Grace Gems for January 2008

The year before our eyes

(J. C. Philpot)

"As your days—so shall your strength be."
    Deuteronomy 33:25

The year before our eyes may hold in its bosom,
events which may deeply concern and affect us.
We do not know what is to come. What personal
trials, what family trials, what providential trials
may await us—we do not know. Every year hitherto
has brought its trials in its train; and how can we
expect the coming year to be exempt?

Sickness may attack our bodies,
death enter our families,
difficulties beset our circumstances,
trials and temptations exercise our minds,
snares entangle our feet, and
many dark and gloomy clouds, make our path
one of heaviness and sorrow.

If, indeed, we are His, whatever our trials
may be—His grace will be sufficient for us.

He who has delivered—can and will deliver.

And He who has brought us thus far on the road,
who has so borne with our crooked manners in the
wilderness and never yet forsaken us—though we
have so often forsaken Him—will still lead us along;
will still guide and guard us, and be our God, our
Father and our Friend—not only to the end of the
next year, if spared to see it, but the end of our life.

Blessed with His presence—we need fear no evil;
favored with His smile—we need dread no foe;
upheld by His power—we need shrink from no trial;
strengthened by His grace—we need panic at no

Knowing what we are and have been when left to
ourselves—the slips that we have made, the snares
that we have been entangled in, the shame and sorrow
that we have procured to ourselves—well may we dread
to go forth in the coming year alone. Well may we say,
"If Your Presence does not go with us—do not send us
up from here!" Exodus 33:15

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The divine philosophy for peaceful living

(J. R. Miller, "Counsel and Help" 1907)

"Is anything too hard for the Lord?" Genesis 18:14

"I know that You can do all things; no plan of
 Yours can be thwarted!" Job 42:2

Everything which threatens to give us anxiety—is to be
taken at once to God. Nothing is too great to carry to
Him. Does not He bear up all worlds? Does not He rule
over all the affairs of the universe? Is there any matter
in our life, however great it may seem to us—too hard
for Him to manage? Is any perplexity too difficult for
Him to resolve? Is any human despair too dark for Him
to illumine with hope? Is there any tangle or confusion
out of which He cannot extricate us?

Nothing is too small to carry to Him. Is He not our
Father, and is He not sincerely interested in whatever
concerns us? There is not one of the countless things
which fly like specks of dust all through our daily life,
tending to vex and fret us—that we may not take to God.

The Scriptures prescribe a cure for anxious care. The
divine philosophy for peaceful living
says: "Do not
be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer
and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests
to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all
understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus!" Philippians 4:6-7

Refer every disturbing thing to Him—that He may bear
the burden of it. "Cast your burden on the Lord, and
He will support you!" Psalms 55:22. "Casting all your
care upon Him; for He cares for you!" 1 Peter 5:7

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A living, loving, personal Savior

(J. R. Miller)

We are in the habit of saying that Christ saved
us by dying for us on the Cross. In an important
sense, this is true. We never could have been
saved, if He had not died for us.

But we are actually saved by our relation to a
living, loving, personal Savior
—into whose
hands we commit all the interests of our lives;
and who becomes our friend, our helper, our
keeper, our burden bearer—our all in all.

Christian faith is not merely laying our sins on
the Lamb of God and trusting to His one great
sacrifice; it is the laying of ourselves on the living,
loving heart of one whose friendship becomes
thenceforward the sweetest joy of our lives!

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

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

These venomous creatures!

(Thomas Watson, "The Christian's Charter")

Sin is a leprous spot. It makes everything we touch
unclean. Thus in every man naturally, there is a
fretting leprosy of sin, pride, unbelief, lust, etc.
These are leprous spots.

Sin is a defiling thing, it makes us red with guilt—and
black with filth! Sin is compared to a menstrual cloth.
Sin draws the Devil's picture in a man:
  malice is the Devil's eye;
  oppression is his hand;
  hypocrisy is his cloven foot!

At last death comes—and the saint is freed from the leprosy!
Death is the last and best physician, which cures all diseases
and sins—the aching head and the unbelieving heart. Sin was
the midwife which brought death into the world; and death
shall be the grave to bury sin! O the privilege of a believer!

The Persians had a certain day in the year, wherein they
used to kill all serpents and venomous creatures. Such a
day as that, will the day of death be to the true Christian.
This day the old serpent dies in a believer, which has so
often stung him with temptations! This day the sins of the
these venomous creatures—shall all be destroyed!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The free, sovereign grace of God!

(Octavius Winslow, "Christ, Our Righteousness")

"Those He predestined, He also called;
 and those He called, He also justified;
 and those He justified, He also glorified."
    Romans 8:30

The justified sinner stands the closest to God,
of any created being in the universe. Nearer
to the throne of the Eternal, he cannot stand.

What marvelous love!

Who will dare assert that salvation is not,
from first to last—of free, sovereign grace!

Let your eye pierce the veil which falls between
earth and heaven. Behold that shining, worshiping
being, standing so near to the throne of glory,
bathed in the overpowering effulgence of its rays!

Who is he?

He was once a sinner upon earth, the vilest
of his race, the dishonored of his generation,
forsaken by man—and abhorred of God.

But Jesus met him, and divine love drew him, and
sovereign grace rescued, pardoned, and saved him!
And now washed from all his guilt by the blood,
freed from all condemnation by the righteousness
of Christ—he stands before the throne "blameless,"
a "king and a priest unto God." Such is the great
love of Jesus! And all this grace, and all this
glory, and all this bliss—flows from the free,
sovereign grace of God!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A little nook in the very heart of God

(J. R. Miller, "The Marriage Altar" 1898)

God's plan for every marriage is happiness.

Marriage is meant to be a miniature of heaven—a
fragment of the celestial blessedness, let down into
this world.

Marriage is meant to be a little sanctuary, into which
husband and wife may flee from earth's storms and
dangers, where in love's shelter, their hearts fed with
affection's daily bread—they may dwell in quiet peace.

Marriage is meant to be a shelter in which, covered
from the frosts of the world and shielded from its cold
and tempests—two lives may grow together into richest
beauty, realizing their sweetest dreams of happiness,
blending in whatever things are true, whatever things
are pure, and attaining the finest possibilities of godly

Marriage is meant to be a holy ark, floating on the wild
floods of human life—like Noah's ark on the deluge,
bearing to heaven's gates, to the harbor of glory—the
lives which God has shut within its doors.

A godly marriage is a little nook in the very heart of
, where faithful souls are held close to the Father's
heart, and carried safely, amid dangers and sorrows, to
the home above!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Put all sorrow's wounds into His hand

(J. R. Miller, "By the Still Waters")

"He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3

In several ways does the shepherd restore his sheep.
If one wanders away, he goes out after it, and seeks
it until he finds it, restoring it to the shelter of the
fold. If one faints and grows sick by the way, in the
hard journey or the burning heat—the shepherd does
not leave it to die, but takes it up in his arms, and
carries it home, restoring it to the fold. If a sheep is
hurt, torn by a wild beast or injured by accident—the
shepherd tends its wounds until they are healed.

All this suggests how our Good Shepherd restores our
souls. Sometimes we wander away. It is very easy to
drift off from Christ. The drifting is often unconscious
—we do not realize that we are losing our first love—
and little by little, we are far off from Christ. Perhaps
it is a cherished sin which eats out our heart-life. Or
perhaps it is a worldly companionship which draws us
away, loosening the bonds which bound us to Christ.
Sometimes it is an absorbing business which leaves
no room for God. Or it may be the cares of this world
which choke the Word and quench the Spirit. We often
need to have our soul restored, quickened, revived—or
we would never get safely home, through this evil world.

Then, what soul is not sometimes hurt, wounded,
torn—by the wild beasts of temptation? Sin is a
fearful thing. It wounds the soul—and no hand but
Christ's can restore it. But if we put our hurt life
into His hand, He will give healing. What millions
of sin's woundings—has our Good Shepherd cured!

Then, when sorrow has left the heart broken, it is
only the Good Shepherd who can restore it. He is
a most skillful physician. We may put all sorrow's
into His hand
. He is most gentle, and His
hand is infinitely skillful. He is a wonderful comforter.
No human hand can heal a heart that is bruised—but
the hand of Jesus has infinite delicacy and skill.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up
 their wounds. Psalm 147:3

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The deadly viper in its real malignity!

(A Puritan Prayer)

O Lord God,
May holiness be the atmosphere in which
I live. Give me abhorrence of all evil, as
a vile monster that . . .
  defies Your law,
  casts off Your yoke,
  defiles my nature,
  spreads misery.

Teach me to look to Jesus on His cross, so I will know
sin's loathsomeness in Your sight. Show me the shame,
the agony, the bruises of Your adorable Son, that I may
read my boundless guilt in the boundless price. May I . . .
  discern the deadly viper in its real malignity,
  tear it with holy indignation from my bosom,
  resolutely turn from its every snare, and
  refuse to hold polluting dalliance with it.

Blessed Lord Jesus, at Your cross may I be taught . . .
  the awful miseries from which I am saved,
  ponder what the word 'lost' implies,
  see the fires of eternal destruction.
Then may I cling more closely to Your adorable
self, and detest sin as strongly as Your love to
me is strong.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

If any ingredient is left out

(Thomas Watson, "The Doctrine of Repentance")

"Unless you repent, you will also perish." Luke 13:5

Repentance is a grace of God's Spirit, whereby a
sinner is inwardly humbled and outwardly reformed.
Repentance is a spiritual medicine made up of
six special ingredients:
  1. Sight of sin
  2. Sorrow for sin
  3. Confession of sin
  4. Shame for sin
  5. Hatred for sin
  6. Turning from sin
If any ingredient is left out, it loses its virtue.

"I preached that they should repent and turn to God
and prove their repentance by their deeds." Acts 26:20

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

When we are lepers in our own eyes!

(Thomas Watson, "The Doctrine of Repentance")

"Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked
 deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins
 and detestable practices!" Ezekiel 36:31

A true penitent is a sin-loather. If a man loathes that
which makes his stomach sick, much more will he loathe
that which makes his soul sick! It is greater to loathe
sin—than to leave it. The nauseating and loathing of
sin, argues a detestation of it.

Christ is never loved—until sin is loathed.

Heaven is never longed for—until sin is loathed.

When the soul sees its filthiness, he cries out, "Lord,
when shall I be freed from this body of death! When
shall I put off these filthy garments of sin—and be
arrayed in the robe of Your perfect righteousness!
Let all my self-love be turned into self-loathing!"

We are never more precious in God's eyes—than
when we are lepers in our own eyes!

The more bitterness we taste in sin—
the more sweetness we shall taste in Christ!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The damned in hell would be most penitent

(Thomas Watson, "The Doctrine of Repentance")

"Unless you repent, you will also perish." Luke 13:5

There are several counterfeits of repentance.

A man has gone on long in sin. At last God arrests
him, shows him what desperate hazard he has run
—and he is filled with anguish! But after a while,
the tempest of conscience is blown over, and he is
quiet. Then he concludes that he is a true penitent
because he has felt some bitterness in sin.

Do not be deceived! This is not true repentance!
Both Ahab and Judas had great trouble of mind.
It is one thing to be a terrified sinner—and another
to be a repenting sinner. Sense of guilt is enough
to breed terror in the conscience. Only infusion of
divine grace, breeds true repentance. If pain and
trouble were sufficient to repentance—then the
damned in hell would be most penitent
, for
they are most in anguish.

"Men gnawed their tongues in agony, and cursed
 the God of heaven because of their pains and their
 sores, but they refused to repent of what they had
 done!" Revelation 16:10-11

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Treasure for your soul

Henry Law, "The Raven" 1869)

Blessed are those who find their constant
pleasure-ground in the luxuries of the Bible!

They commune with the mind of God.

They listen to a heavenly voice.

They bask in rays of purest light.

They feed in wholesome pastures of refreshment.

They fear no poison from the weeds of error.

No devious path can lead their steps astray.

Wisdom from above sweetly guides them.

The Spirit, the ultimate Teacher of His people,
instructs the students. They advance safely,
happily—from grace to grace.

The lessons are as vast as the mine from which
they spring. They are as pure as the realms to
which they call. They warn of sin—its filth, its
misery, its end. They unfold Jesus—in all the
glories of His redeeming love. They exhibit
holiness—as the only road to a holy heaven.

Reader, heed a salutary admonition. Study the
Bible, as holding treasure for your soul. Study
in the earnestness of prayer. Study with eternity
outspread before you. Study with the humility of
a poor sinner before a speaking God. Study with
faith devoutly grasping every word.

Do not close the volume without inquiring . . .
  Is sin more hateful to me?
  Is the world more worthless in my estimation?
  Is the flesh more treacherous in my sight?
  Is Jesus brought nearer to my adoring soul?
  Is my heart won to more entire devotedness?
  Am I more resolute to live for Him, who died for me?

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Only two families inhabit earth

Henry Law, "Deuteronomy" 1858)

Only two families inhabit earth.
In principle,
in taste,
in habit,
in desire—
they are as separate as . . .
  light from darkness,
  cold from heat,
  life from death.

There is the serpent's seed.
There is the heaven-born race.

There is the world.
There is the little flock of grace.

There is the broad road.
There is the narrow way.

There are the sheep.
There are the goats.

Hence the importance of the question—
"Have you escaped from nature's thraldom?
 Do your feet tread the upward path of holiness?
 Do you belong to Satan—or to Christ?"

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Earthly toys

(Henry Law)

"How long will you love what is worthless?"
    Psalm 4:2

The hearts of the wicked delight in this
world's empty baubles. They greedily
pursue a mocking shadow.

What folly can be worse!

When things are seen as they really are,
earthly toys are worse than empty bubbles.

What will all the earth, and all the earth's
treasures, and all the earth's pleasures
profit—if our souls are not saved!

"How long will you love what is worthless?"
    Psalm 4:2

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A voyage to hell

(Thomas Watson, "The Doctrine of Repentance")

"Who of us can dwell with everlasting burnings!"
    Isaiah 33:14

Sin is like oil, and God's wrath is like fire. As long
as the damned continue sinning—so long will the fire
continue scorching! "They cursed the God of heaven
for their pains and sores. But they refused to repent
of all their evil deeds!" Revelation 16:11

But men question the truth of this, and are like impious
Devonax who, being threatened with hell for his villainies,
mocked at it and said, "I will believe there is a hell when
I come there—and not before!"
We cannot make hell
enter into men—until they enter into hell.

If, for all this, men will persist in sin and are resolved
upon a voyage to hell—who can hinder their damnation?
They have been told what a soul-damning rock sin is—but
if they will voluntarily run upon it and damn themselves—
their blood is upon their own head!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Then she pounded the tent peg through his head!

(Thomas Watson, "The Doctrine of Repentance")

"The deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:13

SIN is a mere cheat. While it pretends to please us,
it beguiles us! Sin does as Jael did. First she brought
the milk and butter to Sisera—then she pounded
the tent peg through his head!
(Judges 5:26).

Sin first courts—and then kills!

Sin is first a fox—and then a lion!

Those locusts in Revelation 9 are fit emblems of
sin: "They had gold crowns on their heads . . .
They had tails that stung like scorpions, with
power to torture people!"

Judas pleased himself with the thirty pieces
of silver—but they proved deceitful riches.
Ask him now how he likes his bargain!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Make us 'clods of earth' into 'stars of glory'

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

Christ is that golden pipe—through which the golden oil
of salvation
is transmitted to us.

"Because of His great love that He had for us" Ephesians 2:4

Nothing could fasten Jesus to the cross—but the golden link of love!

The emperor Trajan tore off a piece of his own robe to bind up
one of his soldier's wounds. But Christ tore off His own flesh for us!

"He gave Himself for us to redeem us." Titus 2:14. Christ gave
Himself for us—what more could He give? If He had anything to
part with of more worth—He would have bestowed it upon us!
What astonishing love—that Christ should die for such as we are.
What are we? Not only vanity—but enmity!

When we were rebelling—He was dying! When we had weapons
in our hands—then He had the spear in His side! This is the very
quintessence of love! "God demonstrates His own love for us in
this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!" Romans 5:8
When we were engulfed in misery and had lost our beauty—then
Christ died for us. O amazing love, which should swallow up all
our thoughts!

What astonishing love—that Christ should die for us—rather than
for the fallen angels. They were creatures of a more noble extraction
and, in all probability, might have brought greater revenues of glory
to God. Yet, that Christ should pass by those golden vessels, and
make us 'clods of earth' into 'stars of glory
'—O the hyperbole
of Christ's love!

What a stupendous love is this!

Who can meditate upon His love—and not be in ecstasy!

We may behold the odiousness of sin—in the red looking-glass of
Christ's sufferings. Sin is to be abominated, since it turned Adam out
of paradise and threw the angels down to hell. Sin is the birthplace
of our sorrows—and the grave of our comforts. But that which may
most of all disfigure the face of sin and make it appear abominable
is this—It crucified our Lord Jesus!

O let us look upon sin with indignation! When a temptation to sin
comes—let us say, "Is not this the sin which poured out Christ's
blood!" Let our hearts be enraged against sin!

When the senators of Rome showed the people Caesar's bloody
, they were incensed against those who slew him. Sin has
rent the white robe of Christ's flesh—and died it a crimson color!
Let us, then, seek to be avenged of our sins!

Under the Law, if an ox gored a man so that he died—the ox
was to be killed, Exodus 21:28. Sin has gored and pierced our
Savior! Let it die!

Let us be deeply affected with the great love of Christ for us.
Who can tread upon these hot coals—and his heart not burn?
Cry out with Ignatius, "Christ, my love, is crucified!"

If a friend would die for us—would not our hearts be much
affected with his kindness? That the God of heaven would
die for us—how should this stupendous mercy have a melting
influence upon us! The body of Christ broken—is enough to
break the most flinty heart. At our Savior's passion, "the
rocks split apart!" He who is not affected with Christ's love
—has a heart harder than the rocks!

How should we be affected with Christ's kindness who, to
spare our life—lost His own! Let us pray that, as Christ was
fastened to the cross—so He may be fasted to our hearts!

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

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


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

"The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sin!"
     1 John 1:7

Christ's blood is a CLEANSING blood.

As the merit of Christ's blood pacifies God—so the
virtue of it purifies us. Christ's blood is heaven's bath.
It is a laver to wash in. It washes a crimson sinner—

The Word of God is a looking-glass to show us our
spots—and the blood of Christ is a fountain to wash
them away! "On that day a fountain will be opened
—to cleanse them from all their sins and defilement!" 
Zechariah 13:1

But this blood will not wash—if it is mingled with
anything. If we mingle our good works with Christ's
blood—it will not wash. Let Christ's blood be pure and
unmixed—and there is no spot which it cannot wash
away! It purged out Noah's drunkenness—and Lot's

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The devils are scrambling for his soul!

(Thomas Watson, "The Mischief of Sin")

"Covetousness, which is idolatry." Colossians 3:5

Covetousness is the cancer of the soul.

Covetousness is a key which opens the door to further
wickedness. 1 Timothy 6:10, "For the love of money is
at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving
money, have wandered from the faith and pierced
themselves with many sorrows!"

And what is one the better for all his wealth—at death?
1 Timothy 6:10, "We brought nothing into the world—and
it is certain that we can carry nothing out." When the rich
dies—what scrambling is there!
His friends are scrambling for his money!
The worms are scrambling for his body!

The devils are scrambling for his soul!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

They tempt the devil to fall in love with them!

(Thomas Watson, "
The Mischief of Sin")

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

Pride runs in the blood.

Augustine calls pride, "the mother of all sin!"

Some people would be better—if they could
pluck the worm of pride out of their head!

Pride ruins our virtues—and poisons our mercies.

Some are proud of their estates. Riches are fuel for
pride. Ezekiel 28:5, "Your heart has become proud
because of your wealth." Men's hearts rise with their

Some take pride in their abilities. The Lord enriches
them with wit and talents—and pride fumes from
their heart into their head—and makes them giddy.

Some are proud of their bodies. Pride is seen in
long and meticulous dressings. They spend that
time between the comb and the looking-glass,
which should be spent in prayer and holy meditation.

Pride is seen in painting their faces—overlaying God's
work with the devil's colors!
But virtue is most beautiful
to God. "Don't be concerned about the outward beauty
that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or
beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty
that comes from within—the unfading beauty of a gentle
and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." 1 Pet. 3:3-4

Pride is seen in the outlandish fashions with which some
people dress—or rather disguise themselves. They clothe
themselves like the rainbow. Adam was ashamed of his
nakedness; these should be ashamed of their clothing.
They are so plumed and gaudily attired—that
tempt the devil to fall in love with them!

"The Lord detests all the proud of heart! Be sure of
 this—They will not go unpunished!
" Proverbs 16:5

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Linked together with adamantine chains!

(Thomas Watson, "
The Mischief of Sin")

Sin is the womb of sorrow—and the grave of
Sin turns the body into a hospital.
It causes fevers, ulcers, and cancers.

Sin is the Trojan horse, out of which a
whole troop of afflictions come.

Sin drowned the old world, and burnt Sodom.

Sin and punishment are linked together with
adamantine chains!
Sin as naturally draws
punishment to it—as the magnet draws iron!

Sin is a coal which not only blackens—but burns!

Sin draws hell at its heels. "The wicked shall
be turned into hell." Psalm 9:7

Sin lays men low in the grave, and in
hell too—without repentance.

Sin first tempts—and then damns!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Another stick to heat hell

(Thomas Watson, "
The Mischief of Sin")

See what vast treasures of wrath are laid up for unrepentant
sinners. "Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant
heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day
of God's wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed."
    Romans 2:5

As guilt increases—so does wrath. Every sin committed, is
another stick to heat hell
—and make it burn the hotter!

It is a thing to be lamented—that men should live in the
world, only to increase their torments in hell. While they
commit new sins, they are burdening themselves with
more iron chains, which will be so heavy at last, that
they will not be able to bear them—or avoid them.

Oh, sinner! Know that for every sin, you are only adding
to your torment! Every dish Satan serves you—will
only increase your fatal reckoning, and make your
condemnation heavier.

Every sin is a drop of oil upon hell's eternal furnace!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

When you were marching to hell!

(Thomas Watson, "
The Mischief of Sin")

"Even though I was once a blasphemer and a
 persecutor and a violent man, I was shown
." 1 Timothy 1:13

Literally, "I was bemercied." Christians, why might not
you have been in the number of those who persist in
sinning? Because God has
bemiracled you with mercy!

See what cause you have to admire the stupendous
goodness of God, who has wrought a change in you
—and checked you in your full career of sin!

Christians, you who are vessels of election—were by
nature as wicked as others—but God had compassion
on you and plucked you as brands out of the fire! He
stopped you in your course of sinning—when you
were marching to hell!
He turned you back to
Him by sincere repentance. Oh, here is the banner
of love displayed over you!

Behold sovereign grace! Let your hearts melt in love
to God. Admire His royal bounty. Set the crown of all
your praises, upon the head of free grace! "By the
grace of God I am what I am!"
1 Corinthians 15:10

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A private back door to hell

(Thomas Watson, "
The Mischief of Sin")

"Can anyone hide in secret places so that I
 cannot see him? Do not I fill heaven and
declares the Lord." Jeremiah 23:24

Let me not only speak to scandalous sinners,
who seem to have 'damnation' written upon
their foreheads—but to secret sinners. 

"Cursed is he who makes an idol and puts it
in a secret place." Deuteronomy 27:15. Some
of the Jews would not be seen openly bowing
to an idol—but they would put it in their closet
or some other secret place and there worship it.

There are many in like manner who will not
sin on the balcony, or be like Absalom and
sin in the sight of all Israel, 2 Samuel 16:22.
But they shut up their windows, and commit
their sin in secret. They have a private back
door to hell
—which nobody knows of!

Perhaps they live in secret adultery, or secret
envy and malice, or secret neglect of duty. God
knows that they are living in secret sins. What
an aggravation of sin is this! These desperate,
heaven-daring sinners, though they see the
flaming sword of God's justice before them,
resolvedly venture on in sin!

"I have been watching!" declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 7:11

"I have seen your detestable acts! Woe to you!
 How long will you be unclean?" Jeremiah 13:27

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

It will soften a stone!

(Thomas Watson, "
The Mischief of Sin")

"The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin!"
    1 John 1:7

Christ's blood is a SOFTENING blood.

There is nothing so hard, that it cannot be softened
by this blood. It will soften a stone! Water will
soften the earth—but it will not soften a stone; but
Christ's blood mollifies a stone. It softens a heart of
. It turns a flint into a spring. The heart, which
before was like a piece hewn out of a rock, being
steeped in Christ's blood—becomes soft, and the
waters of repentance flow from it.

"They will look on Me whom they have pierced and
 mourn for Him as for an only son. They will grieve
 bitterly for Him as for a firstborn son who has died."
    Zechariah 12:10

How was the jailer's heart dissolved and made tender
when the blood of sprinkling was upon it! "Sirs, what
must I do to be saved?" Acts 16:30. His heart was
now like melting wax. God might now set whatever
seal and impression He desired, upon it.

"I will give you a new heart with new and right desires,
 and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your
 stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart."
     Ezekiel 36:26

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The Heavenly Gardener

(James Meikle, "Converse with the Unseen World")

The wisdom of the gardener is seen in the cultivation of
his plants; some he sets in the sun, others in the shade;
some in a rich, fertile soil, others in a dry and barren
ground; and thus the gardener's skill is conspicuous,
for each thrives best in its own soil. Then, since Infinite
Wisdom has allotted a great part of my life to sorrow and
solitude (not that I complain)—I realize that I could not
grow well in another soil.

Behind the high wall of adversity, and in the shade of
affliction, the saints will bring forth fruits of humility,
self-denial, resignation and patience. These graces
cannot grow so well in the sun-beams of prosperity.

Now, if another soil would be more agreeable to my
spiritual growth—the Heavenly Gardener would
soon transplant me there.

It does not matter, though I grow in the shade—if the
Sun of righteousness shines on my soul, and makes
every grace to flourish. He knows better what lot is
best for me, than I do myself. In choosing it for me,
I should rather admire His wisdom, than complain of
His conduct; the more so, when I consider that on a
barren soil, and in a lonely shade—He can cultivate
plants that shall bask in the eternal beams of glory!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

One second of glory!

(Arthur Pink, "Comfort for Christians")

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth
 comparing with the glory which will be revealed in us."
     Romans 8:18

Paul here weighed the "sufferings" of this present time,
over against the "glory" which shall be revealed in us;
and as he did so, he declared that the one is "not worth
comparing" with the other. The one is transient—the other
eternal. As, then, there is no proportion between the finite
and the infinite—so there is no comparison between the
sufferings of earth, and the glory of heaven.

One second of glory will outweigh a lifetime of suffering!
What were the years of toil, of sickness, of battling with
poverty, of sorrow in any or every form—when compared
with the glory of Immanuel's land! One draught of the river
of pleasure at God's right hand; one breath of Paradise;
one hour amid the blood-washed around the throne—shall
more than compensate for all the tears and groans of earth!

May the Holy Spirit enable us to lay hold of this with
appropriating faith, and live in the present possession
and enjoyment of it—to the praise of the glory of
Divine grace!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A never-fading beauty!

(Thomas Watson, "The Loveliness of Christ")

Here is comfort to those who are by faith, married
to Christ. This is their glorious privilege—Christ's
beauty and loveliness shall be put upon them!
is the apex and crown of honor—the saints shall not
only behold Christ's glory—but be transformed into
it! "We shall be like Him!" 1 John 3:2. That is, we
shall be irradiated and enameled with His glory!

Moses married a black woman—but he could not
make her complexion white. But whoever Christ
marries—He alters their complexion! He makes
them altogether lovely!

Other beauty causes pride—but no such worm   
breeds in heaven. The saints in glory shall admire
their own beauty—but not become proud of it.

Other beauty is soon lost. The eye weeps to see its
furrowed brows, and the cheeks blush at their own
paleness; but this is a never-fading beauty! Age
cannot wither it; it retains its luster to all eternity!

Think of this, O you saints, who mourn now for
your sins and bewail your spiritual deformities!
Remember, by virtue of your union with Christ,
you shall be glorious creatures! Then shall you
be brought unto the King in glorious raiment—
and you shall hear Christ pronounce that blessed
word, "You are all beautiful, My love—there is no
spot in you!"
Song of Solomon 4:7

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The daughter helps to destroy the mother

(Thomas Watson)

"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

Afflictions work for good to the godly, as they are
destructive to sin. Sin is the 'mother', affliction is
the 'daughter'; the daughter helps to destroy
the mother

Sin is like the tree which breeds the worm; and
affliction is like the worm which eats the tree.

There is much corruption in the best heart; affliction
does by degrees work it out, as the fire works out the
dross from the gold, "The Lord did this to purge away
his sin." (Isaiah 37:9)

What if we have more of the rough file—if we have
less rust! Afflictions carry away nothing but the dross
of sin. Afflictions are the medicines which God uses
to cure our spiritual diseases. Afflictions cure . . .
  the swelling of pride,
  the fever of lust,
  the cancer of covetousness.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Nine evils which death will put an end to

(Thomas Watson, "
The Saint's Desire to be with Christ")

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

It is the desire of a true saint to be gone from this present world, "I desire to depart." What a wicked man fears—that a godly man hopes for! The worldling desires to live in this present world forever; he knows no other heaven but earth—and it is death to him to be turned out of his heaven. A wicked man does not go out of this world—but is dragged out!

But a soul enlivened and ennobled with a principle of grace, looks upon the world as a wilderness wherein are fiery serpents, and he desires to get out of this wilderness!

The bird desires to get out of the cage, though it is made of gold.
Just so, the saints of God have looked upon themselves as imprisoned in the body, and have longed for a jail-delivery. "Oh, that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!" (Psalm 55:6).

It is no wonder that a true saint is so earnest to be gone from this present world—if we consider how beneficial death is to a child of God. Death puts an end to all his evils! In particular, there are nine evils which death will put an end to:

1. Death will put an end to a believer's SINS.

2. Death will put an end to a believer's TEMPTATIONS.

3. Death will put an end to a believer's FEARS.

4. Death will dry up a believer's TEARS.

5. Death will put an end to a believer's TROUBLES.

6. Death puts an end to a believer's CARES.

7. Death will put an end to all our NATURAL imperfections. 

8. Death will put an end to the imperfections of GRACE.

9. Death will put an end to a weary PILGRIMAGE.

Though death is a bitter cup, there is sugar at the bottom. Death is the believer's best friend; for it brings him to Christ, which is far better. "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!"

The best Physician

(Thomas Watson, "The Soul's Malady and Cure")

Christ is the best Physician.

Christ  is the most skillful Physician. There is no disease too hard for Him. Psalm 103:3: "Who heals all your diseases." He can cure the gangrene of sin—even when it comes to the heart. He can melt a heart of stone, and wash away black sins in the crimson of His blood! There are no desperate cases with Christ. He has those salves, oils, and balsams which can cure the worst diseases.

Christ is the cheapest Physician. Sickness is not only a consumption to the body—but the purse! (Luke 8:43). Physicians charge fees—but Jesus Christ gives us our medicine freely. He takes no fee. Isaiah 55:1: "Come without money and without price." He desires us to bring nothing to Him but broken hearts; and when He has cured us, He desires us to bestow nothing upon Him but our love—and one would think that was very reasonable.

Christ heals with more ease than any other. Other physicians apply pills, potions, or remedies. Christ cures with more ease. Christ made the devil go out with a word spoken (Mark 9:25). So when the soul is spiritually possessed, Christ can heal with a word, nay, He can cure with a look. When Peter had fallen into a relapse, Christ looked on Peter—and he wept. Christ's look melted Peter into repentance; it was a healing look.

Other physicians can only cure those who are sick—but Christ cures those who are dead. Ephesians 2:1: "You has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."

Christ cures not only our diseases—but our deformities. The physician can make the sick man well; but if he is deformed, he cannot make him lovely. Christ gives not only health—but beauty. Sin has made us ugly and misshapen. Christ's medicines do not only take away our sickness—but our spots. He not only makes us whole—but lovely. Christ not only heals—but adorns.

Last, Christ is the most bountiful Physician. Other patients enrich their physicians—but here the Physician enriches the patient! Christ advances all His patients. He not only cures them—but crowns them! (Revelation 2:10). Christ not only raises from the sick-bed—but to the throne! He gives the sick man not only health—but heaven!

Oh, the love of this heavenly Physician! Christ Himself drank that bitter cup which we should have drunk, and by His taking the bitter potion—we are healed and saved. Thus Christ has shown more love than any physician ever did to the patient.