to this heavenly Father!

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"The Father of mercies and the God of all comfort."
    2 Corinthians 1:3

Christians should look upon God under this notion—the
Father of all mercy, sitting upon a throne of grace. We
should run to this heavenly Father in all conditions!

We should run to our Father with our sins, as that sick
child who, as soon as he found himself ill—he ran to his
father to help him, "My head! My head!" 2 Kings 4:19
So in case of sin—run to God and say: "My heart! My
heart! O this dead heart—Father, quicken it! This hard
heart—Father, soften it! Father, my heart, my heart!"

We should run to our Father with our temptations.
A child, when another strikes him, runs to his father.
So when the devil strikes us with his temptations, let
us run to our Father: "Father, Satan assaults and hurls
in his fiery darts at me! Father, it is Your child who is
assaulted by this red dragon! Father, take off the

"Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares about
you!" 1 Peter 5:7. What a sweet privilege is this! When
any burden lies upon our hearts—we may go to our
Father and unload all our cares and griefs into His
loving bosom! "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He
will support you; He will never allow the righteous to
be shaken!" Psalm 55:22

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

Sin first enslaves—and then damns!

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a
 slave to sin." John 8:34

"You are of your father the Devil, and you want
 to carry out your father's desires!" John 8:44

It is the sad misery of an unregenerate person,
that he is in a state of vassalage. He is under the
tyranny of sin. "It is the greatest slavery in the
world for a man to be a slave to his own passions!"

A wicked man is as much a slave—as he who works in
the galley! Look into his heart—and there are legions
of lusts ruling him! He must do what sin will have him
to do. A slave is at the service of a usurping tyrant. If
he bids him dig in the mine, or hew in the quarries, or
tug at the oar—he must do it. Thus every wicked man
must do what corrupt nature, inspired by the devil, bids
him to do. If sin bids him to be drunk, or to be unchaste
—he is at the command of sin, as the donkey is at the
command of the driver.

Sin first enslaves—and then damns!

"But now that you have been set free from sin and have
 become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to
 holiness, and the result is eternal life." Romans 6:22

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

God has two fires

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"I have refined you in the furnace of affliction."
     Isaiah 48:10

"Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal
prepared for the Devil and his demons! And they
 will go away into eternal punishment!" Mt. 25:41, 46

God has two fires
  one where He puts His gold,
  one where He puts His dross.

The fire where He puts His gold, is
the fire of affliction—to purify them.

The fire where He puts His dross, is
the fire of damnation—to punish them.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

There are nails in that cross!

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny
and take up his cross daily and follow Me."
    Luke 9:23

Self-denial is the highest sign of a sincere Christian.
Hypocrites may have great knowledge and make large
profession—but it is only the true-hearted believer who
can deny himself for Christ.

Self-denial is the foundation of godliness, and if this
foundation is not well-laid, the whole building will fall.
If there is any lust in our souls which we cannot deny
—it will turn at length, either to scandal or apostasy.
Self-denial is the thread which must run along through
the whole work of piety.

A man must deny self-esteem. Every man by nature
has a high opinion of himself. He is drunk with spiritual
pride. A proud man disdains the cross. He thinks himself
too good to suffer. Oh deny self-esteem! Let the plumes
of pride
fall off! Let us shake off this viper of pride!

A man must deny carnal self. This I take to be the
chief sense of the text. He must deny fleshly ease.
The flesh cries out for ease. It is loath to put its neck
under Christ's yoke or stretch itself upon the cross. The
flesh cries out, "Oh! the cross of Christ is heavy! There
are nails in that cross
which will lacerate, and fetch
blood!" We must deny our self-ease, and be as a deaf
adder, stopping our ears to the charmings of the flesh!
Those who lean on the soft pillow of sloth, will hardly
take up the cross.

This self-denying frame of heart is very hard. This is "to
pluck out the right eye." It is easier to overcome men and
devils, than to overcome self. "Stronger is he who conquers
himself, than he who conquers the strongest walled city."

SELF is the idol, and how hard it is to sacrifice this idol,
and to turn self-seeking into self-denial! But though it is
difficult—it is essential. A Christian must first lay down
self—before he can take up the cross.

Alas! how far are they from self-denial—who cannot deny
themselves in the least things; who in their diet or apparel,
instead of martyring the flesh—pamper the flesh! Instead of
taking up the cross—take up their cups! Is this self-denial—
to let loose the reins to the flesh? Oh Christians, as ever you
would be able to carry Christ's cross, begin to deny yourselves.

"Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or
father or mother or children or property, for My sake, will
receive a hundred times as much in return and will have
eternal life!" Matthew 19:29. Here is a very choice bargain!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

Pope Self

(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Luke" 1858)

"An argument started among the disciples as to
which of them would be the greatest." Luke 9:46

Astonishing as it may seem, this little company
of fishermen and publicans was not beyond the
plague of a self seeking and ambitious spirit.

There is something very instructive in this fact.
It ought to sink down deeply into the heart of
every Christian reader. Of all sins, there is none
against which we have such need to watch and
pray—as PRIDE.

No sin is so deeply rooted in our nature.

cleaves to us like our skin!

Its roots never entirely die.
They are ready,
at any moment, to spring up, and exhibit a
most pernicious vitality.

No sin is so senseless and deceitful.
It can wear the garb of humility itself!

Pride can lurk in the hearts of the ignorant,
the vile, and the poor—as well as in the minds
of the great, the learned, and the rich.

It is a quaint and homely saying, but only
too true—that no pope has ever received
such honor as "Pope Self."

Of all creatures, none has so little a right to be
proud as man; and of all men, none ought to be
so humble as the Christian. Is it really true that
we confess ourselves to be "miserable sinners,"
and daily debtors to mercy and grace? Are we the
followers of Jesus, who was meek and humble of
heart? Then let that same mind be in us which
was in Him. "Learn from Me, for I am gentle and
humble in heart." Matthew 11:29

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

Such a wonder-working grace

(Thomas Watson, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

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

"Everyone born of God overcomes the world.
 This is the victory that has overcome the
—even our faith." 1 John 5:4

Why is faith such a wonder-working grace?

Faith unites the soul to Christ, and that blessed
Head sends forth grace into the members. "I can
do all things through Christ, who give me strength!"
Philippians 4:13. Faith goes to Christ—and fetches
His strength into the soul.

Faith works a contempt of the world into the heart.
Faith gives a true map of the world, "When I surveyed
all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to
achieve—everything was meaningless, a chasing after
the wind; nothing was gained under the sun!" Ecc. 2:11

Faith shows the world in its night-dress, having all its
jewels pulled off. Faith makes the world appear in its
true state. Faith shows the soul better things than the
world. It gives a sight of Christ and eternal glory. Faith
climbs up above sense and reason, into heaven and sees
Christ—and the soul, having once viewed His superlative
excellencies, becomes crucified to the world. Says the
Christian—"Yes, everything else is worthless when
compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ
Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else,
counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ!"
Philippians 3:8

Faith gets strength from God's promises. Faith lives upon
the promises. Take the fish out of the water—and it dies.
Take faith out of a promise—and it cannot live. The promises
are breasts of consolation. The child by sucking the breast,
gets strength. Faith gets strength—by sucking the breast of
a promise. When faith begins to be weak and is ready to
faint in the day of battle, then the promises muster their
forces together, and all come in for faith's relief—and now
it is able to hold out in the fiery trial.

Faith gives the soul a right notion of suffering. Faith draws
the true picture of sufferings. What is suffering? Faith says,
"it is but the suffering of the body—which must shortly by
the course of nature, drop into the dust." Thus faith gives
the soul a just measure of sufferings—which enables a
Christian to prostrate his life at the feet of Christ.

Faith picks sweetness out of suffering. The bee gathers
the sweetest honey from the bitterest herb. So faith
gathers the sweetest comforts, from the sharpest trials.
Faith looks upon suffering as God's love-token! "Afflictions
are sharp arrows—but they are shot from the hand of a
loving Father!" Faith can taste honey at the end of the
afflicting rod. Faith fetches joy out of suffering, "Your
sorrow will turn to joy!" John 16:20. Faith gets honey
from the belly of the lion. Faith finds a jewel under the
cross! "We know that all things work together for the
good of those who love God: to those who are called
according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

The dark tale

(Gleanings from the Inner Life of Ruth Bryan)

December 31st, 1837. The last day of the year has
come again! How rapidly are the wheels of time
revolving and bearing me on to a boundless eternity!
Another year closing, and of what do its "gone-by"
periods testify? Why! of aggravated transgression
and ingratitude on my part—and most astonishing
mercy and longsuffering from my covenant God!

There has also been granted more laying hold of
Christ; and, when sensible of sin, more running
to Him for pardon and cleansing, and, as it were,
hanging upon Him in my desperate case. All this,
with much more, I take to be very, very great

But, oh! the dark tale of my own sin, which has
also marked this year—it is too black to be told!
and a thousand other evils—make up a list which
ought to sink me into shame and self-abasement!

Almighty Spirit, condescend to melt me into real
contrition, that having received much—I may love
much; and having sinned much—I may have
much forgiven.

I am sure the flesh is no friend of mine, and as I
have not resolution to cut off its right-hand sins,
and to pluck out its right-eye sins—it is most
merciful of the Lord to do it for me. And though
I often cry out from pain, my heart says—Go on,
Lord, deal with me as You will; only support and
bring me to walk closely with You.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~     

288 opinions about the way to happiness

(Thomas Watson
, "The Beatitudes" 1660)

In what does happiness consist?

Millions of people mistake both the nature of happiness, and the way there. Some of the learned have noted 288 opinions about the way to happiness—and all have shot wide of the mark!

How do men thirst after the world—as if the pearl of happiness hung upon an earthly crown! "Oh," says one, "if I had but such an estate—then I would be happy! Had I but such a comfort—then I would sit down satisfied!" Well, God gives him that comfort and lets him suck the very juice out of it—but, alas, it falls short of his expectation. It cannot fill the emptiness and longing of his soul!

Happiness does not lie in the acquisition of worldly things. Happiness cannot by any chemistry—be extracted from the world. Christ does not say, 'Happy are the rich,' or 'Happy are the noble.' Yet too many idolize these things. How ready is man to terminate his happiness in external worldly things! If they have but worldly accommodations, they are ready to say with that brutish fool in the gospel, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years, take your ease—eat, drink and be merry!"

But alas! The tree of happiness does not grow in an earthly paradise. Has not God 'cursed the ground' because of sin? Yet many are digging for happiness here—as if they would fetch a blessing out of a curse! A man may as well think to extract oil out of a stone, or fire out of water—as happiness out of earthly things!

King Solomon had more worldly things than any man. His crown was hung full of jewels. He had treasuries of gold. He had the flower and quintessence of all delights—sumptuous fare, stately edifices, vineyards, lands, all sorts of music to enchant and ravish the senses with joy. If there were any rarity—it was present in king Solomon's court. Thus did he bathe in the perfumed waters of pleasure.

Never did the world cast a more smiling aspect upon any man! Yet when he comes to give his impartial verdict, he tells us that the world has 'vanity' written upon its frontispiece; and all those golden delights he enjoyed, were but a painted felicity—a glorious misery! "Behold! All was vanity!" Happiness is too noble and delicate a plant, to grow in this world's soil. Worldly joys are but sugared lies—pleasant deceits—which have not one grain of true happiness! Nothing on earth can satisfy the soul's desires!

"The world passes away!" (1 John 2:17). Worldly delights are winged. They may be compared to a flock of birds in the garden—which stay a little while—but when you come near to them—they take their flight and are gone! Just so, "riches make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven!" They are like a meteor which blazes—but soon burns out. They are like a castle made of snow—lying under the fiery beams of the sun. Worldly comforts are like tennis balls—which are bandied up and down from one to another. They are like a bouquet of flowers—which withers while you are smelling it. They are like ice—which melts away while it is in your hand.

Those things which do more vex than comfort—cannot make a man truly happy. As riches are compared to wind—to show their vanity; so they are compared to thorns—to show their vexation. Thorns are not more apt to tear our garments—than riches to tear our hearts! They are thorns in the gathering—and they prick with anxious care. They pierce the head with care of getting, so they wound the heart with fear of losing. Happiness is not to be fetched out of the earth! Worldly comforts cannot make you happy. You might live rich—and die cursed! You might treasure up an estate—and God might treasure up wrath!