Grace Gems for JUNE, 2023


This book!

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")  LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

The fountain of divine truth is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The repository of divine truth is the Holy Scriptures.
The proper abode of divine truth is the sinner's heart.
And the sacred revealer of truth is the Holy Spirit.

The Bible contains all necessary truth—and nothing but truth. It was written expressly for sinners. It is freely given to them by God, that they may learn the things which make for their everlasting peace and salvation. It was never designed to gratify the critic's pride, or please the carnal imagination; but it was intended . . .
  to inform the mind,
  to sanctify the heart,
  and to direct the feet.
When we take it up, we should remember that it is a precious gift of God to poor sinners, designed to benefit them, and glorify His holy name.

This book sets before us our true state before God, as sinners:
  Hell-deserving sinners.

It shows us that . . .
  we have come short of the glory of God;
  our hearts are depraved beyond description, and vile beyond expression;
  the nature of Satan is not actually worse than ours;
  instead of having anything to boast of, or pride ourselves in—all that we have and are, is calculated to fill us with shame, confusion, and self-abhorrence!

This book shows us plainly that salvation must be of grace, or not at all. It informs us that by faith in Jesus, we can rise from our dreadful state, and escape our fearful doom. It sets before us . . .
  the provision of divine mercy,
  the contrivance of infinite wisdom,
  and the promises of eternal love.

It exhibits a perfect Savior, suited to our miseries and woes.

It presents to us a salvation . . .
   all of grace,
   to be enjoyed by faith, and
   manifested by good works.
A salvation that . . .
reaches to our present state,
delivers us from all that we have reason to fear,
introduces us to all that we can consistently desire, and
gives us a right to all that God has promised, and that Jesus has procured.

In a word, this blessed Bible tells the poor sinner . . .
  what he is by nature,
  what he must be by grace,
  and then what he will be in glory.

It shows him . . .
  nature's deservings,
  mercy's way of escape, and
  how God is glorified in his present salvation and future glory.

This book exhibits God's . . .
  gracious purposes,
  merciful promises,
  and wise precepts.

It sets forth . . .
  the thoughts of God,
  the secrets of eternity,
  the designs of everlasting love,
  the method of salvation,
  the saint's privileges and glory,
  the impenitent sinner's state, condition, and awful doom!

This book  . . .
  contains the mind of God,
  reveals the way of salvation by Jesus Christ,
  teaches the genuine evidences of real Christianity,
  is a complete rule of life,
  is the charter of the Christian's privileges,
  is the casket that contains the jewels of God's promises,
  is the light that illumines our path in this dark world,
  and marks out as with a sunbeam, the blessed end of the righteous, and the miserable doom of the impenitent sinner. All who live and die without the salvation it makes known will be cast into outer darkness, where there is eternal weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth!

There is a majesty in the Word of God which the believer sees—and an excellency, and glory which the Heaven-taught sinner discovers. He can no longer trifle with it, despise it, or pour contempt upon it. He views it as of . . .
  infinite importance,
  inconceivable value, and
  exactly adapted to himself.
He feels a deep interest in its contents, and is concerned . . .
  to become acquainted with the blessings it reveals,
  to enjoy the privileges it sets forth, and
  escape the threatenings it holds out.

The true Christian . . .
  learns the doctrines with satisfaction,
  believes the promises with joy,
  accepts the invitations with gratitude,
  receives the cautions with fear,
  listens to the exhortations with pleasure,
  walks by the precepts with delight,
  reads it with reverence,
  searches it with diligence,
  and implores the promised teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit to understand it.

Beware of slighting, despising, or neglecting the Bible.
Read it daily,
pray over it incessantly, and
meditate on what it reveals continually!

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

You may get a ticket straight to Hell, by express!

(Talmage, "The Abominations of Modern Society", 1872)  LISTEN to audio! Download audio

If you would lead a pure life, have nothing to do with bad books and impure newspapers. With such immoral literature as is coming forth from our swift-revolving printing-presses, there is no excuse for dragging one's self through sewers of unchastity.

Never read a bad book!
By the time you get through the first chapter, you will see the drift of it. If you find the hoof-prints of the devil in the pictures, or in the style, or in the plot—away with it! You may tear your coat, or break a vase—and repair them again. But it takes less than an hour to do your soul a damage which no time can entirely repair!

Look carefully over your child's library; see what book he reads after he has gone to bed, with the light turned down. Young man, as you value Heaven, never buy a book from one of those men who meet you in the square, and, after looking both ways to see if the police are watching, shows you a book, "very cheap!" Have him arrested, as you would kill a rattle-snake! Grab him, and shout, "Police! police!"

But there is more danger, I think, from many of the family newspapers. Some of them contain stories of vice and shame, full of evil suggestions—and go as far as they can without exposing themselves to the clutch of the law. On some tables in Christian homes, there lie "family newspapers" which are the very vomit of the pit of Hell!

The way to ruin is cheap!
It costs three dollars to go to Philadelphia; six dollars to Boston; thirty-three dollars to Savannah. But, by the purchase of a bad paper for ten cents—you may get a ticket straight to Hell, by express, with few stopping-places! And the final stop is like the tumbling of the train over a bridge—sudden, dreadful, deathly, never to rise!

O, the power of an iniquitous pen! If a needle punctures the body at a certain point, life is destroyed. But the pen is a sharper instrument, for with its puncture you may kill your soul!

Do not think that that book which you find fascinating and entertaining, is therefore healthful. Some of the worst poisons are pleasant to the taste. The pen which for the time fascinates you—may have been dipped in the slime of impure hearts!

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We had only arrived at the borders of the works of God!

(Christopher Sturm, "Reflections" 1750-1786)  LISTEN to audio! Download audio

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

"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, the son of man that You care for him?" Psalm 8:3-4

Could we transport ourselves above the moon, could we reach the highest star above our heads, we would instantly discover new skies, new stars, new suns, new systems, and perhaps more magnificently adorned! But even there the vast dominions of our great Creator would not terminate; we would then find, to our astonishment, that we had only arrived at the borders of the works of God!

It is but little that we can know of His works, but that little should teach us to be humble, and to admire God's wisdom, power and goodness. How great must that Being be . . .
  who produced these immense globes out of nothing,
  who regulates their courses, and
  whose mighty hand directs and supports them all!

What is this clod of earth which we inhabit, with all the magnificent scenes it presents to us, in comparison of those innumerable worlds? Were this earth annihilated, its absence would no more be observed than the removal of a grain of sand from the vast sea shore! What then are all our fine homes and belongings, when compared with those infinite worlds? They are but atoms dancing in the air, which are revealed to us by the sunbeams!

What then am I, when reckoned among the infinite number of God's creatures? I am lost in my own nothingness!

But as little as I appear in this respect, I find myself great in others. There is great beauty in this starry skies which God has chosen for His throne! How admirable are those celestial bodies! I am dazzled with their splendor, and enchanted with their beauty! But notwithstanding this, however beautiful, and however richly adorned, yet this sky is void of intelligence. It is a stranger to its own beauty, while I, who am mere clay molded by a divine hand, am endowed with sense and reason. I can contemplate the beauty of these shining worlds; nay, more, I am already, to a certain degree, acquainted with their sublime Author; and by faith I see some small rays of His divine glory.

O may I be more and more acquainted with His works and make the study of them my employ, until by a glorious change I rise to dwell with Him above the starry regions!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

O the riches of sovereign grace! O the wonders of redeeming love!

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")  LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature—the old things are passed away; behold, new things have come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

He who is saved from the guilt of sin, is also saved from the power of sin. Man by nature is "under sin." "The whole world lies in wickedness." Sin like a tyrant, has usurped authority, and man yields to its imperious demands. Sin reigns in his heart, and over every faculty he possesses. He knows nothing of liberty, but is the slave of corruption. He lives "in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and is by nature a child of wrath even as others!" (Ephesians 2:3) Man by nature is . . .
  influenced by corrupt motives,
  ruled by evil principles,
  led captive by carnal passions,
  and lives under the power of sin!
The sinner feels his bondage, as well as his guilt, and struggles for liberty, as well as seeks for pardon.

Salvation is a deliverance from the power of sin, and removes us from under its authority; so that it may be said of every saved person, "Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace." Romans 6:14

The Holy Spirit . . .
  imparts a principle of spiritual life,
  applies the Word of God with power,
  and takes up His residence in the soul.

When the gospel of grace is unfolded to the understanding, and applied to the heart by the Spirit, the entire man is changed!

His hard heart is softened,
his stubborn will yields,
his carnal affections rise above earthly things,
his conscience now agrees with God, and
he is "changed into the image of Jesus, from glory to glory—even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Sin will still struggle, but it cannot reign.
Sin may for a time prevail, but it will be subdued.
The conflict may be severe, and it will last through life—but sin shall not regain the throne, or reduce the Christian to a state of slavery again. The gracious principles implanted within him are immortal, they are holy, they must overcome at length!

Through the Spirit, the believer mortifies the sinful deeds of the body, that he may live. (Romans 8:13) Being Christ's, he crucifies the flesh with its affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24) And while he walks in, or under the influence of the Spirit, he does not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16) Sin has no authority over him, for . . .
  he has renounced it,
  he daily mourns over it,
  he confesses it before God,
  he strives against it, and
  he longs for Heaven, because there he shall be entirely free from sin!

He who is saved from the guilt and power of sin, is also delivered from the love of sin. Sin is no longer his element, his business, his pleasure. He did love sin once—as does everyone in a state of nature. The unbeliever may not love every species of sin, but . . .
  some favorite sin,
  his darling sin,
  his idol, which he worships, which he wishes to have spared.

But salvation delivers from the love of every sin, and sets the heart on striving for universal holiness. True, it is possible for a regenerate person for a time, to find his affections running out after a forbidden object, or what is grossly evil. But it will soon be detected, confessed before God, and mourned over in secret. The renewed heart cannot habitually love sin, but must hate it. Sin is hated . . .
  because God hates it,
  because it is opposed to our best interests,
  because it crucified the Son of God,
  because it grieves the Holy Spirit, and
  because it is contrary to the new nature of the Christian.

As soon may the bird love to be confined under water, or the fish prefer the the barren wilderness to its native element—as for a true believer habitually to love sin. No, he hates it, he hates it naturally, constantly, and with an unconquerable hatred!

His views are changed, and he thinks of sin in some degree as God thinks of it!

His desires are changed, and he desires to cleanse himself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 7:1

His hopes are changed, so that though he once hoped for worldly wealth, honor and pleasure—he now hopes to be forever delivered from sin, and be exactly like, and eternally with his precious Savior!

He fears sin—and nothing so much as sin!
He finds pleasure in holiness—and no such pleasure in anything else!
He is pained at sin—and nothing causes him so much grief and sorrow!

This is indeed salvation, to be delivered . . .
  from the guilt of sin, with its attendant horrors and punishments;
  from the power of sin, with its consequent degradation; and
  from the love of sin, which is the principal feature in the image of Satan!

He who is thus saved, is delivered also from all the penal consequences of sin.
To him there is no curse, for Christ was made a curse for him.
To him there is no wrath, for God is at peace with him, and loves him with an everlasting love.
To him there is no future punishment, for he is justified from every charge, and entitled to everlasting life!

He deserved Hell for his sins, but he is saved from it by his Redeemer's sacrifice and death!

O the riches of sovereign grace! O the wonders of redeeming love!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Who can fairly represent the horrors of that horrible place?

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")  LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

"Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come!" 1 Thessalonians 1:10

Salvation includes deliverance from Hell. Of all dreadful places, Hell is the most dreadful. No one figure can give us an adequate idea of it. It is the prison, where God's enemies are confined. It is a lake of fire and brimstone, where the traitors against the Savior's throne and government are punished. There, all is dark, dreary, agonizing, and horrible! Despair reigns, desperation works, and horror preys upon its victims. The worm of a guilty conscience never dies. The fire of God's just wrath is never quenched. Prepared for the devil and his angels—Hell is now destined to be the eternal habitation of every impenitent sinner! In Hell, the sufferer is forever shut out from the glorious presence of God—and is shut in with devils and damned souls!

Hell is a prison where there is . . .
  no order, but horror;
  no voice, but of blasphemers cursing God, themselves, and all around them;
  no sounds, but the howling of the tortured and the torturers;
  no society, but devils and the damned, who being tormented themselves, forever torment others!

There sinners experience . . .
  punishment, without pity;
  misery, without mercy;
  sorrow, without support;
  crying, without comfort;
  mischief, without measure;
  torment, without ease;
  and despair, without hope!

The wrath of God will seize upon body and soul like fire!
In that flame, the sufferer is . . .
  forever burning, but is never consumed;
  forever dying, but never dead;
  forever writhing in the pangs of the second death, and never freed from those pangs; nor does he ever know an end of his pains.

Who can fairly represent the horrors of that horrible place, where Divine wrath which has been accumulating for ages, bursts forth without control or cessation! Such is the desert of sin—and such the doom of every unconverted sinner.

But salvation is a deliverance from Hell—complete and eternal deliverance! Oh what a mercy is this! One would think that everyone who heard of it would . . .
  embrace the glad tidings,
  and escape from the wrath to come!

But this is not the case!
There is a Deliverer, but He is despised.
There is free deliverance, but it is slighted.
Men choose eternal death, rather than eternal life!

What a mercy to be delivered from Hell!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Sin meets his eye wherever he turns!

(William Bacon Stevens, "The Parables" 1857)  LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

The very fact that we have been renewed in the temper and disposition of our minds, that we have been born again of the Holy Spirit, that old things have passed away and that all things have become new—only makes us realize more vividly our sad condition to be thus dwellers in an ungodly world, and to be thus of necessity so mixed up with sin and corruption and unbelief in all the walks of daily life.

The true Christian finds everything around him antagonistic to his thoughts and feelings.
He loves Christ supremely; the world hates Him supremely.
He delights to do God's will; the world revels in its disobedience.
His heart is set on heavenly and Divine things; "the heart of men is fully set to do evil."

He is daily pained at the manifestations of sin and unbelief. He mourns at the spiritual destitution of his fellow men, and at the rampant evils which rear themselves unbridled, and devour the vitals of society with rapacity! Sin meets his eye wherever he turns!

In the Church he sees hypocrisy, formality, self-righteousness, censoriousness, lukewarmness, and backsliding.
In the family he finds peevishness, ill temper, discord, variance, strifes, evil surmisings, and positive hatred.
In the state he perceives crimes of every sort and hue, and the decalogue broken in each one of its commandments.
In business he is made to witness fraud, greed, deceptions, lying!

We are ever made to feel that we are in an enemy's country; that here, as the Patriarchs confessed, "We have no abiding city, but we seek one to come;" that "we who are in tabernacles of flesh do groan, being burdened",
burdened with the remaining corruption of our own hearts;
burdened with our daily short-comings and omissions of duty;
burdened with our positive transgressions;
burdened with our frequent infirmities; and
burdened with seeing and hearing the ungodliness which surrounds us, and which is ever crying to Heaven for vengeance!

We long for a release from the place where our soul, like that of righteous Lot, is daily "vexed with the filthy lives of the wicked!" So that, look where we will, we are constrained to say with the Psalmist: "Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech, that I live among the tents of Kedar!" Psalm 120:5

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The Christian's safety!

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth") LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

"Keep me safe O God, for in You I take refuge!" Psalm 16:1

The lost sinner is in danger—in the greatest possible danger!
He is always in danger, for . . .
  the wrath of God abides on him,
  the curse of God is leveled at him, and
  the justice of God makes a fearful demand upon him.
He is like an unprotected traveler in a forest, where robbers and wild beasts unite to terrify and destroy. He is . . .
  exposed to every storm,
  liable to every calamity, and
  may be cut down at any moment!
The law condemns him,
Satan seeks by all means to destroy him,
and his situation is truly dreadful!

But the believer is safe in Jesus:
  his sins are pardoned,
  his person is justified,
  he is accepted in Jesus, and
  to him there is no condemnation.
To him, Jesus is a strong tower, into which he runs and is safe.
To him, God is a shield, which defends him from every hostile weapon.
God . . .
  surrounds him as a wall of fire,
  bears him up on everlasting arms, and
  guides him by His strength to His holy habitation.

"For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock!" Psalm 27:5

Every perfection of God is on his side,
every purpose of God secures his salvation,
every promise of God is made for his comfort and safety.

He is in the hands of Christ,
his name is engraved on the breast-plate of the Great High Priest,
and his cause lies near to the heart of the Omnipotent One.

Nothing that concerns him is left to chance,
his times are in the Lord's hands, and
God works all things together for his good.
He will have everything that is . . .
  really good,
  truly great, and
  eternally glorious!

God is his Father—and He will defend His child.

Jesus is his Bridegroom—and He will protect His Bride.

If the power of God can preserve him, then he is safe; for he is kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

If the love of God can secure him, then he is safe; for God loves him with an everlasting love!

Will a kind, fond, and tender mother take care of her child? Then will God take care of the believer, for He asks, "Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb?" He admits, "Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands!" Isaiah 49:15-16

The believer is safe from all real evils. He is under . . .
  the special care and charge of Christ,
  the sunshine of his Father's love,
  the watchful eye of the Great Shepherd,
  the guidance and guardianship of the Holy Spirit.

What a precious, unutterably precious truth is this!
May we . . .
  press it to our hearts,
  enjoy it in our daily walk, and
  relish it as we would our choicest treasure!

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer! My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!" Psalm 18:2

"For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling. He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock!" Psalm 27:5

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I would unmask the devil!

(Talmage, "The Abominations of Modern Society", 1872)  LISTEN to audio! Download audio

"Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light!" 2 Corinthians 11:14

Sin, crawling out of the ditch of poverty and shame, has but few temptations.

Poets and painters have portrayed Satan as a hideous creature, with horns and hoofs.

If I were a poet
, I would describe him with . . .
  manners polished to the last perfection,
  hair flowing in graceful ringlets,
  eye glistening with splendor,
  hands soft and diamonded
  step light and graceful,
  voice mellow as a flute,
  conversation articulate and eloquent,
  breath perfumed until it would seem that nothing had ever touched his lips but balm and myrrh.

But his heart I would encase with the scales of a monster, then filled . . .
  with pride,
  with beastliness of lust,
  with recklessness,
  with hypocrisy,
  with death,
  with damnation!

In my next portrait, I would unmask the devil, until . . .
  his two eyes would become the cold orbs of the adder,
  and on his lip would come the foam of raging intoxication,
  and to his feet, the spring of the panther,
  and his soft hand would become the clammy hand of a wasted skeleton,
  and in the smooth lisp of his tongue, would come the hiss of the worm which never dies,
  while suddenly from his heart would burst in all-devouring fury, the unquenchable flames of Hell!

But, until unmasked, I would describe him as nothing but myrrh, and balm, and ringlet, and diamond, and flute-like voice—with pleasant and mirthful conversation.

"So that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11

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If God is your enemy!

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")  LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

[This one is longer, but powerful. You may want to forward it to an unconverted loved one.]

Unconverted reader, did you ever consider that solemn text, "He who being often reproved and hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy!" Proverbs 29:1.

You have been often reproved—yet you delay; you have refused . . .
  to bow to God's authority,
  to yield to His command,
  to embrace His mercy,
  to flee to the refuge He has provided,
  to seek and obtain the pardon which He promises.
Instead, you have hardened your neck.
What if He should destroy you!

What if He should destroy you suddenly!
He can, for He is almighty!
He may, for He has threatened!
If He should, what a dreadful condition would you be in forever!
Shut up in hopeless despair, and destroyed without remedy!

While you delay, you are in the greatest danger!
A person slumbering in a burning house,
a man sleeping on the edge of a precipice,
a blind man walking round the crater of a volcano
—is safe, in comparison with you!

Around you are kindling the quenchless flames of Hell,
you sleep on the brink of the bottomless pit,
you are in danger of plunging into that lake of glowing brimstone,
where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth!

"But those enemies of Mine who did not want Me to be king over them, bring them here and kill them in front of Me!" Luke 19:27

"If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left—but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God!" Hebrews 10:26-27 

Consider, consider seriously that while you delay, God is your enemy, and He is angry with you every day! Every sin provokes God to anger, but no sin is so provoking as unbelief, because it calls God a liar. To have an absolute monarch for your enemy is bad enough, but to have God for your enemy is infinitely worse! "God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day! If He does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts!" Psalm 7:11-13.

He waits to watch the conduct of delaying sinners; He gives them space for repentance; He is long-suffering toward them—but they will not turn.
He will sharpen His sword,
His bow is ready bent in His hand,
He has taken out His arrow from His quiver, and
the impenitent sinner is the mark at which He aims!
Will not His arrows pierce the heart?
Will they not inflict dreadful pains, and produce incurable wounds?
Will they not rankle and fester to all eternity.
If God wounds, then who can heal?

Think, dear reader, if you were shackled and placed before an assembled crowd, to be shot at with poisoned arrows for injuring and insulting the king, and refusing his pardon—would not your case be dreadful?

But this would be nothing, compared with your present condition! You have insulted the God of mercy numberless times—in ten thousand ways. You have injured His creatures. You have joined yourself to His inveterate and determined foes! And He has offered you a pardon, not once or twice, but has waited years to see if you would accept it, but you have obstinately refused! And now justice—holy justice demands that you be punished according to your deserts. Before assembled worlds, your folly will be published, and your sins will be proclaimed! And while God lives to punish, and justice remains unchanged—your sad, your just, your indescribable sufferings will continue!

To have God for one's enemy, is of all terrible things, the most terrible! Just look for one moment at His perfections, and see them all opposed to you.

If God is your enemy—then He is an Omnipotent enemy, and can you effectually oppose almighty power? He could crush you to atoms, but He will only punish you as justice demands. There is no cruelty in His nature, but there is dreadful inflexible justice!

If God is your enemy—then He is an Omniscient enemy! He . . .
  sees your heart,
  reads your thoughts,
  knows your motives,
  understands your designs, and
  penetrates the deepest recesses of your soul.

Can you deceive Him? Never! There is not a thought in your heart, but He knows it altogether! Your whole history is before Him—the secret, as well as the public. His eye will pursue you, and rest upon you throughout eternity! Should you sink to the deepest depths of Hell—His eye will rest upon you, and pierce your inmost soul. There is something very fearful in the thought of God's eye resting upon the lost soul forever—flashing conviction into the heart like the flashes of the fearful lightning.

If God is your enemy—then He is an Omnipresent enemy. As every sin was committed in His presence, so every pain must be endured in His presence. The sense of His presence in Hell, will be very different to our sense of His presence on earth. It will be fearful! It will be very dreadful! He is ever present—how then can you flee from Him? Where can you go? Where can you hide? What will conceal you from an ever-present God!

O hasten to His throne of grace,
flee into the open arms of His mercy,
submit at once at His footstool, and
His omnipresence shall be your joy, your safeguard, and your refuge!

If God is your enemy—then He will be strictly Righteous. He will take no bribe. He will violate no principle of His government. He will never forget or rescind one threatening recorded in His Word. Your just wages shall be paid, no more, no less. He now mingles mercy with His judgments, but there will be no mercy then. He is now emphatically "The merciful God," but He will not be so then.
Mercy will then give place to justice,
grace will then give place to equity,
and love will then give place to wrath
—in the experience of the lost soul.

If God is your enemy—then you will have an Eternal enemy. He can never die. From everlasting to everlasting, He is God. If only man were your enemy, he might die; and his death may work a deliverance for you. But if God is your enemy, there is no hope! He ever lives—and while He lives, He must hate sin. And while He hates sin, He must punish the sinner! O fearful case! The eternal God is your enemy! He will be your enemy forever!

Now, reader, dwell for one moment upon the solemn thought:
God is my enemy!
I have an Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Righteous, Eternal enemy!
One from whom I cannot escape.
One whom it will be Hell to face.
One whom my conscience will forever justify, while suffering the most dreadful torments. 
Shall I rush upon the sword of His justice—or run into the arms of His mercy?

Think, delaying sinner. Pause, and say to yourself,
"I am under the curse and wrath of God.
If I die in this state I shall die . . .
  without mercy,
  without pity, and
  without hope!
My sins are all recorded in God's book,
   I am unpardoned and unblessed,
   Satan is my father and my god,
   and Hell is my everlasting home!
All creation will despise me.
All in Heaven will frown upon me.
All in Hell will eternally upbraid me.
No one will respect or sympathize with me.
I shall forever lie under the burning wrath of God—a curse and eternal execration!"

Unconverted reader!
is coming!
Death is coming!
Judgment is coming!
Eternity is just at hand!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The moment after death!

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")  LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

"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 16:23-24

I see the sinner who has . . .
  neglected the Savior,
  despised the gospel,
  and refused to repent
closing his life in death!

His conscience accuses him,
divine justice frowns upon him,
hope forsakes him,
despair seizes upon him,
a cold chill of horror passes over his soul,
consternation and dread prey upon his vitals!

His soul then leaves the body:
   it is apprehended by the angelic ministers of justice,
   it is hurried to the horrid pit,
   it sees in the distance the rolling waves of blue flame,
   it hears the dreadful screams of tortured millions,
   it shudders as it sinks into the gloom,
   an indescribable trembling shakes every power, as it feels the torment!

See . . .
  the curling flames surround it,
  the boiling waves receive it,
  the ghastly demons fall to work tormenting it,
  while the dreadful words "FOREVER!" rattle through all the chambers of the heart!

It looks back upon time—how different does the past appear!
It looks forward—and O unutterable misery; there is spread out a vast eternity of varied, endless sufferings!

How appalling does GOD appear now!
His wrath, how fearful,
His holiness, how dreadful,
His unchangeableness, what a source of agonizing woe!
The thought of His mercy only aggravates present misery; and a view of His slighted grace, adds a thousand pangs to the punishment inflicted by a roused and honest conscience. All is now . . .
  dreadful gloom,
  tormenting foreboding,
  and black despair!

The terrified spirit looks . . .
   every way for sympathy, but finds none;
   for a way of escape, but there is none;
   for something to mitigate its dreadful sufferings, but in vain!
Shivering, shuddering, terrified, and despairing—it now exclaims in words it once disregarded:
"Oh! if this awesome God would let me die,
And not torment me to eternity!
Oh! would He free me from this dreadful woe,
But no! I'm lost, I'm damned, forever so!

Cursed be the day I treated with neglect
The gospel call, and free grace reject;
Oh! could I now one invitation hear,
To cool my burning heart and calm this fear!

Oh! if this awesome God would let me die,
And not torment me to eternity!
Oh! would He free me from this dreadful woe,
But no! I'm lost, I'm damned, forever so!

But no, my doom is fixed, tis all in vain,
My portion now is everlasting pain!
Hopeless I sink into the dark abyss,
Banished forever from eternal bliss!

In boiling waves of vengeance must I lie?
Oh! could I but curse this dreadful God and die!
Infinite years in torment must I spend,
And never, never, never at an end!

And must I live in torturing despair,
As many years, as atoms in the air?
When these are spent as many thousands more,
As grains of sand that crowd the ebbing shore?

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

This would afford some ease, but oh! I shiver,
To think upon the dreadful sound, FOREVER!
In the burning gulf where I blaspheming lie,
TIME is no more, but vast ETERNITY!"

Reader, what if this should be your doom?
If you die unconverted, it certainly will be.
It may be before twenty-four hours have passed away!
How dreadful is the bare supposition, but infinitely more dreadful would the reality be!

What must have been the feeling of that rich man referred to by our Lord, when "in Hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment!" What would your feelings be?

"Unless you repent you must likewise perish!"

    ~  ~  ~  ~

Pleasure is not happiness!

(D.R. Thomason, "Fashionable Amusements" 1831)  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

"I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind!" Ecclesiastes 1:14

Happiness is the primary object of human pursuit. The desire for happiness, urges our weary steps in the pilgrimage of life.

Have all the scenes of gaiety and mirth, of beauty and splendor, by which the gaze has been fixed and fascinated, supplied enjoyment—either equal to the expectations, or worthy of the wishes of a rational and immortal being?

Both observation and experience abundantly confirm the truth of the paradox—that pleasure is not happiness! Every votary of pleasure knows it. The varied forms of fascination by which he has been wooed, have successively, in their very embrace, surprised him by the concession: "Happiness is not in me!" The thousand images which imagination creates, have not satisfied him—but have left in his soul a painful vacuum, and a distressing sense of longing.

The moral constitution of his mind precludes any other result of these worldly pursuits. He was designed for a higher destiny, and for nobler joys. He possesses a principle, whose kindred elements are not found in worldly objects, neither in . . .
  honor nor splendor,
  refinement nor luxury,
  revelry nor mirth,
  beauty nor fine taste.
He seeks, with restless desire the unseen and spiritual felicities of the eternal world, and aspires to the happiness which immortality alone can give. He will know neither rest nor joy, until he shall have Heaven for his home, and sit forever beneath the smiles of that gracious God, who is at once the author of his existence, and the source of his felicity.

In order to escape from wearying toils, painful afflictions, withering disappointments, and disquieting apprehensions—we must quit the mirthful delusive scene! The giddy mazes of pleasure's enchantment have long perplexed; its empty pageants have already disgusted; its sickly joys have nauseated and cloyed the heart—while the soul seeks an introduction to holier and happier joys.

What though the siren's song has long ravished its victim, and led him so widely astray—yet may he not pause, reflect, and return? Yes, true religion will secure peace, and safety, and hope. Thousands have proved it. Many a hapless voyager on life's wide ocean, who had long pursued vain and perilous wanderings, borne onward by the fluctuating tide of fashion, or sported with by the fickle winds of worldliness; living a mad and fearful lifestyle in the wild storm of passion; or floating, thoughtless and mirthful, with the current of pleasure to the distant vortex of damnation—has been rescued from peril and misery, and has pursued a prosperous course to the distant land of his heavenly home, repose and felicity.

>From the blandishments of ruinous dissipation, therefore, the votaries of pleasure are invited to the genuine enjoyments of piety. Here alone will be found repose, satisfaction, and enduring pleasure! Let the sublime doctrines and virtuous precepts which the oracles of truth inculcate—engage their attentive study and practical regard. The sentiments here exhibited, will present a striking contrast to the spirit, maxims, and pursuits of the mirthful world.

Contact with sacred truths must be close and constant—that the mind may receive their complexion and frame its habits of thought and feeling on the sacred model. The Word of God must be believed; it must, moreover, be reverenced and loved. In the same proportion, will the influence of worldly maxims and examples become weakened, a taste for mirthful pleasures destroyed, and the bias of the mind rendered serious and devout.

The pleasures of a pious life are indescribably exquisite.

The elevated duties of piety
  its dignified motives;
  its purifying influence;
  the holy restraint which it imposes on the passions;
  the tranquility which it imparts to the conscience;
  the bright and enduring prospects which it offers to hope;
  the sovereign antidote which it supplies to the afflictions of life
—render the inspired declaration emphatically true: "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The Holy Spirit

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")  LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:6

The Holy Spirit is the author of the great work of regeneration. He takes up His abode in the renewed heart, as His temple. He dwells in us, and shall be with us.

Jesus does all for us, in our justification;
and the Holy Spirit does all in us, for our sanctification.

The Holy Spirit is the source of all holy desires, consistent purposes and good works. There is no good thing in us, but what He produces. He dwells within us as the Teacher, the Comforter and the Advocate of the soul. He leads us . . .
  into truth,
  against Satan,
  and to labor for God.

He . . .
warns us of evil,
directs us to Jesus, and
applies the blessings of salvation to our souls.
He is in us as a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Without the Holy Spirit there is not, there cannot be, genuine religion; for He is its author, guardian, and guide.

To Him we are indebted . . .
  for every good desire,
  for every holy thought,
  for every good word, and
  for every fruitful work.
He works in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure.

Every tear of penitence,
every contrite sigh,
every fervent prayer,
every ray of spiritual light,
every holy emotion toward God
—is from the Holy Spirit.

If He left us—our graces would soon wither, fade and die.

When we grieve Him . . .
  our comforts decline,
  our evidences are beclouded,
  and our hands wax feeble.
But . . .
if we sow to the Spirit,
if we walk in the Spirit,
if we aim in all things to please Him, then . . .
  our souls are vigorous,
  our graces are lively, and
  we are enabled to find our joy in God.

   ~  ~  ~  ~

And there reader, you are going!

(William Thoseby, "Foot-prints on the Sands of Time" 1869)

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"It is appointed unto man once to die; but after death the judgment." Hebrews 9:27

"In Adam all die." 1 Corinthians 9:15

"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin—and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" Romans 5:12

"On this side, and on that—men see their friends drop off, like leaves in autumn."

Memories of the dearly departed crowd in upon us all, and often "fill the haunted chambers of the night." Who has not some friend or family member among the past deceased millions?

What is our life?
"It is even as a vapor which appears for a little while, and then vanishes away!" Nothing can exempt us from the common lot of humanity.

What is the history of our race? It is a lengthened bill of mortality, a vast Aceldama (field of blood), on whose gates are written, "Lamentation, mourning and woe!"

What are the words that apply alike to all? It is the solemn sentence, "Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return!" Everywhere we meet with the grim and ghastly triumphs of death. In every language you may hear his hoarse, bass voice calling, "Return O children of men!" The pyramids of Egypt, while they are a monument of human labor, are likewise a monument of human mortality. The thickening grave-stones in our cemeteries preach to us their reminder: "Remember death!"

The brief allusions of the inspired writers to the ravages of death are fitted to arrest the attention of our readers:
"How frail is humanity!
 How short is life, how full of trouble!
 We blossom like a flower and then wither.
 Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear!" Job 14:1-2
"We finish our years like a sigh. Seventy years are given to us; some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away!" Psalm 90:9-10
"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass!" Isaiah 40:6-7

These are but a few, out of the many of the ever recurring cries of humanity, respecting the ravages of death. Into how many of our homes has the "King of Terrors" and the terror of kings entered unbidden and smitten down some of our nearest, dearest, and best of friends!

May we not ask:

Where is the husband who stood by you at the altar, and under the protection of whose arm you felt secure?

Where is the wife with whom you took sweet counsel, and walked to the house of God, to whose accents you surrender your soul, and to whose language of affection you desired to listen forever?

Where is the father who toiled for you with his brawny arms, and loved you with a manly heart?

Where is the mother who watched over your infancy, hushed you to sleep on her gentle bosom, and tended your sick-bed through many a fevered dream?

Where are the children, those angels of your home over whom you shed your hottest tears?

Are they not gone, some of them at least—to the cold damp bed, the grave, where there is . . .
  no pillow but the cold clay;
  no covering but the sod;
  no curtain but the dark coffin lid;
  no companion but the worm!

And there reader, you are going!

But death is not your final resting-place.

"It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment!" Hebrews 9:27

As death leaves you—so judgment shall find you!
As the judgment finds you—so shall eternity keep you!

"Prepare to meet your God!" Amos 4:12

"Like crowded forest trees we stand,
  And some are marked to fall;
  The ax will smite at God's command,
  And soon will smite us all!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Perish! What is that?

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")  LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

"Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish!" Luke 13:3

Perish! What is that?

It is for hope to forever depart, and despair take eternal possession of the soul!
It is to be banished from God forever, and to be shut up with devils and damned spirits!
It is to be excluded from Heaven, and to be confined in Hell!
It is to be driven from the rivers of pleasure which are at God's right hand, and to be doomed to the lake of fire to dwell in everlasting burnings!
It is to be thrust into blackness, darkness, and eternal woe!

If therefore you live impenitent, then you are condemned already; your destiny is fixed, and fixed by yourself. Hell is your eternal abode! And in Hell, you will be forever deprived of the glorious presence of God. There you will be shut up in prison with all the enemies of God; shut up in a prison where there is . . .
   no order, but horror;
   no voice, but of blasphemers cursing God, themselves, and each other;
   no sounds, but the dismal howlings of the tortured;
   no society, but devils and the damned! And these being tormented themselves, will eternally torment you!

In Hell, you must experience . . .
   punishment, without pity;
   misery, without mercy;
   sorrow, without support;
   crying, without comfort;
   mischief, without measure;
   torment, without ease!

There the worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. The wrath of God like flames of liquid brimstone, will seize upon your soul and body; and in that flame you will be . . .
   forever burning, but never consumed;
   ever dying, but never dead;
   ever writhing in the pangs of the second death, and never for one moment be free from those pangs, nor know an end of those pains.

Your torments will be always beginning! Your cutting reflections will be:
"All this I procured by my sin! All this I chose in preference to Heaven! To this dreadful place, I forced my way—though warned, invited, and entreated by the servants of God! I despised the solemn warnings, but now I feel the dread reality! I slighted the invitation to embrace the Savior, and now I am banished forever from His presence! My destruction is of myself! I chose the path, I pursued the road—and now I am lost! Lost! Lost forever!
Justice condemns me,
holiness punishes me,
mercy and grace pass me by without pity,
all around curse me,
all within condemns me, and
I am obliged to confess that in this tremendous punishment, that God as fully just!"

"Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath!" 1 Thessalonians 1:10

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Love photographs them in the heart!

(William Thoseby, "Foot-prints on the Sands of Time" 1869)

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"The righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death!" Isaiah 57:1-2

It is true there are strong consolations and compensations in Divine providence, but even the Christian consolations cannot drink up all the heart's sorrow in the hour of separating death. We cry with truth, but yet in tears, "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?" "Yes in all these things we are more than conquerors," but we are conquerors with bleeding wounds and scars of the conflict upon us.

When a dear life is taken from the near presence of our own life—no antidote of reasoning, nor cordial of promise even, can make us oblivious of the loss. In the moment of most entire submission and most exultant faith, we feel the pang of separation. Our affections grope and wander uneasily in the vacancy that has been made, and we return home companionless and sorrowing. We are awed by the voiceless room, and the vacant chair affects us with sadness. Every relic and memorial of the life that is ended, tells us that it is ended indeed. The dearly departed live in the chambers of our soul. We see their lovely forms, hear their sweet voices, feel their tender touch, and almost grasp their hands. Love photographs them in the heart!

When therefore a dear life is taken, the person who is left must suffer. And since so it is, we come, through "many a winding maze" to conclude that thus it ought to be. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" "Now we see through a glass darkly."

But in our ignorance and blind unbelief, we are too apt to arraign the rectitude of the Divine procedure, exclaiming:
How bewildering is this afflictive dealing!
How baffling is this mystery!
Where is now my God?
This sickness, why prolonged?
This thorn in the flesh, why still buffeting?
This family blank, why permitted?
Why the most treasured and useful life taken, the blow aimed where it cut most severely?

Hush the secret atheism! For the day is coming when every dark hieroglyphic in the scroll of Divine Providence, will be made plain and clear. When what are called . . .
"dark providences"
"harmful calamities"
"strokes of misfortune"
"unmitigated evils"
trials, sorrows, crosses, losses, adversities, sicknesses,
  the emptied cup,
  the withered gourd,
  the lingering illness,
  the early grave,
  the useful lives taken,
  blossoms prematurely plucked,
  spiritual props removed,
  benevolent schemes blown upon
—over all these, will not this grand motto be written as in characters of living light, which may be read on anguished pillows and aching hearts—yes, on the very portals of the tomb itself: "This also comes from the LORD almighty! He is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom!" Isaiah 28:29

Let us "be still and know that He is God." "We know" says the apostle, "that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28

We do not always see the bright light in the clouds—but it "shall come to pass that at evening time, it shall be light!"

Child of sorrow! Mourning over the withdrawal of some beloved object of earthly affection—dry your tears! An early death has been an early crown! The tie sundered here, links you to the throne of God. You have a Christian parent, a brother, a sister—in Heaven! You are the relative of a redeemed saint. "He shall enter" (he has entered) "into peace"—the "rest which remains for the people of God!"

We can only see one side of a Christian's death, the setting side, the expiring breath, the vanishing life, the cold clay corpse. We cannot see the risings on the other side, the angel convoy, Heaven's open gate, the Savior's welcome of the enraptured departed one. Yet it is none the less real.

Death to the Christian, is a birth into heavenly life—a life more real, more sweet, more calm, more pure than could be enjoyed on earth.

"Beloved! think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, but rejoice!" Soon you shall hear the sweet chimes wafted from the towers of the heavenly Jerusalem, "Enter into the joy of your Lord!" "The Lord God shall wipe away all tears from off all faces!"

Christian Mourner! Do not go to the grave to weep there. The devourer shall be devoured! The resurrection shall restore to you, all that death snatches away. And then, Oh! joyous hope, "death shall be swallowed up of life!" Glorious day! "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~


He does according to His will in Heaven, earth, and Hell!

(James Smith, "The Love of Christ! The Fullness, Freeness, and Immutability of the Savior's Grace Displayed!")  LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

"His dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of Heaven and the peoples of the earth." Daniel 4:34-35

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

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

The Lord Jesus Christ is the sole Lord and Lawgiver of His Church. All His laws proceed from His loving heart, and are framed with a view to His people's good, and His own glory. They are all merciful, just, and necessary. They cannot be dispensed with—or His glory would be obscured, and His people injured.

Jesus reigns over His people, He reigns in them, He reigns for them! He reigns . . .
  over them, by His Word and servants,
  in them, by His grace and Spirit,
  for them, by His wise and holy providence.

He can do as He will, for His power is absolute!

He will do as He has said, for His faithfulness is unimpeachable!

Every being in creation is under His eye!

Every movement in the universe, is by His power and permission!

Nothing is too insignificant for Him to regard.

Nothing is too cunning to escape His all-penetrating eye!
Nothing in all creation is hidden from His sight.
All things are naked and open before Him, and sin has no covering.

He does according to His will in Heaven, earth, and Hell! He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers! He brings princes to naught, and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing! He remains King forever!

His people love His person, His government, and His laws! Whatever the sovereign King does, pleases all His redeemed people.

He is the omnipotent Lord God, and He reigns and rules over all!

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Reader, turn aside and see this great sight!

(William Thoseby, "Foot-prints on the Sands of Time" 1869) LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you!" Isaiah 43:2

John Bunyan writes in his Pilgrim's Progress: "Now I further saw that between the pilgrims and the gate of the Celestial City, was a river, but there was no bridge to go over, and the river was very deep. At the sight of this river, the pilgrims were much stunned; but those who went with them, said, 'You must go through, or you cannot come to the gate.' The pilgrims then began to despond in their minds, and looked this way and that, but no way could be found by them, by which they might escape the river."

How true and touching is this description. There is no way from this world to the Celestial City, but through the river of death. Whether men go to eternal glory or to eternal gloom—they have to ford its depths. There is no way of reaching the Celestial City, without crossing the narrow stream of death. When the summons for our departure arrives, we must enter the deep dark waters. None can disregard the call, nor choose any other mode of transit. But it is given to the Christian pilgrim to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd sounding like sweet music in the intervals of storm: "It is I, do not be afraid!" Jesus may allow you to hear some touches of richest music, and feel some waftings of balmiest air. It has even seemed to some of the pilgrims, that their very names were called; and then with new thrillings of the inner sense, they have joyfully answered, "We are coming! We are coming home!"

But as we near the banks of the river, the prospect of parting with beloved relatives and friends is sometimes deeply affecting. It was a touching scene in ancient Israel, "When all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for him thirty days."

Oh, there is a luxury in tears! The tears of tenderness, are the jewelry of our humanity. The man who never sheds a tear, is by no means to be envied. Have we not heard of the weeping Savior? Reader, turn aside and see this great sight: the Creator of all worlds, in tears! "Jesus wept!" John 11:35. And those tears formed one of the most touching episodes in His sacred story.

Looking along the line of coming years, the Savior had before Him the believing bereaved of all ages, a picture gallery of the world's aching hearts, a far and wide spread view of all the deserted chambers, vacant seats and open graves, down to the end of time. Therefore, weeping believer, your anguished heart was included in the Savior's tear drops!

"Shudder not to pass the stream,
 Venture all your care on Him,
 Him whose dying love and power
 Stilled its tossing, hushed its roar.

 Not one object of His care,
 Ever suffered shipwreck there;
 See the haven full in view;
 Love Divine shall bear you through!"

   ~  ~  ~  ~

What God will bestow upon His beloved people!

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")  LISTEN to Audio!  Download Audio

Sin degrades as well as endangers.
Sin is a crime—a fearful, abominable, inexcusable crime against a loving God!
God's heart is love, but man's heart is enmity.
God's conduct is kindness, but man's conduct is ingratitude.
God's object is man's happiness, but man's object is the gratification of vile, base, and degrading passions!

Man is . . .
  a prodigal feeding swine,
  a slave working in chains,
  a criminal awaiting execution.
Man is sunk beyond description!
He is debased, beyond expression; being . . .
  more ignorant than the ox,
  more stupid than the donkey, and
  more contemptible than the worm!
He talks of honor, but knows not in what it consists. Honor comes from God alone. He confers it as a matter of grace, on all who believe in Jesus.

Is it an honor to be a son of God?
Believers are the sons of God.

Is it an honor to be a king?
Believers are kings and priests unto God.

Is it an honor to be a companion of the Prince of life?
Believers are the companions of Jesus.

Is it an honor to be the heir of God?
Believers are the heirs of God.

Is it an honor to be the bride of the Son of God?
Every believer is honored to stand in this precious relation.

But what shall I say more—for time would fail to speak of the honors, dignities, and blessings which are conferred upon the people of God!

There are crowns, thrones, scepters, kingdoms, white robes, golden harps, and rivers of pleasure at God's right hand—which are provided, preserved, and will be conferred on every child of God! Yet we do not, we cannot, fully know here, what God will bestow upon His beloved people!
His love is so vast,
His purposes are so deep,
His provision is so extensive,
and His thoughts are so grand,
that it were folly to attempt to dive into, much less to set forth the honors which He has in reserve for His redeemed children!

"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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The error of textualism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

I shall sin no more!

(The following is an excerpt from the diary of James Smith, written in 1860 when Smith was 58)

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I am weary of myself, ashamed of myself—and often turn with disgust from myself! And yet I find a great deal of self-love, self-esteem, and self-pity working within me! I sometimes get into such a state of confusion, into such misery and wretchedness, that I cry out, "Oh, what a wretched man I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death!" Romans 7:24

I feel that I am too carnal, too much like the generality of professors. I do not follow the Lord fully. I am not wholly set apart for God. But I am ashamed of complaining, I have done so, so often, and it has ended there. I need more life, more savor, more love in my religion; and to be more energetic and self-denying in my ministry. I need, alas, what do I not need? I am only a mere skeleton of a Christian. I can keep up the outward form pretty well, but the power—the power is what I need! I want to be like Jesus. O for a Christ-like spirit, temper, and course of conduct!

I am obliged to renounce self entirely—all that I do, all that I feel, and all that I say, and build on Jesus Christ, and on Him alone. This is very mortifying to poor, proud human nature, but so it must be. The creature must be nothing, that the Savior may be all in all!

How swift-footed is time! Soon, very soon, it will land me on the shores of eternity! Well, to die will be gain. I shall then be with Christ—with Christ forever! Then all my trials will be ended, all my sorrows will cease, and I shall sin no more! If I could but live without sin, I would not care how long I lived. Nothing grieves me like sin—and yet I sin daily. I grieve the loving heart of Jesus, and wound the tender bosom on which I lean. What a pleasant thing perfect holiness will be!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The God of contemporary Christianity!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The seed, the source, the essence of unhappiness

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

Sin is the seed, the source, the essence of unhappiness. "There is no peace to the wicked"—nor is there any happiness for the sinner in his sins. The carnal mind may find something like pleasure in carnal things—but real, solid, lasting joy, cannot be found, never has been found by the sinner, until converted to God. Carnal pleasure is empty, fleeting, and unsatisfactory in its very nature!

The true Christian has enough to make him genuinely happy:
All of his sins are forgiven and forgotten.
He is adopted into God's family.
His person is justified before God.
He is clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus.
He is a child of God.
He is regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
He has the Spirit of adoption in his heart.
He is at peace with God, and God is at peace with him.

All the promises of God are his, which represent Jehovah as pledged to support, sustain, comfort, supply, and bless him in time and eternity!

His God is with him.
His God is for him.
His God will never fail him in any trial, nor leave him under any circumstances for one moment.

Such is the Christian's blessed state, and such are his blessed privileges—though he may appear poor, afflicted, and despised among men.

In proportion . . .
  as sin is subdued,
  as sanctification is deepened,
  as the Savior is prized,
  as our talents are laid out for the Lord's glory
—are we happy. But if sin is allowed to conquer, if personal sanctification is neglected, if the intimations of the Holy Spirit are slighted—then the believer is not, and cannot be happy.

Let the Christian therefore . . .
  cleave unto the Lord with full purpose of heart,
  cultivate close fellowship with God,
  walk softly, uprightly, and daily with God.
So will his peace be like a river, and his path be like the shining light which shines more and more unto the perfect day.

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You; because he trusts in You!" Isaiah 26:3

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Happiness hunters!

(Cornelius Tyree, "The Moral Power of a Pious Life")  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

A higher degree of personal piety, will promote a higher degree of personal happiness.

Sin and sorrow are bound together by adamantine chains!
Hence man increases in misery—as he increases in sin. It is upon this principle that the devil is the most miserable being in the universe—because he is the most depraved.

So, on the other hand, there is an inseparable connection between holiness and happiness. God is the most happy being in the universe—because He is the most holy. And the happiness of His people is just in proportion as they resemble Him in righteousness and true holiness.

Heaven is a world of supreme happiness, because it is a world of supreme holiness.

is a world of supreme misery, because sin is there fully developed.

God has so ordered it, that our comfort and happiness in this world can only be found in a pious life. For the last six thousand years, mankind have been happiness hunters. In all ages and lands the eager query has been, "Who will show us any good?" But every device has been a failure! The recorded and unrecorded experience of all has been, "All is vanity and vexation of spirit!" We can no more expect to find happiness in the pursuits and objects of this world—than we may expect to find luscious grapes growing at the icy North Pole.

But in the likeness and service of Christ, is found a happiness which is pure, elevating, perennial, inexhaustible—a happiness that will go with us in all conditions, all lands, and all worlds!

The great cause of all the sadness and depression in the followers of Christ, is the small degree of their piety. The only reason why they are disconsolate, is because they "follow the Lord afar off." One single uncrucified, unbemoaned sin—will not only destroy all pious enjoyment—but open the soul to the devil, with his whole black train of guilt and misery. It matters not what this sin is. Any one sin habitually indulged in, whether it is pride, malice, backbiting, covetousness, filling the mind with unholy images, or murmuring under adverse providences—will exclude from the soul all pious enjoyment.

After all, the great secret of being happy, is to be holy. He who grows in practical piety has opened a thousand sources of true bliss!

The "golden fruit of happiness" grows only on the "tree of holiness". If happiness is sought in any other way than by being holy—it is sought in vain!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

The omnipotent Savior!

(James Smith, "The Love of Christ! The Fullness, Freeness, and Immutability of the Savior's Grace Displayed!")  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

The love of Jesus for His people is armed with divine power, for the execution of its purposes and the fulfillment of its designs. It will perform all its good pleasure, but in the most judicious and prudent way.

Divine love will not be conquered! None can effectually resist its sweet omnipotence when it is exerted; nor are any disposed to find fault, when they feel its omnipotent sweetness.

Christ's omnipotent love for His people . . .
  reaches its objects, when at the greatest distance from God;
  raises them from the pit of destruction;
  plucks them as brands from the fire;
  delivers them from the power of darkness;
  and translates them into His blessed eternal kingdom!

Christ's omnipotent love for His people . . .
  restores the backslidden believer from his wanderings;
  extricates the erroneous believer from the labyrinths of error;
  preserves the tempest-tossed believer from dashing upon the rocks of destruction;
  supports the heavenly traveler in his rugged way; and
  guides the pilgrims of Zion by its strength, to His holy habitation.

Christ's omnipotent love for His people never varies, and it cannot fail! Every object of the dying love of Jesus is addressed in the language of inspiration, "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!" Weakness may be felt, and the soul may be ready to faint—but divine love says, "I will strengthen you! I will help you! Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness."

We may come up out of the wilderness, leaning upon the omnipotent arm of a Savior's love (Song of Songs 8:5), and exclaim, "Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear. God is my refuge and strength, my ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore I will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging—for the Lord Almighty is with me, and the omnipotent Savior is my refuge!"

Happy, unspeakably happy, is the soul who is saved by the omnipotent love of Jesus!
Nothing shall by any means hurt it, while it . . .
  follows in the footsteps of the lambs,
  feeds among His flock,
  and walks by His holy precepts.
All the attributes of Deity surround it,
all the resources of eternity are open to it, and
all that God possesses, stands engaged to make it blessed!

Trust then in Jesus forever, for in the love of Jesus is everlasting strength!

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Jesus Christ is completely sufficient!

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

"For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power!" Colossians 2:9-10

One of the great tenets of Scripture, is the claim that Jesus Christ is completely sufficient for all matters of life and godliness! 2 Peter 1:3-4

He is sufficient for:
  Creation (Colossians 1:16-17)
  Salvation (Hebrews 10:10-12)
  Sanctification (Ephesians 5:26-27)
  and Glorification (Romans 8:30).

So pure is He, that there is no blemish, stain, spot of sin, defilement, deception, corruption, error, or imperfection in Him! (1 Peter 1:18-20)

So complete is He, that . . .
  there is no other God besides Him (Isaiah 45:5)
  He is the only begotten Son (John 1:14, John 1:18)
  all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him (Colossians 2:3)
  the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily in Him (Colossians 2:9)
  He is heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2)
  He created all things—and all things were made by Him,
      through Him, and for Him (Colossians 1:16)
  He upholds all things by the word of His power (Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3)
  He is the firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15)
  He is the exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3).

He has no beginning and no end (Revelation 1:17-18)
He is the spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29)
He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14)
He is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1)
He is our life (Colossians 3:4)
He is the living and true Way (John 14:6)
He is the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)
He is Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11)
He is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)
He is Captain of our Salvation (Hebrews 2:10) 
He is the Elect One (Isaiah 42:1)
He is the Apostle and High-Priest of our confession (Hebrews 3:1)
He is the Righteous Servant (Isaiah 53:11)
He is the Lord Almighty (Malachi 3:17)
He is the Redeemer (Isaiah 41:14)
He is the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 54:5)
He is the God of the whole earth (Isaiah 54:5)
He is the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3)
He is the Light of the world (John 9:5)
He is the Son of Man (Matthew 20:28)
He is the true Vine (John 15:5)
He is the Bread of Life (John 6:48)
He is the Door to Heaven (John 10:7)
He is the Sovereign Lord (Philippians 2:10-13)
He is Prophet, Priest and King (Hebrews 1:1-3)
He is our Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:9)
He is our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
He is the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God,
   the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
He is the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)
He is the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5)
He is the Rock of Salvation (Psalm 62:2)
He is the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13)
He is the Counselor and Comforter (John 14:26)
He is the Messiah (John 4:25-26) and
He is the great I AM! (John 8:58)

   ~  ~  ~  ~

O eternity!

(James Smith, "The Way of Salvation Set Forth")  LISTEN to audio!  Download audio

My soul is immortal—it can never cease to be.

It is destined by the immutable decree of God, to exist eternally.

O eternity! Who can conceive your dimensions!

Forever! Who can grasp the mighty idea!

To exist forever! Solemn consideration!

Millions of ages as numerous . . .
  as the stars in the skies,
  as the sands on the sea-shore,
  as blades of grass on the surface of the globe,
  as leaves which fall from the trees in autumn
—are as nothing in comparison with eternity!

But where shall I exist?

will I spend eternity?

In happiness—or in torment?

That will entirely depend upon the character, the state, the condition—in which I live and die.

If I live in sin, if I serve self and Satan, if I die accursed—then I must suffer the due desert of my deeds.

But if I savingly believe in Jesus, if I live unto God, if I die under His saving grace—then I shall possess and enjoy glory, honor and eternal life, and these forever!

Let the solemn fact that you are immortal, deeply impress your mind.
Try to realize the overwhelming thought:
"I must live forever!
 I must live forever in unspeakable happiness—or inconceivable misery!
 My eternal state depends on my present state.
 If I live unconverted, then I must die accursed. I am lost—and once lost, lost forever!"

O eternity! Tremendous sound! Incomprehensible idea!

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:46

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Satan's chapel!

(Samuel Milton Vernon, "Amusements in the Light of Reason, History, and Revelation" 1882)

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We find that as matter of fact, the good and the holy of all times have pronounced the theater to be disgraceful.

We can trace the theater to a definite beginning in the feasts of Bacchus, five hundred years before Christ; from which time, hand in hand with the wine-god, its first lover and life-long companion—it has journeyed through the world, spreading demoralization and desolation on every hand! We consider it to be the devil's most successful scheme for destroying the morals of the culture.

The theater, the saloon, and the brothel are the three confederate tempting devils of civilization, seeking to despoil the flower of humanity.

The theater insinuates lust, murder, theft, hypocrisy, and profligacy upon overworked and sensitive minds—under the name of amusement and recreation. It inoculates our fairest sons and daughters with the most deadly poisons, corrupting personal purity, destroying domestic happiness, and dishonoring the sanctuary of home—under the guise of entertainment. It has proven to be "a school of vice and the home of debauchery" under the name of recreation. It is . . .
  black with the curses of the souls it has ruined,
  infamous for the social impurities it has nursed into life, and
  abhorred by everyone who studies its work of degradation and destruction.

We are now to examine the character of this ancient institution, whose whitened locks, as it stands before us clad in the robes of its own history, might awaken our veneration, were it not for . . .
  the blood-spots on its hands,
  the demon-leer in its eye, and
  the foul odors from its filthy clothing, proclaiming it one of the vile monsters that still lingers on the earth, because mankind have not had virtue enough to exterminate it!

From the days of Athens until now, the wise and good have not ceased to bewail the demoralizing effects of the theater. Throughout history, Christian people have always been at war against "Satan's chapel", the theater.

Plato says: "The diversions of the theater are dangerous to the temper and sobriety of mind. They rouse the feelings of passion and sensual desire too much. Tragedy is prone to render men unfeeling, and comedy makes them buffoons. Thus those passions are cherished which ought to be checked, virtue loses ground, and reason becomes uncertain."

Aristotle says: "The law ought to forbid young people the seeing of comedies, until they are proof against debauchery."

Solon, the wisest of the Greeks and their lawgiver, forbade "theatrical exhibitions as pernicious to the popular mind."

Cicero says: "The theater exists on lewdness!"

Seneca, the great heathen moralist, says: "Nothing is so injurious to good morals as theaters, for then vice makes an insensible approach and steals upon us in the disguise of pleasure."

Mr. Wilberforce, known and honored wherever freedom unfurls her banner, affirms, "The debauchee, the sensualist, the profane—have ever found in the theater, their chosen resort for enjoyment." He asks: "How can a virtuous mind seek pleasure in such a place, amid such companions, and from such persons as the actors and actresses are generally known to be?"

Pollok says: "The theater was from the very first, the favorite haunt of sin; though honest men maintained that it might be turned to good account. And so, perhaps, it might, but never was. From first to last it was an evil place; and now such things are acted there as make the demons blush!"

In 1778 Congress passed a law providing for "the dismissal of any officer of the United States who was found in attendance upon a theater."

Soon after the declaration of independence, the following resolution was adopted by Congress: "Whereas, true religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness:
Resolved, That it be and is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States to take the most effective measures for the suppression of theatrical entertainments, horse-racing, gambling, and such other diversions as are productive of idleness, dissipation, and a general depravity of principles and manners."

Augustine calls the theater, "a cage of immorality, and a public school of debauchery!"

Tillotson, speaking of the conduct of certain parents, says, "They are such monsters, I had almost said devils—as not to know how to give their children good things. Instead of bringing them to God's Church, they bring them to the devil's chapels, playhouses, places of debauchery, those schools of lewdness and vice."

If we may accept the testimony of those most to be trusted—the theater grows worse, rather than better, as it grows older; a strong indication that its character is essentially bad.

To consent to look upon vice without a protest against it, is the first step to moral degeneracy.

[Editor's note: I wonder what the above author would say about much of today's entertainment!]

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Do not be afraid, for I am with you!

(James Smith, "The Believer's Companion in Seasons of Affliction and Trouble" 1842)

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"Do not be afraid, for I am with you!" Isaiah 43:5

The presence of a friend in trouble is cheering and consoling. But it is too often the case that our friends, like the friends of Job, prove to be miserable comforters. They do not enter into our troubles—or they can not help us. The advice they give at times—only aggravates our woe, and adds to our distress.

But, believer, your God says, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you!" What a thought is this! God, the great, the glorious, the omnipotent Jehovah—is with me!
With me to help me,
with me to comfort me,
with me to sanctify me,
with me to save me,
with me as a kind benignant Father,
with me in every place, in every trouble, in every conflict,
with me through all my journey and for evermore,
with me on the bed of sickness,
with me to hold communion with me,
with me to listen to my sighs,
with me to number my tears, and
with me to secure me from all injury!

Appearances may be very dark; the night may seem very long; and your pains, weakness, and fears may be many and great. Still, if the Lord is with you, you may sing, "Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty—yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!" Habakkuk 3:17-18

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
 I have called you by name; you are Mine!
 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
 When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
 When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!" Isaiah 43:1-3

   ~  ~  ~  ~

Sudden destruction, and that without remedy!

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(Thomas Vincent, "God's Terrible Voice in the City". This book was written shortly after "The Great Fire of London" of 1666, which turned the once renowned city of London into a ruinous heap!)

We read in Psalm 75:8, "The Lord holds a cup in His hand, which is full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours out the wine in judgment, and all the wicked must drink it, draining it to the dregs!" He may allow His people to drink the top of it; but the most bitter and dreggish part, which is at the bottom—the wicked shall drink and drain in Hell! If God whips His children with rods, He will scourge His enemies with scorpions!

The wicked will feel what an evil and a bitter thing it is, so audaciously to fly in the face of the great God—by their hideous oaths and blasphemies, by their horrid wickedness and abominations; whereby they do, as it were, challenge God to do His worst against them!

Surely the judgments intended purposely for the ungodly, are yet to come! And they will be exceedingly great, because of the more pure and unmixed wrath which will accompany them!

When God draws forth His glittering sword, and makes ready His sharp arrow upon the string; when God clothes Himself with fury as with a garment, and His hand takes hold on vengeance; when their iniquities are grown fully ripe, and the day of their visitation and recompense has come—how then will the wicked be terrified! What amazing horror will then surprise this vile generation! "Can their hearts endure, or their hands be strong—in the day that the Lord shall deal with them?" Ezekiel 22:14

Then the Lord will roar from His holy habitation with such a terrible voice as shall make their ears to tingle, their hearts to quake and tremble! He will roar like a lion, and tear them in pieces—and there shall be none to deliver!

I suppose they may not now expect judgment, nor fear it, any more than the whole world did their drowning in Noah's day; or Sodom and Gomorrah did their burning; because deceitful sin has hardened their hearts! Long continuance in sin with impunity, has seared their consciences as with a hot iron! But they are in the greatest danger, when they sleep with the greatest security! When men grow desperately hardened against often and all reproofs—what follows but sudden destruction, and that without remedy! "When men cry 'peace and safety', then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape!" 1 Thessalonians 5:3

And if some of this perverse and wicked generation drop away without a remarkable temporal destruction, God will make His righteousness evident to them in the eternal world, when He claps up their souls as prisoners in the lowest dungeon of Hell, appointing . . .
  horrid devils to be their jailors;
  flames of fire to be their clothing;
  hideous terrors and woe to be their food;
  other damned tormented spirits to be their companions;
where they must lie bound in the chains of darkness, until the judgment of the great day!

And when that fearful day has finally come, and the angels have blown the last trumpet, and gathered the elect to the right hand of Christ; then one will be sent with the keys of the bottomless pit, and the infernal prison will be opened for a while; and like so many rogues in chains, they shall, together with all their fellow sinners, be brought forth and be joined to the dirty flesh of their bodies, which, like a nasty rag, they shall then put on; and with most rueful looks, and trembling joints, and horrible shrieks, and inexpressible confusion and terror—they shall behold the Lord Jesus Christ, whom in their life-time they despised and affronted—come down from Heaven in flaming fire, to take vengeance upon them! He Himself will sentence them to the flames of eternal fire, and drive them away from His throne and presence, into the utter darkness of Hell, where they must take up their lodging for evermore!

"It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God" Hebrews 10:31