Grace Gems for October 2000

The Great Attraction!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Great Attraction" No. 775.  John 12:32.

Christ dying for sinners is the
great attraction of Christianity!

Since men will not come to him, the crucified
Savior becomes himself the attraction to men.
He casts out from himself bands of love and
cords of gracious constraint, and binding these
around human hearts, he draws them to himself
by an invincible constraint of grace.

Sinners by nature will not come to Jesus, though
his charms might even attract the blind, and
arouse the dead. They will not melt, though
surely such beauties might dissolve the adamant,
and kindle affection in rock of ice.

But Jesus has a wondrous power about him
to woo and win the sons of men. Out of his
heart proceed chains of gold by which he binds
thousands of willing captives to himself.

Many a heart has been so charmed with his
love, that it has run to Christ, drawn by the
silken bonds of love.

Jesus is the universal attraction, the attraction
to which all hearts must yield when he draws
effectually by his grace.

The attraction of the Crucified One
has bound them to the cross forever!

The gracious Spirit has moved many tender
hearts first to pity, and afterwards to love
the bleeding Lamb.

What a melting power there is in Gethsemane!
Can you view the bloody sweat drops, as they
fall upon the frozen soil, and not feel that, in
some degree, invisible but irresistible cords
are drawing you to Jesus?

Can you see him flagellated in Pilate's hall, every
thong of the scourge tearing the flesh from his
shoulders? Can you see him as they spit into his
lovely face, and mar his blessed visage, and not
feel as if you could fain fall down and kiss his feet,
and make yourself forever his servant?

And, lastly, can you behold him hanging upon the
hill of Golgotha to die- can you mark him as his
soul is there overwhelmed with the wrath of God,
with the bitterness of sin, and with a sense of
utter desertion- can you sit down and watch him
there and not be attracted to him?

The ocean of divine truth!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Plain Words with the Careless" No. 778. Luke 8:28.

If you should study until you know all things,
yet shall you find that the knowledge of Christ
Jesus surpasses all knowledge, and that his
cross is the most excellent of sciences!

The giant minds of Milton and of Newton found
ample room in the gospel; they delighted to bathe,
like leviathan, in the ocean of divine truth!

"The excellencies of Christ are
  pure and unmixed.  Jesus is
  a sea of sweetness without
  one drop of gall".  -John Flavel
"Yes, he is altogether lovely."
     -Solomon's Song 5:16

A new edition of the life of Jesus Christ
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Christus Et Ego"  No. 781. Galatians 2:20.

Picture the life of Christ on earth, beloved,
and that is what the life of God in us ought
to be, and will be in proportion as we are
subject to the power of the Holy Spirit.

A Christian ought to be a living photograph of
the Lord Jesus, a striking likeness of his Lord.

When men look at him they should see not only
what the Christian is, but what the Christian's
Master is, for he should be like his Master.

Have you been like a book printed in
plain letters, in which men might read
a new edition of the life of Jesus Christ?

Christ must be the one thought, the one idea,
the one master thought in the believer's soul.

When he wakes in the morning the healthy
believer inquires, "What can I do for Christ?"
When he goes about his business he asks,
"How shall I serve my Lord in all my actions?"
When he makes money he questions himself,
"How can I use my talents for Christ?"
If he acquires education, the enquiry is,
"How can I spend my knowledge for Christ?"

"A life spent in the service of God and
  in communion with him, is the most
  pleasant life
that any one can live
  in the world."   - Matthew Henry

"Self-denial and consecration are among the
 highest of the Christian virtues.
Oh! when I
 see the Savior in all his agonies doing so much
 for us, I cannot but think that we as a Christian
 people do next to nothing for him."   -Spurgeon

The greatest mischief in the world at
 the present time, is an abundance of
 religious profession which is not genuine.
 Nothing has injured the cause of Christ more
 than the inconsistencies of his avowed friends.

Drone, Bee or Wasp?
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"HELPS" No. 777. 1 Corinthians 12:28.

I want every member of this church to be
a worker. We do not want any drones!

If there are any of you who want to eat and drink,
and do no Christian work, there are plenty of places
elsewhere where there are empty pews in abundance;
go and fill them, for we do not want you here.

Every Christian is either a bee or a wasp.
The most quarrelsome people (the wasps), are
the most useless. Those who are the most
happy and peaceable (the bees), are generally
those who are doing most for Christ.

Isaiah 41:10

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Sweet Harp of Consolation" No. 760.

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you.
 Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
 I will strengthen you.   I will help you.
 I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."
    Isaiah 41:10.

It is not possible for the Christian to be in any
condition in which these words shall not be to him,
  universal medicine for all disease,
  universal armor against every weapon,
  universal supply of every necessity.

God is with us as a mighty worker-- a real
active, potent, faithful, truthful worker, who,
having promised to help us, will help us, and
never leave us nor forsake us until he has
accomplished all his eternal purpose, and
brought us to himself in heaven!

Why, look at that swine yonder!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Plain Words with the Careless" No. 778. Luke 8:28.

There is a joy to be found in knowing Christ
which cannot be found in all this round world,
though you search it through and through.
Jesus Christ is so precious, that if men did
but know him, they must love him.

Unbeliever, you can no more judge of spiritual
delights, than a horse in a field can judge of
the thoughts of the mathematician or the

Worldly man, those joys of yours which
you are so afraid of losing, they are but
bubbles, and they will burst sooner or later.
They are mere child's toys, and you break
them and are done with them.

You yourself will soon be where no more
bubbles are blown, and no more toys made
to play with. Do not, therefore, make so
much noise about your present joys- there
is nothing in them.

Sirs, you might throw your joys to the dogs,
and they would refuse them! For the joys
that a man can know apart from Christ, are
unworthy of an immortal being- they are
unsatisfactory, delusive, and destructive.

Why, look at that swine yonder, wallowing in
the mire: a miracle transforms it into an angel.
Has not that angel liberty to go and wallow in
the same filth as before? Certainly he has, but
does he ever use it? No, it is contrary to his
seraphic nature to be found reveling in mire!

So will it be with you, if you become converted.
You will not care for those things which are now
your delight, but, being made free from sin, you
will count it foul scorn to serve it any longer.

You who want to have true happiness, a
happiness to rise up and to sleep with, a
happiness to live with and to die with-
not the happiness of those silly butterflies
that fly from flower to flower, and are never
content except they are in the theater or the
ball-room, but the happiness of a man that
is worth calling a man- I tell you such solid
happiness is to be found only in vital godliness.

If you come to the cross, you shall find it true
that Christianity never was designed to make
our pleasures less. It multiplies our truest and
purest pleasures a thousand-fold.

The golden link of love!
(the following is by Thomas Brooks)
It was the golden link of love that
  fastened Christ to the cross!

Certainly the more Christ has suffered for us,
the more dear Christ should be unto us. The
more bitter his sufferings have been for us,
the more sweet his love  should be to us, and
the more eminent should be our love to him.
Oh, let a suffering Christ lie nearest your hearts;
let him be your manna, your tree of life, your
morning star. It is better to part with all than
with this pearl of price.

  Christ is that golden pipe through
which the golden oil of salvation runs.

"Christ's offering Himself was the greatest
 expression of His inexpressible love!
 To imagine that there is any cleansing
 from sin except by the blood of Christ,
 is to overthrow the gospel. We are never
 nearer to Christ than when we find
 ourselves lost in a holy amazement
 at his unspeakable love!"  -John Owen

The essence of all delights and pleasures!
(the following is by John Flavel)

Christ is the very essence of all delights and
pleasures, the very soul and substance of them.

As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean,
which is the meeting place of all the waters in
the world; so Christ is that ocean in which all
true delights and pleasures meet.

Jesus is altogether lovely- his excellencies are
pure and unmixed. He is a sea of sweetness
without one drop of gall.

Away with those empty nothings, away with
this vain deceitful world, which deserves not
the thousandth part of the love you give it.
Let all stand aside and give way to Christ.

O if only you knew his worth and excellency,
what he is in himself, what he has done for you,
and deserved from you; you would need no
arguments to persuade you to love him!

O how many pour out streams of love and delight
upon the vain and empty created thing; while no
arguments can draw forth one drop of love from
their stubborn and unbelieving hearts to Jesus Christ!

Let us all be humbled for the corruption of our
hearts that are so eager in their affections for
vanities and trifles, and so hard to be persuaded
to love Christ, who is altogether lovely.

Oh, how precious is Christ!
(the following is by Spurgeon)

"I found him whom my soul loves: I held him,
 and would not let him go."  -Song of Solomon 3:4

Does Christ receive us when we come to
 him, despite all our past sinfulness?

Does he ever chide us for having
 tried all other refuges first?

And is there none on earth like him?

Is he the best of all the good,
  the fairest of all the fair?

Oh, then let us praise him!

Daughters of Jerusalem, extol
  him with timbrel and harp!

Down with your idols!
Up with the Lord Jesus!

Let the standards of pomp and pride be
trampled under foot, but let the cross of
Jesus, which the world frowns and scoffs
at, be lifted on high.

O for a throne of ivory for our King Solomon!

Let him be set on high forever, and let
my soul sit at his footstool, and kiss his
feet, and wash them with my tears.

Oh, how precious is Christ!

How can it be that I have thought so little of him?

How is it I can go abroad for joy or comfort
 when he is so full, so rich, so satisfying?

Fellow believer, make a covenant with your heart
that you will never depart from him, and ask your
Lord to ratify it. Bid him set you as a signet ring
upon his finger, and as a bracelet upon his arm.

I would live in Christ's heart; in the clefts
of that rock my soul would eternally abide.

The sparrow has made a house, and the swallow a
nest for herself where she may lay her young- even
your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God;
and so too would I make my nest, my home, in you,
and never from you may the soul of your turtle dove
go forth again, but may I nestle close to you, O
Jesus, my true and only rest.

What flowers of mercy!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"David's Holy Wonder at the Lord's Great
 Goodness"  No. 773.  Psalm 31:19.

What flowers of mercy have
 bloomed in our pathway!

Let us thank God for the mercies we do
not see- the innumerable dangers from
which we are preserved; the great needs
which are supplied before we know them
to be needs; the needs which the Lord
our God is pleased to keep from us so
that we never know them.

From childhood up to youth, and on to
manhood, what flowers of mercy have
bloomed in our pathway! Superlative
love has marked out our lot.

What tender hands have led us!
What mighty arms have upheld us!
What a watchful eye has been fixed upon us!

"How precious also are your thoughts unto me,
O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should
count them, they are more in number than the sand."

Power, love, kindness, faithfulness, wisdom, goodness
"We trust him whose power will never be
exhausted, whose love will never wane,
whose kindness will never change, whose
faithfulness will never fail, whose wisdom
will never be nonplussed, and whose perfect
goodness can never know a diminution!"

Thoroughly detestable!
Egotism signifies that vice which
  admires and loves itself.
self-confidence, and
self-exaltation are
thoroughly detestable!
(from Spurgeon's sermon, "The Echo" No. 767)

Deadly!  Destructive!  Damning!
(the following is by Spurgeon)

The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself:
"God, I thank you that I am not like other men--
 robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax
 collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of
 all I get."   Luke 18:11-12

Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness!

Your own righteousness will destroy you
  as certainly as your iniquities!

If you rest upon what you have done, however
good in your own eyes, or however praiseworthy
in the esteem of your fellow-men, you rest on
a foundation that will certainly fail you.

Christ will have you to know, however good
you are, that you must come to him just as
the vilest of the vile must come.

You must come as guilty- you cannot come as
righteous. You must come to Jesus to be washed;
you must come to him to be clothed. You think
you do not need washing; you fancy you are
clothed, and covered, and beautiful to look upon.

But oh! the garb of outward respectability,
and of outward morality, often is nothing
but a film to hide an abominable leprosy!

Your merits or your demerits are
 alike unavailing for salvation!

God grant that we may no longer boast of
ourselves. Put away the Pharisee's pride,
and never utter the Pharisee's prayer.

It is self-righteousness which
damns the souls of thousands!

God's arm is strong enough, God's fire
fierce enough, to melt even the iron of

The hatching of the vipers' eggs!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"War with Amaklek" No. 712. Exodus 17:8.

It is just where we feel most safe
that we should be most cautious.

Many people need not be much afraid of being
led into drunkenness and blasphemy, for we
are not likely to give way to these grosser evils.

But we have far more reason to watch against
worldliness and pride, for these are enemies
which select the godly as their special object
of attack.

Beware of your virtues, Christian, for these,
  when exaggerated, become your vices.

Beware of the good things in which you boast,
for they may furnish heat for the hatching of
the vipers' eggs of pride and self-satisfaction!

With what vigilance, what holy diligence
must you and I watch against the windings
and twistings of the old serpent, who will, if
possible, bite our heels or worm his venom
into our hearts!

There is a David in every one of our hearts!

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon, "The Shrill
Trumpet of Admonition" No. 761. Jeremiah 48:11, 12.

It is one of the commonest and most dangerous
of all evils that can happen to a Christian, to fall
into a state of carnal security, in which he grows
self-confident, insensible, careless, inactive, and worldly.

We have heard of two friends who were accustomed
to go into the woods to pray, and each of them had
trodden a little path in the grass. At length, one of
them grew spiritually cold, and was soon found in
open sin. His friend told him that he knew it would
come to that, because the grass had grown on his
path that led to the place of prayer.

Ah! we do not know to what we may descend when
we begin to go down hill. Down, down, down, is easy
and pleasant to the flesh, but if we knew where it
would end, we would beg God that we might sooner
die than live to plunge into the terrors of that descent.

Who would think that David, the man after God's
own heart, should come to be the murderer of his
friend Uriah, to rob him of his wife?

O David, are you so near to heaven,
  and yet so near to hell?

There is a David in every one of our hearts!


The following is from Spurgeon's sermon, "The Shrill
Trumpet of Admonition"  No. 761. Jeremiah 48:11,12.

Do not many of you who come to our
places of worship live unto yourselves?

This is the end and object of the most of mankind-
  to live "respectably," to collect a "competence,"
  to provide, as they say, for their families, which
  is the Pharisaic cant phrase for selfishness.

Do not the mass of men worship their belly, and
 bow down before no other shrine than self?

Is not the life of millions unashamed, grasping selfishness?

The grand object of human desire is-
"What shall we eat, and what shall we
 drink, and with what shall we be clothed?"

The religion of the multitude is-
"Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and
 continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain."

Gain is the world's highest good, the chief of all
mortal good, the main chance, the prime object,
the barometer of success in life, the one thing
needful, the heart's delight.

And yet, O worldlings, who succeed in getting gain,
and are esteemed to be shrewd and prudent, Jesus
Christ calls you fools, and he is no thrower about of
hard terms where they are not deserved.

"You fool!" said he, and why? Because the man's
soul would be required of him; and then whose would
those things be which he had gathered together?

Ah! you who have been prosperous all your days,
and made money, and risen in the world, and
gathered a competence, and lived to gather wealth,
if this is the one thing you care about, tremble
and expect your doom. O you careless ones, do you
dream that you were made to live for yourselves?

Was it the object of your Maker that you should
live to gather gold for yourselves and for your
children? Did he send you into this world merely
that you might scrape together yellow clay?
Has your Maker no claim upon you?

(by Spurgeon)
"I will meditate on your precepts."
  - Psalm 119:15

As the Master himself often retired for
meditation and prayer to the mountain
side and the garden's shade, that alone
with his Father he might seek the face
of his God, so let us leave awhile the
busy scenes of life and the haunts of men,
to spend a still hour in quiet meditation,
and in pouring out our hearts into his
ever-loving breast.

There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence
is wiser than speech. We would be better Christians if we were
more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering spiritual strength
for labor in his service, through meditation on his Word. We ought
to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real
nutriment out of them.

Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have
wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it
many times. The bruiser's feet must come down joyfully upon
the bunches, or else the juice will not flow; and they must well
tread the grapes, or else much of the precious liquid will be
wasted. So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of
truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom.

Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the
mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscle, and the
nerve, and the sinew, and the bone, is the process of digestion.
It is by digestion that the outward food becomes assimilated with
the inner life. Our souls are not nourished merely by listening
awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of
divine truth.

Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inwardly
digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting
of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it. Why is
it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make
but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their
closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They
love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the
corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it;
the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the
water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it.
From such folly deliver us, O Lord, and be this our resolve this
morning, "I will meditate on your precepts."

"A life spent in the service of God and
  in communion with him, is the most
  pleasant life that any one can live
  in the world."   - Matthew Henry

Private devotions!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"A Song at the Well-head" No. 776. Num. 21:16-18

You are retired for your private devotions; you
have opened the Bible, and you begin to read.

Now, do not be satisfied with merely reading
through a chapter. Some people thoughtlessly
read through two or three chapters- stupid
people for doing such a thing!

It is always better to read a little and digest
it, than it is to read much and then think you
have done a good thing by merely reading the
letter of the word.

For you might as well read the alphabet
backwards and forwards, as read a chapter
of Scripture, unless you meditate upon it,
and seek to comprehend its meaning.

Merely to read words is nothing: the letter kills.

The business of the believer with his Bible
open is to pray, "Lord, give me the meaning
and spirit of your word, while it lies open
before me; apply your word with power to
my soul, threatening or promise, doctrine
or precept, whatever it may be; lead me
into the soul and marrow of your word."

Also, it is not the form of prayer, but the spirit
  of prayer that shall truly benefit your souls.

That prayer has not benefited you,
which is not the prayer of the soul.

You have need to say, "Lord, give me the
spirit of prayer; now help me to feel my
need deeply, to perceive your promises
clearly, and to exercise faith upon them."

In your private devotions, strive after vital
godliness, real soul-work, the life-giving
operation of the Spirit of God in your hearts.

The priest, the priest, the priest!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Great Mystery of Godliness" No. 786. 1 Tim. 3:16.

According to their teaching (Roman Catholicism),
God has committed to bishops and priests the
fullness of his grace, which we meekly and
reverently may receive at their venerable hands.

We are told that, in connection with a few drops
of water, sprinkled by the successors of the
apostles, children become regenerate. Through
the laying on of the same blessed hands, we
afterwards become confirmed in the faith, and
assured of our salvation.

Through priestly power we are made partakers
of the very body and blood of Christ, which,
according to them, becomes literally present
through their operation.

When we come to die, they can anoint us
with oil, consecrated by their power, and by
this unction all our sins are forgiven us.

The top and the bottom of the system is
the priest, the priest, the priest.

A man like ourselves, and not a whit better,
but ten thousand times worse for his infamous
impudence in pretending to be what he is not,
this man, dressed out in as many colors as the
peacock, is the divinely appointed medium of grace.

Cast off the filthy rags!
"You will either be saved by God's free
 and sovereign grace in Christ, without
 your own works, or you will go to hell
 trying to do something to save yourself.
 May God help you to cast off the filthy
 rags of your self-righteousness, and
 trust the righteousness of Christ."
   -Don Fortner

Married to an Ethiopian woman!
(The following is by Spurgeon)
"And Miriam and Aaron spoke against
 Moses because of the Ethiopian woman
 whom he  had married: for he had
 married an Ethiopian woman." Numbers 12:1

Strange choice of Moses, but how much more
strange the choice of him who is a prophet
like unto Moses, and greater than he!

Our Lord, who is fair as the lily, has entered
into marriage union with one who confesses
herself to be black, because the sun has
looked upon her.

It is the wonder of angels that the love of Jesus
  should be set upon poor, lost, guilty men!

Each believer must, when filled with a sense
of Jesus' love, be also overwhelmed with
astonishment that such love should be
lavished on an object so utterly unworthy of it.

Knowing as we do our secret guiltiness,
unfaithfulness, and black-heartedness,
we are dissolved in grateful admiration of the
matchless freeness and sovereignty of grace!

Jesus must have found the cause of his love
in his own heart, he could not have found it in
us, for it is not there. Even since our conversion we
have been black, though grace has made us lovely.

"Most tender and faithful Husband of our souls,
pursue your gracious work of conforming us to
your image, until you shall present even us poor
Ethiopians unto yourself, without spot, or wrinkle,
or any such thing."

Moses met with opposition because of his
marriage, and both himself and his spouse
were the subjects of an evil eye.

Can we wonder if this vain world opposes Jesus
and his spouse, and especially when great sinners
are converted? For this is ever the Pharisee's ground
of objection, "This man receives sinners."
Still is the old cause of quarrel revived, "Because
he had married an Ethiopian woman!"

Sitting side by side with corpses?

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Alive or Dead- Which?"  No. 755. 1 John 5:12.

The moralist says, "Oh! I have always lived a
chaste, upright, moral life. I have been attentive
to religious duties...."  I tell you, unbelieving
moralist, what you are- you are a corpse well
washed and decently laid out, daintily robed
in fair white linen, sprinkled plenteously with
sweet perfumes, and wrapped in myrrh, and
cassia, and aloes, with flowers wreathed about
your brow, and your bosom bedecked by the
hand of affection with sweetly blushing roses.

But you have no spiritual life, and therefore
your destiny is the grave, corruption is your
heritage, and your place of abode is fixed,
"where their worm dies not, and the fire not
quenched." For, "He that believes not shall
be damned."

With all your excellencies and moralities,
with all your baptisms and his sacraments,
"He that believes not shall be damned."

There is no middle place, no specially
reserved and superior abodes for these
noble and virtuous unbelievers.

If they have not believed, they shall be
bound up in bundles with the rest, for God
has appointed to all unbelievers their portion
with liars, and thieves, and whoremongers,
and drunkards, and idolaters.

Beware, you unbelievers, for your unbelief
will be the most condemning evidence against
you at the great judgement day.

Some of you are spiritually dead. Is not this
terrible? Oh, if by some touch of an angel's
wand, our bodies should all become as our
souls are, how many corpses would fill these
aisles, and crowd these pews! Oh! what a
sight this place would be! Those of us who
are alive would hasten to gather up our things
and say, "Let us be gone!  How can we
sit side by side with corpses?"

Every man is born a Pharisee!

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Grace- the One Way of Salvation" No. 765.

"We believe that it is through the grace of our
 Lord Jesus Christ that we are saved." Acts 15:11.

The creed of the world is,  "Do your best,
and it will be all right with you." To question
this is treason against the pride of human
nature, which evermore clings to salvation
by its own merits.
Every man is born a Pharisee!
"What," says a man, "do you not believe that
if a man does his best, he will fare well in the
next world? Why, you know, we must all live
as well as we can, every man according to his
own light; and if every man follows out his own
conscience, as near as may be, surely it will be
well with us."

The apostle did not believe in self-righteousness.
"We believe that it is through the grace of our
 Lord Jesus Christ that we are saved." Acts 15:11.

Salvation is not through our good works, not
through anything that we do, not by the merit
of anything which we feel or perform, but by
grace, that is to say, by the free favor of God.

We believe that if we are ever saved at all, we
must be saved 'gratis' -saved as the gratuitous
act of a bountiful God- saved by a gift, not by
wages- saved by God's love, not by our own
doings or merits.

This is the apostle's creed- salvation is all of
grace from first to last, and the channel of that
grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved, and
lived, and died, and rose again for our salvation.
He takes the crown from off the head of man in
all respects, and gives all glory to the grace of
God. He extols God, the gracious sovereign, who
will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy,
and who will have compassion upon whom he
will have compassion.

Not by ritualism, not by good works, not by our
own unaided free will are we saved, but by the
grace of God alone!

Those who preach mere morality, or set up any
way except that of trusting in the grace of God
through Christ Jesus, preach another gospel,
and they shall be accursed, even though they
preach it with an angel's eloquence!

Sound Theology?

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Plain Words with the Careless" No. 778. Luke 8:28.

A man may know a great deal about true
religion, and yet be a total stranger to it.

He may know that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God, and yet he may be possessed by a devil;
no, he may be a den for a whole legion of devils.

Mere knowledge does nothing for us but puff us up.

We may know, and know, and know, and so
increase our responsibility, without bringing
us at all into a state of salvation.

Beware of resting in head-knowledge!

Beware of relying upon mere orthodoxy, for without
love to Jesus, with all your correctness of doctrine,
you will be a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

It is well to be sound in the faith, but the
soundness must be in the heart as well
as in the head.

There is as ready a way to destruction by the road
  of orthodoxy as by the paths of heterodoxy.

Hell has thousands in it who were never heretics.
Remember that the devils "believe and tremble."

There are no sounder theological believers than
devils, and yet their conduct is not affected by
what they believe, and consequently they still
remain at enmity to the Most High God.

A mere head-believer is on a par therefore with
fallen angels, and he will have his portion with
them forever unless grace shall change his heart.

Troubles!  Trials!  Afflictions!
"Why have you brought this trouble on your servant?"
   - Numbers 11:11
(the following is by Spurgeon)

Our heavenly Father sends us frequent troubles to try our faith.
If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is
afraid of fire, but gold is not: the paste gem dreads to be
touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test.

It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are
true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but
that is true faith which holds by the Lord's faithfulness when
friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are
depressed, and the light of our Father's countenance is hidden.

A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, "Though he slay me,
yet will I trust in him," is heaven-born faith. The Lord afflicts
his servants to glorify himself, for he is greatly glorified in
the graces of his people, which are his own handiwork.

When "tribulation works patience; and patience, experience; and
experience, hope," the Lord is honored by these growing virtues.
We would never know the music of the harp if the strings were
left untouched; nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not
trodden in the winepress; nor discover the sweet perfume of
cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten; nor feel the warmth
of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed. The wisdom and
power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through
which his vessels of mercy are permitted to pass.

Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy. There must
be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the lights.
Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven, if we had not known
the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth? Will not peace be
sweeter after conflict, and rest more welcome after toil? Will
not the recollection of past sufferings enhance the bliss of the
glorified? There are many other comfortable answers to the
question with which we opened our brief meditation, let us muse
upon it all day long.

If we could see the Crucified One
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"SEEING JESUS"  No. 771. Hebrews 2:9.
Do you think we could sit still, or grow worldly,
or spend all our energies upon ourselves, if we
could see the Crucified One?

Faith, when it takes a stand at the foot of
the cross, makes us hate sin and love the
Savior just as much as though we had seen
our sins placed to Christ's account, and had
seen the nails driven through his hands and
feet, and seen the bloody scourges as they
made the sacred drops of blood to fall.