Grace Gems for SEPTEMBER 2009

He never sought to amuse them!

(Archibald Brown, "The Devil's Mission of Amusement")

Jesus pitied sinners, pleaded with them, sighed over them,
them, and wept over them; but He never sought
to amuse them!

When many of His disciples turned away, because of the
searching nature of His preaching—I do not find there was
any attempt to bring them back, by resorting to something
more pleasant to the flesh. I do not hear Him saying, "We
must keep up the gatherings at any cost! So run after the
people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style
of service tomorrow! Something very short and attractive,
with little, if any, preaching. Today was a service for God
—but tomorrow we will have a pleasant evening for the
Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it, and have
a pleasant time. Be quick, Peter! We must get the people
somehow; if not by Gospel—then by entertainment!"

No, this was not how He argued. Gazing in sorrow on
those who would not hear the Word—He simply turns
to the twelve, and asks, "Will you go away also?"

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The hidden life

(J. R. Miller, "The Hidden Life" 1895)

"Man looks at the outward appearance, but
 the Lord looks at the heart!" 1 Samuel 16:7

Those who are striving to live near the heart of
Christ, must realize that it is the hidden life
which makes the character.

What we are in the depths of our being, where
no human eye can penetrate—that we are actually,
as God sees us. This inner life will ultimately work
its way through to the surface—transforming the
into its own quality.

Nothing can be more important, therefore, than
that the hidden life be true, pure, beautiful, and

"Man looks at the outward appearance, but
 the Lord looks at the heart!" 1 Samuel 16:7

    ~  ~  ~  ~

How can we learn contentment?

(J. R. Miller, "The Hidden Life" 1895)

"I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." Philippians 4:11

How can we learn contentment?

One step toward contentment, is patient submission to unavoidable ills and hardships. No earthly lot is perfect. No mortal ever yet in this world, has found a set of circumstances without some drawback. There are . . .
  trials which we cannot change into blessings,
  burdens which we cannot lay down,
  crosses which we must continue to carry,
  thorns in the flesh which must remain with their rankling pain.
When we have such trials, why should we not sweetly accept them as part of God's best way with us?

Discontent never made . . .
  a rough path smoother,
  a heavy burden lighter,
  a bitter cup less bitter,
  a dark way brighter,
  a sore sorrow less sore.
It only makes matters worse! One who accepts with patience, that which he cannot change—has learned one secret of victorious living.

Another part of the lesson, is that we can learn to moderate our desires. "Having food and clothing," says Paul again, "let us be content with these." Very much of our discontent arises from envy of those who seem to be more favored than ourselves. Many people lose most of the comfort out of their own lot—in coveting the finer, more luxurious things which some neighbor has. Yet if they knew the whole story of the life they envy for its greater prosperity, they probably would not exchange for it their own lowlier life, with its more humble circumstances. Or if they could make the exchange, it is not likely they would find half so much real happiness in the other position, as they would have enjoyed in their own.

Contentment does not dwell so often in palaces—as in the homes of the humble. The tall peaks rise higher, and are more conspicuous—but the winds smite them more fiercely than they do the quiet valleys. And surely, the lot in life which God makes for us—is always the best which could be made for us for the time. He knows better than we do—what our true needs are.

The real cause of our discontent is not in our circumstances; if it were, a change of circumstances might cure it. It is in ourselves, and wherever we go—we shall carry our discontent heart with us. The only cure which will affect anything—must be the curing of the fever of discontent in us.

A fine secret of contentment, lies in finding and extracting all the pleasure we can get from the things we have—the common, everyday things; while we enter upon no mad, vain chase after impossible dreams. In whatever state we are in—we may find therein enough for our need.

No earthly misfortune can touch the wealth which a Christian holds in the divine promises and hopes. Just in the measure, therefore, in which we learn to live for spiritual and unseen eternal realities—do we find contentment amid earth's trials and losses. If we would live to please God, to build up Christlike character in ourselves, and to lay up treasure in heaven—we shall not depend for happiness, on the way things go with us here on earth, nor on the measure of temporal goods we have. The earthly desires are crowded out by the higher and spiritual desires. We can do without childhood's toys—when we have manhood's better possessions. We desire the toys of this world less—as we get more of God and heaven into our hearts.

Paul knew this secret. He cheerfully gave up all that this world had for him. Money had no power over him. He knew how to live in plenty; but he did not fret when poverty came instead. He was content in any trial, because earth meant so little—and Christ meant so much to him. He did not need the things he did not have. He was not made poor by the things he lost. He was not vexed by the sufferings he had to endure, because the sources of his life were in heaven—and could not be touched by earthly experiences of pain or loss.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

He must increase—but I must decrease

(J. R. Miller, "Ministry of Comfort" 1898)

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men—to be seen by them." Matthew 6:1

One of the most difficult lessons to learn, is self-effacement. It seems to us, that we have a right to put our name on every piece of work we do, and to get full honor for it. We like people to know of the good and virtuous things we do—the kindnesses we show, our gifts, our sacrifices, and our services.

SELF always dies hard.

John the Baptist, in his life and ministry, illustrated the grace of self-effacement as few other men have done. When he first began to preach, great throngs flocked about him. But when Jesus came—the crowds melted away from John and went after the new preacher. John rejoiced in seeing Jesus thus honored, though at the cost of his own fame. "He must increase—but I must decrease" was his answer, when his disciples grew envious of the Galilean Rabbi. He understood that the highest use to which his life could be put—was to add to the honor of his Master. He was glad to be unnoticed, to have his own name extinguished, that the glory of Christ might shine the more brightly.

Renunciation of self should characterize all who follow Christ. They should seek only to get recognition for Him, willing for themselves to be unrecognized and unhonored. Yet not always are the Master's friends content to be nothing—that the praise may be given to Christ. Too often do they insist upon having their own name written in bold letters on their work. It would be the mark of a higher degree in spiritual attainment, if we were willing to be anonymous in every service for Christ.

Not only should we do all our work for the divine approval—but we should not be seeking to get our own name on what we do. If it is done solely for the honor of Christ, why should we be solicitous to have everybody know our part in it? Should it not be honor enough—to have Christ accept our work and use it?

Only what we do for the honor of Christ—is really gold and silver and precious stones in the spiritual building; all the rest is but wood, hay, and stubble, which cannot abide.

Are we willing to do deeds of service and love, and then keep absolutely quiet about what we have done? Is there not among us, too much of the spirit which our Lord so severely condemned—sounding a trumpet before us—when we are going out to do some deed of charity, some act of kindness?

"Everything they do—is done for men to see." Matthew 23:5

~  ~  ~  ~

The school of suffering

(J. R. Miller, "Ministry of Comfort" 1898)

"Before I was afflicted I went astray—but
 now I keep Your word." Psalm 119:67


Most of us need the chastening of affliction.
Pain is wonderful revealer. It teaches us many
things we never could have known, if we had
not been called to endure it. It opens windows
through which we see, as we never saw before
—the beautiful things of God's love.

Many of the finest things in character, are the
fruits of pain
. Many a Christian enters trial—cold,
worldly, unspiritual—and emerges from the
experience a little later, with spirit softened,
mellowed, and spiritually enriched.

Sanctified afflictions soften the harshness and
sharpness of one's character. They consume the
dross of selfishness and worldliness. They humble
pride. They temper carnal ambitions. They quell
fierce passions. They show to us the evil of our
own heart, revealing our weaknesses, faults, and
blemishes—and making us aware of our spiritual
danger. They discipline the wayward spirit.

Sorrow draws its sharp ploughshare through the
heart, cutting deep and long furrows—and the
heavenly Sower follows with the seeds of godly
virtues. Then by and by, fruits of righteousness
spring up.

Sorrow has a tenderizing influence. It makes us
gentle and kindly toward each other. In no other
school, do our hearts learn the lessons of patience,
tolerance, and forbearance so quickly—as in the
school of suffering

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

~  ~  ~  ~

What are you living for?

(Horatius Bonar, "Self or Christ—Which Is It?")

What are you living for?

Most, perhaps, live to enjoy present things as
much as possible—and to escape hell at last.

Have your ideas, your hopes, your aspirings—ever
risen beyond these two things? Are you living only
for self? Is that all? What a poor object—what a
base and narrow aim! What an insignificant, empty,
hollow being is yours—wasted, shriveled, useless!

"My purpose is to give life in all its fullness."
    John 10:10

What stands between you and that life? It is self,
the accursed thing! What separates you from God?
It is SELF—your love of self, your admiration of self,
your confidence in self. It is SELF which is blinding
and bewildering you!

What is it that is dragging you down, and making
you cleave to the dust? It is SELF! And what is it that
will before long be your everlasting ruin? It is SELF!

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

~  ~  ~  ~

An undressing from his sins and infirmities

(Charles Spurgeon)

"They will go away to eternal punishment, but
 the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:46

There is an essential difference between the death of the
godly—and the death of the ungodly. Death comes to the
ungodly man—as a penal infliction; but to the righteous—
as a summons to his Father's palace! To the sinner—it is
an execution; to the saint—it is an undressing from his
sins and infirmities
! Death to the wicked is the King of
Death to the saint is the end of terrors—the
commencement of glory!

~  ~  ~  ~

The knife!

(J. R. Miller, "Ministry of Comfort" 1898)

"He prunes every branch that produces fruit—so that it will produce more fruit." John 15:2

The gardener prunes the branches—but not without wise purpose. The Master's words, referring to this process in spiritual husbandry, are rich in their comfort for those on whom the knife is doing its painful work.

For one thing, we are told that "My Father is the gardener" (verse 1). We know that our Father loves us and would never do anything unloving or hurtful to His children. We know that He is infinitely wise, that He looks far on in our life, planning the largest and the best good for us, not for today only—but for all the future; and that what He does, is certainly the best which could be devised. In every time of sharp pruning, when the knife cuts deep and the pain is sore—it is an unspeakable comfort to read, "My Father is the gardener!"

Another inspiring thought in all such afflictions—is that it is the fruitful branch which the Father prunes. Sometimes godly people say when they are led through great trials, "Surely God does not love me—or He would not afflict me so sorely!" But it takes away all distressing thoughts about our trouble, to read the Master's words, "He prunes every branch that produces fruit." It is not punishment to which we are subjected—but pruning; and it is because we are fruitful that we are pruned.

Still another comfort here is revealed—in the object of the pruning, "He prunes every branch that produces fruit—so that it will produce more fruit." The one object of all God's pruning, is fruitfulness. The figure of pruning helps us to understand this. When one who knows nothing of such processes sees a man cutting away branch after branch of a tree or vine, it would seem to him that the work is destructive. But those who understand the object of the pruning—know that what the gardener is doing, will add to the vine's value and to its ultimate fruitfulness.

Pruning seems to be destroying the vine. The gardener appears to be cutting it all away. But he looks on into the future and knows that the final outcome will be the enrichment of its life, and greater abundance of fruit.

~  ~  ~  ~


(Philpot, "Daily Words for Zion's Wayfarers", 1893)

"I will satisfy her poor with bread." Psalm 132:15

What a sweetness there is in the word "satisfy!"

The world cannot satisfy the child of God. Have
we not tried, some of us perhaps for many years,
to get some satisfaction from it?

But can wife or husband satisfy us?
Can children or relatives satisfy us?
Can all the world calls good or great, satisfy us?
Can the pleasures of sin satisfy us?

Is there not in all—an aching void? Do we not reap
dissatisfaction and disappointment from everything
that is of the creature, and of the flesh? Do we not
find that there is little else but sorrow to be reaped
from everything in this world? There is little else to
be gathered from the world but . . .
  dissatisfaction, and
  "vanity and vexation of spirit."

The poor soul looks round upon the world and the
creature, upon all the occupations, amusements
and relations of life—and finds all one melancholy
harvest; so that all it reaps is sorrow, perplexity,
and dissatisfaction.

Now when a man is brought here, to desire satisfaction,
something to make him happy, something to fill up the
aching void, something to bind up broken bones, bleeding
wounds, and leprous sores—and after he has looked at
everything—at doctrines, opinions, notions, speculations,
forms, rites and ceremonies in religion; at the world with
all its charms, and at self with all its varied workings—and
found nothing but bitterness of spirit, vexation and trouble
in them all, and thus sinks down a miserable wretch; why,
then when the Lord opens up to him something of the bread
of life
, he finds a satisfaction in that which he never could
gain from any other quarter.

And that is the reason why the Lord so afflicts His people;
why some carry about with them such weak, suffering
bodies; why some have so many family troubles; why
others are so deeply steeped in poverty; why others have
such rebellious children; and why others are so exercised
with spiritual sorrows, that they scarcely know what will
be the end.

It is all for one purpose—to make them miserable out
of Christ, dissatisfied except with gospel food; to render
them so wretched and uncomfortable—that God alone can
make them happy, and alone can speak consolation to
their troubled minds.

~  ~  ~  ~

Not one of us would ever be saved!

(J. R. Miller, "The Hidden Life" 1895)

"He always lives to intercede for them." Hebrews 7:25

Some speak as if all Christ's work in saving us, had
been done on the cross nineteen hundred years ago,
in His giving up of Himself to die for us. But His
actual work in saving us—is continued with us—
  in teaching us life's lessons,
  giving us grace to overcome in temptation,
  lifting us up when we have fallen,
  going after us and bringing us back when
     we have wandered away, and
  keeping us from the world's deadly evils.

Were it not for this patient, never-failing, watchful
love of Christ—not one of us would ever be saved!

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish
 —ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!"
     John 10:28

~  ~  ~  ~

Your life preaches all the week!

(Robert Murray McCheyne)

A man is what he is on his knees before
God—and nothing more! In great measure,
according to the purity of the instrument,
will be success. It is not great talents which
God blesses—so much as great likeness to
Jesus! A holy minister is a powerful weapon
in the hand of God!

Study universal holiness of life. Your whole
usefulness depends on this; for your sermons
last but an hour or two—but your life preaches
all the week!
If Satan can only make a minister
covetous; or a lover of praise, or of pleasure, or
of fine eating—he has ruined your ministry!

"Lord, make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be!"

~  ~  ~  ~

The new birth

(Octavius Winslow, "From Grace to Glory" 1864)

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

How comprehensive the words—how vast the
The effect produced by the new birth
is radical and thorough:

The HEART, once so hateful and hating—has now
become a fountain of sweet waters, transmitting
its pure and holy streams throughout the whole
soul, changing the entire conduct of the individual,
and working out, in its degree, a universal holiness
of his whole being.

The WORLD he once loved—is now as a crucified thing.

The PLEASURES he once indulged—have lost their charm.

The SINS he once committed—are now loathed and forsaken.

The SOCIETY he once enjoyed—no longer attracts or pleases.

The new birth will be manifest in our Christlike
temper and mind and spirit . . .
  the moroseness and churlishness,
  the pride and selfishness,
  the worldliness and frivolity,
  the levity and man-pleasing,
which cropped up so luxuriantly from the soil of our
unsanctified heart—will now, in a great measure be
supplanted by the fruits of righteousness springing
from a heart which has been changed, sanctified,
and occupied by the Spirit of God.

The walk and conversation of a renewed man,
will be the outward and visible reflection of an
inward and invisible grace.

As a parent, and as a child, as a brother, a sister—so let
your light shine, so let your life evidence its reality, so
let your religion be visible in its lowliness and gentleness,
its lovable and loving spirit, as to command from all who
see it, the admiring exclamation, "Behold! he is a new
creature; old things have passed away; all things are
become new!"

~  ~  ~  ~

The path of each day

(J. R. Miller, "Finding the Way", 1904)

"Show me the way I should go." Psalm 143:8

We have a right to make this prayer. Our prayer will be answered, too. There will be a hand extended to guide us, to open the path for us, and to help us over the hard pinches of the road. God desires to lead us. His guidance includes not only our daily steps—but also the shaping of our circumstances and affairs. We cannot be thankful enough, that our lives are in God's hands, for we never could care for them ourselves.

To us the path of each day is always new—we have not passed this way before, and we cannot tell what any hour may bring to us. But Jesus knows all the way—for He went over every inch of it. There is no human experience which Christ does not understand. No suffering can be ours—which He did not feel. No wrong can hurt us—but He was hurt far more sorely. Is the burden heavy? His burden was infinitely heavier, for He took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses, and bowed beneath the load of our sins! There is no phase of struggle, of suffering, of pain, of temptation—with which He is unfamiliar. And knowing thus the way, from having experienced it for Himself, He is able to guide us in it.

Do we really need God's guidance? Are we not wise enough to decide what course it is best for us to take? Can we not find our own path in this world? There is a story of a tourist in the Alps who refused a guide. He said he could find the way himself. So he went out alone in the morning—but he never came back. Life in this world is far more perilous than mountain climbing.

There are times when every star seems to have gone out, and when clouds and darkness appear to have gathered about us, hiding every way-mark, so that we cannot see any way out of the gloom and perplexity. We need then to have God's direction—or we shall perish. But while there are times when we need God's guidance in an unusual way—there is no day in all our brightest year, when we do not need it, when we dare to go forward one step without it. The day we do not seek and obtain God's leading, will be a day of disaster for us. The day we go forth without prayer for divine blessing, when we do not lay our hand in Christ's as we go out into the great world—is a day of peril for us. Indeed, we often need the divine guidance the most—when we think we do not need it at all.

God's way does not always lie in the sunshine; sometimes it runs into deep glooms. We are not always out of His way—when we find ourselves facing obstacles and difficulties. When we cannot see where we are going—we may be in the everlasting way, because God is guiding us. He leads us away many a time, away from the path which we would have taken.

The way on which God guides us—is a way of holiness. When we pray for guidance, we must surrender our will to God. If we ask Him to guide us—we must yield our own preference, and accept His. We are in this world—to grow into the likeness of Christ. If then, we have been growing a little more patient, gentle, thoughtful, humble—if the peace of our hearts has become a little deeper, quieter, sweeter—our "rough" path is God's way for us.

God's way is a way of holiness—a pure, clean way. It is the road to heaven.

~  ~  ~  ~

It will help us greatly in our Christian life

(J. R. Miller, "Garden of the Heart" 1906)

"The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and taught." Mark 6:30

It will help us greatly in our Christian life, if we will train ourselves to the habit of reporting to Christ continually, all that we do and say. We may come every evening to His feet—and tell Him all about the work and the life of our day.

Each day is a miniature life. Each morning we are sent out by our Master, commissioned by Him to do certain tasks, to touch certain lives, to leave certain blessings in the world, to endure certain temptations, to suffer or rejoice—as the case my be. At the close of the day—we come back to make report, in our evening prayer, of all that we have done, not only the good and beautiful things—the obedience, the kindnesses, the victories over temptation, the things which have been helpful to others; but also the foolish things—the disobediences, the defeats, the neglects of duty.

If we remember as we go through the day—that everything we do or say, and everything we fail to do or say—must be reported to our Master—it would make us more careful as the moments pass—of what we do and what we fail to do. We would not do the things which would shame us to look into Christ's face, and tell Him what we did. We would learn to do only what would give us pleasure to report to Him.

This would do much to make us always charitable and kind to others, for we shall not care to tell the Master that we said unkindly words of our neighbors. If we constrain ourselves to report in our evenings prayers—all our criticisms of others, all our uncharitable words, and all our blaming and fault finding—we shall soon be cured of the habit of censoriousness, and we shall learn to do and say only things which we shall be glad to tell our Lord.

There is no better way to keep our days holy and beautiful
—than to tell Jesus every night—all that we have said and done through the day!

Yet, we need never dread to tell Christ of our failures for the day. There always will be failures. Our moods will not always be gentle. Sometimes we will speak rashly and harshly. We will not always be patient and thoughtful. Unchristian tempers will break out in spite of our determination always to keep sweet. We will fail many a time to be loving. But the Master will be infinitely gracious and gentle in dealing with our faults and failures. He is more kindly than any mother. No words in the Bible are sweeter to a faithful Christian, than those in one of the Psalms, "He knows our frame—He remembers that we are dust."

If we are living faithfully and are striving to do our best, and to do better each day—we need never dread to tell our Master all that we have done—even the worst! He wants us to be very frank and very honest with Him. Of course He knows all that we have done—but He wants us to tell Him all, keeping nothing back. We may come with the whole story, even if it is a confession of weakness, foolishness, or sin. He is never severe with us, as some human friends are—for He wants us never to be afraid to come to Him.

~  ~  ~  ~

The Lord Himself watches over you!

(J. R. Miller, "Guarded from Stumbling" 1906)

God Himself is the refuge of His people.

"My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth! He will not let you stumble and fall; the One who watches over you will not sleep. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never tires and never sleeps. The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not hurt you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go—both now and forever." Psalm 121:1-8

The promise of heaven is very alluring to Christian hope. But how can we get there? Seen and unseen perils beset the way—and we have no strength to defend ourselves, or to keep our lives from hurt. To meet these dangers, however, we have the promise of a Guide who is able to guard us on from falling, even from stumbling—and to bring us at last unharmed, without blemish, to the door of our Father's house. "For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death!" Psalm 48:14.

The Bible gives many assurances of protection to the children of God, as they pass through this world. They dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. They take refuge under the wings of God. We never can get out from under the shadow of the Almighty. Wherever we may have to go—we shall always have the love of God over us.

There are also promises of protection. We have the assurance that God will not let you stumble and fall. So the divine thought extends even to our feet and to our steps, one by one. There is not an inch in all our pathway through this world, which is unwatched, on which the eye of God does not rest. The most watchful human love must sometimes close its eyes in sleep. The most loving mother must sometimes steal from the bedside of her little sick child, for a minute's rest. But the divine care never slumbers nor fails, even for a moment. Indeed, "the One who watches over you will not sleep."

In this world of danger, we need never vex ourselves with fear or anxiety—for God is watching, and He never sleeps! There is not a moment by day or by night when we are unguarded. There can be no sudden surprise or danger, by which God can be taken unaware.

Christ surrounds His people with an invisible protection, which nothing can tear away. In all our perils, struggles, and sorrows—He has us in His heart. "Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20

A Christian woman, walking alone at night, was approached by a stranger. He said, "I see you are alone." "No, sir, I am not alone; I have a friend with me." "I do not see anyone," he said, looking round. The woman quietly answered, "Jesus Christ is with me," and the man turned and fled into the darkness.

So while heaven seems far off, and while the way is full of enemies and dangers—yet no believer, not even the weakest, need perish on the way, nor fail to get home. Christ the mighty One, has build a road through the world, a safe and secure road, on which all His friends may journey under His guidance and guardianship, without hurt until they enter the Father's house. "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one can snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:28

~  ~  ~  ~

He has all comforts at His disposal

(Brooks, "A Word in Season to Suffering Saints")

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
 Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of
 all comfort
, who comforts us in all our troubles."
    2 Corinthians 1:3-4

God is the God of all sorts and degrees of comfort.
He has all comforts at His disposal. This phrase,
"The God of all comforts," intimates to us:

1. That no comfort can be found anywhere else;
God has the sole gift of comfort.

2. God has not only some—but all comfort!
No imaginable comfort is lacking in Him, nor
can be found outside of Him. Nothing can
soundly comfort us, without God.

3. All degrees of comfort are to be found in
Him—in our greatest troubles and deepest
distresses. The deeper the distress—the
greater the comforts.

"God, who comforts the downcast." 2 Cor. 7:6

When we are in a very low condition, when we
are spent with grief and swallowed up in sorrows,
when we are destitute of all relief and comfort—
then the God of all comforts comes to console us!

No tribulations, no persecutions, no grievances,
no prison doors, no bolts, no bars—can keep the
consolations of God from flowing in upon His
people. God loves to comfort His people—when all
their outward comforts fail them. God's comforts
are not only sweet, but seasonable; He never
comes too soon—nor ever stays too long.

The comfort of God is His most sweet attribute;
it is a breast which we should be always sucking at.

~  ~  ~  ~

The purpose of God for our life on earth

(J. R. Miller, "Garden of the Heart" 1906) 

We should get it settled in our minds, that the purpose of God for our life on earth, is to have us grow into Christ's image. We are not in this world merely to accomplish a certain amount of work—but to be fashioned into strength and beauty of character. If we would always remember this, we would not be perplexed so often by the mysteries of our lives.

If joy is ours—it is to make us better and a greater blessing to others.

If sorrow is ours—it is to purify us and bring out some line of Christ's image in us more clearly.

If our hopes are disappointed—it is because God has some better things for us, than that which we so earnestly desired.

If we are called to endure pain—it is because the best in us can be called out only by pain.

If bereavement comes and we are left without the strong human arm we have leaned upon heretofore—it is because there are elements of strength in our life, which never could be developed unless the human supports were taken away.

If our burdens are heavy—it is because we grow best under burdens.

If we are wronged by others—it is to teach us better, the great lessons of patience and sweet temper.

If our circumstances are uncongenial and our condition hard—it is that we may be disciplined into self-control, and may learn to be content in whatever state we are in.

The Master is always teaching us new lessons, making us into the beauty of the pattern He has set for us, and preparing us for greater usefulness and better service.

~  ~  ~  ~

Crawling along the road of life

(James Meikle, "The Traveler")

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

What horrors may beset the carnally-minded, when they think of their death! Yet no prospect affords me such pleasure as that of my death and final change! I have exceeding great cause to rejoice, when I compare what I now am and suffer—with what I shall then enjoy and be!

Now my joys are future, and in expectation—for I walk by faith, and live on hope. But then they shall be present, and in possession—for I shall dwell in light, and feed on fruition!

Now I am daily struggling with death and sin—but then I shall eternally triumph over both!

Now I toil along a tiresome road—but then I shall walk above these skies in the very heavens!

Now my eyes rove from vanity to vanity—but then they shall see, yes, fix upon the King of kings in His divinest glory!

Now I dwell among fire-brands, and surrounding sinners daily give me pain—but then I shall dwell among the multitudes of the redeemed, with angels and archangels—and not one sinner among all the heavenly multitudes!

Now I often bewail myself as a frail inhabitant of feeble clay—but then I shall find myself possessed of all the vigor of immortality—of all the briskness of eternal life!

Now I have foes without, and foes within; the sin of my nature, and the idols of my heart; enemies from earth and hell to grapple with—but then, triumphing over every foe, I shall sing the victories of the divine Conqueror, and never cease from this matchless, this inexhaustible theme!

Now the cruel hand of death comes among my friends and family, and leaves me like a sparrow on the house-top alone, or mourning in the wilderness—but then not one of all the numerous inhabitants shall so much as say, "I am sick," because they are an assembly of sinless ones.

Now my Sun often conceals Himself, so that I go mourning without Him—but then in the light of His countenance, in the brightness of His glory, shall I walk on forever!

Now I am crawling along the road of life in company with fellow-worms, who dwell in cottages of clay, and are crushed before the moth—but then, dignified with His divine likeness, I shall dwell with the Ancient of days, and enjoy the dearest and most intimate communion with Jehovah and the Lamb forever!

Now my time is wasting away, and I may be very near my latter end—but then an endless eternity shall be mine, and my bliss shall be as durable as it is desirable; and as permanent as it is pleasant.

O! then, who would not desire death—which is so pregnant with glory and bliss!

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

~  ~  ~  ~

Looking to this Lamb!

(William Mason, "A Spiritual Treasury")

"Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away
 the sin of the world!" John 1:29

To continually behold this Lamb of God—is life
to our souls, and death to our sins! Sin cannot
terrify with its guilt, nor prevail in its power—
while the heart is looking to this Lamb!

Thus to behold—is to be happy. Thus to look—
is to be holy. May this, O my soul, be your daily
employment below, until you behold the Lamb
in the midst of the throne above! Astonishing

Thanks to the gracious Father—for the gift of
this precious Lamb! Thanks to this holy Lamb
—for bearing and taking away sin! Thanks to
the loving Spirit—for showing this Lamb to
poor sinners and myself!

"I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain,
 standing in the center of the throne!" Rev. 5:6

~  ~  ~  ~

A life of ease, leisure, and luxury

(J. R. Miller, "The Every Day of Life" 1892)

"Woe to you who are rich!" Luke 6:24

Many of life's worst dangers are unsuspected. Where we suppose there is good and blessing—there may be hidden peril. Most of us think of a life of ease, leisure, and luxury—as the most highly favored lot, one to be envied. We are not apt to think of it as one of danger. Yet there is no doubt that a life of rugged toil, hardship, and self-denial, which we look upon as almost a misfortune, is far safer than one of ease.

When we open our Bible we find that a state of wealth, is indeed set down as one full of spiritual peril. It was Jesus who said, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And Paul said, "Those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all evil."

It is not the popular impression, that wealth is a condition in which danger lurks. Yet thousands of souls have been lost in the valley of gold! Many a man's envied fortune, is in God's sight, but the splendid mausoleum of his soul.

~  ~  ~  ~

The heaviest afflictions on this side hell

(A consolatory letter to a Christian friend under severe afflictions, by John Berridge)

Dear Madam,
I grant that your circumstances are very severe and difficult—but let me beg of you not to construe your afflictions as a token of God's displeasure, or a sign of your not belonging to Him. This is an old temptation of Satan's, with which he often assaults the afflicted Christian; but take the shield of faith—that you may quench the fiery darts of Satan.

Alas! Crosses and afflictions are the common lot of the people of God in this present world. Our Lord has told us, that in this world—we shall have troubles! Every saint has his own particular difficulties, temptations and conflicts to grapple with.

We are too apt to settle on our lees, too apt to be absorbed with the vanities of this passing world. We are now chastened—that hereafter we may not be condemned with the world.

Ah! happy afflictions—which wean us from this wretched, dying world! They are a means to mortify our corruptions; to teach us to live more constantly by faith in Jesus Christ; and to fix all our hopes and expectations on the eternal world of glory!

Sanctified afflictions are a thousand times rather to be chosen—than unsanctified prosperity. These afflictions may consist with, yes are often the effects of God's special love. "Those whom I love—I rebuke and discipline." Revelation 3:19. God sees that we need afflictions—and He knows that they will work for our good.

God is infinitely wise—and knows what is best for me. God is infinitely gracious—and will be tender of the weakest of His children. God is infinitely sovereign—and may do what He pleases with His own!

The heaviest afflictions on this side hell—are less, far less than my iniquities have deserved! Oh, boundless grace! The chastening rod of a reconciled Father, might have been the flaming sword of an avenging Judge! I might now have been weeping and wailing with devils and damned spirits in hell! I will bear the indignation of the Lord—because I have sinned against Him. It is of His mercy alone, that I am not consumed!

Oh, it is but a little while—and then there will be an eternal end of all your sorrows, fears, trials and disappointments! That heavenly Bridegroom, who has betrothed you  to Himself, will, before long, bring you into His eternal kingdom, where you will forget all the storms and tempests, clouds and darkness—in your passage through this wilderness world—and all shall be eternally filled with joy and peace, love and praise!

No troubles or afflictions shall ever assault you in that glorious place—but you shall dwell eternally under the constant shinings of divine love, and shall sing with the strongest believers, yes with the highest and most glorious archangels in heaven—the wondrous mysteries of redeeming grace! The comforts and blessedness of that state of rest, will be more brightened and endeared—by all your tears and sighings here below. The remembrance of the gall and wormwood of afflictions, will tend to sweeten the taste of heavenly enjoyments.

I pray that God may be with you—to support and comfort you with the divine consolations of His Holy Spirit, and establish you in His own due time. He is a faithful God—and therefore will not lay upon you more than He will enable you to bear. 1 Cor. 10:13. If you have less of this world—may you have more of His comfortable presence! Oh, blessed exchange! May you be supported with His everlasting arms—and have Him to sustain and uphold you in every time of need!

Remember your once dying, but now exalted Redeemer. Is the servant greater than his Lord? Shall we not joyfully tread in His steps—that we may at last be where He is? Can, or ought we to repine—if God deals with us—as He did with His own well-beloved Son?

May the Lord help you willingly to submit to Him. Doubt not, but that at the appointed time, when He sees it will be for your good and His own glory—that your heavenly Father will bring you out of your afflictions. You should rejoice to think that He is carrying on the great work of your eternal salvation, amidst all your troubles and disappointments, and under all your difficult afflictions. Oh, say then, with Job: "Though He slays me—yet will I trust in Him!" Job 13:15. Though I am surrounded with terrors—I will bless Him that I am out of hell!

Oh that you may be embraced in the arms of everlasting love, and enjoy the comforts of your pardoned state! Let me beg of you, once more, dear sister—not to allow the disappointments and crosses of this world, however sore and trying in themselves—to drive from your mind, the frequent and joyful forethoughts of what free, rich, and sovereign grace has designed for you in the eternal world—and is fitting and preparing you for, every day you live.

Let not the hardships of your journey—make you forget, but rather cause you to long for your eternal home. Oh, think on that heaven—which neither sin, nor death, nor hell—shall ever be able to deprive you of; in which you through sovereign grace, shall spend the endless ages of a blessed eternity!

"Do then, Lord, what You please with me—so that I may but die to this world, overcome my corruptions, live more upon Christ, bring more glory to Your name, and have more comfortable tastes and pledges of Your love. May Your will be done!"
John Berridge

~  ~  ~  ~

The death of your godly daughter

(by John Berridge, 1716-1793)

I received your letter, about the death of your godly daughter—and hope that you will soon learn to bless your Redeemer for snatching her away so speedily. Methinks I see great mercy in the suddenness of her removal; and when your affections have done yearning for her—you will see it too.

O! what is she snatched from? Why, truly, from the plague of an evil heart, a wicked world, and a crafty devil—snatched from all future bitter grief, and from everything which might wound her ear, afflict her eye, or pain her heart!

And what is she snatched to? To a land of everlasting peace, where every inhabitant can say, 'I am no more sick!' No more affliction in the body, no more plague in the heart—but all full of love and full of praise; ever seeing with enraptured eyes, ever blessing with adoring hearts—that dear Lamb who has washed them in His blood, and has now made them kings and priests unto God, forever and ever!

Oh, madam! What would you rather have? Is it not better singing in heaven, 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!' —than crying out on earth, 'O wretched woman that I am!'

Is it not better to have your daughter taken to heaven—than to have your heart divided between Christ and her? If she was a silver idol before—might she not prove to be a golden idol afterwards?

She has gone to the most blessed place, and will see you again by and by—never more to part. Had she crossed the sea and gone to Ireland—you would have born it; but now that she is gone to heaven—should this be difficult for you? Strange love is this!

Such behavior in others would not surprise me—but I could almost chasten you for it. And I am sure your daughter would chasten you too, if she was called back but one moment from the glories of heaven—to gratify your fond desires! I cannot soothe you—and I must not flatter you. I am glad the dear creature has gone to heaven before you. Lament, if you please; but 'Glory, glory, glory be to God!' says John Berridge.

~  ~  ~  ~

Like a splinter in his eye!

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

When a man is converted, he is forever at enmity with sin;
yes, with all sin—but most of all with his own sins—and
especially with his bosom sin. Sin is now the object of his
indignation. His sin swells his sorrows. It is sin which pierces
him and wounds him; he feels it like a thorn in his side, like
a splinter in his eye!
He groans and struggles under it,
and not formally—but feelingly cries out, "O wretched man
that I am!" He is not impatient of any affliction—so much
as of his sin. If God should give him his choice—he would
choose any affliction—so that he might be rid of sin. He
feels sin like the cutting gravel in his shoes—pricking
and paining him as he goes.

Before conversion he had light thoughts of sin. He cherished
it in his bosom, as Uriah his lamb. He nourished it up, and
it grew up together with him; it ate, as it were, of his own
plate, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and
was to him as a sweet daughter. But when God opens his
eyes by conversion—he throws it away with abhorrence, as
a man would a loathsome toad, which in the dark he had
hugged fast in his bosom—and thought it had been some
pretty and harmless pet.

When a man is savingly changed—he is deeply convinced
not only of the danger—but the defilement of sin; and O,
how earnest is he with God to be purified! He loathes
himself for his sins. He runs to Christ, and casts himself
into the fountain set open for sin and for uncleanness.
If he falls into sin—what a stir is there to get all clean
again! He has no rest until he flees to the infinite
—and washes and rubs and rinses—to cleanse
himself from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit.

~  ~  ~  ~

When He discovers repulsive things in us

(J. R. Miller, "The Every Day of Life" 1892)

"Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end!" John 13:1

Jesus takes us as we are, and does not get weary of us—whatever faults and sins He discovers in us. There is infinite comfort in this for us. We are conscious of our faults, blemishes and infirmities; and the unworthiness and the unloveliness which is in our souls. Many of us have pages in our biography, which we would not dare to spread out before the eyes of anyone!

There are in our inner heart—feelings, desires, longings, cravings, jealousies, motives—which we would not feel secure in laying bare to our dearest, truest, and most patient and gentle friend. Yet Christ knows them all. Nothing is hidden from His eyes. To Him there is perfect revealing of the innermost springs of our being. Yet we need not be afraid that His friendship for us will change, or grow less, or withdraw itself—when He discovers repulsive things in us. Yet He loves us—loves unto the uttermost! Christ loves us not according to our worthiness—but according to the richness of His own gracious heart!

"May you have the power to understand, as all God's people should—how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it!" Ephesians 3:18-19

~  ~  ~  ~

When God dwelt all alone

(Arthur Pink, "The Attributes of God")

"Before the mountains were born, before You
 gave birth to the earth and the world, from
 eternity to eternity, You are God!" Psalm 90:2

There was a time, if 'time' it could be called,
when God dwelt all alone
. There was no
, where His glory is now particularly
manifested. There was no earth to engage
His attention. There were no angels to hymn
His praises. There was no universe to be
upheld by the word of His power. There was
nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for
a day, a year, or an age—but "from eternity."

During eternity past, God was alone:
  in need of nothing.
Had a universe, had angels, had human beings
been necessary to Him in any way—they would
have been called into existence from all eternity.
The creating of them when He did, added nothing
to God essentially. He does not change (Mal. 3:6),
therefore His essential glory can be neither
augmented nor diminished.

"Before Him all the nations are as nothing; they
 are regarded by Him as worthless and less than
 nothing." Isaiah 40:17

~  ~  ~  ~

This moral vortex

(D. R. Thomason, "Fashionable Amusements" 1831)

This world contains both innocent and sinful pleasures. It is the part of virtue to choose the former—and to reject the latter. To make the necessary selection, it must be remembered, that the great end of our present existence is to form a virtuous character, and therefore those pursuits and pleasures which are compatible with such a design—may be considered legitimate; but whatever, on the other hand, appears subversive of this object—must be prohibited as sinful and dangerous.

The theater may afford a degree of innocent pleasure and useful instruction—but these benefits are more than counterbalanced by the great moral evils which it produces.

The evil circumstances of theatrical amusements cannot, with justice, be denied. Their number and their weight—it is impossible to estimate. How many, within the ensnaring precincts of a play-house, have met with occasions of sin, having entered with the express purpose of finding them; while others have been unexpectedly surprised by their temptation! How many workings of unhallowed passion have been felt, which would never have operated—but for the excitement which this scene of guilty fascination has supplied! How many foul acts of sin would never have been perpetrated—but for the temptations which have here been afforded! How are evil practices here multiplied, and formed into inveterate habits! What momentum is given to the evil bias of the heart! What impetus to sinful desires! What acceleration to the advances of impiety! What aggravation of guilt, and accumulation of misery are occasioned! What havoc of happiness has here been made! How many a flower of virtue, once fresh and fair, has been plucked by the hand of the destroyer, robbed of its charms, and thrown away like a worthless weed! How many a youthful foot, has here been drawn aside from "wisdom's ways of pleasantness and peace," and conducted to those regions of infamy and woe—where "entering her house leads to death; it is the road to hell. The man who visits her is doomed. He will never reach the paths of life!"

Many who once were industrious, frugal, and moral—until, by developing a taste for theatrical pleasures—they became idle, dissipated, and worthless! Many, whose wanderings from virtue's paths have been wide and irrecoverable, are compelled to identify the first step which led them astray—with this scene of temptation! Many are forced to confess, that here they first pressed to their lips that fatal chalice which enchantment had given at once—both fascination and destruction! Many a virtuous person, a noble bark on life's wide ocean, whose moral course was faultless—until the bewitching melody of the enchantress, which inhabits this moral vortex, allured them to shipwreck and death!

~  ~  ~  ~

All this, and unspeakably more!

(John MacDuff, "The Christian's Pathway" 1858)

"Receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of
 your souls
." 1 Peter 1:9

The full and final salvation of our souls, embraces
the whole of what God has in reserve for His people
through all eternity! It includes the enjoyment of
those pleasures . . .
  which no sin can ever pollute,
  which no sorrow can ever becloud,
  which no time can ever impair,
  which no change can ever affect,
  which no calamity can ever destroy!

The full and final salvation of our souls, includes . . .
  all that the infinite wisdom of God can devise;
  all that the infinite love of God can prepare;
  all that the infinite power of God can secure;
  complete deliverance from the bondage of corruption;
  entire emancipation from the power of every foe;
  the body of sin and death forever left behind;
  every grace, grown to perfect maturity;
  all the ineffable treasures of eternal glory;
  all this, and unspeakably more!

Welcome shame and sorrow—if such an end shall
at length be ours! The ungodly world may despise
us; even our nearest friends may forsake us. Yet
we can well afford to bear their opposition without
a single murmur, if we are only permitted to cherish
the hope—that our course will eventually terminate
in so blissful a consummation!

 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind
 has  imagined—what God has prepared for those
 who love Him!" 1 Corinthians 2:9

~  ~  ~  ~

The God of the broken-hearted

(J. R. Miller, "The Beatitude for the Unsuccessful" 1892)

"The Lord is near the broken-hearted." Psalm 34:18

The God of the Bible, is the God of the broken-hearted. The world cares little for the broken hearts. Indeed, people oftentimes break hearts by their cruelty, their falseness, their injustice, their coldness—and then move on as heedlessly as if they had trodden only on a worm! But God cares. Broken-heartedness attracts Him. The plaint of grief on earth—draws Him down from heaven.

Physicians in their rounds, do not stop at the homes of the well—but of the sick. So it is with God in His movements through this world. It is not to the whole and the well—but to the wounded and stricken, that He comes with sweetest tenderness! Jesus said of His mission: "He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted." Isaiah 61:1

We look upon trouble as misfortune. We say that the life is being destroyed, which is passing through adversity. But the truth which we find in the Bible, does not so represent suffering. God is a repairer and restorer of the hurt and ruined life. He takes the bruised reed—and by His gentle skill makes it whole again, until it grows into fairest beauty. The love, pity, and grace of God, minister sweet blessing of comfort and healing—to restore the broken and wounded hearts of His people.

Much of the most beautiful life in this world, comes out of sorrow. As "fair flowers bloom upon rough stalks," so many of the fairest flowers of human life, grow upon the rough stalks of suffering. We see that those who in heaven wear the whitest robes, and sing the loudest songs of victory—are those who have come out of great tribulation. Heaven's highest places are filling, not from earth's homes of glad festivity and tearless joy—but from its chambers of pain; its valleys of struggle where the battle is hard; and its scenes of sorrow, where pale cheeks are wet with tears, and where hearts are broken. The God of the Bible—is the God of the bowed down—whom He lifts up into His strength.

God is the God of those who fail. Not that He loves those who stumble and fall, better than those who walk erect without stumbling; but He helps them more. The weak believers get more of His grace—than those who are strong believers. There is a special divine promise, which says, "My divine power is made perfect in weakness." When we are conscious of our own insufficiency, then we are ready to receive of the divine sufficiency. Thus our very weakness is an element of strength. Our weakness is an empty cup—which God fills with His own strength.

You may think that your weakness unfits you for noble, strong, beautiful living—or for sweet, gentle, helpful serving. You wish you could get clear of it. It seems to burden you—an ugly spiritual deformity. But really it is something which—if you give it to Christ—He can transform into a blessing, a source of His power. The friend by your side, whom you envy because he seems so much stronger than you are—does not get so much of Christ's strength as you do. You are weaker than him—but your weakness draws to you divine power, and makes you strong.

"He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

~  ~  ~  ~

A book for the unsuccessful

(J. R. Miller, "The Beatitude for the Unsuccessful" 1892)

The Bible is indeed a book for the unsuccessful. Its sweetest messages are to those who have fallen. It is the book of love and sympathy. It is like a mother's bosom to lay one's head upon—in the time of distress or pain. Its pages teem with cheer for those who are discouraged. It sets its lamps of hope to shine in darkened chambers. It reaches out its hands of help to the fainting, and to those who have fallen. It is full of comfort for those who are in sorrow. It has its many special promises for the needy, the poor, and the bereft. It is a book for those who have failed, for the disappointed, the defeated, and the discouraged.

It is this quality in the Bible, which makes it so dear to the heart of humanity. If it were a book only for the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unfallen, those who have no sorrow, who never fail, the whole, the happy—it would not find such a welcome wherever it goes in the world. So long as there are tears and sorrows, and broken hearts, and crushed hopes, and human failures, and lives burdened and bowed down, and spirits sad and despairing—so long will the Bible be full of inspiration, light, help, and strength—for earth's weary ones.

The God of the Bible is the God of those who have not succeeded. Wherever there is a weak, stumbling Christian, unable to walk alone—to him the divine heart goes out in tender thought and sympathy; and the divine hand is extended to support him, and keep him from falling. Whenever a Christian has fallen, and lies in defeat or failure—over him bends the heavenly Father in kindly pity, to raise him up and to help him to begin again. The God of the Bible is the God of the weak, the unsheltered. Their very helplessness of His children, is their strongest plea to the divine heart.

~  ~  ~  ~

The sweetest and the most comforting word

(Thomas Brooks, "The Transcendent Excellency of
 a Believer's Portion above All Earthly Portions")

The knowledge of a man's property in God—is the comfort
of comforts. Property makes every comfort, a pleasurable
comfort, a delightful comfort. When a man walks . . .
 in a fair meadow—and can write mine upon it,
 into a pleasant garden—and can write mine upon it,
 into a fruitful field—and can write mine upon it,
 into a stately habitation—and can write mine upon it,
 into a rich treasury—and can write mine upon it—
Oh, how does it please him! How does it delight him!

Of all words, the word mine is the sweetest and the
most comforting word
. Ah! when a man can look upon
God, and write "Mine!" when he can look upon God, and
say, "This God is my God forever and ever!" when he can
look upon God, and say, "This God is my portion!" when
he can look upon God, and say with Thomas, "My Lord and
God!"—how will all the springs of joy rise in his soul!

Oh, who can but rejoice—to be owner of that God who fills
heaven and earth with His fullness? Who can but rejoice—
to have Him for his portion—in having of whom, he has
all things—in having of whom, he can lack nothing?

The serious thoughts of our property in God will add
much sweet—to all our sweets! Yes, it will make every

When a man seriously thinks . . .
it is my God who cheers me with His presence,
it is my God who supports me with His power,
it is my God who guides me by His counsel,
it is my God who supplies me with His goodness,
it is my God who blesses all my blessings to me;
it is my God who afflicts me in love,
it is my God who has broken me in my estate,
it is my God who has sorely visited His child,
it is my God who has passed this sentence of death upon a friend,
it is my God who has thus cast me down—
how do these thoughts cheer up the spirit of a man, and make
every bitter—sweet; and every burden—light unto him.

O Christians! A clear sight of your property in God is . . .
  a pearl of great price,
  your paradise,
  manna in a wilderness,
  water out of a rock,
  a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night,
  a salve for every sore,
  a cure for every disease,
  a remedy against every malady,
  an anchor at sea, and a shield on shore,
  a star to guide you,
  a staff to support you,
  a sword to defend you,
  a pavilion to hide you,
  a fire to warm you,
  a banquet to refresh you,
  a city of refuge to secure you,
  a cordial to cheer you!

What more could you desire?