Grace Gems for January, 2020

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God's jewels
are often found buried in the worst filth!

(James Smith, "Exhortation and Encouragement" 1859)

"One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." Acts 18:9-10

What kind of a city was it?
Corinth was one of the most worldly and immoral cities of the east. Here was the temple of Venus, with its degrading and disgraceful services.

What kind of people were they?
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were! But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God!" 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
This is the apostle's own reply to the question.

Observe:

  1.
The Lord's people are often found in the most unlikely places! Who would have expected to find God's chosen people—a multitude of them—in a place so foul, so polluted, so degraded, as Corinth?
God's jewels
are often found buried in the worst filth!


   2. The Lord chooses the most unlikely people! Who would ever have thought that the Lord would have chosen the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers—to be saved? But He did!
God's people
are picked off the foulest dunghills!


O the wonders of sovereign grace!

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Nevertheless I am continually with You!

(Thomas Moor, "Counsels and Thoughts for the Spiritual Life of Believers" 1882)

"Nevertheless I am continually with You! You hold me by my right hand." Psalm 73:23
 
This is the utterance of a faith which triumphs over contradictory circumstances and contradictory experiences.

Believer in Jesus, bear in mind that this "nevertheless" stands firm for you also, whatever may be the "although" of adverse circumstances and experiences you put before it.

Because of the covenant faithfulness of Him in whose hand of grace and love you are, you can truly say:

  "Although I am weak and helpless, nevertheless I am continually with You."

  "Although I am vile and undeserving, nevertheless I am continually with You."

  "Although I am so foolish and prone to wander, nevertheless I am continually with You."

  "Although trials and afflictions beset me, nevertheless I am continually with You."

  "Although all forsake me, nevertheless I am continually with You."

  "Although I cannot realize Your presence, nevertheless I am continually with You."

Thus, whatever may be your "although," let the "nevertheless" of your faith always triumph, for . . .
  the grasp of Christ's hand never slackens,
  the power of Christ's arm never fails,
  the love of Christ's heart never changes.

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Here is a constellation of wonders!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Ephesians 1:7

Could there be a sweeter word in any language than that word "forgiveness," when it sounds in a guilty sinner's ear!

Can it be possible that sin—such heinous sin as mine—can be forgiven, forgiven altogether, and forever? Hell is my portion as a sinner—there is no possibility of my escaping from it while sin remains upon me.

Can the unfathomable load of my guilt be removed? Can the crimson stain of my sins be blotted out?
Can the adamantine stones of my prison-house ever be loosed, or the doors be lifted from their hinges?

Jesus tells me that I may yet be forgiven. Forever blessed be the revelation of redeeming love, which not only tells me that pardon is possible—but that it is secured to all who rest in Jesus. I have believed in the appointed sin-atoning sacrifice, even Jesus crucified, and therefore my sins are at this moment, and forever—forgiven by virtue of His substitutionary sufferings and death! What joy is this! What bliss to be a perfectly pardoned soul! My soul dedicates all her powers to Him who of His own unpurchasable love became my surety, and wrought out for me redemption through His blood.

What riches of grace does free forgiveness exhibit!
To forgive at all,
to forgive fully,
to forgive freely,
to forgive forever!
Here is a constellation of wonders!

When I think of . . .
  how great my sins were,
  how dear were the precious drops which cleansed me from them, and
  how gracious was the method by which pardon was sealed home to me,
I am in a maze of wondering worshiping affection!
I bow before the throne which absolves me!
I clasp the cross which delivers me!
I serve henceforth all my days—the Incarnate God, through whom I am this day a pardoned soul!

"Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 
 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him!" Romans 4:7-8

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O stand amazed at His free grace!

(Thomas Sherman, "Divine Breathings" or, "A Pious Soul Thirsting after Christ")

O precious saint! Three questions call for your answer:
   1. What were you?
   2. What are you?
   3. What shall you be?

1. What were you?
Dead in your transgressions and sins,
a rebel to your God,
a prodigal to your Father,
a slave to your lust,
the devil's captive,
on the highway to Hell!

2. What are you?
Redeemed by Christ,
a royal child of God,
the spouse of Christ,
the temple of the Holy Spirit,
the heir of a priceless eternal inheritance!

3. What shall you be?
A glorious saint,
a companion of angels,
a triumphant victor,
a crowned king,
an attendant on the Lamb,
a participant in those soul-ravishing and ineffable excellencies that are in God!

You shall behold the King of Glory face to face—and enjoy immediate communion with Jesus Christ!

Nay more, you are made one with Him:
  clothed with His excellencies,
  enthroned with His glories,
  crowned with His eternity,
  and filled with His felicity!

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

O stand amazed at His free grace—and render all the glory to God!

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The Christian's never-failing resort in every case, in every plight

(Charles Spurgeon)

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

Prayer is the Christian's never-failing resort in every case, in every plight. When you cannot use your swordyou may take to the weapon of all-prayer. Your gun-powder may be damp, your bow-string may be broken—but the weapon of all-prayer need never be out of order. Leviathan laughs at the javelin—but he trembles at prayer. Sword and spear need furbishing—but prayer never rusts; and when we think it most blunt—it cuts the best.

Prayer is an open door which none can shut! Devils may surround you on all sides—but the way upward is always open, and as long as that road is unobstructed, you will not fall into the enemy's hand. We can never be taken by force or storm—so long as heavenly help comes down to us to support us in the time of our necessities.

Prayer is never out of season—in summer and in winter its merchandise is precious. Prayer gains an audience with God—in the dead of night, in the midst of business, in the heat of noonday, in the shadows of evening. In every condition, whether of poverty, or sickness, or obscurity, or slander, or sin—your covenant God will welcome your prayer and answer it from His holy place.

Nor is prayer ever futile. True prayer is evermore true power. You may not always get what you ask—but you shall always have your real needs supplied. When God does not answer His children according to the letter—He does so according to the spirit. If you ask for coarse meal—will you be angered because He gives you the finest flour? If you seek bodily health, should you complain if instead thereof—He makes your sickness turn to the healing of spiritual maladies? Is it not better to have the affliction sanctified, than removed? My soul, do not forget to offer your petition and request, for the Lord is ready to grant you your desires!

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need!" Hebrews 4:16

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He looks above and beyond the troublesome scenes of earth's fleeting pilgrimage


(David Harsha, "Wanderings of a Pilgrim")

No man begins the journey to the heavenly home, until by the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit his soul is attracted to Christ—the Living Way, the Truth and the Life.

At that happy hour when the heart is opened and the understanding is enlightened to discern spiritual things, the Savior's love is the first to beam in the mild, sweet, constraining influence upon the soul of the renewed man.

He wonders that he was not able before to discern the beauty, the excellence and the glory of Immanuel. Now Jesus appears to him as the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely. Now he is ready to exclaim, "My Beloved is mine, and I am His! Whom have I in Heaven but You? There is none upon earth that I desire besides You!"

Thus enlightened by divine grace, the pilgrim turns from the City of Destruction to the Heavenly Mansions.

He leaves the crowded road which leads to eternal darkness and woe, and enters on the narrow pathway that conducts the weary traveler to realms of light and bliss.

His views are now elevated above the decaying objects around him. His affections are placed upon things above. He contemplates with rapturous delight the bleeding glories of Immanuel, and the shining abode of Zion's pilgrims in the celestial kingdom.

He has become a spiritually-minded man.

He lives and walks by faith in the Son of God.

Though in the world, he is no longer of it; but belongs to the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

As an heir of glory, as a traveler to the skies, as an expectant of eternal bliss—he looks above and beyond the troublesome scenes of earth's fleeting pilgrimage.

He enjoys the charming and sublime prospect beyond the precincts of time! He beholds in that brighter world, an ocean of glory without a shore and without a storm!

As the Christian pursues his journey, with his eye fixed on the solemn realities of eternity—earth and sublunary grandeur appear to him as transitory as the morning cloud and early morning dew, compared with those immeasurable ages of bliss, which roll before his enraptured vision.

He who has been constrained by the Savior's love, to begin the blessed journey from the wilderness of this world to the Celestial City—will delight to meditate on the riches and glory of his Father's house, in the pure, unclouded realms of eternal day!

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The atrocities of Joshua

(Joel Headley, "Sacred Heroes")

"They utterly destroyed everything in the city with the sword—every man and woman, both young and old, and every ox, sheep, and donkey." Joshua 6:21

It is needless to go into a defense of what some call the atrocities of Joshua, in slaying women and children as well as warriors; in short, making a clean sweep of the inhabitants.

The Lord ordered it, and that is enough.


We may be sure that, whether He obliterates a nation by war, or blots out the entire race with a flood—He has good reasons for it, although He may not choose to give them.

The extinction of one race by another, and the occupation of its land, is one of the common things in the history of the world. And whether it is done by the swift process of the sword, or by gradual demise, or the introduction of disease and vice—the principle and the fact remain the same.

The Lord ordered it, and that is enough.


"See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god beside Me. I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand!"
Deuteronomy 32:39

"
I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things!" Isaiah 45:6-7

"Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?" Amos 3:6

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

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Our proper enjoyment of every earthly blessing

(Hannah More,  "The Love of God")

There are three requirements to our proper enjoyment
of every earthly blessing
which God bestows on us:

  1. A thankful reflection on the goodness of the Giver.

  2. A deep sense of the unworthiness of the receiver.

  3. A sober recollection of the precarious tenure by which we hold it.

The first would make us grateful, the second humble, the last moderate.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights" James 1:17


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Reader, how does it fare with your family?


(Charles Spurgeon, "Treasury of David")

"I will be careful to lead a blameless life . . . I will walk in my house with a blameless heart." Psalm 101:2

Piety must begin at home. Our first duties are those within our own abode.

We must have a blameless heart at home, or we cannot keep a blameless way abroad.

Notice that these words are a part of a song. There is no music like the harmony of a gracious life, no psalm so sweet as the daily practice of holiness.

Reader, how does it fare with your family?

Do you sing in the choir, and sin in the chamber?

Are you a saint abroad, and a devil at home?

For shame!

What we are at home, that we are indeed!


He cannot be a true saint whose habitation is a scene of strife, and whose household dreads his appearance at the fireside.

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The fountain of holy living!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Treasury of David")

"Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walk in His ways." Psalm 128:1

"Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord."
The fear of God is the cornerstone of all blessedness.
We must reverence the ever-blessed God, before we can be blessed ourselves.

This is true of every one of the God-fearing, of all conditions, in all ages—each one and every one is blessed. Their blessedness may not always be seen by carnal reason, but it is always a fact, for God Himself declares that it is so. We know that those whom He blesses, are blessed indeed.

Let us cultivate that holy filial fear of Jehovah which is the essence of all true religion—the fear . . .
  of reverencing God,
  of dread to offend Him,
  of concern to please Him, and
  of entire submission and obedience to Him.

This fear of the Lord is the fountain of holy living. We look in vain for holiness apart from it.

None but those who fear the Lord, will ever walk in His holy ways.

"Who walk in His ways."
The pious life which God declares to be blessed, must be practical. It is idle to talk of fearing the Lord, if we act like those who have no care whether there is a God or not. God's ways will be our ways, if we have a sincere reverence for Him. If the heart is truly joined unto God, the feet will follow hard after Him.

A man's heart will be seen in his walk, and the blessing will come where heart and walk are both with God.

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What is puny man in the presence of the Infinite God?

(Charles Spurgeon, "Treasury of David")

"O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?" Psalm 144:3

What a contrast between Jehovah and man! The Psalmist turns from the glorious all-sufficiency of God—to the insignificance and nothingness of man. He sees Jehovah to be everything, and then cries, "O LORD, what is man!" What is puny man in the presence of the Infinite God? What can man be compared to? He is too little to be described at all; only God, who knows the most minute object, can tell what man is.

Certainly man is not fit to be the rock of our confidence—he is at once too feeble and too fickle to be relied upon.

The Psalmist's wonder is that God should stoop to know him, and indeed it is more remarkable than if the greatest archangel should make a study of worms, or become the friend of mites.

"O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?"
That God should make man . . .
  the subject of eternal election,
  the object of plenteous redemption,
  the child of eternal love,
  the darling of infallible providence,
  the next of kin to Deity—
is indeed unfathomable!

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We were dead men rotting in a dunghill of sin!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Treasury of David")

"The Lord raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy from the dunghill!" Psalm 113:7

What a gracious stoop of love! He frequently lifts the lowest of mankind out of their poverty and degradation, and adopts them into His family.

His gracious Spirit is continually visiting the down-trodden, giving beauty for ashes to those who are cast down, and elevating the hearts of His mourners until they shout for joy.

These upliftings of grace are here ascribed directly to the divine hand, and truly those who have experienced them will not doubt the fact that it is the Lord alone who brings His people up from the dust of sorrow and death. When no hand but His can help, He interposes and the work is done.

"And lifts the needy from the dunghill" whereon they lay like worthless refuse, cast off and cast out—left as they thought, to rot into destruction, and to be everlastingly forgotten.

How great a stoop from the height of His throne, to a dunghill! How wonderful is that power which occupies itself in lifting up beggars, all befouled with the filthiness in which they lay! For He lifts them out of the dunghill, not disdaining to search them out from amidst the base things of the earth—that He may bring to nothing the great ones, and pour contempt upon all human glorying.

What a dunghill was that upon which we lay by nature!

What a mass of corruption is our original estate!

What a heap of loathsomeness we have accumulated by our sinful lives!

We could never have risen out of this corruption by our own efforts—we were dead men rotting in a dunghill of sin!

Almighty were the arms which lifted us, which are still lifting us, and will lift us into the perfection of Heaven itself!

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What a debased creature must he be!


(Charles Spurgeon, "Treasury of David")

"O Lord, You preserve both man and animals!" Psalm 36:6

"He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. 
 He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call." Psalm 147:8-9

"These all look to You to give them their food at the proper time.
 When You give it to them, they gather it up;
 w
hen You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good things!" Psalm 104:27-28


All the myriads of creatures, rational and irrational, are fed by Jehovah's hand!
The countless animals,
the innumerable birds,
the inconceivable abundance of fish,
the all but infinite armies of insects
all owe their continuance of life to God's unceasing care and provisions.

What an awesome view of God this presents to us!

What a debased creature must he be
, who sees no trace of such a God, and feels no awe of Him!

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The predestined moment has not yet struck!

(Charles Spurgeon)

"One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." Acts 18:9-10

This should be a great encouragement to evangelize, since God has . . .
  among the vilest of the vile,
  among the most reprobate,
  among the most debauched and drunken
an elect people who must be saved!

When you take the Word to them, you do so because God has ordained you to be the messenger of life to their souls, and they must receive it—for so the decree of predestination runs. They are as much redeemed by Christ's blood, as the saints before the eternal throne! They are Christ's property—yet perhaps they are at present, lovers of the ale-house and haters of holiness. But if Jesus Christ has purchased them—He will have them.

God is not unfaithful to forget the price which His Son has paid. He will not allow His substitutionary sacrifice to be in any case—an ineffectual, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet—but regenerated they must be! This is our comfort when we go forth to them with the quickening Word of God.

Nay, more, these ungodly ones are prayed for by Christ before the throne. "My prayer is not for them alone," says the great Intercessor, "I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message." Poor, ignorant souls, they do not pray for themselves—but Jesus prays for them! Their names are on His breastplate, and before long they must bow their stubborn knee, breathing the penitential sigh before the throne of grace.

The predestined moment has not yet struck!
But when it comes, they shall obey—for God will have His own redeemed people! They must obey—for the Spirit is not to be withstood when He comes forth with fullness of His saving power. They must become the willing servants of the living God.

"My people shall be willing in the day of My power."

"He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied."

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St. Cross Hospital

(Charles Spurgeon)

"
Ask and it will be given to you;
 seek and you will find;
 knock and the door will be opened to you.
 
 For everyone who asks receives;
 he who seeks finds; and
 to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
Matthew 7:7-8


We know of a place in England still existing, where a dole of bread is served to every passerby who chooses to ask for it. Whoever the traveler may be, he has but to knock at the door of St. Cross Hospital and there is the dole of bread for him.

In the same way, Jesus so loves sinners that He has built a St. Cross Hospital, so that whenever a sinner is hungry, he has but to knock and have his needs supplied.

Nay, He has done better; He has attached to this Hospital of the Cross—a BATH. Whenever a soul is black and filthy, it has but to go there and be washed. The fountain is always full, always effectual. No sinner ever went into it and found that it could not wash away his stains. Sins which were scarlet and crimson—have all disappeared, and the sinner has been made whiter than snow!

As if this were not enough, there is attached to this Hospital of the Cross—a WARDROBE, and a sinner making application simply as a sinner, may be clothed from head to foot! Nothing that is good for him shall be denied him. He shall have spending-money (grace) as long as he lives, and he shall have an eternal heritage of glorious treasure when he enters into the joy of his Lord.

If all these things are to be had by merely knocking at mercy's door, O my soul, knock hard, and ask great things from your generous Lord.

No bashfulness need retard us when Jesus invites.

No unbelief should hinder us when Jesus promises.

No cold-heartedness should restrain us when such blessings are to be obtained!

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need!" Hebrews 4:16

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Death-bed repentance

(Gorham Abbott, 1833)

"For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death!" 2 Corinthians 7:10

    Repentance is the tear of love,
    dropping from the eye of faith,
    when it fixes on Christ crucified.

Repentance begins in the humiliation of the heart, and ends in the reformation of the heart and of the life.

Sincere repentance is never too late, but late repentance is seldom sincere. The thief on the cross repented, and was pardoned in the last hour of his life. We have one such instance in scripture—that none might despair; and only one—that none might presume.

Still, however, the probability that apparent repentance which comes at a dying hour will be genuine, is very small. The following fact will furnish an affecting illustration of this sentiment, and a solemn warning against the too common delusion of deferring the work of repentance to a dying bed:

The faithful and laborious clergyman of a very large and populous parish had been accustomed, for a long series of years, to preserve notes of his visits to the afflicted, with remarks on the outcome of their affliction—whether life or death, and of the subsequent conduct of those who recovered.

He stated, that, during forty years, he had visited more than two thousand people apparently drawing near to death, and who revealed such signs of penitence as would have led him to indulge a good hope of their eternal safety—if they had died at that moment.

When they were restored to life and health—he eagerly watched if they should bring forth fruits fit for repentance. But alas! of the some two thousand death-bed professions, only two people manifested an abiding and saving change! The rest, when the terrors of eternity ceased to be in immediate prospect, forgot their pious impressions and their solemn vows—and returned with new avidity to their former worldly-mindedness and sinful pursuits.

"What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire!" 2 Peter 2:22

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Just as the miser returns often to look on his treasure

(Charles Spurgeon, "Treasury of David")

"I will meditate in Your precepts and consider Your ways." Psalm 119:15

He who has an inward delight in anything will not stop thinking about it for very long. Just as the miser returns often to look on his treasure, so the devout believer, by frequent meditation, turns over the priceless wealth that He has discovered in the Book of the Lord.

No spiritual exercise is more profitable to the soul than that of devout meditation!

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

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it." Joshua 1:8

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This abominable thing that I hate!

(J.C. Philpot, 1858)

As no heart can sufficiently conceive, so no tongue can adequately express—the state of wretchedness and ruin into which sin has cast guilty, miserable man. In separating him from God, sin has severed him from the only source and fountain of all happiness and all holiness. Sin has ruined him, body and soul:
  it has filled the body with sickness and disease
  it has defaced and destroyed the image of God in which man was created.

Sin has:
  shattered all of man's mental faculties;
  broken his judgment,
  polluted his imagination,
  and alienated his affections.

Sin has made man love evil and hate God!

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

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Do not fix your love upon your money bags!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Treasury of David")

"If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them!" Psalm 62:10

Do not fix your love upon your money bags!

To bow your immortal spirit to the constant contemplation of fading possessions, is extreme folly.

Shall those who call the Lord their glory—glory in yellow earth?

Shall the image of Caesar on coins, deprive them of communion with Him who is the image of the invisible God?

As we must not rest in men, so neither must we repose in money.

Gain and fame are only so much foam of the sea! All the wealth and honor which the whole world can afford, would be too slender a thread to bear up the happiness of an immortal soul.

Our misery is that we thirst so little for heavenly realities—and so much for the mocking trifles of time and sense.

"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul?
 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mark 8:36-37

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Divine upholding!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Treasury of David")

"You uphold me in my integrity." Psalm 41:12

Our integrity and virtue are the result of the divine upholding. We would fall, and blunder and spoil all—if left to ourselves. The Lord should be praised every day, if we are preserved from gross sin. When others sin—they show us what we would do, but for preserving grace.

"He fell today—and I may fall tomorrow!" was the exclamation of a holy man, whenever he saw another falling into sin.

"When I said, 'My foot is slipping!' Your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up!" Psalm 94:18

"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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Who can tell the misery that unbelief has brought on the world!

(J.C. Ryle)

Who can tell the misery that unbelief has brought on the world!

Unbelief made Eve eat the forbidden fruit. She doubted the truth of God's word: "You will surely die!"

Unbelief made the old world reject Noah's warning, and so perish in their sin.

Unbelief kept Israel in the wilderness—it was the barricade that kept them from entering the Promised Land.

Unbelief made the Jews crucify the Lord of glory—they did not believe the voice of Moses and the prophets, even though they were read to them every day.

Unbelief is the reigning sin of man's heart down to this very hour . . .
  unbelief in God's promises,
  unbelief in God's wrath,
  unbelief in our own sinfulness,
  unbelief in our own danger,
  unbelief in God's method of salvation,
  unbelief in everything that runs counter to the pride and worldliness of our evil hearts.

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The ways, and fashions, and amusements, and recreations of the world

(J.C. Ryle)

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John 2:15

There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough—a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice; which costs nothing, and is worth nothing.

The standard of the world, and the standard of the Lord Jesus—are indeed widely different. They are more than different—they are flatly contradictory one to the other. Never be satisfied with the world's standard of Christianity!

A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people!

It costs something to be a true Christian. It will cost us our sins, our self-righteousness, our ease and our worldliness!

The ways, and fashions, and amusements, and recreations of the world—have a continually decreasing place in the heart of a growing Christian. He does not condemn them as downright sinful, nor say that those who have anything to do with them are going to Hell.

He only feels they have a constantly diminishing hold on his own affections, and gradually seem smaller and more trifling in his eyes.

"For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world." 1 John 5:4

    ~  ~  ~  ~

They were yet ready to go to school to the filthy Canaanites!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Treasury of David")

"But they mingled among the heathen, and learned their customs!" Psalm 106:35
 
When they settled in the land of promise, Israel found evil company and delighted in it. Those whom they should have destroyed, they made their friends. Having enough faults of their own, they were yet ready to go to school to the filthy Canaanites and educate themselves still more in the arts of iniquity. It was certain that they could learn no good from men whom the Lord had condemned to utter destruction. Israel sat at the feet of accursed Canaan, and rose up proficient in every abomination.

This, too, is a grievous but common error among professors. They court worldly company and copy worldly fashions, and yet it is their calling to bear witness against these things. None can tell what evil has come to the church, because of the folly of worldly conformity!

"And they served their idols, which were a snare unto them." Psalm 106:36 

They were fascinated by the charms of idolatry, though it brings misery upon its votaries. A man cannot serve sin without being ensnared by it. It is like pitch, and to touch it is to be beslimed by it. Samson laid his head in the Philistine woman's lap—but before long he woke up shorn of his strength. Dalliance with sin is fatal to holy living.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The poor Christian!


(James Smith, "Comfort for Christians!")

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

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

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

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

The poor ought not to repine at poverty—because God in His infinite wisdom has appointed it, and is able to render it the greatest blessing.

God's chosen are generally found among the poor. Not that He chose them because they were poor; but choosing them in Christ—He appointed poverty as the best thing for them.

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

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

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

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

Your cottage will soon be exchanged for a kingdom!

Your sickness will soon be exchanged for health!

Your poverty will soon be exchanged for wealth!

Your sin will soon be exchanged for perfect holiness!

Your earth will soon be exchanged for Heaven!

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

For you—an inheritance is reserved in Heaven!

For you—a mansion is being prepared!

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

    ~  ~  ~  ~

When I die I shall then have my greatest grief and my greatest joy

(J.C. Ryle, Christian Leaders of the Last Century)

William Grimshaw was, above all, a man of rare humility. Few gifted men, perhaps, ever thought so humbly of themselves, or were so truly ready to honor others.

"What have we to boast of?" he once said. "What do we have, that we have not received? Freely by grace we are saved. When I die I shall then have my greatest grief and my greatest joy: my greatest grief that I have done so little for Jesus; and my greatest joy that Jesus has done so much for me. My last words shall be, "Here goes an unprofitable servant!"

On his deathbed he said, "Alas! what have my wretched services been. I have now need to cry, at the end of my unprofitable course: God be merciful to me a sinner!"

Shortly after, laying his hand on his heart, he said, "I am quite exhausted; but I shall soon be at home, forever with the Lord—a poor miserable sinner redeemed by His precious blood!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be . . .


(Charles Spurgeon)

"O that we would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to men." Psalm 107:8

If we complained less and praised more—we would be happier, and God would be more glorified.

Let us daily praise God for common mercies. They are common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when deprived of them—we imagine that we are ready to perish! Let us bless God . . .
  for the eyes with which we behold the sun;
  for the health and strength to walk abroad;
  for the bread we eat;
  for the clothing we wear;
  for public and religious liberty;
  for friends and family associations; and
  for countless other comforts and blessings.

Let us praise Him, in fact, for everything which we receive from His bounteous hand; for we deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed.

But beloved, the sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming love! God's redeeming acts towards His chosen people, are forever the favorite themes of their praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our sonnets of thanksgiving.

We have been redeemed from the power of our corruptions, and uplifted from the depth of sin in which we were naturally plunged.

We have been led to the cross of Christ, and our shackles of guilt have been broken off.

We are no longer slaves of sin—but children of the living God.

We shall shortly be presented before the eternal throne without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

Shall we not unceasingly give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer?

Child of God, can you be silent?

Awake, awake, O inheritors of eternal glory, and cry out with David, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me—bless His holy name!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Spurgeon's choice excerpts on Hell

(Charles Spurgeon)

There never was anyone else so kind in heart as Jesus was—yet He clearly taught the dreadful truth that unrepentant sinners shall be punished in Hell forever!


Remember, you can be laughed into Hell—but you can never be laughed out of it!


In countries where leprosy prevails, they shut up the lepers in a place by themselves, lest the terrible disease should infect the whole district. Hell is God's leper colony where sinners must be confined forever when they are incurable and past hope!


There is no sleep in Hell. Oh, what a blessing it would be, if sleep could enter the habitation of the damned!


Men hate Hell, for the same reason that murderers hate the gallows!


To be almost saved—is to be altogether lost!
There are many in Hell who once were almost saved—but who are now altogether damned!


Better to go to Heaven alone, than to Hell with a herd!


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


Morality may keep you out of jail—but it takes the blood of Jesus Christ to keep you out of Hell.


There is a clean path to Hell as well as a dirty one.
You will be lost if you trust your good works—as surely if you trusted your sins!


Beware of those who say that there is no Hell—and that there are new ways to Heaven!


You are hanging over the mouth of Hell by a single thread—and that thread is breaking! Only a stopping of the heart for a single moment, and you will be in the eternal world—without God, without hope, without forgiveness!


Beloved, the eternal torment of men is no joy to God.


Scripture does not speak of the fire of Hell as chastening or remedial, or purifying—but as punishment which men shall receive for deeds done in the body. They are to be visited with many stripes, and receive just recompense for transgressions. What can there be about Hell fire to change a man's heart? Surely the more the lost will suffer, the more will they hate God.


There are two flaming jewels of Jehovah's crown which shall be solemnly seen in Hell—His wrath and His power.
"What if God, choosing to show His wrath and make His power known, bore with great patience the objects of His wrath, prepared for destruction?" Romans 9:22


I am not like yon flatterers who tell you that there is a little Hell and a little God, from which you naturally infer that you may live as you like. You will perish everlastingly if you believe them. There is a dreadful Hell—for there is an absolutely holy, just, and righteous God.


A man may as well descend to Hell being orthodox, as being heterodox. Alas, I suppose that no one is more orthodox than the devil—yet no one is more surely lost than he is!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Spurgeon's choice excerpts on Hell, part 2

(Charles Spurgeon)

The hell of Hell, is that it is to be forever.
The lost soul sees written over its head, "You are damned forever!"
It hears howlings that are to be perpetual.
It sees flames which are unquenchable.
It knows pains that are unmitigated.


Living in sin, is the root of living forever in Hell!


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


No books of persuasion are needed to urge the unsaved to rush onward to eternal ruin. They hurry to be lost—they are eager to be damned. There they go, streams of them, hurrying impatiently, rushing down to Hell and damnation—yes, eagerly panting and dashing against one another to descend to that awful gulf from which there is no return!


Hell is sin fully developed!


It is better to go weeping to Heaven—than to go laughing to Hell.


It ill befits a man who is on the brink of Hell—to be laughing and jesting.


As long as a man is alive and out of Hell—he cannot have any cause to complain.


Sin and Hell are forever married—unless repentance proclaims the divorce.


Can it be worthwhile to sin yourselves into Hell? Can there be any supposed pleasure which can ever compensate you for everlasting pain? If so, then choose the pleasures of sin for a season—but rest assured that for all these things, God will bring you into judgment!


Would it not be better to go to Heaven side by side with a poor old almshouse-woman, or a chimney-sweep, or a pauper from the workhouse—than to go to Hell with a king or a rich man?


The best of your good works are but a painted pageantry for your soul to go to Hell in!
You may as surely go down to the bottomless pit by the religious road—as by the way of the wicked.


Sin is the mother of death and the progenitor of Hell!


Without Christ you are an unpardoned sinner, a condemned sinner—and, before long you will be a sinner judged, sentenced and cast into Hell!


As long as Heaven shall shine—so long Hell shall burn! As long as saints are happy—so long shall those whose impenitence has made them castaways be wretched!


There are a thousand paths that lead to Hell—but only one that leads to Heaven!


A creature remaining at enmity against God must expect to dwell forever with the devils in Hell.
Where can it dwell, but where other rebels are confined in eternal chains?


I feel that if God would smite me now to the lowest Hell—I would only have what I justly deserve.


Oh, it is a crying sin that men will not only go to Hell alone—but they must drag their children with them!


Men are either going to Heaven or to Hell—and it is time that we came to close grips with them about this all-important matter!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Miscellaneous pithy gems

Affliction is good, but not pleasant.
Sin is pleasant, but not good.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

We are not sinners because we sin—we sin because we are sinners.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

We fear man so much, because we fear God so little.
It is only the fear of God, that can deliver us from the fear of man.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve—Heaven.
Mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve—Hell.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

We are:
 Sinners by nature.
 Sinners by birth.
 Sinners by choice.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Our sins will not keep us from Heaven, but our righteousness will!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

There never was anything of false doctrine brought into the church, but either it was by neglecting the Scripture, or by introducing something above the Scripture.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

The more purely God's Word is preached—the more deeply it pierces the heart.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

A man may as well fill a bag with wisdom, as the soul with the world.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Consider how foolish it is for the children of Heaven to go licking up the dust of this earth!
The woman's seed should not desire the food of the serpent!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Some are proud of what they are—others of what they are not.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

All men may be divided into two classes:
  the righteous, who know themselves to be sinners,
  lost sinners, who believe themselves to be righteous.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

A door that is almost shut, is open.
A man that is almost honest, is a thief.
A man that is almost saved, is altogether damned!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Pithy gems from Matthew Henry #2

(Matthew Henry)

Out of Christ, God is a consuming fire.
In
Christ, God is a reconciled Father.

~ ~ ~ ~

Our temptations, if not yielded to, are not sins; they are afflictions only.

~ ~ ~ ~

Sin is the sickness, disease and torment of the soul!
Christ came to take away sin, and so to heal the soul.

~ ~ ~ ~

A man may go idle to Hell—but he who will go to Heaven, must be diligent.

~ ~ ~ ~

It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at and press towards perfection in grace and holiness.

~ ~ ~ ~

Pride is a subtle sin—it creeps into our pious duties before we are aware!

~ ~ ~ ~

If God does not give His people what they ask for—it is because He knows they do not need it, and that it is not for their good.

~ ~ ~ ~

Even the richest of men are indebted to the mercy of God for their daily bread.

~ ~ ~ ~

We cannot alter the disposals of Providence, therefore we must humbly submit and resign ourselves to them.

~ ~ ~ ~

No guilt is so great, but there is a remedy in Christ's blood which atones for it.
No corruption is so strong, but there is a remedy in His grace which can subdue it.

~ ~ ~ ~

Those who are passing with Christ over the ocean of this world, must expect storms.

~ ~ ~ ~

The great intention of the blessed Jesus in the redemption He wrought, is to separate our hearts from sin.

~ ~ ~ ~

In the gospel there is a salve for every sore and a remedy for every malady.
There is no spiritual disease, but there is power in Christ for the cure of it!

    ~  ~  ~  ~


Pithy gems from Spurgeon #6

There is as much love in the blows of God's hand, as in the kisses of His mouth!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

As kings hold a model globe in their hands—so does the Lord in very deed hold the earth!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Whatever the secondary agent may be, the direct hand of the Lord is in every earthly calamity.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The floods of God's mercy ever rise above the mountains of our sins!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

There is no cordial of comfort, like that which is poured from the bottle of Scripture.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Pride lies at the root of all sin. If people were not arrogant, they would not be disobedient.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Justified people always long to be sanctified.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Hell itself is but sin fully developed!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The same lips which spoke us into existence, have spoken the laws by which we are to govern our existence.
 

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Those who fear God, need not fear anything else!