Grace Gems for SEPTEMBER 2018

If a lobster loses its claw in a fight

(Charles Spurgeon)

"I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you.
 I will remove your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh!" Ezekiel 36:26

What a wonder it is, that a man could ever have a new heart!

You know that if a lobster loses its claw in a fight, it may grow a new claw—and that is thought to be quite marvelous.

It would be far more astonishing, if men could be able to grow new arms and new legs.

But who ever heard of a man who grew a new heart?

You may have seen a bough lopped off a tree, and you may have thought that perhaps the tree will sprout again and there will be a new limb. But who ever heard of a wooden fence post getting new sap and a new life?

Yet my Lord and Master, the crucified and exalted Savior—has given His people new hearts, and has and made new creations of them!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ—he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

Let us rejoice together in this regenerating Savior!

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Sought out!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"You shall be called: Sought out!" Isaiah 62:12

The surpassing grace of God is seen very clearly, in that He has sought out His chosen people.

Glory be to infinite love and unconquerable grace—we were sought out! No gloom could hide us, no filthiness could conceal us! We were sought out, found and brought home.

The lives of some of God's people, if they could be written, would fill us with holy astonishment.

Marvelous and wondrous are the ways that God uses to find His own people. Blessed be His name, He never relinquishes the search, until His chosen ones are effectually sought out and brought home.

Christians are not a people sought today—and cast away tomorrow. Almightiness and wisdom combined, will make no failures. They shall be called "Sought out!"

That any should be sought out is matchless grace—but that we should be sought out, is grace beyond degree! We can find no reason for it, but God's own sovereign love!

We lift up our heart in astonishment, and praise the Lord that we wear the name of "Sought out!"

"Rejoice with Me, for I have found My sheep which was lost!" Luke 15:6

"Jesus sought me when a stranger,
 Wandering from the fold of God;
 He, to rescue me from danger,
 Interposed His precious blood!"

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Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise—apply your heart to what I teach

(Samuel Clark, "The Saint's Bouquet" 1641)

"Here are some further sayings of the wise."  Proverbs 24:23

Sin is . . .
  the spawn of the old Serpent,
  the source of Hell, and
  the vomit of the Devil.

Sin is more hateful to God than the Devil; for God hates the Devil for sin's sake—and not sin for the Devil's sake.

Sin is like a serpent in our bosoms, which cannot live—but by sucking out our life blood.

The godly hate sin—because of sin's defilement.
The ungodly fear sin—because of sin's punishment.

The godly hate sin—because it has filth in it to pollute the soul.
The ungodly fear sin—because it has fire in it to burn the soul.

The deluge of waters which overflowed all the world, washed away many sinners—but not one sin!
The world shall one day be all on fire—yet all that fire, and those flames in Hell which follow—shall not purge one sin!

All the evils in the world serve to give names to sin.
Sin is called poison—and sinners, serpents.
Sin is called vomit—and sinners, dogs.
Sin is called mire—and sinners, sows.
Sin is called darkness, blindness, shame, nakedness, folly, madness, death and whatever is filthy, vile, infective, or painful.

A glutton may fill his belly—but he can never fill his lust.
A covetous man may have his house full of money—but he can never have his heart full of money.
An ambitious man may have titles enough to overload his memory—but never to fill his pride.

The Devil's last stratagem is, if he cannot beat us down to sin—to blow us up with pride.

Nothing will make God's children so pure, as to wash themselves every morning in tears of repentance.

Without sound repentance, sin is not accounted as the greatest evil—nor Christ as the greatest good.

"Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise—apply your heart to what I teach." Proverbs 22:17

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Survey the idols which you are called upon to worship!

(J.A. James, "The Young Man's Friend and Guide Through Life to Immortality")

"If Jehovah is God, follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!" 1 Kings 18:21

There are other Baals in this age, in all the various forms under which they are objects of human idolatry.

It is true that you are not called, invited or disposed—to bow the knee to idols of wood, stone or metal. These, however, are not the only way in which idolatry may be practiced. Everyone has a god, and if man does not love and worship Jehovah, he will make a deity of his own image. Survey the idols which you are called upon to worship:

Among them, sustaining a high place, is the vile idol of SENSUALITY. This goddess is decked out with all that can pollute the imagination, inflame the passions, or excite the evil propensities of the heart. Before this image, multitudes of devotees of both sexes bow the knee and offer the most costly sacrifices of property, health, virtue and reputation!

Near her is the bewitching and smiling image of WORLDLY PLEASURE, with the sound of music, the song and the dance—alluring the giddy and thoughtless to its orgies; and throwing the spell of its fascinations over the imagination of multitudes who go merrily to their eternal ruin!

MAMMON, the despicable deity of wealth, is there—glittering with gold, and offering riches to his eager followers as the reward of their diligent and faithful adherence. His liturgy is the cry of "Money! Money! Money!" His sacrifices are the time, the bodies, the comfort, and the souls of his worshipers!

Near this is the shrine of HUMAN KNOWLEDGE. This idol is only evil, when raised above the place of faith, piety and virtue. When thus exalted above Scripture, it is a deceiving, corrupting idol—the false goddess of a Pantheon of Vices.

Nor must we leave out the idols of FALSE RELIGION, the chief of which is Popery—the anti-Christ of the Apocalypse, "the Man of Sin sitting in the temple of God, exalting itself above all that is called God." This idol, taking the name of Christ as its designation, assuming the cross as its symbol, and boasting of an apostle as its first pope; enriched by wealth; venerable for antiquity; dignified by learning; decorated by sculpture, architecture, and painting; and adding the abysmal policies, and most serpentine craft to all these other dangerous qualities—has fascinated countless millions! And, notwithstanding the monstrous absurdity of its doctrines, the blood-stained page of its history, and its hostility to the liberties of mankind—is now putting forth the most arrogant claims, and making the most audacious attempts for the conquest of our country!

These idolaters have chosen their god, and are the determined and devoted worshipers of their Baals! They have hardened their hearts and seared their consciences.

They congratulate themselves upon their having thrown off all the weaknesses and fears of Christianity, and upon their being now enabled to pursue their Hell-ward course unchecked by the restraint of conscience. Duped men, blind, and boasting in their blindness—are benumbed in all their moral faculties, and exulting in their stupidity! With every tie cut, which held them to piety and truth, they account it a privilege that they are drifting unobstructed to eternal destruction—determined to be lost, and rejoicing that nothing bars their path to the bottomless pit!

"These men have set up idols in their hearts!" Ezekiel 14:3

"Their hearts were devoted to their idols!" Ezekiel 20:16

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God's grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"But He said to me: 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

If none of God's saints were poor and tried, we would not know the consolations of divine grace half so well.

When we find the wanderer who does not have a place to lay his head, who yet can say, "Still I will trust in the Lord"; when we see the pauper starving on bread and water, who still glories in Jesus; when we see the bereaved widow overwhelmed in affliction, and yet relying on Christ—oh what honor it reflects on the Gospel.

God's grace is illustrated and magnified in the poverty and trials of believers!

Saints bear up under every discouragement, believing that all things work together for their good, and that out of apparent evils a real blessing shall ultimately spring. They know that their God will either work a deliverance for them speedily—or most assuredly support them in the trouble, as long as He is pleased to keep them in it. This perseverance of the saints proves the power of divine grace.

He who would glorify God, must reckon upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord, unless his conflicts are many. If then yours is a much-tried path, rejoice in it because you will better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for His failing you, never dream of it—hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

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Reader, is this vile viper lurking in your heart?

(Henry Law, "The Gospel in Numbers")

"The LORD said to Moses: How long will these people treat Me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in Me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?" Numbers 14:11

"They could not enter in because of unbelief." Hebrews 3:19

Reader, survey the Israelites in the wilderness—will they ever reach the promised land?

Alas! two, and two only, steadfastly adhere. The multitude distrust the Lord. They willfully provoke Him. Therefore just indignation dooms them to exclusion from the promised land. Their corpses strew the desert. One by one they dot the sand with graves. They fall, a solemn proof, that outward privileges alone do not save. Unbelief nullified their many means of grace. It poisoned their cup of blessing!

Ah, unbelief! It is the sin of sins—the misery of miseries—the hopeless malady—the death of souls—the bar which shuts out Christ!

Reader, is this vile viper lurking in your heart?

Oh! drag it to the cross, and slay it there!

Implore the Spirit, by His mighty sword, to hew it into shreds! If it survives, you die!

Can he be healed, who scorns the only cure?

Can he reach home, who leaves the only homeward path?

Can he be cleansed, who flees the only cleansing stream?

Can he escape from the fast-sinking wreck, who spurns the life-boat?

Who can reach God, who puts aside the only Mediator?

Who can be saved, who tramples down the only Savior?

Unbelief rejects the Gospel, and so perishes. It turns God's truth into a lie, and it goes hence to learn its folly, where faith never comes.

"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him!" John 3:36

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It is the only way in which I can ever kill it!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"In all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him who loved us!" Romans 8:37

We go to Christ for forgiveness—and then too often look to the ourselves for power to fight our sins.

Christian! Take your sins to Christ's cross, for the old man can only be crucified there!

The only weapon to fight sin with, is the spear that pierced the side of Jesus!

To give an illustration: You want to overcome an angry temper—how do you begin? It is very possible you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted Him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way—it is the only way in which I can ever kill it! I must go to the cross with it, and say to Jesus, "Lord, I trust You to deliver me from it."

Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you? You may struggle against this evil as long as you wish—but if it is your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any way but by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ! Tell Him: "Lord, I have trusted You, and You save Your people from their sins. Lord, this is one of my besetting sins—save me from it!"

You must be conquerors through Him who has loved you, if conquerors at all.

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Take both sorrow and sin to the same place!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Look on my affliction and my pain—and forgive all my sins." Psalm 25:18

It is good for us when prayers about our sorrows, are linked with pleas concerning our sins—when, being under God's hand, we are not wholly taken up with our pain, but remember our offenses against God.

It is good to take both sorrow and sin to the same place.
It was to God, that David carried his sorrow—and it was to God, that David confessed his sin.

Even your little sorrows you may turn over to God—for He counts the hairs of your head!
And your great sorrows you may commit to Him—for He holds the ocean in the hollow of His hand!

Go to Him, whatever your present trouble, and you will find Him both able and willing to relieve you.

But we must take our sins to God, too. We must carry them to the cross—that the blood may fall upon them, to purge away their guilt.

We are to go to the Lord with our sorrows and with our sins, in the right spirit:
"Look on my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins." Psalm 25:18

David cries, "Lord, as for my affliction and my pain, I will not dictate to Your wisdom. I will leave them to You; I would be glad if my pain were removed, but do as You will. As for my sins, Lord, I must have them forgiven—I cannot endure to lie under their curse for a moment."

A Christian counts sorrow lighter in the scale, than sin. He can bear that his troubles should continue—but he cannot support the burden of his transgressions.

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We see hands and feet and side, all pouring forth crimson streams of precious blood!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"The precious blood of Christ!" 1 Peter 1:19

Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands and feet and side, all pouring forth crimson streams of precious blood!

Christ's blood is precious because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it, all the sins of all Christ's people are atoned for!

Christ's blood is also precious in its cleansing power. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin!" "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."

Through Jesus' blood, there is not a spot left upon any believer—no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. Oh, precious cleansing blood—which removes the stains of abundant iniquity, and allows us to stand accepted in the Beloved, notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God.

The blood of Christ is likewise precious in its preserving power. Under the sprinkled blood, we are safe from the destroying angel. Remember that it is God's seeing the blood, which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God's eye is still the same.

The blood of Christ is precious also in its sanctifying influence. The same blood that justifies by taking away sin—quickens the new nature and leads it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the commands of God.

There is no motive for holiness so great, as that which streams from the veins of Jesus!

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A flower that will adorn any garden!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

Humiliation of soul always brings a positive blessing with it.
If we empty our hearts of self—then God will fill them with His love.

Stoop, if you would climb to Heaven. You must grow downward, that you may grow upward. The sweetest fellowship with Heaven is to be had by humble souls, and by them alone. God will deny no blessing to a thoroughly humbled spirit. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven"—along with all its riches and treasures!

God blesses us all up to the full measure of what it is safe for Him to do. If you do not get a particular blessing—it is because it is not safe for you to have it! If our heavenly Father were to let your unhumbled spirit win a victory in His holy war—you would pilfer the crown for yourself! And meeting with a fresh enemy, you would fall a victim. He keeps you low for your own safety.

When a man is sincerely humble and never ventures to touch so much as a grain of the praise—there is scarcely any limit to what God will do for him. Humility makes us ready to be blessed by the God of all grace, and fits us to deal efficiently with our fellow men.

True humility is a flower that will adorn any garden! Whether it is prayer or praise, whether it is work or suffering—the genuine salt of humility cannot be used in excess.

"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another—because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time!" 1 Peter 5:5-6

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I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God!" Psalm 90:1-2

The Christian knows no change with regard to God.

He himself may be rich today—and poor tomorrow,
he may be sickly today—and well tomorrow,
he may be in happiness today—tomorrow he may be distressed;
but there is never any change with regard to his relationship to God.

If He loved me yesterday—then He loves me today. My unmoving mansion of rest, is my blessed Lord.

Let prospects be ruined,
let hopes be blasted,
let joy be withered,
let mildews destroy everything—
I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is "my strong habitation where unto I can continually resort." I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength!" Habakkuk 3:17-19

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Pray our Beloved to print the image of His bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows—yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. 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 53:3-5

Pilate delivered our Lord to the lictors to be scourged. The Roman scourge was a most dreadful instrument of torture. It was made of the sinews of oxen, and sharp bones were intertwined among the sinews; so that every time the lash came down, these pieces of bone inflicted fearful laceration and tore off the flesh from the bone. The Savior was, no doubt, bound to the whipping post and thus beaten. He had been beaten before; but this flagellation of the Roman lictors was probably the most severe of His scourgings.

My soul, stand here and weep over His poor stricken body!
Believer, can you gaze upon Him without tears as He stands before you, the mirror of agonizing love? He is at once as white as the lily for innocence, and as red as the rose with the crimson of His own blood.

As we feel the sure and blessed healing that His stripes have wrought in us—does not our heart melt at once with love and grief? If ever we have loved our Lord Jesus, surely we must feel that affection glowing now within our bosoms.

We would be compelled to go to our chambers and weep, but our business calls us away. So we will first pray our Beloved to print the image of His bleeding self upon the tablets of our hearts all the day; and at nightfall we will return to commune with Him and sorrow that our sin should have cost Him so dearly!

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My only causes of complaint

(Letters of John Newton)

I am blessed with perfect health, and all things have been well with us abroad and at home.

My only causes of complaint arise from my depraved nature and the workings of indwelling sin. I wish I was more humbled for them, and watchful against them.

I trust I do, in some measure, know what manner of people the Lord's redeemed ought to be, and I hope sincerely to be growing and pressing forward. But indeed, I am not what I would be, or should be.

I would be thankful—few have more evident causes.
I would be humble—none can have greater reason.
I would be more spiritually-minded—for even my experience tells me that all below is vanity. Surely my lot is peculiarly favored, for the Lord has wonderfully anticipated and exceeded my wishes on every hand. But without the light of His countenance, all is faint and tasteless.

Blessed be God for the news of a better world, where there will be no sin, change, or defect, forever!

Let us praise Him, likewise, that He has appointed means of grace and seasons of refreshment here below—for a throne of grace, a precious Bible, and returning ordinances. These are valuable privileges, and so they appear to us when our hearts are in a lively frame. Then everything appears little and worthless, in comparison with communion with God. O for a coal of fire from the heavenly altar to warm our frozen hearts! O for a taste of divine love and a glimpse of glory—that we might mount up as with eagle's wings!

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One of the best tests of growth in grace

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:18

"Grow in grace"—not in one grace only, but in all the Christian graces.

Grow in the starting place of grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have before. Let faith increase in fullness, constancy and simplicity.

Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word and deed.

Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low, and know more of your own nothingness.

As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward—having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus.

To know Him is "life eternal"—and to advance in the knowledge of Him is to increase in happiness. Whoever has sipped this wine will thirst for more; for although Christ satisfies—yet it is such a satisfaction that the appetite is not only satisfied, but invigorated.

If you know the love of Jesus—then will you pant after deeper draughts of His love.
If you do not desire to know Him better—then you do not love Him at all, for love always cries, "Nearer, nearer!"

Seek to know more of Him . . .
  in His divine and human natures,
  in His sin-atoning work,
  in His excruciating death for you,
  in His present glorious intercession,
  and in His future royal coming in glory!

Remain by the cross, and search the mystery of His wounds!

An increase of love for Jesus, and a more perfect apprehension of His love for us—is one of the best tests of growth in grace.

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Oh! look before you, and see where it leads!

(Samuel Davies, "Saints Saved with Difficulty; and the Certain Perdition of the Wicked")

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it!" Matthew 7:13-14

This, my friends, and this alone—is the way of salvation. Is this the way in which you are walking? Or is it the smooth, easy downward road to destruction? You may slide along that without exertion or difficulty, like a dead fish floating with the stream; but oh! look before you, and see where it leads!

Most people . . .
  form some easy system of religion,
  from their own vain imaginations,
  suited to their depraved taste,
  indulgent to their sloth and carnality,
  and favorable to their lusts—
and this they call 'Christianity'!

But this is not the religion of the Bible! This is not the way to life laid out by God in His Word—but it is
the smooth downward road to destruction!

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It has such an amazing appetite that it can feed both on grace and garbage!

(John Berridge, 1716-1793)

The foulest stain, and worst absurdity in our nature, is pride! And yet this vile hedgehog so rolls himself up in his bristly coat, that we can seldom get a sight of his claws.

Pride cleaves to us, like a shirt soaked in tar cleaves to the skin. No sharp ploughing and harrowing will clear the ground of it. This foul weed will be sure to spring up with the next rain!

Pride follows me like my shadow!

This diabolical sin has brought more scourges on my back than everything else! It is of so insinuating a nature, that I know not how to rid myself of it.
I hate it, and love it.
I quarrel with it, and embrace it.
I dread it, and yet allow it to lie in my bosom.

It pleads a right, through the fall, to be a tenant for life. It has such an amazing appetite that it can feed both on grace and garbage! It will be as warm and snug in a monastery, as a brothel—and be as much delighted with a fine prayer, as a foul curse!

Lord, save me! If pride must dwell with me, let it not be a lordly master, but a loathed viper!

Oh, that I could once say unto you, foul pride: "Farewell forever!"

There is no Christian grace—but pride will creep into its bosom, and mix with it as freely as oil with oil.

Nor is Lady Pride ever so delighted as when she becomes intimate with humility, and by soft caresses and kind speeches, encourages the sweet damsel to think highly of herself, even when she looks and talks humbly.

One moment she whispers and tells me that I am a fine fellow—and then I am elated.
By and by, she calls me a fool—and then I am sullen.

I can do no religious act—but pride is skulking at my elbow, and much affecting me both by her smiles and frowns.

This foul pride besieges my heart, besets all my steps, and meets me at every turn.

Pride has more heads than a Hydra! (A mythological serpentine water monster which had many heads. Every time someone would cut off one of them, two more heads would grow out!)

Pride has more shapes than Proteus! (A mythical Greek figure who could assume a different shape at will.)

It is such an odd mysterious evil—that I can even be proud of loathing my pride.

Henceforth if you ask my real name, it is Pride!

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The cause of all crime, and the seed of every evil!

(Charles Spurgeon)

Could we roll all sins into one mass—could we take murder, blasphemy, lust, theft, immorality, and everything that is vile, and unite them all into one vast ball of horrid corruption—they would not even then equal the sin of unbelief!

Unbelief is . . .
  the king sin,
  the quintessence of guilt,
  the mixture of the venom of all crimes,
  the dregs of the wine of Gomorrah,
  the root sin,
  the masterpiece of Satan,
  the chief work of the devil.

Unbelief developed into deicide—and murdered the Lord Jesus Christ!

Unbelief! it has mixed many a cup of poison. It has brought thousands to the gallows, and many to a shameful grave. Many have murdered themselves, and rushed with bloody hands before their Creator's tribunal, because of unbelief.

Give me an unbeliever—let me know that he doubts God's Word—let me know that he distrusts His promises and His threatenings; and with that for a premise, I will conclude that the man shall, by-and-by, unless there is amazing restraining power exerted upon him—be guilty of the foulest and vilest crimes!

Unbelief is a Beelzebub sin; like Beelzebub, it is the leader of all evil spirits. It is said of Jeroboam that he sinned, and made Israel to sin; and it may be said of unbelief, that it not only itself sins, but it makes others sin.

Unbelief is the cause of all crime, and the seed of every evil! In fact, everything that is evil and vile lies couched in that one word—unbelief!

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A rich man and a beggar!

(J.C. Ryle, Riches and Poverty, 1878)

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores." Luke 16:19-21

The Lord Jesus begins the parable by telling us of a rich man and a beggar. He says not a word in praise either of poverty or of riches. He describes the circumstances of a wealthy man, and the circumstances of a poor man; but neither condemns the temporal position of one, nor praises that of the other.

We must take heed that we do not draw lessons from the parable which it was never meant to teach. The rich are not always evil men, and do not always go to Hell. The poor are not always holy men, and do not always go to Heaven. We must not rush into the extreme of supposing that it is sinful to be rich. We must not run away with the idea that there is anything wicked in the difference of condition here described, and that God intended all men to be equal. There is nothing in our Lord Jesus Christ's words to warrant any such conclusion. He simply describes things as they are often seen in the world, and as we must expect to see them.

Many in every age have disturbed society by stirring up the poor against the rich. But so long as the world is under the present order of things, universal equality cannot be attained.

So long as . . .
  some are wise, and some are foolish;
  some are strong, and some are weak;
  some are healthy, and some are diseased;
so long as children reap the fruit of their parent's misconduct;
so long as sun, and rain, and heat, and cold, and wind, and waves, and drought, and blight, and storm, and tempest are beyond man's control—so long will there be inequality in this world.

Take all the property in England by force this day, and divide it equally among the inhabitants. Give every man over twenty years old an equal portion. Let all share alike, and begin the world over again.
Do this, and see where you would be at the end of fifty years. You would just have come round to the point where you began! You would just find things as unequal as before!

   Some would have worked—and some would have been idle;
   some would have been always careless—and some always scheming;
   some would have sold—and others would have bought;
   some would have wasted—and others would have saved.
And the end would be, that some would be rich—and others poor.

We might as well say . . .
  that all men ought to be of the same height, weight, strength, and cleverness;
  or that all oak trees ought to be of the same shape and size;
  or that all blades of grass ought to be of the same length
—as that all men were meant to be equal.

Settle it in your mind that the main cause of all the suffering you see around you, is sin. Sin is the grand cause . . .
  of the enormous luxury of the rich—and the painful degradation of the poor;
  of the heartless selfishness of the highest classes—and the helpless poverty of the lowest.

Sin must be first cast out of the world;
the hearts of all men must be renewed and sanctified;
the devil must be bound;
the Prince of Peace must come down and take His great power and reign
—all this must be before there ever can be universal happiness, or the gulf be filled up which now divides the rich and poor.

Beware of expecting a millennium to be brought about . . .
  by any method of government,
  by any system of education,
  or by any political party.

Labor to do good to all men; pity your poorer brethren, and help every reasonable endeavor to raise them from their low estate; do not slacken your hand from any endeavor to increase knowledge—to promote morality—to improve the temporal condition of the poor.

But never, never forget that you live in a fallen world—that sin is all around you—and that the devil is abroad.

And be very sure that the rich man and Lazarus are emblems of two classes of people which will always be in the world until the Lord comes!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Just a little bit, and off you go!

(Charles Spurgeon)

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

Do not many of you read the Bible in a very hurried way—just a little bit, and off you go! Do you not soon forget what you have read, and lose what little effect it seemed to have?

How few of you are resolved to get at its soul, its juice, its life, its essence—and to drink in its meaning. Well, if you do not do that—then your reading is miserable reading, dead reading, unprofitable reading; it is not reading at all, the name would be misapplied. May the blessed Spirit give you repentance concerning this thing.

Meditation and careful thought, exercise us and strengthen the soul for the reception of the yet more lofty truths.

We must meditate, brethren. These grapes will yield no wine until we tread upon them.
These olives must be put under the wheel, and pressed again and again—that the oil may flow therefrom.

In a dish of nuts, you may know which nut has been eaten by a worm—because there is a little hole which the worm has punctured through the shell. It is just a little hole, and then inside there is the living worm eating up the kernel.

In the same way, it is a grand thing to bore through the shell of the letter of Scripture—and then to live inside feeding upon the kernel.

I would wish to be such a little worm as that, living within and upon the Word of God, having bored my way through the shell, and having reached the innermost mystery of the blessed gospel. The Word of God is always most precious to the man who most lives upon it.

Beloved, never be satisfied with a sound creed—but desire to have it engraved on the tablets of your heart.

The doctrines of grace are good, but the grace of the doctrines is better still. See that you have it, and be not content with the idea that you are well-instructed—until you so understand the doctrine that you have felt its spiritual power.

O living Christ, make this a living Word to me. Your Word is life, but not without the Holy Spirit. I may know this book of Yours from beginning to end, and repeat it all from Genesis to Revelation—and yet it may be a dead book, and I may be a dead soul.

Oh, cling to Scripture. Scripture is not Christ, but it is the silken clue which will lead you to Him. Follow its leadings faithfully.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A beloved child—watched over, cared for, supplied and defended!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"The Lord takes pleasure in His people!" Psalm 149:4

How comprehensive is the love of Jesus! There is no part of His people's interests that He does not consider; and there is nothing that concerns their welfare, which is not important to Him. Not merely does He think of you, believer, as an immortal being—but as a mortal being, also. Do not deny it or doubt it: "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delights in His way." Believer, rest assured that the heart of Jesus cares about your common affairs.

The breadth of His tender love is such that you may resort to Him in all matters; for as a father pities his children, so does He pity you. Oh, what a heart is His—which comprehends all the diverse and innumerable concerns of all His redeemed people!

Do you think that you can measure the love of Christ? Think of what His love has brought you—justification, adoption, sanctification and eternal life! The riches of His goodness are unsearchable—you shall never be able to count them out or even conceive of them all. Oh, the breadth of the love of Christ! You are no desolate wanderer, but a beloved child—watched over, cared for, supplied and defended by your Lord!

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book!" Psalm 56:8

   ~  ~  ~  ~


(Charles Spurgeon)

"Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful. Nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

How happy are tried Christians afterward. There is no calm more deep, than that which follows a storm. 

Our sorrows, like the passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them afterward.

It is peace—sweet, deep peace—which follows the horrible turmoil that once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls.

The Christian has his best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his worst things first.

But even his worst things afterward become good things. Even now . . .
  he grows rich, by his losses,
  he rises, by his falls,
  he lives, by dying and
  becomes full, by being emptied.
If then his grievous afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life—then what shall the full vintage of joy be afterward in Heaven?

If his dark nights are as bright as the world's days—then what shall his days be?

If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun—then what must his sunlight be?

If he can sing in a dungeon—then how sweetly will he sing in Heaven?

If he can praise the Lord in the fires—then how will he extol Him before the eternal throne?

If trials are good to him now—then what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then?

Who would not bear the present light cross—for the glorious crown which comes afterward?

"You do not realize now what I am doing, but afterward you will understand." John 13:7

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

"There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day—and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing!" 2 Timothy 4:8

"But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body!" Philippians 3:20-21

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived—what God has prepared for those who love Him!" 1 Corinthians 2:9

"Therefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:18

   ~  ~  ~  ~ 

The Christian is not a good man

(Martyn Lloyd Jones)

The Christian is not a good man.

He is a vile wretch who has been saved by the grace of God!

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6

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

"When we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son" Romans 5:10

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst!" 1 Timothy 1:15

   ~  ~  ~  ~ 

The door of the Word can only opened with the key of diligence!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Search the Scriptures!" John 5:39

The Greek word here rendered "search" signifies a strict, close, diligent, thorough search—such as men make when they are seeking gold. We must not rest content with having given a superficial reading to a chapter or two, but with the candle of the Spirit, we must deliberately seek out the spiritual essence of the Word. Holy Scripture requires searching—much of it can only be learned by careful study. There is milk for babes, but also meat for strong men.

No man who merely skims the book of God, can profit from it. We must dig and mine, until we obtain the hidden treasure. The door of the Word can only opened with the key of diligence! The Scriptures warrant searching. They are the writings of God—we dare to treat them with levity. He who despises them—despises the God who wrote them. God forbid that any of us should leave our Bibles to become swift witnesses against us in the great day of account. The Word of God will repay searching. Scripture grows upon the student. It is full of wonders!

The Scriptures reveal Jesus: "These very Scriptures speak about Me!" No more powerful motive can be urged upon Bible readers than this: He who finds Jesus finds life, Heaven, all things. Happy is he who, searching his Bible, discovers his Savior!

"My son, if you accept My words and store up My commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure—then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." Proverbs 2:1-5

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Painted pageantry to go to Hell in!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

Many people think that, when we preach salvation, we mean salvation from going to Hell. We do mean that, but we mean a great deal more.

We preach salvation from sin. We say that Christ is able to save a man; and we mean by that, that He is able to save him from sin and to make him holy—to make him into a new man.

No person has any right to say, "I am saved," while he continues in sin as he did before. How can you be saved from sin, while you are living in it?

You will always know whether you are delivered from the guilt and condemnation of sin, by answering this question: "Am I delivered from the love of sin?"

It is faith that saves us—not works. But that faith which saves us, always produces works.

Does the world satisfy you? Then you have your reward and portion in this life. Make much of it—for you shall know no other joy!

If your religion does not make you holy—it will damn you! It is simply painted pageantry to go to Hell in!

If you have lived like the wicked—then you will die like the wicked, and be damned like the wicked!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Painted pageantry to go to Hell in!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

Many people think that, when we preach salvation, we mean salvation from going to Hell. We do mean that, but we mean a great deal more.

We preach salvation from sin. We say that Christ is able to save a man; and we mean by that, that He is able to save him from sin and to make him holy—to make him into a new man.

No person has any right to say, "I am saved," while he continues in sin as he did before. How can you be saved from sin, while you are living in it?

You will always know whether you are delivered from the guilt and condemnation of sin, by answering this question: "Am I delivered from the love of sin?"

It is faith that saves us—not works. But that faith which saves us, always produces works.

Does the world satisfy you? Then you have your reward and portion in this life. Make much of it—for you shall know no other joy!

If your religion does not make you holy—it will damn you! It is simply painted pageantry to go to Hell in!

If you have lived like the wicked—then you will die like the wicked, and be damned like the wicked!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

How despicable our troubles and trials will seem!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!" Psalm 30:5

Christian! If you are in a night of trial, think of tomorrow. Be patient!

Your head may now be crowned with thorny troubles—but it shall wear a jeweled diadem before long!
Your hand may now be filled with cares—it shall sweep the strings of the harp of Heaven soon.
Your garments may be soiled with filth now—they shall be white as snow in a short time.

Wait a little longer.

How despicable our troubles and trials will seem—when we look back upon them from Heaven's glory! Looking at them presently, they seem to be immense—but they will then seem as light and momentary afflictions. Let us go on boldly. After the dark of night, the morning comes. We should be thankful that we are not shut up in the eternal darkness of Hell.

Do you know what it is to live in the future—to live on expectation—to anticipate Heaven?

It may be dark now, but it will soon be light.
It may be all trial now, but it will soon be all happiness.
What does it matter if weeping may endure for a night—when eternal joy comes in the morning!

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

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!" 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

   ~  ~  ~  ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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." Psalm 90:5-6. Here is the history of the grass—sown, grown, blown, mown, gone! The history of man is not much more!

There they come, streams of them, hurrying impatiently, rushing down to death and Hell—yes, eagerly panting, hurrying, dashing against one another to descend to that awful gulf from which there is no return!

Time, how short!
Death, how brief!
Eternity, how long!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Let us try and not attend to its gewgaws!

(Mary Winslow)

How poor and unsatisfying are all things here below—even the best and the loveliest! Is it not strange that we can lose sight of Heaven and eternal glory—and grovel in the dust to gather pebbles, for the pleasure of throwing them away afterwards?

Oh, to walk more intimately with Him, to live above the world, and hold the creature with a looser hand, taking God's Word as our guiding light and our unfailing spring of comfort. God has eternally provided such a magnificent and holy Heaven for us above, that He is jealous lest we should set our hearts too fondly and closely upon the fleeting attractions of earth. Therefore it is that He withers our gourds and breaks our cisterns—only to dislodge us from this poor world, and lead us to seek those things which are above, where Christ our treasure is.

Let us keep our eye and our hearts upon our blessed eternal home. Earth is but a stage erected as our passage to the place Jesus has gone to prepare for us. What a place must that be—which infinite power and love has engaged to provide! Oh, let us not lose sight of Heaven for a moment.

How prone are we to allow our minds and hearts (our treacherous hearts!) to become entangled with the baubles of a dying world. No wonder Christ exhorted us to watch and pray. Heaven is our home—our glorious home. We are but strangers and pilgrims here on earth. Try and realize it. Let us keep ourselves ready to enter with Him to the marriage supper of the Lamb. In a little while, and we shall see Him, not as the 'Man of sorrows,' but the 'King in His beauty!' Then let us fight against the world and all its vain attractions, for it is passing away.

The world and its 'nothings'
are often a sad snare to God's saints. Oh that by faith we may overcome it all, and keep close to Jesus! We are not of the world—let us try and not attend to its gewgaws!

Keep a more steadfast, unwavering eye upon Christ. He has gone a little before us, and stands beckoning us to follow!

Live for eternity! Let go of your hold upon the world!

Receive this exhortation from an aged pilgrim, who, as she nears the solemn scenes of eternity, and more realizes the inexpressible joys that await us there, is anxious that all believers who are traveling the same road might have their hearts and minds more disentangled from worthless earthly things, and themselves unreservedly given to Christ. Let us aim in all things to follow Him who, despising this world's show, left us an example how we should walk. Have your lamp trimmed and brightly burning, for every day and every hour brings us nearer and nearer to your home!

"Dearest Jesus! help Your pilgrims to live more like pilgrims—above a poor dying world, and more in full view of the glory that awaits us when we shall see You face to face!"

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. When Christ, who is your life, appears—then you also will appear with Him in glory!" Colossians 3:1-4

"Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus!" Hebrews 3:1

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Choice quotes from Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The tragedy of sin, is that it affects man in his highest faculties.
Sin causes us to become fools, and behave in an irrational manner.
Modern man, far from being ruled by reason, is ruled by lust and passion.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The man who refuses to face the fact of his own death, is a fool!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The more Christian a person is, the simpler will that person's life be.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I'd rather hobble into Heaven, than walk into Hell!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

God is nowhere more hidden, than in most churches!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Some tend to think that Christianity is a matter of being nice.
But niceness is purely biological. One dog is nicer than another dog!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

We must never parade ourselves!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Do you think that you deserve forgiveness? If you do, you are not a Christian.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

When a man truly sees himself, he knows that nobody can say anything about him that is too bad.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The trouble with man is not intellectual—but moral.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

If you claim to love Christ and yet are living an unholy life, there is only one thing to say about you: You are a bare-faced liar!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

To divorce forgiveness of sins from the actual living of the Christian life, is nothing but rank heresy!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Christians are generally at their best, when they are in the furnace of affliction and being persecuted and tried.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

If you are not holy, you are not a Christian.
   ~  ~  ~  ~

There are no shortcuts in the Christian life—no simple remedies.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Nothing we do in the Christian life, is harder than prayer.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The state of the world today, is nothing but an appalling monument to human failure.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Intellectual pride is the last citadel of self.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

We have come to realize that a man can be educated and cultured, and still be a beast!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The biggest hoax in the world for the last 150 years, has been the theory of evolution!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The natural man is always looking at himself and admiring himself.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

I would rather make bricks without straw—than try to live the Sermon on the Mount in my own strength.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

No difficulty in believing the gospel is intellectual—it is always moral.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The whole trouble in life, is ultimately a concern about self.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

A man is not a Christian unless he can say with Paul, "I am what I am by the grace of God!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Many who go to the psychiatrist are like the woman in the Gospels—they are nothing bettered, but rather grow worse!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

There is little difference between a fashion parade, and a dog show!

     ~  ~  ~  ~

By definition, a Christian should be an enigma to every person who is not a Christian.

     ~  ~  ~  ~

The first sign of spiritual life, is to feel that you are dead!