Grace Gems for JULY 2011

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The heavenly traveler

(Thomas Sherman, "Divine Breathings; Or, a Pious Soul Thirsting after Christ")

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

What heir, traveling to take possession of a rich inheritance, allows either a green meadow or pleasant garden to detain him; or a black cloud or a dirty road to dishearten him?

O my soul, you are traveling to take possession of a glorious eternal inheritance!
Will you turn aside — to pluck every flower?
Will you linger — to listen to every melodious sound?
Will you leave your way — to drink of every gliding stream of carnal pleasure?

What is this, but . . .
  to lose a mansion — to view a meadow!
  to sacrifice an eternal crown — for a dying flower!
  to lose immortal felicity — for a flying vanity!
  to forsake the way of Zion — to gather the grapes of Sodom!

Though, my soul, your way is in tears, and your days in sorrow, all clouded; yet here is enough to comfort you: that a loving Father, an unending portion, a sweet rest, and an everlasting refreshment — will make amends for all!

Therefore, this vain world does not allure me — for I will make no deviation, because my way lies to purer comforts, and surer glory! Vexing world, do not entice me — I will not halt, because I am traveling to my heavenly Father's house!

"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 city for them!" Hebrews 11:16

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The poor Christian!

(James Smith, "Comfort for Christians!")

"Hearken, my beloved brethren, has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him?" James 2:5

Poverty is not spirituality — but sanctified poverty is a great friend to it.

Poverty is no sin — but it is sometimes a preventive to sin.

Poverty has its temptations — but it has also its consolations.

The poor ought not to repine at poverty — because God in His infinite wisdom has appointed it, and is able to render it the greatest blessing. God's chosen are generally found among the poor. Not that He chose them because they were poor; but choosing them in Christ — He appointed poverty as the best thing for them.

God's enemies have their full portion in this life — here, they have their good things. Not so with God's children! Here on earth, they have their evil things — and their best things are yet to come!

The poor Christian has . . .
  a rich Father in whom to trust;
  the fullness of Jesus to supply him;
  the precious promises on which to depend;
  the Holy Spirit to be his Comforter; and a
  glorious inheritance to anticipate and forever dwell in!

All Christians are "heirs of the kingdom" —
the kingdom of grace here — and of glory hereafter;
the kingdom in which Jesus will reign;
the kingdom where they will be princes — yes, kings and priests;
the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world!

My poor brother — my poor sister! Look up! Look forward!

Your cottage will soon be exchanged for a mansion!

Your sickness will soon be exchanged for health!

Your poverty will soon be exchanged for wealth!

Your sin will soon be exchanged for perfect holiness!

Your earth will soon be exchanged for Heaven!

You will not always be poor! You will not be poor for long. Jesus will soon come — and then you will reign with Him!

For you — an inheritance is reserved in Heaven!

For you — a mansion is being prepared!

For you — glory, honor, immortality, even eternal life, are in reserve!

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Holiness is happiness!

(Arthur Pink, 1949)

"Her ways are ways of pleasantness — and all her paths are peace!" Proverbs 3:17

The Satan-deceived world imagines that godliness is a thing of gloom — rather than of gladness; that it is something which the saints endure — rather than enjoy. On the contrary, holiness is happiness!

It is neither the mirth of the fool, nor the giddy gaiety of the thoughtless — but a "peace which passes all understanding" (Philippians 4:7), and a heart-satisfaction not to be found elsewhere! So far from piety robbing us of freedom, it conducts into true liberty — delivering from the bondage of sin. Christ's yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).

God has established an inseparable connection between holiness — and happiness; between our pleasing Him — and our enjoyment of His providential smile.

Worldly mirth
is at best evanescent — but the delights of holiness are eternal.

Only the One Who made us — can truly content us!

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Suffering Christian!

(James Smith, "Comfort for Christians")

"God will wipe every tear from their eyes! There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain!" Revelation 21:4

How much pain many of the Lord's people are called to suffer — and how severe that pain often is! There are times when pain is hard to bear — when our spirits are exhausted and we are sorely tempted to doubt the pity and tender love of our Heavenly Father. Then it is  sweet to look forward to the place, and anticipate the time — when God will wipe every tear from our eyes — and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain!

Suffering Christian! Your pain will soon end — and your sufferings will soon be over! Jesus will come and fetch you from your bed of pain, your chamber of affliction, and your house of mourning! Absent from the body — you will be present with the Lord!

Seek grace from the Lord to suffer patiently. There is an end of every pain — and soon you will bless the Lord for the very pains which now cause you to sigh and groan! The songs of Heaven will be sweetened by the groans of earth; and the pleasures of eternity will be heightened by the pains of time!

Every pain endured — leaves one less pain to suffer. And every hour that passes — brings us one hour nearer to the time when the ransomed of the Lord shall leave behind this land of darkness and death, and go home to their Father's house with everlasting joy, while sorrow and sighing shall forever flee away!

"You will weep no more!" Isaiah 30:19

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Where is my mamma?

(by D. L. Moody)
What makes Heaven attractive for us?

It won't be the pearly gates!

It won't be the streets paved with transparent gold!

These would not satisfy us! If these were all — we would not want to stay in Heaven forever.

I heard the other day, of a little girl whose mother was very sick. While she was sick, one of the neighbors took the child away to stay with her, until the mother would be well again. But instead of getting better — the mother died! They thought it best, that they should not tell the child, nor take her home until the funeral was all over.

So a while afterward, they brought the little girl home. First she went into the sitting-room to find her mother; then she went into the parlor; and then she went from one end of the house to the other — and could not find her mother. At last she said, "Where is my mamma?" And when they told her that her mamma had died, the little girl wanted to go back to the neighbor's house again. Home had lost its attractions to her — since her mother was no longer there!

Just so — it is not the streets of gold and the pearly gates that are going to make Heaven attractive. It is the being with Jesus, our beloved Redeemer!

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me — that you also may be where I am!" John 14:3
"I desire to depart and be with Christ — which is better by far!" Philippians 1:23

"And so we will be with the Lord forever!" 1 Thessalonians 4:17

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What kind of bodies will they have?

(Islay Burns, 1888)

"But someone may ask: How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?"

Many other questions, of deepest interest to the thoughtful mind, we might ask — but cannot answer.

What precisely shall be the new conditions, capacitiesabilities of our immortal body?

In what respect shall it be the same — and in what respect unlike, our present earthly state?

What new avenues of knowledge shall we possess?
What new organs of perception?
What new spheres of activity?
What new springs of enjoyment?

Shall there be music, poetry, art, science, deepening research, and advancing knowledge of the works and ways of God in Heaven — even as here on earth?

Where shall the final dwelling-place of the redeemed be? Shall they be confined, as now, to one exclusive spot — to one single orb in the immensity of God's universe? Or shall they rather roam at large through all its wide domains — and tread freely and unrestrained, through all the streets of the fathomless city of God?

Shall we still, then as now — only scan from afar, the course of the distant planetary orbs? Or shall we be permitted to visit them, and know all about them, and be at home in them — as in so many chambers of the Father's one majestic house?

In what form or stage of their development shall the bodies of the blessed arise — as in youth, or in manhood, or in ripe old age?

Shall the child of this world — be still a child in Heaven; or shall the child expand all at once in that wondrous transfiguration moment, into the fullness of its stature and perfection of its powers? Shall the old man be still an old man forever; or shall he be brought back to the freshness and strength of his manly prime? Shall we, in short, appear then — just as we were when death took us — and not rather as we were or might have been, at our best?

Shall the great Architect of Heaven, create the true and perfect ideal of the life of His saints — or the restoration only, though in a glorified state, of their actual form here below?

We cannot tell the answer to any of these inquiries. "Now we are children of God; and what we will be, has not yet been made known!" 1 John 3:2.

It is enough, that God knows — and that He plans and does all things well.

It is enough, that however high our conceptions of the unseen world, and however sublime our aspirations in regard to it — it will still be something far higher and grander than we could ever dream!
"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

It is enough, that there shall be a new Heaven, and a new earth, and that we shall be made perfectly fit to possess and to enjoy it!

And above all, it is enough that Christ Himself shall be there, and that we shall be with Him, and "that we will be like Him — for we will see Him as He really is!"

"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.
The body that is sown is perishable — it is raised imperishable;
it is sown in dishonor — it is raised in glory;
it is sown in weakness — it is raised in power;
it is sown a natural body — it is raised a spiritual body!"
     1 Corinthians 15:42-44

Here, then, we must pause. With this glimpse of the glory to be revealed — grand, but incomplete — we must rest satisfied!

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Divine Sympathy!

(by John MacDuff)

"I know their sorrows!" Exodus 3:7

These are God's own words! Man cannot say so. There are many sensitive fibers in the soul, which the best and tenderest human sympathy cannot touch. But the Prince of Sufferers, He who led the way in the path of sorrow, "knows our frame."

When crushing bereavement lies like ice on the heart — when the dearest earthly friend cannot enter into the peculiarities of our grief — Jesus can! Jesus does! He who once bore my sins — also carried my sorrows. That eye, now on the throne — was once dim with weeping!

Israel had long groaned under bondage. God appeared not to know it — or, if He did know it — not to care. He seemed, like Baal, to be "asleep". Yet at that very moment — His pitying eye was yearningly beholding His enslaved people. It was then that He said, "I know their sorrows!"

Just so, He may seem at times thus to forget and forsake us — leaving us to utter the plaintive cry, "Has God forgotten to be gracious?" When all the while, He is bending over us in tenderest love. He often allows our needs to reach their extremity — that He may stretch forth His supporting hand, and reveal the plenitude of His grace! "You can see how the Lord was kind to Job at the end — for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy!" James 5:11

And God fully "knowing" our sorrows — is a blessed guarantee that none will be sent, but those which He sees to be needful. "I will not," says He, "make a full end of you — but I will correct you in measure." Jeremiah 30:11

All the trials which He sends — are precisely meted out — and wisely apportioned. There is nothing accidental or random or unnecessary — no excess thorn — no superfluous pang!

"You keep track of all my sorrows! You have collected all my tears in Your bottle! You have recorded each one in Your book!" Psalm 56:8. Each one is counted and recorded — drop by drop — tear by tear! Tears are sacred things among the treasures of God!

Suffering believer, the iron may have entered deeply into your soul; yet rejoice! Jesus, a sorrowing, sympathizing Jesus — "knows" your aching pangs and burning tears, and He will "come down to deliver you!"

And of this divine sympathy, we are also assured in the New Testament, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tested in every way, just as we are!" Hebrews 4:15. What an elevating truth! We have the Sympathy of the God-Man-Mediator in our sorrows! What a source of exalted joy, to the stripped and desolate heart! What a green pasture to lie down upon, amid the windy storm and tempest, or in the dark and cloudy day!

The sympathy of man is cheering and comforting; but "thus far shall you go, and no farther." Man's sympathy is finite — limited — and often selfish! There are nameless and numberless sorrows on earth, which are far beyond the reach of all human alleviation!

The sympathy of Jesus alone, is . . .
  removed from all taint of selfishness!

Jesus has Himself passed through every experience of woe. There are no depths of sorrow or anguish into which I can be plunged — but His everlasting arms are lower still! He has been called "The great sympathetic nerve of His Church, over which the afflictions and oppressions, and sufferings of His people continually pass!"

Child of Sorrow! A human heart beats on Heaven's Throne — and He has your name written on that heart! He cares for you as if no other claimed His regard — as if you were the only object of His care!

He "has been tested in every way, just as we are!" Blessed assurance! I never can know a sorrow into which the "Man of Sorrow" cannot enter. Ah rather, in the midst of earth's most lacerating trials — let me listen to the unanswerable challenge from the lips of a suffering Savior, "Was there ever any sorrow, like unto My sorrow!" Yet He willingly drank the cup of wrath! He did not shrink back from the appointed cross! And even when He hung upon the bitter tree — He refused the sour wine which would have assuaged the rage of thirst and mitigated physical suffering.

Are we tempted at times to murmur under God's afflicting hand? "Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart!" Shall we hesitate to bear any cross which our Lord and Master sees fit to lay upon us — when we think of the infinitely weightier Cross He so meekly and willingly carried for us?

Jesus has some wise and gracious purpose in every mysterious chastisement. His language is, "Hear the rod — and Him who has appointed it!" Micah 6:9. He has too kind and loving a heart — to cause us one needless or superfluous pang!

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What a superlatively grand and consoling idea!

(John Foster, 1888)

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

What a superlatively grand and consoling idea — is that of DEATH! Without this wondrous hope of death — life would, to my view, darken into midnight melancholy! Oh! the expectation of living always on this sin-cursed earth — would be indeed a prospect of overwhelming despair! But thanks to that fatal decree which dooms us to die! Thanks to that gospel which opens up the vista of a glorious and endless life! And thanks, above all, to that Savior-Friend who has promised to conduct all the godly through the sacred trance of death — into scenes of Paradise and everlasting delight!

"You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!" Psalm 16:11

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Could you be so selfish — and so cruel?

(G. Whyte, 1888)

"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain!" Revelation 21:3-4

Would you call them back to earth again?

Would you wish them back — back from the presence of the Lamb?

Back from the sweets of glory — to the bitterness of time?

Back from those rivers of pure pleasure which flow at God's right hand — to the muddied streams in this valley of sorrow?

After they have reached the haven of rest — would you recall them to struggle again with the storms of life?

Could you be so selfish — and so cruel?

"They feast on the abundance of Your house; you give them drink from Your river of delights!" Psalm 36:8

"You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!" Psalm 16:11

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We must ALL appear!

(by Gardiner Spring)

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable — and we will be changed!" 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Whether . . .
buried in the earth,
or floating in the sea,
or consumed by the flames,
or enriching the battlefield,
or devoured by beasts —
all, from Adam to the last-born — shall wend their way to the great arena of the judgment! Every one shall obey the summons and come forth!

If one could then look upon the earth, he would see it as one mighty excavated globe, and wonder how such countless generations could have found a dwelling beneath its surface!

"For we must ALL appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad!" 2 Corinthians 5:10

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Oh the immensity of the gift!

(John Eadie, "The Love of God — its Objects, Gift, and Design" 1865)

"For God so loved the world — that He gave His one and only Son!" John 3:16

"For surely it is not angels He helps" Hebrews 2:16

"God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to Hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment!" 2 Peter 2:4

If God loved this world — this world of fallen men, and not the world of fallen angels — then His love must be sovereign in its essence. For man was not the only sinful being in His dominions! Beings of higher nature, and having their position in Heaven itself, were mysteriously involved in the guilt and doom of apostasy, and expelled from their bright domain! And yet, though they dwelt in Heaven — they are not summoned back to it!
No pardon is offered to them;
no means of redemption are provided for them;
no mediator has taken on him the 'nature of angels,' in order to make atonement for them.
They are left to the endurance of eternal death and damnation — ever sinning, ever suffering; while pardon and restoration have been proclaimed to the human family —
  our weak and erring race,
  so nearly allied to the ground on which they tread,
  so proud in their debility, and
  so impious in their thraldom!

Would it not have been a more reasonable plan, so to speak — for God to have saved these lofty angelic exiles, and called them back to the Heaven in which they once lived, and for which they were created — than to select this distant and miserable world of ours; and, by an abnormal and mighty process, to purify and refine its wretched and earthy outcasts for a realm of existence to which they are strangers, and to which they would never have been able to penetrate?

The reasons inducing the Infinite Wisdom to make this sovereign choice to redeem man, and not the fallen angels — we may neither search nor discover. This preference of fallen man to fallen angels, as the recipients of divine love — can only be resolved into a mysterious exercise of divine sovereignty.

He has loved fallen men on earth — and not fallen angels in Hell.

Both might have been punished with eternal penalty, and neither the one nor the other could have complained of the justice of its doom.

On the other hand, both might have been forgiven and redeemed — and both would have equally felt its salvation due to Jehovah's tender pity.

Nay, though fallen angels in Hell had been redeemed — and all the fallen men on earth had been left in their sin; though only the demons, the first transgressors, had been saved, and brought again to the solemn Presence before which they once bowed, the bright myriads with which they once mixed, and the hallelujahs which they once choired — while this sinful world of ours was left to pine and groan hopeless and helpless — (one shudders to contemplate this dreadful alternative!) — who would have dared to impeach the God of grace, who has the right to give as He pleases — where none have any claim on His bounty!

But, O let His name be extolled — earth has not been passed over; it has been selected in His sovereign regard. Ay, God so loved the WORLD!

But the fervor and mightiness of this love arrests our attention! "God SO loved the world" — loved it with such ardor and indescribable generosity — loved it SO — that He gave His only-begotten Son! Oh the immensity of the gift! A divine gift from a divine Giver! The grandeur of His love may be seen in its results. If you can measure the gift — you may gauge the depth of the love which bestowed it!

Thus have we considered the amazing fact, that God has loved this guilty, rebellious and insignificant world — and selected it to be the object of His tender mercy. Nay, that He has SO loved it, as to make provision for its deliverance, in the gift of His Son — that bright and matchless display of His loving-kindness!

"Herein is love, not that we loved God — but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins!" 1 John 4:10

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Such lessons!

Thomas Brooks, "The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod" or, "The Silent Soul with Sovereign Antidotes" 1659)

"Blessed is the man you chasten, O Lord — the man You teach from your law." Psalm 94:12

All the chastening in the world, without divine teaching — will never make a man blessed. That man who finds correction attended with instruction, and lashing with lessoning — is a happy man.

If God, by the affliction which is upon you, shall teach you:
  how to loathe sin more, and
  how to trample upon the world more, and
  how to walk with God more
 — then your afflictions are blessed.

If God shall teach you by afflictions:
  how to die to sin more, and
  how to die to your relations more,
  and how to die to your self more
 — then your afflictions are blessed.

If God shall teach you by afflictions:
  how to live to Christ more,
  how to lift up Christ more, and
  how to long for Christ more
 — then your afflictions are blessed.

If God shall teach you by afflictions:
  how to mind heaven more,
  how to live in heaven more, and
  how to be fit for heaven more
 — then your afflictions are blessed.

If God by afflictions shall teach:
  your proud heart how to lie more low,
  your hard heart how to grow more tender,
  your censorious heart how to grow more kind,
  your carnal heart how to grow more spiritual,
  your froward heart how to grow more quiet
 — then your afflictions are blessed.

When God teaches your thoughts as well as your brains, your heart as well as your head, any of these lessons — then your afflictions are blessed.

Where God loves — He afflicts in love. And wherever God afflicts in love, there He will, sooner or later, teach His people such lessons as shall do them good to all eternity!

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One sin allowed, wallowed and tumbled in!

Thomas Brooks, "A Cabinet of Choice Jewels" 1669)

To turn from some sins — but not from all, is gross hypocrisy!

One sin stripped the fallen angels of all their glory!
One sin stripped our first parents of all their dignity and excellency!
One fly in the box of precious ointment, spoils the whole box.
One thief may rob a man of all his treasure.
One disease may deprive a man of all his health.
One strong wind may blow down and blow away all a man's comforts.
Just so — one sin delighted and wallowed in, will make a man miserable forever!

One sin allowed, wallowed and tumbled in, is sufficient to deprive a man forever of the glorious presence of God! In the law, the person who had but one spot of leprosy in any one part of his body was accounted a leper, although all the rest of his body was sound and whole; and accordingly he was to be shut up, and shut out from the society of the people of God, Leviticus 13. Just so — one sin, one leprous spot, allowed and beloved — will forever shut a man out from the glorious presence of God!

One sin wallowed in, will as certainly deprive a man of the blessed vision of God, and of all the treasures, pleasures, and delights which are at God's right hand — as a thousand sins! What can be the outcome of this, but ruin and damnation?

It was a sore vexation to King Lysimachus, that he lost his earthly kingdom for one drink of water. O sirs! it will be an everlasting vexation to such, who for one lust shall at last lose not an earthly kingdom — but a heavenly kingdom!

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Love bound Him to the cross and held Him there!

(John Eadie, "The Ultimate Purpose of Christ's Love and Death" 1865)

"Christ loved the church — and gave Himself up for her!" Ephesians 5:25

Thoughts of love nestled in His heart;
words of love lingered on His lips;
deeds of love flew from His hands; and
His steps left behind them, the impress of love!

Love threw its soft halo over His cradle at Bethlehem — and it fringed with its mellow splendors, the gloom of the cloud under which He expired on Calvary.

Love gave bounds to His reproofs — and pathos to His invitations.

Love was the magnet that guided Him in all His wanderings.

Love bound Him to the cross and held Him there — and not the iron nails which pierced His hands and His feet!

Love thrilled in His bosom, and glistened in His eye!

Love prompted Him to impart miraculous aid on every opportunity. His meekness was but one of its features. It clothed itself in forgiveness toward His enemies, and its last pulsation was in a prayer for His murderers.

Love was the spiritual atmosphere in which He lived, moved, and had His being. And all this love had His own people for its central object, around whom it ever hovered with sleepless tenderness and assiduity! "Christ loved the church — and gave Himself up for her!"

But those exhibitions of love during His life — are eclipsed by the displays of it in His death! Love shines out with novel charms amidst the gloom of death, for it did not shrink from the shame and woe of the cross!

His severest anguish was that of His soul. Oh! it was not shame, persecution, or crucifixion — for these terrible sufferings could have been easily borne! It was not the rage and malice of Satan — these also could have been trampled on! But it was the endurance in Himself of the punishment due to that sin which He had taken upon Himself — which drank up His spirit, prompted the moan in Gethsemane, and the mysterious complaint on Calvary! The 'travail of His soul' — was induced by vicarious pangs!

In the Scriptures, Redemption is not ascribed . . .
   to the birth of Christ with its mysteries,
   nor to the miracles of Christ with their splendor,
   nor to the life of Christ with its holy beauty
 — but only to His death!

Who can estimate the depth and fervor of a love which . . .
  gave itself to such agonies;
  laid itself on the altar as a perfect atoning sacrifice;
  suffered — that we should not eternally suffer;
  and died — that we might live forever?
For in His love — He gave Himself. It was no inferior gift He selected — for no inferior gift could be the adequate expression of His love. It would be content with nothing else — and nothing less. The Divine Lover gave Himself! Surely the voice of the Redeemer's love, speaks in thrilling accents from the cross!

Oh, then, what an amazing gift!

You members of His blood-bought church, as you look to His cross, when you see Him groaning, bleeding, and dying in agony and shame — under the deepest, most mysterious and terrible of sufferings — will you not be always reassured of His love? Will it not glow in your bosoms, and thrill in your praises?

"Unto Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood — to Him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen."

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All that we can need for life or death, time or eternity!

(James Smith, "The Wealthy Family!")

"There is no lack to those who fear Him!" Psalm 34:9

They are not truly wealthy — who appear to be so — or who boast of being so.

The lost sinner must be poor. He has . . .
   no God to comfort him;
   no Savior to deliver him;
   no Guide to conduct him;
   no Advocate to plead for him;
   no inward peace to support him;
   no title to Heaven to encourage him.

He is poor. He is in need. He will need . . .
   confidence and comfort in death;
   a wedding garment, in which to appear before God;
   and a comfortable home throughout eternity!

Every lost sinner is indeed poor. His resources will soon be exhausted, and he will find himself "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked!" He may have the appearance of prosperity — but not the reality. True riches belong to another family.

The Lord's people all fear Him; that is, they fear to offend Him, and desire above all things to please Him. And though they may appear poor — they are really rich! God has provided all good things for them — and He gives all good things to them.

They have a solid peace, flowing from a knowledge of acceptance with God, through the blood of Jesus.

They have a joyful hope, which blooms with immortality.

They are assured of strength equal to their day; and of sanctifying grace to make all their troubles work for their good.

They are content with God's wise and holy appointments; and godliness with contentment is a good fortune.

They acquiesce in the will of God; and are often filled with joy which flows from His presence.

They obtain victory over the temptations which would ensnare them.

They live above the world, which would allure and beguile them.

They are sure of support in death.

They look forward to a joyful resurrection.

They rightly anticipate Heaven as their portion forever!

There is no lack to them, for all that they can truly need, is promised — and every promise is confirmed by the blood of Jesus!

Jehovah is theirs — along with all that He is, and has!

His power is their support!

His wisdom is their guide!

His fullness is their fortune!

His mercy is their friend!

His love is their Heaven.

"Happy are the people who are in such a case!" All the Lord's people are really in this case — and therefore they are all happy!

Just think of having Almighty God for your present, constant, eternal Friend!

Think of having the wealth of Deity to supply and satisfy you!

And if you sincerely fear God — then this is the reality of your case! No truth is more clearly revealed in Scripture. No subject is more rich with consolation!

Strength may be exhausted,
health may decline,
courage may fail,
riches may flee,
friends may forsake,
enemies may increase,
all circumstances may change for the worse — but
"those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing!"

Sweet promise of a faithful God!

Here, pilgrim, is your staff — take it and travel home!

Here, saint, is your cordial — drink and forget your misery!

Here, believer, is your fortune — take it and live upon it, while a resident here below.

Here, fearful soul, is your antidote — use it to dispel your fears and cheer your fainting heart!

"The young lions may lack food and go hungry — but there is no lack to those who fear Him!"

Here is wealth! Here is comfort!

Here is all that we can need for life or death, time or eternity!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A remedy for heart trouble!

(James Smith, "The Remedy for a Troubled Heart!")

"Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God — believe also in Me!" John 14:1

We often trouble ourselves. We often allow our hearts to be tossed about like the waves of the sea, without any real cause. Our Savior forbids it. He forbids it in tender love. He forbids it because it is injurious. It lays us open to temptations, and fosters unbelief and anxiety. Our Lord would have us be calm, patient, and composed; therefore He says, "Let not your heart be troubled!"

He prescribes a remedy for heart trouble, or inward anxiety:

1. "Believe in God." Believe in God as your Father — as loving you, acting for you, and rejoicing in your welfare. See Him . . .
   ordering all events with consummate wisdom;
   overruling all with infinite skill; and
   sanctifying all to your welfare, by His sovereign grace.

There is no room for 'chance' — for His government is perfect.
There can be no unkindness — for His love is infinite.
All will be directed right — for He personally superintends every detail in the universe!
The floating of the atom,
the rolling of the sea, and
all the movements of every mind —
are alike under His control and direction!
"He works all things after the counsel of His own will."

2. "Believe also in Me!" Believe. . .
  that I sympathize with you;
  that I feel the deepest interest in your welfare;
  that I never withdraw my eye or heart from you for one moment;
  that I will support you in every place, and under every trial;
  that My arm shall be stretched out for you to lean upon, as you come up out of the wilderness of this world;
  that I will save you to the uttermost;
  that I will show you a brother's love;
  that I will stand by you as a firm friend in every distress;
  that I will overturn all the designs of your foes against you.

Remember Jesus, that Jesus who . . .
  lived for you,
  labored for you,
  suffered for you,
  died for you,
  rose for you, and
  is now in Heaven pleading for you —
says, "Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God — believe also in Me!"

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Open wide your mouth — and I will fill it!

(James Smith, "Privilege, Duty, and Promise")

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth — and I will fill it!" Psalm 81:10

Our great privilege is to have God for our God:
  to know Him,
  to love Him,
  to adore Him,
  and to trust in Him.

If God is ours — then all must be well. If God has delivered us from . . .
  the Egypt of this world,
  the power of sin, and
  the tyranny of Satan
then He is our God indeed.

He says, "I am Jehovahthe compassionate God . . .
  who sympathizes with My people in their sorrows,
  who counts their tears,
  who feels their groans, and
  who records their prayers."

"I am Jehovah — the God of power . . .
  who delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage;
  whose strength is as infinite as My nature,
  for whom nothing is too hard."

"I am Jehovah — the God of love . . .
  whose resources are boundless,
  whose pity is tender, and
  who never fails or forsakes those who trust in Him."

"I am Jehovah — your God . . .
  pledged to you by promise;
  engaged for you by covenant;
  and bound to you by oath!

As I am your God . . .
to Me,
in Me,
from Me."

"Open your mouth wide!" That is, "Ask LARGELY — ask for great, numerous, and costly blessings! Do not be afraid of asking for too much!
My heart is large,
My love is great,
My wealth is unbounded!

Ask BOLDLY — do not be afraid — but come boldly to My throne of grace, that you may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Ask FREQUENTLY — I am always ready to give! I am never weary of listening to your prayers. Come whenever you are in need — I rejoice to do you good. No parent ever delighted to give to a darling child — as I delight to give to you! Therefore ask and receive, that your joy may be full.

"Open your mouth wide — and I will fill it!" That is, "I have the very blessings which you need. They are from Me — they are for you! I have the disposition to give! Do not doubt My benevolence, for this grieves My heart. I give you My word, that I will bestow My favors upon you freely, plentifully, and frequently! My Word is plain — read it; it is faithful — trust it; it is honest — plead it; it is sure — expect the fulfillment of it. I will do exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think!"

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth — and I will fill it!"

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh, how dreadful the thought — to go to Hell through the church of God!

(James Smith, "The Alarming Sentence!")

"A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it — but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard: For three years now, I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree — and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil!" Luke 13:6-7

Let us look at Christ's figure a little:
A fig-tree — or a professor of the religion of Christ.
A fruitless fig-tree — or a barren, useless professor.
A fig-tree with leaves of profession — but not the fruit of holiness.

No place is as dangerous for an unconverted person — as the church of God! It is to be feared that many join the church before they are truly converted; and yet very, very few are ever converted after.

Once under a profession — God expects you to live up to that profession.
If you are planted in His vineyard — God expects you to bring forth fruit.

The owner of the vineyard comes and seeks fruit; He comes again, and again; and if He find none, He passes this solemn sentence, "Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil!"

Concerning every fruitless professor God says, "Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil! It drains the ground of its nourishment, for no good purpose. Labor is but lost upon it; expectation is disappointed by it; therefore, Cut it down! My patience and forbearance are worn out; I have come three years seeking fruit — and find none; so, Cut it down!"

It is a fearful sentence! God gives the command to some disease — He says, "Go, cut that barren professor down!" He sends death, like the woodsman with his sharpened axe — at length he strikes the fatal blow; and then the fruitless professor falls!

This command of God is fearful — it is full of terror — it includes utter destruction!

This command is irresistible — we cannot evade it — we cannot brave it out — the boldest heart fails — the strongest body yields to God's "Cut it down!"

This command is final! There is all that is dreadful wrapped up in it — even a certain, fearful expectation of God's judgment, and the raging fire that will consume His enemies!

The fruitless professor is to be cut down and committed to the eternal flames of Hell!
Here is wrath — fearful wrath! 
Here is justice — inflexible justice! 
Here is vengeance — the vengeance of an infinite God!

O fruitless professor. . .

God looks for fruit from every professor. He will certainly punish — if there is no fruit.

Fruitless professor — where will you be soon? The axe lies at your root, even now! The executioner is only awaiting the command!

Divine mercy will soon urge her last plea; the year of reprieve will soon expire — and then, "Cut it down!" is all that remains! Oh, how dreadful the thought — to go to Hell through the church of God! To profess that you are traveling to Heaven — when in reality you are going with the lost multitude to eternal perdition!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

A never-dying appetite for sin!

(Thomas Watson)

"They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues — but they refused to repent and glorify Him. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores — but they refused to repent of what they had done!" Revelation 16:9, 11

If men would men live forever — they would sin forever!

Some think it harsh, that for the sins committed in a few years — they should undergo eternal torment. But here lies the justice and equity of it — it is because sinners have an everlasting principle of sin in them. Their stock of corruption is never spent. They have a never-dying appetite for sin — which is justly punished with a never-dying worm! "Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched!" Mark 9:44

Sin is worse than Hell. Torment has its epitome in Hell — yet nothing in Hell is as bad as sin.

Hell is of God's making — but sin is not of God's making. Sin is the devil's creature!

The torments of Hell are a burden only to the sinner — but sin is a burden to God!

In the torments of Hell, there is something which is good, namely, the execution of divine justice. There is justice to be found in Hell — but sin is a piece of the highest injustice. Sin would rob God of His glory, Christ of His purchase, and the soul of its happiness.

Sin is the most hateful thing — for it is
worse than the torments of Hell.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

If we will not carry the cross — we shall never wear the crown!

(J.C. Ryle)

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

Salvation is undoubtedly all of grace. It is offered freely in the Gospel to the chief of sinners — without money and without price. But all who receive this great salvation, must prove the reality of their faith — by carrying their cross after Christ. They must not think to enter Heaven without trouble, pain, suffering, and conflict on earth. They must be content to take up . . .
the cross of DOCTRINE — holding a faith which the world despises; and
the cross of PRACTICE — the cross of living a life which the world ridicules as too strict, and righteous over much.

They must be willing . . .
  to crucify the flesh,
  to mortify the deeds of the body,
  to fight daily with the devil,
  to come out from the world, and
  to lose their lives, if needful, for Christ's sake.

These are hard sayings, but they admit of no evasion. The words of our Lord are plain and unmistakable. If we will not carry the cross — we shall never wear the crown!

"Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me, cannot be My disciple!" Luke 14:27

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The worthless sinner's place!

(James Smith, "The Wise Choice!")

"Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her!" Luke 10:42

We often manifest our folly in our choices — but Mary displayed her wisdom. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus as a humble learner — she . . .
  loved His person,
  admired His preaching,
  desired to learn His doctrine,
  and above all to imbibe His spirit.
Her object was communion with Him — in which we become conformed unto His image. In her choice she revealed . . .
  great spirituality of mind;
  true wisdom and discernment;
  attachment to her Lord and His doctrine;
  deadness to the world and its vain formalities;
  a concern for the present welfare of her own soul;
  and a willingness to renounce all for Jesus.

Happy Mary! Honorable woman! May you be my pattern! Your choice was wise; your part was a worthy portion; and your example is held up for our imitation!

At the feet of Jesus we are safe — no enemy can overcome us there!
At the feet of Jesus we are holy — no sin can gain dominion there!
At the feet of Jesus we are happy — no trouble can be too much for us there!

My soul, choose Mary's place — and Mary's portion.
There is a place at the feet of Jesus for you!
Your sin is no obstacle in the way — for Jesus will pardon that!
Your unworthiness is no barrier — for it is the worthless sinner's place!

Oh, take your place at His feet now!
Listen to His sweet voice,
receive His holy doctrines,
taste His precious love,
rest your soul on His atoning blood —
and Heaven will immediately begin in your soul!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God's sweetest attribute!

(James Smith, "The Book That Will Suit You!")

Men are deficient in mercy — but God, our God in Jesus, will display the greatest kindness and compassion to His children. This renders Him so amiable, suitable, and glorious in the estimation of His people. Mercy is God's sweetest attribute . . .
  as beautiful as the morning light,
  as measureless as the waters of the ocean,
  as boundless as illimitable space,
  as refreshing as the early dew,
  as glorious as the noon-day sun!

God's mercy is like His nature — pure, lovely, and eternal. His mercy is suited to all the needs of His children — it is free, full, and meets every case! Christian, the Lord assures you that He has mercy for you!

He has pardoning mercy — which will suit your sinfulness; mercy which will blot out your sins, and remove them from you as far as the east is from the west!

He has delivering mercy — which will meet your misery; mercy which will deliver you from . . .
   the power of sin,
   the bondage of Satan,
   the curse of the law,
   the fear of death,
   the terrors of judgment, and
   all the soul-troubles which may fall upon you on earth!

His mercy is tender mercy — which will suit the sickness of your soul. He will sympathize with you, pity you, and manifest the greatest forbearance and love. His mercy is so tender, that it will not break the bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax. It will . . .
  encourage the weak desire,
  fan the feeble spark into a flame,
  and take the will for the deed.

His mercy is supplying mercy — to meet your needs and defects. It will supply all your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Whether your needs are temporal or spiritual — He will supply you. He will give you both grace and glory; and no good thing will He withhold from you, if you walk uprightly.

It is also sanctifying mercy — to suit your impurity. It will wash you in the laver of the Word, and in the fountain of a Savior's blood. It will teach you to wash your robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It will sanctify your troubles, and make all things work together for your good.

It is rescuing mercy, which will appear for you, and deliver you from all the dangers which may line your way — and at last present you faultless before the throne of God!

In a word — God's mercy will meet every case, circumstance, and condition in which it is possible for you to be placed!

Reader, let me exhort you to dwell much on this excellent attribute of your God. Meditate on God as all-merciful and all-sufficient for our every state!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

God's prison!

(James Smith, "The Book You Will Like!" 1859)

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment — but the righteous to eternal life!" Matthew 25:46

The lost sinner takes the greatest of all risks — he risks suffering the torments of Hell forever, rather than yield himself to God.

He is in DANGER — the greatest possible danger; for he has broken God's law, is under its curse, and cannot possibly be saved — unless its demands are met, and its penalty endured.

How can he meet its demands? He is insolvent, and has nothing to pay.

How can he endure its penalty, which is to be punished with everlasting destruction?
The penalty due to sin — is Hell.
Hell is torment, wrath, despair!
  Eternal torment!
  Just and infinite wrath!
  Never-ending despair!

If even the thought of these things is dreadful — then what must it be to actually endure them — and endure them forever, without hope, or mitigation, or end!

O what a fearful thing — to be in danger of Hell-fire! O how terrible the thought of being shut up in black despair, with devils and damned souls — the refuse of God's creation!

Hell is God's prison — where all His enemies are confined!

It is the place of punishment — where everyone suffers the just desert of his crimes!

It is a place horrible beyond description — beyond conception!

O, lost sinner! Hell is a dreadful place! To be damned is a terrible doom! It is forever! Yes, the worm that torments you — will never die; and the fire that punishes you — will never be quenched!

If you, my dear friend, live — neglecting God — walking in your own ways, and gratifying only your own passions and propensities — then you must go to Hell, and suffer God's just wrath — the punishment due to you for your sins!

God asks you, "Why will you die?" Why do you prefer . . .
  death — to life,
  damnation — to salvation,
  Satan — to Jesus,
  Hell — to Heaven?


~  ~  ~  ~  ~

An unsaved person's perspective of Christians

(James Smith, "The Book You Will Like!" 1859)

I do not believe that you Christians believe your own creed — for if you were persuaded that things really are as your Bibles teach, and that we poor lost people were really going to such a dreadful place as you say Hell is — then you would act more humanely toward us.

If you saw our houses on fire — you would run and help us to put the fire out; or if you saw us in danger of death — you would try to do something to save us. But you pretend to believe that we are going to Hell, and that Hell burns with fire and brimstone forever, and that once there we can never get out — and yet you talk to us about all sorts of things — but never say one word to us about saving our souls from this terrible doom!

So I have reasoned thus: either you Christians don't believe what you say — or else you must be the most hardened and unfeeling wretches in the universe! Now, as I don't believe that you are such cruel, hardened, and unfeeling people as this supposes — then I must conclude that, with all your talk — you Christians don't really believe what your Bibles teach!

For if you really believe what you say about sin, and Hell, and our danger — then you would act differently; and if you have a spark of kindness in your hearts — you would try to save us from such a dreadful doom. And, on the other hand, if you do not believe what you profess — then you Christians cannot be honest; and to say the least, there must be a great deal of hypocrisy among you.

Now, I honestly tell you that these are the things which have stumbled me more than anything, and until I can see you Christians act differently — I will not be persuaded to believe what your sort of folks say.

  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~


(James Smith, "Henceforth!" 1859)

"Henceforth, I no longer call you servants — but I have called you friends." John 15:15

Friends! What — the friends of Jesus! Yes!

And does He love us as His friends? Yes!

And does He treat us as His friends? Yes!

And does He expect us to walk with Him, and converse with Him, and confide in Him as His friends? Yes!

Precious Lord Jesus,
   how astonishing is Your love,
   how vast is Your condescension,
   how amazing is Your grace . . .
to call such insignificant worms, such ungrateful sinners, such utterly unworthy creatures — Your friends!

Yes, henceforth, Jesus . . .
  treats us as His friends,
  walks with us as His friends,
  communes with us as His friends, and
  will take us to dwell in Heaven with Him forever as His friends!

Blessed, blessed forever be the Lord, for His free and sovereign grace!

Henceforth, by the grace of God — I must be a new man, walking by a new rule, and aiming at a new end!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

We must continually come to Him!

(James Smith, "Abide with Me" 1859)

One great part of the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart is to . . .
  empty us,
  strip us of self,
  lead us to feel our own weakness, and
  bring us as poor sinners to look to Jesus alone, as our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
And just in proportion as we feel our need of Christ, and realize our absolute nothingness without Christ — shall we prize Him, enjoy Him, and exercise dependence upon Him.

O how little do many of us know our need of Christ, and therefore it is that we . . .
  make so little use of Christ,
  receive so little from Christ,
  and do so little for Christ!

We come to Him at first — as poor, lost, helpless sinners — that we may be saved by His merit and mercy. And as believers, we must continually come to Him . . .
  with all our burdens — that He may bear them;
  with all our cares — that He may manage them;
  with all our sorrows — that He may sanctify them;
  with all our foes — that He may conquer them;
  with all our sins — that He may cleanse them; and
  with all our needs — that He may supply them.

All that we need is in Christ — and it is in Christ, for us. Our sense of our need of Christ, if it is deep and increasing — will lead us to daily come to Christ for all our supplies.

Our deep necessity fits us for Christ — and His infinite fullness fits Him for us!

Our trials, troubles, temptations, disappointments, and vexations are to teach us our need of Christ; and drive us continually to Him.

There is often much prayer — and yet little communion with Christ. We should realize that He is giving us His whole attention. He expects us to tell Him . . .
  all that troubles us,
  all that grieves us,
  all that pleases us,
  all that we need,
  and all that we desire.
We should keep back nothing from Him — but speak to Him freely on every subject, and every circumstance. He is always with us, listening to us, and sympathetically entering into all our concerns!

We must be intimate with Christ.
We must walk with Him.
We must carry everything to Him.
We must seek all we need from Him.
We must be constantly . . .
  going to Christ,
  conversing with Christ,
  and obtaining from Christ —
if we would receive the consoling influences of His love!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Let us often think of home!

(James Smith, "A Devotional Glimpse at Psalm 23")

"I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!" Psalm 23:6

Notice, David's expectation for eternity. Not in the sheepfold in the wilderness — but in the house of the Lord! The dwelling-place of God — the family residence of the Father of mercies, and His beloved children. In that house, we shall have . . .
  all our desires gratified,
  all our prayers answered, and
  our highest expectations more than realized!

There we shall dwell in peace, united to all the saints, and enjoying the society of all the ransomed brethren! All friendship will be unchangeable, and fellowship perpetual and pure.

There we shall dwell and worship — and our worship will be spiritual, pure, and perfect!

There we shall dwell and enjoy — and our enjoyments will be dignified, delightful, and eternal.

There we shall dwell and obey — and our obedience will be perfect, hearty, and perpetual.

There, we shall dwell and rest — and our rest will be sweet, refreshing, and satisfying.
There will be no wilderness storms there.
There will be no cruel, crafty, malignant foes there.

O glorious prospect! O sweet anticipation!

In our Father's house are many mansions — and all those mansions will be occupied, for . . .
  every one beloved and chosen by the Father,
  every one for whom Jesus became a substitute and sacrifice,
  every one ever born of the Spirit — will be there!

All God's children shall be there — not one of them lost!
All God's sheep shall be there — not one hoof left behind!

There the Eternal Father will be surrounded by, and enjoy the society of all His happy family.
There the glorious Savior will see of the travail of His soul — and be fully and forever satisfied.
There the Holy Spirit will fill all His temples, and enjoy His divine workmanship, and the presence of all whom He has prepared for glory.
There, Jehovah, at home with His people — will manifest forth His glory, and pour floods of light, love, and blessing upon them forever!

Well then may the Psalmist say, "In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures!"

Let us often think of home! This vain world is not our rest. Here on earth, we have no continuing city. Home, the home of the believer's heart — is in the skies . . .
  where Jesus is,
  where Jesus reigns,
  where love is perfect,
  where there is always a full tide of joy,
  where God displays all his glory,
  where grace satisfies the utmost desires of every renewed soul.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Such I may have been — but for free and sovereign grace!

(James Smith, "The Book That Will Suit You!")

"By the grace of God — I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

Consider what you were — before saved by sovereign grace. Your heart was enmity against God, deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked! You did not have one pure desire, one holy thought, or one feeling of love to God.

Further, what would you have been — but for the grace of God? Look at the vilest, the most debased, the most debauched of our race — and you may truly say, "Such I may have been — but for free and sovereign grace!"

"By the grace of God — I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

The benefits of prayer

(James Smith, "A Salve for Every Sore!" 1859)

Prayer carries every burden to the Lord — -and leaves it there.
Prayer goes to the Lord . . .
  with every need — to have it supplied;
  with every enemy — to have it conquered;
  with every corruption — to have it subdued;
  with every trouble — to have it sanctified,
  and with every promise — to have it fulfilled.
Prayer . . .
  affects God's heart with a groan,
  opens God's hand with a cry, and
  obtains the most costly blessings with a tear!
While a man can pray . . .
  he can never sink,
  he can never be wretched,
  he can never perish!

Reader, get and maintain a spirit of prayer; it will . . .
  ease your mind,
  quell your fears, and
  fortify your soul against the sorest trials!

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus!" Philippians 4:6-7

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

His love uses the rod — as well as gives the kiss!

(James Smith, "God is Love!" 1859)

"God is love!" 1 John 4:16

That is, in Christ, God is love.

All that God does for His children — is in love!

All that He withholds from us — is in love!

And all that He requires of us — is in love!

His precepts are from love — as much as His promises!
His warnings are as much from love — as His invitations!
His prohibitions are as much from love — as His permissions!
His love uses the rod — as well as gives the kiss!
His love withholds — as well as gives!

All, all, is done in love!

O sweet and blessed representation of Jehovah! How can I be justified in complaining of any of His dealings? In Jesus,
all His thoughts, are loving thoughts;
all His words, are loving words; and
all His works, are loving works.

In giving, or withholding — He manifests His love.

In afflicting, or restoring — He alike displays His love.

Every pain, and every pleasure — is from His love.

Every storm, and every sunbeam — is from His love.

The fruitful shower, and the destroying hurricane — are ruled and overruled by divine love, for the good of the believer in Jesus.

"The Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son!" Hebrews 12:6

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Must we have our bracelets and diamonds?

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

"Then He said to them all: If anyone wants to come with Me,
he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me!"
    Luke 9:23

Must we have our bracelets and diamonds — when
Christ had the nails and spear going to His heart!