Grace Gems for AUGUST, 2022

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The sufferings of this present time!

(James Smith, "No Comparison!" 1862)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!" Romans 8:18

Paul compares present sufferings, with future glory.

Believers are exposed to all kinds of suffering—and instead of obtaining an exemption from afflictions, they are assured that it is through much tribulation that they must enter into the kingdom of God.

Some endure inward suffering, with which no one is fully acquainted but God Himself. They have such darkness, gloom, distress, agitation, trouble, and sorrow—as would not be easy to describe.

Some suffer much in body, from the stressed and disordered state of the nervous system, from chronic diseases, or deformities in the physical frame. They seldom move without suffering, and for years together have but little freedom from weakness and pain. They live a life of suffering, a kind of dying life, and think much of Heaven as of a place where there is no more pain.

Some suffer much financially. Scarcely anything seems to prosper with them, losses, crosses, and opposition meet them at every turn. And though they live honestly, and conduct their business honorably—they are thwarted, hindered, and filled with perplexity. No one can tell what they suffer from financial trials and difficulties.

Others suffer from reproach, misrepresentation, strife, and persecution in the world, or in the Church, or both! No one seems to understand them, or is prepared to sympathize with them; they are like "a sparrow alone upon the house-top." False friends and open enemies unite to trouble and distress them, so that they often sigh, and say, "O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at rest!"

Others in the domestic circle, or from some of the relationships of life, are called to suffer long and seriously.

But whether from trouble of mind, sickness of body, trials in business, family difficulties, or persecution for Christ's sake, all suffer, and most believers suffer much!

But compare their present sufferings, with their future glory:
Glory which will exclude all pain and suffering; all sin and sorrow!
Glory beyond the reach of all foes and the cause of all trouble!
Glory which includes happiness; perfect, perpetual, never-ending happiness!
Glory which includes honor; the highest, holiest, and most satisfying honor!
Glory, or splendor, which will fill the soul, clothe the body, and dignify the entire person forever!

Filled with light, peace, and joy; clothed with beauty, brightness, and magnificence, they will appear with Christ in glory, filling them with wonder and unutterable delight!

This glory will be possessed by us, as part of our marriage portion and inalienable inheritance. But we can form no adequate idea of that glory, for "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him!" 1 Corinthians 2:9

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Paul's criterion

(James Smith, "The Believer's Triumph" 1862)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Romans 8:9

This is Paul's criterion. No matter what a man has, if he does not have the Spirit of Christ—"he does not belong to Christ!"

This divine agent, as the Spirit of Christ, always convinces the soul of its need of Christ. He always leads to the cross of Christ! He will not allow the soul to stop at, or rest in, sacraments, ceremonies, or any duties it may perform.
He points to the cross.
He leads to the cross.
He fixes the sinner's eye upon the cross.
He brings peace to the soul through the cross.
He dedicates and devotes the sinner to God's service at the cross.
Every one who has the Spirit of Christ, knows something of the worth, virtue, and efficacy of the cross of Christ.

The Spirit of Christ always conforms to the image of Christ. Christ is the model after which the Spirit works; and by the Word and ordinances, by providence and His own inward operations—He stamps the likeness of Christ upon the soul. He fixes the eye on Jesus, who, as a mirror, represents and sets forth the glory of God; and by looking at Jesus, a divine transformation takes place, and we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Unless, therefore, we have been taught our need of Christ as a Savior; unless we have been led to the cross of Christ to seek salvation there; unless we are in some degree conformed to Christ, and are daily seeking more conformity—we have not the Spirit of Christ. "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."

The Spirit of Christ is the great proof that we are Christ's. There may be much feeling, a moral reformation, and a profession of religion, without this. But if we have the Spirit of Christ, our thoughts will be engaged with Him, our hearts will be going out to Him, and we shall at times long to depart that we may be with Him, and see Him as He is!

The Spirit of Christ always renders Christ precious, and produces the highest possible esteem of Him.

The Spirit of Christ always makes its possessor like Christ. Not perfectly, here on earth—yet He kindles and keeps alive a desire for perfect likeness. This is the great, the grand, the habitual aim of the soul, always and everywhere—to be like Christ!

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SELF is always the carnal man's god

(James Smith, "The Believer's Triumph" 1862)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:8

No lost sinner, while carnal, while minding the things of the flesh, can ever please God. He cannot . . .
  at any time, either in youth or old age;
  in any place,  either common or sacred;
  under any circumstances, of either sickness or health;
  at any season, either in life or death.

Man is totally depraved. He is wholly fallen. The whole head is sick; the whole heart is faint. The leprosy cleaves to him, has spread over him, and dried up all the moral and vital moisture of the soul. The man is therefore lost, wholly lost, eternally lost—unless God interposes for his rescue!

All that he does while he is so, is displeasing to God.
"The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord." Proverbs 21:27
"The plowing of the wicked is sin." Proverbs 21:4

He has no faith, and "without faith it is impossible to please God." In all his prayers, tears, alms-deeds, and other good works—there is something that is displeasing to God. It is like the offering of Cain; for the person must be reconciled to God, before the sacrifice can be accepted by God. Until then he cannot please God, for he cannot set his heart to do it. He may try, but the innate disposition of the heart while carnal, will be too strong for him, and will lead him to break through all his vows, promises, and resolutions.

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My shield!

(James Smith, "Wealth for Souls" 1859)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

The privileges of the godly are many and great, but this is an especial one:
"My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart!" Psalm 7:10

This implies exposure to foes—Satan, evil men, and death; against these we need defense.

It implies opposition—and the opposition of our foes is great, daring, and deadly.

It implies danger to be apprehended—because we are weak, timid, and unskillful; and our foes are strong, daring, and experienced.

Our safety therefore, stands in what the Lord is to us; He is our shield, and such a shield as no one besides has, or can have.
He is omniscient to see all our foes and dangers.
He is omnipresent to help us at all times, and against all opposers.
He is omnipotent to defend us, and secure us from all evil.
He is faithful to fulfill His word, and carry out His engagements.
He will come between the believer and danger.
He will preserve the trusting soul from all real injury.
He will protect the upright in heart everywhere, and at all times.

What a mercy! What an unspeakable privilege is this!

"You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and shield." Psalm 115:11

O for grace:
  to trust the Lord with all,
  to trust the Lord for all, and
  to trust the Lord under all!

Holy Spirit, strip us . . .
  of all confidence in the flesh,
  of all reliance on man, and
  of all trust in circumstances;
and bring us by Your divine and holy teaching, to trust in the Lord alone!

"He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge!" Psalm 144:2

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(James Smith, "Heaven!" 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio
N.B. This gem is 7 minutes long, but it is the best thing on Heaven that we have ever read.

"You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!" Psalm 16:11

HEAVEN! What is it?
It is . . .
  God's residence,
  the Savior's home,
  our Father's house,
  a paradise of pleasure,
  a temple of worship, and
  the residence of perfect purity and peace!

There . . .
  God unveils His glory,
  the Savior exhibits His charms,
  the angels perform their service, and
  the saints are entirely happy with their God.

In Heaven . . .
  sin is banished,
  holiness is perfected,
  life is a continual feast, and
  mortality is swallowed up in life!

From Heaven . . .
  all pain is banished,
  all enemies are excluded, and
  all causes of sorrow are shut out!

In Heaven . . .
  all our prayers are answered,
  all our desires are gratified, and
  all our needs are supplied.
There is no weeping, wailing or wishing there.

In Heaven . . .
  our knowledge will be perfect,
  our happiness will be abiding,
  our pleasures will be ever new.

In Heaven we shall . . .
  see Jesus,
  be with Jesus, and
  be like Jesus, forever!

HEAVEN! Who are there?
All tried and tempted followers of Jesus are there.
All doubting and fearing disciples of Jesus are there.
All poor and despised believers are there.
Multitudes, who felt totally unworthy of such glory, and feared they would never reach the place—are there.

All who were chosen by the Father,
all who were redeemed by the Son, and
all who were sanctified by the Holy Spirit—are there.

HEAVEN! What do they enjoy there? Who can answer this question, but one who has been there; and he would need a new language to state, and new figures to represent the enjoyments of Heaven. They enjoy rest from their pains, and a full supply of all their needs. They enjoy perfect satisfaction, a fullness of joy, and pleasure forevermore. They . . .
  see all that they believed,
  realize all that they hoped for,
  and possess all that they loved.

They have . . .
  health, without sickness;
  pleasure, without pain;
  and holiness, without sin.

Every sense is gratified, every power is pleasurably employed—and they are perfectly and perpetually happy!

O Heaven, in you there is . . .
  no tempting devil,
  no ensnaring world,
  no indwelling corruption,
  no doubts, fears, or misgivings!
  And best of all, there is no sin!

O Heaven, in you I shall . . .
  see my God,
  possess my Savior, and
  enjoy the fullness of the Holy Spirit!

O my God, in Heaven I shall be satisfied—for I shall be with You, serving and enjoying You without weariness or cessation!

HEAVEN! Who will yet get to Heaven? Who? Ah, perhaps many we little think of! We shall miss many whom we expected to find there—and find many whom we never expected would reach that glorious place!

Who will go to Heaven?
That poor man who is striving against sin, mourning over corruption, and loathing himself before God.
That poor woman, who sighs because she sins, pants for perfect holiness, and clings to the cross of Jesus.
Do you see that poor soul on his knees, confessing his transgressions, pleading for pardon, and seeking grace to sanctify his nature—he will go to Heaven.
Do you see that lowly Christian who is visiting the sick, pointing sufferers to the cross, and trying to alleviate human woe, out of love to Jesus—he will go to Heaven.
Do you see that Sunday School teacher, who, after a hard week's work, is regularly in his class, speaking loving words in tender tones, to win the little ones for the Savior—he will go to Heaven.
Do you see that preacher who exalts Christ in his ministry, honors the gospel in his life, and travails in birth for souls—he will go to Heaven.

Heaven will be peopled by all who believe in Jesus, love the brethren, and worship God in Spirit and in truth. There will be a numberless multitude there, all . . .
  deeply indebted to free mercy,
  washed in the Savior's blood,
  and sanctified by the Spirit's grace!

Reader, there is a way—but only one way to Heaven! Only those found in that way will ever reach it! You yourself, may be within an hour or two of either Heaven or Hell! Do you know which? If called away suddenly, to which would you go? You have a Heaven to obtain, or a Hell to endure—to all eternity! Which shall it be? O that you were wise, that you properly realized this, that you would consider your latter end!

Heaven with all its glories, or Hell with all its horrors—must be your eternal portion! If you despise the Savior, make light of the Gospel, and neglect God's great salvation—then Hell, an eternal Hell, with all its unspeakable horrors, is your portion!

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

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(James Smith, 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"The rich man also died and was buried. In Hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him: Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire!" Luke 16:22-24

HELL! What is it?
It is God's great prison, where His criminals are confined.
It is the place of punishment, where the wages of sin are paid.
It is the house of despair, the residence of desperation,
  the dwelling-place of the worm that never dies.
It is called the lake of fire, burning with brimstone.
It is a place of terrible torture, dreadful agony, and soul-racking remorse.
never enters there.
is never enjoyed there.
  Light never shines there.
But all is pain, gloom, restless agony, and indescribable torment!
There is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth—forever!

HELL! Who are there?
The rich man at whose gate Lazarus lay, is there.
who betrayed Jesus, is there.
who slew his brother, is there.
who preferred the world to Christ, is there.
The covetous and thieves are there!
The immoral and liars are there!
The proud and vain are there!
All who made light of the Gospel are there!
All who neglected the great salvation are there!
All who worshiped the Roman beast are there!
And they are all "tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb! The smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever, and they have no rest day nor night!"

Many perhaps whom you have known are there!
Some of our relations even may be there!
Old friends
of ours may be there.
Some who lived in the same street, met in the same place of worship, and whom we once hoped to meet in Heaven, are there!

Who are there? Why, we were nearly there ourselves!
We lay at the entrance of Hell!
We were within a few inches of Hell!
A slight accident, a stroke, or a disease, would have sent us there.
Yes, but for free and sovereign grace, WE would have been in Hell!

"Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying!" Revelation 22:15

HELL! What do they suffer there? No tongue can tell, no pen can write, no heart can conceive—what lost souls suffer in Hell! Who can tell what the unmixed wrath, the fiery indignation, the endless curse of Almighty God is? Who can set forth what sin deserves, and what is the obstinate sinner's due!

They weep, they wail, they gnash their teeth.
They are tormented in eternal flames.
In every member of the body, in every power of the soul, the lost in Hell will suffer. Memory, conscience, and the imagination, will especially increase their agonies! And hopeless despair will render their doom indescribably dreadful!

What do they suffer in Hell? Tell! O tell me:
  what God can justly inflict,
  what an immortal man can bear,
  what the threatenings of the violated law require,
  and how devils can add to the torments of lost souls,
and I will tell you what they may suffer in Hell!

But, O! may you never know in your own experience what lost souls have to endure, and endure forever! Could we but lift the veil that conceals that awful place from our view, and see but for five minutes the agonies of those in Hell—we would never forget the sight! Our flesh would tremble, our hair would stand up on our heads, and our souls would be paralyzed with horror!

HELL! Who will yet go to Hell?
Who? Perhaps the reader of these lines!
Who? ah, perhaps many of whom we have now no suspicion!
Will any of our children go there?
Will any of our brothers or sisters go there?
Will any of the members of the church go there?
Will any of this congregation go there?

Who will go there?
All liars shall have their part in the lake that burns with brimstone and fire.
All swearers, all drunkards, will find a place set apart in Hell for them.
All immoral people; all covetous and dishonest people—all will find a place in Hell prepared for them.

Who will go to Hell? All who live and die impenitent; "for unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish!" All unbelievers; for "he who believes not shall be damned!" All who are in their natural state; for "unless a man is born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

Without faith in Christ, and repentance toward God,
without love to God and man, the proof and evidence of the new birth,
without union to Christ, and the possession of the Spirit of Christ
—there is no escaping the wrath to come, the person must go to Hell! O solemn consideration! Let a man therefore examine himself, whether he is in the faith; let each man and woman prove their own selves, and see if Christ is in them.

HELL! How may we escape it? Only by fleeing to Jesus, by believing in Jesus, and receiving the Spirit of Jesus. No one can save us but Jesus, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby we can be saved. Jesus has done all that is necessary to save souls from Hell, and He is ready to put on our account, what He has done for us—whenever we go to Him, plead with Him, trust in Him, and commit our souls to Him. We need not go to Hell, for Jesus is both able and willing to save us; and yet we must go to Hell, unless we apply to Him, to be saved by Him.

As therefore Hell is so dreadful; as the punishments of Hell are eternal; as once lost, we are lost irrecoverably, as no one can save us but Jesus, and as Jesus will only save those who make personal application to Him—let us at once, with all our hearts and souls, apply to Christ! "Behold! now is the accepted time. Behold! now is the day of salvation." Let us then "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon!" Isaiah 55:6-7

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(James Smith, "Sunny Subjects for All Seasons" 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

How important is a spirit of prayer! It is . . .
  the proof of regeneration,
  the manifestation of grace in our hearts, and
  the evidence our title to mansions in the skies!

Prayer is . . .
  the breath of the renewed soul,
  the beating of the sanctified heart,
  the effect of the life of God within us. 

O that I had prayed more!

Prayer should become a habit with us, then everything would furnish us with matter for prayer. Prayer should mingle with our pleasures and our pains, with our labor and our rest. O for more prayer!

We should never do, what we cannot pray God to bless. 

We should never go, where we cannot ask God to go with us.

If we would hold fast our profession,
if we would adorn the gospel,
if we would honor Jesus, 
if we would enjoy our mercies,
if we would get good by our trials,
if we would see all things working together for good,
if we would conquer Satan,
if we would overcome the world,
if we would crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts
—we must pray!

Prayer, if it is believing prayer . . .
  opens Heaven to us, 
  unveils the glorious face of God, 
  brings down foretastes of the joys of paradise,
  makes us a match for all our foes,
  enables us patiently to carry every cross, and with perseverance to climb and pass over the loftiest hills we meet with on our heaven-bound pilgrimage!

Those who pray, will, by deriving strength from Heaven, by drawing down wisdom from above, withstand every storm, and shout God's praises at last.

Tempted Christian—pray, and you will overcome every temptation.

Troubled Christian—pray, and God will deliver you out of every trouble.

Perplexed Christian—pray, and God will make your way plain before your face.

Doubting Christian—pray, and God will disperse your doubts, and chase your fears away.

Trembling Christian—pray, and God will strengthen you with strength in the soul.

Sick Christian—pray, and God will make all your bed in your affliction.

Dying Christian—pray, and death will lose all its terrors, and you will gently fall asleep in Jesus.

Lost sinner—pray, for God who heard the publican and justified him, will hear you and save you.

O for the grace of prayer, that we may in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present our requests to God.

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2

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Surely, the very devils will laugh that sinner to scorn to all eternity!

(James Smith, "Sunny Subjects for All Seasons" 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." 1 John 5:11

What a wonderful display of divine benevolence is this! What an extraordinary exhibition of sovereign love, to rebel sinners such as we are!

"You will not come to Me, that you might have life!" John 5:40. Rejecters of Christ are ungrateful, inexcusable and suicidal. How can we properly represent the blackness of that ingratitude which refuses to come to Jesus for eternal life! Surely, surely, no one can pity the sinner who dies because he will not receive a pardon, because he will not have eternal life!

Sinner, if you perish, you are a suicide! You die by your own hand! You die because you will not come to Jesus, and have eternal life. Such conduct must certainly be inexcusable. Surely, the very devils will laugh that sinner to scorn to all eternity, who goes to Hell from beneath the sound of the everlasting gospel.
He would not have eternal life!
He would not go to Heaven!
There was the gate, but he would not pass through it.
There was the road, but he would not travel it.
There was eternal life offered, but he would not have it.
He would go to Hell.
He was determined to do so.
He chose death and damnation in his erroneous way.
He would not be stopped, either by the invitations of divine mercy, or the threatenings of divine wrath!

No offer of eternal life was ever made to devils after they had fallen; so that they are more excusable in one sense than the sinner who perishes, because he will not come unto Jesus, and have life.

What a thought is this! There is an enormity about the sin of rejecting eternal life by Christ, not even to be found in the sin of devils!

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Poor Jack!

(James Smith, 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

A few years ago it pleased the Holy Spirit to work a saving change in the heart of a poor sailor while out at sea. Jack knew nothing of real religion, nor had he one on board with him to whom he could open his mind. Convinced of sin, afraid of Hell, he was terrified and alarmed and knew not what to do. He prayed, obtained a Bible, read it, and sunk still deeper into distress of soul. At length all hope that he could be saved was taken away, and self-despair seized him. He considered his case to be singular, and was now tempted to drown his convictions in the intoxicating cup, and then to end his miserable life by suicide.

At length, when he had done business in these deep waters of despair for a time, the Holy Spirit revealed Jesus to his soul as an able and willing Savior; and, committing himself entirely to Jesus, to be saved wholly by him—he found peace with God and was filled with unspeakable joy.

In this state of mind he reached the port, and soon inquired where he could hear the Gospel. He was directed to a place of worship where a friend of mine was preaching. When Jack entered, he was all eyes and ears. The first hymn was full of Christ, and poor Jack felt his heart swell. In the prayer, the minister appeared to speak the very feelings of Jack's soul. As sweet as the first hymn was, the second appeared to be sweeter, and the tears flowed down poor Jack's cheeks!

At length the minister arose to announce his text, which was Colossians 3:11, and fixing his eyes on the poor sailor, he emphatically pronounced the words, "Christ is all!" When the minister once more said, "Christ is all!" Jack could contain himself no longer and at the top of his voice, Jack shouted, "And poor Jack's nothing at all!"

This was just the poor sailor's religion, "Jesus Christ is all in all, and poor Jack is nothing at all!" And this is the religion of every one who is taught of God!

The work of the Holy Spirit has a twofold tendency: to humble the sinner, and exalt the Savior! And just in proportion as we are taught by the Spirit of God, shall we have low views of ourselves, and high thoughts of Christ. As the sinner sinks, the Savior rises in his estimation.

Christ is all that the sinner needs, and all that the saint desires. He is a perfect Savior, and an infinite portion. Christ has all, and gives all that we can need:
  his blood procures our pardon,
  his righteousness secures our justification,
  his Spirit sanctifies our nature, and
  his fullness supplies all our needs!

He is just suited to the sinner, and the sinner is just suited to him. He loves to save, to save freely, to save perfectly, and to save forever. And the sinner who is taught of God, feels that he needs just such a Savior. And this makes the Gospel so sweet and precious to every truly convinced sinner, because it proclaims as from the mouth of God, that the Lord Jesus is a perfect Savior, a present Savior, a willing Savior—who never did, and never will, cast out one that comes to him.

Reader, are you truly saved? If so, your religion is the same as poor Jack's, and you can say:
"I am a poor sinner and nothing at all,
 And Jesus Christ is all in all!"

You must be brought to this, before you can be saved, for salvation is entirely of grace, and grace only saves the unworthy. Grace will save you, if you feel that you are lost, and unable to do anything toward your own salvation, and are willing to be saved gratuitously through simple faith in Christ. Anyone may be saved in this way, but there is no possibility of being saved in any other way; for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we can be saved. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved!" For, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him!"

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Last night Sam was at "The Fighting Rooster"

(James Smith, "God is Merciful" 1858)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"God is merciful!" said old Mrs. Jenkins, as she came from the funeral home where drunken Sam Voller was just laid out. Last night Sam was at "The Fighting Rooster" and drank too much beer, then he quarreled, a fight followed, and Sam got an unlucky blow—and now he has gone to appear before his Maker, to give an account of his deeds!

Yes, Mrs. Jenkins, God is merciful, but not always. God is merciful, but not to all. There was no mercy for the world of the ungodly, who perished in the flood. Nor was there any mercy for the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, who were consumed by fire from Heaven.

Neither can we see, though we do not wish to judge harshly of our poor fellow-creatures, how there could be mercy for Sam, who lived in sin, died in sin, and died in consequence of his sin. "He who confesses and forsakes his sin, shall find mercy." But how can he hope for mercy, who hardens himself in sin, and perseveres in it until summoned to appear before God to give an account of it?

"There is mercy with God, that He may be feared"—not that He may be trifled with, and insulted to His face!

Mercy may now be obtained by anyone and everyone who seeks it. But the Lord, who is now so merciful and gracious, will by and by manifest His wrathful indignation; and say to those who now refuse to come when He calls them, "Depart from me, you cursed ones, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels!" Terrible words, called forth by persevering in sin, and inflicting a terrible doom! May no reader of these lines, ever endure the threatening contained in them!

In vain for mercy now they cry;
In lakes of liquid fire they lie!
There on the flaming billows tossed,
Forever! O, forever, lost!

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The glorious gospel of Christ!

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"The glorious gospel of Christ!" 2 Corinthians 4:4

The gospel is a glorious revelation of divine grace—a manifestation of the purpose and good pleasure of God, to save sinners in harmony with, and to the honor of all His divine perfections.

The gospel contains . . .
  the loftiest doctrines,
  the largest promises, and
  the freest invitations conceivable!

The gospel exhibits the Lord Jesus Christ, in . . .
  the glory of His person,
  the depth of His love,
  the vastness of His merit, and
  His infinite willingness to save the vilest sinners!

The gospel is a proclamation . . .
  of peace by the blood-shedding of God incarnate;
  of a full, free, and complete salvation—for all who truly believe on His name;
  of a glorious inheritance, an everlasting kingdom, and a crown of glory—as a free gift for the vilest of men! Or in other words, the gospel is the good news of pardon, peace, protection, and everlasting life—for all who are willing to receive and enjoy them!

In the gospel . . .
  God's heart is laid bare,
  the fullness of Christ is thrown open, and
  miserable souls are invited to come and be made eternally happy!

The gospel contains . . .
  God's kindest thoughts,
  God's wisest plans,
  God's most gracious promises, and
  God's fullest revelation of Himself!

The gospel is . . .
  balm for sinners' wounds,
  solace for the troubled conscience,
  and the remedy for a sin-broken heart!

The gospel is God's powerful instrument, through which He . . .
  raises the dead in sin,
  enlightens the blind mind,
  pardons the guilty,
  cleanses the filthy heart,
  heals the sin-sick soul, and
  makes the miserable, eternally happy!

In a word, the gospel reveals . . .
  all that God can give,
  all that man can need, and
  all that the child of God can enjoy!

Yet many spurn the gospel . . .
 some on account of its simplicity,
 some on account of its spirituality,
 and some on account of its purity.

The gospel lays man in the dust, and places God on the throne! It places man as a sinner, at the sovereign disposal of God. It will yield nothing to man's pride, and pays no compliment to man's supposed goodness or abilities.

If a man is saved at all . . .
  it is of grace alone,
  it is by Christ alone,
  it is to God's honor alone!

The gospel despises the wisdom of the world, and puts . . .
  the rich and the poor,
  the moral and immoral,
  the learned and illiterate
—on the same level!
The pride of man cannot tolerate this!

The gospel must be experimentally known by the teaching of the Holy Spirit—before it will be loved, prized, and practiced as it ought!

Do WE personally and experimentally know the gospel?
Have we tasted its sweetness, as well as felt its power?
Is it to us, more desirable than gold, even the finest gold?
Is it sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb?

Have we received the gospel with a demonstration of the Spirit's power? Has it . . .
  enlightened our judgments,
  purified our hearts, and
  corrected our lives?

"The glorious gospel of the blessed God!" 1 Timothy 1:11

   ~  ~  ~  ~

A Seasonable Prescription

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio  Watch Video

As we Christians advance in life, and know more of human nature and the power of temptation—the greater interest should we take in the young, and the more urgently should we seek their salvation. It is a lovely sight to see aged Christians endeavoring to bring young people to the Savior. And this we ought constantly to see, for they know the power . . .
  of youthful lusts,
  of the world's attractions,
  of Satanic influence,
  of the deceitfulness of the heart,
  and the value of the immortal soul!

Aged friends, do you feel and act, as you should for the young? Do you do all that you can to snatch them as brands from the burning?

Solomon was an old man when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, and in that book he manifests great solicitude for the young. Again and again he addresses them in different ways, but with what touching and subtle irony does he speak to them in one place: "Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see. BUT KNOW that for all these things, God will bring you to judgment!" Ecclesiastes 11:9

The Youth's Practice. He is happy in his youth, in his physical vigor, personal attractions, and newly acquired liberty. Feeling strong, he puts the day of judgment far from him. Vain of his person, he is proud of his appearance and abilities. Freed from the restraints of home, he removes the reins from the neck of his lusts. His heart cheers him on, and urges him forward in the pursuit of folly! He walks in the way of his heart, which is always evil. He is ignorant of its powers of deception. He is therefore deceived by the corrupt principles that work within it. He hushes his conscience to sleep, or by violence constrains it to be silent.

He then yields to the alluring influence of the world. And while so doing, Satan tempts him to proceed farther and farther, plotting his eternal damnation!

He does what he thinks best in his own eyes, allowing them to mislead him. He walks by sight, not according to God's Word. He is led away by appearances, and despises the counsel and example of the godly. He refuses to listen to, or be guided by the advice of parents. He despises, or slights, the preacher's admonition, and will be a law unto himself. He chooses vain people for his companions, and follows the example of the foolish! Let us now listen to:

The Preacher's Prescription. "Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see. BUT know that for all these things, God will bring you to judgment!"

Take your own course, if you are determined.

Go on in the way which you prefer, if you think it best.

Persevere in the path that you have chosen.

BUT KNOW that there is an end to your course, and that end is a judgment!

The judgment day is fixed, and it is therefore certain.

The judge stands at the door, it is therefore near.

The dead, small and great, shall stand before God—it is therefore universal.

Every one of us shall give account of himself before God, it is therefore personal.

Before this final judgment, shall be gathered all nations—it will therefore be open and public.

God will judge in justice and uprightness, it will therefore be righteous.

It will be the great day, the last day—and will therefore be final.

"BUT KNOW that for all these things, God will bring you to judgment!"

You will not be able to escape!

You will not be overlooked or forgotten!

You will be personally summoned, and there will be no evading!

Death will arrest and cast you into prison. From thence, the angels will bring you out, and Jesus will judge you! For "He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness, by the Man He has appointed!" Acts 17:31

Young man! Young woman! To you is this word of solemn admonition sent! See how many young people are being called away by death! Fatal diseases and accidents—how common. Sudden deaths—how frequent. It is very probable that God may soon call for YOU! How necessary then that you be ready, for death very often gives but a short notice, or no notice!

  God warns you by His providence;
  He directs you in His Word;
  He invites you by His ministers;
  and He will judge you by His Son!

Whenever therefore you are tempted to indulge in any unholy amusement or practice, remember these words: "BUT KNOW that for all these things, God will bring you to judgment!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I am God, and not man!

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"I will not carry out My fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Israel. For I am God, and not man; the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath!" Hosea 11:9

Thus spoke the Lord when assigning a reason for not executing the fierceness of His wrath upon guilty and rebellious Israel. A God can do, what a man cannot; and a God can bear, what a man cannot. God always acts in accordance with the grandeur, glory and greatness of His nature.
Every thought of His heart,
every word of His mouth, and
every work of His hand
—is worthy of Himself!

If we bear this in mind, it will . . .
  fortify our minds,
  strengthen our faith,
  and comfort our souls.

Why does God not cut down the wicked immediately?
Because He is God, and not man.

Why does He chasten His people so greatly, and allow them to suffer so much?
Because He is God, and not man.

Let us meditate on this declaration of our God for a few moments.

"I am God, and not man," and therefore I am infinitely patient, and not soon moved to take vengeance upon My sinful and rebellious creatures!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore I am ready to forgive, and receive back the returning prodigal to My heart and home!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore I receive great sinners, taking to My heart and putting among My children, such despicable ones as no one else would notice or regard!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore I pardon again and again—not only first offences, but repeated transgressions, forgiving and forgetting them forever!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore bear with such numerous affronts, such gross ingratitude, such inexcusable conduct, in My own people!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore I invite, entreat, and beseech such base backsliders to return unto Me, and prove the power and freeness of My forgiving love!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore I save freely, fully and forever—such degraded, depraved, and desperate sinners, to the praise of the glory of My grace!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore I remain faithful to My promises and covenant engagements, amidst all the changes and faithlessness of My fickle people!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore I give such rich, costly, priceless gifts—to the poor, destitute, and unworthy sinners!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore I hear, accept and answer—such poor, imperfect, and worthless prayers, which, no one else could tolerate, much less approve!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore I work such wonders—wonders in providence, and wonders in grace; wonders in the world, and wonders in the heart!

"I am God, and not man," and therefore, I have prepared such mansions, and will confer such a glorious kingdom, on sinners who have no claim upon Me, nor the least reason to expect any good thing from Me!

Yes, because He is Jehovah and changes not, therefore we poor, sinning, changeable creatures are not consumed!

Believer, to you the Lord says, "I am God, and not man!" Therefore expect from Him as God, and act toward Him as God! He can do exceedingly and abundantly above all that you can ask or think! Do not measure His heart by yours—but remember that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His thoughts higher than your thoughts, and His ways than your ways!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Home sweet home! There is no place like home!

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"These all died in faith . . . they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth" Hebrews 11:13

The day of life with them is ended.
Its duties are ended.
Its responsibilities are past.
Its hours are fled away.

What a trying day some of them had! How stormy. How sultry. How often overcast. How gloomy. But it is now past, and past forever! The toils of the wilderness are over! They had much to afflict and pain them . . .
  a difficult and dangerous journey,
  a long wearisome march,
  many a heavy cross to carry,
  many a stubborn foe to face,
  many a painful doubt,
  numerous gloomy fears.

But now the wilderness is all behind them! The afflictions of the pilgrimage are terminated. Those sufferings were sharp, and some of them continued long. Many of them were endured in secret without sympathy, and without relief. They were soul sorrows, agony of mind—as well as sharp pains of body. But however multiplied, however severe, however protracted those sorrows—they are past and gone, never, never to return!

The sweetest repose is now enjoyed. The poor tabernacle has been taken down, and is laid in a quiet resting-place, until the resurrection morning. The soul is gone to be with Jesus. It has traveled through the rough path of life, and is now in God's presence, where there is fullness of joy, and pleasures for evermore!

As Christians, we are going to the same place. The graves will soon be ready for our bodies, and the mansions of glory for our souls. We are going home! Home to our Father's house! Home where our hearts have long been. Home where all our prayers will be answered, and all our best desires will be gratified. "Home, sweet home! There is no place like home!" Especially our home! A paradise without a tempting serpent! A paradise where all are holy, all are safe, all are happy. Those pure and perpetual joys, which are at God's right hand, await us! We taste them now, and are delighted with a sip—but there we shall soon drink full draughts of eternal glory, eternal joy, and eternal blessedness!

Amidst present toils and trials, dangers and distresses, when wearied, way-worn, and tempted to fret—remember that you will soon be HOME! Think, think, O my soul, of an eternity of enjoyment, when the sufferings of time are ended! "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning!" Psalm 30:5

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The work of the Holy Spirit

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

I love to meditate on the work of the Holy Spirit to whom we are so much indebted, and from whom we receive such great and invaluable blessings. To Him, I feel that I am indebted for every good thought, and for every good work. How wonderful His patience, that He should bear with me so long; and how wonderful His loving-kindness, that He should confer on me so much! O that I was more deeply sensible of my obligations!

It was the Holy Spirit who quickened me when I was dead in trespasses and sins . . .
  imparting a new life,
  infusing new thoughts, and
  producing new desires in my soul.

Having quickened me, He conquered me, subduing . . .
  the enmity of my heart,
  the obstinacy of my will,
  the worldliness of my affections,
and bringing every thought into subjection to the obedience of Christ.

Having quickened and conquered me, He comforted me, assuring me of a saving interest in . . .
  the love of God,
  the perfect work of Jesus,
  the precious promises of the Word, and
  the eternal rest which remains for the people of God.

Having quickened, conquered, and comforted me, He sanctified me by . . .
  separating me from the world, and
  setting me apart for my Redeemer's glory and praise.

As my Sanctifier, He became my Guide . . .
leading me into the truth,
  conducting me out of the paths of danger,
  and directing me into the everlasting way.

Not only my guide, but He became my Guard . . .
  preserving me from danger,
  protecting me from foes, and
  becoming a wall of fire round about me.

Whenever I wander, He reproves me; when I willfully go astray, He corrects me, and makes me smart for my folly.

The work He began so long ago, He carries on; nor will He withdraw His hand from it, until it is perfected and I am fully fitted for glory.

Reader, what do you experimentally know of the work of the Holy Spirit?
Has He quickened you?
Has He conquered you?
Does He comfort you?
Are you sanctified by His presence, power, and operation in your heart?
Does He . . .
  guide you by His counsel,
  guard you by His power, and
  correct you for your follies?

The work of the Spirit within us, is as necessary as the work of Jesus for us! For if the atonement of Christ entitles us to glory, it is the work of the Holy Spirit that prepares us to possess and enjoy it. We must be washed, justified, and sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God—or we cannot be saved!

~  ~  ~  ~

Jesus and the Sinner!

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

All that Jesus does for lost sinners—He does freely, out of pure pity, kindness and love.

Yet we are always looking for something in ourselves, to encourage us! On the other hand, we tend to look at some sin committed by us, which discourages us. Whereas we should look only to Jesus. I want now for a few minutes, to fix the eye of your mind on what Jesus does for sinners—how He acts toward them at the present day.

Jesus calls the sinner. He says, "Come unto Me. Come, just as you are. Come, this moment. Come, for all that you need. Come, for all that you desire. Come, and be saved. Come, and I will satisfy you. Come, and commit all your concerns to Me, and I will make all things that occur, work together for your good."

Jesus receives the sinner when he comes. He receives every sinner—however base, vile, or unworthy he may be! He receives the sinner graciously—pardoning every sin, forgiving and forgetting all that he has done amiss, and treating him with the utmost kindness.

Jesus cleanses the sinner. In the fountain of His precious blood, and in the laver of His holy Word, He cleanses him from guilt and pollution, fitting him for holy service on earth, and for holier service in heaven. Nor is there any getting rid of guilt, but by His blood; nor of impurity, but by His Spirit working with His Word!

Jesus clothes the sinner. Cleansed from guilt and filth—we are clothed in His garments of salvation, and are covered with His robe of righteousness. All that is necessary for our honorable appearance in Heaven among the glorified, He undertakes to provide.

Those who trust in Him, are completely nourished by Him. Jesus feeds the sinner. His flesh and blood becomes our daily food. We can no more live and be healthy, without nourishing food for the body—than we can live and be happy, without sweet and frequent nourishment from Christ. There is in the renewed soul, a craving for Christ—and it is never satisfied but as it realizes His presence, meditates on His Word, or is solaced with His love!

Jesus employs the sinner. Having called, received, cleansed, clothed, and nourished him—He sets him to WORK. He gives him a cross to carry, and a plot in his vineyard to cultivate. He sends him to speak to others of His grace, and to manifest to others His temper and disposition. He sends him to the poor widow's cottage, to the sick man's chamber, and to the ignorant soul's home, and says: "Feed them for Me; comfort them for Me; and teach them for Me!"

Jesus comforts the sinner. Yes, when he is depressed and discouraged, when he is low and cast down. He consoles by some special providence, by some seasonable portion of His Word, by the counsel of some friend, or by the sweet whispers of His Spirit.

Jesus assures the sinner. Assures him of His love to him, of a saving interest in His finished work, and of a title to heavenly mansions! When Jesus assures us—our doubts and fears depart, our unbelief is destroyed, and our souls are filled with peace and joy.

Jesus visits the sinner. He says, "I will come unto him." And He does come, and brings with Him—pleasant light, precious fruits, and joy and peace. He says, "I will come and sup with him, and he with Me." And He draws him out into such sweet, near and dear communion with Himself, that no costly meal, no delightful company, can be compared to it.

Jesus restores the sinner. For as astonishing as it may appear, it is nevertheless true that we are prone to wander!
We leave light, for darkness!
We leave plenty, for poverty!
We leave joy, for sorrow!
We leave a paradise, for a desert!
And having wandered we would never find our way back, if He did not come after us! But, blessed be His holy name, He does! And then He restores our souls, and again feeds us in green pastures, causing us to lie down beside the still waters!

Jesus reproves the sinner. However He may spare our persons, He never spares our sins! He visits our transgressions with the rod, and our iniquities with stripes! His reproofs are often sharp. Cutting convictions, heavy losses, severe trials, perplexing troubles, bodily sickness, and painful bereavements, are some of the RODS which He employs. But however numerous and heavy His strokes, they are lighter than our guilt, and fewer than our sins! He deals with us as with sons. He chastens us for our profit, and to make us partakers of His holiness!

Jesus glorifies the sinner. Glorifies him with Himself, and confers on him an eternal weight of glory! What it is to be glorified, we do not fully know. At the least, it is to be freed from all that is sinful, painful, and degrading, and to be invested with all that is bright, beautiful, and blessed. It is to be made as like Jesus as possible, and to be with Him where He is forever!

O wondrous grace, of a wondrous Savior!

Believer, this precious Savior is yours!

Will you not love Him then?

Will you not bear witness to the power and sweetness of His love, to the joy and happiness that are found in His ways?

Will you not observe His statutes and keep His laws?

Will you not come out of the world which is peopled by His enemies, and be separated to Him? Can you mingle with the carnal, and frequent places of worldly amusement? Must you go to the world to be gratified and amused?

Beware how you wound your precious Savior's loving heart!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

How long will you love vanity?

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"How long will you love vanity?" Psalm 4:2

The Lord is often represented in His word as expostulating with us. He manifests the deepest interest, shows intense pity, and uses many means to draw us back from the vortex of ruin.

But man, thoughtless man, silly man . . .
  rushes on his way,
  trifles with his soul, and
  plays on the brink of the most dreadful precipice!

He is in love with his sin, and therefore in love with his own destruction! But God does not abandon him to despair—but touchingly, tenderly, lovingly, He expostulates with him and asks, "How long will you love vanity?"

Man by nature sets his heart upon what is vain and worthless—that which is not suited to, or required by, his immortal nature. Vanity represents that which is light, changeable, and of brief duration. Man displays his love of vanity . . .
  by preferring human friendship, to God's friendship,
  by thinking much more of the creature, than the Creator;
  by preferring earthly riches, to heavenly felicities;
  by preferring carnal pleasures, to spiritual delights!

Nor only so, but he manifests his foolishness by indulging in sin, the worst of vanities!

Look at the profane swearer, the drunkard, the glutton, the proud, the lover of pleasure. They are in love with vanity! They imagine that they shall have pleasure and enjoy happiness, but they never ponder the questions, "What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

God asks the lover of vanity, "How Long!" "How long will you love vanity?" You have been doing so for years. Some for twenty, some for forty, and some for sixty years! You have manifested love to vanity, though warned, though convinced you were doing wrong, though you have often promised to reform. You are still loving vanity . . .
  though mortality is at work within you,
  though death is very near to you,
  though eternity is within a step of you,
  though Hell is ready to receive you!

You persevere in loving vanity . . .
  while a pardon is presented to you,
  while peace with God may be enjoyed by you,
  while holiness may be obtained by you, and 
  while Heaven is within your reach!

How long will you love vanity?
Until some affliction unfits you to seek the world?
Until God's Spirit no longer strives with you?
Until Satan fills your heart?
Until God laughs at your calamity?
Until some sudden stroke takes you away to Hell?

How long?

Let your past foolishness suffice; and now, while the door of mercy is open, enter!

Now, while the way of escape is clear, flee for your life!

No one ever came too soon, thousands have delayed too long! No one ever regretted that he was saved too early, millions have cursed their folly that they were not saved at all! Myriads wish that they had never been born, because they persevered in such folly. Beware then, beware—lest you rue your folly too late! Love vanity no longer!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Run to your Father!

(James Smith, "Precious Things from the Everlasting Hills" 1853)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven." Matthew 6:9

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

Beloved, we have a heavenly Father.
He has adopted us into His family.
He not only wears a father's name, but he has a father's heart.
He loves every believer with a father's love.
He watches over each of His children with a father's care.
Yes, we have a Father—and He is always near us.
His heart is ever disposed to do us good.
He will not withdraw His eye from us!
He bids us . . .
  to cast every care upon Him,
  to expect every blessing from Him, and
  to carry everything that troubles us, to Him.

Does providence frown on us, perplex, and trouble us?
Let us not fret, complain, or forebode, but go and tell Father!

Does Satan tempt, suggest evil thoughts, or endeavor to mislead us? Let us not parley with him, be alarmed at him, or yield to him—but go at once and tell Father!

Everything, whether painful or pleasant, should lead us to our Father in heaven. He loves to listen to our broken prayers. He loves to sympathize with us. He never chides us for coming too often, or refuses to listen to us.

Happy child, who has such a Father! And wise is that child, who carries everything to his Father, who tells Him all, keeping nothing from Him. When we carry our cares or our troubles to Him, He says, "Leave them with Me. I will manage them. I will settle them."

Christian, run to your Father from every foe, and from every danger!
your Father everything that vexes, grieves, or troubles you.
your Father to manage all your affairs.
your Father . . .
  by consulting Him on all matters,
  by confiding to Him all your secrets, and
 by making His written Word your daily rule on all points.

"The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles." With childlike simplicity, filial confidence, and honest hearts—they go and tell their Father!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Suppose your child was dying

(James Smith, "Our Father and Comforter")  Play Audio!  Download Audio

Surely, if parents realized the value of their children's souls; if they had a vivid sight of the danger to which they are exposed; if they felt that they must be saved by the Lord Jesus, or perish for ever—then they would act very differently toward them!

Could a parent, if he believed the Scriptural representation of Hell as a place of torment; and saw that his child hung over that ever-burning lake as by a thread, and might, at any moment, by some accident, be plunged into the bottomless abyss; I say, if he saw and believed this—could he let his child go on, day after day, and month after month, without the tender expostulation, the affectionate appeal, and the heart-felt prayer with him? I think not!

Alas! alas! We do not half believe . . .
  in the horrors of Hell,
  in the danger of our children, and
  in the absolute necessity of faith in Christ in order to for them to be saved—or we could never live as we do!

What anxiety is manifested about their health and their education; and what indifference about their never-dying souls! One feels at times ready to conclude that many professing Christian parents must be half infidels or wholly insane, to act as they do!

Reader, suppose your child was dying. His pulses are faint and few. He breathes short and hard. You approach his bedside. You take his hand in yours. He asks,
 "Father, did you believe I was a sinner?
  Did you know that it was possible I might die young?
  Were you aware that, without faith in Christ, I must perish forever?
  Did you, father?"

"I did, my child."

"Then how could you be so cruel, so hard-hearted, as to treat me in the way you have? You never took me aside to talk to me seriously. You never endeavored to impress upon my mind the importance of spiritual things. You never earnestly warned me to flee from the wrath to come. You never lovingly invited me to the Lord Jesus Christ. You never prayed with me as if you believed I was in danger of going to Hell, and could only be saved by the grace of God. You were very earnest about temporal things, but indifferent about spiritual realities. You knew that I was going to Hell, and you did not try to prevent it. Now I am lost! Lost for ever, and you are the cause of it! Or, at least, you are accessory to my everlasting damnation!"

Or, suppose you were before the Great White Throne and the Judge seated thereon, and you meet your children there. One of them points to you, and says, "There is my mother! She showed great concern about my body, but she never showed anxiety about my soul. She never knelt by my side in prayer. I never heard her plead with God for my soul, nor did she ever in downright earnest, plead with me. I charge her before the Judge of all, with cruelty to my soul; and throughout eternity I shall curse the day that ever I had such a parent! No name will excite my enmity or draw forth my bitter reproaches, like the name of my mother! I am lost, lost forever, and my mother never heartily tried to prevent it!"

Parents, how could you bear this? Parents, parents! By all the tender ties that unite you to your children, I beseech you to seek, first, principally, and most earnestly—the conversion of your children!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

O fearful state! O terrible condition! O awful doom!

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son!" John 3:18

The unbeliever's condemnation is for sin; but his condemnation is not merely for violating the law, but for refusing a pardon presented to him by God as an act of infinite mercy.

Every unbeliever is presently in a state of condemnation!

He is condemned, BY WHOM?
By God, the righteous Judge, the Judge of all.

He is condemned, FOR WHAT?
Not merely for breaking the law, but for insulting the Lawgiver by refusing a pardon procured at no less a cost than the death of his Son, and presented in the everlasting gospel.

He is condemned, WHEN?
Now, already! At this moment, while he reads these lines! The manacled criminal in his cell waiting for the day of execution, is not more really condemned than is every unbeliever!

He is condemned, TO WHAT?
Ah, who can tell? His punishment is represented:
  By blackness, darkness, and a horrible tempest!
  By weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth!
  By a lake of fire, a bottomless pit, and a gnawing worm which never dies!

He is condemned, WITH WHOM?
The devil and his demons, and with most depraved of the human race!

He is condemned, BY WHAT?
Both the law and the gospel; both the Creator and the Savior!

See then, every unbeliever's state, he is condemned already! Yes, however moral the life, however amiable the disposition, he is condemned already! Condemned to be driven from God, from holy angels, from blessed believers; and to be associated with devils and damned souls forever! Condemned, just because he would not believe in Jesus, he would not accept the pardon, he would not be reconciled to God.

O strange infatuation!

O fearful delusion!

O astonishing power of sin!
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath abides on him!" John 3:36

O fearful state! O terrible condition! O awful doom!

Believe at once, and escape so terrible a doom!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We did have a father, it was the devil!

(James Smith, "Comfort for the Christian")  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things!" Matthew 6:32

The Lord Jesus, as the great teacher, is instructing His disciples in the doctrine of divine providence, and teaching them to exercise faith in God. He tells them that God feeds the sparrows and clothes the lilies, and therefore He will not neglect, or refuse to feed and clothe His redeemed children!

He would have us act like His children!
As children who view the Most High God as their Father!
As children who are absolutely dependent upon Him!
As children who look to Him for all; and expect Him to supply them with all.

God is our FATHER. He has adopted us by His grace. We were by nature fatherless, so far as spiritual relationship is concerned. Or, to be more correct, we did have a father, it was the devil! Said Jesus, "You belong to your father, the devil!" John 8:44. We were in an abject and dreadful condition!

But in His infinite mercy, and for the glory of His own free grace, God adopted us and placed us among His children!

We still have a heavenly Father who cares for us! And as the heaven is high above the earth, so far does God's relationship exceed all human relationships. To have God for our Father, is the height of blessedness; it is the crowning privilege!

Nothing can exceed this, for His love is infinite, and embraces all His children. His love cannot change, for that would imply a change in His nature. But He says, "I am Jehovah, I do not change!" Everything outside of the Divine nature will change. But Jehovah Himself loves His people, and as His nature cannot change, neither can His love!

His resources are boundless, and He supplies all of His children. They are never sent to any other quarter for supply, but always bidden to come to their Father for all that they need.

His pity is exquisite, and He sympathizes with all of His children. "Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities all who fear Him. He knows our frame, He remembers that we are but dust."

His knowledge is perfect, therefore He is fully acquainted with them all. "All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." He knows exactly where each one is, and each of their wants, woes, and wishes! For "the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on the behalf of all those who hearts are sincere towards Him."

His strength is omnipotent, and protects them all. He says, "No one is able to pluck you out of my hand! I will strengthen you! I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness."

His nature is unchangeable, and His covenant is sure; therefore He will be to us, and do for us, all that He has promised to us!

Scripture history unfolds God's love to, and the method of his dealing with His children. He is "the same yesterday, today, and forever!"

What a mercy, to have a Father—and such a Father! 

What an astounding blessing, to have God for our Father—in a world like this, and in times like these! 

What a comfort, to look up to the High and Lofty one who inhabits eternity, and rejoice that He has a father's heart, and that His heart beats with unutterable love to me!

What an encouragement, to be able in the midst of trials, troubles, temptations, losses, crosses, disappointments, and vexations—to look up to my heavenly Father and say, "I will cry unto God most high, unto God who performs all things for me!"

"Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

An almighty arm!

(James Smith, "Christ and the Christian" 1853)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Hold me up, and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

Is the Christian guided aright through this wilderness world?
It is by the wisdom of Christ!

He has no wisdom of his own, and he is surrounded by snares and foes! He has within him a principle of evil, which invariably prompts him to leave the right road. He is prone to miss the mark, like a broken bow. He is attracted and affected by external worldly objects, which feed . . .
  the lust of the flesh,
  the lust of the eye,
  and the pride of life.

But for divine wisdom guiding him, he would stray into the fatal paths of folly and crime! To guide him aright, requires an omniscient eye, a wise intellect, and loving heart; and Jesus possesses and exercises these for the good of His people.

Is the Christian protected from the innumerable dangers and foes to which he is exposed?
It is by the power of Christ!

That power is his guard, and his defense.
An almighty arm
is placed beneath him, to uphold him.
An almighty arm
is lifted up, to defend him.
He looks to it when foes assail him;
he leans on it when his own strength fails him;
and he trusts in it in every hour of danger.

Without the power of Jesus, he never could persevere;
with it, he can never apostatize. It keeps him . . .
  as a garrison keeps a town,
  as a shepherd keeps his flock,
  as a parent does his child.

Is the Christian supplied? Are his needs anticipated and met?
It is by the providence of Christ!

Jesus rules over all worlds!
He directs and controls all events!
He keeps His eye and His heart upon His people!
He is engaged to provide for them, and He sacredly keeps His engagement.

He is . . .
  observant of all our wants,
  attentive to our cries, and
  ready to supply our needs.

With Jesus for our provider—we are strengthened, supplied, and supported.

O Jesus! what would we be without You?
Dead in our sins!
Under eternal condemnation!
Slaves of our lusts!
Poor condemned criminals!
Depraved and polluted wretches!
Lost and wandering sheep!
Captives of Satan!
Wild and lawless rebels!
Miserable and starving paupers!
Exposed to the just wrath of Almighty God!

"Hold me up, and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Sin is . . .

(Jeremy Taylor, 1613-1667)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers!" James 1:14-16

Sin is . . .

  first pleasing,
  then easy,
  then delightful,
  then frequent,
  then habitual,
  then confirmed!

Then the man is impenitent,
  then he is obstinate,
  then he resolves never to repent,
  and then he is damned!

Romans 8:6  The mind of sinful man is death

Romans 8:13  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die

Galatians 6:8  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death

Matthew 25:46  Then they will go away to eternal punishment!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Nothing feeds, nothing refreshes, nothing delights my soul!

(James Smith, "Precious Things from the Everlasting Hills")  Play Audio!  Download Audio

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

The Lord Jesus is the subject of my meditations. Not a day passes but my thoughts are occupied with Him. Forget whom I may, I never forget Him. Nothing feeds, nothing refreshes, nothing delights my soul, like vigorous meditations on Jesus. I dwell at times on . . .
  the glories of His person,
  the riches of His grace,
  the merit of His blood,
  the transcendent glory of His righteousness,
  the tenderness of His sympathy,
  the constancy of His love,
  the vastness of His resources,
  the greatness of His power,
  the glory of His offices,
  the prevalence of His intercession, and
  the grandeur of His second coming,
until I am enamored with His beauty, and enraptured with His love!

My meditation of Jesus is sweet! I think of Him upon my bed, and meditate on Him through the watches of the night.

Jesus is the solace and joy of my soul.

When all is dark within me,
when all is dreary around me,
when all is discouraging before me—
He fills me full of joy with His countenance.
One look from His eye,
one word from His lips,
one breath breathed on my soul—
relieves, restores, and makes me happy.

He is the river of pleasure, in which I sometimes bathe!
He is the Eden of delights, in which I sometimes walk!

Take away Jesus, and my soul droops, desponds and dies!
Give me Jesus and the enjoyment of His presence, and I can do without any other Heaven!

He is the joy of my brightest days, and my solace in my dreariest nights!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

It leaves earth for Heaven, or for Hell!

(James Smith, "CONSIDER!" 1859)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"This is what the Lord Almighty says: Consider your ways!" Haggai 1:7

God commands you to consider, and you cannot neglect to do so, but you sin. Your circumstances require it of you, and you cannot neglect to do so, but you must be losers thereby. God complains, "My people do not consider!"

Inconsideration has ruined thousands, and will ruin thousands more. But shall it ruin you? It will, if you give way to it. Let me entreat you to do so no longer.

Consider that you are immortal, and must live forever.
Your BODY will die, and perhaps soon.
But not so your SOUL, it never dies.
Death changes its place, but not its nature.
It leaves earth for Heaven, or for Hell! It lives as much when the body is dead, as it did before. It is conscious, and capable of enjoying the highest pleasures, or of enduring the most dreadful torments! And one or the other will be its lot.

Heaven, or Hell,
happiness, or misery,
always follows upon death!

Surely an immortal being ought to consider:

  Where shall I be after death?

  What shall I be?

  Among whom shall I have my eternal portion?

Is it rational to confine our attention to the present time and the present world, when time bears no comparison to eternity; and our stay in this present world must be brief?

Consider that you are a sinner:
You have broken God's law.
You have incurred God's displeasure.
You are condemned by God's Word.
You deserve God's wrath.
Your heart is alienated from God.
You act in opposition to God.
You lie absolutely at God's mercy, and at any moment He could cut you down, and send you to Hell.
You have no right to expect anything but justice at His hands! And if He dealt with you after your sins, and rewarded you according to your iniquities, your doom would be indescribably dreadful!

Reader! "Consider your ways!"

Consider that you are immortal, and that you must live somewhere forever!

Consider that you are a sinner, and that you cannot live in Heaven as such!

Consider that you may be saved, for the Lord Jesus Christ is both able and willing to save sinners!

Consider that you can only be saved by sincere faith in Christ!

Consider that you must denounce your own righteousness, and rely solely on His finished work!

Consider that if you are saved by Christ, you will live to Christ.
He will be your Lord, as well as your Savior.
He will be your example, as well as your atoning sacrifice!

Consider that faith is the root of holiness, and a holy life alone proves our faith to be genuine.

"This is what the Lord Almighty says: Consider your ways!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We really need very little

(James Smith, "The Way to Be Wealthy and Happy!" 1859)

Play Audio!  Download Audio

"The lions may grow weak and hungry; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." Psalm 34:10

Those who seek the Lord may be sick, or poor, or tried, in a variety of ways; but the Lord will send them supplies, OR give them the grace of contentment, so that they shall not lack any good thing.

But how many mistake wishes for needs! And while the Lord has promised to supply all His people's needs—He has nowhere promised to gratify all their wishes.

We really need very little
. Therefore the apostle says, "If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that!" 1 Timothy 6:8. And again, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

"They shall not lack any good thing." That is, they shall not lack whatever is really good for them at the time, and under the circumstances. Whatever will promote their holiness and happiness, shall certainly be conveyed to them.

Those who seek the Lord are sure of necessary supplies, for four reasons:

First, the Lord is ABLE to supply them. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think!

Second, the Lord DESIRES to supply them. "Like as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."

Third, the Lord has PROMISED to supply them. "The Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord will give grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly." "My God shall supply all your needs, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Fourth, the Lord ALWAYS HAS supplied them. Look at Jacob, at David—and at all who have already arrived in glory. If the question, put by the Lord Jesus, to His disciples when they returned from their missionary tour on which He sent them without purse or bag, was put to them: "Have you lacked anything?" Every one of them would readily answer, "Nothing, Lord!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

My Support!

(James Smith, "My Support" 1859)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord was my support!" Psalm 18:18

Aged believer, you and I can look back and wonder how it is that we are where we are, and what we are: how we have held on, and held out until now. Here is the whole secret of the case, "But the Lord was my support!"

In the seasons of my greatest difficulty,
in all my times of sorrow and danger,
when I was filled with fears and doubts,
when in deep trouble and afflictions,
when all creature help failed me,
when my heart worried and vexed me,
when my enemies were just ready to overwhelm me,
when my feet were almost gone,
when my steps had well near slipped,
in my darkest nights,
in my dreariest days
then the Lord was my support!

My journey has been long,
my road has been peculiarly difficult,
my heart has been weak,
my enemies have been strong,
and long ago I must have perished in my afflictions, or been a prey to my foes—but the Lord was my support!

I would have fainted under my heavy burdens,
I would have yielded to my enchanting temptations,
I would have fled before my powerful foes—
but the Lord was my support!

Yes, the Lord has upheld, supported, and supplied me along the treacherous way. To His free grace, to His inviolable faithfulness, and to His unchangeable love, I must ascribe that "By the grace of God, I am what I am!" 1 Corinthians 15:10

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Swallowed up in a worldly church!

(James Smith, "Man's Treatment of Gods People" 1859)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.
 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.
 As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you!" John 15:18-19

Such is the testimony of the Lord Jesus.

Real Christians have never been favorites of the world—and while it continues what it is, they never can be.

Nor can the pure and simple gospel be pleasant to the world, because it lays the sinner in the dust and exalts God as supreme and sovereign. Let us not be surprised then, if we hear worldlings speak against the gospel, and traduce the Lord's people. For what the Romans told Paul, is in a good measure true in the present day, "For concerning this 'sect', we are aware that it is spoken against everywhere!" Acts 28:22

This 'sect' originated with Jesus, the hated Nazarene—who came into the world for its good, and to save His people from their sins. He gathered around Him many, but they were principally the poor and unlearned. There was nothing in them, or about them—to recommend them to the proud and sensual world.
They were begotten of God, and made new creatures in Christ.
They embraced the truth that He taught.
They observed the precepts that He gave.
They copied the example that He set.

Their creed consisted pretty much in these facts:
  that man is a lost sinner,
  that salvation by works is impossible, and therefore it must be all of grace, or not at all;
  that the Lord Jesus came into the world to take the sinner's place, fulfill the law in the sinner's stead, and die as the sinner's substitute.

By such hopes, they were animated;
by such rules, they walked; and
at such objects, they aimed.

And yet, they were spoken against and despised, because they poured contempt on the luxuries, pride, and honors of this world. They were treated as the off-scouring of all things—unfit for society, unfit to live.

"Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you!" 1 John 3:13

And yet, like Israel in Egypt, the more they were persecuted, the more they multiplied and grew; until at length they spread not only over the Roman empire, but nearly over the world. And, had they retained . . .
  the simplicity of their lives,
  the spirituality of their minds, and
  the correctness of their creed,
they would no doubt have encircled the globe!

But at length they were . . .
  courted by royalty,
  loaded with wealth,
  became intoxicated with worldly honors,
and then their glory departed!

They drank into the spirit of the world,
conformed to its maxims and customs,
sought its approbation and applause, and
so fell from their exalted station, and lost their real dignity.

The 'sect' that had been spoken against everywhere, with the exception of a few—was swallowed up in a worldly church!

There are still some, who, like the ancient sect of the Nazarenes, are spoken against everywhere. They will not swim with the stream. They will not compromise their Master's honor, or give up their Master's truth. According to the light they have, they walk; and they rejoice to exalt the Savior, humble the sinner, and proclaim salvation, all of grace. They rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer shame, for His dear name.

Reader! Do you belong to this sect? Is there anything in your religion that is distasteful to the world, anything that draws forth its opposition, or excites its contempt? The carnal mind is still enmity against God; and if we are godlike, that enmity will manifest itself against us!

If we copy Christ's example, as set before us in the gospel; if we testify against the world, that its works are evil, and call upon it to repent, as Christ did—we shall soon be hated by the world!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

There is a way to Hell, even from the very gates of Heaven!

(James Smith, "Not Far from the Kingdom" 1859)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"You are not far from the kingdom of God." Mark 12:34

Many are in this dangerous position. They are not far from the kingdom of God, but not actually in it.

They have clear light in their heads, but have no grace in their hearts.
They know the gospel in theory, but have no inward experience of its power.

But no man can be saved by light in the mind; there must be the life of God within the soul.

They have not only clear light, but correct morals.
The tongue is controlled.
The temper is governed.
The life is regulated.
But with all this, the soul is dead in trespasses and sins!
There may be morality, without spirituality.

The life may not only be correct, but there may be a regular attendance on gospel ordinances. They may come as God's people, sit as God's people, hear and sing as God's people—and yet not be in the kingdom of God!

There may be no objection felt, or opposition shown to the doctrines or duties of the gospel. All may be admitted, professed, and even admired; but still the person may not be in the kingdom of God.

There may also be a form of prayer—but prayer without faith, prayer without the heart, without the soul.

They may be employed in teaching God's Word, either in the Sunday School, or in the pulpit—and yet not be in the kingdom of God.

O how solemn is the thought, how searching is the fact, that people . . .
  may have correct views of truth;
  may regularly attend on the means of grace;
  may acquiesce in the doctrines and duties of Christianity;
  may associate and unite with God's people;
  may regularly bow the knee in prayer; and
  may employ their time and talents in instructing others in the things of God—and yet never enter into the kingdom of God themselves!

Reader beware! for many rest short of vital religion. They know nothing of a broken heart for sin, of living faith in Christ, or fellowship with God through Him. They rest in a form of knowledge, or in a routine of religious services. Such may find out their mistake too late, as did the foolish virgins, when the door was shut! Or, like those referred to by our Lord when He said, "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" Matthew 7:22-23

Many will come very near to the kingdom, but will never enter it. As John Bunyan says, "There is a way to Hell, even from the very gates of Heaven!"

But it must be dreadful to come near, so near to Heaven—and yet to be thrust down to Hell!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

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

(James Smith, "Exhortation and Encouragement" 1859)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

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

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

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


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

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

O the wonders of sovereign grace!

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Coming daily and hourly to Jesus!

(James Smith, "Wealth for Souls" 1859)  Play Audio!  Download Audio

"I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things!" Philippians 3:8

All true Christians know Christ, not with a mere theoretical knowledge, which may be obtained from books; but with a knowledge which the Holy Spirit works in the heart. We know Christ . . .
  in the glory of His person,
  in the perfection of His work, and
  in the riches of His wondrous grace.
We so know Christ, that He stands out before us as the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely One. And the more we know Him, the more intimate we wish to become with Him!

We not only know Christ, but we need Him. And the longer we live, the more we need Him. Nor do we merely need Christ, but we need everything in Christ, or that Christ has. We need . . .
  His blood to cleanse us,
  His righteousness to clothe us,
  and His Spirit to sanctify us.
We need Christ daily, hourly!

As we need Christ, so we come to Christ.
Not once for all, but we continue to come.
We must come to Him . . .
   in every trial,
   in every trouble, 
   in every conflict,
   to unburden our minds,
   to find rest for our souls.

We come to Him . . .
  for wisdom,
  for strength,
  for holiness.

Much of experimental religion consists in coming daily and hourly to Jesus.

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest!" Matthew 11:28