Grace Gems for SEPTEMBER, 2020

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Sin has robbed us of six jewels

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

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

Certainly the misery of man was very great, that man should need such redemption as this. Oh. what a breach had sin made between God and us, that the Son of God must come from Heaven to earth to suffer all this.

Oh sirs, mischievous sin has undone us. Sin has robbed everyone of six jewels, every one of which is of more worth than Heaven and earth. Would you know what jewels they are, which sin has robbed us of? I will tell you, and then you will agree that we were in a very miserable case indeed.

1. Sin robs us of the image of God. Was not this a precious jewel? I say, sin robbed us of the image of God, and drew the devil's picture in us.
  Malice is the devil's eye,
  oppression is the devil's hand,
  blasphemy is the devil's tongue,
  hypocrisy is the devil's cloven foot.

2. Sin robs us of our divine sonship, and makes us . . .
  slaves to the devil,
  slaves to sin,
  slaves to the world,
  slaves to ourselves.
This is another jewel we have lost.

3. Sin robs us of our friendship with God, and makes us . . .
  enemies to God,
  enemies to Christ,
  enemies to our own souls,
  enemies to all that is holy.

4. Sin robs us of our communion and fellowship with God, and makes us strangers and aliens to God.

5. Sin robs us of our rights and privileges of Heaven and heavenly things, and makes us children of wrath and heirs of Hell.

6. Sin robs us of our honor and glory, and makes us vile and miserable; as you may see in Isaiah 1:6, "There is no soundness in us, but only wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores."

Now sirs, put all this together, and then see whether or not we are miserable, and whether we needed a Savior to come and deliver us from this misery into which our souls were plunged.

Now here is our happiness, Christians: in Christ we have these jewels back again, which we lost in the old Adam.
The glorious image of God,
our divine sonship,
our friendship with God,
our fellowship with God,
our heavenly privileges,
our glory and honor,
we have regained all these by Jesus Christ!

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The Christian's interpreter

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(William Dyer, "The Strait Way to Heaven")

The Word of God is the Christian's rule—and the Spirit of God is the Christian's guide.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" 2 Timothy 3:16

"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes—He will guide you into all truth." John 16:13

Most people walk by false rules:
  1. Some walk by popular opinions.
  2. Some walk by worldly customs.
  3. Some walk by providence.
  4. Some walk by conscience.
  5. Some walk by their own reason.
  6. Some walk by other men's examples.
  7. Some walk by their own lusts.

But, oh! my dear friends, let me beseech you to walk by none of these false rules, but keep close to the Word and Spirit of God.

The Scripture is a rule outside of us—to show us where we must go.
The Spirit is a guide inside of us—to enable us to walk according to the direction of that Word.

The Word of God is a compass, by which we must direct our course.
The Spirit is the great pilot, who steers us in this course.

We have no eyes to see the Word, until the Spirit enlightens them.
We have no ears to hear the Word, until the Spirit opens them.
We have no hearts to obey the Word, until the Spirit bows and inclines them.

By the Word of God, we know the mind of the Spirit of God.
And by the efficacy of the Spirit, we feel the power of the Word.

The Word of God shows us the way.
And the Spirit of God leads us in that way which the Word points out.

The Spirit of God is able to expound the Word of God, and to make it plain to our understanding. The Holy Spirit is the Christian's interpreter; He gives the Scriptures, and He alone can reveal unto us the sense and meaning of the Scriptures.

The Word is God's counsel, to reveal the path in which we are to walk.
The Spirit is God's Counselor, who teaches us to walk in that path.

If God had not put His Spirit into our hearts, as well as His Word into our heads—we would never have arrived at the fair haven of peace.

The Scriptures reveal the very heart of God. God Almighty has, in the sacred Scriptures, as it were, manifested Himself; unfolded all His counsel to the creatures, as far as is necessary to be known for their direction and guidance to everlasting life.


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He makes all His subjects kings!

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

"He has made us kings and priests to our God." Revelation 5:10

The Lord Jesus infinitely excels all earthly kings, in that He makes all His subjects kings! He has a crown of glory for every subject. Oh, what a glorious King is this.

Oh sirs, it is better to be a poor member of Christ, than the head of a nation. Oh, how infinitely happy are all Christ's subjects. They are all kings, all heirs, all favorites, all sons.

Alas, where is there such a king to be found, who makes all His subjects kings?

There are many kings who undo their subjects, but Christ makes His subjects kings.

There are many kings who make their subjects beggars, but Christ makes His subjects kings.

There are many kings who put their subjects to death, but Christ died that His subjects might live.

There are many kings who give their subjects titles, but Christ gives all His subjects Heaven.

Now, beloved, here is the excellence of our King: He makes all His subjects kings and gives them all crowns of glory!

"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne!" Revelation 3:21

Jesus Christ is an ENTHRONED King! But, beloved, this is not all; Christ not only sits there Himself, but He has promised that all who overcome, shall sit down with Him upon His throne.

Now, I wonder where there is any king but Christ, who allows his subjects to sit upon his throne with him. Alas! this would be treason for a man to attempt it.

Oh, what a glorious King is Jesus. Every one of His poor subjects shall sit upon the throne with Him. One would think this very promise would draw the whole world after Christ. Oh, what great offers, and privileges, and honors Christ bestows upon all His poor followers. He not only makes them kings, but He brings them to sit upon His very throne with Him!

O believer, you say that it would be an honor indeed, if could you but look into heaven, and merely to see Christ sit upon His throne. But this honor have all His saints; yes, much more—He makes them all kings, and grants to them to sit down with Him upon His throne!


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I had fallen into the company of a raving madman or of some driveling idiot

(Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.

 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." Psalm 19:1-4


The existence of God can be clearly seen in nature. I do not need to open the Bible to learn that. It is enough that I open my eyes, and turn them on that great book of nature, where it stands legibly written, distinctly revealed in every page.

GOD!
That word may be read in the stars and on the face of the sun. It is . . .
  painted on every flower,
  traced on every leaf,
  engraved on every rock,
  whispered by the winds,
  sounded forth by the billows of the ocean, and
  may be heard by the dullest ear in the long rolling thunder.

I believe in the existence of a God, but not in the existence of an atheist; or that any man is so, who can be considered to be in his sound and sober senses.

What would we think of one who attempted to account for any other works of beauty and evident design—as the atheist professes to do for the works of God?
Here is a classic temple;
here stands a statue, designed with such taste and executed with such skill, that one almost expects the marble to leap from its pedestal;
here hangs a painting of some dead beloved one, so life-like as to move our tears;
here, in the Iliad, or Paradise Lost, is a noble poem, full of the grandest thoughts, and clothed in sublimest imagery;
here is a piece of most delicate, intricate, and ingenious mechanism.

Well, let a man seriously tell me that these were the work of chance.
Let him tell me, when I ask who made them, that nobody made them.
Let him tell me, that the arrangement of the letters in this poem, of the colors in that picture, and of the features in the statue—was a matter of mere chance.

How I would stare in astonishment at him and conclude without a moment's hesitation, that I had fallen into the company of a raving madman or of some driveling idiot.

Turning away from such atheistic ravings about the infinitely more glorious works of God; with what delight does reason listen, and with what readiness does she assent, and with what distinct and hearty voice does she echo the closing words of the Seraphim's hymn, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory." Isaiah 6:3

The stupendous fabric of creation, yon starry vault, this magnificent world, were the work of the hands by which, in love of you—Jesus hung, a mangled form, on the cross of Calvary!

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A wise, and most kind, as well as holy Providence

(Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)

"He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together." Colossians 1:17

God's work of providence is "His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing of all His creatures and all their actions."

Providence has no Sabbath. No night suspends it, and from its labors God never rests.

Our world is but an outlying corner of God's creation; bearing, perhaps, as small a proportion to the great universe, as a single grain bears to all the sands of the sea-shore, or one small quivering leaf to the foliage of a boundless forest.

Yet, even within this earth's narrow limits, how vast is the work of Providence! How soon is the mind lost in contemplating it! How great is that Being . . .
  whose hand paints every flower, and shapes every leaf;
  who forms every bud on every tree, and every infant in the darkness of the womb;
  who feeds each crawling worm with a parent's care,
  who watches like a mother over the insect that sleeps away the night in the bosom of a flower;
  who throws open the golden gates of day, and draws around a sleeping world the dusky curtains of the night;
  who measures out the drops of every shower, the whirling snow-flakes, and the sands of man's eventful life;
  who determines alike the fall of a sparrow, and the fate of a kingdom;
  who so overrules the tide of human fortunes, that whatever befalls him, come joy or sorrow, the believer says, "It is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him." 1 Samuel 3:18

"He holds all creation together." Wonderful words, as spoken of One who, some eighteen centuries ago, was a houseless wanderer, a pensioner on woman's charity, and frequently without a place where to lay His head! Yet how clearly do these words attest His dignity and divinity! In ascribing this great work of providence to Jesus Christ, my text calls you to render divine honor to Him.

In the hands that were once nailed to the cross, it places the scepter of universal empire!

On those blessed arms that, once thrown around a mother's neck, now tenderly enfold every child of God—it hangs the weight of worlds.
 
"He holds all creation together." Every object in nature is impressed with His footprints, and each new day repeats the wonders of creation. Yes, there is not a morning we open our eyes, but they meet a scene as astonishing as that which fixed the gaze of Adam when he awoke into existence. Nor is there an object, be it . . .
  pebble or pearl,
  weed or rose,
  the flower-spangled sward beneath or the star-spangled sky above,
  a worm or an angel,
  a drop of water or a boundless ocean,
in which intelligence may not discern, and piety may not adore, the providence of Him who assumed our nature that He might save our souls.

The comfort of God's redeemed people rests so much on the conviction . . .
  that the Lord Jesus reigns,
  that His hand rules every event,
  that a wise, and most kind, as well as holy Providence presides over our daily fortunes and all things besides.

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word." Hebrews 1:3

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Believer, what are you doing, going groaning through the world beneath a load of fears and cares?

(Thomas Guthrie, 1803-1873)

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:29-31

There is no such thing as chance. All the reins that guide and govern the world are gathered into the hands of Jesus.

His care of His people extends to the most common, minute, and apparently trivial matters—all are links in the golden chain of providence.

Divine Providence is a comforting doctrine, too precious to be parted with! Let the thought that Jesus . . .
  watches over all your affairs,
  and guards your welfare,
  and guides all your ways—
banish your every anxious care.

I do not say that you will never be disappointed, but certainly you ought never to be discontented. Many things in your circumstances may occasion anxious thought, but nothing should occasion or can excuse sinful repining.

Child of God! He has numbered the hairs of your head, as well as the stars of Heaven!

Believer, what are you doing, going groaning through the world beneath a load of fears and cares? What should discourage you? What should disturb your peace? What can ruffle the calm spirit of a man who knows that the hands which were once nailed to the tree for him, now hold the helm of his destiny? The blessed Savior, who by love's golden scepter reigns within his heart, holds sovereign sway over earth and Heaven; and . .
  by both bitter and sweet providences,
  by both coffins and cradles,
  by both disappointments and joys,
  by both losses and gains,
shall cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.

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Consider a few contrasts between them

(
Arthur Pink)

"The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" John 1:17

Law and grace are antithetical terms. Consider a few contrasts between them:

The Law manifests what is in man—sin.
Grace manifests what is in God—love and mercy.

The Law speaks of what man must do for God.
Grace tells of what Christ has done for men.

The Law demands righteousness from men.
Grace brings righteousness from God to men.

The Law brings God's justice to men.
Grace brings men to God's mercy.

The Law sentences a living man to death.
Grace brings a dead man to life.

The Law never had a missionary.
The Gospel is to be preached to every creature.

The Law makes known the will of God.
Grace reveals the heart of God.

Grace is the sinner's only hope. Unless we are saved by grace, we can never be saved at all.

Grace is God's provision for those who are . . .
  so corrupt that they cannot change their own natures;
  so averse to God that they cannot turn to Him;
  so blind that they cannot see Him;
  so deaf that they cannot hear Him;
  so dead in sin that He must open their graves and give them spiritual life, if ever they are to be saved.

Grace implies that the sinner's case is desperate, yet that God is merciful.

"You are not under law, but under grace." Romans 6:14

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Crucify your sins

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

"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Galatians 5:24

Crucify your sins
, which have crucified your Savior.

Did the rocks rent, when Christ died for our sins?
And shall not our hearts rent, who have lived in our sins?

Oh, that the nails which pierced His hands,
  should now pierce our hearts.

Oh, that they should wound themselves with their sorrows,
  who have wounded Christ with their sins.

Oh, that they who have grieved His heart,
  should be grieved in their hearts.

Oh, that I should be such a bad a child to Him,
  who has been such a good a Father to me.

My sins have been my greatest terror, and
  my Savior has been my choicest helper.

Oh, put sin to death, for sin was the cause of Christ's death.

If someone killed your father—would you hug him and embrace him as your friend, and let him eat at your table? Would you not rather hate and detest the very sight of him!

If a snake should sting your dearly beloved spouse to death—would you preserve it alive, warm it at the fire, and hug it in your bosom? Would you not rather stab it with a thousand wounds!

And were not our sins the cause and instrument of Christ's death? Were not they the whips that scourged Him; the nails, the cords, the spear, the thorns that wounded Him, and fetched the heart-blood from Him? And can we love our sins, which killed our Savior? Can a wife truly love her husband, and still embrace an adulterer?

We complain of the sins of Judas, and seem to hate them, and shudder at their mention. And can we love our Judas sins, which put Christ to death? And yet how many are there—who had rather have sinful-self satisfied, than to have sinful-self crucified.

Oh, sin is that mark at which all the arrows of Divine vengeance are shot!

Were it not for sin—death would never have had a beginning.
And were it not for death—sin would never have an ending.

Man began to be sorrowful, when he began to be sinful.
The wind of our lusts, blows out the candle of our lives.
If man had nothing to do with sin, death would have nothing to do with man.

Oh, did sin bring sorrow into the world?
Oh, then—let sorrow carry sin out of the world.

Of all evils—sin is the great evil. "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23

Oh, sin is worse than punishment, banishment and imprisonment.

Sin kills both body and soul:
  it throws the body into cold earth rotting,
  and the soul into the hot Hell burning!

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The most lovely Christian

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

"Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart." Matthew 11:29
Learn humility, from Christ's humility.

For lack of humility, some angels became devils.
Proud sinners are fit companions, for none but proud devils.

When men glory in their pride, God stains the pride of their glory. "The Lord Almighty planned it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to humble all who are renowned on the earth." Isaiah 23:9

The most lowly Christian, is the most lovely Christian.
A believer is like a vessel in the sea: the more it fills, the more it sinks.

None live so humble on earth, as those who live highest in Heaven. See how one of the best of saints looks upon himself as one of the least of saints, "Unto me who am less than the least of all saints," said the great Paul in Ephesians 3:8

The most holy men, are always the most lowly men.

Where humility is the corner-stone, there piety is the top-stone.

The coat of humility, should always be worn on the back of Christianity.
"Clothe yourselves with humility." 1 Peter 5:5

God Almighty has two houses in which He dwells: His city-house, and His country-house.
His city-house is the Heaven of heavens; and
His country-house is the humble and lowly heart.
Isaiah 57:15, "I dwell in the high and holy place," that is, in Heaven, God's city-house; "and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit," that is God's country-house.

Humility is a Bethel for God's dwelling-place.
Pride is a Babel for the devil's residence.

If you do not keep pride out of your soul, and your soul out of pride—pride will keep your soul out of Heaven.

I will not say, that a poor man is never proud, but I will say, that a proud man is never godly.
James 4:16, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
The face of piety, shines brightest through the mask of humility.

"Clothe yourselves with humility." Of all garments, humility best fits Christians and best adorns their profession.

A Christian should look with one eye upon God's grace, to keep him thankful;
and with the other eye upon himself, to keep him mournful.

When you begin to grow proud of your glistening feathers, look down upon your black feet.
[Dyer is here alluding to the fact that most white-feathered swans have black skin underneath. Hence we should not be proud of our outwardly pure appearance, while our hearts are desperately wicked.]

Revelation 4:10, "The twenty-four elders fall down before the throne, and cast down their crowns before Him who sits on the throne." The only way of keeping our crowns on our heads, is the casting them down at Christ's feet.

Alas, sirs, what are you proud of?
Are you proud . . .
  of your riches,
  of your honors,
  of your relations,
  of your beauty,
  of your strength?
Alas, alas! these are poor base things to boast in.
Oh, go to the graves of those who have died before you. Are not their bones scattered, their eyes rotted, their flesh consumed, their mouth corrupted. Where now are their ruddy lips, their lovely cheeks, their fluent tongue, their sparkling eyes, their flowing hair? Are they not all gone, as a dream!

And where will you be before long?

And will you be proud of these things?

"I hate pride and arrogance." Proverbs 8:13

"He is able to humble those who walk in pride." Daniel 4:37


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Think of the cross, the nails, the open wounds, the anguish of His soul

(Albert Barnes, 1798-1870)

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." 1 Peter 3:18

I entreat you to devote one solemn hour of thought to a crucified Savior—a Savior expiring in the bitterest agony.

Think of the cross, the nails, the open wounds, the anguish of His soul
.

Think how the Son of God became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that you might live in Heaven forever.

Think as you lie down upon your bed to rest, how your Savior was lifted up from the earth to die.

Think amid your plans and anticipations of future gaiety, what the redemption of your soul has cost, and how the dying Savior would wish you to act. His wounds plead that you will live for better things.

"He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness" 1 Peter 2:24

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Meditate upon DEATH

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

Meditate often on these four last things:
   Death, which is most certain.
   Judgment, which is most strict.
   Hell, which is most doleful.
   Heaven, which is most delightful.

Meditate upon DEATH
, which is most certain.
"It is appointed unto men once to die." Hebrews 9:27

Out of the dust was man formed;
into the dust shall man be turned.

To think of death, is a death to some men.

Oh sirs, meditate upon death.

Meditation on death, will put sin to death.

Death to the wicked, is the end of all comfort, and the beginning of all misery.
Death to the godly, is the outlet to sin and sorrow, and the inlet to peace and happiness.

The saints' enjoyment shall be incomparable,
when the sinners' torments shall be intolerable.

When a believer's soul goes out of his own bosom, it goes into Abraham's bosom.

When a saint dies, he leaves all his bad behind him, and carries his good with him.
When a sinner dies, he carries his bad with him, and leaves his good behind him.

The godly man goes from evil, to all good.
The wicked man goes from good, to all evil.

When a saint leaves the world, his soul returns to happiness and rest.
When a sinner leaves this world, his body goes to worms to be consumed, and his soul goes to flames to be tormented.

The saint goes to Abraham's bosom;
the sinner goes to Beelzebub's bosom.

The wheat goes to the barn;
the chaff goes to the fire.

Oh sirs, meditate upon death!

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Meditate upon JUDGMENT

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

Meditate often on these four last things:
   Death, which is most certain.
   Judgment, which is most strict.
   Hell, which is most doleful.
   Heaven, which is most delightful.

Meditate upon JUDGMENT
, which is most strict.

"We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ."

Those who will not come before His mercy-seat,
shall be forced to come before His judgment-seat.

Those who will not hear His Word, shall feel His Sword.

Those who are graceless in this day, will be speechless in that day.

At the world's end, such will be at their wits' end, to see:
  the earth flaming,
  the heavens melting,
  the stars falling,
  the graves opening,
  the judgment hastening,
  the sun and moon mourning,
  Christ and His angels coming.

He who comes to raise the dead,
will also come to judge the dead.

Oh sirs, the great day to great sinners will be a dreadful day, when they shall see Christ coming in the clouds:
  with great power and glory,
  crowned with dignity,
  enraged with anger, and
  attended with His angel reapers.
He will bring all kings and nobles, high and low, rich and poor, to His judgment bar. And there He will judge them, not by the whiteness of their faces, but by the blackness of their hearts. "He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity." Psalm 98:9

You who make no account of His coming,
how can you give an account at His coming?

Sirs, meditation on judgment, may make you judgment proof.

Those who now judge themselves in their own private sessions,
shall not be judged by Christ at His great white throne judgment.

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Meditate upon HELL

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

Meditate often on these four last things:
   Death, which is most certain.
   Judgment, which is most strict.
   Hell, which is most doleful.
   Heaven, which is most delightful.

Meditate upon HELL, which is most doleful.

Heaven is a place where all is joyful;
and Hell is a place where all is doleful.

In Heaven—there is nothing but happiness;
but in Hell—there is nothing but heaviness.

"The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God." Psalm 9:17
Mark, sirs—the wicked shall be turned into Hell.

Oh, dreadful place where . . .
 
the devil is the jailer,
 
Hell is the prison,
  damnation is the punishment,
  eternity is the duration,
  brimstone is the fire, and
  men and devils are the fuel.

To endure this will be intolerable;
and to avoid it will be impossible.

This is the day of God's long-suffering;
that will be the day of man's long-suffering.
There they will suffer:
  pain without ease,
  torment without end,
  sorrow without support,
  and misery without mercy.

Sirs, meditate upon Hell.

Oh, what hells are there in Hell! Hell is:
  the loss of God,
  the loss of Christ,
  the loss of all good.

Endless, ceaseless, and remediless torments must be their eternal portion!

Oh, that you would often think of Hell.

If once you drop into Hell—then after a thousand years:
  you will be as far from coming out of Hell,
  as you were at your first entrance into Hell.

There is only one way to KEEP a man out of Hell
—but there is no way to GET a man out of Hell.

In this world, the wheat and the chaff both grow together, but they shall not always both lie together.

In Hell, there shall not be a saint among those who are terrified.
In Heaven, there shall not be a sinner among those who are glorified.

The sea of damnation—shall never be sweetened with a drop of compassion!

Will you pity a person who is going to the gallows—and
will you not pity a person who is going to the bottomless pit?

What a dreadful visitation is that, where . . .
  the black horse of death goes before, and
  the red horse of wrath follows after!

Oh, that must needs be sad, when one death comes upon the back of another; when the second death comes upon the back of the first death.

A man's condition in this life may be honorable,
and yet his state in eternity may be damnable.

Poor Lazarus
goes to Heaven—
when rich Dives goes to Hell.

It is far better to go to Heaven poorly
—than it is to go to Hell richly.

Oh sirs, let us go to Hell by contemplation, that
we may never go to Hell by condemnation.

Oh sirs, meditate upon Hell!

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Meditate on HEAVEN

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

Meditate often on these four last things:
   Death, which is most certain.
   Judgment, which is most strict.
   Hell, which is most doleful.
   Heaven, which is most delightful.

Meditate on HEAVEN, which is most joyful.

"Then the King will say to those on His right: Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." Matthew 25:34

"Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord." Matthew 25:21

Heaven is a place where all joy is enjoyed.
In Heaven, there will be:
  mirth without sadness,
  light without darkness,
  sweetness without bitterness,
  life without death,
  rest without labor,
  plenty without poverty.
Oh, what joy enters into the believer—when the believer enters into the joy of his Lord.

Who would not . . .
  work for glory with the greatest diligence, and
  wait for glory with the greatest patience?

Oh, what glories are there in glory!
   Thrones of glory,
   crowns of glory,
   vessels of glory,
   a weight of glory,
   a kingdom of glory.

Here on earth—Christ puts His grace upon His spouse.
There in Heaven—He puts His glory upon His spouse.

In Heaven the crown is made for them, and
in Heaven the crown shall be worn by them.

In this life believers have some good things—but the rest and best are reserved for the life to come.

Oh sirs, meditate upon Heaven, for meditation on Heaven will make us heavenly.

Heaven is not only a possession promised by Christ
—but a possession purchased by Christ.

When our contemplations and minds are in Heaven—then we enjoy Heaven upon earth.
  To be IN Christ is Heaven below;
  to be WITH Him is Heaven above.

There cannot be a better thing for us, than for us to be with the best of beings.
"To me to live is Christ—and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

Let our condition now be ever so great—it is Hell without Christ.
let our condition now be ever so bad—it is Heaven with Christ.

"I had rather be in Hell with Christ—than in Heaven without Him." said Luther
Hell itself would be Heaven—if Christ was in it.
Heaven would be Hell—if Christ was out of it.

That which makes Heaven so full of joy, is that it is above all fear.
That which makes Hell so full of horror, is that it is beyond all hope.

The vessels of grace—shall swim in the ocean of glory.

We may talk of the greatness of our crowns—but we shall never know the weight of our crowns until they are set on our heads.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The way to happiness

(Thomas Guthrie, "Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints" 1858)

"Blessed (or happy) is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
 Blessed (or happy) is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him." Psalm 32:1-2

Our happiness depends in a very small degree upon what is external to us.
The springs of happiness lie deep within.

Yet, how common it is to think otherwise! Hence . . .
  the keen pursuit of pleasure,
  lovers' sighs,
  war's fierce ambition,
  the student's patient labor as he feeds his midnight lamp with the oil of life,
  the panting race for fleeting riches,
  the desperate struggles some make to keep themselves from sinking into poverty,
  and the toil and trouble others endure.

And to say nothing of the sins which these may alike commit, simply . . .
  to rise in the world, as it is called,
  to keep a better table,
  to wear a better dress,
  to live in a better house than satisfied their humble, but happier parents.

These paths, crowded and beaten down though they be by the feet of thousands who are treading on each other's heels—never yet conducted any man to happiness. Never! It lies in another direction. Whatever his condition is . . .
  poor, or rich;
  pining on a sick bed, or with health glowing on his cheek;
  to be married tomorrow, or to be hanged tomorrow;
"Blessed," or, as we would say, Happy, "is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sin is covered!"

The way to happiness does not lie in attempting to bring our circumstances up to our minds—but our minds down to our circumstances.

To indulge an unsanctified and insatiable ambition, to attempt to bring our circumstances up to our minds—is to fill a sieve with water, or the grave with dead, or the sea with rivers. The passions that in such a case seek gratification, are like that wretched drunkard's thirst—they burn the fiercer for indulgence, and crave for more the more they get. It is often difficult, I grant, to bring our minds down to our circumstances; but he attempts not a difficult thing, but an impossible thing, who attempts to bring his circumstances up to the height of his ambition.

As the old adage says:
"Nature is content with little,
 grace is content with less,
 lust is content with nothing."

May ours be the happiness of him who,
  content with less than little,
  pleased with whatever pleases the Father,
  anxious for nothing,
  thankful for anything,
  prayerful in everything;
can say with Paul, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:11-12

   ~  ~  ~  ~

It pleases God to send it, and whatever pleases Him pleases me

(Thomas Guthrie, "Christ and the Inheritance of the Saints" 1858)

"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!" Habakkuk 3:17-18


What should hinder him who sees God as his heavenly Father, and believes that all events proceed from His hand, and are managed by His wisdom, and are prompted by His love—from kissing the rod, and saying, "My Father, not my will, but may Your will be done." I say, what should hinder him from taking the agonizing cup and draining it to the bitterest dregs.

We have perfect confidence in God's wisdom and in His love. We only do Him the justice which we would expect from our own children, when we believe that He does not afflict us willingly, nor unnecessarily grieve His redeemed children, nor ever chastens us but in love.

His was a noble saying who, when his crops were rotting in flooded fields, and poverty stared at him from the scowling heavens, and other men cursed the weather; on being asked his reason for saying that it pleased him, replied, "It pleases God to send it, and whatever pleases Him pleases me." We are ready to envy a man whose faith could triumph over such great misfortunes.

Yet why should we not lie as calmly in the arms of God's providence, as we lay in infancy on our mother's bosom?

Having an ever-living, an ever-lasting, an ever-loving father in God—how may we welcome all of His providences!

Drawing some good from every evil, as the bee extracts honey even from poisoned flowers—how may we say, "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!"

Sweetly submissive to the will of God, shall it not fare with us as with the pliant reeds that fringe the margin of the lake, and bending to the blast, not resisting it—raise their heads anew, unharmed by the storm that has snapped the mountain pine, and rent the hearts of oaks asunder?

"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." Job 1:21

"Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" Job 2:10

"Even if He slays me, I will hope in Him" Job 13:15

"He is the Lord; let Him do what is good in His eyes." 1 Samuel 3:18

"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider:
 
God has made the one as well as the other."
Ecclesiastes 7:14

"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will." Matthew 26:39

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Oh the immensity of the gift!

(John Eadie, "The Love of God—its Objects, Gift, and Design" 1865)

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"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son." John 3:16

"For surely it is not angels He helps" Hebrews 2:16

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

If God loved this world—this world of fallen men, and not the world of fallen angels—then His love must be sovereign in its essence. For man was not the only sinful being in His dominions. Beings of higher nature, and having their position in Heaven itself, were mysteriously involved in the guilt and doom of apostasy, and expelled from their bright domain. And yet, though they dwelt in Heaven, they are not summoned back to it.
No pardon is offered to them;
no means of redemption are provided for them;
no mediator has taken on him the 'nature of angels,' in order to make atonement for them.
They are left to the endurance of eternal death and damnation—ever sinning, ever suffering; while pardon and restoration have been proclaimed to the human family—
  our weak and erring race,
  so nearly allied to the ground on which they tread,
  so proud in their debility, and
  so impious in their thraldom.

Would it not have been a more reasonable plan, so to speak—for God to have saved these lofty angelic exiles, and called them back to the Heaven in which they once lived, and for which they were created—than to select this distant and miserable world of ours; and, by an abnormal and mighty process, to purify and refine its wretched and earthy outcasts for a realm of existence to which they are strangers, and to which they would never have been able to penetrate?

The reasons inducing the Infinite Wisdom to make this sovereign choice to redeem man, and not the fallen angels—we may neither search nor discover. This preference of fallen man to fallen angels, as the recipients of divine love—can only be resolved into a mysterious exercise of divine sovereignty.

He has loved fallen men on earth—and not fallen angels in Hell.

Both
might have been punished with eternal penalty, and neither the one nor the other could have complained of the justice of its doom.

On the other hand, both might have been forgiven and redeemed—and both would have equally felt its salvation due to Jehovah's tender pity.

Nay, though fallen angels in Hell had been redeemed—and all the fallen men on earth had been left in their sin; though only the demons, the first transgressors, had been saved, and brought again to the solemn Presence before which they once bowed, the bright myriads with which they once mixed, and the hallelujahs which they once choired—while this sinful world of ours was left to pine and groan hopeless and helpless—(one shudders to contemplate this dreadful alternative)—who would have dared to impeach the God of grace, who has the right to give as He pleases—where none have any claim on His bounty.

But, O let His name be extolled—earth has not been passed over; it has been selected in His sovereign regard. Ay, God so loved the WORLD.

But the fervor and mightiness of this love arrests our attention: "God SO loved the world"—loved it with such ardor and indescribable generosity; loved it SO—that He gave His only-begotten Son. Oh the immensity of the gift! A divine gift from a divine Giver. The grandeur of His love may be seen in its results. If you can measure the gift—you may gauge the depth of the love which bestowed it.

Thus have we considered the amazing fact, that God has loved this guilty, rebellious and insignificant world—and selected it to be the object of His tender mercy. Nay, that He has SO loved it, as to make provision for its deliverance in the gift of His Son—that bright and matchless display of His loving-kindness.

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10

 
   ~  ~  ~  ~

The name of the LORD is a strong tower!

(Ralph Erskine, 1685-1752)

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"The name of the LORD is a strong tower!
 A righteous person runs to it and is safe!" Proverbs 18:10

Jesus has a name suiting every want, every need.

Do you need wonders to be wrought for you?
His name is Wonderful; look to Him so to do, for His name's sake.

Do you need counsel and direction?
His name is the Counselor; cast yourself on Him and His mighty name for this.

Have you mighty enemies to engage?
His name is the Mighty God. Seek that He may exert His power for His name's sake.

Do you need His fatherly pity?
His name is the everlasting Father; as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him. Plead His pity, for His name's sake.

Do you need peace—external, internal, or eternal?
His name is the Prince of Peace. Seek for His name's sake, that He may create peace.

O sirs, His name is Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord, the healer and physician.
Seek, for His name's sake, that He may heal all your soul diseases.

Do you need pardon? His name is Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness.
Seek for His name's sake, that He may be merciful to your unrighteousness.

Do you need defense and protection? His name is Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord your banner.
Seek, for His name's sake, that His banner of love and grace may be spread over you.

Do you need provision in extreme want? His name is Jehovah-Jireh, in the mount to the Lord it shall be seen, the Lord will provide.

Do you need His presence? His name is Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord is there; Immanuel, God with us. Look to Him to be with you, for His name's sake.

Do you need an audience of prayer?
His name is the Hearer of Prayer.

Do you need strength?
His name is the Strength of Israel.

Do you need comfort?
His name is the Consolation of Israel.

Sit down and ponder your wants and needs, and you will find He has a name suitable for your supply; He has . . .
  all wisdom to guide you,
  all power to keep you,
  all mercy to pity you,
  all holiness to sanctify you,
  all righteousness to justify you,
  all grace to adorn you,
  and all glory to crown you!

    ~  ~  ~  ~
 

All the afflictions of God's people

(John Fawcett, "Christ Precious")

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"We also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope." Romans 5:3-4

The chastisements of Christ are precious to those who believe. The believer's love to Jesus Christ, not only continues under the rod of correction—but is quickened and increased by it! Thus it is distinguished from that pretended love, which exists only in times of prosperity. The afflicted Christian is enabled to consider that whom the Lord loves, He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives; and that He only afflicts us for our profit—to make us partakers of His holiness.

The Lord can so manifest Himself to His afflicted people, that the season of affliction shall be to them a season of great consolation. He is to them—a fountain of life, of strength, of grace and comfort in the afflictive hour; and of His fullness they receive, as their necessities require. The Lord Jesus Christ is a sun to enlighten and cheer His afflicted followers, and a shield to defend them. He is a hiding-place from the storm, a covert from the tempest, and as the shadow of a great rock in a dry and weary land.

All the afflictions of God's people are designed, under His gracious management—to test, to make manifest, and to exercise, those graces and virtues which He has implanted in them. Though afflictions in themselves are not joyous but grievous, nevertheless they yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness in those who are exercised thereby.

Afflictions serve to quicken the spirit of devotion in us; and to rouse us from that formality and indifference which frequently attend a long course of ease and prosperity. We are constrained to seek God with sincerity and fervor, when His chastening hand is upon us—since we then feel our absolute need of that help and deliverance, which He alone can give us.

When the loss of any temporal enjoyment casts us into excessive despondency and dejection—it is evident that what we have lost, was the object of our inordinate love. The most innocent attachments cease to be innocent, when they press too strongly upon us! To cleave to any created object, and to look for happiness from it—is to make an idol of it, and to set it up in God's place. Should this object be a friend, a brother, a wife, or a child—the idolatry is still odious in the eyes of that God to whom we owe our chief affection. Our warmest passions, our most fervent love, desires, hopes and confidences—should always have God for their object. It is His desire that our happiness should not center in any of the good things of this life.

Losses and disappointments—are the trials of our faith, our patience, and our obedience. When we are in the midst of prosperity it is difficult to know whether we have a love for the Benefactor—or only for His benefits. It is in the midst of adversity, that our piety is put to the trial.

Afflictions serve most effectually . . .
  to convince us of the vanity of all that this world can afford
  to remind us that this is not our rest, and
  to stir up desires and hopes for our everlasting home.

They produce in us a spirit of sympathy towards our companions in tribulation. They give occasion for the exercise of patience, meekness, submission, and resignation. Were it not for the wholesome and necessary discipline of affliction—these excellent virtues would lie dormant. Afflictions serve to convince us more deeply of our own weakness and insufficiency—and to endear the person, the grace, the promises, and the salvation of our Redeemer, more and more to our hearts. Thus we are taught to esteem His very chastisements as precious—on account of the benefits we derive from them.

Afflictions are not to punish—but to purify the believing soul. They are not in wrath—but in mercy. Amidst the distresses and miseries of life—it is a felicity to belong to Christ, without whose permission and appointment, no evil can befall us! He always sends afflictions for our good; and knows by experience, what it is to suffer them. His kind hand will speedily put an end to all the pains we feel—when we have derived from them all the good which He intends to do for us, by them.

How many, how suitable, how sovereign are the supports our heavenly Father affords to His afflicted children! They make the affliction, which in itself would seem heavy and tedious—appear to be light, and but for a moment. It is happier to be in the furnace of affliction with these supports, than to be in the highest prosperity without them! Blessed with the hopes and comforts of Christ, the true Christian would prefer the lot of Lazarus, with all the poverty and distress which he endured—to the lot of the rich man, who, amidst all the splendor and affluence which this world could afford, lived a life of alienation from God, and destitute of the sovereign supports which can only be enjoyed by those who love and fear Him.

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Communion with Jesus

(John Fawcett, "Christ Precious")

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"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe." 1 Peter 2:7

Christ is precious to those who believe. They desire to have more and more daily acquaintance with Him, and to grow in the sweet and powerful experience of communion with Him. Let us suppose the true Christian, in his retired moments, addressing God in such manner as the following:

"You O God are . . .
  unchangeable in Your nature,
  glorious in Your essence,
  wonderful in Your perfections,
  wise in Your counsels,
  and holy in all Your works.
It is my greatest good and highest happiness, to enjoy Your favor and to behold Your glory. Permit me to say, with Your servant Moses, 'I beseech You, show me Your glory!' Show me the glory of Your wisdom, Your holiness, Your power, Your grace, and Your mercy in Christ Jesus. This will give me a distaste for the gaudy vanities of the present world. I shall then look with indifference on all that after which the covetous are eagerly panting. I shall then pity the ambitious, in their restless solicitude to make themselves great, and to obtain the veneration of their fellow worms. Your Divine beauty and infinite loveliness, as displayed in the glorious Mediator will . . .
  captivate my desires,
  inflame my love, and
  excite my joy and delight!

"A more intimate view of Your holiness will embitter every sin; and lead me in deepest humiliation, to abhor myself and repent as in dust and ashes. Give me such a sense of Your majesty, as may dispose my heart to reverence You supremely. Afford me such discoveries of Your omnipotence, Your love, and Your goodness, as may support my fainting heart under the toils of this warfare, and all the afflictions attending this state of mortality. Let the impressions which Your adorable perfections make upon me be deep and powerful, so as to transform my soul into Your own lovely and holy likeness. Thus by beholding Your glory, may I be changed into Your image.

"It is habitual, and not transient communion with Jesus, the Lord of glory—which alone will satisfy my desires, and produce those happy effects which I seek, of nearer conformity to Him in knowledge, righteousness and true holiness. Communion with Christ will tend to . . .
  refine my understanding,
  rectify my soul,
  and purify my heart!

"Grant me, O Author of all good, by frequent converse with You, to have my affections spiritualized, that I may look with indifference on all other objects; and have my mind set on things above, not on earthly things. In fellowship with You, I shall find a source of delights infinitely superior to anything that this world can afford. For Your loving-kindness is better than life itself. You are the inexhaustible treasury of blessedness. O Lord God Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in You."

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Trace the steps of His lovely feet

(John Fawcett, "Christ Precious")

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"Leaving you an example so that you should follow in His steps." 1 Peter 2:21

"He who says he abides in Him, should
 walk just as He walked
." 1 John 2:6

We see, in our Divine Leader, the several precepts of God's Word drawn out in living characters. We behold them reduced to practice, and represented to the life—in the whole of His conduct towards God and man. We see one in our nature, amidst all the assaults of temptation, amidst all the opposition which malignity could invent, and all the allurements of this glittering world—behaving in a manner exactly agreeable to the dictates of the Divine law, and leaving us an example that we should follow His steps.

Surely it must be delightful, not only to contemplate His character—but to the utmost of our power to imitate the most perfect pattern which was ever exhibited. It must be desirable, by constant and strenuous exertions, according to our measure, to endeavor to trace the steps of His lovely feet.

It is impossible to contemplate the character of Jesus, with serious and devout attention—and not be charmed with it. We see in Him, all the human virtues in the highest perfection. His joys were grave, his griefs were just; his gentleness and his severity, his holiness and his humanity—were in perfect harmony with each other. He manifested great tenderness, and genuine affection, and sensibility to human woe—on all occasions.

As He did no sin—so, on the other hand, every shining virtue was exemplified in Him to highest degree.
His humility and meekness;
His contempt of the world;
His heavenly temper;
His love to the Father, and zeal for His honor;
His activity and diligence in doing good;
His submission to the Father's will;
His patience amidst the heaviest and severest sufferings;
His constancy in the exercises of retired devotion; and
His praying for His enemies who spilt His blood
—can never be sufficiently admired.

When you are tempted to any vanity—set the blessed Redeemer before you, consider His example, and ask yourself, "How would Jesus, my Lord and Master, have acted in such a case? Would He have spent His time upon such trifles? Would He have spoken such and such; or done this or the other thing, which I am solicited to do? And shall I give way to that which would be a manifest deviation from His example? God forbid!"

O Christians, fix your eyes intensely on the great exemplar! Thus you will, through Divine grace, daily grow in love with meekness, patience, and lowliness of heart.

The more I contemplate His lovely character while He sojourned on earth—the more I am delighted with it. To have the same mind in me which was in Christ Jesus, and to tread in His steps—should be my constant aim. Those who are received by Him to the possession of everlasting felicity in Heaven—have humbly traced His footsteps upon earth. Of them it is said, "These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes!" They are forevermore led by Him, even in the celestial world—to the enjoyment of ever-new delights and pleasures!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

An inexhaustible fullness

(John Fawcett, "Christ Precious")

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"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe." 1 Peter 2:7

Christian! Jesus is your Savior, your Friend, and your Portion.

You are guilty—His blood cleanses from all sin.
You are miserable—He is rich in mercy.
You are helpless—He is mighty to save.
You are impoverished—His riches are unsearchable.

His treasures of grace are inexhaustible! There is an inexhaustible fullness in Him, answerable to all your necessities—be they ever so many, or ever so great. He is the ever-flowing, the over-flowing fountain of living waters. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. It has pleased the Father, that in Him all fullness should dwell. Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness. His kindness and mercy are unbounded.

If the kindness of men has a tendency to win your hearts—how much more should the infinite love of Jesus constrain you to love Him! He is precious in . . .
  the glorious perfections of His person,
  His transcendent worth, and
  His all-surpassing excellency.
Surely then, it is reasonable, it is highly proper that He should be the chief object of your love!

All that is excellent, all that is desirable, all that is comforting—is concentrated in Him. He is fairer than the children of men, the chief among ten thousands, and altogether lovely! O how unspeakably—how infinitely precious! "Yes, He is very precious to you who believe." 1 Peter 2:7

Love to Jesus is maintained and continued in its warmth and fervor, by frequent meditation on . . .
  His adorable person,
  His dying love, and
  His infinite excellence and preciousness.
If we lose sight of Him as the spring of all our happiness, and of His ineffable glories—the fervency of our love for Him will be abated.

If Jesus Christ is so superlatively precious in Himself, we have reason to be ashamed that we love Him no more. Alas! how languid are our affections towards Him who is altogether lovely—and how easily are our hearts captivated with vanities and trifles! This is matter of deep humiliation, grief and sorrow.


    ~  ~  ~  ~

Our continual and absolute need of Christ

(John Fawcett, "Christ Precious")

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"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe." 1 Peter 2:7

The sense we have of our continual and absolute need of Christ, has a tendency to engage our affections to Him. At our first conversion, when we were turned from darkness to light . . .
  we saw ourselves lost, and that none but Christ could save us;
  we felt the wounds of a guilty conscience, and we knew that He alone could heal them;
  we trembled before the offended Majesty of God, and we were persuaded that He alone could deliver us from the wrath to come;
  we saw that there was no remission of sin, no reconciliation with God, no salvation—but through Jesus.
Hence He became, at that period—all in all to us.

We still see the absolute necessity of this precious Savior in every respect, so that without Him we can do nothing, as He Himself has told us. We have need of Him . . .
  when we are dark—to enlighten us;
  when we are dull and lifeless—to quicken us;
  when we are weak—to strengthen us;
  when we are tempted—to support us;
  when we have fallen—to raise and restore us;
  when we are disquieted with fears—to encourage us;
  when we are full of doubts and perplexity—to comfort us and give us peace;
  when we are staggering at the promises through unbelief—to increase our faith.
As none but Christ can do these things for us—He must be precious to our souls.
"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe." 1 Peter 2:7

If Jesus Christ is precious to us, the bent of our souls will be towards Him. We shall choose Him above and beyond every other object, as our most desirable portion, and exceeding great reward.

If anything in this world is chosen by us as our chief good—our hearts will run out in strongest affections towards it. We shall look for our felicity in that object, be it what it may; that object therefore, and not Christ, will be most precious unto us.

If our regard for the Redeemer is supreme, as it ought to be—our whole hearts will go out after Him in the most intense longings, and with the most ardent desires. The heart of a believer is restless, until it obtains . . .
  a solid hope and persuasion of Christ's love,
  a growing conformity to Him,
  and sincere delight in Him.
The soul rests and acquiesces in Him alone, and is not happy without the enjoyment of some tokens of His love. The language of such a one is, "If I have Christ for my friend, and my everlasting portion—I have all! When His face is hidden, and His comforts withdrawn, I seek Him with restless desire, and often cry—O that I knew where I might find Him!"

"Reign, blessed Jesus, in my heart—reign supreme, and without a rival. I would sincerely love You above all things in heaven or earth. I see that You are infinitely glorious in Yourself, and worthy of my highest esteem and love. You are the only all-sufficient good—the overflowing spring of grace and blessedness. All things beneath and besides You—are vanity and emptiness. In comparison with You, they are less than nothing. You have drawn my heart towards Yourself, and made me willing to make choice of You as my Savior and my Portion. I would renounce all that the world calls good or great, that I may be entirely Yours. Be my everlasting inheritance, and I shall desire nothing that the whole world can bestow. Whom have I in heaven but You? There is nothing on earth that I desire in comparison of You! What can the present world afford, to tempt me to relinquish You? I would therefore bid 'adieu' to the gaudy pomps and empty vanities of life—and give my heart supremely to You. O may all the alluring trifles and vain delights of this world stand aloof from my heart—for I have devoted it to my Redeemer for His habitation. Keep your distance O captivating delusions, from the gates of my heart, where You alone should dwell. There may You reign alone, over all my desires forever!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Supremely precious

(John Fawcett, "Christ Precious")

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"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe." 1 Peter 2:7

If Christ is truly precious to us, we shall prefer Him above every other object; He will have the chief place in our affections. The love which a Christian has to his Savior penetrates and possesses his heart. This distinguishes it from the pretended love of hypocrites, which is only in word, or in some external actions, while their hearts are full of sinful self-love; so that it may be said of them, "This people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me."

We may possibly delight in some objects of an inferior nature, as they contribute to our health, our ease, or our comfort. Our homes, our food, and our other temporal enjoyments are dear to us, because they minister to our comfort and convenience in the present life. But true love for Christ does not allow any other object to hold the chief place in the heart. This chief place is for Jesus, whom we ought to love with supreme ardor. The choicest affections of our souls ought to be supremely fixed upon Him.

As it is impossible for any man to love an unknown object—so it cannot be expected that Christ should be supremely precious unto us, unless we know Him to be excellent and desirable, beyond whatever may be compared with Him. We shall not esteem Him above all things, if we have not elevated views of His transcendent worth. Our esteem of Him rises in proportion to the knowledge we have of Him. Godly men therefore ardently desire to increase in the knowledge of Him, that their affections may be more intensely fixed upon Him.

That love, which has but created things for its object, is degrading to the soul. It is a cleaving to that which can neither give happiness to our souls, nor repose to our minds. For to love any object ardently, is to seek our felicity in it and to expect that it will answer our desires. It is to call upon it to fill that deep void which we feel in ourselves, and to imagine that it is capable of giving us the satisfaction we seek. It is to regard it as . . .
  the resource of all our needs,
  the remedy of all the troubles which oppress us,
  and the source of all our happiness.
Now, as it is God alone in whom we can find all these advantages—it is a debasing of the soul, it is idolatry to seek them in created objects! "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ!" Philippians 3:8

If Christ is truly precious to us—we shall be induced to devote our souls and our bodies, our talents, our abilities and our faculties—as a living sacrifice to Him. To contemplate His adorable perfections will be our highest joy. We shall be ready to obey Him, in opposition to all the threats and the solicitations of men. We shall rely upon Him, though all outward appearances seem to be against us. We shall rejoice in Him, though we have nothing else to comfort us. If we enjoy health and plenty, friends and reputation—the Lord is still the object of our earnest desires and our supreme delight.

"Whom have I in Heaven but You? There is none upon earth that I desire besides You! As the deer pants for the water-brooks, so longs my soul after You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God!"

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My unstable soul

(John Fawcett, "Christ Precious")

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"O Lord, pardon my iniquity—for it is great." Psalm 25:11

If men have no inward grief on account of their ingratitude to a dying Savior—it indicates a lack of love to Him, and that they have not a just sense of the evil and malignity of their sin.

To think of the love of Jesus to my poor soul—manifested in . . .
  His sorrows,
  His sufferings,
  His agonies, and
  the shedding of His precious blood
—pierces my heart, and makes me loathe myself in my own sight. While I look to Him upon the cross whom I have pierced by my sins—surely I ought to mourn and be in bitterness, as one who mourns for the death of his first-born. Shall not I shed tears of grief for those sins, for which my Redeemer shed His precious blood.

"Blessed Jesus, how cold, how feeble, how languid is my love to You—the altogether lovely One. Alas, how readily are my fluctuating passions captivated by worldly things. O, let me not live so estranged from You. Warm my cold and frozen heart—and kindle in my bosom, a flame of holy fervor towards You."

At some seasons, the believer's mind is so oppressed with a sense of his own vileness—that he is ready to sink into despondency. In his retired moments, he pours out his complaints in such language as this:

"The clogs of guilt, and the clouds of darkness hang heavy on my soul. What language can express the depth of my distress on account of my sin? A sense of the vilest ingratitude to the best of Beings—stings my heart, and deprives me of comfort. What returns have I made for the abundant divine favors which I have received? I cannot bear the sight of my own vileness! I abhor myself, and repent as in dust and ashes. My life has been marked with repeated instances of ingratitude to Him who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, whom I desire to love and to obey with my whole heart. My unstable soul has been perpetually departing from God, inclining to folly, and verging towards that which is evil. This, this is wretchedness indeed. For this I condemn myself almost without ceasing. My spirits droop, my heart desponds, my soul is disquieted within me. O Lord, be merciful to me, pardon my iniquity—for it is great.

"Lord, I abhor myself on account of the defilement which cleaves unto me. Behold I am vile! I will lay my hand upon my mouth and put my face in the dust. I have experienced a thousand proofs of Your goodness—the remembrance of which fills me with shame, because of my ingratitude. The height of my folly lies in having so often sinned against Your infinite goodness and love. I have abused Your kindness, and affronted Your mercy. O Lord, I beseech You, pardon my iniquity—for it is great."

Such exercises of mind as these, strongly indicate the sincerity of our love for the divine Savior.

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I choose to suffer Your wrath in their place

(John Flavel, 1628-1691)

"He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight." Ephesians 1:4

"His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." Ephesians 3:11

"Who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time" 2 Timothy 1:9

"He was chosen before the creation of the world" 1 Peter 1:20

"The blood of the eternal covenant" Hebrews 13:20

We may thus suppose the Father dialoging with His Son in the eternal covenant:

FATHER: "My son, here is a company of poor miserable souls who have utterly undone themselves, and now lie open to My justice! Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in their eternal ruin. What shall be done for these wretched souls?"

SON: "O my Father, such is My love to, and pity for them, that rather than they shall perish eternally, I will be responsible for them as their Surety. I choose to suffer Your wrath in their place, than they should suffer it. Upon Me, My Father, upon Me be all their sin."

FATHER: "But, my Son, if You undertake for them, You must reckon to pay the last mite, expect no abatements. If I spare them, I will not spare You."

SON: "Father, let it be so. Charge it all upon Me, I am able to discharge it. Though it impoverishes all My riches and empties all My treasures, yet I am content to undertake it."

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich!" 2 Corinthians 8:9

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Had I a thousand lives, a thousand souls

(John Fawcett, "Christ Precious")

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"My meditation of Him shall be sweet!" Psalm 104:34

It is the tendency of love, to excite in the mind many thoughts about the beloved object. A right knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, will fill the mind with thoughts and meditations concerning Him, so as to excite the affections to cleave to Him with delight. A discovery . . .
  of the glory of His person,
  of the perfection of His atoning sacrifice,
  and of the fullness of His grace,
must inspire the heart with love to Him.
"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe." 1 Peter 2:7

It is much to be lamented, that those who profess a sincere attachment to the Redeemer, should have their thoughts so little employed about Him. Where a multitude of worldly cares, desires, fears and hopes prevail in the mind—they cumber and perplex it so as to bring on a great disinclination to spiritual meditation.

The advice of the apostle Paul is of great importance in this case, "If you then are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your affection (your mind, your thoughts,) on things above, not on things on the earth." But earthly and sensual affections fill the hearts and heads of men with multitudes of thoughts concerning those objects on which they are fixed, so as to leave no room nor any inclination for spiritual and heavenly thoughts.

"Shall not my thoughts," says the believer, "be frequently employed in meditating on the love of that infinitely glorious person to whom I am indebted for deliverance from the greatest misery, and for all the hope I have of being one day advanced to everlasting glory and felicity? He poured out His holy soul in agonies under the curse of the avenging law, to make me a partaker of eternal blessedness! He perfectly fulfilled the precepts of that holy law—that I, by His obedience, might be made righteous."

This glorious and adorable Redeemer, thought upon us long before the foundations of the world were laid. He bore us on His heart . . .
  when He hung on the cross;
  when He was torn with wounds, and racked with pain;
  when He poured out His dying groans, and spilt His blood.
He remembers us now, when He is exalted at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; and will never, never forget us, through all the ages of eternity!

Surely, then, we ought to think of Him!
Impressed with a sense of His everlasting kindness, we should be ready to say, as the captives in Babylon concerning their beloved city Jerusalem, "If I forget You, O blessed Jesus, let my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to remember You, if I don't make You my highest joy!"

What holy transports of soul, what divine delights, have many Christians experienced in meditating on the glories of the Redeemer! Ascending the mount of contemplation, their souls have taken wing and explored the height and depth, the length and breadth of the love of Christ which passes knowledge! They have seen by the eye of faith, that He is infinitely lovely in Himself, that He is . . .
 the admiration of angels,
 the darling of Heaven, and
 the delight of the Father!
They have viewed Him in the brightness of His ineffable glory, clothed with indescribable majesty and honor! They have been transported with the smiles of His countenance, and said of Him, "He is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely."

They have also considered their own unworthiness, and said, "Can such a wretch as I be the object of His love? So vile a worm, so unprofitable a creature, so great a sinner, one so deserving of his everlasting abhorrence—has He loved me, so as to give Himself for me? O what marvelous kindness is this!

Is my worthless name written in His book of life? Am I . . .
  redeemed by His blood,
  renewed by His Spirit,
  beautified with His loveliness,
  and clothed in His righteousness?

O wonder of wonders! How can I forbear to love this adorable Savior? Can I withhold my choicest affections from Him? Ah no! Had I a thousand lives, a thousand souls—they would all be devoted to Him!

You tempting vanities of this base world, you flattering honors, you deceitful riches,  Adieu! Jesus is my all! He is my light, my life, my unfailing treasure, my everlasting portion! Nothing below the skies is deserving of my love. Precious Redeemer, in You the boundless wishes of my soul are filled. I long to leave this tenement of clay, and to rest in the bosom of Your love forever!"

"My meditation of Him shall be sweet!" Psalm 104:34