Grace Gems for February 2021

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The mariner's chart as he sails the sea of life!

(Arthur Pink LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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The Bible is a book which calls not so much for the exertion of our intellect—as it does for the exercise of our affections, conscience and will. God has given His Word to us not for our entertainment, but for our education—to make known what He requires from us. It is to be . . .
  the traveler's guide as he journeys through the maze of this world,
  and the mariner's chart as he sails the sea of life.

Therefore, whenever we open the Bible, the all-important consideration for each of us to keep before him is: "What is here for me today? What bearing does the passage now before me have upon my present case and circumstances—what warning, what encouragement, what information? What instruction is there . . .
  to direct me in the management of my business,
  to guide me in the ordering of my domestic and social affairs,
  to promote a closer walking with God?"

I should see myself addressed in every precept—and included in every promise.

But it is greatly to be feared that, through failure to appropriate God's Word unto our own case and circumstances—there is much Bible reading and study which is of little or no real benefit to the soul.

Nothing else will . . .
  secure us from the pollutions of this world,
  deliver from the temptations of Satan, and
  be so effectual a preservative from sin—
as the Word of God received into our affections. "The law of his God is in his heart—none of his steps shall slide" (Psalm 37:31) can only be said of the one who has made personal appropriation of the Word, and is able to say with the Psalmist, "Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (119:11).

Just so long as the Word is . . .
  actually working in us,
  influencing us in a practical way,
  loved and revered by us,
  and stirs the conscience—
are we kept from falling into open sin!

And only as we personally go out and daily gather our portion of manna, and feed upon the same—will there be strength provided for the performing of duty and the bringing forth of fruit to the glory of God.

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Jellyfish Christianity

(J.C. Ryle, "The Importance of Dogma" 1900)

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Eighteen centuries ago the apostle Paul forewarned us,
"The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear!" 2 Timothy 4:3

The natural man hates the Gospel and all its distinctive doctrines, and delights in any vain excuse for refusing it.

The plain truth is, that the root of the whole evil lies in the fallen nature of man, and his deeply-seated unbelief in God's infallible Word. I suspect we have no idea how little saving faith there is on earth, and how few people entirely believe Bible truths.

One man is proud—he dislikes the distinctive doctrines of Christianity, because they leave him no room to boast.

Another is lazy and indolent—he dislikes distinctive doctrine, because it summons him to troublesome thought, and self-inquiry, and mental self-exertion.

Another is grossly ignorant—he imagines that all distinctive doctrine is a mere matter of words and names, and that it does not matter a jot what we believe.

Another is thoroughly worldly—he shrinks from distinctive doctrine, because it condemns his darling world.

But in one form or another, I am satisfied that "original sin" is the cause of all the mischief. And the whole result is, that vast numbers of men greedily swallow down the seemingly new idea that doctrine is of no great importance. It supplies a convenient excuse for their sins.

The consequences of this widespread dislike to doctrine are very serious in the present day. Whether we like to allow it or not, it is an epidemic which is doing great harm. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a jellyfish Christianity in the churches—that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power.

A jellyfish, as everyone knows who has been much by the sea-side, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little, delicate, transparent umbrella. Yet the same jellyfish, when cast on the shore—is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation.

Alas! It is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, "No dogma, no distinct tenets, no positive doctrine."

We have hundreds of jellyfish clergymen, who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity. They have no definite opinions—they belong to no school or party. They are so afraid of "extreme views"—that they have no views at all.

We have thousands of jellyfish sermons preached every year—sermons without an edge or a point. They are as smooth as billiard balls—awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint.

We have legions of jellyfish young men annually turned out from our seminaries, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion, and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what Christian truth is. Their proud hearts are not satisfied with truths which satisfied the godly of former years. Their only creed is a kind of "Anythingism." They believe everything—and are sure and positive about nothing!

And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of jellyfish worshipers—respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than color-blind people can distinguish colors!
They think that . . .
   everybody is right—and nobody
is wrong,
   everything
is true—and nothing is false,
   all sermons are good—and none
are bad,
   every minister
is sound—and none are unsound.
They are "tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine!" They are often carried away by any new excitement and sensational movement. They are ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old Scripture truths.


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Who does He think He is?

(Frank Hall)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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"Is it not lawful for Me to do what I wish with what is My own?" Matthew 20:15

How dare people walk their pets on leashes to control them!
How dare parents force their children to obey their rules!
How dare employers insist that their employees do their jobs!
How dare governors rule over the people!
How dare policemen take criminals to jail without their permission!

How dare God have His way with His creatures!
How dare the Potter make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor!
How dare God love and hate whom He will!
How dare God the Father choose to save whom He will!
How dare God the Son die for whom He will!
How dare God the Spirit call whom He will!
How dare the Almighty have His way with all men, in all places, at all times!
How dare God save and damn whom He will!
How dare God judge us!
How dare God call us into question!
How dare the indisputable Sovereign of the universe do . . .
  what He pleases,
  when He pleases,
  where He pleases,
  how He pleases, and
  with whom He pleases!

Who does He think He is
God?

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

"I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths!" Psalm 135:5-6

"All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: What have You done?" Daniel 4:35

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Something to ponder:
"The people and powers of this world are only tools in the hand of God. He is always using them for His own purposes, however little they may be aware of it!" J.C. Ryle

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Imitate the miser!

(William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make Poor Sinners Rich—and Miserable Sinners Happy" 1773)

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(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


"The incomparable riches of His grace!" Ephesians 2:7

"The unsearchable riches of Christ!" Ephesians 3:8 

"His glorious riches!" Ephesians 3:16 

"You are absolutely beautiful, my Beloved; there is no flaw in You!" Song of Songs 4:7

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

"Unto you therefore who believe, He is precious!" 1 Peter 2:7

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We have been admiring our vile selves!

(William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make Poor Sinners Rich—and Miserable Sinners Happy" 1773)

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

What a monster of pride is man! How full of that cursed venom, is human nature! We cannot receive any grace or blessing from the Lord—but corrupt nature is prone to be proud of it, and to boast in it! No one is exempt from this. I appeal to your hearts. I refer to your experience.
When your heart has been enlarged in prayer;
when your soul has been carried out in humblings, meltings, longings, aspirings, etc.;
when you have heard the Word with warm affections and heavenly joy;
when your tongue has with sweetness and liberty, talked of Christ to others;
when your hand has been stretched forth to do any good work;
now in all these, have you not found pride very busy? Have not you been ready to stroke yourself with pleasure, and to reflect with delight: "Well, now the Lord loves me indeed! Surely He loves me better—now that I find myself so holy, and feel myself so heavenly!"

But where is our precious Jesus all this while? We have looked at ourselves—until we have lost sight of Him! We have been admiring our vile selves for our graces—instead of being in raptures with Christ, who is altogether lovely, in whom all fullness of grace dwells, and out of whose fullness we receive grace upon grace!

"The Lord detests all the proud of heart!" Proverbs 16:5

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A little book which contains only three pages

(William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make Poor Sinners Rich—and Miserable Sinners Happy" 1773)

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I have read of a godly man who was once very dissolute. When converted, his former companions sought to bring him back to his former wicked courses. But he told them, "I am deeply engaged in meditating on a little book which contains only three pages; so at present I have no time for other business."

Sometime after, being asked if he had finished his book, he replied, "No; for though it contains only three pages, yet there is so much contained in them, that I have devoted myself to read therein all the days of my life.

The first page is red. Here I mediate on the sufferings of my Lord and Savior, His shedding His precious blood, as an atonement for my sins, and a ransom for my soul, without which I must have been a damned sinner in Hell to all eternity!

The second page is white. This cheers my heart with the wonderful consideration of the unspeakable joys of Heaven obtained for me by Christ—and of being forever with Him!

The third page is black. Here I think of the horrible state of the damned—and the perpetual torments they are suffering in Hell. O this excites thankfulness to my Savior, for His wonderful love and rich grace, in snatching me as a brand out of Hell-fire, and saving me from eternal destructions!"

Here is a good man, a good book, and a good example for you and me. "Let us go and do likewise." Constantly meditate . . .
  upon Christ;
  upon the wrath He has saved us from;
  and the glory He has saved us to!

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A continual supply of grace, comfort, and strength!

(William Mason, "The One Thing Needful to Make Poor Sinners Rich—and Miserable Sinners Happy" 1773)

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"I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

That the believer may live cheerfully and comfortably, he is exhorted to the free and constant use of Christ.

O consider: Christ is given to us—to be enjoyed by us!

He is the bread of life—we are to feed upon Him daily.

He is the water of life, which our souls are to drink of constantly.

He is our righteousness—we are to put Him on continually.

So then, we not only have a precious Christ—but we are also to use Him, and enjoy His preciousness! He is not only a well of salvation—but we must draw water out of it with joy, and drink of it to the refreshing of our souls!

Deeply consider, that without this inward enjoyment of Christ, you cannot be . . .
  happy in your soul,
  comfortable in your walk,
  nor holy in your life.

We must live by faith upon Christ—so as to derive a continual supply of grace, comfort, and strength from Him! "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!" Galatians 2:20

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What I wish you to understand is the value of money

(John Mackenzie, "Letters from a Father to His Son" 1848-1849)

What I wish you to understand is the value of money
—that it is obtained by labor and perseverance, by industry and self-denial; and by the exercise of a suitable economy, it is not to be carelessly thrown away!

You know I required you lately to save your allowances until you could pay for a window you had broken. I did that not so much because I was angry with you for breaking the window, but to teach you to save your money, and deny yourself for a time the little indulgences it might have purchased for you. In short, it was to give you a little practical lesson on economy.

Please observe that frugality and stinginess are very different things. By saving your money and not always running to a shop to spend it as soon as you get it, you will generally have some in your pocket to give to a poor person in distress, or to enable you to make a little present to a school-fellow you may respect, or who may have been useful or kind to you.

The habit of foolish and reckless expenditures is a very bad one!
It grows upon those who indulge in it, and is frequently, in after life, the cause of a ruin which may be dated from the thoughtless and uncorrected errors and follies of childhood.

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We have just posted Mackenzie's some 30 page booklet, "Letters from a Father to His Son".  This is a practical and helpful booklet for parents to teach their children, age ten and up. It is appropriate for both male and female, old and young. Here are the chapter titles:

  Truthfulness
  Self-denial
  Industry  
  Economy/Frugality
  Perseverance
  Contentment
  Friendship
  Good Manners
  Prudence    
  Health 
  Politics
  Morality

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The unchangeable method of God!

(Matthew Mead, "The Almost Christian" 1661)

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"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:32

That is, such as see themselves as sinners, and thereby in a lost condition.
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10

God will have the soul truly sensible of the bitterness of sin—before it shall taste the sweetness of mercy. The plough of conviction must go deep, and make deep furrows in the heart, before God will sow the precious seed of grace there—so that it may have depth of earth to grow in.

This is the unchangeable method of God in bestowing grace—to begin with conviction of sin.
  First to show man his sin—then his Savior;
  first his danger—then his Redeemer;
  first his wound—then his cure;
  first his own vileness—then Christ's righteousness.

The sinner must see the worthlessness and vileness of his own righteousness—before he can be saved by Christ's righteousness. The Israelites are first stung with the fiery serpents—and then the brazen serpent is set up to heal them.

We must see the leprosy of our righteousness, and be brought to cry out, "Unclean, unclean!" We must mourn for Him whom we have pierced—and then He sets open for us "a fountain to cleanse us from all sin and impurity." Zechariah 12:10, 13:1.

Be convinced of the evil of sin—the filthy and heinous nature of it.
Sin is the greatest evil in the world:
  it wrongs God;
  it wounds Christ;
  it grieves the Holy Spirit;
  it damns a precious soul.
All other evils cannot be compared with this. Though to DO sin is the worst work—yet to SEE sin is the best sight! Sin discovered in its vileness—makes Christ to be desired in His fullness!

Alas! it is Christ's infinite righteousness which must atone for our sins—for it is an infinite God whom we have sinned against!

If ever your sin is pardoned—it is Christ's infinite mercy which must pardon it!

If ever you are reconciled to God—it is Christ's infinite merit which must do it!

If ever your heart is changed—it is Christ's infinite power which must effect it!

If ever your soul escapes Hell, and is saved at last—it is Christ's infinite grace which must save it!

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The choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian!

(Thomas Brooks)

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If it is not the aim of your heart to practice what you read, to what end do you read?

To increase your own condemnation? If your light and knowledge is not turned into practice, the more knowing man you are, the more miserable man you will be in the day of recompense! Your light and knowledge will be . . .
  that rod that will eternally lash you,
  and that scorpion that will forever bite you,
  and that worm that will everlastingly gnaw you!

Therefore read and labor to know, that you may DO—or else you are undone for ever!

Remember, it is not hasty reading, but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that make them prove sweet and profitable to the soul.

It is not the bee's touching of the flower that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower that draws out the sweet.

It is not he who reads most, but he who meditates most—who will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian!

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It profits us nothing!

(Arthur Pink LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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"Though I understand all mysteries and all knowledge . . . and have not love, I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:2

We must distinguish between things that differ, namely, a knowledge of spiritual things—and actual spiritual knowledge.

A knowledge of spiritual things can be acquired by the unregenerate.
Spiritual knowledge is peculiar to the children of God.

A knowledge of spiritual things is merely intellectual and theoretical.
Spiritual knowledge is vital and effectual.

One may take up "Bible study" in the same way as another would the study of philosophy or science. He may pursue it diligently and enthusiastically. He may obtain a familiarity of the letter of Scripture and a proficiency in understanding its terms, far in advance of the hard-working Christian who has less leisure and less natural ability.

Yet what is such knowledge worth, if it . . .
  does not affect the heart,
  fails to transform the character and
  make the daily walk pleasing to God!

Unless our "Bible study" is conforming us, both inwardly and outwardly, to the image of Christ—it profits us nothing!

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Don Fortner: "Adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things." Titus 2:10. Let us take great care to conform our lives to our doctrine. Doctrine and duty cannot be separated. Every truth discovered in the Word of God ought to be applied to our lives. If our character and conduct does not reflect the grace and glory of God revealed in the gospel, our doctrine is utterly meaningless!

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Their constant pleasure-ground!

(Henry Law LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed are those who find their constant pleasure-ground in the luxuries of the Bible!
They commune with the mind of God.
They listen to a heavenly voice.
They bask in rays of purest light.
They feed in wholesome pastures of refreshment.
They fear no poison from the weeds of error.
No devious path can lead their steps astray.
Wisdom from above guides sweetly them.
The Spirit, as great Teacher of the Church, instructs the students.
They advance safely, happily, from grace to grace.

The lessons are as vast as the mine from which they spring.
They are as pure as the realms to which they call.
They warn of sin—its filth—its misery—its end.
They unfold Jesus in all the glories of redeeming love.
They exhibit holiness, as the only road to holy Heaven.

Reader! heed a beneficial admonition:
Study the Bible, as holding treasure for your soul.
Study in the earnestness of prayer.
Study with eternity outspread before you.
Study with the lowliness of a poor sinner before a speaking God.
Study with faith devoutly grasping every word.

Do not close the volume without inquiring,
"Is sin more hateful—is the world more worthless—is the flesh more treacherous in my sight?
 Is Jesus brought nearer to my adoring soul?
 Is my heart won to more entire devotedness?
 Am I more resolute to live for Him, who died for me?"

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Something to ponder: "Worldly pleasures seem solid in their pursuit—but are mere clouds in the enjoyment." Thomas Brooks

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A man who hears many sermons

(Charles Spurgeon LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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

It is well to meditate upon the things of God—because it is only by pondering the Scriptures, that we get the real nutriment out of them. A man who hears many sermons, is not necessarily well-instructed in the faith. We may read so many religious books that we overload our brains, and they may be unable to work under the weight of the great mass of paper and of printer's ink.

The man who reads but one book, and that book his Bible, and then meditates much upon it—will be a better scholar in Christ's school than he who merely reads hundreds of books, and does not meditate at all!

Oh, that we might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves!

As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it until we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetic expressions or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models—and, what is better still, your spirit is redolent with the words of the Lord!

"Your words were found, and I devoured them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart!" Jeremiah 15:16

"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. Then you will be prosperous and successful!" Joshua 1:8

"His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.
 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." Psalm 1:2-3

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Something to ponder: "He who has Christ, has all he needs—and needs no more." Jonathan Edwards

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Never let us read any portion of God's Word without looking up for divine teaching!

(James Smith, "The Evening Sacrifice; Or, A Help to Devotion" 1859)

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"Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law!" Psalm 119:18

God's Book is a book of wonders! It is a wonderful record . . .
  of God's power in creation,
  of His wisdom in providence,
  and of His grace in redemption.

It has the stamp of infinity upon it. We cannot penetrate its heights, fathom its depths, or traverse its lengths and breadths—but as we are taught of God. The Holy Spirit, who composed it and inspired holy men to write it, must unfold and reveal it to our minds—or we shall never . . .
  see its glory,
  be impressed with its majesty,
  or rejoice in its divine truths.

Never let us read any portion of God's Word without looking up for divine teaching. Never let us imagine that we know all that is contained in any one verse of God's blessed Book—for there is a fullness in the holy Scriptures not to be found anywhere else.

Oh, ever blessed Spirit of God, who has given us Your holy Word to . . .
   instruct our intellects,
   sanctify our hearts, and
   regulate our lives;
we beseech You to . . .
   enlighten our minds to understand it,
   open our hearts to receive it,
   give us faith to believe it, and
   enable us to reduce it to practice in our every-day life!

O may we be given grace . . .
  understand the sublime doctrines,
  believe the precious promises, and
  practice the holy precepts of Your blessed Word!

Lord, unveil to us the types, unfold to us the prophecies—and apply to our hearts, the consolatory portions of the sacred Scriptures. May we hide the Word in our hearts, that we may not sin against You. O to . . .
  catch the meaning,
  taste the sweetness,
  and feel the power,
of Your holy truth! O Lord, open our eyes, and unfold the truth to us this night! O Lord, soften our hearts, and bring home Your Word with power!

"Then He opened their understanding—that they might understand the Scriptures." Luke 24:45

"Behold, God is exalted in His power! Who is a teacher like Him?" Job 36:22

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The error of textualism

(A.W. Tozer LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14

"But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name—He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." John 14:26

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

The doctrine of the inability of the human mind to understand divine teaching, and the need for divine illumination—is so fully developed in the New Testament, that it is nothing short of astonishing that we should have gone so far astray concerning the whole issue.

Evangelicalism has stood aloof from Liberalism in self-conscious superiority, and has on its own part fallen into the error of textualism—which is simply orthodoxy without the Holy Spirit.

Everywhere among Conservatives we find people who are Bible-taught, but not Spirit-taught. They conceive truth to be something which they can grasp with the mind. If a man holds to the fundamentals of the Christian faith—then he is thought to possess divine truth.

But that is an incorrect assumption. The Bible is a supernatural book—and can be understood only by supernatural aid!

Conservative Christians in this day are stumbling over this truth. We need to re-examine the whole thing. We need to learn that truth consists not in correct doctrine—but in correct doctrine plus the inward enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. A re-preachment of this vital truth could result in a fresh breath from God upon a stale and suffocating orthodoxy.

Most Christians see Bible knowledge as something to be stored away in the mind, along with an inert mass of other facts.

The modern scientist has lost God, amid the wonders of His world.
And we Christians are in real danger of losing God, amid the wonders of His Word!

Scripture truths must be experienced—before we can really know them.

"Lord, I do believe in the authority of the Scriptures, and thank You for that foundation of truth. But I need to remember that even the inspired text is not alive—until the Holy Spirit takes it and enlightens the recipients. May the Spirit indeed take what I teach and embed it in the hearts and minds of my hearers. Amen."

"Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures!" Luke 24:45

"Open my eyes, that I may see wonderful things in Your law!" Psalm 119:18

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible!

(J.C. Ryle LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)
 

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.
"Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "What is written in the Law? What do you read there?" Luke 10:25-26

Notice in this passage, the high honor which our Lord Jesus Christ places on the Bible. He refers the lawyer at once to the Scriptures, as the only rule of faith and practice. He does not say in reply to his question, "What does the Jewish Church say about eternal life? What do the Scribes, and Pharisees, and priests think? What is taught on the subject in the traditions of the elders?"

He takes a far simpler and more direct course. He sends his questioner at once to the writings of the Old Testament, "What is written in the Law? What do you read there?"

Let the principle contained in these words, be one of the foundation principles of our Christianity. Let the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, be the rule of our faith and practice. Holding this principle, we travel upon the king's highway. The road may sometimes seem narrow, and our faith may be severely tried—but we shall not be allowed greatly to err. Departing from this principle, we enter on a pathless wilderness. There is no telling what we may be led to believe or do. Forever let us bear this in mind. Here let us cast anchor. Here let us abide.

It matters nothing who says a thing in religion—whether an ancient father, or a modern bishop, or a learned theologian.

Is it in the Bible? Can it be proved by the Bible?
If not, then it is not to be believed.

It matters nothing how beautiful and clever sermons or religious books may appear. Are they in the smallest degree contrary to Scripture? If they are, they are rubbish and poison, and guides of no value!

What does the Scripture say?
This is the only rule, and measure, and gauge of religious truth. "To the law and to the testimony," says Isaiah, "if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Something to ponder: "That book must be worth reading, which has God for the author!" William Gurnall

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Pithy gems from James Janeway, 1636-1674

The cross of Christ is the Christian's crown!
The reproach of Christ is the Christian's riches!
The shame of Christ is the Christian's glory!


If I had the wings of a dove, I would fly from the winds, the storms and tempests of this wicked world—and rest myself in the bosom of my Father!


God often gives the trinkets of this world to His greatest enemies.
He gives eternal glory to none but His redeemed children!


The worldling thinks he makes a very wise bargain, when he sells his conscience, God, and Heaven—for a little of that which some call riches.


How can they look for Heaven when they die, who thought it not worth their minding while they lived?


How many seeming saints shall gain nothing at death, but a thorough knowledge of their own folly!


He who counts nothing worth the having, except Christ, and for Christ, cannot be miserable—when he is lodged safely in His embraces.


God is oftentimes better, but never worse, than His Word.


How will the heavens echo with joy, when the Bride, the Lamb's wife, shall come to dwell with her Husband forever!


Those who die in sin, must be burned in Hell!


Your children are not too young to die; they are not too young to go to Hell.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Something to ponder:
You need to be born again children. You need to come to personal repentance and faith. And if you die before you come to personal repentance and faith, you are not going to Heaven; you are going to Hell. That's the warning we must give to children. We must not presume they're regenerated. We must tell them: "You must be regenerated; you must come to faith and repentance." Joel Beeke 

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Sin shall be unmasked!

(Thomas Brooks)

Sin so bewitches the soul, that it makes the soul call . . .
  evil good, and good evil;
  bitter sweet, and sweet bitter;
  light darkness, and darkness light.
 
Ah, souls! When you shall lie upon a dying bed, and stand before a judgment-seat—sin shall be unmasked, and its dress and robes shall then be taken off! Then sin shall appear more vile, filthy, and terrible than Hell itself!

Then that which formerly appeared . . .
  most sweet, will then appear most bitter,
  most beautiful, will then appear most ugly,
  most delightful, will then appear most dreadful to the soul!

"Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of Me," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty." Jeremiah 2:19
 

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Something to ponder: "The pulpit has its accomplished actors, as well as the playhouse!" J.C. Philpot

   ~  ~  ~  ~

As well might a babe step between the railroad tracks!

(Arthur Pink, "The Godhood of God")  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)


"All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of Heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: What have you done?" Daniel 4:35

As well might a worm seek to resist the tread of an elephant;
as well might a babe step between the railroad tracks and attempt to push back the on-rushing train;
as well might a child seek to prevent the ocean from rolling—
as for a creature to try and resist the outworking of the purpose of the Lord God!

Ah, my reader, this is the first great lesson we have to learn:
  that God is the Creator—and we are the creature;
  that He is the Potter—and we are the clay!

"O LORD, God of our fathers, are You not the God who is in Heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You!" 2 Chronicles 20:6

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of His supremacy. Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature—He is the Most High, Lord of Heaven and earth. Subject to none, influenced by none—He is absolutely independent. God does . . .
  as He pleases,
  only as He pleases,
  and always as He pleases.
None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The most excellent study for expanding the soul!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Immutability of God!")  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)


The proper study of God's elect, is God. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God—is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father! There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast—that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep—that our pride is drowned in its infinity!

Other subjects we can compass and grapple with—in them we feel a kind of self-contentment, and go our way with the thought, "Behold I am wise!" But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height—we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild donkey's colt; and with the solemn exclamation, "I am but of yesterday, and know nothing!" No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God.

The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ and Him crucified—and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing will so magnify the whole soul of man—as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. While humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory.

Oh, there is in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound!
In musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief.
In the influence of the Holy Spirit, there is a balsam for every sore.

Would you lose your sorrows?
Would you drown your cares?
Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead's deepest sea!
Be lost in His immensity—and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated.

I know nothing which can . . .
  so comfort the soul;
  so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow;
  so speak peace to the winds of trial—
as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Something to ponder:
"Depend upon it, our hearts are all alike. To know that they are deceitful and desperately wicked, and to look to Jesus for mercy, help, and salvation—are, I think, the greatest attainments we can rise to in this imperfect state." John Newton

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Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil?

(Arthur Pink, "The Sovereignty of God")  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)


Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil?

That God reigns supreme in Heaven, is generally conceded; but that He reigns supreme over this earth, is almost universally denied—if not directly, then indirectly. More and more men are relegating God to the background in their philosophizing and theorizing.

Take the material realm. Not only is it denied that God created everything by personal and direct action—but few believe that He has any immediate concern in regulating the works of His own hands. Everything is supposed to be ordered according to the impersonal and abstract "laws of Nature". Thus is the Creator banished from His own creation! Therefore we need not be surprised that men, in their degrading conceptions, exclude Him from the realm of human affairs.

Throughout Christendom, with an almost negligible exception, the theory is held that man is "a free agent", and therefore, man is the master of his fortunes and the determiner of his destiny.

Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil?


What do the Scriptures say? If we believe their plain and positive declarations, no room is left for uncertainty. They affirm, again and again . . .
  that God is on the throne of His universe;
  that the scepter is in His hands;
  that He is directing all things "after the counsel of His own will". Ephesians 1:11

The Scriptures affirm, not only that God created all things, but also that God is ruling and reigning over all the works of His hands. They affirm . . .
  that God is the Almighty,
  that His will is irreversible,
  that He is absolute sovereign in every realm of all His vast dominions.

And surely it must be so. Only two alternatives are possible:
  God must either rule—or be ruled;
  God must either sway—or be swayed;
  God must either accomplish His own will—or be thwarted by His creatures.

Accepting the fact that He is the "Most High God", the only Potentate and King of kings, vested with perfect wisdom and illimitable power—the conclusion is irresistible, that He must be God in fact—as well as in name!

It is in view of what we have briefly referred to above that we say, present-day conditions call loudly for a new examination and new presentation of God's omnipotence, God's sufficiency, and God's sovereignty. From every pulpit in the land it needs to be thundered forth—that God still reigns! What is needed now, as never before, is a full, positive, constructive setting forth of the Godhood of God. Drastic diseases call for drastic remedies. We know of nothing which is more calculated to infuse spiritual vigor into our souls, than a scriptural apprehension of the full character of God!

"Our God is in Heaven! He does whatever He pleases!" Psalm 115:3

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

"All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of Heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: What have you done?" Daniel 4:35

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The God of contemporary Christianity!

(A.W. Tozer LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)


"These things you have done, and I kept silent.
 You thought that I was altogether like you!
 
But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face!" Psalm 50:21

The God of contemporary Christianity is only slightly superior to the pagan gods of ancient Greece and Rome—if indeed He is not actually inferior to them, in that He is weak and helpless—while they at least had some imagined power.

Among the sins to which the human heart is prone
, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry; for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is—in itself a monstrous sin; and substitutes for the true God, one made after its own likeness. Always this god will conform to the image of the one who created it—and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.

The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow—they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God—and acts as if they were true.

If we insist upon trying to imagine Him—we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts. And an idol of the mind, is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand!

Before a Christian Church goes into a decline, there must first be a corrupting of her Scriptural thoughts of God. She simply gives a wrong answer to the question, "What is God like?"—and goes downhill from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed—her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is—and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind!

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God, until it is once more worthy of Him—and of her!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Something to ponder:
"If we only spent more of our time in looking at Him, we would soon forget our own petty trials." Martyn-Lloyd Jones

   ~  ~  ~  ~

They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

(Arthur Pink)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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"Does He not see my ways, and count my every step?" Job 31:4

"His understanding is infinite!" Psalm 147:5

God not only knows whatever has happened in the past in every part of His vast domains, and He is not only thoroughly acquainted with everything that is now transpiring throughout the entire universe—but He is also perfectly cognizant of every event, from the least to the greatest, that ever will happen in the ages to come!

God's knowledge of the future is as complete as is His knowledge of the past and the present�and that, because the future depends entirely upon Himself. God foreknows what will be, because He has decreed what shall be. Were it in any ways possible for something to occur apart from either the direct agency or permission of God—then that something would be independent of Him, and He would at once cease to be Supreme.

"There is no creature hidden from God's sight, but all things are uncovered and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account!" Hebrews 4:13

"You have set our iniquities before You—our secret sins in the light of Your presence!" Psalm 90:8

Men would strip Deity of His omniscience if they could! What a proof that "the carnal mind is enmity against God!" Romans 8:7

The wicked wish there might be . . .
  no Witness of their sins,
  no Searcher of their hearts,
  no Judge of their deeds.

They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts!

"They say to God: Leave us alone! We have no desire to know Your ways!" Job 21:14

An omniscient and ineffably holy God, who has the utmost abhorrence of sin, was never invented by any of Adam's descendants!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Something to ponder:
"What! Get to Heaven on your own strength?
 Why, you might as well try to climb to the moon on a rope of sand!" George Whitefield

An indulgent old man!

(Arthur Pink LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)


God's holiness is manifested at the Cross. Wondrously and yet most solemnly, does the Atonement display God's infinite holiness and abhorrence of sin. How hateful must sin be to God, for Him to punish it to its utmost deserts when it was imputed to His Son!

"You hate all workers of iniquity!" Psalm 5:5

The god which the vast majority of professing Christians 'love' is looked upon very much like an indulgent old man, who Himself has no relish for folly, but leniently winks at sin. Yet for one sin . . .
   the fallen angels were thrown out of Heaven,
   our first parents were banished from Eden,
   Moses was excluded from the promised land,
   Elisha's servant smitten with leprosy, and
   Ananias and Sapphira were cut off from the land of the living.

But men refuse to believe in this God, and gnash their teeth when His hatred of sin is faithfully pressed upon their attention.

Sinful man was no more likely to devise a holy God, than to create the Lake of Fire in which he will be tormented forever and ever!

"God is angry with the wicked every day!" Psalm 7:11

"Our God is a consuming fire!" Hebrews 12:29

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Something to ponder:
"Jesus is . . .
   bread to the hungry,
   water to the thirsty,
   a garment to the naked,
   healing to the wounded.
Whatever a soul can desire—is found in Him!" John Flavel

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God's most comforting attribute!

(Charles Spurgeon LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)


"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28

There is no attribute of God more comforting to His children than that of God's sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe . . .
  that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions,
  that Sovereignty overrules them, and
  that Sovereignty will sanctify them all.

There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend, than . . .
  the doctrine of their Master ruling over all creation,
  the kingship of God over all the works of His own hand,
  the throne of God, and His right to reign upon that throne.

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

"
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth." Daniel 4:35

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


"To be God and sovereign are inseparable!" (Stephen Charnock)

"Sovereignty characterizes the whole being of God. He is sovereign in all His attributes!" (Arthur Pink)

"God has sovereign right to dispose of us as He pleases. We ought to acquiesce in all that God does with us and to us." (William Carey)

   ~  ~  ~  ~
 

God's most hated attribute!

(Charles Spurgeon LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)


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

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

"
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth." Daniel 4:35

On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, as the great, stupendous—but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah!

Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne!

They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars.

They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties.

They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of Heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean.

But when God ascends His throne—then His creatures then gnash their teeth! And when we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter—then it is that we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us—for God on His throne, is not the God they love!

No doctrine in the whole Word of God has more excited the hatred of mankind, than the truth of the absolute sovereignty of God!

Opposition to divine sovereignty is essentially atheism—and were it not for sovereign grace, none of us would ever have followed the path to Heaven. I am daily more and more convinced that the difference between one man and another, is not the difference between his use of his will—but the difference of grace that has been bestowed upon him.

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


Stephen Charnock: "The great controversy between God and man has been, whether He or they shall be God; whether His reason or theirs, His will or theirs, shall be the guiding principle. If anything could frustrate God's will—then it would be superior to Him, God would not be omnipotent, and so would lose the perfection of the Deity, and consequently the Deity itself; for that which did wholly defeat God's will, would be more powerful than He. To be God and yet inferior to another, is a contradiction!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

To what end do you read?

(Thomas Brooks LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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Remember, it is not hasty reading—but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that make them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee's touching of the flower, which gathers honey—but her abiding for a time upon the flower, which draws out the sweet. It is not he who reads most—but he who meditates most, who will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian.

Know that it is not the knowing, nor the talking, nor the reading man—but the doing man, that at last will be found the happiest man. "If you know these things, blessed and happy are you if you DO them." "Not everyone that says, 'Lord, Lord!' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven—but he who DOES the will of my Father that is in Heaven" (John 13:17, Matthew 7:21). Judas called Christ 'Lord, Lord!' and yet betrayed him, and has gone to his place. Ah! how many Judases have we in these days . . .
  who kiss Christ, and yet betray Christ;
  who in their words profess him—but in their works deny him;
  who bow their knee to him, and yet in their hearts despise him;
  who call him Jesus, and yet will not obey him for their Lord.

Reader, If it is not strong upon your heart to practice what you read, to what end do you read? To increase your own condemnation? If your light and knowledge is not turned into practice, the more knowing a man you are, the more miserable a man you will be in the day of recompense; your light and knowledge will more torment you than all the devils in Hell. Your knowledge will be . . .
  that rod that will eternally lash you, and
  that scorpion that will forever bite you, and
  that worm that will everlastingly gnaw you!

Therefore read, and labor to know, that you may do—or else you are undone forever!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Just a little bit, and off you go!

(Charles Spurgeon LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"
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. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8