Grace Gems for February 2008

God bottles them!

(Thomas Watson, "A Plea for the Godly")

Holy tears are the precious ointment which distills
from the trees of righteousness. Mary Magdalene
stood at Christ's feet weeping. Her tears dropped
as diamonds from her eyes!

The tears of the wicked are good for nothing. They
are either carnal—they weep for worldly losses; or
spurious—they are more troubled for hell, than sin!
There is water in their eyes—because there is fire in
their bones.

But the tears of a true penitent are precious. They drop
from the eyes of faith and hope. They are purifying tears.
The holy mourner weeps out sin. They are so precious—
that God bottles 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. In the
Hebrew it is "my tear"to show that God takes notice
of every tear!

Though holy tears are silent—yet they have a voice. "The
Lord has heard the voice of my weeping!" Psalm 6:8

Though our tears fall to the earth—yet they reach heaven!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A bull may be adorned with ribbons

(Thomas Watson, "A Plea for the Godly")

"He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we
 had done, but according to His mercy." Titus 3:5

A person may be adorned with many moral virtues,
such as prudence, justice, and temperance; and may
keep free from breaking penal statutes; and may not
dash upon the rock of visible scandal. But under the
fair leaves of morality
—the worm of unbelief may
be hidden!

A bull may be adorned with ribbons, and wear
a garland on his head—and yet go to the slaughter!
Just so, many a person who had all his life been
decked with morality
—is now in hell-fire!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Walking Bibles

(Thomas Watson)

"Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law
 and obey it with all my heart." Psalm 119:34

Determine to PRACTICE whatever you read. Christians
should be walking Bibles, living the truths written. The
Word is not only a guide to knowledge, but a guide to
obedience. A holy reading of God’s Word, results in our
fleeing from sins, and practicing the duties commanded.

"I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I
 might obey Your word." Psalm 119:101

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Three daughters which are bred by prosperity

(Thomas Watson, "The Spiritual Watch")

"Keep your heart with all diligence." Proverbs 4:23

Keep your heart in time of prosperity. Oftentimes the more
full a man is of the world—the further his heart is from God.
It is hard to abound in prosperity—and not abound in sin. A
full cup is hard to carry, without spilling. The trees are never
more in danger of the wind, than when they full blossom.

Pride, idleness, and luxury—are the three daughters which
are bred by prosperity
. Samson fell asleep in Delilah's lap;
millions have slept their way to hell—in the lap of prosperity.
Agur prayed, "Give me not riches" (Proverbs 30:8). He knew
his heart would run wild into sin. The world's golden apple,

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Some means to fruitfulness

(Thomas Watson, "The Trees of Righteousness
Blossoming and Bringing Forth Fruit

"This is to My Father's glory, that you bear much fruit,
 showing yourselves to be My disciples." John 15:8

I shall here lay down some means to fruitfulness.

If you would be fruitful, remove those things which
will hinder fruitfulness, such as cherishing any secret
lust in the heart. Sin indulged—is like vermin to the
tree, which destroys the fruit. Grace cannot thrive in
a sinful heart. Avoid the love of riches. The cares of
the world choked the seed, in Matthew 13. The love
of sin poisons the fruit; the love of riches chokes it.

Another means to fruitfulness is weeping for sin.
Moisture helps growth in trees; holy tears water
the trees of God and make them more fruitful.
Mary Magdalene, a weeping plant—how fruitful
was she in love to Christ! Moist grounds are most
fertile; the soul that is moistened and steeped in
tears—is most fruitful. Never did David's graces
flourish more, than when he watered his couch
with tears.

Another means to fruitfulness is humility. The low
grounds are most fruitful. "The valleys are covered
with grain." (Psalm 65:13). The humble heart is the
fruitful heart. The largest and sweetest fruits of the
Spirit, grow in a humble Christian. 1 Peter 5:5: "God
gives grace to the humble." Paul called himself the
least of saints—yet he was the chief of the apostles.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The happiest moment of his life!

(Octavius Winslow, "No Separation from Christ Jesus")

Death cannot separate us from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus—and all the blessings
which that love bestows. Death separate us? No!
Death unites us the more closely to those blessings,
by bringing us into their more full and permanent

Death imparts a realization and a permanence to all
the glorious and holy longings of the Christian. The
happiest moment of his life
is his last! Then it is
that he feels how precious the privilege, and how
great the eminence—of being a believer in Jesus.

And the day which darkens his eye to all earthly scenes
—opens it upon the untold, and unimaginable, and
increasing glories of eternity! It is the birth
day of his immortality!

Jesus, the Conqueror of death, will approach and
place His almighty arms beneath you, and lay your
head upon His loving bosom. Thus encircled and
pillowed, you "shall not see death," but passing
through its gloomy portal, shall only realize that
you had actually died, from the consciousness of
the joy and glory into which death had ushered

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What her tender infant may grow up to be

(J. C. Ryle)

"Every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood."
    Genesis 8:21

"Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time
 my mother conceived me." Psalm 51:5

Remember that children are born with a decided bias
toward evil, and therefore if you let them choose for
themselves, they are certain to choose wrong.

The mother cannot tell what her tender infant may
grow up to be
—tall or short, weak or strong, wise or
foolish—all is uncertain. But one thing the mother can
say with certainty—he will have a corrupt and sinful
heart! It is natural for us to do wrong. Our hearts are
like the earth on which we tread—let it alone, and it
is sure to bear weeds.

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

What would you ask for?

(Joseph Alleine, "Alarm to the Unconverted" 1671)

That night God appeared to Solomon in a dream and
said—What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!"
    2 Chronicles 1:7

If God would give you your choice, as He did to Solomon,
what would you ask for? Go into the gardens of pleasure,
and gather all the fragrant flowers there—would these satisfy
you? Go to the treasures of mammon; suppose you may carry
away as much as you desire. Go to the towers, to the trophies
of honor
—and become a man of renown. Would any of these,
would all of these satisfy you, and make you to count yourself
happy? If so, then certainly you are carnal and unconverted.

Converting grace turns the heart from its idols—to the living
Before conversion, the man minded his farm, friends,
pleasures more than Christ. He found more sweetness in his
merry company, worldly games, earthly delights—than in Christ.
Now he says, 'But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss
for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss
compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus
my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them
rubbish, that I may gain Christ!' Philippians 3:7-8

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


(John Newton)

"I know, O Lord, that in faithfulness You
 have afflicted me." Psalm 119:75

Trials are medicines which our great and
wise Physician prescribes because we need
them. He proportions the frequency and
weight of them to what our case requires.
Let us trust in His skill, and thank Him for
His prescription.

"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I
 could learn Your statutes." Psalm 119:71

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Sovereign, supreme disposal

J. C. Philpot, "Daily Portions")

"And God placed all things under His feet and
 appointed Him to be head over everything,"
    Ephesians 1:22

How vast, how numerous, how complicated are
the various events and circumstances which attend
the Christian here below, as he travels onward to
his heavenly home!

But if all things are put under Jesus' feet, there
cannot be a single circumstance over which He
has not supreme control. Everything in providence
and everything in grace are alike subject to His
disposal. There is not . . .
  a trial,
  a temptation,
  an affliction of body or soul,
  a loss,
  a cross,
  a painful bereavement,
  a vexation,
  a grief,
  a disappointment,
  a case, state or condition,
which is not put under Jesus' feet.

He has sovereign, supreme disposal over
all events and circumstances. As possessed of
infinite knowledge He sees them; as possessed
of infinite wisdom He can manage them; and
as possessed of infinite power He can dispose
and direct them for our good and His own glory.

How much trouble and anxiety would we save
ourselves, could we firmly believe, realize, and
act on this!

If we could see by the eye of faith that . . .
  every foe and every fear,
  every difficulty and perplexity,
  every trying or painful circumstance,
  every looked for or unlooked for event,
  every source of care, whether at present or
in prospect—are all at His sovereign disposal,
what a load of anxiety and care would be
often taken off our shoulders!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God's pruning knife

(Thomas Watson, "The Spiritual Vine")

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
 Every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so
 that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:1-2

God's love to the elect branches, appears in His
pruning them. He prunes them by affliction. We
are apt to think that when God afflicts us, that He
does not love us. Affliction is God's pruning knife.
He prunes us to make us bring forth the peaceable
fruit of righteousness, Hebrews 12:11. God would
rather have the branches bleed—than be barren.
All this is done in love. It is God's love, that He will
rather lop and prune the branches—than let them
grow wild.

God's love to the elect branches, also appears in His
transplanting them to heaven. The branches of Christ
will thrive best when they are transplanted; because
then they will grow in a better soil.

Christ desires to have all His elect branches, which are
scattered up and down in the world—to be with Him.
"Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with
Me where I am." John 17:24. The elect will never be
happy—until they are transplanted to the heavenly
garden. In heaven, there will be no bramble to tear
the vine branches; none of the red dragon's brood.
Then all the branches will be sweetly united in love.
Then they shall grow in the sunshine of God's
countenance. In this life, the elect branches partake of
God's grace; hereafter, they shall partake of His glory!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The road to Heaven

(Horatius Bonar, "The Surety's Cross")

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone would
 come after Me, he must deny himself and take up
 his cross and follow Me
." Matthew 16:24

"Follow Me," Jesus says; and we cannot but yield to
His almighty voice. He draws us out of the world—and
we follow Him. He leads us in at the strait gate—and
we follow Him. He guides us along the narrow way
and we follow Him—our cross upon our shoulder and
the crown before our eye!

Smoothness, and brightness, and greenness—are not
the features of the narrow way; but rather thorns and
briars, darkness and dust, and ruggedness, all along;
fightings without, and fears within.

The road to Heaven is not so pleasant, and comfortable,
and easy, and flowery—as many dream. It is not a bright,
sunny, flowery path. It is not paved with triumph—though
it is to end in victory. The termination is glory, honor, and
immortality; but on the way—there is the thorn in the flesh,
the sackcloth, and the cross. Recompense yonder—but labor
here! Rest yonder—but weariness here! Joy and security
yonder—but here endurance and watchfulness, the race,
the battle, the burden, and ofttimes the heavy heart.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Behold, all was vanity!

(Watson, "The Substantial Excellency of Spiritual Things")

"Why do you spend money on what is not food, and your
 wages on what does not satisfy?"
Isaiah 55:2

See the difference between the things of God—and the
things of the world. The things of God are substance;
the things of the world are but a shadow. They are like
fruit-trees drawn in a landscape, which more delight
the eye, than the taste.

All earthly comforts are only imaginary; they are not
substance. Riches look like riches—but they are not
true riches; our Savior calls them deceitful riches. They
promise to ease us of our cares—when they only multiply
them. They promise to fulfill our desires—when they
only increase them.

Beauty looks like beauty—but it rather deludes than
delights. Proverbs 31:30, "Beauty is vain." The finest
features of the body, and the most lovely face—are
nothing other than well-colored dirt!

There is nothing in the world which has reality, but
sorrows and troubles. Solomon had made the most
critical inspection into the world, of any man; for
variety of delights, he exceeded all the kings who
went before him. Yet, in all this, he could find no
substance, "Behold, all was vanity!"
Eccles. 2:11

Earthly things are golden dreams, which leave the
soul empty when it awakens and comes to itself.
All the sweet waters of pleasure cannot quench the
soul's insatiable thirst; nor can the most ravishing
music fill the clamors of conscience. Satan casts a
mist before men's eyes and deceives them—making
them set real affections upon false delights. The
Scripture deciphers the world, to be a non-entity,
"Will you set your eye on that which is not?"
Proverbs 23:5

But he who has spiritual things, inherits substance.
Christ, and grace, and heaven, are substance.

True wisdom—is to know God.

True honor—is to be born of God.

True beauty—is to have the image of God.

True riches—is to be rich in faith.

True victory—is to overcome the world.

True delight—is to have joy in the Holy Spirit.

True happiness—is to see God.

Here is real substance—which will fill the
soul eternally with wonder and delight!

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

We have posted another choice sermon by Watson,
"The Substantial Excellency of Spiritual Things"

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

If we fall as Peter fell

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

"And Peter left the courtyard, crying bitterly."
    Luke 22:62

See how bitter sin is to believers, when they
have fallen into it and discovered their fall.

Peter found out by experience the truth of
Jeremiah's words, "It is an evil and a bitter
thing that you have forsaken the Lord."

He felt keenly the truth of Solomon's saying,
"The backslider in heart shall be filled with
his own ways."

No doubt he could have said with Job, "I
abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

Sorrow like this, let us always remember, is
an inseparable companion of true repentance.

The falls of a 'graceless professor' are falls from
which there is no rising again. But the fall of a
'true believer' always ends in . . .
  deep contrition,
  and amendment of life.

Let us take heed, before we leave this passage,
that we always make a right use of Peter's fall.
Let us never make it an excuse for sin. Let us
learn from his sad experience—to watch and
pray, lest we fall into temptation. If we do fall,
let us believe that there is hope for us as there
was for him.

But above all, let us remember, that if we fall
as Peter fell
, we must repent as Peter repented;
or else we shall never be saved.

"And Peter left the courtyard, crying bitterly."

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A race from earth to heaven!

(Thomas Watson, "The Heavenly Race")

"Run in such a way as to get the prize!"
    1 Corinthians 9:24

If you would have the prize—run the race!

The Christian race is difficult. It is a race from
earth to heaven!
Is it easy for a man to deny
himself, to crucify the flesh, to behead his
beloved sin?

If we would have a sight of God in glory—we
must run this race. We cannot have the world
without labor—and would we have heaven
without labor?

In the heavenly race, ALL must run. Those who
are unfit to run in other races, like the lame and
blind—must run this race. None are excused from
this race. All have run from God by sin—and all
must run to Him by repentance! Either run—or
be damned! Either flee to heaven—or fall to hell!

"Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that
 so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance
 the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes
 on Jesus." Hebrews 12:1-2

If we do not throw off this weight of sin by sincere
repentance—it will sink us into hell. A man cannot
run a race with a heavy burden upon his back.
An immoral person cannot run the race of holiness;
a proud man cannot run the race of humility;
a self-willed man cannot run the race of obedience.

The world is a golden weight which has hindered
many and made them lose their race. "Demas has
deserted me—because he loved this present world!"
2 Timothy 4:10. So far as the world is a weight
throw it off! I do not say lay aside the use of the
world—but the love of the world, 1 John 2:15. When
the golden dust of the world
is blown in men's eyes
—it so blinds them, that they cannot see their race!

Oh, Christian, unburden your soul of sin! Throw off
this weight—if you intend to lay hold on the crown!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Grace alters a man's walk

(Thomas Watson, "A New Creature")

"Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new
; old things are passed away, behold
 all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

The new creature has a new life.

Grace alters a man's walk.

Before he walked proudly—now he walks humbly.

Before he walked loosely—now he walks holily.

Before a man sailed hell-ward and, all of a sudden, the
Spirit of God comes upon him and blows him heavenward.

He makes the Word his rule, and Christ's life his pattern.

"Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."
 1 John 2:6

"So that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing
 to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in
 the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:10

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A new eye

(Thomas Watson, "A New Creature")

"Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;
 old things are passed away, behold all things are become
 new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

The new creature is new all over. Grace, though it is
but in part—yet it is in every part. Not a new ear or
a new tongue—but a new man; there are . . .
  new dispositions,
  new principles,
  new aims,
  "all things are become new!"

In the new creature, there is a new UNDERSTANDING.
The first thing an artist draws in a portrait, is the eye.
When God newly draws us and makes us new creatures,
the first thing He draws in our souls is a new eye. The
new creature is enlightened to see that which he
never saw before!

He knows Christ after another manner. An unconverted
man, by the light of common grace, may believe Christ
to be the Son of God. But the new creature knows Christ
after another manner—so as . . .
  to esteem Him above all,
  to adore Him,
  to touch Him by faith,
  to fetch a healing virtue from Him!

The new creature knows himself better than he did.
When the sun shines into a room—it reveals all the dust
and cobwebs in it. Just so, when the light of the Spirit
shines into the heart—this reveals that corruption which
before lay hidden; it shows a man his own vileness and
nothingness! "Behold, I am vile!" Job 40:4

A wicked man, blinded with self-love, admires himself.
He is like Narcissus who, seeing his own reflection in
the water—fell in love with it.

Saving knowledge works self-abasement. Has this
day-star of knowledge shined on your mind?

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The lot of free grace!

(Thomas Watson, "A New Creature")

"Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;
 old things are passed away, behold all things are become
 new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

The new creature is a work of free grace. There is nothing
in us, to cause God to make us anew. By nature we are full
of pollution and enmity—yet now God forms the new creature.
Behold the banner of love displayed! The new creature may
say, "By the grace of God I am what I am!" In the creation,
we may see the strength of God's arm; in the new creature,
we may see the working of God's heart! That God should
consecrate any heart, and anoint it with grace—is an act of
pure love! That He should pluck one out of the state of
nature, and not another—must be resolved into sovereign
grace! This will increase the saint's triumphs in heaven,
that the lot of free grace should fall upon them—and
not on others.

The new creature is a work of rare excellency. A natural
man is a lump of dirt and sin mixed together. God loathes
him! But upon the new creature is a spiritual glory—as if a
piece of clay, was turned into a sparkling diamond!

Those are not new creatures, who continue in their sins and
are resolved so to do. These are in the gall of bitterness, and
are the most miserable creatures that ever God made—except
for the devils. These stand in the place where all God's arrows
fly! These are the center where all God's curses meet!

An unregenerate person is like one in debt—who is in fear
of being arrested by death, and carried prisoner to hell!
Can that traitor be happy—who is fed by his prince in
prison—only to be kept alive for his execution? God feeds
the wicked like prisoners. They are reserved for the day
of wrath!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

But when Jehoiada died

(Thomas Watson, "A New Creature")

"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom
 of God unless he is born again." John 3:3

Religious education is not the new birth. Education
may greatly cultivate and refine nature. King Joash
was good as long as his uncle Jehoiada lived—but
when Jehoiada died
, all Joash's religion was buried
in his uncle's grave!
"Joash did what was right in the
eyes of the Lord, all the years Jehoiada the priest
instructed him." 2 Kings 12:2

Have we not seen many who have been trained up
religiously under their parents, and were very hopeful.
Yet these fair blossoms of hope have been blown off,
and they have lived to be a shame to their parents!

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

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Old Adam put in a better dress

(Thomas Watson)

"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom
 of God unless he is born again." John 3:3

Natural honesty, moral virtue, prudence, justice, liberality,
temperance—these are not the new birth. These make a
glorious show in the eye of the world—but differ as much
from the new birth, as a stick differs from a star! Morality
indeed is commendable, and it would be well if there were
more of it. Yet morality is but nature at its best; it does not
amount to saving grace. There is nothing of Christ in morality.
That fruit is sour—which does not grow on the root of Christ!

Heat water to the highest degree—and you still cannot
make wine out of it; it is water still. Just so, let morality
be raised to the highest, it is nature still; it is but old
Adam put in a better dress

Moral virtue may exist with the hatred of godliness.
A moral man hates holiness—as much as he does vice!

"You must be born again." John 3:7  

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Sacred nourishment

(Thomas Watson, "Comfort for the Church")

What profit is it, to have the Bible in our heads, but
not in our hearts? It is better to practice one truth,
than to know all truths.

The Lord gives us His precepts, as a physician gives
the patient his prescriptions—to take and apply. This
is the end are all God's institutes—that we may, by
practice, apply them for the purging out of sin and
bringing the soul into a more holy temper.

God gives us His Word as the mother gives the child
the breast—not only to look upon, but to draw from.
Many have gone to hell with the breast in their mouths,
because they have not drawn it, and turned the milk of
the Word
into sacred nourishment.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The net by which he drags millions to hell!

(Thomas Watson, "The Good Practitioner")

Unbelief makes sermons to be like showers of rain,
falling upon a rock! They neither mollify nor fructify,
because men don't really believe them.

If men really believed that sin was so bitter, and
that wrath and hell followed it—would they take
this serpent into their bosom?

If men really believed . . .
  that there was a beauty in holiness,
  that godliness was great gain,
  that there was joy in the way and heaven at the end
—would not they turn their feet into Christ's holy way?

Men have some slight transient thoughts of these
things—but their minds are not fully convinced, nor
their conscience fully captivated into believing them.

Unbelief is Satan's masterpiecethe net by which
he drags millions to hell!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

They are all head—but no feet!

(Thomas Watson, "The Good Practitioner")

A sermon is never rightly heard—until it is practiced.
"If you know these things, happy are you if you do
them." John 13:17

Christ does not put happiness upon knowing—but upon
. It is not knowledge of the points of religion—but
practice, which renders a man truly happy and blessed.

Luke 6:46, "Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and don't
do the things I say?" It is not the mere knowledge and
acceptance of the most glorious Gospel truths—which will
bring a man to heaven. If a man could fluently discourse
on all Scriptural truths, if his head were a treasury of
, an ocean of learning—yet this could not entitle
him to happiness. His knowledge might make him admired
by men—but not blessed by God. If a man knew and
believed all the doctrines of Scripture—this would not
crown him with happiness.

Knowledge is a fair garland to look upon—but it is like
Rachael. Though she was beautiful—yet being barren
she said, "Give me children or I die!" Just so, if knowledge
does not bring forth the child of obedience—it will die and
come to nothing.

I would by no means disparage knowledge. Knowledge
is the pilot to guide us in our obedience. Yet, knowledge
must usher in obedience. Knowledge may put us into the
way of happiness, but it is only practice which brings us
there! Knowledge alone, cannot make a man eternally
happy and blessed.

Knowledge alone, does not make a man better; therefore,
it cannot make him happy and blessed. Bare knowledge
has no influence; it does not leave a spiritual tincture of
behind. Knowledge informs—not transforms.
Knowledge, of itself, has no power upon the heart to
make it more holy. Bare knowledge is like weak medicine,
which does not work. It does not warm the affections nor
purge the conscience; it does not fetch virtue from Christ
to dry up the bloody issue of sin.

A man may receive the light of the truth—yet not love the
truth, "They perish because they refused to love the truth
and so be saved." 2 Thessalonians 2:10. The Apostle calls
it "a form of knowledge," Romans 2:20. Knowledge alone,
is but a dead form, having nothing to animate it. He who
has knowledge alone—is a spiritual stillborn! He looks like
a Christian—but has neither appetite nor motion.

Knowledge alone, makes men monsters in religion! They
are all head—but no feet!
They do not walk in Christ,
Colossians 2:6. A man may have Scriptural knowledge—
and still be profane! He may have a clear head—and a
foul heart! The understanding may be illumined—when
the foot treads in unholy paths. If knowledge is divorced
from practice, and does not make a man better—then it
cannot make a man eternally happy and blessed.

If bare knowledge will save, then all who have knowledge
shall be saved. But that is not true—for then Judas would
be saved, for he had knowledge enough. Then the devil
would be saved! A man may have right knowledge, and
be no better than a devil! Hell is full of learned heads!

Knowledge alone, makes a man's case worse! Knowledge
takes away all excuse. Knowledge adds to a man's torment.
"Woe to you! I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land
of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!" It will be
better with heathen—than with professing Christians living
in a contradiction to their knowledge. Luke 12:47, "The
servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his
duty, he refused to do it!"

Knowledge without practice, serves only as a torch to light
men to hell—the brighter the light, the hotter the fire!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

No better than a devil

(Thomas Watson, "The Perfume of Love")

"And though I understand all mysteries and all
 knowledge, but have not love, I am nothing."
    1 Corinthians 13:2

If a man's head were a library of all learning,
if he could know all that is knowable—but have
not love, all is nothing. Knowledge without love,
makes a man no better than a devil.

Let a man come to church, pray, and read
Scripture; yet if his heart burns in malice—it
is but going to hell in more saint-like manner.

"Oh, how precious a jewel," said Augustine, "is
love! How choice a grace that, if this is lacking, all
other things, though ever so glorious, are in vain!"

An unloving person is an unregenerate person. "At
one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived
and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating
one another."
Titus 3:3. This is as if Paul had said,
"Before grace came—we were filled and ready to
burst with this poison of malice!"

A malicious person is of no kin to God, for God is love.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A gracious taste

(Arthur Pink, "The Attributes of God")

"Do not be foolish, but understand what the
 Lord's will is."  Ephesians 5:17

How may the Lord's guidance be expected?

In general, God directs His people by affording them,
in answer to prayer, the light of His Holy Spirit, which
enables them to understand and love the Scriptures.
The Word of God furnishes us with just principles, right
apprehensions, to govern our judgments and affections,
thereby influencing and regulating our conduct. Those
who study the Scriptures in humble dependence upon
divine teaching, are convinced of their own weakness.
They are taught to make a true estimate of everything
around them and are gradually formed into a spirit of
submission to the will of God. They discover the nature
and duties of their situations and relations in life, and
the snares and temptations to which they are exposed.
The Word of God dwelling in them is . . .
  a preservative from error,
  a light to their feet, and
  a spring of strength and consolation.

By treasuring up in his mind the doctrines, precepts,
promises, exhortations, and warnings of Scripture; and
by diligently comparing himself with the rule by which
he is to walk—the Christian grows into a habitual frame
of spiritual wisdom. He acquires  a gracious taste which
enables him to judge of right and wrong with a degree of
readiness and certainty—as a musical ear judges sounds;
so that he is rarely mistaken, because he is influenced by
the love of Christ which rules in his heart, and a regard
for the glory of God. Moreover, God has promised to show
Himself strong on behalf of the one whose heart is perfect
toward Him. He does this by regulating His providences,
and causing all things to work together for his good.

Our daily walk is to be ordered by God's Word. In
proportion as it is so, we will be kept in His will and
preserved from folly and sin.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

My grace is sufficient for you

J. C. Philpot, "Strength Made Perfect in Weakness")

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is
made perfect in your weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:9

Not your strength,
not your wisdom,
not your prayers,
not your experience;
but "My grace"—My free, My matchless grace,
independent of all works and efforts, independent of
everything in the creature—flowing wholly and solely,
fully and freely, out of the bosom of Jesus to . . .
  the needy,
  the guilty,
  the destitute,
  the undone.

You who are tried in worldly circumstances,
who have to endure the hard lot of poverty
—"My grace is sufficient for you."

You who are tempted, day by day, to say
or do that which conscience testifies against
—"My grace is sufficient for you."

You who are harassed with family troubles
and afflictions, and are often drawn aside into
peevishness and fretfulness—"My grace is
sufficient for you."

Our weakness, helplessness, and inability
are the very things which draw forth the power,
the strength, and the grace of Jesus!

Believer, your case is never beyond the reach
of the words—"My grace is sufficient for you!"

The free, the matchless, sovereign grace of God,
is sufficient for all His people—in whatever state,
or stage, or trouble, or difficulty they may be in!

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is
made perfect in your weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

That spiritual pipe

(Thomas Watson, "Christ All in All")

"Christ is all in all." Colossians 3:11

All good things are transmitted and conveyed
to us, through Christ. As our rich commodities,
such as jewels and spices, come to us by the
sea, so all heavenly blessings sail to us through
the red sea of Christ's blood!

Christ is that spiritual pipe through which the
golden oil of mercy empties itself into the soul!

Christ is all in all. He is a treasury and storehouse
of all spiritual riches! You may go with the bee,
from flower to flower—and suck a little sweetness
here and there—but you will never have enough
until you come to Christ—for He is all in all.
There is enough in Christ . . .
  to scatter all our fears,
  to remove all our burdens,
  to supply all our needs.

"The unsearchable riches of Christ." Ephesians 3:8

There can be no defect, in that which is infinite.

Christ is the most supreme good. Put what you will
in the balance with Christ—He infinitely outweighs it.

Christ is the most sufficient good. He who has Christ
needs no more. He who has the ocean—needs not
the cistern.

Christ is the most suitable good. In Him dwells
all fullness, Colossians 1:19. Christ is whatever
the soul can desire
. Christ is . . .
  beauty to adorn,
  gold to enrich,
  balm to heal,
  bread to strengthen,
  wine to comfort,
  salvation to crown!

Christ sweetens all our comforts. He who has
Christ may say, "This mercy is given to me by
the hand of my Savior! This is a love-token
from Him—a pledge of glory!"

Christ sanctifies all our crosses. They shall be
medicinal to the soul; they shall work sin out—
and work grace in. Christ sees to it that His
people lose nothing in the furnace of affliction
—but their drossy impurities.

Christ is the most rare blessing. Christ is a jewel
that few are enriched with. This should both raise
our esteem of Him—and quicken our pursuit after
Him. Many hear of Christ—but few have Him. Many
have Christ sounded in their ears—but few who
have Christ formed in their hearts.

Christ is the most choice good. God shows more
love in giving us Christ—than in giving us crowns
and kingdoms! God may give a man many worldly
things—and hate him. God may give others a little
gold and silver—but if He gives you Christ, He
gives you all that ever He had!

Without Christ, nothing else is good. Without Christ,
health is not good; it is fuel for lust. Without Christ,
riches are not good; they are golden snares. Without
Christ, ordinances are not good; they are as breasts
without milk. Without Christ, they will damn us.
Millions go  to hell, loaded with ordinances.

Make Christ all, in your affections. Desire nothing but
Christ. He is the aggregation of all good things. Why
should the soul desire less? How can it desire more?
Love nothing but Christ. Love is the choicest affection;
it is the richest jewel the creature has to bestow. Oh,
if Christ is all—love Him better than all! He who is all,
let Him have all. Give Him your love—who desires it
most, and deserves it best.

Oh, Christian, have you seen the Lord Jesus? Has this
morning-star shone into your heart with its enlightening,
quickening beams? Then rejoice and be exceeding glad!
Shall others rejoice in the world—and will not you rejoice
in Christ! How much better is He than all other things!
It reflects disparagement upon Christ—when His saints
are sad and drooping. Is not Christ yours? What more
would you have!

Be thankful for Christ. God has done more for you in
giving you Christ—than if He had made you angels,
or had given you the whole world! God cannot give
a greater gift than Christ—who is all in all.

Here is a breast of comfort to every believer—Christ
is all.
When a Christian sees a deficiency in himself,
he may see an all-sufficiency in his Savior! He who
has Christ, has no lack—for "Christ is all!"

In the hour of death, a believer may rejoice. When he
leaves all—he is possessed of all. A godly man say, "I
fear not death, because I have Christ to go to! Death
will but carry me to that torrent of divine pleasure,
which runs at His right hand forevermore!" I have the
desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better!"
Philippians 1:23

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Christ takes the dross out!

(Thomas Watson, "A Plea for the Godly")

Jesus Christ presents the prayers of His people to His
Father. Prayer, as it comes from the godly—is mixed
with sin. But Christ takes the dross out of their
prayers—and presents nothing but pure gold! He dips
the prayers of His people in His blood
—and mingles
them with His sweet incense—and so they are most
fragrant and aromatic to God. A weak prayer being
laid upon Christ as the altar—this altar sanctifies
the prayer!

"Therefore he is able to save completely, those who
 come to God through Him, because He always lives
 to intercede for them!"
Hebrews 7:25

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

We would hardly recognize it!

Charles Spurgeon, "The Power of Prayer in a Believer's Life")
It was the early church father Ambrose who used a wonderful illustration concerning believers' prayers. He said we are like little children who run into the garden to gather flowers to please their father
but we are so ignorant and childish that we pluck as many weeds as flowers, and some of them are very noxious. We carry this strange mixture in our hands, thinking that it is acceptable to him. The mother meets the child at the door and says, "Little one, you don't know what you have gathered." She unbinds the mixture and takes from it all the weeds, leaving only the sweet flowers; and then she takes other flowers, sweeter than those the child pluckedand inserts them instead of the weeds. Then she puts the perfect posy in the child's hand, and he runs with it to his father.

Jesus Christ in more than motherly tenderness, thus deals with our supplications. If we could see one of our prayers after Christ Jesus has amended it
we would hardly recognize it! Jesus has such skill that even our good flowers grow fairer in His hand. We clumsily tie them into a bundle—but He arranges them into a lovely bouquet, where each beauty enhances the charm of its neighbor. If I could see my prayer after the Lord has prayed it, I would discover so much missing and so much there that was none of mine—that I am sure its fullest acceptance with God would not cause me a moment's pride. It would rather make me blush with grateful humility before Him, whose boundless sweetness lent to me, and my poor prayer—a sweetness not my own.