Grace Gems for JULY 2009

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Swimming down the stream of vanity and folly

(Letters of John Newton)

My dear wife,
What is all below—but vanity and vexation! There is no solid comfort, no abiding peace—but what we derive from God. Once we knew nothing of this. But the Lord directed our path in life, in subservience to the designs of His saving grace. How few of those with whom you were acquainted in your early years, have any right knowledge of God—or of themselves. We ourselves set out upon this dreadful plan; and, if God's mercy had not stopped us—we would have gone on, until we had perished with a lie in our own right hands! Admire the Lord's goodness in choosing you (as one of a thousand) to the knowledge of His truth—when you might have been still swimming down the stream of vanity and folly, with the thoughtless multitude!

The great lesson we have to learn, is to love and trust the Lord Jesus. We are slow scholars, but He can teach us effectually. Without Him, the very best of this life is insipid. His presence can make the worst things supportable. He can . . .
  forgive sin,
  impart grace,
  subdue corruption,
  silence unbelief,
  make us strong in our weakness, and
  do more than we can either ask or think!
And what He does—He does freely, without money and without price!

A humble spirit, sincere faith, heart-felt repentance, and every other grace and virtue—are all His gifts, which He bestows freely on the unworthy.

We have nothing, deserve nothing, can do nothing; but He is mighty to both save and to preserve all who come to Him in sincere faith and love.

May we grow daily in the knowledge of His grace, and views of His excellency. He will surely, though gradually, make Himself known to the heart that sincerely seeks Him. Everything else is vain, uncertain and changeable.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus—the author and perfecter of our faith!" Hebrews 12:2

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There is no such a word in the 'dictionary of faith'

(Letters of John Newton)

"Godliness with contentment is great gain." 1 Timothy 6:6

There is many a thing which the world calls 'disappointment', but there is no such a word in the 'dictionary of faith'. What to others are disappointments, are divine appointments to believers.

If two angels were sent down from heaven
—one to conduct an empire, and the other to sweep a street—they would feel no inclination to change employments.

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in need." Philippians 4:11-12

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A vulnerable heel

(Letters of John Newton)

"In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11

Satan knows knows how to suit his temptations to our personal tempers and circumstances. And if, like Achilles, you have a vulnerable heel—the old serpent will be sure to strike there!

"Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil." Ephesians 6:11

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I am glad that it is a mortal disease, from which I will not recover!

(Letters of John Newton)

"For to me, to live is Christ—and to die is gain!" Philippians 1:21

Dear friend,
You kindly inquire about my health. I am, through the grace of God—perfectly well. Yet, as healthy as I am—I labor under a growing disorder, for which there is no cure—I mean old age. I am glad that it is a mortal disease, from which I will not recover! I would not always want to live in such a poor world as this! I have a Scriptural hope of a glorious inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—reserved in heaven for me!

I am now in my seventy-second year, and have lived long enough. I have known something of the evils of life—and have had a large share of the good things of life. I know what the world can do—and what it cannot do. It can neither give nor take away that peace of God which passes all understanding; it cannot soothe a wounded conscience, nor enable us to meet death and eternity with comfort.

I have an abiding and abounding experience, that the Gospel is the "universal remedy" adapted to all our wants and all our woes; and a "suitable help" when every other help fails!

Your affectionate friend,
John Newton

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Wholly taken up with contriving methods of amusing themselves

(Letters of John Newton)

Concerning 'Handel's Messiah' John Newton wrote:

How shall we view the people of our times? I see the great mass of people involved in one common charge of high treason against the omnipotent God! They are already in a state of imprisonment, but have not yet been brought to their trial. The evidence against them is so plain, strong and pointed, that there is not the least doubt of their guilt being fully proved—and that nothing but a free pardon from God can preserve them from their deserved eternal punishment!

In this situation, it would seem in their best interest—to avail themselves of every expedient in their power for obtaining God's mercy. But they are entirely heedless of their imminent danger, and are wholly taken up with contriving methods of amusing themselves, that they may pass away the term of their imprisonment with as much cheerfulness as possible!

Among other resources, they call in the assistance of music—and they are particularly pleased with 'Handel's Messiah'. They choose to make . . .
  the solemnities of their impending judgment,
  the character of their Judge,
  the methods of His procedure, and
  the dreadful punishment to which they are exposed
—the themes of their musical entertainment!

And, as if they were quite unconcerned in the outcome—their attention is chiefly fixed upon the skill of the composer, in adapting the style of his music—to the very solemn subjects with which they are trifling!

The offended King, however, unasked by them, and out of His great mercy and compassion towards those who have no pity for themselves, sends them a gracious message. He assures them that He is unwilling that they should eternally perish; and that He requires, yes, He entreats them to submit to Him! He points out a way in which He offers them a free and a full pardon!

But, instead of taking a single step towards a compliance with His undeserved and gracious offer—they set His message to music! And this, together with a description of their present hopeless state, and of the fearful doom awaiting them if they continue obstinate, is sung for their entertainment, and accompanied with every kind of music!

Surely, if such a case as I have supposed, could be found in real life, though I might admire the musical taste of these people—I would certainly commiserate their stupidity and hardness of heart!

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If I should meet a child who has lost his penny

(Letters of John Newton)

"The Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone." 2 Timothy 2:24

John Newton's biographer writes, "When Mr. Newton moved to London—being of the most friendly and generous disposition, his house was open to Christians of all social ranks and church denominations. Here, like a father among his children, he used to entertain, encourage, and instruct his friends. Here also the poor, the afflicted, and the tempted found an asylum and a sympathy, which they could scarcely find, in an equal degree, anywhere else. Sometimes his whole day was so benevolently spent, that he was found both rejoicing with those who rejoiced—and literally weeping with those who wept!

"I remember to have heard him say, 'I see two heaps in this world—of human happiness and misery. If I can take but the smallest bit from one heap—and add to the other, I shall be content. As I am on my way home, if I should meet a child who has lost his penny—and if, by giving him another penny, I could wipe away his tears—I feel I have done something. I would be glad, indeed, to do greater things—but I will not neglect these smaller acts of kindness.'

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

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The rich followers of this poor Savior

(Letters of John Newton)

"There was a rich man who would dress in purple and fine linen, feasting lavishly every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table." Luke 16:19-21

However some professors may seem to differ from the world—they are not easily distinguished upon many other points; particularly at their meals. The people of the world can scarcely exceed them in the cost, care, profusion, and variety with which their tables are covered.

Perhaps there is no one circumstance in the history of our Savior so little laid to heart, so generally overlooked, by those who acknowledge him as their Master and their Lord—as that state of poverty to which He submitted, while upon earth. He had no home. He did not even have money to pay His tax. He was hungry when He went to the fig-tree. He wrought no miracle solely for His own relief; but He felt for the necessitous, and miraculously fed them by thousands; not with dainties, which would have been equally easy to Him—but, finding a few loaves and fish among them, He satisfied their needs with plain food. Yes, after His resurrection, when He had taken possession of all power and authority both in heaven and in earth—He condescended to dine with His disciples upon broiled fish and bread, which He likewise provided for them.

Alas! the rich followers of this poor Savior have more reason to be ashamed of . . .
  their gorgeous apparel,
  their fine houses,
  their elegant furniture, and
  their sumptuous feastings
—than to value themselves upon such trifles!
They are unavoidable appendages to people in some situations; but, I believe, those who have drank deeply into our Lord's spirit, account them rather burdens than benefits!

We must be watchful of that sinful, shameful conformity to the world, which spreads like a gangrene, which is the reproach of the gospel, and threatens the utter extinction of vital religion in multitudes who profess it.

"In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him—Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire!" Luke 16:23-24

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If I were not so poor, so sick, so foolish

(Letters of John Newton)

May 31, 1775
My dear friend,
You ask how I am—but I know not what answer to give. My experience is made up of enigmas—but the sum and solution of all is, "That I am a vile creature—but I have a good and gracious Savior!"

He has chosen me—and through His rich grace—I have chosen Him! There is a union between Him and my soul, which shall never be broken, because He has undertaken for both parts—that He will never forsake me, and that I shall never forsake Him. Oh, I like those royal, sovereign words, "I will," and "they shall."

"I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts—that they shall not depart from Me!" Jeremiah 32:40

How sweetly are they suited to the long experience He has given me of my own weakness, and the power and subtlety of Satan! If my spiritual conflicts terminate in victory—it must be owing to His own arm, and for His own name's sake. For I in myself have neither strength nor plea. If I were not so poor, so sick, so foolish—the power, skill, riches, wisdom and mercy of my Physician, Shepherd, and Savior—would not be so signally illustrated in my own case! Upon this account, instead of complaining, we may glory in our infirmities. Oh, it is pleasant to be deeply indebted to Him, to find Him, and own Him, all in all
Our Husband, Shepherd, Brother, Friend,
Our Guide, and Guard, our Way, and End!

"Christ is all!" Colossians 3:11

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What a happy state we are in!

(Letters of John Newton)

My dear wife,
I hope you will make good use of the Bible, and throne of grace, to preserve you from being infected by the spirit of the world. Ah! what a poor vain thing is the world! We have both found it so at times, (though we once loved it,) and shall find it so again. May the Lord keep us alert to a sense of its vanity!

Your recent sickness and near prospect of death, force upon your mind a conviction of the littleness and vanity of a worldly life. But there is a more pleasing way of learning this lesson, if we pay due attention to the Word of God, and pray for the light of His countenance. If He is pleased to make His face to shine upon us—all that the world can offer to bribe and tempt us, will appear insignificant and trivial as the sports of children!

What a happy state we are in! We have . . .
  peace with God, by Jesus Christ;
  liberty of access to the throne of grace;
  a saving interest in all God's promises;
  a sure Guide along the way; and
  a glorious inheritance at our journey's end!
These things were once hidden from us! We were so blinded by the god of this world—that we could look no farther than the present life! But, even then, the Lord looked upon us with an eye of mercy. He led us on, gradually, by a way which we knew not—to bring us into the paths of eternal peace.

Though death will eventually part us—we shall soon meet again—to part no more! to be forever with the Lord; to join in an eternal song to Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood! Then all tears shall be wiped from our eyes—and we shall weep no more forever!

"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

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Old age is creeping in upon us!

(Letters of John Newton)

"For this God is our God for ever and ever! He will be our guide even unto death!" Psalm 48:14

August 6, 1785
My dear wife,
The Lord has preserved us through a long course of years, and in different situations, from various calamities which have overtaken others. Our obligations to thankfulness are singular and numerous.

Tell our niece Eliza that I love her very dearly. She would soon be well—if I could make her so. But she is in better hands than mine! I have a comfortable hope that her illness has been, and will be, sanctified to an end far more desirable than health or life itself. Therefore I leave her to the wise and merciful direction of the Lord, who loves her better than I can.

May the Lord bless this little separation to quicken us to mutual prayer, and to lead us to a thankful review of the mercy and goodness which have followed us through the many years we have been united.

How many changes have we seen!

Under how many trials have we been supported!

How many deliverances have we known!

How many comforts have we enjoyed!

Especially, what great advantages have we possessed, in knowing those things which pertain to our everlasting peace!

The years we have passed together—will return no more. The afflictions are gone, the pleasures likewise are gone, forever. The longer we live, such pleasures as this world can afford, will, more and more, lose their power of pleasing. Only our love, I trust, will exist and flourish to the end of life—yes, beyond it! It will always be a truth, that the Lord, in giving you to me—gave me the best temporal desire of my heart. But the shadows of the evening advance. Old age is creeping in upon us, and the days are approaching when we shall have no pleasure—but what we can derive from the good Word of God, and the consolations of his Holy Spirit. These, if we are favored with them, will sufficiently compensate for the abatement, or the loss, of all the rest. The streams may run dry—but the fountain of living waters will always flow! May His presence be near our hearts—and then all will be well.

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He became sick on Saturday—and died on Monday!

(Letters of John Newton)

Dear friend,
Two people who were well the day you left us—have since died. One of them has already been buried—he was a poor ungodly creature, suddenly cut off in the prime of life! The other man was young, jovial, jesting and thoughtless. He became sick on Saturday—and died on Monday!

Oh, my friend, what do we owe to the grace of God—that we were not cut off in the days of our ignorance—as so many others have been!

Blessed be God for Jesus Christ—He is exalted to "save to the uttermost!" That word 'uttermost' has an extensive meaning—it includes a conquest over all difficulties, and a supply of all that is necessary! How totally, and how often, would I have been lost—had not Jesus engaged to save me to the uttermost! And many a time I would have given up all hope—but for that text, "He is able to save to the uttermost!" "To the uttermost" reaches to all possible circumstances. He can . . .
  enlighten the most ignorant,
  soften the most obdurate,
  support the most tempted,
  comfort the most distressed,
  pardon the most guilty!

Oh, may His precious name be engraved upon our hearts, and sound sweeter than music to our ears—for He has loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and will save us to the uttermost—in defiance of . . .
  all our sins,
  all our fears and
  all our enemies!

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If every man was compelled to speak all that he thinks

John Newton, "The Deceitfulness of the Heart"

"The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I know! I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve." Jeremiah 17:9-10

The heart, with all its deceitful and wicked workings—is incessantly under Divine inspection and examination! The Lord searches the heart—He traces and investigates, the inmost principles of our souls and their motives, with the utmost exactness!

To form a more just idea of this scrutiny, let us ask ourselves how we could bear to be compelled to declare aloud, in full company—every thought, wish and desire which pass through our minds—with no exception! People, if they were brought to this trial, would rather choose to die than comply with it!

If every man was compelled to speak all that he thinks—there would be an end of human society; and man would no more venture to dwell with man, than with tigers and bears!

We know what mischief one ungoverned tongue may sometimes occasion. But the tongue can do no evil, any farther than as it is an instrument of disclosing the hidden things of the heart—yet it is but a small part of these, that the worst tongue is capable of disclosing! What then would be the case, if all our hearts were open—and all our evil thoughts, motives and desires known to one another! What a mixture of confusion, defiance, shame, rage, fear, and contempt—would overspread every countenance!

And yet, we are thus exposed to the searching eye of a pure and holy God! The Lord knows the thoughts of man's heart, that they are vain. He long ago declared the result of His examination, "God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth; and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually!" Thus, we see how vile and hateful our hearts must appear—in the sight of a heart-searching God!

And consider that the Lord does not observe the heart of man with the indifference of a mere spectator—but as an impartial and inflexible Judge! "I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve!" Alas! Is it not sufficient to fill our souls with dread—that He sits as Judge, not only upon outward actions, but He examines the very thoughts and intents of the heart! Can any of us stand under such a trial?

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account!" Hebrews 4:13

This is a most uncomfortable doctrine indeed—were there no remedy provided! "The blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin!" 1 John 1:7

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(Editor's note: We have posted John Newton's superb article, "A Guide to Godly Disputation". Many believers today are involved in harsh debates in online chat rooms, forums, etc. In light of this regrettable tendency, we are posting this five page article. Please forward this on to your pastors and others, who would like to know the Biblical perspective on "Christian controversy".)

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I am still sadly deficient in practice!

(Letters of John Newton)

Who that had seen me as a slave in Africa, could have expected what has since taken place! How unworthy am I of all that I have received—and most unworthy of the honor of preaching the Gospel, which I too long despised and blasphemed! The language of Psalm 40:5 suits my soul well, "Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders You have done. The things You planned for us no one can recount to You! Were I to speak and tell of them—they would be too many to declare!" There is no end to the inventory of my mercies! May He who has given so much to me, and done so much for me—add the crowning mercy of a thankful heart! Though I can talk of thankfulness, I feel much insensibility and hardness of heart; but, I know that, while sin dwells in me, it will have such effects.

Alas! though I know in theory what a Christian should beI am still sadly deficient in practice! I am a poor creature, and see much to be ashamed of every day, and in every circumstance. Yet, though sin will distress—it cannot condemn, those who believe in Jesus! "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!" Romans 8:1

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Those mistakes, blemishes and faults in others

(Letters of John Newton)

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." Romans 15:7

The Christian, especially he who is advanced and established in the life of faith, has a fervent zeal for God—for the honor of His Name, His Word and His Gospel. The honest warmth of zeal which he feels, when God's Word is broken, His Gospel is despised, and when the great and glorious Name of the Lord his God is profaned, would, by the occasion of his infirmities, often degenerate into anger or contempt towards those who error—if he was under the influence of zeal alone.

But his zeal is blended with benevolence and humility; it is softened by a consciousness of his own frailty and fallibility. He is aware, that his knowledge is very limited in itself, and very faint in its transforming power in his own life; that his attainments are weak and few, compared with his deficiencies; that his gratitude is very disproportionate to his obligations; and that his obedience is unspeakably short of conformity to his prescribed rule; that he has nothing but what he has received, and has received nothing but what, in a greater or less degree, he has either misapplied or misimproved. He is, therefore, a debtor to the mercy of God—and lives upon His multiplied forgiveness.

The Christian also makes the gracious conduct of the Lord towards himself—a pattern for his own conduct towards his fellow-worms. He cannot boast of himself—nor is he anxious to censure others. He considers himself, lest he also fall. And thus he learns tenderness and compassion to others, and to bear patiently with those mistakes, blemishes and faults in otherswhich once belonged to his own character; and from which, as yet, he is but imperfectly freed.

He therefore acts in character, as the follower of Him who was compassionate towards the infirmities and mistakes of His disciples, and taught them gradually, as they were able to bear it—and not everything at once.

But then, the same considerations which inspire him with meekness and gentleness towards those who oppose the truth—strengthen his regard for the truth itself, and his conviction of its importance. For the sake of peace, which he loves and cultivates—he accommodates himself, as far as he lawfully can, to the weaknesses and mistakes of other sincere Christians; though he is thereby exposed to be censured by 'bigots' of all parties, who deem him flexible and wavering, like a reed shaken with the wind.

But there are other fundamental points, essential to the Gospel, which are the foundations of his hope, and the sources of his joy. For his firm attachment to these, he is content to be treated as a 'bigot' himself! For here he is immovable as an iron pillar; nor can either the fear or the favor of man prevail on him to yield the truth of the Gospel, no not for an hour! (Galatians 2:5). Here his judgment is fixed; and he expresses it in simple and unequivocal language, so as not to leave either friends or enemies in suspense, concerning the side which he has chosen, or the cause which is nearest to his heart.

Knowing that the Gospel is the wisdom and power of God, and the only possible means by which fallen man can obtain peace with God—he most cordially embraces and avows it. Far from being ashamed of it—he esteems it his glory. He preaches Christ Jesus, and Him crucified. He disdains the thought of distorting, disguising, or softening the great doctrines of the grace of God, to render them more palatable to the depraved taste of the times (2 Corinthians 4:2). And he will no more encounter the errors and corrupt maxims and practices of the world, with any weapon but the truth as it is in Jesus—than he would venture to fight an enraged tiger with a paper sword!

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A weak, defenseless, foolish creature!

(John Newton, "The Great Shepherd")

"He will feed His flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young." Isaiah 40:11

Our Lord expressly calls Himself the "good Shepherd of the sheep", and the apostle Peter calls Him the "chief Shepherd." (John 10, 1 Peter 5:4)

With respect to power and authority, He is the chief, and, indeed, the sole Shepherd. The eyes of all His people are upon Him—and His watchful eye is upon and over all His flock. None but an omnipotent and omnipresent Shepherd can relieve all the necessities of all of His people, in all places, in the same moment, and be equally near and attentive to each one! Such is our great Shepherd! He is eminently the good Shepherd also, for He laid down His life for His sheep, and has redeemed them by His own blood.

This great and good Shepherd has a flock, whom He loved from eternity, and whom having once loved—He will love them to the end! (John 13:1). He humbled Himself for their sakes, submitted to partake of their nature and their sorrows, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He died for His sheep, "the just for the unjust," to redeem them from the curse of the law, from the guilt and dominion of sin, from the power of Satan—and to bring them to God!

They all, by nature, had "gone astray, every one to his own way;" but having thus bought them with His blood, in His own appointed time—He seeks, finds and restores His sheep! By the power of His Word and Spirit, He makes Himself known to their hearts, causes them to hear and understand His voice, and guides them into His fold! They are then under His immediate protection and government.

Considered as individuals, they are fitly described by the name of "sheep". A sheep is a weak, defenseless, foolish creature; prone to wander, and can seldom return of its own accord. A sheep has neither strength to fight with the wolf, nor speed to escape from it; nor has a sheep the foresight of the ant, to provide its own sustenance.

Such is our character, and our situation!
We are . . .
  unable to take care of ourselves,
  prone to wander from our resting-place,
  exposed to enemies which we can neither escape nor withstand,
  without any resource in ourselves, and
  taught, by daily experience, the insufficiency of everything around us.

Yet, if Jesus is our Shepherd, as weak and helpless as we are—we may say with David, "The Lord is my Shepherd—I have everything I need! Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever!" Every sheep has an inheritance reserved for them in heaven, (1 Peter 1:4-5) and they shall be safely kept, while they are sojourners upon earth, for the Shepherd of Israel is their keeper.

The Good Shepherd cares for His flock. Not the slightest circumstance in their concerns, escapes His notice. When they are ready to faint, borne down with heavy exercises of mind, wearied with temptations, dry and disconsolate in their hearts—He seasonably revives them. Nor are they in affliction without a needs-be for it. All His dispensations towards them are medicinal, designed to correct, or to restrain, or to cure—the maladies of their souls. And they are all adjusted, by His wisdom and tenderness, to what they can bear, and to what their case requires.

The Good Shepherd is represented as counting their sighs, putting their tears into His bottle, recording their sorrows in His book of remembrance; and as being "able to sympathize with our weaknesses".

There are lambs among His flock, and for these He expresses a special tenderness. "He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart." Though they are weaklings, they shall not be left behind. If a poor lamb is weary, and unable to keep up with the flock, He shall carry it. These are new converts in the Lord's family—they are, as yet, weak, unsettled and inexperienced. Almost every day brings them into a new and untried situation. They often meet with opposition and discouragement. What would become of them in such circumstances, if their faithful Shepherd had not promised that "He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart!"

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He is my Beloved, my Shepherd, my Savior and my Husband!

(Letters of John Newton)

The life of faith is a happy life. Though it is attended with conflicts—there is an assurance of victory. If we sometimes get a wound—there is healing balm near at hand. If we seem to fall—we are raised again. And, if tribulations abound—then consolations shall much more abound. Is it not happiness to have . . .
  an infallible Guide,
  an invincible Guard,
  an Almighty Friend?

It is bliss, to be able to say of the Maker of heaven and earth, "He is my Beloved, my Shepherd, my Savior and my Husband!"

Oh, the peace which flows from believing that all the events in which we are concerned, are under His immediate disposal; that the very hairs of our head are all numbered; that He delights in our prosperity; that there is a need-be, if we are in heaviness; and that all things shall surely work together for our good!

How happy to have such views of His sovereignty, wisdom, love, and faithfulness—as will enable us to meet every difficult dispensation with submission; and to look through the painful changes of the present life—to that unchangeable inheritance to which the Lord is leading us, when all evil shall cease, and where our joy shall be perfect and eternal!

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A child of God in London!

(Letters of John Newton)

"You have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with Me, dressed in white, for they are worthy!" Revelation 3:4

July 7, 1778
My dear friend,
I don't know that I have anything to say worth the postage. But I do pity you in London! I see you melted with heat, stifled with smoke, stunned with noise!

Ah! what a change from the brooks, and woods, and birds, and green fields—to which you lately had access. Of old they used to retire into the deserts for contemplation and meditation.

If I was to set myself a moderate penance—it might be to spend two weeks in London in the height of summer! But I forget myself. I hope the Lord is with you—and then all places are alike. He makes the dungeon and the stocks comfortable, Acts 26. Yes, even a fiery furnace, and a lion's den! A child of God in London—seems to be in all these trying situations—but Jesus can preserve His own people. I honor the grace of God in those few (comparatively few, I fear,) who preserve their garments undefiled in that Sardis! The air is filled with spiritual infection; and it is by God's special power and miraculous preservation, that they enjoy spiritual health—when so many sicken and fall around them on the right hand and on the left. May the Lord preserve you from the various epidemic soul diseases which abound where you are—and may He be your comfort and defense from day to day.

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

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Let them alone!

(John Newton, "The imminent danger and the only sure resource of this nation")

"They are joined to their idols—let them alone!" Hosea 4:17

God sometimes leaves men to themselves—their furious passions are unchained, and they are given up, without restraint, to the lusts of their own evil hearts! A more dreadful judgment than this, cannot be inflicted on this side of hell.

Matthew Henry writes, "People go on in sin until the Lord says, 'Let them alone!' Then they receive no more warnings—and feel no more convictions. Satan takes full possession of them—and they ripen for destruction! It is a sad and sore judgment for any man—to be let alone in sin! Those who are not disturbed in their sin—will be destroyed for their sin! May we be kept from this dreadful state; for the wrath of God, like a strong tempest—will soon hurry all impenitent sinners into eternal ruin!"

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We have posted John Newton's outstanding sermon, "The imminent danger and the only sure resource of this nation". I cannot imagine a more fitting sermon for today's 'American Christians' than this. Please read this 10 page sermon sometime this weekend—and forward it on to every Christian you know!

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We can't even imagine!

(John Newton, "The present and future rest of true believers")

Our most enlarged ideas of our future glory, are faint and imperfect.  Who can describe or conceive the happiness of heaven? It will be as unlike as possible—to this wilderness of sin and sorrow where we are now confined. Here on earth, we are in a warfare—but then we shall enter into perfect rest. We now cry out, "O that I had wings like a dove! For then would I flee away and be at REST." (Psalm 55:6)

Heaven will be a rest from all SIN. No 'unclean thing' shall ever defile or disturb us forever! We shall be free from all indwelling sin. This alone would be worth dying for! Indwelling sin is a burden under which all the redeemed must groan, while they sojourn in the body.

And those who are most spiritual—are most deeply affected with shame, humiliation, and grief, on account of their sins—because they have the clearest views of the holiness of God, the spirituality of His law, the love of Christ, and the deceitfulness of their own hearts! Therefore the Apostle Paul, though perhaps in grace and talents, in zeal and usefulness, was distinguished above all saints—accounted himself the 'chief of sinners,' (1 Timothy 1:15) 'less than the least of all saints,' (Ephesians 3:8) and cried out under the disparity he felt between what he actually was—and what he desired to be, "O wretched man that I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin!" (Romans 7:24)

But we shall not carry this burden of sin beyond the grave. The hour of death shall free us from our inbred enemies (the inseparable attendants of this frail perishing nature) which now trouble us, and we shall see them no more forever!

Heaven will also be a rest from all outward AFFLICTIONS, which, though necessary, and, under the influence of Divine grace, are profitable—yet they are grievous to bear. But in heaven, they will no more be necessary. Where there is no sin—there shall be no sorrow. Then, "God will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever!" (Revelation 21:4)

Heaven will also be a rest from SATAN'S TEMPTATIONS. How busy is this adversary of God and man—what various arts and schemes he employs! What surprising force, what constant assiduity does he employ to ensnare, distress, and terrify those who by grace have escaped from his servitude! He says, like Pharaoh of old, "I will pursue, I will overtake, I will destroy!" (Exodus 15:9) He follows them to the last stage of life—but he can follow them no farther. The moment of their departure out of the body—shall place them beyond his reach forever!

Heaven will also be a rest from UNSATISFIED DESIRES. Here on earth, the more we drink—the more we thirst. But in heaven, our highest wishes shall be crowned and exceeded! We shall rest in full communion with Him whom we love; we shall no more complain of interruptions and imperfections, and a careless heart.

Here on earth—we obtain a little glimpse of His presence, when He brings us into His banqueting-house, and spreads His banner of love over us! And how gladly would we remain in such a desirable frame! How unwilling are we to 'come down' from the mount! But these pleasing and holy seasons are quickly ended, and often give place to some sudden unexpected trial, which robs us of all that sweetness in which we lately rejoiced. But when we ascend the holy hill of God above—we shall never again 'come down'! We shall be forever with the Lord, never offend Him, and never be separated from Him again! "I will see Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be fully satisfied with Your presence!" (Psalm 17:15)

Here on earth—we find a mixture of evil in our most holy moments! When we approach nearest to God, we have the liveliest sense of our defilement, and how much we fall short in every branch of duty, and in every temper of our hearts. But when we shall see Jesus as He is—we shall be fully transformed into His image, and be perfectly like Him!

"Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when He comes—we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is!" 1 John 3:2

"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

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We have posted John Newton's most comforting 6 page sermon, "The present and future rest of true believers".

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The more vile we are in our own eyes

(Letters of John Newton)

The more vile we are in our own eyes,

the more precious Christ will be to us!

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As we pass along the miry paths of life

(Henry Law, "Family Prayers")

O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens. From Your high throne behold with gracious eye—Your humble servants. We would not cross the threshold of this day, without committing ourselves, our souls and bodies, all our concerns, and all our friends—to Your guardian care. We know that we are not our own; we desire to be wholly Yours. Watch over us, keep us, guide us, direct us, sanctify us, and bless us. Incline our hearts to delight in Your holy ways.

As the potter frames the clay
—may You mold us wholly into the blessed image of Jesus! Make us vessels of honor, fitted for Your service. May our lips, as well-tuned harps, sound the sweet melody of Your heavenly praise. May all around take knowledge of us—that we have been much with Jesus—that we are dead to earthly vanities—crucified with Christ—yet living by Your Spirit—trampling the world beneath our spurning feet—having no conformity to its lying vanities—but entirely transformed by the renewing of our minds—clad in the whole armor of God—shining as lights in the dark world—and having "holiness to the Lord" conspicuous on our brow!

We do not know with what matters, we may be intermingled with this day. Let no evil soil our hands. Help us, as we pass along the miry paths of life—to keep our garments pure from all spot and stain. While transacting needful concerns, may our affections be high in heaven with You. As the flame tends upward, so may the fire of heavenly love in our souls, kindled and fanned by Your Holy Spirit—be ever ascending in brighter and purer blaze!

Keep our gaze immovably fixed, not on the things which are seen—but on the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal—but the things which are unseen are eternal. Open our eyes to see "emptiness, fragility and mockery" inscribed on all earth's vanities! They cannot satisfy! As a shadow—they depart and flee away! While we grasp them—they are gone! May we view all things in the 'mirror of eternity!'

Impress on us the solemn truth, that in a little while, "the heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare!" May we move through this world, with one aspiration ever swelling within our hearts, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"

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We meekly knock at mercy's gate

Henry Law, "Family Prayers")

"All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind!" Isaiah 64:6

Holy Father, Almighty God,
We feel our weakness, our ignorance, our deep corruptions. We meekly knock at mercy's gate. Regard us in tender love—for Jesus' sake. Bend down Your ear—and grant Your smile.

We are blind—be our light.

We are ignorant—be our wisdom.

We are steeped in selfishness—pluck all SELF out of us.

In the deep sense of our guilt—we fly for refuge into the wounded side of Jesus! Be merciful, be merciful unto us—whose only hope is in Your unfailing mercy.

Our sins rise higher than the heavens—but Your merits in our behalf surpass the very heaven of heavens!

Our unrighteousness would weigh us down to hell—but Your glorious righteousness exalts us to Your heavenly throne!

All things in us call for our damnation—but all things in You demand our forgiveness.

We appeal, then, from Your throne of perfect justice—to Your throne of boundless grace!

Blessed Jesus, we hide ourselves in the sure covert of Your wrath-appeasing wounds!

Grant us to hear Your voice assuring us: that by Your stripes we are healed; that You have been bruised for our iniquities; that You have been made sin for us—that we might have Your divine righteousness; and that all our vile and grievous iniquities, are forgiven and buried in the ocean of Your sin-concealing blood!

We are guilty—yet pardoned!

We are lost in ourselves—yet fully saved in You!

Enable us to cling firmly to Your cross—even as we now seek safety and repose beneath its sin-atoning shelter!

Let floods of sustaining grace from Your inexhaustible treasury, enrich our poor and weary souls.

If the enemy approaches, quicken our steps to flee into the wounds of Jesus as our sure refuge! Sheltered in the ark of safety, may we cease to tremble at all alarms. May the good Shepherd lead us this day into the green pastures of His refreshing Word, and cause us to lie down beside the rivers of His divine comforts.

These prayers we humbly offer in the name of Jesus Christ, and trusting only in His saving merits. Amen.

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The Lord preserves His people

(Letters of John Newton)

March 1, 1769
Dear madam,
Through grace, I can say, that, as I never saw more of my own vileness—so I never saw Jesus more precious and desirable; or was more clearly sensible of the vanity of everything without Him, than I have of late. "None but Jesus!" is my motto. All wisdom, righteousness, holiness and happiness, which does not spring from and center in Him—I renounce!

The heart is deceitful,
the world is ensnaring,
the enemy is subtle and powerful.
But we know Him who has said, "My grace is sufficient for you!" He is able to keep us from falling, in every circumstance and situation to which His providence calls us.

The Lord preserves His people—by putting His fear in their hearts, by making them sensible of their dangers, and drawing them to come boldly to His throne of grace, that they may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need.

Our daily prayer should be, "Hold me up—and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

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(John MacDuff, "The Rainbow in the Clouds")

"The Lord reigns!" Psalm 93:1

No rainbow of promise in the "dark and cloudy day" shines more radiantly than this. God, my God, the God who gave Jesus—orders all events, and overrules all for my good! "When I," says He, "send clouds over the earth." He has no wish to conceal the hand which shadows for a time, earth’s brightest prospects. It is He alike who "brings the cloud," who brings us into it, and in mercy leads us through it! His kingdom rules over all. "The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." He puts the burden on, and keeps it on, and at His own time will remove it!

Beware of brooding over second causes. It is the worst form of atheism! When our most fondly cherished gourds are smitten; our fairest flowers lie withered in our bosom; this is the silencer of all reflections, "The Lord prepared the worm!" When the temple of the soul is smitten with lightning, and its pillars rent: "The Lord is in His holy temple!" Accident, chance, fate, destiny, have no place in the Christian’s creed. He is no unpiloted vessel left to the mercy of the storm. "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters!" There is but one explanation of all that befalls him: "I will be mute, I will open not my mouth, because You O Lord, did it."

Death seems to the human spectator, the most capricious and severe of all events. But not so. The keys of death and Hades are in the hands of this same reigning God! Look at the parable of the fig-tree. Its prolonged existence, or its doom as a cumberer, forms matter of conversation in Heaven; the axe cannot be laid at its root—until God gives the warrant! How much more will this be the case regarding every "Tree of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord?" It will be watched over by Him, "Lest anyone hurt it." Every trembling fiber—He will care for; and if made early to succumb to the inevitable stroke, "Who knows not in all these things, that the hand of the Lord has wrought this." Be it mine to merge my own will in His; not to cavil at His ways, or to seek to have one jot or tittle of His will altered; but to lie passive in His hands; to take the bitter as well as the sweet, knowing that the bitter cup is mingled by One who loves me too well to add one ingredient that might have been spared!

Who can wonder that the sweet Psalmist of Israel should seek, as he sees the rainbow spanning the lower heavens, to fix the arrested gaze of a whole world on the softened tints of this Rainbow of Comfort, "The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice!"

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(John MacDuff, "The Rainbow in the Clouds")

"Let the LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant." Psalm 35:27

What is "prosperity"? Is it threads of life weaved into a bright outcome? a full cup? ample riches? worldly applause? an unbroken circle? No, these are often a snare; received without gratitude; dimming the soul to its nobler destinies. Often spiritually, it rather means God taking us by the hand into the lowly Valleys of Humiliation; leading us as He did His servant Job of old—out of his sheep, oxen, camels, health, wealth, children; in order that we may be brought before Him in the dust, and say, "Blessed be His holy name!"

Yes! The very reverse of what is known in the world as Prosperity forms the background on which the Rainbow of Promise is seen. God smiles on us through these rainbows and teardrops of sorrows! He loves us too well. He has too great an interest in our spiritual welfare to permit us to live on in what is misnamed "Prosperity." When He sees duties languidly performed, or coldly neglected; the heart deadened, and love to Himself congealed by the absorbing power of the present world, He puts a thorn in our nest to drive us to the wing, and prevent our being grovelers forever!

I may not be able now to understand the mystery of these dealings. I may be asking through the tears, "Why this unkind arrest on my earthly happiness? Why so premature a lopping of my boughs of promise? Why such a speedy withering of my most cherished gourd?" The answer is plain. It is your soul’s prosperity He has in view. Believe it, your true Ebenezers will yet be raised close by your Zarephaths (the place of furnace).

His afflictions are no arbitrary appointments. There is righteous necessity in all He does. As He lays His chastening hand upon you, and leads you by ways you know not, and which you never would have chosen—He whispers the gentle accents in your ear, 'Beloved I wish above all things that you would prosper, and be in health.'

Rest in the quiet consciousness that all is well. Murmur at nothing which brings you nearer His own loving Presence. Be thankful for your very cares, because you can confidently cast them all upon Him. He has your temporal and eternal "prosperity" too much at heart to appoint one superfluous pang, one needless stroke. Commit therefore, all that concerns you to His keeping, and leave it there!

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Calvary's stupendous scene!

Henry Law, "Family Prayers")

"It is finished!" John 19:30

Holy Father,
The heavens, the earth, and all that are therein, proclaim Your wondrous goodness. But Your love shines forth in surpassing luster—at Calvary's stupendous scene! At the cross we see Your heavenly grace removing the tremendous load of our iniquities from us—and heaping them all on Your beloved Son! We see Him standing as a transgressor in our place. We see Him, who knew no sin—made sin for us. We see Him, the all-holy One—accounted as a curse! We see Your justice leading the spotless Lamb to the slaughter—and rigorously demanding the full payment for all our sin-debt!

The avenging sword enters into His very heart!

The stream of sin-atoning blood flows!

Full recompense is meted out!

Divine Justice can ask no more.

Charges against us are all obliterated.

The debt-book is cancelled. If our sins are searched for, they cannot now be found!

The spotless Lamb is devoted to all anguish—that we may be inheritors of all joy.

He is cast off from You—that we may be brought near to You.

He is treated as Your enemy—that we may be welcomed as Your friends.

He is deserted by You—that we may be received to Your everlasting favor.

He is surrendered to hell's worst—that we may attain heaven's best.

He is stripped—that we may be clothed.

He is wounded—that we may be healed.

He thirsts—that we may drink of the water of life.

He is in darkness—that we may rejoice in the glories of eternal day.

He weeps—that all tears may be forever wiped from our eyes.

He groans—that we may sing an endless song.

He endures all pain—that we may rejoice in unfading health.

He wears a crown of thorns—that we may receive a crown of glory.

He bows His head in death—that we may lift up our head in heaven.

He bears earth's reproach—that we may receive heaven's welcome.

He is tormented—that we may be comforted.

He is made all shame—that we may inherit all glory.

His eyes are dark in death—that our eyes may gaze on unclouded brightness.

He dies—that we may escape the second death, and live forevermore.

O gracious Father, thus You spare not Your only begotten Son—that You may spare us! All our sins are cast behind Your back—all are buried in the ocean of reconciling blood!

We can only fall low and cry, "We adore You for the gift of Your Son as our substitute; for the death of Your Son as our ransom!"

Blessed Jesus, we have been standing beneath Your cross. The sight constrains us to the deepest humility. Our vile iniquity—is the cause of Your shame! We cannot fathom the sins which plunged You into such depths of unutterable woe! We cannot estimate the burden of wrath which thus crushed You. We cannot deny that the sins which stain us are evils of infinite malignity, since nothing but Your blood could wash away their guilty stains! As transgressors, we abhor ourselves before You.

While we humbly gaze—may we anxiously ponder, "Why, blessed Jesus—why did You thus die?" May His precious answer sound through every part of our hearts and souls,
"I die—that you may not die.
I lay down My life—to purchase your life.
I present Myself as a sin-offering to—expiate all your sins.
My blood thus streams—to wash out all your guilt.
The fountain is thus opened in My side—to cleanse you from all impurity. I thus endure your curse. I thus pay your debt. I thus rescue you from all condemnation. I thus satisfy divine justice for you!"

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"And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." Isaiah 32:2

"A man!" This first word forms the key to the precious verse, it is "The man Christ Jesus!" And when and where is He thus revealed to His people as their hiding place and shelter? It is, as with Elijah of old, in the whirlwind and the storm! Amid the world’s bright sunshine, in the tranquil skies, uninterrupted prosperity, they seek Him not! But when the clouds begin to gather, and the sun is swept from the firmament; when they have learned the insecurity of all earthly refuges, then the prayer ascends, "My heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." The Earthquake, the Tempest, the Fire, and then "the still small voice!"

Sorrowing believer, you have indeed a Sure Refuge; a Strong Tower which cannot be shaken! The world has its refuges too. But they cannot stand the day of trial. The wind passes over them and they are gone! But the louder the hurricane, the more will it endear to you the abiding Shelter; the deeper in the clefts of this ROCK—the safer you are.

A Man! Delight often to dwell on the humanity of Jesus; you have a brother on the throne! a "living Kinsman," one who "knows your frame," and who, by the exquisite sympathies of His exalted human nature—can gauge, as none other can, the depths of your sorrow.

An earthly friend comes to you in trial, he has never known bereavement, and therefore can not enter into your woe. Another comes; he has been again and again in the furnace; his heart has been touched tenderly as your own; he can feelingly sympathize with you. It is so with Jesus. As man, He has passed through every experience of suffering. He has Himself known the storm from which He offers you shelter. He is the ROCK, yet "a Man!" "Mighty to save;" yet mighty to compassionate! "Emmanuel, God with us!" He is like the rainbow in the material heavens, which, while its summit is in the clouds, each base of its arc rests on earth; or like the oak which, while it can wrestle with the tempest, yet invites the most feeble bird to fold its wing on its branches!

Mourner! Go sit under your "Beloved's shadow with great delight." Hide in His wounded side! The hand which was pierced for you—is ordering your trials; He who roused the storm is the hiding place from it; and as you journey on, gloomy clouds mustering around you, let this bright rainbow of comfort ever arrest your drooping eye; "For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way... since He Himself has gone through suffering and temptation, He is able to help us when we are being tempted."

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We confess with shame

Henry Law, "Family Prayers")

O Eternal God, who alone has immortality, ever living in glory, unchanged, unchangeable, bend down Your ear to hear. We confess with shame—past hours wasted in unprofitable reading and other worldly entertainments. If future days are ours—guide us that no more time be squandered in vain pursuits.

Impress on our minds . . .
  the shortness of time,
  the work to be done,
  the account to be rendered,
  the nearness of eternity,
  the misery of lamps expired, when the voice of the Bridegroom is heard.

May we never forget that . . .
  Your eye always sees us;
  Your ear always hears us;
  Your recording hand commits all to a book of remembrance;
  all hidden works must be unveiled at the judgment day!

Above all things—may we seek Your favor!

Above all things—may we dread Your frown!

May Christ be the pulse of our hearts.

May He speak in every word of our lips.

May He shine in every step of our earthly walk.

Grant our requests, for His dear sake. Amen.

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The sword of Divine justice buried in His sinless heart!

Henry Law, "Family Prayers")

Holy Father,
We blush to lift up our eyes unto You, O God of all grace and love. Shame and confusion of face humble us to the very dust. Wherever You have been boundless in mercy—we have been abundant in sin! We cannot measure our ingratitude. We cannot estimate our vileness. Each day has added to our guilt. Each scene has witnessed our wicked hearts, our straying feet and our offending tongues. What is there in heaven or in earth, above, around, without, or within—which condemns us not? The sun condemns us, which has seen our mis-deeds; the darkness, too, which hides nothing from Your all-penetrating eye! The cruel accuser justly accuses us. Your righteous law, Your holy Word, our sin-soiled consciences, our public and our private hours—write dark things against us! We make no denial. We frame no excuse. We confess, Father, that we have sinned against heaven and before You—and are not worthy to be called Your sons!

But still we live! We live to fly as contrite penitents to Your extended arms! We know that You will not cast us off—for Jesus brings us near. You will not condemn us—for Your dear Son died in our place. You will not mark the mountains upon mountains of our sins—for the Savior has removed them all. His precious blood has washed out every crimson stain! His spotless robe of righteousness, covers all our deformities! We put it on by the hand of faith—and we rejoice that we are lovely in His precious loveliness, and beauteous in His matchless beauty.

Open widely the eyes of our faith, that we may see all our justly merited curse, expended on the faultless head of our precious sin-atoning Savior, and the sword of Divine justice buried in His sinless heart!

We come to You . . .
  clinging to His cross,
  sheltered by His side,
  hidden in His wounds,
  cleansed in His blood,
  covered by His spotless robe,
  beautified in His salvation!

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We have put together a fine selection of "CHOICE EXCERPTS" from Henry Law's "Family Prayers".

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How often do we mingle sulphur with our incense!

(Charles Spurgeon)

This is a strong expression—but most sadly true. When we offer prayer, is there not at times a sorrowful mixture of self-will, petulance, and impatience? Does not unbelief, which is quite as obnoxious as brimstone, too often spoil the sweet fragrance of our supplications? When we offer praise, is it all pure spices from the heavenly apothecary? Do not self-conceit and pride, frequently spoil the holy frankincense and myrrh? Alas! we fear that the charge must lie against us, and force us to a sorrowful confession!

As the priests of God, our whole life should be the presentation of holy incense unto God—and yet it is not so. The worldly ambitions and carnal lustings of our hearts, deteriorate and adulterate the spices of our lives! And Satan, with the sulphur of pride, ruins the delicate perfume of perfect consecration.

What astounding grace does the Lord display—in accepting our poor, imperfect offerings! What rich merit abides in our Lord Jesus! What sweet fragrance beyond expression dwells in Him—to drown and destroy our foul sulphurous offerings, and to make us accepted in the Beloved! Glory be unto our glorious High Priest, whose perfect life and sin-atoning death, is so sweet—that the Holy Judge is well pleased with us for His righteousness' sake—and accepts us in Him, even with our sulphurous incense!

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We commend our young to Your tenderest care

Henry Law, "Family Prayers")

We commend our young to Your tenderest care. How deep, how abiding are early impressions! While the soil is yet tender—may seeds of godliness be sown.

Before Satan with his legion stealthily creeps in,
before the world with its bewitching vanities allures,
before corrupt examples beckon to destruction's way
—do, O blessed Jesus, enter and win their first affections, and mold their pliant wills. Show them in life's dawn—Your beauty and Your glory, the peaceful charms of godly walk, and seal them by Your Spirit as Your own forever.

May Your Holy Spirit be the great teacher, to instruct them that Christ is the mine containing all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. May they early learn that the fear of the Lord is true wisdom, that to depart from evil is right understanding, and that to be brave for Christ is the noblest heroism.

Holy Father, turn not away from the desire of our hearts, humbly presented in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.