Grace Gems for JULY 2014

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All the devils in Hell, and all tempters on earth!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"A garrison is not free from danger, while it has an enemy lodged within!"

You may bolt all your doors, and fasten all your windows but if the thieves have placed even a little child within doors who can draw the bolts for them the house is still unprotected.

All the sea outside a ship cannot do it damage until the water enters within.

Hence, it is clear that our greatest danger is from within. All the devils in Hell, and all tempters on earth could do us no injury if there were no corruption in our nature. The sparks will fall harmlessly, if there is no tinder.

Alas, our heart is our greatest enemy this is the little home-born thief!

Lord, save me from that evil man, myself!

"It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you!" Mark 7:20-23

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God separates the sin which He hates from the soul which He loves!

(William Nicholson, "Afflictions!"1862)

"Affliction does not come from the dust, neither does trouble spring out of the ground. Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward." Job 5:6, 7

Man is born in sin, and therefore born to trouble. There is nothing in this world we are born to, and can truly call our own but sin and trouble!

Actual transgressions are the sparks which fly out of the furnace of original corruption.

Why then should we be surprised at our afflictions as strange, or object to them as severe when they are the effects of sin, and under God's divine superintendence?

Afflictions are the common lot of man. "Man is born to trouble!" These afflictions are . . .
   and successive.

None are exempt from afflictions. For wherever there is sin, there is trouble. "Man is born to trouble!"

The poor endure it the rich are not exempt.

To the pious, a bitter cup is assigned and the wicked too have aching heads and hearts.

Grandeur, nobility, and royalty are also associated with trouble.

The heart of the peasant, and that of the monarch are alike smitten with anguish.

In youth, in middle age, in later life there is trouble.

In health, in wealth, in honor, in elevation there is trouble.

In successful enterprise,
in vast financial accumulation,
in places of nobility,
in beautiful mansions, and splendid palaces
  there is no exemption from trouble!

Go where you will, you will find trouble! Take the wings of the morning, and fly to the uttermost parts of the earth, and even there you will find it. Enter the deep shades of solitude, and it is there.

Crown yourselves with royalty;
take the exhilarating wine;
engage in the giddy dance;
listen to entrancing music and convivial songs;
visit the drama, and other theatric performances
  and you may for a season drown your sorrow.
But the clouds of trouble are sure to gather over your heads!

You are born to trouble.

It is your inevitable lot.

You will yet have to sicken, to suffer, and die!

Brethren, you know that, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows!" John 16:33

Afflictions are designed for chastisement. Afflictions are designed to awaken correct, reform, divert from sin and the world and to transfer the affections to Heaven. They "are for our profit." Hebrews 12:10

By affliction, God separates the sin which He hates from the soul which He loves!

Two things should comfort believers under afflictions:
  1. That what they suffer is not Hell.
  2. That it is all the Hell they shall suffer.

Our enjoyments are greater than our afflictions.
And our afflictions are much less than our sins.

The source of affliction is not chance or mere natural causes. "Affliction does not come from the dust, neither does trouble spring out of the ground." If afflictions came from chance, there would be nothing wise, intelligent, reasonable, or good, in them they would be dark, confused, and miserable.

Afflictions are Divinely appointed.

Job could say, "He performs the thing that is appointed for me."

David rejoiced to say, "All my times are in Your hand."

And Paul comforted the Christians at Thessalonica by the doctrine of Divine appointment: "No man should be moved by these afflictions, for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto." 1 Thessalonians 3:3.

That afflictions are appointed by God, is comforting, for it indicates that:

1. Our afflictions will be mingled with mercy. They are appointed by our gracious Father, who knows our frame, etc. They are sent by the God of love. To one who loves God, it is a great comfort to see His hand in everything that befalls us. It is enough, and ought to be enough, that it is the Lord's doing let Him do what seems good unto Him. "I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9

When Job was deprived of all his substance by the Chaldeans and Sabeans, he said, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised!" To have everything ordered and arranged by God, is all that we can desire!

2. Our afflictions are sent in wisdom. It is highly conciliating to view every separate event, as a part of God's one all-wise scheme; and to know that when our plans are frustrated, God's plans remain unalterably wise. He knows what is best for us, and His plans never fail!

3. Afflictions are designed to produce glorious results. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28

All our present ills are the seeds of future bliss, and will be followed by a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory in the kingdom of God's dear Son.

When such sublime results shall be realized, we shall perceive that "Affliction does not come from the dust, neither does trouble spring out of the ground." Be submissive. God's design for afflictions is our sanctification, and eventual glorification. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it!" Hebrews 12:11

Afflictions are but blessings in disguise!

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He is a rich, full, free, and inexhaustible fountain!

(William Nicholson, "The Enriching Savior!" 1862)

"The same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him!" Romans 10:12

This verse is full of precious consolation. As "Lord over all" He is able to enrich others. He possesses an inexhaustible stock of spiritual blessings, by which He can "be rich unto all who call upon Him."

Note the objects of His enriching grace: "Unto all who call upon Him."

He enriches the guilty one, with the pardon of all his sins, however numerous and flagrant. 1 John 1:7; Acts 13:38.

He enriches those condemned by the law, with deliverance and justification. Acts 13:39; Romans 5:1; 8:1.

He enriches the unrighteous and defiled, with cleansing grace and regenerating power, to make them "new creatures in Christ Jesus." 2 Corinthians 5:17.

He enriches the outcast and abandoned, with adoption into His redeemed family, and all its precious privileges.

He is a rich, full, free, and inexhaustible fountain!

What more can be said?

He enriches . . .
  the ignorant with wisdom,
  the weak with strength,
  the fearful with courage,
  the depressed with consolation,
  the soldier of the cross with armor, success, and conquest,
  the tempted and tried with support and a way of escape,
  the afflicted and bereaved with strength according to the day,
  the dying with the hope of immortality, and afterwards with Heaven itself!

He can make all grace to abound to all His people!

"The LORD gives grace and glory. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly!" Psalm 84:11

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Half-hearted Christianity!

(Horatius Bonar)

If you are Christians, be consistent. Be Christians out and out Christians every hour, in every part. Beware . . .
  of half-hearted discipleship,
  of compromise with evil,
  of conformity to the world,
  of trying to serve two masters,
  of trying to walk in two ways, the narrow and the broad, at once.
It will not do. Half-hearted Christianity will only dishonor God, while it makes you miserable!

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money!" Matthew 6:24

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The essential thing in the Christian life!

(J.R. Miller)

"No longer do I call you servants; but I have called you friends!" John 15:15

For myself, after all my years of teaching and helping others, and all my experiences as a Christian, my whole creed is summed up into one little sentence, "Christ and I are friends!" No friend in all the world is so near to me as He is. I trust Him, I love Him. I take everything to Him, I lay every burden upon Him. I go to Him for wisdom, for help, for the love I need in my own heart. He is everything to me as Friend.

Christ is my personal Friend. He is my dearest, truest, strongest and best Friend!

Then for myself, my whole duty is summed up in being a friend of Christ's. He says, "You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you." This includes all Scripture commands.

In telling you this, I want to help you to understand that the essential thing in the Christian life is knowing Christ, trusting Him, loving Him, following Him, having Christ for your Friend and being His friend.

The secret of a beautiful life is living in unbroken fellowship with Christ, under the influence of His presence, and the inspiration of His love and grace.

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(William Nicholson, 1862)

"He gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age!" Galatians 1:4

The sacrifice of Christ was voluntary it must therefore have been prompted by infinite love. Redeeming love should be the favorite topic of the Christian's constant meditation.

I. Note His marvelous act: "He gave Himself!"

He came into the world which abhorred Him, disowned Him, and murdered Him!

He gave Himself to all the privations and sorrows of human life.

He gave Himself to obscurity and indigence. He was born in a stable and had nowhere to lay His head.

He gave Himself to scorn and infamy. He was denounced . . .
  as a glutton,
  as a drunkard,
  as insane,
  as a demoniac,
  as a traitor!
"Scorn has broken My heart and has left Me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none; for comforters, but I found none!" Psalm 69:20

He gave Himself to pain and anguish. "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering!" Isaiah 53:3. Behold His agony . . .
  at Gabbatha,
  at Gethsemane,
  and at Golgotha!

He gave Himself to an ignominious and painful death. "He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed!" Isaiah 53:5

He died the just for the unjust.

II. Note the purpose for which He gave Himself: "For our sins!"

Man is a sinner he has transgressed the Divine law, and rendered himself accursed. Christ died to save helpless, ruined man.

He gave Himself to deliver us from . . .
  sin's curse, Galatians 3:13,
  sin's defilement, Ephesians 5:25-27; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 1:9
  sin's dominion, Romans 6:14,
  the effects of sin in this world and in eternity.
The believer now has peace, joy, hope, and triumph.

III. Note the Design of Christ's offering: "That He might deliver us from this present evil world!"

Not totally to remove us out of the world, but to deliver us from its evil practices from its maxims and philosophies.

To deliver us from the condemnation to which the world will be subjected.

To deliver us from attachment to this fleeting world, "For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy!" Micah 2:10

To influence us to look higher, accounting ourselves as "strangers and pilgrims" on earth; declaring plainly that we are "seeking a better country, that is a heavenly one!"

To deliver us when we die, from this poor world's . . .
  sinful beings
and to introduce us to a purer, brighter, happier world than this, where we shall reside forever!

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The messenger of Christ to fetch us home to Himself!

(William Nicholson, 1862)

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

For the Christian, death is but the messenger of Christ to fetch us home to Himself!

"My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better!" Philippians 1:23

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It is not sufficient to be sound in the faith!

(William Nicholson, 1862)

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love I am nothing!" 1 Corinthians 13:2

It is not sufficient to be sound in the faith we must also abound in love.

A man may have an orthodox creed while his heart is cold and dead.

Where religion is genuine, love will be active.

"You yourselves have been taught by God to love each other!" 1 Thessalonians 4:9

"Above all, love each other deeply!" 1 Peter 4:8

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Not a single shaft can hit, till the God of love sees fit!

(Samuel Davies, "The Nature and Universality of Spiritual Death")

"My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
 He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber.
 The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side.
 The sun will not strike you by day, or the moon by night.
 The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life.
 The Lord will protect your coming and going, both now and forever!"
    Psalm 121

God is the guardian and deliverer of His people!
From how many dangers has He preserved us!
From how many calamities has He delivered us!

Dangers, distresses and deaths crowd upon us and surround us in every age and every place! The air, the earth, the sea, and every element are pregnant with numberless inlets of pain and death ready to seize and destroy us!

Sickness and death swarm around us! Nay, they lie in ambush in our own constitution, and are perpetually undermining our lives and yet our divine Guardian preserves us for months and years unhurt, untouched. And how many 'salvations' of this kind has He wrought for us! Salvations . . .
  from accidents,
  from sicknesses,
  from pains,
  from sorrows,
  from death!
Salvations from seen and unseen dangers!
Salvations in infancy, in youth, and in maturer years!

These things we cannot deny, without the most stupid ignorance, and an atheistic disbelief of divine Providence.

Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise,
All my times are in Your hand,
All events at Your command!

His decree, who formed the earth,
Fixed my first and second birth;
Parents, native place, and time,
All appointed were by Him.

He who formed me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb.
All my times shall ever be,
Ordered by His wise decree!

Times of sickness, times of health;
Times of poverty, and of wealth;
Times of trial and of grief,
Times of triumph and relief.

Plagues and death around me fly;
Till He bids, I cannot die!
Not a single shaft can hit,
Till the God of love sees fit!

(John Ryland)

"Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear . . .
  the terror of night,
  nor the arrow that flies by day,
  nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
  nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you!"
    Psalm 91:3-7

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"Some people want only as much of God's salvation as will keep them out of Hell, and they measure out with unconscious precision how much worldliness and sin they can still hang on to without jeopardizing their chances. This is 'conversion' without repentance. Flee from it!" David Shepherd

"Are you guilty of this insidious practice? Are you unconsciously weighing out each day how much sin and worldliness you can still enjoy, and yet miss Hell's eternal torment and flames? If this is the case with you, then you are a religious pretender and a gross hypocrite who needs to swiftly run to the foot of the Cross and repent of such an atrocity!

"A 'worldly Christian'? Can there be such a thing? Or is this a term that the backslidden Church came up with to try to appease their guilty consciences and to excuse their ungodly ways? The concept of a 'worldly Christian' is a total absurdity! A true Christian is devoted, dedicated, or consecrated to God's service not worldliness. We are either devoted to Jesus or to the world. Which is it for you?" C. Giordano

"Nothing worse can happen to a church, than to be conformed to this world! Those who would be transfigured by Jesus, must not be disfigured by conformity to the world." Charles Spurgeon

"If I find anyone who is settled down too snugly into this world, I always doubt whether he's ever truly been born again." A.W. Tozer

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money!" Matthew 6:24 

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What we are in secret devotions

(John Berridge)

"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:6

What we are in secret devotions that we are in the sight of God, and no more.

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The Only Everlasting Flower!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

The flowers which grow in earth's garden, wither in our hands while we smell them. They are as frail as they are fair. They grow out of the dust and to the dust must they return. As Herbert says,
"Their root is ever in their grave,
 And they must die!"

How speedy is their withering. They are gathered by the hand and laid before us and they wilt and become sickly, fainting, decaying objects. At the very longest, their lives smile through a day or two, and all is over.

Which of earth's joys is better than her flowers?
Health flies,
wealth takes to itself wings,
honor is a puff of air, and
pleasure is a bubble!

Only from Heaven can we expect "pleasure forever more," and "everlasting joy." The Rose of Sharon blooms through all the ages; and the Lily of the Valley, which is Jesus himself, outlasts all time. Yes, this is the only Everlasting Flower, for He alone has immortality. Why, then, should we seek for the living among the dead or search for substance in the land of shadows?

Henceforth, my soul . . .
gather your Hearts-ease in the garden of the Lord,
pluck your Forget-me-nots from beds which Christ has planted,
and look for your Crown-Imperial only in the Paradise above.

The flowers of the field are children's adornments. See how the little ones garland themselves, and fashion chaplets with the buttercups and daisies. Earth's loveliest joys are good child's play; but, my soul, you have to act a nobler part seek the bliss which fades not away. Turn to God, your exceeding joy, and then if your years are multiplied upon earth, you shall have a life-long possession. Or if you are caught away suddenly, you shall carry with you in your bosom, the rosebud of a life which will open to perfection, in the land where fading and withering are things unknown!

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The compass-needle!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"The compass-needle may be shaken and agitated, but it never rests until it turns toward the pole!"

Thus our heart's affections, when once magnetized by  the love of Christ, find no rest unless we turn to Him. The cares and labors of the day may carry our thoughts to other objects, even as a finger may turn the compass-needle to the east or west. But no sooner is the pressure removed, than our thoughts fly to the Well-beloved, just as the needle moves to its place.

We are unable to rest anywhere but in Jesus. The new birth has disqualified us for contentment with the world and hence we have no choice but to find our all in Christ. Blessed necessity!
We are driven to Jesus, by an unrest which finds no remedy elsewhere!
We are drawn to Jesus, by an impulse which we have no desire to resist!

We mourn that we are subject to many deflections and disturbances; but you know, O Lord, that our inmost soul seeks after Yourself!

"As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God. I thirst for God, the living God!" Psalm 42:1-2

"O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You. My soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water!" Psalm 63:1

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Not a loving worm, not a living worm!

(Thomas Adams, "The Passion of Christ")

"Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!" Romans 5:6, 8

Here then was love without limitation beyond imitation!

"Unspeakable mercy," says Bernard, "that the King of eternal glory should yield Himself to be crucified for so poor a wretch yes, for a worm and that, not a loving worm, not a living worm for we both hated Him, and were dead in sins and trespasses!"

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Followed by the sublime realities of eternity!

(William Nicholson, "Numbering Our Days!" 1862)

The vanities of our earthly life, are
followed by the sublime realities of eternity!

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom!" Psalm 90:12

We have been foolish it is high time to awake, and put away childish things!

We are very apt to forget the nature of human life. Life is like . . .
  a vapor,
  withering grass,
  a passing shadow,
  a fading flower, etc. etc.

"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes!" James 4:14. Life is frail and short, and yet we talk and act as if we were never to die. The mind is fully absorbed by the world, while "our breath is in our nostrils."

We must realize that we have already spent a great portion of our life in selfishness and folly. We have a great work to do, in a very short time!

We must realize that the remaining remnant of our life will rapidly pass away. What a little time we have yet to live!

We must realize that the time of our death is uncertain. "You do not know the day nor the hour!"

"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom!"

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The great Arbiter of life and death!

(William Nicholson, "The Separation of the Righteous from the Wicked!" 1862)

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on His left!" Matthew 25:31-33

There are three important days in the existence of a man:
the day of his birth,
   the day of his death, and
   the day when he shall be judged.

At the day of his birth he commences an immortal existence; he enters on a career which will be lengthened out through an endless eternity.

At the day of his death his seed-time, his probation, and all his works shall end. His body shall return to the dust, and his soul pass into the world of spirits.

At the day of judgment, all his thoughts, motives, and actions, will be scrutinized by the great Arbiter of life and death, and the character of them will decide his everlasting destiny. "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  

I. The Great and Solemn Convention. "All the nations will be gathered before Him!"

1. The time when this convention shall take place: "When the Son of man shall come in His glory."

2. The grand appearance of the Judge: "He shall come in His glory."

3. This appearance will be judicial. "Then He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory." The nations of the earth shall be gathered before Him, at His bar. It will be a judicial throne.

4. The Assembly. "All the nations will be gathered before Him!" What a vast assembly! Yes, "all nations," all the inhabitants of the world, from Adam to his last-born son, shall be gathered before the throne!

II. The Momentous Separation and Its Consequences. "And He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left!"

1. He will separate them into two classes:
  the righteous and the wicked,
  saved saints and lost sinners,
  the pure grain and the chaff,
  the wheat and the tares,
  the sheep and the goats.

2. This separation will be exact. Though the multitude will be so vast yet the character of each will be detected with the greatest precision. Every thought, desire, motive, and action will be known to the infallible Judge! 

3. This separation will be complete and just. There will be no partiality. He will make the separation in righteousness, according to His perfect law of equity. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that shall he reap!"

The judgment will be so complete, that all will acknowledge the justice displayed in the separation.

4. This separation will be to many most surprising, degrading, and mortifying! Then the proud and wealthy will be humbled and brought down! Men of talent and genius, "wise men after the flesh," who received the applause of the multitude will descend from their pinnacle of glory, to contempt and infamy and see the poor despised Christian infinitely exalted above them!

What mortification will the miser feel when he finds his gold so worthless!

What will the worldly objects and pursuits of the ambitious appear then!

How will the votary of of this world, and the lover of pleasure, find themselves undeceived then!

How will those who have rejected Christ, or denied God's existence, open their eyes in astonishment! What surprise when they gaze on Him, and hear Him say, "But those enemies of Mine who did not want Me to be king over them bring them here and kill them in front of Me!" Luke 19:27

Then there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth," such as the world never saw, when the rich, the splendid, the refined, and the noble behold the Christian pauper, beggar, and slave, ready to "sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and they themselves thrust out!"

5. This separation will, in many cases, be awfully affecting. What a distinction will then be made in families! Some parents themselves will be left behind, and with failing eyes, and bursting hearts, will follow their children rising to the heavens, and bidding them an everlasting farewell.

6. This separation will be eternal. They shall be divided and never come together again. There will be no return from perdition; none from paradise, to any common center where parted friends may be reunited. This separation is not for one, two, or more years, but forever! There will be an impassable gulf fixed! Luke 16:26.

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

"That word 'forever' breaks the heart!" Thomas Watson

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Do we want to be rulers of the universe?

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"He who will be his own carver, seldom carves out a good portion to himself. Willful spirits who attempt to control their own providence, entrench upon God's prerogative, and take the work out of His hands. Therefore, it is no wonder if He turns their wisdom into folly!

It is God's business to regulate providence and when we attempt it, we cause only confusion and trouble. Not only does the carver for himself get a poor portion but he frequently cuts his fingers, and spoils his clothes, by spilling the contents of the dish.

Israel went into Canaan well enough when the Lord led the way. But when the people presumed to go up on their own they brought defeat upon themselves.

Just so, it is never well either to run before the cloud, or to stay behind it. In either case we may expect to fall under clouds of another sort, which will darken our way and becloud our peace.

Can we not trust the Lord with His own business?

Can we supplement His infallible wisdom or improve upon His infinite goodness?

Have we not enough to do, if we earnestly endeavor to obey our Lord?
Are we tired of being His disciples and followers?
Do we want to be rulers of the universe?

Why do we strain after things too high for us, intruding into spheres which belong to God alone?

My soul, be still God is at the helm, and He is well able to pilot the vessel. Keep your hand off the helm! Down with you, unbelief what have you to do while God Himself provides for His people?

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A child can crush a serpent's egg!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"It is easier to crush the egg than to kill the serpent!"

It is prudent to break up all the eggs we can find, before the reptiles are hatched!

Just so, far greater wisdom will be shown in early dealing with a temptation, than in allowing it time to make headway. It is best to correct ourselves early and unhesitatingly to stamp out the first sparks of evil desire, before passion rises to a flame!

A child can crush a serpent's egg but who will contend with the venomous creature which may be hatched from it, if it is left unbroken?

So is it with that vice which stings like a viper! The first glass can readily be refused; it is quite another matter to stop when the wine has entered the brain. The first lust we may readily avoid; but when unchaste desires are fully aroused, who shall bridle them?

O Lord, teach me to crush sin early, lest it should gather strength and crush me!

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These short-lived troubles!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"All the difficulties of the present life are but like one rainy day compared to an everlasting sunshine!"

How readily, then, should we bear these short-lived troubles! They are but for a moment, just a passing shower and then the sun will shine out forever!

is nothing, when compared with eternity.

To a believer, this sorrowful life is like one drop of grief, lost in a sea of glory or one speck of rain, in a year of fair weather. These light and momentary afflictions are not worthy to be compared with the eternal bliss which awaits us!

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!" 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

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What a volume Mr. Recorder Conscience has written already!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"If conscience speaks not, it writes. For it is not only a witness, but a register, and a book of record: 'The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and the point of a diamond!' Jeremiah 17:1. We know not what conscience writes, being occupied and taken up with carnal vanities but we shall know hereafter, when the books are opened, Revelation 20:12. Conscience keeps a diary, and marks down everything! This book, though it is in the sinner's keeping cannot be erased and blotted out. Well, then, a sleepy conscience will not always sleep; if we do not allow it to awaken here it will awaken in Hell!"

Let those who forget their sins take note of this! There is a recorder within you taking notes, and he will publish all, where all will hear it. Never say, "Nobody will see me!" for you will see yourself, and your conscience will give infallible evidence against you.

What a volume Mr. Recorder Conscience has written already! How many 'blotted pages' he has in store, to be produced upon my final trial.

O You who alone can erase this dreadful handwriting, look on me in mercy, as I now look on You by faith.

"They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them." Romans 2:15

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We pity the poor wretch who can dance under the gallows!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"Do you account him a happy man, who is condemned to die because he has a plentiful allowance until his execution? Do you account him a happy man, who makes a fair show abroad while at home he is pinched with poverty and misery? Do you account him a happy man, who revels in all kinds of pleasures today but is to die this night?"

If we view unpardoned sinners aright, we shall heartily pity them! Let their temporal condition be as good as it may at this present time the wrath of God abides on them, and they are "condemned already!" And as for the future, it is black with certain doom!

Alas for the unhappy man against whom God sets His face! What misery can be greater, than to be reserved for damnation in the great day of the wrath of God? We wonder at the mirth of men who are condemned to Hell their fantasy is terrible to behold!

Hence we cannot join with them in their carnal mirth. Sinners may dance but it will not be to our music. They may revel and riot but we dare not endorse them in their jollity, for we know that their day is coming!

If you are indeed a child of God let no desire to share their carnal delights lurk in your mind! Do not be envious of the prosperity of the wicked! Who would envy a criminal about to be executed, of his last cup of wine? Do not let their frivolities attract you. We pity the poor wretch who can dance under the gallows which he will shortly hang on! Just so, sinners who are on the road to Hell sporting and jesting, are worse than mad! Their singing will soon turn to sighing!

"But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold! For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits! This is what the wicked are like always carefree, they increase in wealth." Psalm 73:2-7, 12

"When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me until I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny!" Psalm 73:16-17

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Beware of little sins!

(Thomas Brooks)

"Avoid every kind of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:22

Little sins multiplied, become great. There is nothing less than a grain of sand yet there is nothing heavier than the sand of the sea when multiplied.

Little sins are very dangerous!
A little leaven, leavens the whole lump.
A little knife, may kill.
A little leak in a ship, may sink it.

Though the scorpion is little yet will it sting a lion to death! Just so, a little sin may at once bar the door of Heaven, and open the gates of Hell!

The least sin will damn us if not pardoned by the death of Christ!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"Not only do great sins ruin the soul, but lesser sins will do the same. Dallying with temptation, leads to sad consequences."

A small dagger thrust into the heart, will give as deadly a wound as a huge two-handed sword. Just so, a little sin unrepented of, will be as fatal as living in gross transgressions.
Death can hide in a drop, and ride in a breath of air. Just so, our greatest dangers lie hidden in little things. The least sin may be a very Pandemonium in your heart. It may conceal a host of evils, and a numerous hive of mischiefs, each one storing great harm.

Believer, beware of little sins. Watch and pray, lest you fall by little by little.

Lord, save me from sins which call themselves little!

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The first, foremost, chief and principal things in Christianity!

(J.C. Ryle, "Evangelical Religion")

1. The Absolute Supremacy of Holy Scripture
Show us anything, plainly written in that Book and we will receive it, believe it, and submit to it! Show us anything contrary to that Book, and however sophisticated, plausible, beautiful and apparently desirable and we will not have it at any price!

2. The Doctrine of Human Sinfulness and Corruption
Man is radically diseased and dead in sin. I believe that ignorance of the extent of the Fall, and of the whole doctrine of original sin, is one grand reason why many can neither understand, appreciate, nor receive Evangelical Religion.

3. The Work and Office of our Lord Jesus Christ
The eternal Son of God is our Representative and Substitute. We hold that nothing whatever is needed between the sinner, and Christ the Savior, but simple child-like faith.

4. The Inward Work of the Holy Spirit
We maintain that the things which need most to be pressed on men's attention are those mighty works of the Holy Spirit inward repentance, faith, hope, hatred of sin, and love to God's Word. We say that to tell men to take comfort in their baptism or church membership, when these all-important graces are unknown is not merely a grave mistake, but positive cruelty!

5. The Outward and Visible Work of the Holy Spirit in the Life of Man
We maintain that to tell a man he is "born of God" or regenerated, while living in carelessness or sin, is a dangerous delusion!

We say boldly that the above five points are the first, foremost, chief and principal things in Christianity.

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Yes, indeed, this is the wonder of wonders, the miracle of miracles!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"Christ died for the ungodly!"
Romans 5:6

Yes, indeed, this is the wonder of wonders, the miracle of miracles
at which my mind will forever stand amazed! That the thrice Holy Savior should take the sinner's place, and, coming under the sinner's doom, should be smitten of God this is a mystery past finding out!

Hell is horribly amazing but the death of Jesus is far more astounding, and especially that in death He should cry, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!" Only the Son of God could endure this great grief. Yet is it a mystery of mysteries, that so divine a person should be capable of enduring it.

The marvel is thought to be, that a man should be able to suffer so much. But the real marvel is that, being God, He should suffer at all. The being forsaken by the Father, was the very essence of His grief!

My soul, adore and love you cannot understand it!

Behold the eclipse of your soul's Sun, and know that, had not this been, you would have been in the darkness of Hell forever!

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A sin-expelling power over our lives!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"Old leaves, if they remain upon the trees through the autumn and the winter fall off in the spring."

We have seen a hedge all thick with dry leaves throughout the winter, and neither frost nor wind has removed the withered foliage but the spring has soon cleared them off. The new life dislodges the old, pushing it away as unsuitable to it.

In the same way, our old corruptions are best removed by the growth of new graces.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

It is as the new life buds and opens, that the old worn-out things of our former state are compelled to give up their hold of us. Our wisdom lies in living near to God, that by the power of His Holy Spirit all our graces may be vigorous, and may exercise a sin-expelling power over our lives the new leaves of grace pushing off our old worldly affections and habits of sin.

With new converts, it is often better not to lay down stringent rules as to worldly amusements but leave the new life and its holier joys, to push off the old pleasures. Thus it will be done more naturally and more effectively.

We have all heard of the expulsive power of a new affection. This new affection of love to God coming into the soul, expels love to sin!

Lord, let Your life in me, push off the relics of my former sinful self that I may put on the new man, and manifest Your transforming grace!

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The devil's chessboard!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"So that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes!" 2 Corinthians 2:11

"Be watchful; the world is the devil's chessboard! You can hardly move backward or forward, but he is ready to attack you with some temptation!"

Those who play at the game of chess know that great caution is needed. Your opponent is working toward a design of which you know nothing; and while you imagine that you are doing exceedingly well, he is entrapping you!

The game of life
, as against Satan, is one in which . . .
  his maneuvers and artifice,
  his long practice and stratagems,
  his superior skill and deceptiveness,
  and his unscrupulousness
give him an immense advantage over our poor self-conceited folly!

Lord, help us! You know our adversary; be pleased to deliver us out of his hand.

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes!" Ephesians 6:11

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Here little and hereafter much!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want!" Philippians 4:10-12

We look for more in this life than it will ever yield to us. If we would be satisfied with less we would be less dissatisfied. Probably there is as much happiness in one station of life as in another if we are content in that situation which the Lord has placed us in.

The misery of life is when a man has a great deal less than he aspires to. Contentment is the crown-jewel of a happy life! We shall have enough, for God's promises guarantee us our necessary portion. Why need we fret after more?

"Here little and hereafter much!" as Bunyan says, is best for us!

O Lord, grant me grace to live above the poor trifles of this fleeting world!

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A poor beast that is going homeward, goes cheerfully!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

A poor beast that is going homeward, goes cheerfully! See how the horse pricks up his ears and quickens his pace when you turn his head to his stable. Even the dull donkey does the same.

Much more then should Christians feel the attractions of their heavenly home!

Courage, brothers and sisters; we, too, are homeward bound! Every hour brings us nearer to the many mansions! Our way is toward the Father's house on high, therefore let us rejoice at every step we take!

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. In my Father's house are many mansions. I am going there to prepare a place for you!" John 14:1-2

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When you wallow in the mud of worldly pleasures!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"If you saw a man laboring in filthy ditches, and soiling himself as poor men do would you believe that he was the heir to a crown, called to inherit a kingdom? Just so, who will believe in your heavenly calling when you wallow in the mud of worldly pleasures, and are absorbed with carking care for trivial things?"

Princes should behave as princes! Their haunts should be in palaces and not amid dung-heaps! How, then, is it that some who profess and call themselves Christians, are found rummaging in questionable amusements to discover pleasure; and many others are groping amid sordid avarice to find satisfaction in wealth?

What are they doing to be thus disgracing the blood royal! How dare they drag the name of the "Blessed and only Potentate" through the mire!

A prince of royal-blood acting as a beggar, would dishonor not only himself but all the royal house. Nobility has obligations!

The eminent nobility of the saints, puts them under heavy bonds to act as the true aristocracy of the universe!

Come, my soul, do you behave royally? I am made a king by Jesus Christ are my bearing and life-style answerable to the dignity laid upon me?

Lord, you must teach your poor child. I have so long been a vagabond and an outcast, that unless you teach me the majestic life-style of your holy courts I will dishonor both myself and You!

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God!" Colossians 3:1-3

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'Tom Thumbs' in grace!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's Word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!" Hebrews 5:12

"An infant, if he should continue an infant always, would be a monster!"

However pleased the parents had been with the little one when it was a babe, they would soon be deeply distressed if year after year it still remained a tiny thing. Indeed, they would consider it a great calamity to be the parents of a dwarf.

What, then, shall we say of those professors who never grow? They are no more holy after fifty years! They are infants at sixty years of age!

I have in my house a picture which is made up of the portraits of my sons, taken on their birthdays for twenty-one years. They begin in the cradle, and end as full-grown young men. This is interesting and according to nature.

But, alas, I have spiritual children whom I wheeled about in the stroller twenty years ago and they are babies still, needing as much care as ever, and are not able to walk alone. Ah me, that so many who ought to be warriors, are weaklings; that those who should be men of six feet tall, are so stunted as to be mere 'Tom Thumbs' in grace!

O for grace to grow in grace, and especially in the knowledge of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God save us from a life which does not grow, and from a growth which is not healthy!

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The bishop and the knight tumble into the box with the pawns and the king and the queen fare no better!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Flowers from a Puritan's Garden" 1883)

"As chessmen are all thrown into the bag together so in the grave there is no distinction. Skulls wear no wreaths, and corpses carry no marks of honor."

The bishop and the knight tumble into the box with the pawns and the king and the queen fare no better! Death is a terrible leveler! It is a pity that some men carry their heads so high above their fellows all the day for they will have to sleep at night in the same bed of clay with those whom they despise!

"Poor weeds, rich grain, mirthful flowers together stand.
 Alas! death mows down all with an impartial hand!"

"All go to the same place. All come from dust, and to dust all return!" Ecclesiastes 3:20