Grace Gems for OCTOBER, 2022

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Sola Scriptura!

(J.C. RylePlay Audio!  Download

Next to praying, there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible-reading.
By reading that Book, we may learn . . .
   what to believe,
   what to be,
   what to do,
   how to live with comfort,
   and how to die in peace.

The Bible alone is "able to make a man wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:15 It alone can . . .
   show you the way which leads to Heaven,
   teach you everything you need to know,
   point out everything you need to believe,
   and explain everything you need to do.

It alone can show you . . .
   what you are, a sinner;
   what God is, perfectly holy;
   the great giver of pardon, peace, and grace—Jesus Christ.

The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit, is the grand instrument by which souls are converted to God. In this way the Bible has worked moral miracles by thousands! It has made:
  drunkards become sober,
  immoral people become pure,
  thieves become honest, and
  violent people become meek!

The Bible has wholly altered the course of men's lives!
It has caused their old things to pass away, and made all their ways new.
It has taught worldly people, to seek first the kingdom of God.
It has taught lovers of pleasure, to become lovers of God.
It has changed the stream of men's affections, to run upwards instead of running downwards.
It has made men think of Heaven, instead of always thinking of earth.

The Bible can enable a man . . .
  to bear afflictions without murmuring, and say, "It is well."
  to look down into the grave, and say, "I fear no evil."
  to think on judgment and eternity, and not feel afraid.

Is a man drowsy in soul? The Bible can awaken him.

Is he mourning? The Bible can comfort him.

Is he erring? The Bible can restore him.

Is he weak? The Bible can strengthen him.

Is he in company? The Bible can keep him from evil.

Is he alone? The Bible can talk with him. (Proverbs 6:22)

All this the Bible can do for all believers;
for the least, as well as the greatest;
for the richest, as well as the poorest.
It has done it for thousands already, and is doing it for thousands every day!

It is in Scripture alone that infallibility resides:
It is not in the Church.
It is not in the Councils.
It is not in ministers.
It is only in the written Word.

All other books in the world, however good and useful in their way, are more or less defective. The more you look at them, the more you see their defects and blemishes. The Bible alone is absolutely perfect. From beginning to end, it is "the Word of God."

A man must make the Bible alone his rule. He must receive nothing, and believe nothing, which is not according to the Word. He must try all religious teaching by one simple test:
Does it square with the Bible? What do the Scriptures say?

The only question is: Is the thing said Scriptural?
If it is, then it ought to be received and believed.
If it is not, then it ought to be refused and cast aside.

The churches which are most flourishing at this day, are churches which honor the Bible.
The nations which enjoy most moral light, are nations in which the Bible is most treasured.
The godliest families are Bible-reading families.
The holiest men and women are Bible-reading people.
These are simple facts which cannot be denied.

Everyone who cares for his soul ought .
   to treasure the Bible highly,
   to study it regularly, and
   to make himself thoroughly acquainted with its contents.

2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."  

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Your case is sad, very sad!

(James Smith, "The Way to Be Saved!" 1856)  Play Audio!  Download

"Then the King will turn to those on the left and say: Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons!"

"And they will go away into eternal punishment!" Matthew 25:41, 46

Lost sinner, your case is sad, very sad! You are an enemy to God, in open and avowed rebellion against Him! You are forcing your passage to blackness, darkness, and eternal woe—through a thousand obstacles which are thrown in your way! And, O how fearful will your end be! What, O what a dreadful end, must yours be!

In Hell, you will be forever deprived of the glorious presence of God!

You will never see light, but be in perpetual darkness!

Your abode will be a prison where there is . . .
  no comfort, but horror;
  no voice, but of blasphemers cursing God;
  no sounds, but the howling of the tortured;
  no society, but devils and damned people.

And these being tormented themselves, will eternally torment you!
You must experience . . .
  punishment, without pity;
  misery, without mercy;
  sorrow, without support;
  crying, without comfort;
  mischief, without measure;
  torment, without ease;
  where the worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched!

The wrath of God will seize upon your soul and body, like fire!

And in the flame, you will be . . .
  forever burning, but never consumed;
  ever dying, but never dead;
  ever roaring with pain, but know no end of these pains.
Your torments will be always beginning.

Your reflections will be:
  "All this, I procured by my sin!
   This I chose, in preference to Heaven!
   I myself am to blame for my destruction, and God is just!"

Great God, awaken, awaken the sinner! Open, O open his eyes! Snatch, O snatch him as a brand from the burning, and save him through Jesus' blood!! If this is not the case, lost sinner, you may look forward, and exclaim:

  Infinite years in torments shall I spend,
  And never, never, never end!
  Ah! I must live in torturing despair,
  As many years, as atoms in the air!

  When all these doleful years are spent in pain,
  And multiplied by myriads again,
  Til numbers drown thought, could I suppose
  That then my wretched years were at a close.

  This would afford some ease; but, ah, I shiver,
  To think upon the dreadful word, FOREVER!
  The burning gulf, where I blaspheming lie,
  Is time no more, but vast eternity!

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A base heathenish invention!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Voice of the Cholera!")  Play Audio!  Download

The word "chance" should be forever banished from the Christian's conversation.

Luck or chance is a base heathenish invention!

God rules and overrules all things, and He does nothing without a motive.

The falling of a sparrow to the earth is in the divine purpose, and answers an end.

Every grain of dust that is whirled from the threshing-floor, is steered by God with as unerring a wisdom as the stars in their courses!

There is not a leaf that trembles in the autumn from the tree, but is piloted by the plan and purpose of the Lord.

The insatiable archer of death is not permitted to shoot his bolts at random.

Every arrow that flies bears this inscription, "I have a message from God for you!"

A purpose, consistent with the love and justice of God, lies hidden in the harvest of death.

"In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will!" Ephesians 1:11

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Bliss beyond what the angels know!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Love's Vigilance Rewarded")  Play Audio!  Download

Why me Lord?

Words cannot express the joy of heart which I feel in knowing that Jesus is with me, and that He has loved me with an everlasting love!

I shall never understand, even in Heaven, why the Lord Jesus should ever have loved me.

There is no love like it! Why was it fixed upon me?

Have you never felt that you could go in, like David, and sit before the Lord, and say, "Who am I, O Lord God, that you have saved me?"

Yet wonderful as it is, it is true; Jesus loves His believing people; He loves them now at this very moment. Do you not rejoice in it?

I assure you that, in the least drop of the love of Christ when it is consciously realized, there is more sweetness than there would be in all Heaven without it.

Talk of bursting barns, overflowing wine-vats, and riches treasured up—these give but a poor solace to the heart.

But the love of Jesus, this is another word for Heaven! It is a marvel that even while we are here below, we should be permitted to enjoy a bliss beyond what the angels know!

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

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Have you received the Holy Spirit?

(James Smith, "A Momentous Question" 1860)  Play Audio!  Download

"Have you received the Holy Spirit?" Acts 19:2

What are the evidences of having received the Holy Spirit?

If we have received the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus stands high in our estimation, and our views of ourselves are very humbling. And just in proportion to the power and depth of the Spirit's work, will be our conceptions of the glory, grandeur, and excellency of the Savior; and our discoveries of the depravity, pollution, weakness, and misery of our own hearts.

If, therefore, we have heart-affecting views of the glory of Christ and His finished work, and if we lie low in the dust under a sense of our weakness and worthlessness, so that we are brought to depend wholly on Christ, and on Christ alone—we have surely received the Holy Spirit.

Also, if we have received the Holy Spirit, there is in us a deep-rooted, abiding hatred to sin, all sin, especially sin in ourselves. What was once our darling sin, has become the object of our hatred, and against that sin we set a double guard. For nothing do we sigh so often, for nothing do we desire so ardently—as holiness. The Holy Spirit always sets the whole soul against sin, and longing for perfect holiness.

True, our old desires toward sin will sometimes revive, but then we loath ourselves on account of it, mourn over it, and confess it before God. The cry of the soul is, "Holiness Lord, more holiness! Deep, penetrating, all-pervading holiness!"

Now, if we hate sin everywhere, all sin, and especially the sin that dwells in us; and if we love holiness, admire holiness, pray for holiness, pant for holiness, and strive for holiness—then there is no doubt that we have received the Holy Spirit.

Once more, if we have received the Holy Spirit, then we are ruled by God's Word; we do not follow custom, or allow our desires or prejudices to dictate our course. In all times of difficulty, when in any perplexity, something seems to say within us, "To the law and to the testimony," and to the precepts of the New Testament, we turn.

The Word of Christ is the law of the true believer. Everything short of it, or beyond it, or beside it, or contrary to it—is sin! "Only what Jesus commands, all that Jesus commands, and because Jesus commands!" is the language of the soul.

And while we thus make the Word of Jesus our rule, we deny ourselves. We deny our own wills, our own passions, our own desires, our likes and dislikes. We are before Him, as He was before His Father, when He cried out, "Not My will, but may Your will be done." If, then, we make the Word of God our guide, and habitually deny ourselves for Christ's sake—we may rest assured that we have received the Holy Spirit.

Reader, "Have you received the Holy Spirit?" Remember, "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him!" Romans 8:9

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Who made you to differ?

(Charles SpurgeonPlay Audio!  Download

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

It is grace—free sovereign grace, which has made you to differ!

Should any here, supposing themselves to be the children of God, imagine that there is some reason in them why they should have been chosen; let them know that as yet they are in the dark concerning the first principles of grace, and have not yet learned the gospel.

If ever they had known the gospel, they would, on the other hand, confess that they were . . .
  the less than the least,
  the off-scouring of all things,
  and Hell-deserving,
and ascribe it all to sovereign grace, which has made them to differ; and to distinguishing love, which has chosen them out from the rest of the world.

Great Christian, you would have been a great sinner—if God had not made you to differ!

O! you who are valiant for truth, you would have been as valiant for the devil—if grace had not laid hold of you!

A seat in Heaven shall one day be yours, but a chain in Hell would have been yours—if God's grace had not changed you!

You can now sing His love, but a licentious song would have been on your lips—if grace had not washed you in the blood of Jesus!

You are now sanctified, you are quickened, you are justified; but what would you have been today—if it had not been for the interposition of the divine hand?

There is not a crime you might not have committed; there is not a folly into which you might not have run! Even murder itself you might have committed—if grace had not preserved you!

You shall be like the angels; but you would have been like the devil—if you had not been changed by grace!

Never be proud, though you now have a wide domain of grace. You had once not a single thing to call your own, except your sin and misery. You are now wrapped up in the golden righteousness of the Savior, and accepted in the garments of the Beloved! But you would have been buried under the black mountain of sin, and clothed with the filthy rags of unrighteousness—if God had not changed you!

    And are you proud?

        Do you exalt yourself?

O! strange mystery, that you who have borrowed everything, should exalt yourself! That you, who have nothing of your own, but have still to draw upon grace, should be proud! That you, a poor dependent pensioner upon the bounty of your Savior—and yet proud! That you, one who has a life which can only live by fresh streams of life from Jesus, should be proud!

Go, hang your pride upon the gallows as high as Haman! Hang it there to rot, and you stand beneath and execrate it to all eternity!

Surely of all things most to be cursed and despised, is the pride of a Christian! He, of all men, has ten thousand times more reason than any other to be humble, and walk lowly with his God, and kindly and humbly toward his fellow-creatures.

"By the grace of God I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

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Those everlasting arms!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")  Play Audio!  Download

"Underneath are the everlasting arms!"
Deuteronomy 33:27

That is, underneath every believer.

Those everlasting arms
are there . . .
  to bear him up,
  to bear him on, and
  to preserve from all real danger.

The arms of God are . . .
  invisible, no one sees them;
  spiritual, no one feels them;
  careful, no one falls out of them;
  omnipotent, no one overcomes them.

If the everlasting arms of my God are underneath me, then . . .
  I may quietly yield myself unto Him;
  I may confidently expect divine protection;
  I may be certain that He will lift me above my foes;
  I may feel assured that He will safely convey me home.

Aged saints may rejoice in this; for to them the Lord says, "I will be your God throughout your lifetime, until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you!" Isaiah 46:4

And weak believers may rejoice in this, for "He will carry the lambs in His arms, holding them close to His heart!" Isaiah 40:11

O to realize this sweet and encouraging truth: Underneath me are the everlasting arms!

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If we were more like Christ!

(Charles SpurgeonPlay Audio!  Download

"It is enough for the disciple that he be like his master." Matthew 10:25

When our Lord was on earth, what was the treatment He received? Were His claims acknowledged, His instructions followed, and His perfections worshiped, by those whom He came to bless? No; "He was despised and rejected of men." Outside the camp was His place; cross-bearing was His occupation.

Did the world yield him solace and rest? "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has no where to lay His head." This inhospitable world afforded Him no shelter: it cast Him out and crucified him.

If you are a follower of Jesus, and maintain a consistent, Christ-like walk and conversation, you must expect the same treatment from the world.

They will treat you as they treated the Savior—they will despise you. Do not dream not that worldlings will admire you; or that the more holy and the more Christ-like you are, the more peaceably people will act towards you.

They prized not the polished gem, how should they value the jewel in the rough?

"If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call those of His household?"

If we were more like Christ
, we would be more hated by His enemies!

It is a sad dishonor to a child of God to be the world's favorite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout, "Well done!" to the Christian man. When the unrighteous give him their approbation, he should begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong.

Let us be true to our Master, and have no friendship with a blind and base world which scorns and rejects Him. Far be it from us to seek a coronet of honor, where our Lord found a crown of thorns!

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.
John 15:18

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted!" 2 Timothy 3:12

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I will look up!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")  Play Audio!  Download

"In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before You, and I will look up!" Psalm 5:3

This was the Psalmist's determination in the morning, and it should be ours.

Preserved and protected through the night, we should look up with gratitude and praise our God for His goodness.

Aware of our dependence and needs, we should look up and beg mercies of our Almighty God for the new-born day.

Sensible of our foes and dangers, we should look up and pray to be kept, guided, and sanctified by our ever-present God.

If we look within, it will dispirit us;
if we look around, it may distract us;
if we look back, it may awaken fears;
if we look forward, it may arouse foreboding!

But if we look UP to God, it will preserve . . .
  the head from swimming,
  the heart from sinking,
  the feet from slipping, and
  the hands from hanging down!

Beloved, let us look up!
There our loving Father is!
There our interceding Savior is!
There all our supplies are!
There our everlasting home is!

Let others look where they will, "I will look up!"

If we look up to God in faith, then He will look down upon us in mercy; and looking, He will supply all our needs!

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The Plan!

(Charles Spurgeon, "A Feast for Faith")  Play Audio!  Download

"This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart Him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?" Isaiah 14:26-27

God does not work without a plan.

God has not left the world to chance.

There are some men who are always kicking against the doctrine of an eternal purpose, and who grow angry if you assert that God has settled what shall occur.

It is by the consent of all agreed, that men are foolish if they work without a plan; and yet they cry out when we insist that God also, in all His working, is fulfilling a well-arranged design.

Depend upon it, however, let men rebel against this truth as they will; that God has determined the end from the beginning.

He has left no screw loose in the machine. He has left nothing to chance or accident!

Nothing with God is the subject of an "if" or a "perhaps." But even the agency of man, free as it is, as untouched and undisturbed as if there were no God—even this is guided by His mysterious power, and works out thoroughly His own purpose in every jot and tittle.

God wings the thunderbolt; and shall He not guide the most passionate spirit of man?

God puts a bit into the mouth of the whirlwind; and shall He not control the most ambitious will?

God takes care that even the sea shall come no farther than He bids it; and shall not the heart of man be equally subject to the Divine purpose?

Everything that has moved or shall move in Heaven, and, earth, and Hell—has been, is, and shall be, according to the counsel and foreknowledge of God; fulfilling His holy, just, wise, and unalterable purpose!

God is wonderful in His design, and excellent in His working.

Believer, God overrules all things for your good. The needs-be for all that you have suffered, has been most accurately determined by God.

Your course is all mapped out by your Lord. Nothing will take Him by surprise. There will be no novelties to Him. There will be no occurrences, which He did not foresee—and for which, therefore, He has not provided. He has arranged all, and you have but to patiently wait, and you shall sing a song of deliverance.

Your life has been arranged on the best possible principles, so that if you had been gifted with unerring wisdom, you would have arranged a life for yourselves exactly similar to the one through which you have passed.

Let us trust God's heart, where we cannot trace His hand!

In the end we shall read the whole of God's purpose as one grand poem, and there will not be one verse in it that has a syllable too much, or a word too little. There will not be one stanza or one letter redundant, much less one that is erased.

But from beginning to end we shall see the master-pen and the master-mind drawing forth the glorious array of majestic thoughts. And with angels, and seraphs, and principalities, and powers—shall burst forth into one mighty song, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!"

We shall see how from the first even to the last, the King has been ruling all things according to His own sovereign will.

"In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will." Ephesians 1:11

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My friend, I know not what your trouble may be

(James Smith, "The Pastor's Morning Visit")  Play Audio!  Download

"If I were you, I would seek unto God! I would lay my cause before Him!" Job 5:8

This is sound advice. It is much better than . . .
  seeking unto men,
  or poring over troubles,
  or indulging a gloomy imagination,
  or giving way to fears.

My friend, I know not what your trouble may be, but "If I were you, I would seek unto God!"

If I was in perplexity, I would seek unto God for wisdom.

If I was in sorrow, I would seek unto God for comfort.

If I was in weakness, I would seek unto God for strength.

If I was under guilt, I would seek unto God for pardon.

If I was in a severe conflict, I would seek unto God for victory.

If I was in doubt and fear, I would seek unto God for confidence and a sense of His favor.

If I was harassed by Satan, I would seek unto almighty God for protection.

If I was afraid of falling, I would seek unto God to uphold me with His omnipotent arm.

If I was alarmed at death, I would seek for His presence to comfort me.

Whatever you need, seek it from God!

Whatever you fear, carry it to God!

Whatever troubles you, lay it before God!

You cannot seek unto Him in vain, or without profit!

"If I were you, I would seek unto God! I would lay my cause before Him!"

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Contemplating God's greatness!

(Charles SpurgeonPlay Audio!  Download

"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place
—what is man that You are mindful of him?" Psalm 8:3-4

Lift up your eyes, behold the heavens, the work of God's fingers; behold the sun guided in his daily march! Go forth at midnight, and behold the heavens, consider the stars and the moon! Look upon these works of God's hands, and if you are men of sense, and your souls are attuned to the high music of the spheres, you will say: "What is man that You are mindful of him?"

My God! When I survey the boundless fields of ether, and see those ponderous orbs rolling therein; when I consider how vast are Your dominions, so wide that an angel's wing might flap to all eternity and never reach a boundary—I marvel that You should look on insects so obscure as man!

I am so little that I shrink into nothingness, when I behold the Almightiness of Jehovah! So little, that the difference between the molecule and man dwindles into nothing, when compared with the infinite chasm between God and man.

Let your mind rove upon the great doctrines of the Godhead;
consider the existence of God from before the foundations of the world;
behold Him who is, and was, and is to come, the Almighty.

Let your soul comprehend as much as it can of the Infinite, and grasp as much as possible of the Eternal, and I am sure if you have minds at all, that they will shrink with awe.

The tall archangel bows himself before his Master's throne, and we shall cast ourselves into the lowest dust when we feel what base nothings, what insignificant specks we are—when compared with our all-adorable Creator.

Labor, O soul, to know your nothingness—and learn it by contemplating God's greatness!

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More than being our friend, helper, or benefactor!

(James Smith, "The Pastor's Morning Visit")  Play Audio!  Download

"I will be to them a God!" Hebrews 8:10

That is, to all His redeemed people.

I will be . . .
  the object of their adoration and trust,
  the subject of their meditation,
  and the source of all their happiness.

To be our GOD, is more than being our friend, helper, or benefactor (creatures may be so to us). He engages to do us good according to His all-sufficiency; to bestow upon us blessings which none else can!

He will pardon us; and pardon like a God!

He will sanctify us; and sanctify us like a God!

He will comfort us; and comfort us like a God!

He will glorify us; and glorify us like a God!

If He is our God; He is our All.

And all that He has is ours! He is our inheritance, and a glorious inheritance He is.

Consider, when . . .
  in danger,
  in darkness,
  in distress,
  in temptation,
  in duty, or
  in affliction,
God will be to you a God . . .
  delivering you,
  enlightening you,
  comforting you,
  strengthening you,
  sanctifying you.

Make a God of Him! Look to Him for all that He has promised—which is all that you need! Adore His Divine perfections, and rejoice that they are all engaged to make you eternally blessed.

Live to His glory, walk by His Word—and He will glorify Himself in your present and everlasting welfare. He rejoices to do good unto His people, He delights to bless them!

"I will be to them a God!" Hebrews 8:10

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The sweeter morsel for the worm!

(Charles Spurgeon, "The Profit of Godliness in the Life to Come")  Play Audio!  Download

How many live for that poor body of theirs which so soon must moulder back to the dust!

To dress,
to adorn themselves,
to catch the glance of the admirer's eye,
to satisfy public taste,
to follow fashion
—surely a more frivolous object in life never engrossed an immortal soul!

It seems as strange as if an angel should be gathering daisies, or blowing soap bubbles!

An immortal spirit living . . .
  to dress the body,
  to paint the face,
  to dye the hair,
  to display a ribbon,
  to show off a pin 
—is this the pursuit of an immortal being?

Yet tens of thousands live for little else!

As for earth's most lovely ones, how do time, and death, and the worm together, make havoc of them!

Take up yonder skull, just upturned by the sexton's careless  spade, and take it to the yonder beauty, and tell her, though she paints her face an inch thick, to this complexion she must come at last! All her dressing shall end in a shroud, and all her makeup and her dainty ornaments shall only make her the sweeter morsel for the worm!

Beloved friends, there is another life beyond this fleeting existence! Why then, do you waste your time and degrade your souls with these frivolities?

"But godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." 1 Timothy 4:8

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

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Beloved, are you in the fire?

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")  Play Audio!  Download

"Glorify the Lord in the fires!" Isaiah 24:15

The fires are afflictions. These are intended . . .
  to try us,
  to purify us, and
  to endear the Lord Jesus to us.

Every saint must pass through the fire, and our only concern should be to pass through honorably and usefully.

Beloved, are you in the fire?
Is the fire in your business?
Is the fire in your family?
Is the fire in your body?
Is the fire in your soul?

Wherever it is, let it be your one desire to glorify God in it. You may do so . . .
  by patiently enduring,
  by trusting the Lord's Word,
  by speaking of His character and love,
  by expecting His support and supplies,
  by holding fast your integrity.

Beware that you do not lose the benefit of the affliction, but cry mightily to God that it may be sanctified.

Have you never been in the fire? If you belong to Christ, you will be! "He will sit as a Refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver!" Malachi 3:3

They who are not purified in the furnace of affliction on earth, will be cast as reprobate silver into the fire of Hell forever!

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Christ's garden!

(Charles SpurgeonPlay Audio!  Download

"I have come into my garden, my sister, my spouse." Song of Solomon 5:1

The heart of the believer is Christ's garden. He bought it with His precious blood, and He enters it and claims it as His own.

A garden implies separation. It is not the open common, it is not a wilderness; it is walled around, or hedged in. Would that we could see the wall of separation between the church and the world made broader and stronger. It makes one sad to hear Christians saying, "Well, there is no harm in this; there is no harm in that," thus getting as near to the world as possible. Grace is at a low ebb in that soul which can even raise the question of how far it may go in worldly conformity.

A garden is a place of beauty, it far surpasses the wild uncultivated lands. The genuine Christian must seek to be more excellent in his life than the best moralist, because Christ's garden ought to produce the best flowers in all the world. Even the best is poor, compared with Christ's deservings; let us not put Him off with withering and dwarf plants. The rarest, richest, choicest lilies and roses ought to bloom in the place which Jesus calls His garden.

The garden is a place of growth. The saints are not to remain undeveloped, always mere buds and blossoms. We should grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Growth should be rapid where Jesus is the Gardener, and the Holy Spirit the dew from above.

A garden is a place of retirement. So the Lord Jesus Christ would have us reserve our souls as a place in which He can manifest Himself, as He does not unto the world. O that Christians were more retired, that they kept their hearts more closely shut up for Christ! We often worry and trouble ourselves, like Martha, with much serving, so that we have not the room for Christ that Mary had, and do not sit at His feet as we should. May the Lord grant the sweet showers of His grace to water His garden this day.

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The glorious effects produced by it!

(James Smith, "Paul's Determination" 1861)  Play Audio!  Download

Most men have some favorite subject, and Paul had his. Many subjects were embraced in his ministry—but one fixed his eye, filled his heart, and occupied most of his attention. We may be sure, from the wisdom he generally displayed, and the abundance of grace that he possessed, that it was an important and worthy subject. It was "Christ crucified!" Therefore alluding to his first visit to Corinth, he said, "I determined to know nothing while I was with you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:2. What a wondrous subject! What a wondrous Savior! Paul had seen glorious effects produced, by preaching it elsewhere. He knew that if this doctrine would not win them, and bring them back to God—nothing could.

We have been preaching and writing about Christ crucified for many years.
We have also seen the glorious effects produced by it. We have seen . . .
  the hardened, melted down into penitence and love;
  the miserable, made happy;
  the sorrowful, filled with comfort;
  the guilty, put in possession of pardon;
  the filthy, made pure and holy;
  the troubled, made calm and peaceful;
  and the cruel, made kind and gentle!

What an honor God confers upon you, by sending a message to you at all, especially such a message. It is . . .
a message of mercy, to miserable sinners;
a message of grace, to unworthy sinners;
a message of provision made, for very poor and needy sinners;
a message of comfort, for desponding sinners;
a message to alarm, for careless sinners;
a message to solemnly warn, for obstinate sinners;
an invitation to backsliders to return, that they may once more be happy and holy;
a message of encouragement, direction, and winning love—to those who believe in Jesus.

"I determined to know nothing while I was with you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

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Made for frivolities?

(Charles Spurgeon, "The One Thing Needful")  Play Audio!  Download

Were you made only to be a machine for digging holes, laying bricks, or cutting out pieces of wood? Were you created only to stand at a counter and measure or weigh out goods? Do you think your God made you for that and that only?

Is this the chief end of man: to earn so many dollars a week, and try to make ends meet?

Is that all immortal men were made for?

As a man with a soul, capable of thought and judgment—and not a mere animal like a dog, nor a machine like a steam engine; can you stand up and look at yourself, and say, "I believe I am perfectly fulfilling my destiny"?

God has made man that he may glorify Him, and whatever else man accomplishes, if he attains not to this end, his life is a disastrous failure!

Others are lovers of pleasure. They are merry as the birds, their life is as the flight of a butterfly, which lightly floats from flower to flower, according to its own sweet will.

It cannot be that an immortal spirit was made for frivolities, spending all its time on the playthings of the world!

So great a thing as an immortal soul could not have been made by God, with no higher object than to spend itself upon trifles as light as air.

Oh, pause a while, you careless, godless one!
There is something more than the fool's laugh.
All things are not a comedy.
Death and Heaven and Hell are serious, and should not life be?

The charms of music, the merriment of the mirthful assembly, the beauties of art, and the delights of banqueting; there must be something more for you than these. Something more must be required of you than that you should waste your precious time from morn to night upon nothing but to please yourself!

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

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Our sins forged the nails!

(James Smith, "The Grave of Jesus" 1861)  Play Audio! Download

"When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him." Luke 23:33

What brought Him there?

It was our sins—and His own infinite love!
Our sins alone could not, for He was not involved in them.
His love alone could not, for as innocent He could not die.

But out of His pure, infinite, and eternal love, He became answerable for our sins.
He engaged to bear them, atone for them, and remove them forever!

"He died for our sins!"
 He suffered, because we had sinned,
 He died, because we deserved to die, and
 He lay in the grave for a time, that we may not lie in Hell forever!

Our sins . . .
  forged the nails that fastened Him to the tree,
  planted the thorns that pierced His brow, and
  sharpened the spear that was thrust into His heart!

O what an evil must sin be—to bring the Son of God into such a state of suffering and humiliation!

O what love must the love of Jesus be—that induced Him to take our place, and suffer and die in our stead

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

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Stuffed Christians!

(Charles Spurgeon, "Life's Ever Springing Well")  Play Audio!  Download

"We are all Christians."

"Why, we belong to a Christian nation—are we not born Christians?"

"Surely we must be all right—we have always attended our parish church, is not that enough?"

"Our parents were always godly; we were born into the church, were we not? Did they not take us up in their arms when we were little, and make us members of Christ? What more do we lack?"

This is the common talk.

There is no Christian practice, there is no Christian habit—but what has been, or will be before long, imitated by people who have no vital godliness whatever.

A man may appear much like a Christian, and yet possess no vital godliness!

Walk through the British Museum, and you will see all the orders of animals standing in their various places, and exhibiting themselves with the utmost possible propriety. Every creature, whether bird, beast, or fish—remains in the particular glass case allotted to it. But you all know well enough that these are not the living creatures, but only the outward forms of them. Yet in what do they differ? Certainly in nothing which you could readily see, for the well-stuffed animal is precisely like what the living animal would have been. Yet you know well enough that there is a secret inward something lacking, which, when it has once departed, you cannot restore.

So in the churches of Christ, many professors are not living believers, but stuffed believers—stuffed Christians!

There is all the external of religion, everything that you could desire, and they behave with a great deal of propriety, too. They all keep their places, and there is no outward difference between them and the living, except upon that vital point: they lack spiritual life. This is the essential distinction—spiritual life is absent.

It is almost painful to watch little children when some little pet of theirs has died, how they can hardly realize the difference between death and life!

Your little boy's bird moped for awhile upon its perch, and at last dropped down in the cage. You remember how the little boy tried to set it up, and gave it seed, and filled its glass with water, and was quite surprised to think that birdie would not open his little eye upon his friend as it did before, and would not take its seed, nor drink its water!

Ah, you finally had to tell the poor boy that a mysterious something had gone from his little birdie, and would not come back again.

There is just such a spiritual difference between the mere professor, and the genuine Christian.

There is an invisible, but most real, indwelling of the Holy Spirit—the absence or the presence of which makes all the difference between the lost sinner and the saint.

John 6:63, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing!"

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Life quickly glides away!

(James Smith, "The Time is Short!" 1860)  Play Audio!  Download

"But this I say, brethren: the time is short!" 1 Corinthians 7:29

Our time on earth is short, and it is daily growing shorter!

Life quickly glides away, and death and eternity rapidly approaches.

In a little while we shall close our eyes on all the scenes of earth, and be done with all the concerns of time.

Few things fly swifter than time, or teach us more solemn lessons. Yet we slight them, and forget them, or fail to improve them. O for grace to derive comfort, reproof, and stimulus from the brevity of time.

"The time is short!" Then our troubles must be short, for they are all limited to time. They are the offspring of sin, and will not out-live their parent! Every trouble, leaves one the less to be endured. Soon the last trouble will arrive! Let us therefore . . .
  bear them with patience,
  endure them with fortitude, and
 rejoice in the prospect of bidding them an eternal farewell.
Our sharpest, severest trials, will soon be ended! And then all that will remain, will be eternal peace and joy!

"The time is short!" Then the pleasures of time will soon terminate!

As sweet as they are, they are all fleeting!

Prize them as we may, we must soon part with them. Not one of them will go with us beyond the dying bed. Let us not then, value them too highly, or set our hearts too much upon them.

Earthly comforts, worldly distinctions and honors, will soon have passed away. The rich and the poor will soon meet together in the graveyard. The peasant and the prince, the beggar and monarch, will alike slumber together in the dust. Let us then, if tempted to think too much of the worldly distinctions, or value too highly the comforts of life—remember that the time is short!

"The time is short!" Then Jesus will soon be here! How will many things appear, which now occupy our time, engross our attention, and steal away our hearts—when Jesus comes?

Believer, "the time is short," lift up your head with joy.
Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for. . .
  your tribulation will soon cease,
  your sorrow will soon flee away, and
  the days of your mourning shall be ended.

Time is the limit of your trials, temptations, and troubles.

Time is the limit of your conflicts, doubts, and fears.

Time is the limit of your pains, privations, and griefs.

Beyond time, all is . . .
  peace and pleasure,
  purity and perfection,
  happiness and rest!

Lift up then your head with joy, for your redemption, your eternal redemption draws near!

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

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The time has come for my departure!

(James Smith, "The Better Land")   Play Audio!  Download

"The time has come for my departure! I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day!" 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Aged believer, the time of your departure will soon come! Do not let your mind be troubled as to . . .
  where you shall die,
  when you shall die,
  or how you shall die!
These are all minor matters, and ought not to affect you.

Simply look at death as Jesus did: "Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world, and go to His Father!" John 13:1

Why should you regret to leave a poor world like this—where sin, sorrow, pain, grief, disappointment, and anxiety meet you at every turn? Why should you be reluctant to go HOME—to go to your Father?
Do you not want to see His face?
Do you not want to enjoy His company?
Do you not want to be perfectly happy in His presence?

"I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" Philippians 1:23

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The panacea for all the ills of life!

(James Smith, "The Spirit's Work in the Believer" 1861)  Play Audio!  Download

"The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace." Romans 8:6

Spirituality flows from the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit in the soul, who . . .
  kindles spiritual love,
  awakens spiritual desires, and
  produces spiritual devotion.

The Spirit's work in the believer consists:

1. In convincing us of sin, when we go astray from the right ways of the Lord.

2. In working repentance and sorrow within us, and leading us to confess and mourn over our sins before God.

3. In opening up and applying the Word of God, so that it . . .
  meets our case,
  feeds our faith,
  fires our love, and
  deepens our humility.

4. In exciting and drawing forth the soul in prayer, praise, and adoration at the throne of God, so that we sometimes . . .
  melt in contrition,
  are crumbled down in humiliation,
  and are almost dissolved in love.

5. In making us bold in God's cause, and giving us to feel liberty in His presence through faith in the blood of His dear son.

6. In giving us soul-refreshing glimpses . . .
  of the glorious person of Jesus,
  of the everlasting covenant,
  and of eternal glory!

7. In melting us down in sincere gratitude before God, under a sense of His undeserved favor.

8. In removing all legal fears, and causing holy peace to flow through the soul like a river.

9. In melting us in meekness, and producing sweet submission to the sovereign will of God.

10. In sweetly soothing and consoling under trials and bereavements; and enabling us to look heavenward with hope and joy.

11. In giving us sweet intimations of the love of God to us, by pleasing impressions and holy discoveries of His grace.

12. In witnessing to our adoption, awakening the cry of "Abba, Father!" in our hearts, and enabling us to claim a filial relationship to God.

13. In drawing forth our souls in love to God, under an overcoming sense of His free and unparalleled love to us.

14. In enabling us to mount upward as on the wings of an eagle, and to run with pleasure and delight in God's holy ways.

15. In quickening us to rejoice in the Lord, when all things around are calculated to fill us with despondency and gloom.

16. In producing perseverance in our souls, and enabling us to look away from the things which are seen and temporal—and to look to unseen and eternal realities.

The Spirit works within the Christian, teaching him daily to make use of Christ as the panacea for all the ills of life!

In all these things, and many more, the work of the Spirit in the experience of the believer appears.

Reader, do you know anything of these things in your own experience?
Is the Spirit daily working in your heart; and do you pay attention to . . .
  the lessons He teaches,
  the impressions He makes, and
  the direction in which He points?

O for more of the Spirit's work within us, that we may live to the praise and glory of Him who loved us, and died to redeem us from sin, death and Hell!

Holy Spirit, work in us more and more, teaching us Your truth and conforming us to Christ! O for more of Your power, love and holiness!

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He must afflict us!

(James Smith, "Afflictions Necessary" 1853) Play Audio! Download

"He does not afflict willingly." Lamentations 3:33

Here is a fact well known: the Lord afflicts His children. Trouble never springs out of the dust, nor do afflictions come by 'chance'. No! Every trial and affliction is sent from our Father's throne, and its direction is written by our Father's hand. He appoints the kind, the degree, and the direction of our afflictions.

We are afflicted with disappointments, losses, and crosses. None are exempt. None can always escape, for "the Lord tries the righteous." "Many are the afflictions of the righteous."

"He does not afflict willingly." He only grieves us from necessity. He has fixed His end, which is to make us holy, and to conform us to the image of His Son; from this, He will not be diverted, but He will surely accomplish it.

In the afflictions which He sends, God aims at . . .
  our deeper sanctification,
  or our greater usefulness,
  or simply at His own glory,
which is always linked with our good.

He therefore afflicts us to exercise our graces; these would otherwise often lie dormant, become weak, fade, and wither.

God afflicts His children to wean us from the world; to which we are too much attached, and would be more so, if it were not for trials, disappointments, and vexations.

God afflicts His children to  embitter sin; which is the prolific root on which every pain, grief and sorrow grows. 

God afflicts His children to endear the Savior; who is our solace in sorrow, and will be our glorious deliverer from it. Never does Jesus appear so precious, as in the hours of trouble and trial.

God afflicts His children to prevent our falling into temptation; which we would do more frequently, if we were not kept awake and watchful by our various sorrows.

God afflicts His children to fit us for usefulness; for as the land must be ploughed, harrowed, and crushed, if it is to be fruitful and supply our needs—just so must we be tempted, tried, and troubled, if we are to be of much use to man, or to bring much glory to God.

God afflicts His children to make us long for Heaven; which we seldom do when all is pleasant, bright, and sunny below.

If God loves us with an infinite love,
if He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son,
if He will make us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,
and if He will correct our faults and our follies
He must afflict us!

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What can be more difficult than this?

(James Smith, "Nothing Impossible" 1861)  Play Audio!  Download

"For with God, nothing shall be impossible!" Luke 1:37

Difficulties often crowd the believer's path, and trials line his way. Obstacles and opposition meet him at almost every turn. What to do at times he scarcely knows, for he has been disappointed so often, and is now so completely baffled, that his way is hedged up with thorns! Look whichever way he will, or to whatever quarter he may—there is something to discourage him, and cast him down!

It is of no use looking any way, or to any one—but to the Lord; and while looking to Him, it will be well to remember what the angel said to the blessed virgin, to excite and strengthen her faith: "For with God, nothing shall be impossible."

Look at the Fact. There are no impossibilities with God! He can do, as He will. He will do, all that He has promised. He has promised to do all that you can need or even wisely desire. In Mary's case, much faith was required; it was exercised and honored.

A virgin did bear a son.

That son was free from all taint of sin.

That son was divine.

That divine Son was the Savior of men.

What can be more difficult than this?

What should stagger us, after this?

Look at what God IS:
  look at His power and grace,
  look at His wisdom and wealth,
  look at His pity and compassion,
  look at His greatness and glory.

Look at what God has DONE:
  in nature, by His power,
  in providence, by His wisdom,
  in redemption, by His grace.

And looking at what God is and at what He has done, you must come to the conclusion, "With God, nothing is impossible!"

Let us use this fact for our own benefit. Nothing shall be impossible with God!
Not the conversion of that obstinate child.
Not that hardened husband.
Not that trying and degraded wife.
Not the restoration of that backslider as low as he may have sunk, and far as he may have gone.
Not the pardon of those sins, as great, glaring, and numerous as they may be.
Not the sanctification of that trouble, as deep, trying, and dreadful as it is.
Not the bringing of the greatest good out of that worst evil, though it may have alarmed and terrified you.
Not the perfecting of the soul in holiness, as sinful and polluted as it is at present.

No, nothing is too hard for the Lord! Therefore cheer up, press on; take up your cross or burden afresh, and bear it after Jesus.

Let this precious truth feed and strengthen your faith, that you may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Let it excite and animate your hope, that you may expect great things from God.

Let it stimulate you in prayer, that you may ask largely of God, and ask with confidence too.

Let it crush your fears, that you may press boldly on until you reach the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Let it stir you up to exertion, for as nothing shall be impossible to God, so nothing shall be impossible to you which you undertake with His sanction, and with a view to His glory.

Let it encourage and call forth praise, for how grateful and thankful we should be, that our God can do all things; and therefore will do for us, all that is necessary both in life and death.

Let us keep this sweet truth always in mind, and when cast down, chide our fears and excite our hopes, saying: "With God, nothing shall be impossible!"

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The Lord's care of His people

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")  Play Audio!  Download

"He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land." Hosea 6:3

The Lord's care of His people is incessant.

No parent was ever so vigilant over a precious and only child.

No gardener was ever so attentive to a delicate and favorite plant.

God visits, He watches, He supplies.

He studies our needs, and provides for each of them.

He says, "I, the LORD, watch over it; I water it continually." Isaiah 27:3

God's SUPPLY will be constant, in every season.
It will be suitable, like refreshing moisture to a thirsty plant.
It will be in small portions, as the gently falling rain.
It will be imperceptible, like the morning dews.
It is by these divine 'supplies' that our graces are kept alive.

If the Lord would cease to water, we would soon wither and die!

Our dependence on Him is absolute!

Our obligations to His love are infinite!

Let us not imagine that we are not watered, because we do not sensibly feel it. The constancy, and the gentle gradual manner in which we are supplied, render His loving care virtually imperceptible.

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God's way!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord's Household")  Play Audio!  Download

"He led them forth by the RIGHT WAY, to a city where they could settle!" Psalm 107:7

It was not the smoothest way,
nor the shortest way,
nor the most frequented way,
but it was the BEST way!

It was the only RIGHT way!

He intended to prove them, and to display His wonders, and this way afforded an opportunity for both.

Thus it is with all God's people.
He has marked out the way in His unerring wisdom,
He guides them into it,
He tries them by it,
He leads them along it, and
glorifies Himself by doing so!

God's way is always contrary to that which flesh and blood would choose.
We want . . .
  and honor.

But the Lord intends that we shall have . . .
  fortitude, and
  confidence in Himself alone.

His design is . . .
  to empty us,
  to strip us,
  to humble us,
  to force us before His throne of grace,
  to endear the adorable Savior,
  to sweeten the precious promises,
  to make Heaven more desirable!

And this He effects, by sanctifying the trials, the losses, the disappointments, and the troubles we meet with along the narrow way.

Beloved, is yours . . .
  a rough way,
  a trying path,
  a perplexing road?
It is the RIGHT way! The Lord is leading you, and He never leads wrong!

"He led them forth by the RIGHT WAY, to a city where they could settle!"

"They were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them!" Hebrews 11:16

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The old serpent is almost sure to be lurking in our path!

(James Smith, "The Great Deceiver!" 1861)  Play Audio!  Download

"That old serpent called the devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world."
Revelation 12:9

Our ENEMY. He is "that old serpent," full of subtlety, craft, and cunning. He is powerful, far beyond what most give him credit for, and brings the experience of six thousand years to bear upon his victims. None escape his notice, or remain unmolested by him.

He is full of bitter hatred to believers, because they love the Savior and desire to honor Him. His malice is deep and dreadful, which prompts him in every way to seek to injure them. He hates them because . . .
  they have escaped out of his hand,
  they oppose his kingdom and government;
  they hate sin, and pant and pray and strive for holiness.

He is a terrible foe, for he never wearies, and though foiled a thousand times, he will renew the attack! If he knows that he cannot devour us, he will do all he can to worry us; and though we may be off our guard, he is never off his.

His WORK. "He deceives the whole world." He deceives by misrepresenting objects.

He represents sin as harmless, painless, pleasant, and much to be desired.

He represents holiness as repulsive, injurious, gloomy, and undignified.

He represents man to himself as innocent, dignified, and deserving God's blessing.

He represents himself as man's friend, pitying, and wishing to elevate him, and make him happy.

He represents God as severe, cruel, revengeful, and almost implacable.

He represents the law as harsh, severe, and unnecessarily strict.

He represents the gospel as degrading to man, and very little better than the law.

He represents the Savior as a stern law-giver, an unbending judge, and one very difficult to please.

Indeed, every spiritual object is misrepresented by him!

Then by prejudices, errors, or superstition, he:
   blinds the mind,
   conceals the true nature of the gospel,
   and hides the Savior from man's view.
"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God!"

He makes use of all kinds of error, and all sorts of false teachers, to . . .
  hinder God's work,
  eclipse the glory of the gospel,
  and destroy the souls of men.
If he can lull the soul into false security, his end is answered, and the doom of the poor creature is sealed!

If we were not so ignorant of his devices, or did not forget his unwearied activity, deep rooted malice, and fixed determination by all means to ruin souls—we would not trifle with him as we do.

The Extent of His SUCCESS. "He deceives the whole world!" We were all under his dominion once. We loved his service, believed his lies; and, but for the mercy of God, would have surely perished in our sins!

All around us we see Satan working, deceiving, and leading souls captive at his will. This should make us think and act soberly, as Peter says: "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour! Stand firm against him, and be strong in the faith."

It should lead us to walk carefully, for the old serpent is almost sure to be lurking in our path!

It should lead us to examine diligently, lest we should be deceived; for if he deceives the whole world, with all its learning, shrewdness, and knowledge; we may well examine carefully, lest he deceive us!

It should lead us to pray fervently. Think of the power and subtlety of the old serpent! Have we not need to cry mightily to God, that he would:
  keep us by His power,
  shield us by His presence, and
  preserve us by His grace unto His kingdom and glory.

It should lead us to watch daily, for in a sense, we are always in danger! If we sleep, Satan does not! If we are off our guard, he is ready to take advantage, in order to injure us.

O for wisdom to resist Satan, and overcome him!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The almighty power of God is exerted!

(James Smith, "The New Creation" 1861)  Play Audio!  Download

"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature." 2 Corinthians 5:17

It is a miraculous thing to be a Christian, for real Christianity is the effect of a new creation! To make a Christian, requires the same power as to make a world; nothing less can raise a sinner from a death in trespasses and sins!

In every instance of real conversion, the almighty power of God is exerted!

The distinguishing PRIVILEGE of the believer, is that he is "in Christ." We were all originally in fallen Adam, and from his loins we flowed. No one is in Christ by nature, but only by an act of sovereign grace. Yet all Christians are in Christ, nor can anyone be a Christian without being vitally united to Christ.

As the manslayer fled to the city of refuge for safety—so does the believer flee to Christ.

As Noah entered into the ark for preservation from the deluge—so does the believer hide in Christ, that he may be preserved from the wrath to come.

As the branch is in the vine, supported and supplied by the vine, and forms a part of the vine—so is the believer in Christ, supported and supplied by Christ!

As the member is in the body, presided over by the head, and forms part of the body—so the Christian is in Christ, is presided over by Christ, and forms part of Christ. "For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones."

Christ dwells in the believer—as His temple.
The believer dwells in Christ—as his refuge, stronghold, and ark of safety.

The invariable RESULT of being in Christ, is that "he is a new creature."

Being in Christ, we are new created, and have a new LIFE—which is spiritual, derived from a new source, not from Adam but from Christ.

Being in Christ, we feed on new PROVISION—even the bread of life which came down from Heaven, and the living water which only Jesus can give.

Being in Christ, we are occupied with new SUBJECTS—which are placed before us by the gospel, and engage our thoughts, affections and time.

Being in Christ, we are engaged in new EMPLOYMENTS—we work the works of God, endeavor to do the will of God from the heart, and to glorify our glorious Savior.

Being in Christ, we walk in a new PATH—the way of holiness. We walk in newness of life. We walk with God, and desire to walk worthy of God, who has called us unto His kingdom and glory.

Being in Christ, we act from new MOTIVES—for the love of Christ constrains us, and we no longer labor for eternal life, because we have it; nor for Heaven, because we have already received a title to it; but as bought with a price, we desire only to glorify God in our acts and thoughts.

Being in Christ, we join a new SOCIETY—for we choose the company of the saints, whom we esteem as the excellent of the earth; and therefore we join ourselves to the disciples.

Being in Christ, we look for a new HEAVEN—and in order to the possession of it, we wait for Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.

O blessed state, to be in Christ! O glorious privilege and distinction, to be new creatures!

Union to Christ is of the greatest IMPORTANCE. Without this there is no eternal safety, no true dignity, no solid happiness. It is only as one with Christ:
  that we are justified,
  that we are sanctified,
  that we can be glorified.
Let us never rest satisfied with anything short of union to Christ, and that manifested in living fellowship with Christ.

Only by a new birth, only as born of the Spirit—can we come into the enjoyment of this blessed privilege, or enjoy this high distinction. Let no one therefore stop short of that thorough change of heart, which results from a saving union with the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Losses, crosses, disappointments and bereavements

(James Smith, "Christ Precious!" 1861)  Play Audio!  Download

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

Christ is especially precious to believers, when the emptiness of the world is discovered. The soul having tried the world, has found it . . .
  false and fickle,
  an empty cistern,
  a dry well,
  a cloud without water,
  only vanity and vexation of spirit!

The Christian has experienced that . . .
  the world's pleasures, end in pain,
  its honors, end in disgrace,
  and its wealth, ends in absolute poverty.

Now turning from the world, to Jesus, it finds . . .
  solid happiness,
  substantial pleasure,
  full supplies.

It obtains . . .
  a deep and lasting peace which passes all understanding,
  unsearchable riches in Christ, and
  honors which will never pass away.

O how precious is Jesus, when this world appears to be a valley of tears! Almost everything earthly is at times calculated to . . .
  cause sorrow,
  fill us with sadness,
  and draw forth tears.
Losses, crosses, disappointments and bereavements, all conspire to make us sad. Earth is to us a Valley of Achor, the place of trouble and sorrow.

Now turning to Jesus, we find a friend who loves at all times, and a brother born for adversity.
He makes up for every loss,
He sanctifies every disappointment,
and He fills for us every relation.

His presence is . . .
  like a flowing spring, in a dreary desert,
  like a cheering fire, on a piercing winter's night,
  and like a happy home, to the exhausted traveler.

O how precious is Jesus now!