Grace Gems for JULY 2010

Grace Gems for JULY 2010


He never trusts 'the rod' out of His own hand!

(James Smith, "The Pastor's Evening Visit")

"The Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons! For what son is not disciplined by his father?" Hebrews 12:6-7

Christian! God is treating you as His own dear children . . .
  in what He bestows—and in what He withholds;
  in what you enjoy—and in what you suffer!

Our God has made you His children by adopting you into His family, and new-creating you by His Holy Spirit. He always . . .
  looks upon you as His children,
  loves you as His children,
  treats you as His children!

He will not GIVE you—what will harm you!

He will not PUT you—where you will be in danger!

He corrects you as His child, not in wrath—but in mercy.

He never trusts 'the rod' out of His own hand! Whatever is the MEANS of discipline—your Father is the AGENT! He works all things after the counsel of His own will.

You are at present 'under training'; you are being educated for eternity. The 'lessons' you have to learn—are for your benefit.
  Every loss,
  every cross,
  every disappointment,
  every pain—
is necessary!

Do you really believe this?

Do you recognize the hand of God in everything that befalls you?

Can you say with Job, "The Lord GAVE"—health, wealth, children, friends;
"and the Lord has TAKEN AWAY—blessed be the name of the Lord!"

Can you say with Eli,
"It is the Lord—let Him do what He thinks best!"


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He will carry the lambs in His arms,
holding them close to his heart!

(James Smith, "The Pastor's Evening Visit")

"Fear not, little flock!" Luke 12:32

The Savior's flock is small.
It exists in the harsh desert.
Enemies surround it.
His lambs, especially, are timid.

But He says, "Fear not, little flock!"

You are your Shepherd's care!

You are His property!

You are His delight!

He is always present with you!

He is omnipotent to defend you!

Every perfection of His divine nature is employed for you!

He has never lost one of His charge yet—and He never will!

It was said of Him by the prophet, "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

He gathers His sheep to His fold.
He feeds them in good pasture.
He restores them when they wander.

His CARE of them is incessant!

His LOVE to them passes knowledge!

The PROVISION He has made for them is suitable and abundant.

Beloved, let us know our Shepherd.

Let us listen to His voice.

Let us keep close to His side.

Let us feed and rest among His sheep.

Let us exercise confidence in His kindness and care.

Let us banish our fears, for why should we be alarmed?

Let us cast all our concerns and cares—upon the good Shepherd!


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The nest was destroyed, and the poor bird lay bleeding and exposed!

(James Smith, "The Pastor's Evening Visit")

"I thought: Surely I shall die in my nest!" Job 29:18

Job's nest was very comfortable—and appeared to be very secure. It was on high—and not to be easily reached. He knew that death could reach it—but he thought that nothing else would disturb it.
His conduct was consistent,
his conscience was quiet;
God was his Father, and
providence was his friend.

"I thought: Surely I shall die in my nest!"

But, alas! Suddenly a 'storm' arose—the nest was destroyed, and the poor bird lay bleeding and exposed!

No earthly nest is out of danger! Temporal comforts are only lent to us. The higher the tree in which we build—the more exposed to the whirlwind and the storm!

Here on earth—we have no continuing city. In one moment—our fine nest may be devastated! Let us therefore endeavor to leave our matters fully with the Lord—and learn to be content with His appointments.

We must die. But when, and where, and how—should be left with the Lord.

Five minutes after death—it will matter very little whether we died on a bed of down, in a luxurious mansion, and surrounded by kind friends—OR as a poor diseased beggar, dying alone in squalor!

Present comforts may all leave us, and our soft nest may be scattered to the winds—but nothing can disturb our salvation and future glory!

"These all died in faith—and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth!" Hebrews 11:13

"They were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a heavenly city for them!" Hebrews 11:16


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And when you feel weak—lean hard!

(James Smith, "The Pastor's Evening Visit")

"Who is this coming up from the wilderness—leaning upon her Beloved?" Song of Solomon 8:5

Jesus is the object of a believer's love.
To him—the world is a wilderness.
Heaven is his Father's house—and his home.
He is passing through the wilderness in company with Jesus.

He is represented as the bride leaning on her Beloved.
This is indicative of weakness in herself—and confidence in her Beloved.

He is her strength—as well as her guide.

He is her support—as well as the object of her affection.

She leans on Him—as well as converses with Him.

He supports her—as well as comforts her.

Believer, keep close to your Savior's side! Never leave Him while in this waste howling wilderness. Lean on Him! And when you feel weak—lean hard!

His strong arm is put forth to support your weak frame.
He will bear you up. He will lead you on.

The more you lean on Him—the more you will love Him!
The more you love Him—the closer you will cleave to Him!

Yield to His guidance,
trust in His love,
lean on His power,
walk by His side.

In His company—you are safe!

In communion with Him—you will be happy! Like the two disciples of old, your heart will be warmed, and you will be at the end of your journey before you are aware of it!

He is always at your side—so lean hard!

"Who is this coming up from the wilderness—leaning upon her Beloved?" Song of Solomon 8:5

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I am going to vomit you out of My mouth!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")

"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold—or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor coldI am going to vomit you out of My mouth!" Revelation 3:15-16

The Lord Jesus hates lukewarmness! He would rather we made no profession of religion at all—than to profess—and then not practice His precepts!

He loves to see His people zealous—and it is a shame to us, when we are dull and lifeless in His ways.

It is to be feared, that many professors do not realize that their 'indifference' is a sin! They think that having professed Christ, if they just attend to a few religious duties, and creep along in a certain religious course—that this is enough. They are never hot—and they do not really like to see others on fire for the Lord.

Professor of religion, Jesus says, "Be hot—or be cold!"
Be altogether a Christian—OR throw off your vain profession!
Do not wear the Christian name—only to dishonor it!

Professing Christian—are you hot, or cold—or lukewarm?


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Everyone had a home—but Him!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")

"Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests—but the Son of man has no place to lay His head!" Matthew 8:20

What an astonishing fact!

Here is the Creator of all things—without a home!

Here is the Ruler of the universe—without a habitation!

Here is the eternal, immortal King—more destitute than the birds of the air, or the beasts of the forest!

"Then each one went to his own home—but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives." John 7:53-8:1

Everyone had a home—but Him!

What brought Him into these circumstances?


Love for whom?

Love for sinners, the vilest, the basest of mankind!

Why did He stoop so low?

He became poor—that we might become rich!

He was without a poor cottage on earth—that we might possess a splendid mansion in heaven!

He was destitute in time—that we might possess a glorious portion in eternity!

O Jesus, how astonishing is Your love!

O my soul, admire, adore, and praise—the wondrous love of your beloved Lord!

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich—yet for your sakes He became poor; so that you through His poverty might become rich!" 2 Corinthians 8:9


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Our Maker becomes our Husband!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")

"As the bridegroom rejoices over his bride—so shall your God rejoice over you!" Isaiah 62:5

That God should save a sinner at all—is a surprising display of unmerited grace! But that He should bring that sinner into the closest possible relation to Himself, and rejoice over him—is indeed most astonishing! And yet it is most true! For our Maker becomes our Husband! And as the bridegroom rejoices over his bride—so our God rejoices over us!

He set His heart upon us!
He encircled us with His infinite love!

He determined to raise us to His glorious throne!
He purposed to make us one with Himself!
He sent His only begotten Son to redeem us!
He sent His Holy Spirit to regenerate us!
He intends to raise us from the dead, perfect in holiness, and robed with immortality!
He will present us before His glorious presence with exceeding joy!
"He will rejoice over us with singing!" What exquisite joy will this impart! Jehovah singing with joy over His ransomed and restored creatures, as though their salvation could increase or perfect His happiness!

Let us meditate on this glorious fact, and prepare for the stupendous event!

"Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" Revelation 19:9

"Come, I will show you the bride—the wife of the Lamb!" Revelation 21:9


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Behold, I am vile!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")

"Behold, I am vile!" Job 40:4

JOB did not always think so. While at a distance from God—he could boast, argue, and contend with God! But when brought into the presence of God's holiness—the contrast was so striking, that he sunk down in astonishment, clothed with shame, and filled with self-loathing!

The manifestation of God's glory to a sinner—always produces the same effect!

ISAIAH felt as Job did, and exclaimed, "Woe is me, for I am ruined! My eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!" Isaiah 6:5

Pride and self-righteousness can never live in God's presence!

The nearer to God—
  the more we discover our depravity,
  the more we loathe ourselves, and
  the more precious does the person and work of Jesus become!

Proud people have never been brought into God's presence!

Only clear, correct and humbling views of SELF—will make Jesus precious to us!

It is only as we see our own vileness—that we shall value the Savior's righteousness!


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My Father!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings")

"My Father!" Jeremiah 3:4

This is a child's cry!

It is full of meaning.

It is full of love.

It is full of comfort.

It is a title which the Lord loves to hear us use!

Lord, give us the Spirit of adoption this morning,
and let us see and feel, that we are Your children!

To whom will you repair in trouble?
To whom will you look in difficulty?
To whom will you cry in danger?
>From whom will you ask when in need?
Surely I hear you say, "My Father!"

Who speaks to you in the Bible?
Who tries you by His providence?
Who chastens you with His rod?
Who purifies and cleanses you?
Who humbles and reproves you?
Again you will say, "My Father!"

Who supports the world?
Who controls the nations?
Who chains up Satan?
Who comforts the believer?
Who pardons the backslider?
Again you reply, "My Father!"

Then I exhort you to . . .
  trust your Father's Word,
  abide in your Father's house,
  expect from your Father's hand,
  and say in every trial:
"I will arise and go to my Father!"


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Unless we are upheld by an invisible arm!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")

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

We need God's constant presence, power and grace.

Except He upholds us—we shall certainly fall.

We would have fallen before this—if God had not kept us!

We would fall every dayunless we are upheld by an invisible arm!

This day Satan may lay some snare for us!

This day our evil hearts may deceive us!

This day the world may lay some unexpected bait for us!

And unless the Holy Spirit . . .
  opens our eyes,
  gives us fresh supplies of grace, or
  holds us back by an invisible power
—we shall utterly fall!

"Hold me up—and I shall be safe!"

Let this be our daily prayer! It will never be unsuitable!


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What can strangers and travelers expect?

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")

"I am a stranger and sojourner!" Psalm 39:12

This world is not our rest.

Here we have no continuing city.

We are intended for another state.

Our journey lies through the world—but our home is beyond it.

We are here for a time to do good, and to prepare for another and a better state. Let us not then attempt to settle down as children at home, or say as Job did, "I shall die in my nest!" But let us daily move on, keeping the eye steadily fixed on the things which are eternal.

Nor let us wonder if we are annoyed, opposed and tried—for what can strangers and travelers expect? Certainly not to have everything smooth and easy!

Let us keep at a proper distance from the customs, pleasures and practices of the world! Let us beware lest its politics, speculations, and schemes, swallow us up!

We are not placed here to amass a fortune, or gain a name—but to glorify our Father who is in heaven.

"They confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth!" Hebrews 11:13

"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims—abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul!" 1 Peter 2:11


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The hiding place!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")

"A MAN will be as a hiding place from the wind,
 And a refuge from the tempest,
 As rivers of water in a dry place,
 As the shade of a massive rock in an arid land!"
     Isaiah 32:2

The present world is like a bleak and cheerless desert; the climate is very changeable, and we are exposed to piercing, cutting winds.

Sometimes dangerous errors,
sometimes deep afflictions,
sometimes soul-distressing trials,
like violent winds, blow upon us and fill us with alarm and dread!
At such times—a hiding place is necessary.

Jesus is our hiding place!

He will hide us from . . .
  the wrath of God,
  the rage of Hell, and
  the injurious effects of trials and troubles!

Beloved, are you in this hiding place?
If so, abide in it, for nowhere else will you find such safety, or enjoy such repose!

Hail, sovereign love which first began,
The scheme to rescue fallen man!
Hail, matchless, free, eternal grace,
Which gave my soul a hiding place!

Against the God who rules the sky,
I fought with hand uplifted high!
Despised the notion of His grace,
Too proud to seek a hiding place!

Enwrapt in thick Egyptian night,
And fond of darkness more than light!
Madly I ran the sinful race,
Secure without a hiding place!

But thus the eternal counsel ran:
"Almighty love—arrest that man!"
I felt the arrows of distress,
And found I had no hiding place!

Indignant Justice stood in view;
To Sinai's fiery mount I flew!
But Justice cried, with frowning face,
"This mountain is no hiding place!"

E'er long, a heavenly voice I heard,
And Mercy's angel soon appeared;
He led me on with gentle pace,
To Jesus as my hiding place!

Should sevenfold storms of thunder roll,
And shake the earth from pole to pole;
No thunder bolt could daunt my face,
For Jesus is my hiding place!

On Him almighty vengeance fell,
That would have sunk a world to hell!
He bore it for the chosen race,
And thus became their hiding place!

A few more rolling suns at most,
Shall land me on fair Canaan's coast;
Where I shall sing the song of grace,
And see my glorious Hiding Place!


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My Father's home

(James Smith, "The Better Land")

"Do not be troubled. There are many rooms in my Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am!" John 14:1-3

How familiar with Heaven—how well acquainted with that "better land" must Jesus be! He calls it "My Father's home!" Sweet view of our eternal residence!

Dying—is but 'going home!' Going home to our Father! Going to our Father's home!

And shall we fear this? Fear it! Can we do anything other than eagerly desire it? Do we not wish to go home and see our Father? We shall not be strangers there—so many of our Christian friends have gone home before us. And even if some of our loved ones are not there—we could not possibly feel unhappy—where JESUS is!

"I am leaving the world," said Jesus, "and am going to the Father!" Such should be our language, in the prospect of death. O that, with child-like simplicity, we could receive into our minds the testimony of God's Word! O that we could view death and Heaven—just as the Scriptures represent them! Where would our doubts and fears be then? What would become of our reluctance to leave the world then? Then, if we spoke of departed Christian loved ones—we would use similar language to that of Judah in reference to his younger brother Benjamin, "He is this day with our Father!" We would no longer talk of losing friends or relatives. Oh no! we should speak of them as being in our Father's house, or of being with our Father!

My soul, I charge you, in future to look to Heaven, simply as your Father's home!


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If only we could but read the writing!

(James Smith, "Our Father and Comforter")

"No one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this." 1 Thessalonians 3:3

Man is born to trouble—as the sparks fly upward. Affliction does not comes not forth from the dust—neither does trouble spring out of the ground. Trouble is the natural consequence of sin—and all trouble springs from this bitter root. But God makes our trouble—our medicine, and uses it for our present and everlasting welfare.

Our troubles are not the inflictions of an angry God—but the chastisements of a loving Father! He foresaw what we would be, and what would be necessary for us—and consequently He has appointed . . .
  the number,

  the nature, and
  the length of our troubles.

Every Christian has his 'cup of trials'—it is mixed by his Father's wisdom, and put into his hand by his Father's providence. He should therefore take it, endeavor to acquiesce in it, and say with Jesus, "The cup that My heavenly Father gives me—shall I not drink it?" Every trouble . . .
  comes from God's appointment,
  is intended to do us good, and
  will be overruled for our real welfare!

Every trial is labeled "LOVE"—if only we could but read the writing! And in every affliction God calls to us, saying, "Come near unto Me, My son—that I may bless you!"

Let us, then, draw near unto God, and show our trouble to Him!
Let us entreat him to sanctify it to us, that it may . . .
  wean us from earth,
  consecrate us to Jesus,
  and fit us for heaven!

All is love—which comes from the God of love!

"He is unchangeable; who can oppose Him? He does what He desires. He will certainly accomplish what He has decreed for me." Job 23:13-14


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Looking unto Jesus!

(James Smith, "
God, the Portion of His People")

''Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us—and let us run with patience the race that is set before us—looking unto Jesus!" Hebrews 12:1-2

The world is a race-course,
life is a race, and
every one of us are racers!
A mark is set up, at which we are to aim;
and a prize is promised to every overcomer.

But there are many difficulties in the way, and we have many weights hanging about us. Those difficulties must be mastered, and those weights must be laid aside.

We must run the race set before us with patience—keeping our eye on Jesus.
Jesus is our Example—we must copy Him.
Jesus is our Leader—we must follow Him.
Jesus is our Sovereign—we must submit to Him.
Jesus is our Savior—we must trust alone in Him.
We must look . . .
  to His blood—for pardon,
  to His righteousness—for justification,
  to His Spirit—for strength, and
  to His fullness—for all our supplies.

We must make use of Jesus . . .
  every day,
  every hour,
  every minute!

Christian, look to Jesus!
When discouraged—He will animate you!
When timid—He will embolden you!
When feeble—He will strengthen you!
When weary—He will stimulate you!
When dying—He will give you the victory!
Let your last look—be a look at Jesus!

No one ever looked to Him in vain. As every one who looked to the brazen serpent was healed—so is every one saved, sanctified, and sustained—who looks to Jesus! Look to Him for all you need—and from all you fear.

Keep the eye fixed on Jesus; doing so, you will . . .
  conquer the world,
  overcome Satan,
  reach the mark,
  obtain the prize!

''Those who look to Him for help—will be radiant with joy." Psalm 34:5


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The physician and the patient

(James Smith)

"Who heals all your diseases." Psalm 103:3

The Lord is the great Physician. He is especially the healer of the soul.

The patient is a believer.

The cause of all sorrow and suffering is sin.

The seat of the malady is in the heart.

The nature of the malady is most loathsome and afflictive.
It affects . . .
  the mind,
  the affections,
  the conscience,
  the will,
  yes the whole man! "Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. You are sick from head to foot—covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds!" Isaiah 1:5-6

We are all the subjects of this disease. We all suffer from it!

No one can heal us—but the Lord Jesus. He is the great Physician; to Him we may repair and be restored to health. To encourage you to do so, look at His qualifications:
  He is infinitely wise, tender and skillful.
  His experience is without a parallel.

The remedies He employs are . . .
  His precious blood,
  His holy Word, and
  His blessed Spirit.

The mode of application is by . . .
  convictions, and
  divine energy.

He never failed in any case—all of His patients are completely cured!

David's was a bad case—but he could say, "He heals all my diseases!"

Sinner—you are sick, mortally sick! Go to Jesus!

Backslider—you are dreadfully sick! Go to Jesus!

Believer, are you not desiring perfect health? Then go to Jesus and plead, "Lord, if You will—You can make me whole!"


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Sinners in Zion!

(James Smith, "
The Fearful Destiny!" 1857)

"The sinners in Zion are terrified! Terror has surprised the hypocrites!
 'Who can live with this devouring fire?'
they cry.
 'Who can survive these everlasting burnings?'
" Isaiah 33:14

The threatenings of God are solemn things.

They are called forth by sin.

They prove God's justice.

They manifest His unutterable abhorrence of all impurity.

Who are these "sinners in Zion"?

These are sinners—who profess to be saints; and such are sinners with an emphasis. They are HYPOCRITES! They pretend to be saints—yet know they are not. They wear a mask. They act a part—like actors in a play!

Of all characters, hypocrites are the worst! The Lord Jesus pronounces more woes against the hypocrites in one chapter—than against the devil all through the New Testament! It is to be feared—that we have many 'masked' men, and many 'masked' women in our churches! Like white-washed sepulchers, they appear beautiful to the eye—but within all is corrupt and vile!

But where are these sinners, these hypocrites? In Zion! Among God's people! Under the preaching of the pure Word. The greatest sinners under heaven—are to be found professing the holiest religion! They are in the church—but they are not of the church!

And when judgment begins, as it will, at the house of God—then these pretenders, these sinners, these hypocrites, will be detected and exposed!

God especially hates deception! He would have us to be .  . .
  either one thing—OR the other;
  either hot—or cold;
  either saint—or sinner;
  either walking in holiness—or following the world.

But to be in the church—and yet of the world;
to pretend to be a Christian—and yet live in sin;
to turn His holy religion—into a 'mask' to answer a selfish purpose—is especially hateful in His sight!


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If I had my deserts!

(James Smith, "An Antidote" 1857)

There are some things that we should never forget:
  what we were before God called us by His grace;
  what we might have been—but for His sovereign mercy;
  what we certainly would be—if left wholly to ourselves.

We were . . .
  rebels against God's government,
  traitors to His cause, and
  doomed to an eternal Hell!

Everything short of Hell—is mercy!

If I had my deserts—I would be in Hell today!

I would be feeling its fierce flames, enduring its scorching torments, and horrified by its dreadful inhabitants!

I was enmity against God by nature. I would be enmity against God this day—if it were not for His glorious grace. I deserve Hell most justly—and would have been in hell—but for His kindness!

"Look unto the rock whence you are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence you are dug!" Look at the horrible pit from which He raised you, and the miry clay from which He extricated you.

Look—and admire!

Look—and love Him!

Look—and praise His thrice blessed and most glorious name!


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There is a 'buoyancy' in the cross

(James Smith, "Cling to the Cross!" 1857)

Cling to the cross—though your sins rise up before you . . .
  like mountains for their size;
  like the sands on the sea shore for their number;
  and glowing like scarlet and crimson, in color!

For no sins, however great, or however numerous—should tempt us to despond, or to let go of our hold on the cross—seeing the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from ALL sin.

There is a 'buoyancy' in the cross—which will never let anyone sink, who clings to it!

If our sins were as ponderous as the globe, or as numerous as all the particles of created matter—yet embracing the cross of Jesus—they are all forgiven, and forgiven forever!

They are all blotted out—like the dark clouds, which obscured the sun for a little while on the summer's morning!

They are all blotted out—like a stone cast from an angel's hand into the depths of ocean!

They are all forgiven and forgotten forever!

Cling to the cross!

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Her life-lesson was comprised in four words

(James Smith, "
Keep Close to Christ" 1857)

A Christian minister was dying. He had a young sister whom he tenderly loved, and in whose welfare he felt the deepest interest. She came to pay the last visit, and receive from his lips the last words of advice. The words of a dying minister, realizing the value of the soul, and the solemnity of eternity, are important words. Taking her by the hand, and fixing his eyes upon her with a loving look, he said, "Keep close to Christ!"

What could he say of more import? Her life-lesson was comprised in four words, "Keep close to Christ!" She had come to Jesus, she  loved Jesus, she found happiness in Jesus; but the dying brother knew . . .
  the deceitfulness of the human heart;
  the power of the world's fascinations,
  and the craft and subtlety of Satan,
therefore he exhorts, "Keep close to Christ!"

May the Lord give us grace to get near to Him; and then give us more grace, to keep near to Him; for alas! how many of us, like Peter, follow Him afar off!

What must we do—to keep close to Jesus?

We must keep close to His Word. Here He . . .
  reveals His mind,
  displays His love, and
  exhibits His beauty!

It is a revelation of His deepest, sweetest, kindest thoughts!

It is an exhibition of His infinite, eternal, deathless love!

It is a mirror in which we may see His unparalleled beauty and excellency!

No one can keep close to Jesus—who does not daily, seriously, and prayerfully read His Word. That Word . . .
  received into the heart by faith,
  digested by meditation, and
  reduced to practice in the life,
will bring the soul and Christ together!

For the more we know of Christ—the more we shall love Him, the more we shall prize, pant for, and seek to enjoy His presence!

Blessed Spirit, help us so to read the Word—as always to find Christ in it; and by it endear Him more and more unto us, and bring us into closer fellowship with Him!


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I am in eternity—and you are on the brink!

(James Smith,
"A Solemn Admonition" 1859)

Passing through a country graveyard the other day, an inscription on a head-stone struck my eye. The stone was by the side of the path, where everyone could see it, and it was placed there in memory of a young man who died at the age of seventeen. It was—

   "Reader, one moment,
    Stop, and think:
    That I am in eternity!
    And you are on the brink!"

In eternity! A young man, only seventeen years of age, in eternity!

In a fixed, a changeless, an eternal state!

In Heaven—or in Hell!

Saved with an everlasting salvation—or damned forever!

If it should be the latter, what a fearful supposition! And yet many have gone to Hell—before they have been seventeen years of age!

"I am in eternity—and you are on the brink!" Yes, though you may be young, apparently healthy, full of life and vigor—you are on the brink of eternity! A slight accident, a few days illness—and you are in eternity! What a solemn thought!

What will eternity be to you?

Where will you be in eternity?

Are your sins pardoned?
Are you reconciled to God by the death of His Son?
Are you sanctified by the Holy Spirit—and thus made fit for Heaven?

If not, remember that in Hell, there is . . .
  no gospel,
  no means of grace,
  no way of escape from the wrath of God!
Once there—and your doom is fixed forever!

Think, O think . . .
  Of the dreadful consequences of dying in your sins!
  Of going down to the grave in an unconverted state!
  Of dying under the curse of God!

"Behold, now is the accepted time!
 Behold, now is the day of salvation!"

(Reader! The above was written over 150 years ago.
 All who then read this little piece—are now in eternity!
 All who now read this little piece—are on the brink!)

   "Reader, one moment,
    Stop, and think:
    That I am in eternity!
    And you are on the brink!"


~  ~  ~  ~  ~


What would Jesus do?

(James Smith, "
How Shall I Honor Jesus Today?" 1857)

How shall I honor Jesus today?

First, I must DEDICATE myself anew unto Him.

Second, I must look to Him for all I NEED through the day.

Third, I must IMITATE Jesus in all I do.
He is proposed to us in His Word as our great example;
we should therefore strive to imitate Him.
My object should be . . .
  to think as Jesus thought,
  to speak as Jesus spoke,
  to feel as Jesus felt, and
  to act as Jesus acted.

Often, very often, should we pause to ask,
"Is this like Jesus?
 Would He indulge such a temper?
 Would He employ such language?
 Would He encourage such thoughts?
 Would He do—as I am doing?"

Or, if at a loss what to do at any time, we should ask,
"What would Jesus do?
 How would Jesus act in this case?
 What would Jesus do under these circumstances?
 What would Jesus say?
 What temper would Jesus display?"

This would often send us to His Word.
We should become familiar with His life.
We should be well acquainted with His character.
And what a preservative it would be!
What humility it would produce!

Jesus wishes us to be like Himself. He has left us an
example—that we should follow in His steps. He says,
"Do as I have done!"

If, therefore, I would honor Jesus—I must make it my
study, and I must daily seek grace—that I may imitate
Him in all that I do, at all times and in all places.
O to be like Jesus . . .
  in my family,
  in my business,
  in the church, and
  when alone with God!

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


~  ~  ~  ~  ~


It would soon oppose us with a deadly hatred!

(James Smith, "
Grace for the Humble" 1859)

"All who will live godly in Christ Jesus—shall suffer persecution!" 2 Timothy 3:12

The enmity of the world against God is as great as ever. It may be concealed—but it is not destroyed.

The world will oppose the godly man.
If we were more godlike—it would . . .
  hate us more,
  oppose us more,
  and persecute us more!

We have little persecution from the world, because there is so little in us to awaken persecution.
Our light is so dim.
Our salt has lost so much of its savor.
Our approximation to the world is so great.
If instead of being conformed to the world—we were transformed by the renewing of our minds; if instead of getting as near to it as we can—we were to stand afar off from its pleasures, amusements, fashions, and spirit; if our lives were a daily testimony against it, and against its works as evil—it would soon oppose us with a deadly hatred!


~  ~  ~  ~  ~


It was not human misery—but divine love!

(James Smith, "Streams in the Desert" 1849)

"You are to name Him 'Jesus'—because He will save His people from their sins!" Matthew 1:21

This verse teaches that Jesus came into the world having . . .
  a definite people in His mind,
  a definite work in His hand, and
  a definite principle in His heart.

He had a definite PEOPLE in His mind!
They are simply called "His people." He had . . .
  a special interest in them,
  a special right to them, and
  a special concern for them.

They were given to Him as a pledge of His Father's love—to be His associates, joy, and delight; His crown and glory. They were . . .
  sunk in sin and wretchedness,
  under the condemnation of the law,
  the captives of the prince of darkness!

They were His sheep—but lost sheep!

They were His jewels—but jewels in a heap of rubbish!

They were His  bride—but in a state of adultery!

He had . . .
  the eye of His omniscience watching them,
  the love of His heart pursuing them, and
  the arm of His omnipotence protecting them.

His eye was upon them . . .
  when in heaven in His Father's bosom,
  and when enclosed in Mary's womb!
His eye ever was—and ever will be on them—from the beginning to the end of time—to save and to bring them safely to glory!

He had a definite WORK in His hand!
It was a work for His Father—and a work His people.
He had . . .
  the law to fulfill,
  justice to satisfy,
  sin to remove,
  heaven to open,
  Satan to conquer,
  death to destroy!

This work He proceeded to perform—until in triumph He exclaimed, "It is finished!"

He had a definite PRINCIPLE in His heart.
And what was that powerful principle, which brought Him . . .
  from heaven—to earth,
  from glory—into contempt,
  from unutterable bliss—into inconceivable sorrow?

It was LOVE! Love,
  the ruling attribute of His nature,
  the prominent feature of His character,
  the rule of His conduct towards His people!
It was love which . . .
  eternally existed in His bosom,
  fanned His heart, and
  directed His ways!

It was . . .
  eternal love,
  immutable love,
  omnipotent love,
  unconquerable love,
  unfathomable love!

It was this sacred principle which led Jesus into our world—and conducted Him through all the stages of His redemptive work!

His name then, is 'Jesus'—because He loves and saves all of His people!

Never think that it was merely human misery, or the doleful cries of suffering mortals—which brought Jesus to our world; for if these would move Him, assuredly He would empty Hell itself!

It was not human misery—but divine love!

It was not man's cries—but His own glory, which brought Jehovah Jesus into suffering circumstances and a miserable condition!

O the love! the depth of the love of Jesus!


  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


What a wonderful person!

(James Smith, "The Person and Work of Christ" 1849)

What a wonderful person
is my glorious Lord Jesus! All the divine attributes are found in Him. As there are no limits to His fullness—there can be no limit to my supplies, or the least prospect of need.

Jesus is my divine Savior!

His bounty will supply me,
His omnipotence will deliver me,
His omnipresence will protect me,
His omniscience will guard me,
His love will animate me,
His mercy will heal me,
His grace will support me,
His compassion will comfort me,
His pity will relieve me,
His goodness will provide for me,
His tenderness will soothe me,
His kindness will encourage me,
His patience will bear with me,
His justice will avenge me,
His faithfulness will embolden me,
His holiness will beautify me,
His anger will awe me,
His life will quicken me,
His light will illumine me,
His Word will regulate me,
His joy will delight me,
His blessedness will elevate me,
His long-suffering will lead me to repentance,
His immutability will secure the fulfillment of all the promises to me,
His truth will be my shield and buckler,
His sovereignty will raise my admiration,
His condescension will inspire me with gratitude and love,
and His all-sufficiency will satisfy me both in time and eternity!

In Jesus, God has reconciled me to Himself—imputing my trespasses to Him—and His obedience to me.

God by Jesus, takes away . . .
  all my sins,
  His own wrath, and
  my deserved condemnation!

All good things . . .
  are treasured up in Christ,
  were procured for me by Christ,
  flow to me through Christ, and
  are conferred on me for the sake of Christ!

How exactly suited is the Lord Jesus to my case! Inflexible justice demands my blood—but He becomes my substitute, and spills His own!

In Jesus, I see my sin—and God's justice meet!
He removes the one—and satisfies the other!

What is Jesus called in God's holy Word?

A Savior—in reference to my lost condition.
A Reconciler—in reference to the enmity that existed between myself and God.
A Redeemer—in reference to my slavery to sin.
A Mediator—in respect to the disagreement between myself and the Most High God.
A Refiner—with respect to my filthiness.
An Advocate—with regard to my perplexed cause.
A Prophet—in respect to my ignorance.
A Priest—with a view to my guiltiness.
A King—in regard to my weakness and foes.
A Bridegroom—regarding my lowly estate and relationship.
A Physician—with regard to my many soul maladies.
In a word, Jesus is "All In All."

O to know more of Jesus, in . . .
  the glory of His person,
  the riches of His grace,
  the perfection of His work,
  the tenderness of His heart,
  the strength of His love and
  the effectual working of His power!


~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Infected with a most dreadful, fearful, soul-killing disease!

(James Smith, "God's Remedy for Man's Malady" 1849)

"From the sole of your foot to the top of your head, no spot is uninjured—but only wounds and bruises and putrefying sores! They have not been cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil." Isaiah 1:6

The whole race of mankind, in consequence of the fall, is infected with a most dreadful, fearful, soul-killing disease!

You are infected with it yourself!

It is in your nature, and its effects are manifested in your conduct! Its seat is in the heart—which has become deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked!

This malignant disease has spread over every faculty of the soul!
The understanding is darkened—so that you cannot see your dreadful state!
The conscience is defiled—and no longer warns of evil!
The will is powerfully biased to evil—and chooses what God abhors!
The affections are earth-bound—and set on forbidden things!
The imagination has become sensual—and only employed in evil!
The reason is debased—and calls darkness, light; and light, darkness!
The memory is depraved—and has become a storehouse of iniquity!
The whole soul is paralyzed, polluted, and diseased!
Satan has got possession—and endeavors to lead you to hell in a false peace!

You are naturally . . .
  unfit for heaven,
  at enmity with God,
  exposed to His wrath,
  cursed by His law,
  condemned by His word,
  traveling to perdition,
  and ripening for damnation!

You cannot . . .
  deliver yourself from sin's dominion,
  cleanse yourself from inherent defilement,
  or escape the righteous judgment of God,
by anything that you can do.

You are . . .
  without strength,
  blind to your everlasting welfare,
  and a hater of God!

You . . .
  were born a sinner,
  have lived transgressing,
  and dying in such a state,
will be banished into irremediable woe!

This is your state, reader—whoever you may be!
This is your situation—however you may have lived!
This is your condition—whatever you may think!
Have you ever seen yourself in this situation?
Have you ever felt this to be your case?
Have you ever trembled on account of it—and sought a remedy?
If not, this is the very worst symptom of your disease!
You are . . .
  insensible of your wretched condition,
  under a spiritual derangement,
  and madness is in your heart!

But if you have discovered your malady,
if you have felt sin to be really a dreadful disease,
if you are seeking for a remedy;
then I rejoice in being able to direct you to one that is provided, which may be obtained freely, and will certainly heal you!

God, who is rich in mercy, for the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sin—has devised a way in which He can manifest Himself as a just God and a Savior! He has provided a suitable and glorious remedy for lost, ruined, and undone sinners! This remedy will . . .
  heal the wounded,
  cleanse the filthy,
  sanctify the unholy,
  justify the condemned,
  liberate the captive,
  and save the lost!

It gives . . .
  peace to the distressed,
  direction to the perplexed,
  riches to the poor,
  sight to the blind,
  hearing to the deaf,
  strength to the weak,
  wisdom to the foolish,
  and life to the dead!


~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Complaining Christian

(James Smith, "Bread from Heaven!" 1857)

"Do you have a father?" Genesis 44:19

Standing at my window one day, while the cholera was raging in London, I saw two corpses carried by, followed by one little child, walking alone next the coffins, with a few neighbors behind. That child was now an orphan. Both parents had been carried off by the pestilence. The sight of that child produced deep emotions, and awakened painful sympathy in my heart.

I was led to think of the sorrows and privations of orphanhood, and then of the happiness of the Lord's people to whom Jesus has said, "I will not leave you as orphans." A believer can never be an orphan! He has an ever-living, ever-loving, ever-present Father! But many of the Lord's people do not realize this, therefore they do not live and act under its influence.

There are believers who are always complaining of their circumstances:
They are worked too hard.
They are tried more than others.
They have such a vexing family.
They have such a demanding job.
They have such financial losses.
They have no end of things to vex, harass, and distress them!

Complaining Christian, "Do you have a father?"

If so, had your Father anything to do with fixing your lot?
Did He place you where you are?

Is He wise?

Is He good?

Has He ever told you, that all things shall work together for your good?

Does He know what is best for you?

Has He left things to 'chance'—or has He arranged all in His own infinite mind, and does He work all by His unerring providence? If He does—then are you justified in complaining?

Have you any real cause to complain?

Will it better your circumstances?

Will it please your Father?

Will it any way help you?

If not, leave off complaining, and "having food and clothing, let us be content with these!"

Seek grace from God, that you may . . .
  do all that is required,
  bear all that is sent, and
  endure all that is to be suffered—to His glory!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~


It will fire the soul with unutterable love, and fill it with inexpressible joy!

(James Smith, "Precious Things from the Everlasting Hills")

"Dear friends, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is!" 1 John 3:2

Every Christian expects to have a sight of Jesus—to see Him as He really is. He will gaze with rapture and delight on His glorified body, tracing the thorn-prints on His brow, and the nail-prints on His hands!

He will realize with ecstatic delight that Jesus is his own Savior, his glorious Redeemer, his ever-living and ever-loving Lord.

The sight of Christ will eclipse the glory of everything visible, and will leave impressions on the soul which will never be erased. It will exceed all that ever was seen, conceived, or anticipated. It will fire the soul with unutterable love, and fill it with inexpressible joy!


~  ~  ~  ~  ~


The biggest loser!

(James Smith, "The Safe Side!")

There are usually two sides:
the one dangerous—the other safe;
the one is uncertain—and the other is sure.

It is always the wisest—to be found on the safe side!

Look at the unbeliever:
He denies the Bible to be God's book.
He walks by his own reason.
He gratifies his senses and his lusts.
He lives in sin.
He must soon die.
He has no Savior.
He has no true hope.
If the Bible is false—then he is safe; BUT
if the Bible is true—then he is damned forever!

He is certainly not on the safe side!

There are many things in the Bible which he does not like.
He is prejudiced against it.
It never prophecies good concerning him—but always evil.
It requires him to change his present sinful course—but he loves it.
He loves sin—and the Bible condemns it.
He gratifies the lusts of the flesh—and the Bible bids him to mortify them.
In a word, there is as much opposition between the Bible and him—as between light and darkness, holiness and sin, truth and error. Therefore he hates it!

At the best, with him all is uncertain, unsatisfactory, and vexatious.

He is certainly not on the safe side!

Now look at the true Christian:
He believes the Bible to be from God. He has examined it. He has evidence of its inspiration in his heart. He fully believes it.
What the Bible says of himself as a sinner—he knows to be true.
What it says of Jesus as a Savior—he has proved to be a fact.
As guilty—he has applied to God for pardon, and obtained it.
As impure—he has sought the cleansing operations of the Holy Spirit, and has experienced them.
His guilt is gone—therefore he has no slavish fears.
His soul is justified—therefore he has peace with God.
He approves of the inspired precepts—and regulates his life by them.
He carries his cares to God—and is sustained under them.
He realizes that God is his Friend, his Father, and his everlasting Portion.
He is peaceful.
He is often happy.
To him death has no sting—and eternity has no terror.
He knows Jesus as his Savior—and trusts in Him.
He knows God as his Father—and walks with Him.
He knows the Holy Spirit as his comforting Teacher—and listens to Him.

He is, perhaps, more tried than the unbeliever—but he has supports, consolations, and pleasures—of which the unbeliever knows nothing. He lives to bless others, to honor God, to prepare for a glorious immortality.

He would not change his worst day—for the unbeliever's best day!

He is on the safe side!

If the unbeliever should be right—then the Christian is no loser.

But if the Christian is right—and he is—then the unbeliever is the biggest loser—an infinite loser!

Reader, on which side are you? There is but one safe side.

There is no safety for a sinner now—but at the Cross!

There will be no safety at death and judgment—but in Christ!

He who is on the safe side now—will be on the safe side then!

There will be no changing sides then!

"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit upon His glorious throne! All the nations will be gathered in His presence, and He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at His right hand—and the goats at His left.
Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed by My Father—inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world!' (the safe side)
Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, 'Away with you, you cursed ones—into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons!'  (the perilous side)
And they will go away into eternal punishment—but the righteous will go into eternal life!" Matthew 25:31-46


~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Like sugar in our tea!

(James Smith, "
Comfort for the Christian")

"Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things!" Matthew 6:32

God will display His wisdom—in promoting the eternal welfare of all His children. God's ways are not our ways. They are always profoundly wise; and His wisdom will in the end stand conspicuous and glorious in His paternal dealings with all of His children.

"For what son is not chastened by his father?" Hebrews 12:7
Beloved, if God is our Father—He will chastise us!
We need it!
We deserve it!
We shall have it!

But He will mix mercy with every affliction. Like sugar in our tea—it sometimes lies at the bottom, and needs stirring up!

But there is always mercy there! A cup of unmixed wrath was put into the hands of Jesus—that such a cup might never be put into our hands!

There is sweetness, in the bitterest cup which our Father gives us!

Let us therefore look for the sugar—as we sip the bitter potion!


~  ~  ~  ~  ~


If we could hear the awful splash!

(James Smith, "Christian Sympathy")

"Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people!" Jeremiah 9:1

Must it not rather be said of many of us"They perish forever without anyone regarding it?"

Souls are daily, hourly perishing—but who regards it?

Hell is filling—but who regards it?

Satan is reaping a tremendous harvest—but who regards it?

Every hour, every minute, every second, souls are sinking into hell—but who regards it?

Friends, do you ever weep over perishing sinners?
Is it not astonishing, that we can go to the house of God and pass multitudes of ungodly, careless creatures that throng our streets—and never shed a tear! Is it not more astonishing still, that we can preach on the torments of the lost, and the joys of the saved—and see the great mass of the people around us rejecting it, yes, refusing to listen to it—and not weep bitter, bitter tears!

We do not half believe what we preach—or what we hear! We do not half believe the infallible statements of Holy Scripture in reference to the dreadful realities of eternal hell—or else we would feel deeply, and weep frequently too.

The holy Apostle Paul, speaking of his labors at Ephesus, says, "Remember, that by the space of three years, I ceased not to warn every one day and night with tears!" (Acts 20:31). Our adorable Lord and Savior, when He came near to Jerusalem just before His death, "He beheld the city—and wept over it!" Oh, to feel as Paul felt! As Jesus felt! If we realized the danger of sinners, and the terrors of hell as they did—we would weep as they wept!

We should feel for sinners—as if we saw them suspended over the burning lake of hell, and one after another falling in! We should feel for sinners—as if we could hear the awful splash, as the lost soul takes its terrific plunge into the liquid flaming brimstone!

"Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people!"