Grace Gems for MAY, 2017


Pains, infirmities, loss of sleep, the failure of sight and hearing!

(Letters of John Newton)

"Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone." Psalm 71:9

I am drawing nearer and nearer to the season which the Psalmist either expected or felt. Many reasons teach the aged believer the need of this prayer. As his graces are still imperfect — so his powers are feelingly upon the decline. It was but little he could do at his best — and now less and less!

He feels other props and comforts dropping off apace. When he was young, he had warm spirits and pleasing prospects; but now, what a change of the friends in which he once delighted! In some he has found inconstancy — they have forsaken and forgotten him; and others have been successively taken away by death. They have fallen like the leaves in autumn — and now he stands almost a naked trunk. If any yet remain, he is expecting to lose them likewise — unless he is first taken from them.

Old age abates, and gradually destroys the relish of such earthly comforts as might be otherwise enjoyed.
Pains, infirmities, loss of sleep, the failure of sight and hearing, and all the senses — are harbingers, like Job's messengers arriving in close succession, to tell him that death is upon his progress, and is not far away!

If youth has no security against death — then old age has no possibility of escaping the grim monster. But though friends fail, cisterns burst, gourds wither, strength declines, and death advances — if God does not forsake me — then all is well.

"Even to your old age and gray hairs — I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you!" Isaiah 46:4

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Everything is against me!

(Arthur Pink)

"Their father Jacob said to them: You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more — and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!" Genesis 42:36

Those circumstances, which to the dim eye of Jacob's faith wore a hue so somber — were at that very moment developing and perfecting the events which were to shed around the evening of his life, the halo of a glorious and cloudless sunset! God was working all things together for his good!

Just so, troubled soul, the "much tribulation" will soon be over — and as you enter the "kingdom of God" you shall then see, no longer "through a glass darkly" but in the unshadowed sunlight of the Divine presence, that "all things" did  indeed "work together" for your personal and eternal good!

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One wrong step — and down we go!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life — and only a few find it!" Matthew 7:14

In some sense, the path to Heaven is very safe — but in other respects, there is no road so dangerous! It is beset with difficulties. One wrong step — and down we go! And how easy it is to take that treacherous step — if grace is absent!

What a slippery path is that — which some of us have to tread! How many times have we to exclaim with the Psalmist, "But as for me, my feet were slipping — and I was almost gone!"

If we were strong, sure-footed mountaineers, this would not matter so much — but in ourselves, how weak we are!

Even in the best roads — we soon falter!

In the smoothest paths — we quickly stumble!

These feeble knees of ours — can scarcely support our tottering weight!

A straw may trip us up — and a pebble can wound us!

We are mere infants, tremblingly taking our first steps in the walk of faith.
Our heavenly Father holds us by the arms — or we would soon tumble down!

Oh, if we are kept from falling, how must we thank the patience, power and wisdom of God — who watches over us moment by moment! Think . . .
  how prone we are to sin,
  how apt we are to choose dangerous paths,
  how strong is our tendency to cast ourselves down!
These reflections will make us sing more sweetly than we have ever done, "Glory to Him, who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy!" Jude 24

We have many foes who try to push us down, and destroy us!

The road is rough — and we are weak!

But in addition to this, enemies lurk in ambush, who rush out when we least expect them, and labor to trip us up, or hurl us down the nearest deadly precipice!

Only an Almighty arm can preserve us from these unseen foes, who are seeking to destroy us at every step! Such an arm is engaged for our defense. He is faithful, who has promised, and He is able to keep us from falling, so that with a deep sense of our utter weakness, we may cherish a firm belief in our perfect safety!

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish — ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:28

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The hell of Hell!

(Thomas Brooks, "The Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures")

And as there are a diversity of torments in Hell — so the torments of Hell are everlasting.

"Depart from Me, you who are cursed — into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!" Matthew 25:41

The sentence which shall be passed upon them — is eternal.

God Himself, who damns them — is eternal.

The prison and chains which hold them — are eternal.

The worm which gnaws them — is eternal.

The fire which torments them — is eternal.

Grievous is the torment of the damned — for the bitterness of the punishments.
It is more grievous — for the diversity of the punishments.
But it is most grievous — for the eternity of the punishments!

If, after so many millions of years as there are drops in the ocean, there might be a deliverance out of Hell — this would yield a little ease, a little comfort to the damned. But oh, but this word, 'Eternity! Eternity! Eternity!' — this word, 'Everlasting! Everlasting! Everlasting!' — this word, 'Forever! Forever! Forever!' — will break the hearts of the damned into ten thousand pieces!

Suppose that the whole world were turned into a mountain of sand, and that a little bird would come once every thousand years and carry away one grain of sand from that heap. What an infinite number of years would be spent before this great mountain of sand would be fetched away! Just so — if a man should lie in everlasting burnings so long a time as this, and then have an end of his woe — it would give him some ease, some hope, and some comfort.

But when that immortal bird shall have carried away this great mountain of sand — a thousand times over and over — alas, alas, sinful man shall be as far from the end of his anguish and torment as ever he was! He shall be no nearer coming out of Hell — than he was the very first moment that he entered into Hell!

Suppose, say others, that a man were to endure the torments of Hell for as many years as there are . . .
  sands on the sea-shore,
  drops of water in the sea,
  stars in the heavens,
  leaves on the trees,
  blades of grass on the ground
 — then he would comfort himself with this poor thought, "Well, there will come a day when my misery and torment shall have an end."

But woe and alas! this word, "Forever! Forever! Forever!" will fill the hearts of the damned with the greatest . . .
  horror and terror,
  anger and rage,
  bewilderment and astonishment!

If the fire of Hell were terminable — then it might be tolerable.
But being endless — it must needs be easeless, and remediless.

The eternity of Hell — is the hell of Hell.

The damned shall live as long in Hell — as long as God Himself shall live in Heaven!

"The reprobate shall have . . .
  punishment — without pity,
  misery — without mercy,
  sorrow — without support,
  crying — without compassion,
  mischief — without measure,
  and torment — without end!"

"And they will go away into eternal punishment — but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:46

All the pains, torments, curse, and wrath which were due to the elect — fell on Christ, until divine justice was fully satisfied! "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath — but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:9

Oh, exalt that Christ! Oh, extol that Savior — who has saved you from that eternal wrath!

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When His beauty is seen

(Octavius Winslow)

"Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!" Song of Songs 5:16

O what a Savior is Jesus Christ! He is the chief among ten thousand! Look at His sinless, yet real humanity — without a single taint, yet sympathizing with us in all our various conditions — our afflictions — our temptations — our infirmities — our griefs. Now that He is in glory, He is still cherishing a brother's heart — bending down His ear to our petitions — ever standing near . . .
  to catch our sighs,
  to dry our tears,
  to provide for our needs,
  to guide us by His counsel, and
  afterwards to receive us to glory!

O what a Savior is Jesus Christ!

When He is known — all other beings are eclipsed.

When His beauty is seen — all other beauty fades.

When His love is felt — He becomes supremely enthroned in the affections.

To know Him more, becomes the one desire of the renewed mind; and to make Him more known, is the one aim of the Christian life. O what a Savior is Jesus Christ!

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Brethren, the time is short!

(James Smith, "Refreshment for the Savior's Flock at Eventide!" 1871)

"Brethren, the time is short!" 1 Corinthians 7:29

Our time below is brief and uncertain — and therefore very precious.
Let us employ it, so as to improve it. Let us live for God and eternity!

The time is short — oh, who can tell
How short his time below may be;
Today on earth, his soul may dwell,
Tomorrow in eternity!

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

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They are all carefully selected — and divinely directed!

(James Smith, "The Sick Man's Prayer" 1864)

"Lord, he whom You love is sick!" John 11:3

"Look upon my affliction and my pain." Psalm 25:18

We are all liable to sickness — and sometimes the Christian seems to have the greatest share. Some of the Lord's people are seldom if ever well. They are never quite free from pain and suffering. Their heavenly Father sees that such a furnace is needful for them — He therefore prepares it, puts them into it, and keeps them there as long as He sees it to be necessary.

Diseases do not fly about at random. They are not left to 'chance'. They are all carefully selected — and divinely directed! God refines His people, displays His grace, and fulfills His precious promises — in the furnace of affliction. Sickness teaches us . . .
  our mortality,
  our dependence on God, and
  our need of divine consolations
 — in a way which nothing else will.

Sickness . . .
  humbles our sinful pride,
  weans us from the world,
  brings us near to our heavenly Father's throne of grace,
  leads us to seek a renewed sense of our Savior's pardoning love.

The Psalmist was afflicted, he suffered much, he looked up and he sighed, "Look upon my affliction and my pain!" He wished to realize that the Lord was observing him, that He was sympathizing with him, that He was attentive to him. He knew that the Lord's loving look would . . .
  soothe his spirit,
  cheer his heart,
  and relieve his pain.

Let every sick believer therefore, adopt the Psalmist's course, let him use this brief but comprehensive prayer: "Look upon my affliction and my pain."

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As the tree falls — so must it lie!

(J. R. Miller, "Devotional Hours with the Bible" 1909)

Let him who does wrong — continue to do wrong; let him who is vile — continue to be vile" Revelation 22:11

The character with which men reach the final judgment — will be their permanent character forever. The man who lives in sin unto the end — is making his own destiny. Habits of sin — make the whole life sinful. It is this that gives such solemnity to life. The seeds of our future eternity — lie in our present.
   Sow a thought — and you will reap an act;
   sow an act — and you will reap a habit;
   sow a habit — and you will reap a character;
   sow character — and you will reap a destiny!

Everyone goes to his own place — that is, the place for which he is fitted by his life on the earth. He who has always sinned here on earth — will continue to sin forever. Eternal death — is simply eternal sin, along with the punishments and consequences thereof. The punishment of the wicked will not be an arbitrary punishment — but the natural result of their own choices and acts in this life.

   As the tree falls — so must it lie;
   As the man lives — so must he die!
   As a man dies — such must he be;
   All through the ages of eternity!

It makes a great difference, therefore, how we live in this world. There is an false impression in some people's minds, that they can live in sin all their days, and then by a few tears of penitence and a cry for mercy in a dying hour — can change all the course of their life and spend eternity in Heaven. This verse does not favor such a view. The future life — is but the harvest of this present life.

Men will be judged by their deeds. The New Testament everywhere teaches the same solemn truth. This does not mean that salvation is by works. We are saved by grace — but grace changes the life and makes us holy.

"To die is gain" — only to those who can sincerely say, "To me, to live is Christ!"

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How shall I follow in His steps?

(Alexander Smellie, "The Secret Place" 1907)

"Leaving an example for you to follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21

How shall I follow in His steps?

The first requisite is a personal relationship to Him. I cannot wear the loveliness of Jesus — until I drink deep of the forgiveness of Jesus. From the Cross where He has saved me — I set out on the pilgrim-road of imitation.

It is necessary, also, that love for Him leaps and flames in my soul. No amount of intellectual comprehension is enough. The heart must enthrone Him, must adore Him, must turn to Him with the inevitableness and the trust of the sunflower turning to the sun. I can only resemble Him, if my affection for Him is profound, controlling, and pervasive.

And there must be intimacy with my Lord. I am to share His thoughts, His temper, His motives, His decisions.

I must dwell much with Himself in prayer.

I must often meditate on the story of His life and death.

These are some of the modes in which I shall touch and grasp and imitate the grace and the wisdom and the loveliness and the gentleness and the splendor of Jesus Christ.

"Whoever says he abides in Him, ought to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself." 1 John 2:6 (Amplified Bible)

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I always carry an oil can in my pocket!

(J.R. Miller, "Intimate Letters on Personal Problems" 1914)

There is a good illustration in one of Dr. Parkhurst's books. He tells of a workman who was in a trolley-car one day. As the door was opened and shut, it squeaked. The workman quietly got up and, taking a little can from his pocket, dropped some oil upon the offending spot, saying as he sat down, "I always carry an oil can in my pocket, for there are so many squeaky things in this world which a little oil will help."

Dr. Parkhurst applies this to life, saying that love is a lubricant with which we can soften or prevent a great many unpleasant frictions with others — if we always have love and will speak the gentle word, the soft word, the kindly word, at the right time. I used the illustration recently in my church in a sermon, and suggested to the people that they all carry oil cans, thus trying to make the world a little sweeter place to live in.

"I am not writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning — that we love one another." 2 John 1:5

"The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you — so you must love one another." John 13:34

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The jewelry of the Bible!

(Octavius Winslow, "The Preciousness of the Divine Promises")

"God has given us His very great and precious promises!" 2 Peter 1:4

The promises of God are the jewelry of the Bible!

Every page of the sacred volume is rich and sparkling with these divine assurances of Jehovah's love, faithfulness, and power towards His people.

Upon no spot in this wilderness world can the Christian plant his foot, strange and untrodden though that path may be — but a gem from this casket meets his eye, the sight of which inspires his heart with confidence, his spirit with comfort, his soul with hope!

Imagine what would have been the condition of God's children apart from the divine promises of which the blessed volume is so full. What must have been the desolateness, the sadness, and the sinking — did we not have the divine assurances of God's Word to rely on; by which we are . . .
  guided in our march heavenward,
  upheld in weakness,
  cheered in depression, and
  conducted step by step to final blessedness.

The promises are comprehensive in their character, and adapted to all the varied circumstances of our individual history. Child of God, you cannot conceive of . . .
  any condition in which you may be placed,
  any circumstance by which you may be surrounded,
  any sorrow by which you may be depressed,
  any perils that may confront you,
  any darkness that may overshadow you,
  or any needs that you may have —
in which you may not find some precious promises of His blessed Word which meet your case!

The promises of Scripture are exceedingly precious, because they are all signed and sealed with the heart's blood of Jesus! They are the throbbings of the infinite love of Jesus! The promises are but echoes of His heart sounding from each page of the sacred volume!

If you are sin-burdened or sorrow-stricken — just stretch forth your hand and receive these precious jewels as they flow out from the open casket of God's Word!

The promises have stanched many a bleeding wound.

The promises have dried many a falling tear.

The promises have calmed many a disturbed mind.

The promises have guided feet through many a labyrinth.

The promises have shed light on many a lonely path.

The promises, like voices of music, have broken sweetly on many a dreary night of weeping and woe.

We have these rich clusters of precious promises bending down from the Tree of Life!
We may pluck them at all times, in all seasons, and under all circumstances!

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Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!

(J.C. Ryle, 1816-1900)
"Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!" Hebrews 13:9

Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.

There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error — and their 'earnestness' makes many think they must be right.

There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge — and many imagine that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.

There is a general tendency to free thought in these latter days — many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.

There is a wide-spread desire to appear tolerant and liberal-minded — many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.

There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers — they are incessantly using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.

There is a morbid craving in the public mind for the more sensational and showy — men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.

There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly and earnestly — and a determination to forget that Satan is often "transformed into an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 2:14

There is a wide-spread 'gullibility' among professing Christians — every heretic who tells his story plausibly, is sure to be believed. Anyone who questions him, is called a bigot and a narrow-minded man.

All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing man to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, "Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!"

An ignorant laity will always be the bane of a Church! A Bible-reading laity may save a Church from ruin.

Let us read the Bible regularly, daily, and with fervent prayer, and become familiar with its contents.

Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing — which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.

Let our rule of faith, our touchstone of all teaching — be the written Word of God!

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word — it is because there is no light in them!" Isaiah 8:20

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I can assure her that her child shall certainly recover!

(John Newton's Letters)

I hope the Lord will spare Mrs. K's child, to be a comfort to her. But should He appoint otherwise — He will be faithful to His promise, and make her strength equal to her day. I can assure her that her child shall certainly recoverIF He who is infinitely wise, sees that it is best for her upon the whole.

But we are short-sighted creatures, not only unworthy — but unable to rightly choose for ourselves.
If the choice was left to us
— it would be our wisdom to refer it back to God.

We may be sure that He does not willingly grieve or afflict us. He takes no pleasure in seeing us weep and mourn — rather, every day brings us ten thousand proofs that He delights in our prosperity.

Whenever we are in heaviness, therefore, there is a need-be for it — faithful are the wounds of such a Friend! Our trials are made no sooner, nor longer — than the necessity of the case requires. He who wounds — has promised likewise to heal. He is all sufficient, and can give more than He will ever take away from His redeemed people. I trust she will find power to commit herself, and her every concern, into His hands; and that she will have reason to acknowledge, from day to day, that He does all things well!

Whatever the outcome may be — our Lord is wise and good in all His dealings. His mercies to us are new every morning — and as numerous as the minutes of our lives!

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When my sweet daughter Eliza was dying!

(John Newton's Letters)

My Dear Sir,
Our dear daughter Eliza never went out of doors after she returned home from visiting you. She had a succession and a variety of pains and maladies — and three weeks from her leaving your hospitable roof, the Lord delivered her from them all. For four days we expected her death every hour — and though she suffered much, we could not but be thankful that she continued so long.

Her peace and confidence in God were abiding. Her mouth was filled with words of grace — comforting or exhorting all around her. Often she declared that she would not change conditions with any person upon earth, nor be willing to live longer here, even if restored to perfect health — for all that the world, or a thousand such worlds can afford! She smiled upon pain — and she smiled upon death. When she died, which seemed to be in a sort of slumber, she had reclined her cheek gently upon her hand, and there was almost a smile left upon her countenance.

When my sweet daughter Eliza was dying, I almost wished it practical to have set my door open, and invited all who passed by to come in and see what it is to die in the Lord, and to hear what a child under fifteen could say of His goodness, and of the vanity of everything short of His favor!

Yes, the Lord has done great things for us since we came home. He sent a chariot of love for our dear Eliza! We almost saw her mount to Heaven. Surely she was in Heaven, and Heaven in her — before she left the earth!

I am constrained to confess that no one circumstance in my whole life called for a larger return of gratitude and praise — than the death of our dear girl. I knew that I loved her dearly — but how dearly I never knew, until about the last week of her life. Yet I am most perfectly satisfied, and have not had the most distant wish for a moment since she died — that the outcome had been otherwise.

The thought of her helps me sometimes in prayer, often in preaching, and gives me such a confirmation of the great truths I speak of, as I would not be without.

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He found me in a waste howling wilderness indeed!

(John Newton's Letters)

My Dear Friend,
My history is briefly expressed in the following verses:
"In a desert land He found him — in a waste howling wilderness. He shielded him and cared for him — He guarded him as the apple of his eye." Deuteronomy 32:10
"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them. I will turn the darkness into light before them, and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do — I will not forsake them!" Isaiah 42:16

He found me in a waste howling wilderness indeed! He has led me about into a variety of situations, and in them all He watched over me, and kept me as the apple of His eye. When I was blind — He led me in ways which I knew not, and which no mortal could have supposed were likely to bring me where I now am. I was once an utter stranger to the paths of truth and righteousness — but in a wonderful manner He drew and guided me into those holy paths which I had not known. And though my heart is prone to wander, He has kept me with a mighty hand, so that I have not wholly declined from them. How often has He made darkness light before me, and crooked things straight! These things has He done for me, as I am encouraged to hope He will continue to do them, for His promise is, "I will never forsake them!"

"Come magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His holy name together!" He has . . .
  guided us by His eye,
  guarded us along the way,
  restored us when wandering,
  revived us when fainting,
  healed us when wounded,
  upheld our souls in adversity,
  helped us in all our difficulties, and
  comforted and supported us under all our sorrows!

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We live on an enchanted ground, and are surrounded with snares!

(John Newton's Letters)

My dear Madam,
We all hope, by-and-bye, to have new bodies which are not subject to illness. In the mean time, if the Lord is pleased to sanctify the infirmities to which our present mortal frame is subject — we shall have cause to praise Him, no less for the bitter than the sweet.

I am convinced in my judgment, that a cross or a pinch somewhere or other, is so necessary to us — that we cannot go on well for a considerable time without one. We live on an enchanted ground, and are surrounded with snares! If we are not quickened by trials — we are very prone to sink into spiritual formality or carelessness. It is a shame it should be so — but so it is, that a long course of prosperity always makes us spiritually drowsy!

Trials therefore are medicines — which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes, because we need them. He proportions the frequency and the weight of them — to what our case requires.

Many of His people are sharply exercised by poverty, which is a continual trial every day, and all the year round. Others have trials in their families. Those who have comfortable firesides, and a competence for this world — often suffer by sickness, either in their own persons, or in the persons of those they love.

But any, or all of these crosses, are mercies — if the Lord works by them to prevent us from cleaving to the world, from backsliding in heart or life, and to keep us nearer to Himself.

Let us trust our Physician — as He will surely do us good. And let us thank Him for all His prescriptions, for without them our soul-sickness would quickly grow upon us!

I sympathize with Miss K. in her trials — yet I know she will profit by them. I hope her illness will find relief — but it is better to have a stiff neck with the grace of God — than to be stiff-necked in the sense in which many young people are, who can move their heads freely enough. I hope it is a mercy that she bears the yoke awhile in her youth. When the affliction has answered the good end for which it was sent — the Lord can easily remove it.

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(Arthur Pink)

Instead of a river, God often gives us a brook — which may be running today, and dried up tomorrow.


To teach us not to rest in our blessings — but in the blesser Himself.

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

"So do not fear — for I am with you! Do not be dismayed — for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand!" Isaiah 41:10

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For me!

(Octavius Winslow)

"The Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

Is Jesus precious to my heart?

Is He the object of my supreme admiration and delight?

Does He have my warmest affection?

Do I love Jesus above all?

I must light the torch of my affection for Christ — at the altar of Calvary. I must go there, and learn and believe what the love of Jesus is to me — the vastness of that love — the self-sacrifice of that love — how that love of Jesus . . .
  labored for me,
  and wept for me,
  and bled for me,
  and suffered for me,
  and died for me!

Can I stand before this love — this love . . .
  so precious,
  so great,
  so enduring,
  so self-consuming,
  so changeless — and know that . . .
    His sin-atoning sacrifice was for me,
    His cross was for me,
    His agony was for me,
    His scorn and insult was for me,
    His death was for me —
and feel no sensibility, no emotion, no love to Jesus? Impossible!

Do not be cast down, then, in vain regrets that your love to Christ is so frigid, so fickle, so dubious. Go and muse upon the reality and the greatness of the Savior's love to you — and if love can inspire love — while you muse, the fire will burn, and your soul shall be all in flame with love to Jesus!

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The personal attractions of Jesus!

(Octavius Winslow)

"Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved — and this is my Friend!" Song of Songs 5:16

The personal attractions of Jesus are all inviting and irresistible!

His love wins us.
His glory charms us.
His beauty attracts us.
His sympathy soothes us.
His gentleness subdues us.
His faithfulness inspires us.

He is the "altogether lovely One!"

Jesus is all that is tender in love.
Jesus is all that is wise in counsel.
Jesus is all that is patient and kind.
Jesus is all that is faithful in friendship.
Jesus is all that is soothing and healing.

The heart of Jesus is ever loving towards His children.
The disposition of Jesus is ever kind towards His children.
The nature of Jesus is ever sympathizing towards His children.

Jesus is your Brother, your Friend, your Redeemer.
As your Brother — He knows the need of His brethren in adversity.
As your Friend — He shows Himself friendly.
As your Redeemer — He has redeemed your soul from sin and Hell.

Jesus has ascended up on high to take possession of Heaven on your behalf, and to prepare a place for you!

Upon His heart, He wears your name as a precious pearl in the priestly breastplate.

"He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them." There is . . .
  not a moment of your time,
  nor an event of your life,
  nor a circumstance of your daily history,
  nor a mental or spiritual emotion of yours —
in which you are not borne upon the love, and remembered in the ceaseless intercession of Christ.

"Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved — and this is my Friend!" Song of Songs 5:16

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Death — to the righteous and the wicked

(George Lawson, "A Practical Exposition of the Book of Proverbs" 1821)

"The wicked will be cut off from the land — and the unfaithful will be torn from it." Proverbs 2:22

Must not the righteous leave the earth too?
Yes! But the earth is a very different thing to the righteous, and to the wicked.

To the righteous — this world is a place of preparation or Heaven.
To the wicked — this world is all the Heaven they will ever have.

Death is a kind messenger sent to the righteous by their heavenly Father — calling them to the possession of their eternal inheritance!
To the wicked, death is a messenger of wrath — summoning them to the abodes of misery!

Death is the beginning of happiness to God's people.
Death is the final conclusion of all that the wicked counted their happiness.

To the righteous — death is a translation to a glorious eternity!
To the wicked — death is everlasting destruction and woe!

"If only they were wise and would understand this — and discern what their end will be!" Deuteronomy 32:29

"So teach us to number our days — that we may gain a heart of wisdom!" Psalm 90:12

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If this is happiness — then give me misery!

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

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen, and lived in luxury every day." Luke 16:19

How apt are many at the sight of a rich worldling — to envy him for what he has.
But, for my part, I rather pity him for what he lacks!
He has money — but he lacks wisdom to use it wisely;
he has a soul — but it lacks grace;
he has the creature — but he lacks the Creator;
he has a mansion — but he lacks Heaven.

In his life, he floats upon a torrent of vanity — which rolls along into an ocean of vexation!

And after death, it will be said of him, "Take this unprofitable servant, bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness! Consign his soul to the eternal lake of fire and brimstone!"

Where now is the object of your envy?

It is not his gold which can then rescue him,
nor his mansion which can then satisfy him,
nor his friends who can then comfort him.

Therefore, if he is worth the envying — then who can be worth the pitying?

If this is happiness — then give me misery!

Lord, rather make me poor, with a holy heart — than rich, with an evil heart of unbelief!

"Have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue — because I am in agony in this fire!" Luke 16:24

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

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Moral and spiritual parasites!

(Frederick Marsh)

There are moral and spiritual parasites which throttle, kill, injure, or retard the growth of the spiritual life!

1. The parasite of sloth will hinder the grace of watchfulness — as it did the five virgins. Matthew 25:5

2. The parasite of worldliness will kill the grace of devotion — as it did in Demas. 2 Timothy 4:10

3. The parasite of pride will devastate the grace of humility — as it did with the Devil. 1 Timothy 3:6

4. The parasite of unbelief will keep down the grace of faith — as is seen in the children of Israel. Hebrews 3:17-19

5. The parasite of self-importance will kill the grace of self-denial — as is stated of Diotrephes. 3 John 9

6. The parasite of avarice will stifle the grace of reality — as is evidenced in Achan. Joshua 7:21

7. The parasite of covetousness will strangle the grace of generosity — as is manifest in Balaam. 2 Peter 2:15

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Sanctifying grace, as well as pardoning mercy!

("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

"You shall call His name Jesus — for He shall save His people from their sins!" Matthew 1:21

Jesus! Precious name, how sweet it is! How well it befits Him who bears it — and how glorious is the salvation which He accomplishes!

Misery is the natural consequence of sin. Everything that God enjoins is good — and everything that He forbids is evil. Jesus saves His people from their sins — and so saves them from misery. He died to atone for transgressions. He ever lives to save His people from the power and practice of sin — yes, and eventually from the very presence of sin.

My soul, let your whole trust be in Jesus, not only for deliverance from guilt and its consequences — but from sin in its manifold workings. You are powerless against your inward corruptions — but Jesus is "mighty to save." He can subdue your iniquities. Trust Him then, for sanctifying grace, as well as pardoning mercy!

Dwell much on all He did and suffered for you. In His agony in the garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross at Calvary — see something of the exceeding sinfulness of your sins, from which He died to save you.

"He will subdue our iniquities — and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea!" Micah 7:19

 Jesus' blood, for sinners spilt,
 Shows my sin in all its guilt.
 Ah, my soul, He bore your load,
 You have slain the Lamb of God!

 Farewell, world — your gold is dross!
 Now I see the bleeding cross!
 Jesus died to set me free,
 From the law, and sin, and thee!

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Let me joyfully be a hewer of wood, or a drawer of water!

("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

"Lord, what will You have me to do?" Acts 9:6

What an honor it is to be permitted to do anything in the service of the King of kings and Lord of lords! But this honor have all the saints.

Happy it is, when we are constrained by the love of Christ to enter on a course of devoted service, and to ask, "Lord, what will You have me to do?"

You know, O Lord, what work I am best fitted to do. I would not choose my own employment — but would follow Your direction. Let me not attempt what is above my capacity. Let me not shrink from what You enable me to accomplish. Let me joyfully be a hewer of wood, or a drawer of water — if this would please You.

Or if You call me to arduous service, to stand in forefront of the battle, to defend Your cause and Your truth — let me not draw back from my post, for You will impart needful courage, and make Your strength perfect in my weakness.

Joyful is the thought that You have something for all Your children to do . . .
  some ignorant ones for them to instruct,
  or some troubled ones for them to comfort,
  or some needy ones for them to relieve —
some work of faith or labor of love — for all of them to perform!

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My times are in Your hand!

("Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872)

"My times are in Your hand!"  Psalm 31:15

Is not this truth a joy to you, my soul?

It would be a sorry thing for me, if my times were in my own hands — and it would afford me little satisfaction, if my times were in an angel's hands. How restful should I be in knowing that my times are in my precious Savior's hands!
He sees the end from the beginning.
He knows how to apportion my sorrows and my joys.
He knows what to give — and what to withhold.
He knows also when to give — and when to take away.

But, alas! how often is my heart mistrustful — how often have I murmured under the trying dispensations of His providence! O my soul, be ashamed and confounded — be humbled in the dust that you should ever call in question the wisdom or kindness of the dealings of Him who so loved you as to give His only Son for your redemption!

Help me, O God of my salvation, henceforth, with childlike confidence and peaceful trust — to yield all to You, and to rejoice in the assurance that "My times are in Your hand!"

"My times are in Your hand;
 Why should I doubt or fear?
 My Father's hand will never cause
 His child a needless tear!"

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Seeing that we deserve nothing — we should be content with, and thankful for anything!

(Ralph Venning, "The Plague of Plagues!" 1669)

It has been every man's lot to come into and go out of this world naked — to show that he has no right to anything, but lives on the alms of God's charity and grace. All that we have or hold between our birth and death — is the mere gift of God.

God might choose whether He would allow us anything or not; and when He has given — He may take back again, and none of us has cause to say anything but what Job said: "Naked I came into the world — and naked I shall return. The Lord has given — and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!" Job 1:21

All that we have, our food and clothing and belongings — are only lent to us. Therefore, seeing that we deserve nothing — we should be content with, and thankful for anything.

"For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." 1 Timothy 6:7-8

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Sweeter morsels both for worms and devils!

(Christopher Love, "Hell's Terror!" 1618-1651)

"Every living thing that moved on the earth perished — birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind!" Genesis 7:21

"Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain — wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation!" Genesis 19:24-25

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

Contemplating the doctrine of Hell, will give a check to many sins of the ungodly.

The destruction of the old world in the universal deluge,
the raining down of fire and burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah,
the damnation of the rebellious angels —
are all examples to the ungodly, to take heed of sinning.

There is nothing in the world which will more check the thoughts of lust — than thoughts of the fire of Hell. If you burn in your lusts on earth — then you will burn in fire in Hell.

Contemplating the doctrine of Hell, will give a check to the sin of gluttony. For the more you pamper your flesh, if you are wicked — you make yourselves but sweeter morsels both for worms and devils! Take heed of gluttony and pampering your flesh!

Contemplating the doctrine of Hell, will give a check to the sin of pride. Paul bids Timothy to take heed of pride — lest he fall into the condemnation of the devils. That is, lest Timothy fall into the sin for which the devils were damned. The devils were cast into chains of darkness only for the sin of pride — therefore take heed of pride! It may bring you to Hell — as well as the devils! Pride cast them into Hell — so it may do to you!

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Especially beware of light reading!

(Horatius Bonar, "Follow the Lamb" 1861)

"They are more desirable than gold — yes, than much fine gold! Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned. In keeping them there is great reward!" Psalm 19:10-11

The Christian has discovered one book truer and more precious than all the rest together. Let the Bible be to us the book of books — the one book in all the world whose every verse is wisdom. In studying it, be sure to take it for what it really is — the revelation of the thoughts of God, given us in the words of God. Knowing that we have divine thoughts embodied in divine words — we sit down to the study of the heavenly volume, assured that we shall find the perfection of wisdom in all of its teachings.

Let us read and re-read the Scriptures — meditating on them day and night.
They never grow old, they never lose their sap, they never run dry.

Though it is right and profitable to read other books, if they are true and good — yet beware of reading too many. Do not let man's book thrust God's book into a corner! Do not let commentaries smother the text — nor let the good, shut out the best.
Especially beware of light reading! Shun novels — they are the literary curse of the age! If you are a parent — keep novels out of the way of your children. Neither read them yourself, nor set an example of novel-reading to others. Do not let novels lie on your table, or be seen in your hand. The reading of the light novels of the day, has done deep injury to many:
  vitiating their taste,
  enervating their minds,
  unfitting them for life's plain work,
  eating out their love for the Bible,
  teaching them a false morality, and 
  creating in the soul an unreal standard of truth, and beauty, and love.

Do not be too fond of the newspaper. Extract matter for thought and prayer out of all that you read.

Let your reading be always select — and whatever you read, begin with seeking God's blessing on it.

But see that your relish for the Bible is above every other enjoyment. The moment you begin to feel greater relish for any other book — lay it down until you have sought deliverance from such a snare, and obtained from the Holy Spirit a more intense relish, and a keener appetite for the Word of God!

"Your words were found, and I ate them. And Your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart!" Jeremiah 15:16

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That pestilent and most wretched John Wycliffe!

John Wycliffe was the first to translate the complete Bible into the English language in the 1380's.

John Wycliffe wrote the following:
Holy Scripture is the preeminent authority for every Christian, and the rule of faith.
Forasmuch as the Bible contains all that is necessary for salvation — it is necessary for all men, not for priests alone. It alone is the supreme law that is to rule the Church . . . without human traditions and statutes.
Christ and His Apostles taught the people in the language best known to them. Therefore, the doctrine should not only be in Latin but in the common tongue. The laity ought to understand the faith and, as doctrines of our faith are in the Scriptures, believers should have the Scriptures in a language which they fully understand.

The Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury wrote the following:

"That pestilent and most wretched John Wycliffe, of damnable memory, a child of the old devil, and himself a child or pupil of Antichrist... crowned his wickedness by translating the Scriptures into the mother tongue!"

N.B. The Roman Catholic Council of Constance declared Wycliffe to be a heretic, and decreed that Wycliffe's works should be burned. In 1428, under the direction of Pope Martin V — Wycliffe's corpse was exhumed and burned.