Grace Gems for MARCH, 2015

Grace Gems for MARCH, 2015  

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An ever-present help in times of trouble!

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

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!" Isaiah 43:1-3

This divine presence is the greatest good in the world. The people of the Lord should be very thankful for His presence with them in their greatest troubles and deepest distresses. O Sirs! this divine presence is . . .
  a great mercy,
  a special mercy,
  a distinguishing mercy,
  a big-bellied mercy — which has many mercies in its womb!

It is a mercy-greatening mercy; it greatens all the mercies we enjoy.

It is a mercy-sweetening mercy; it sweetens health, strength, riches, honors, trade, relations, etc.

This divine presence is a soul-mercy, a mercy . . .
  which reaches the soul,
  which cheers the soul,
  which lifts up the soul,
  which quiets the soul,
  which satisfies the soul, and
  which will go to Heaven with the soul.

Will you not be thankful for such a mercy?

Will you be thankful for temporal mercies — and will you not be thankful for spiritual mercies? To enjoy the presence of God when we most need it, is a mercy which deserves perpetual praises. It is the greatest mercy in this world, to enjoy the gracious presence of God in our great troubles and desperate dangers. Therefore be much in blessing God, and in admiring God — for His presence with you in a dark and trying day.

"I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." Joshua 1:5

"The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress!" Psalm 46:7

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble." Psalm 46:1

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The transcendent excellency divine wisdom

(James Smith, "Food for Hungry Souls")

"For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.
 Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
 She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left.
 She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying.
 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly!"
Proverbs 3:14-18

See the transcendent excellency divine wisdom.

Men desire health — but bodily health is only for a time.
Divine wisdom gives perpetual health, both of body and soul.

Men desire wealth — but riches are not forever.
Divine wisdom gives unsearchable riches — enduring riches!

Men desire life — but human life is brief.
Divine wisdom gives everlasting life, and life in perfection and interminable blessedness.

Men desire honor — but earthly honor is fading.
Divine wisdom confers the highest honors, associating us in the nearest relation with God, who is the source of all real honor.

Men desire pleasure — but what does earthly pleasure amount to?
Divine wisdom leads . . .
  to rivers of pleasure,
  to oceans of joy,
  to fountains of purest delight!

Men desire fame — but fame among sinners, is but a puff of noisy breath.
Divine wisdom makes us famous, if not on earth — in Heaven; if not in time — in eternity!

If therefore we would possess health and wealth;
if we would live forever, and live forever in honor;
if we would enjoy endless pleasure, and shine among God's worthies
 — then we must get wisdom! It is transcendently excellent, for all the world would not purchase it — though God freely gives it! Nor would the possession of the whole world make up for the loss of it — if we neglect and despise it. Nor would a world, or ten thousand worlds, make a man half so happy!

"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom!" Proverbs 4:7

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God's love-letter!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity,
 or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)

The Scripture is God's love-letter to men.

Here the lamb may wade — and here the elephant may swim!

The blessed Scriptures are of infinite worth and value!
Here you may find . . .
  a remedy for every disease,
  a balm for every wound,
  a plaster for every sore,
  milk for babes,
  meat for strong men,
  comfort for the afflicted,
  support for the tempted,
  solace for the distressed,
  ease for the wearied,
  a staff to support the feeble,
  a sword to defend the weak.

The holy Scriptures are . . .
  the map of God's mercy — and man's misery,
  the touchstone of truth,
  the shop of remedies against all maladies,
  the hammer of vices,
  the treasury of virtues,
  the exposer of all sensual and worldly vanities,
  the balance of equity,
  the most perfect rule of all justice and honesty.

Ah, friends, no book befits your hands like the Bible!

The Bible is the best preacher.
This book, this preacher will preach to you . . .
  in your shops,
  in your chambers,
  in your closets,
  yes, in your own bosoms!
This book will preach to you at home and abroad;
it will preach to you in all companies; and it will
preach to you in all conditions.

By this book you must live.
By this book you must die.
By this book you shall be judged in the great day!
By this book you shall be saved — or by this book you shall be damned!

Oh, therefore . . .
  love this book above all other books,
  prize this book above all other books,
  read this book before all other books,
  study this book more than all other books!
For he who reads much — and understands nothing,
is like him who hunts much — and catches nothing!

"Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long!" Psalm 119:97

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This incomparable book!

(Thomas Brooks, "Apples of Gold" 1660)

"Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long!" Psalm 119:97

The whole of Scripture is but one entire love letter, dispatched from the Lord Christ, to His beloved spouse!

Oh! the mysteries, the excellencies, the glories which are in this incomparable book! There are none so useful, none so needful, none so delightful, none so necessary to make you happy and to keep you happy — as this!

Ah! the Word of the Lord is . . .
  a light to guide you,
  a counselor to counsel you,
  a comforter to comfort you,
  a staff to support you,
  a sword to defend you,
  a physician to cure you!

The Word is . . .
  a mine to enrich you,
  a robe to clothe you,
  a crown to crown you.
  bread to strengthen you,
  wine to cheer you,
  a honeycomb to feast you,
  music to delight you,
  a paradise to entertain you!

Oh! therefore, before all and above all:
  search the Scripture,
  study the Scripture,
  meditate on the Scripture,
  delight in the Scripture,
  treasure up the Scripture!

There is . . .
  no wisdom like Scripture wisdom,
  no knowledge like Scripture knowledge,
  no experience like Scripture experience,
  no comforts like Scripture comforts,
  no delights like Scripture delights,
  no convictions like Scripture convictions,
  no conversion like Scripture conversion!

I exhort you to a speedy, serious, diligent,
and constant study of the Scripture.
Ah! you do not know how soon . . .
  your blind minds may be enlightened,
  your hard hearts may be softened,
  your proud spirits may be humbled,
  your sinful natures may be changed,
  your defiled consciences may be purged,
  your distempered affections may be regulated,
  and your poor souls may be saved . . .
    by searching into the Scriptures,
    by reading the Scripture, and
    by pondering upon the Scripture.

Ah! if you do not in good earnest,
give yourself up . . .
  to the reading,
  to the studying,
  to the pondering,
  to the believing,
  to the practicing,
  to the applying, and
  to the living up to the Scripture —
Satan will be too hard for you,
the world will be too hard for you,
your lusts will be too hard for you,
temptations will be too hard for you,
deceivers will be too hard for you,
and in the end you will be miserable!

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This book!

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")

The fountain of divine truth is the Lord Jesus Christ,
the repository of divine truth is the Holy Scriptures,
the proper abode of divine truth is the sinner's heart,
and the sacred revealer of truth is the Holy Spirit.

The Bible contains all necessary truth — and nothing but truth. It was written expressly for sinners, it is freely given to them by God, that they may learn the things which make for their everlasting peace and salvation. It was never designed to gratify the critic's pride, or please the carnal imagination; but it was intended . . .
  to inform the mind,
  to sanctify the heart,
  and to direct the feet.
When we take it up, we should remember that it is a precious gift of God to poor sinners, designed to benefit them, and glorify His holy name.

This book sets before us our true state before God, as sinners:
  Hell-deserving sinners.

It shows us that . . .
we have come short of the glory of God;
our hearts are depraved beyond description, and vile beyond expression;
the nature of Satan is not actually worse than ours;
instead of having anything to boast of, or pride ourselves in — all that we have and are, is calculated to fill us with shame, confusion, and self-abhorrence!

This book shows us plainly that salvation must be of grace — or not at all. It informs us that by faith in Jesus, we can rise from our dreadful state, and escape our fearful doom. It sets before us . . .
  the provision of divine mercy,
  the contrivance of infinite wisdom,
  and the promises of eternal love.

It exhibits a perfect Savior, suited to our miseries and woes.

It presents to us a salvation . . .
   all of grace,
   to be enjoyed by faith, and
   manifested by good works.
A salvation that . . .
reaches to our present state,
delivers us from all that we have reason to fear,
introduces us to all that we can consistently desire, and
gives us a right to all that God has promised, and that Jesus has procured.

In a word, this blessed Bible tells the poor sinner . . .
  what he is by nature,
  what he must be by grace, and
  then what he will be in glory.

It shows him . . .
nature's deservings,
mercy's way of escape, and
how God is glorified in his present salvation and future glory.

This book exhibits God's . . .
  gracious purposes,
  merciful promises,
  and wise precepts.

It sets forth . . .
the thoughts of God,
the secrets of eternity,
the designs of everlasting love,
the method of salvation,
the saint's privileges and glory,
the impenitent sinner's state, condition and awful doom!

This book  . . .
contains the mind of God;
reveals the way of salvation by Jesus Christ;
teaches the genuine evidences of real Christianity;
is a complete rule of life;
is the charter of the Christian's privileges;
is the casket that contains the jewels of God's promises;
is the light that illumines our path in this dark world; and
marks out as with a sunbeam, the blessed end of the righteous — and the miserable doom of the impenitent sinner. All who live and die without the salvation it makes known — will be cast into outer darkness, where there is eternal weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth!

There is a majesty in the Word of God which the believer sees, and an excellency, and glory which the Heaven-taught sinner discovers. He can no longer trifle with it, despise it, or pour contempt upon it. He views it as of . . .
  infinite importance,
  inconceivable value, and
  exact adapted to himself.
He feels a deep interest in its contents, and is concerned . . .
  to become acquainted with the blessings it reveals,
  to enjoy the privileges it sets forth, and
  escape the threatenings it holds out.

The true Christian . . .
  learns the doctrines with satisfaction,
  believes the promises with joy,
  accepts the invitations with gratitude,
  receives the cautions with fear,
  listens to the exhortations with pleasure,
  walks by the precepts with delight,
  reads it with reverence,
  searches it with diligence, and
  implores the promised teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit to understand it.

Beware of slighting, despising, or neglecting the Bible.
Read it daily,
pray over it incessantly, and
meditate on what it reveals continually!

"His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night!" Psalm 1:2

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Our secrets sins!

Thomas Brooks)

"You have set our iniquities before You, our secrets sins in the light of Your countenance!" Psalm 90:8

God is privy to your most secret sins!
His eye is as much upon secret sins, as it is upon open sins. God has an eye upon our inmost evils. He sees all that is done in the dark.

As we are never out of the reach of God's hand,
so we are never from under the view of God's eye.

Oh! what dreadful atheism is bound up in that man's heart, who is more afraid of the eye of his father, his neighbor, his child — than he is of the eye and presence of the eternal God! Those who wallow in secret sins, act as if there were . . .
  no God to behold them,
  nor conscience to accuse them,
  nor judgment-day to arraign them,
  nor justice to condemn them,
  nor Hell to torment them!

All men's secret sins are printed in Heaven, and God will at last read them aloud in the ears of all the world! Though they may escape the eyes of men — yet they shall never escape the judgment of God!

"For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:14

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

"Be sure your sin will find you out!" Numbers 32:23

"Cleanse me from secret faults!" Psalm 19:12

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Three matchless diadems are waiting for me!

(Alexander Smellie, "The Secret Place" 1907)

It is beyond astonishment, that three matchless diadems are waiting for me!

1. John tells me of the Crown of Life. Revelation 2:10
That is, life at its strongest, its purest, its best. Life buoyant, elastic, unwearied. The griefless life, the sinless life, the deathless life — the life which is life indeed.

The old victory-wreaths faded quickly:
  the roses entwined for the revelers,
  the laurel of the conquering soldier,
  the oak-leaves for the well-deserving citizen of his country,
  the myrtle-sprays which were the bride's adorning,
  the pine-shoots that garlanded the victor in the games.

But of the wreath which Christ has won for me, and which by and by He will place on my brow, I can say, "It will be mine through the ages of the ages!"

2. Peter predicts the Crown of Glory for me. 1 Peter 5:4
Perhaps the reference is to my own person. I shall be transfigured, as my Master was on the Holy Mount. I shall shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of my Father. Obscured and hidden graces, crude and half-developed virtues — will leap to new effulgence and splendor!

Or perhaps the allusion is to the dominion with which I shall be invested. I shall sit on my Lord's throne. That old kinghood over the world, which my first parents threw wantonly away so long ago, will be restored to me; and I shall reign forever and ever. I can but dimly conceive this Crown of Glory; but the prospect of it should make my heart burn with joy!

3. Paul prefers to think of the Crown of Righteousness. 2 Timothy 4:8
It is not enough that there should be overflowing life. It is not enough that there should be festal gladness and wide-extending rule.
I desire the cessation of iniquity.
I crave the possession of all holiness.
Here on earth, even after precious Blood has redeemed me, and the divine Spirit has made me His temple, I stumble and fall. But there I shall be stainless and spotless. There the banner of the Golden Prince floats from the highest turret, and His sovereignty penetrates to the inmost citadel. It is all as unspotted, as the gates of pearl and the foundations of precious stones. The Crown of Righteousness is the climax and culmination of my hopes!

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(William Dyer, "Christ's Famous Titles")

"I will write upon them the name of my God" Revelation 3:12

O there is a great difference between the names of the saints — and the names of the wicked!

The saints are called . . .
  godly, from God;
  Christians, from Christ;
  spiritual, from the Spirit;
  heavenly, from heaven, because their citizenship is there, because their Head is there, and they be heirs of heaven.

But the wicked are called . . .
  devilish, from the devils;
  the cursed, from the curses;
  worldlings, from the world;
  and sinners, from sin.

The ungodly are called . . .
  ravening wolves!

But the saints are called . . .
  heirs of the kingdom of glory!

And hence it is, that some godly men have thought it a greater honor to be a member of Christ — than to be a king upon a throne! Indeed, sirs, a holy heart is better than a great estate!

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Had one of those holy angels

(David Harsha, "The Death of Christ")

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

O the dying love of the Savior!

If we would learn something of the vastness of redeeming love, we must consider the character and dignity of Him by whom it was manifested.

Had one of those holy angels who minister in the presence of God clothed himself with garments of humanity, and amid the most intense and indescribable sufferings, finished his earthly course on a cross, for the purpose of redeeming a race of sinners from everlasting destruction — how immeasurable would have been the benevolence displayed in such a condescending act! It must have filled us with amazement, and excited the strongest feelings of gratitude.

But how shall we express our admiration and praise,
  when we see Him whom seraphim adore, stooping from heaven to earth — to encircle vile sinners in the arms of His mercy;
  when we see Him, who is infinite in power, and majesty, and riches, and glory — voluntarily placing Himself in the room of rebels on earth;
  when we see Jesus, the brightness of His Father's glory, stretched upon the cross, racked with the most intense pain of body, and soul, and suffering for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God!

How amazing that He, who, by His infinite power, could have at once annihilated our rebellious race, or consigned us to everlasting punishment — should, for a season . . .
  divest Himself of His heavenly glory,
  visit rebellious earth,
  stoop so low in humiliation,
  become so poor,
  suffer so much,
  endure such a shameful, painful, and accursed death — for the purpose of making vile sinners eternally rich, holy, and happy in the Paradise of God! 

"May you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully!" Ephesians 3:18-19

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The King's Chambers!

(Frank Hall)

"The King has brought me into His chambers!"
Song of Songs 1:4

Come and enter with me into the private chambers of our Lord and let us enjoy the rich, spiritual splendors of our Husband the King. Enter in child of God, and marvel with me at the ornate, soul cheering luxuries of these gospel chambers.

His heavenly furnishings, decor, curtains, and tapestries are the most extravagant beauties you have ever seen! They cost a king's ransom; for the King purchased each one with His own precious blood.

Look up, down, and all around and you will notice that every wall is white, seamless, spotless, and pure. Righteousness is the color of choice in these stately halls.

The floors are firm, unshakable, and clear as crystal — built from the sweat, blood, tears, and labor of the King Himself.

Do you see the stairs — how shimmering, brilliant, and bright. Each step was quarried from Mount Calvary and is an everlasting memorial to a journey once made by the King that He will never make again; for it was at Calvary that His people crucified Him as the unwanted Jesus.

Look there in the corner — do you see that golden chest covered with love and encrusted with glory? That's where the King keeps His most treasured possession, a precious book that His Father gave to Him ages ago — The Lamb's Book of Life. Long ago, before the earth, moon, and stars adorned the heavens, the King's Father took the sovereign pen of eternal election in His hand and inscribed in everlasting ink the names of a precious few. These are the names of the royal seed, the King's precious children, those whom He loves, for whom He died, for whom He reigns as King over all. To these elect ones the King sends His Spirit. To them He gives the gift of faith that they too might be brought into these royal chambers and stately halls. These believing ones, like us, are brought here by the King. They come as we have come to refresh ourselves, to enjoy, to marvel, and to bask in the secret wonders of the King's redeeming love, everlasting mercy, and immutable purpose of grace and salvation!

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Who can this be but Jesus?

(Alexander Smellie, "The Secret Place" 1907)

"A Man will be like . . .
  a shelter from the wind,
  a refuge from the storm,
  streams of water in the desert, and
  the shade of a great rock in a parched land!" Isaiah 32:2

The beautiful words of the prophet find their supreme fulfillment in Jesus — the Man who is both my Brother, and the Son of the Most High God.

Jesus is my Sin-Bearer, and therefore I discover in Him a shelter from the wind and storm. Between me and the the fiery hurricane of God's wrath, about to overtake me because of my sin — He has placed Himself! The storm of divine wrath broke on Him, instead of on me! He felt all its scorching and devastating power. And so, when I take refuge in what He has done and in who He is — He screens me from its fury!

Jesus stretched wide His blessed arms on the Cross; in His holy bosom, He received all the spears of divine wrath which should have pierced my heart forever in Hell!

Jesus is my Friend, and therefore I discover in Him streams of water in the desert. Not content with redeeming me from death, He satisfies all the thirst of my heart — the thirst which the world's best things can neither satisfy nor quench. Yesterday, it was the hot, burnt, agonizing desert; today I am among "the silver mountains, where the nectar fountains spring."

The Bible has ceased to be vexatious and dull; it brims over with light and help and joy. Prayer is a task no longer — but a well of refreshment. He gives me fuller grace, life more abundant, deeper holiness, and soul-satisfaction. I hunger no more, neither thirst any more.

And Jesus is my Master, and therefore I discover in Him the shade of a great rock in a parched land. The monotony, the miserable sameness, of my life — how is it cured? It is cured when He begins to reign over me. Before He came, it was sand, sand, sand, as far as the eye could travel — yellow sand below, and blazing sun above! But since He came, there is something else, a mighty rock rising in the midst of my parched land; and, nestling under its shade . . .
  the grass is green,
  and the flowers are bright,
  and the wilderness is wilderness no more.
Every passing act is dignified now, because it is done for Christ. Every trifle is sacred, because His Heaven bends over me, and His eternity awaits me. I have escaped from the monotony, the tediousness, the dull routine of life. He crowns me with His loving-kindness and tender mercy!

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The wisest arithmetic!

(Alexander Smellie, "The Secret Place" 1907)

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!" Psalm 90:12

I number my days aright, when I feel their fewness. To the imagination of the young, life seems long. They catch no echo of "the roar of the waves of eternity, as they dash on the shores of time" — so far away those shores appear to be. But the farther I advance in age, the more swiftly and imperceptibly the hours and weeks and years steal on. At the outset of the voyage, I mark my progress by the objects on the river-banks: trees, houses, towering hills. But, later, I have left the river, and am on the trackless sea; and the sea remorselessly impels me on. Soon I shall hear the cry, "Land ahead!" and my voyage of life will be finished and past!

I number my days aright, when I recall their uncertainty. Often they are abruptly broken, before they have attained their bound. "Lord, spare the green — and take the ripe," is a cry often sounded. But the cry is not always answered, and the child as well as the parent is laid in the churchyard grave.

Let me remember how brittle my years are — and let me seize hold upon eternal realities which cannot be shaken.

I number my days aright, also, if I compare them with the unchangeableness of God. The world  watches the generations come and go. But God is without beginning, and the millenniums have left Him unhurt by the tooth of time. How paltry my fourscore winters seem, in the light of His unending ages! Yes! but let me turn to Him. Let me cast myself on the Everlasting Arms — and the enduringness of my God will pass into my frailty and littleness.

And I number my days aright, if I think of them in relation to the limitless future. In one sense, I am easily robbed of them; in another sense, my years will come to no conclusion at all. As short as they are, they prelude an unimaginable, deathless existence. Now I am laying the foundations of an eternal palace — or of an eternal prison, from which I shall never leave. Now I am molding for myself a king's unfading crown — or a criminal's inexorable chain. And since such momentous outcomes hang on the slender thread of my fleeting days, let me live as one about to migrate to the eternal world, and let me be diligent in my Father's business.

This is, indeed, the wisest arithmetic!

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Strangers and pilgrims!

(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

"To God's elect, strangers in the world," 1 Peter 1:1

This world is a wilderness, and believers, as pilgrims and strangers, must pass through it to their heavenly Canaan. "For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come." Hebrews 11:10

"And they admitted that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth." Hebrews 11:13

"Dear friends, I urge you, as strangers and pilgrims in the world," 1 Peter 2:11

The Scriptures, by frequently calling believers pilgrims, sojourners, strangers, does sufficiently evidence that there is no abiding place for them in this fleeting world. This poor world is not their country, their city, their home, their habitation; and therefore they are not to place their hopes or hearts or affections upon things below. Heaven is their chief city, their best country, their most desirable home, and their everlasting habitation; and therefore their hopes, desires, breathings, longings should be heaven-ward, glory-ward!

Oh, when shall grace be swallowed up in glory!
When shall we take possession of our eternal mansions!
When shall we be with Christ, who is best of all!

"Live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear." 1 Peter 1:17

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The true recipe for miserable existence!

(James Alexander, "Consolation" 1852)

"Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Nevertheless, I want Your will to be done, not Mine!" Luke 22:42

The first law of true religion is submission to God's will. Where it does not exist, there is no piety, and just as truly there is no tranquility of soul.

What a hideous sight to see a human creature in full rebellion against God's providence . . .
  repining at His allotments,
  fighting against His dispensations,
  and cursing His judgments!

The true recipe for miserable existence is this: Quarrel with Providence. When God means to make us happy, He teaches us submission — a resignation of everything into His hands, and an acknowledgment that whatever He does is wisest and best.

O how sweetly even afflictions fall, when there is such a temper to receive them! "Shall we receive good at the hands of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?" Such dispositions tend to stillness of soul; and even amidst chastisement there is internal quiet.

"It is a very great attainment to lie passive in God's hands, and know no will but His!" (Alexander Smellie)

"It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him." 1 Samuel 3:18

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD!" Job 1:21

"May the Lord's will be done." Acts 21:14

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My own special treasure!

(Theodore Cuyler, "Wayside Springs from the Fountain of Life" 1883)

"You will be My own special treasure!" Exodus 19:5

Luther said that there is great divinity in the personal pronouns of Scripture. "They will be Mine — in the day when I make up My jewels!" Malachi 3:17

Every true believer is surrendered to the ownership of Christ. Up to the hour of conversion we had other masters — self, sin, and the devil. Now Jesus says to each Christian, "You are Mine! I own you. I will instruct you, and polish you, and put you wherever it pleases Me. I will take care of you, and nothing shall pluck you out of My hand. You shall be My own special treasure in the day of My triumphant appearing. I will place you in My crown!"

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My child, have you any food?

(Horatius Bonar, "The Tender Love of the Risen Christ")

"Children, have you any food?" John 21:5

Note the watchfulness of the risen Christ. He looks down on His flock, and marks each sheep and lamb with more than a shepherd's eye. The glory, the blessedness, the abundance with which He is surrounded — do not make Him unwatchful of His redeemed people. Amid His own plenty, He remembers the poverty, and hunger, and cold, and nakedness of His scattered flock below. He watches each one! The lack of one meal was observed by Him, that morning in Galilee; and we may be sure that He marks the lack of sustenance, whether for soul or body, in the least of His people.

Poor saint, you never lacked a meal, a crust — but Jesus noticed it, and asked the question, on purpose to supply your need, "My child, have you any food?" He watches the hunger and thirst of His children, and in profoundest pity, is unceasingly asking the question, "My child, have you any food?"

Nothing escapes His vigilant eye. "I know your poverty," He says, "I know your hunger, your thirst, your weariness, your weakness, your sighs and tears." Never did an earthly father pity a starving child, as He pities us!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Windy profession and airy talk!

(John Bunyan)

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven!" Matthew 5:16

O soul, consider this deeply — it is the life of a Christian which carries more conviction and persuasion than his words. Though, like an angel, you talk of Christ, of the gospel, of the doctrines of grace, and of Heaven — yet, if you indulge devilish tempers, and live under the power of any sinful lusts and passions — you will hereby harden others against the things of God and prevent their setting out in the ways of God. Study and pray to be a consistent walker in the ways of holiness; else, all is but windy profession and airy talk.

O how much harm is done to Christ's cause — by the unholy walk of many professors!

"For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life!" 1 Thessalonians 4:7

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Sin's enormity!

(Arthur Pink)

"Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!" Jeremiah 44:4

If we took a survey of everything on the earth — we could find nothing so vile as sin. The basest and most contemptible thing in this world, has some degree of worth in it, as being the workmanship of God. But sin and its foul streams have not the least part of worth in them. Sin is wholly evil without the least mixture of good — it is vileness in the abstract.

Sin's heinousness appears in its author: "The one who practices sin is of the Devil; for the Devil has sinned from the beginning." Sin is the Devil's trade, and he practices it incessantly!

Sin's enormity is seen in what it has done to man: it has completely ruined his nature and brought him under the eternal curse of God!

Sin is the source of all our miseries. All evil and wretchedness are its fruits. There is . . .
  no distress of the mind,
  no anguish of the heart,
  no pain of the body
 — but is due to sin!
All the miseries which mankind groans under, are to be ascribed to sin!

Sin is the cause of all divine punishments: "Your ways and your doings have brought these things upon you. This is your punishment." Had there been no sin, there would have been . . .
  no wars,
  no calamities,
  no prisons,
  no hospitals,
  no insane asylums,
  no cemeteries
  no eternal Hell!
Yet who lays these things to heart?

"The deceitfulness of sin!" Sin assumes many garbs. When it appears in its nakedness — it is seen as a black and misshapen monster! How God Himself views it, may be learned from the various similitudes used by the Holy Spirit to set forth its ugliness and loathsomeness. Sin is likened to the scum of a seething pot in which is a detestable carcass — and to a dead and rotting body!

There is a far greater malignity in sin than is commonly supposed, even by the majority of church members. Men regard sin as an infirmity, and term it a human frailty or hereditary weakness. The majority regard sin as a mere trifle.

Tens of thousands of religionists see so little filth in sin, that they imagine a few tears will wash away its stain. They perceive so little criminality in it, that they persuade themselves that a few good works will make full reparation for it.

All comparisons fail to set forth the horrible malignity in that abominable thing which God hates. We can say nothing more evil of sin, than to term it what it is!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

This was not the pleasant life which they dreamed of on their wedding day!

(J.R. Miller, "The Glory of the Commonplace")

"Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward!" Job 5:7

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows." John 16:33

There are many crucial lessons which Christians cannot learn in the sunshine of prosperity. So the great Teacher calls us apart and shuts the doors, to keep out the light and exclude the world's noises — and then He teaches us the songs . . .
  of peace,
  of joy,
  of trust,
  of love.
Thus the painful things of life have their place in the divine training of our lives.

Many of the things our Master calls us to do or to endure, do not seem to our eyes at the time, to be the best things. Much of our life is disappointment. Sorrow comes ofttimes with . . .
  its hot tears,
  its emptyings of the heart,
  its pain,
  its bitterness.

We do not know when we set out on any bright, sunny path — into what sorrowful experiences we shall be led. A noble young man married a sweet, beautiful girl. They were very happy. Life began for them in a garden of roses. Only three bright years had passed, however, when the young wife broke down in health. Then she became an invalid, much of the time unable to leave her room. The burden has been a very heavy one for the husband, requiring continual self-denial and sacrifice, besides the grief and anxiety it has brought.

This was not the pleasant life which they dreamed of on their wedding day! They thought only of gladness and prosperity. It never occurred to them that adversity or any trouble could break into their sweet paradise.

But the Master has made no mistake. To those who have watched their lives and noted the fruit of the suffering in them, it is becoming apparent that divine love and kindness are written in all the painful lines of the long story. The young man has been growing all the years . . .
  in strength,
  in gentleness,
  in purity of spirit,
  in self-control,
  in the peace of God,
  in all manly virtues.
It seemed a strange place to make him cast his nets — into the deep waters of affliction and disappointment — but he is now drawing them full of rich and noble blessings.

"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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Imitate the miser!

(William Mason
, "The One Thing Needful to Make Poor Sinners Rich — and Miserable Sinners Happy")

"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21

Is not Christ our richest treasure? Should He not be ever in our minds, and our minds ever on Him? O Christian, the riches of your Christ are boundless and bottomless! You have in Christ, UNSEARCHABLE RICHES — an inexhaustible treasure which never fails!

O then, imitate the miser! Let your mind dwell on your treasure. Let your treasure be ever uppermost in your mind.

Is the miser's mind ever upon, and ever going out after his treasure? Just so, let your minds dwell on Christ!

Does the miser value himself by his treasure? Just so, must you value yourself — upon Christ!

Is he always poring over his precious wealth? Just so, should you pour over your precious Christ!

Does the miser love to inspect, and count over his beloved gold? O let your mind be ever inspecting your beloved Christ in . . .
   in His wondrous person;
   in His amazing love, in laying down His life for you, His enemy;
  and in His glorious salvation of you, an ungodly sinner!

Be constantly counting over . . .
  all the great and precious promises which you have in Him;
  all the graces, blessings, and comforts which you have from Him;
  and the certain glory which you soon shall enjoy with Him!

Is the miser careful to keep, and fearful of losing, any part of his possession? So let it be between Christ and your mind. Hold Him fast. Cleave to Him. Be careful to enjoy Him always. Be ever fearful of losing any blessing or comfort He has promised to bestow.

Thus esteem Christ — as your treasure! Let all your hopes center in Him, and all your affections fix upon Him! Until time is swallowed up in eternity — be receiving out of His inexhaustible fullness . . .
  grace upon grace,
  blessing upon blessing,
  comfort upon comfort!

Christ is your treasure! All other things are but dross and dung compared to Him! Look down with a holy contempt, upon all objects beneath your Beloved!

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ!" Philippians 3:7-8

   ~  ~  ~  ~

What a believer would do — if he could

(Letters of John Newton)

"For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. These are contrary the one to the other — so that you cannot do the things that you would!" Galatians 5:17

This is a humbling but an accurate account of a Christian's attainments in the present life, and is equally applicable to the strongest and to the weakest. The weakest need not say less — the strongest will hardly venture to say more.

The Lord has given His people a desire aiming at great things — but they cannot do as they would. Their best desires are weak and ineffectual, not absolutely so — but in comparison with the noble mark at which they aim. So that while they have great cause to be thankful for the desire He has given them, and for the degree in which it is answered — they have equal reason to be ashamed and abased under a sense of their continual defects and the evil mixtures which taint and debase their best endeavors!

It would be easy to make out a long list of particulars, which a believer would do if he could — but in which, from first to last, he finds a mortifying inability. Permit me to mention a few, which I need not transcribe from books, for they are always present to my mind.

He would willingly enjoy God in prayer. He knows that prayer is his duty; but he considers it likewise as his greatest honor and privilege. In this light he can recommend it to others, and can tell them of the wonderful condescension of the great God, who humbles Himself and opens His gracious ear to the supplications of sinful worms upon earth! The believer can bid others to expect a pleasure in waiting upon the Lord, different in kind and greater in degree than all that the world can afford. By prayer he can say: "You have liberty to cast all your cares upon Him who cares for you. By one hour's intimate access to the throne of grace — you may acquire more true spiritual knowledge and comfort, than by a week's converse with the best of men, or the most studious perusal of many books." And in this light he would consider it and improve it for himself.

But, alas; how seldom can he do as he would! How often does he find this privilege to be a mere task, which he would be glad of a just excuse to omit! and the chief pleasure he derives from the performance — is to think that his task is finished! He has been drawing near to God with his lips — while his heart was far from Him. Surely this is not doing as he would, when (to borrow the expression of an old woman here,) he is dragged before God like a slave, and comes away like a thief!

Though we aim at this good — evil is present with us!

Alas! how vain is man in his best estate! How much weakness and inconsistency, even in those whose hearts are right with the Lord! What reason have we to confess that we are unworthy, unprofitable servants!

It were easy to enlarge in this way — would paper and time permit. But, blessed be God, we are not under the law — but under grace! And even these distressing effects of the remnants of indwelling sin are overruled for good. By these experiences — the believer is weaned more from SELF, and taught more highly to prize and more absolutely to rely on Him, who is our Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption! The more vile we are in our own eyes — the more precious He will be to us! A deep repeated sense of the evil of our hearts — is necessary to preclude all boasting, and to make us willing to give the whole glory of our salvation where it is due!

Again, a sense of these evils will (when hardly anything else can do it) reconcile us to the thoughts of DEATH! Yes, they make us desirous to depart — that we may sin no more; since we find depravity so deep-rooted in our nature, that, like the leprous house, the whole fabric must be taken down before we can be freed from its defilement!

Then, and not until then — we shall be able to do the thing that we would! When we see Jesus — we shall be transformed into His image, and be done with sin and sorrow forever!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The richest jewel in the cabinet of glory!

William Dyer, "Christ's Famous Titles")

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory!" Hebrews 1:3

Christ is the richest jewel in the cabinet of glory!

He is the sparkling pearl of great price!

Whoever has Him cannot be poor;
whoever lacks Him cannot be rich!

Christ's members are the happiest!

Christ's precepts are the purest!

Christ's love is the truest!
Christ's comforts are the sweetest!
Christ's reward is the highest!

Christ's riches are the most precious!
Christ's glory is the greatest!

Oh! sirs! Christ is . . .
  the glory of God,
  the paradise of angels,
  the beauty of Heaven,
  the Redeemer of men!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

In one vast blaze of unobscured glory!

(John MacDuff, "The Promised Land" 1859)

"Your eyes shall see the King in His beauty!" Isaiah 33:17

To see the Savior as He is, in the splendors of His glorified humanity — is the highest and most attractive view which is given of the Heavenly world.

To see Him as He was, when He tabernacled here below — was a high privilege, one which prophets, and kings, and righteous men of old, ardently desired. But to behold Him . . .
  clothed with majesty divine,
  exalted above all blessing and praise,
  the object of celestial adoration,
  with all the heavenly hosts prostrate before His throne
 — that will be a blessed sight indeed!

Between the view that is enjoyed of the Redeemer's glory on earth, and that which is realized by the redeemed in Heaven — there is a threefold distinction:

In the first place, His glory, as seen here, is dark and obscure — but in Heaven it is clear and unclouded. The apostle speaks of our beholding Him now imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror. It is by means of certain indistinct mediums, such as the representations of His word and ordinances; but He will be seen above, face to face!

In the second place, His glory is beheld here, only in separate parts and portions. The things recorded of Him in the sacred writings are studied one by one, and, by comparing them together, we form a general estimate of His character. In some passages, we have an account of His person; in others, of His offices; in others, of His love or mercy. And it is by collecting these scattered fragments together, that our knowledge of Him is now obtained.

So it was with the spouse in the book of Canticles. She examined every part of His person by itself:
 His head was as fine gold;
 His cheeks were as a bed of spices;
 His lips were like lilies dropping sweet-smelling myrrh;
 His countenance was as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
And after having glanced at these several particulars — she comes to the conclusion that, "He is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely!"

It is thus that the Savior is seen here on earth; but how will it be in Heaven? We shall see Him all at once — complete and entire, in one vast blaze of unobscured glory!

And, in the third place, the view we have of Christ on earth is only in occasional glances. There are seasons in the experience of every believer when he has to say with Job, "Behold I go forward — but He is not there; and backward — but I cannot perceive Him!" Or in the language of the prophet, "Truly, you are a God who hides Yourself!"

But, precious truth! the vision in Heaven will be perpetual; it will be altogether unbroken and undisturbed. "Your sun shall no more go down, neither shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended!"

Blessed Jesus! reveal Yourself even now, according to Your promise, to my waiting soul; be it mine to enter in some feeble measure, into the feelings of Your disciples of old, when they said, "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth!" And, refreshed, quickened, transformed by the sight — may I be daily looking for, and hastening unto, the coming of that day when Your own prayer, offered on the night of Your great agony, shall be fully answered: "Father, I want those You have given Me — to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory — the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world!" Then shall I know how great Your beauty is — and what it is to be eternally enraptured with Your charms!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The 'stream of time', with all the trifles that float on it!

("Life's Shortness and Vanity", A funeral sermon by Samuel Davies)

"For this world in its present form is passing away!" 1 Corinthians 7:31

The whole scheme and system of worldly affairs — all this marrying and rejoicing, and weeping, and buying, and enjoying — is passing away! It is passing away this very moment! It not only will pass away — but even now, it is passing away!

The 'stream of time', with all the trifles that float on it, and all the eager pursuers of these bubbles — is in motion, in swift, incessant motion to empty itself and all that sail upon it — into the shoreless ocean of eternity, where all will be absorbed and lost forever!

"You turn men back to dust, saying, 'Return to dust, O sons of men.' For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning — though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. The length of our days is seventy years — or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!" Psalm 90

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Surely, we cannot know this Christ too well!

(J.C. Ryle, "Holiness, Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots" 1879)

It would be well if Christians studied the four Gospels more than they do. No doubt, all Scripture is profitable. It is not wise to exalt one part of the Bible at the expense of another. But I think it would be good for some who are very familiar with the Epistles — if they knew a little more about the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Now, why do I say this? I say it because I want Christians to know more about Christ. It is good to be acquainted with all the doctrines and principles of Christianity. It is better to be acquainted with Christ Himself. It is well to be familiar with faith and grace and justification and sanctification. They are all matters "pertaining to the King." But it is far better to be familiar with Jesus Himself, to see the King's own face, and to behold His beauty! This is one secret of eminent holiness! He who would be conformed to Christ's image, and become a Christ-like man — must be constantly studying Christ Himself!

Now the Gospels were written to make us acquainted with Christ. The Holy Spirit has told us the story of His life and death, His sayings and His doings — four times over. Four different inspired hands have drawn the picture of the Savior.
  His ways,
  His manners,
  His feelings,
  His wisdom,
  His grace,
  His patience,
  His love,
  His power —
are all graciously unfolded to us by four different witnesses.

Ought not the sheep to be familiar with the Shepherd?

Ought not the patient to be familiar with the Physician?

Ought not the bride to be familiar with the Bridegroom?

Ought not the sinner to be familiar with the Savior?

Beyond doubt it ought to be so. The Gospels were written to make men familiar with Christ, and therefore I wish men to study the Gospels.

On whom must we build our souls, if we would be accepted by God? We must build on the Rock, Christ.

From whom must we draw that grace of the Spirit which we daily need in order to be fruitful? We must draw from the Vine, Christ.

To whom must we look for sympathy when earthly friends fail us or die? We must look to our elder Brother, Christ.

By whom must our prayers be presented, if they are to be heard on high? They must be presented by our Advocate, Christ.

With whom do we hope to spend the eternity of glory? With the King of kings, Christ.

Surely, we cannot know this Christ too well! Surely there is not a word, nor a deed, nor a day, nor a step, nor a thought in the record of His life, which ought not to be precious to us. We should labor to be familiar with every line that is written about Jesus!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The immensity of the Creator's dominions!

(Rufus Wheelwright Clark, "Heaven and its Scriptural Emblems" 1853)

"His dominion is an everlasting dominion!" Daniel 4:34

"The LORD has established His throne in Heaven, and His kingdom rules over all!" Psalm 103:19

God is a sovereign of absolute and unlimited dominion! Reason and revelation both teach us that God's government and authority are coextensive with His rational creation. His government reaches to the remotest bounds of the habitable universe!

Every angel in Heaven,
every inhabitant of earth,
the millions of beings that people the worlds that are above and around us —
are all subjects of His divine authority.

We speak of God's government as coextensive with His moral kingdom; but this language, obviously, fails to convey to our minds adequate conceptions either of the government or of the kingdom over which it is established; for modern science has thrown open to us an extent of empire that is beyond the grasp of the mightiest and loftiest of human intellects.

With the aid of telescopic power, we discover that immensity is crowded with worlds and systems, of which, before, we had no knowledge; and that this earth, instead of being the central portion of God's dominions, to which all that is visible in the heavens is tributary and secondary — is, in fact, but one amid myriads of worlds, which vastly surpass it in magnificence and splendor! We discover that the universe is of such an extent that this earth, with its islands, continents and oceans, is but a speck — a speck, the loss of which would be no more felt than the removal of a single grain of sand from the sea-shore!

In our attempts to comprehend the extent of this empire, we are not only utterly baffled — but we perceive it stretching away, in every direction, towards a mysterious infinity! And the impression is made upon the mind, that it is absolutely boundless!

The idea has been advanced, that it may be the Creator's design to excite the wonder, and sustain the adoration, of His subjects — by views of the magnitude of a kingdom, the boundaries of which no finite mind will ever reach!

An eloquent writer has said that there may be "an impenetrable barrier, beyond which no power, either of eye or of telescope, shall ever carry us; that, on the other side, there is a height, and depth, and length, and breadth, to which the whole of this concave and visible firmament dwindles into the insignificance of an atom! And though all which the mind of man can take in, or his imagination grasp at, were swept away — there might still remain as ample a field, over which the Divinity might expatiate, and which He might have peopled with innumerable worlds! Though this earth were to be burned up, though the trumpet of its dissolution were sounded, though yon sky were to pass away as a scroll, and every visible glory which the finger of Divinity has inscribed on it were to be put out forever — an event so awful to us, and to every world in our vicinity, by which so many suns would be extinguished, and so many varied scenes of life and of population would rush into forgetfulness — what is it in the high scale of the Almighty's workmanship? — a mere shred, which, though scattered into nothing, would leave the universe of God one entire scene of greatness and of majesty!"

Such is the immensity of the Creator's dominions — an immensity so vast that the solitude created by the destruction of all that is visible would be but a minuscule point, to the infinite mind of God.

If the innumerable galaxies consist of clusters of stars, and those stars swell to the magnitude of brilliant suns, and those suns present themselves to our view as the central orbs of vast planetary systems, that are filled with an innumerable population — then what must be the grandeur of that divine government, which spreads its protecting shield over so vast an empire, and requires the homage and services of the countless myriads of its inhabitants!

What must be the attributes of that monarch, who, while presiding over such a kingdom, and taking within his comprehensive grasp the interests of various ranks of intelligences, as numerous, perhaps, as the worlds around us — and at the same time can notice . . .
  every thought that enters my mind,
  every motive that influences my conduct, and
  every circumstance that contributes to form my character,
  and decide my destiny!
An administration thus universal, and embodying the eternal principles of right, justice and benevolence, must be in the highest degree powerful and glorious!

But who can describe, or even conceive of the glory of this divine government — that throws its luster upon every world, and fills immensity with its splendors!

When its grand purposes shall have been accomplished — the sublime spectacle will be presented of a universe crowded with loyal and adoring subjects. From every world will ascend, to the infinite Sovereign, anthems of praise, and the incense of holy worship. Every planet will glitter with temples, whose lofty architecture, and splendid proportions, and costly decorations, will indicate the prevalence of devotion, and the homage that is rendered to the supreme divine Governor!

"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!" Revelation 19:6

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Too wise to err — and too loving to be unkind!

(Arthur Pink)

"I delight to do Your will, O my God!" Psalm 40:8

Faith endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heart-aches of life — by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err — and too loving to be unkind.

There is no higher aspect of faith, than that which brings the heart to patiently submit unto whatever God sends us, to meekly acquiesce unto His sovereign will, to say, "Shall I not drink the cup of suffering which my Father has given me?" Faith when it reaches the pinnacle of attainment declares, "though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him!"

When we receive all that enters our lives as from God's hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings — whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr's stake — we shall be enabled to say, "The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places!" But that is the language of faith, not of sight or sense.

"Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine!" Luke 22:42

"It is a genuine evidence of true godliness when, although plunged into the deepest afflictions, we yet humbly submit ourselves to God. It is the height of piety to be submissive to the sovereign will of God." John Calvin

"It is not enough to bear the cross, but we must take it up, we must accommodate ourselves to it, and acquiesce in the will of God in it. Not, "this is an evil, and I must bear it, because I cannot help it;" but "this is an evil, and I will bear it, because it is the will of God." Matthew Henry

"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition." Jeremy Burroughs

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Bible is no lazy man's book!

"If you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure — then you will understand the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God!" Proverbs 2:4-5

"The Bible is no lazy man's book! Much of its treasure, like the valuable minerals stored in the bowels of the earth, only yield up themselves to the diligent seeker." (Arthur Pink)

"Do not be satisfied with a superficial survey of Scripture, as many Christians are. These are not the days of contemplation as the old Puritan times were, we are too apt to be superficial; but do remember that while there are nuggets of gold upon the very surface of Scripture, yet the most valuable mines of gold are far down!" (Charles Spurgeon)

"Truth lies deep, and must be dug for." (William Gurnall)

"Strive to penetrate to the bottom of Divine truths, and never be content with a superficial knowledge." (David Brainerd)

"Dig for the truth like a man digging for Australian gold!" (J.C. Ryle)


"Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding!" Proverbs 4:7

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Should it be according to your mind?

(James Durham, 1622-1658)
"Should it be according to your mind?" Job 34:33

People would have God guiding the world according to their mind and will. There is not a more unreasonable thing, than to seek to take the guiding of the world out of God's hand; and yet this is the ground of our fretting and complaining, and not submitting to God. Therefore when your heart murmurs, say to yourselves, "Should dispensations come as you would, or as God would?"

(James Smith)
"Should it be according to your mind?" Job 34:33

Thus the infinitely wise God appeals to us — His poor foolish creatures.

We want our own way.
We wish to carve for ourselves.
But God loves us too well, to allow us to do so!

He has drawn the plan of our lives.
He has marked out the paths we are to tread.
He has fixed the bounds of our habitation.
Yes, He has numbered the very hairs of our head!

He has arranged everything to secure our spiritual and eternal good. This He has told us in His Word — and yet we are not satisfied. But, "Should it be according to your mind?"

"Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases!" Psalm 115:3

"The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths!" Psalm 135:6

   ~  ~  ~  ~

By the hand of His own Father!

(John Flavel, "The Fountain of Life" 1671)

"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

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer. When You make His soul an offering for sin . . ." Isaiah 53:10

To wrath, to the wrath of an infinite God without mixture — to the very torments of Hell was Christ delivered — and that by the hand of His own Father! Surely then, that love is fathomless, which made the Father of mercies deliver His only Son to such miseries for us sinners!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Will the gates of pearl be opened to let in dogs and swine?

(Thomas Boston, "Human Nature in its Fourfold State")

There is no Heaven without holiness; for "without holiness no man shall see the Lord," Hebrews 12:14. Will the gates of pearl be opened to let in dogs and swine? No! their place is outside, "Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying." Revelation 22:15. Will God take the children of the devil, and permit them to sit with Him in His throne? Or, will He bring the unclean into the city, whose street is pure gold?

Be not deceived; grace and glory are but two links of one chain which God has joined, which no man shall put asunder. None are transplanted into the paradise of glory above — but out of the nursery of grace below. If you are unholy while in this world, you will be forever miserable in the world to come!

"He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still!" Revelation 22:11

ast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness! There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!" Matthew 25:30