Grace Gems for August 2000

The King of Misery & the Emperor of Woe!
"Behold the man!"  - John 19:5
(by Spurgeon)
If there is one place where our Lord Jesus most
fully becomes the joy and comfort of his people, it
is where he plunged deepest into the depths of woe.

Come here, gracious souls, and behold the man in
the garden of Gethsemane- behold his heart so brimming
with love that he cannot hold it in- so full of sorrow that
it must find a vent. Behold the bloody sweat as it distills
from every pore of his body, and falls upon the ground.

Behold the man as they drive
the nails into his hands and feet.

Look up, repenting sinners, and see the sorrowful
image of your suffering Lord. Mark him, as the ruby
drops stand on the thorn-crown, and adorn with
priceless gems the diadem of the King of Misery!

Behold the man when all his bones are out of joint,
and he is poured out like water and brought into the
dust of death. God has forsaken him, and hell
compasses him about.

Behold and see, was there ever sorrow like
unto this sorrow that is done unto him?

All you that pass by draw near and look upon this
spectacle of grief, unique, unparalleled, a wonder
to men and angels, a prodigy unmatched!

Behold the Emperor of Woe who had no equal or
rival in his agonies! Gaze upon him, you mourners,
for if there be not consolation in a crucified Christ,
there is no joy in earth or heaven.

If in the ransom price of his blood there be not hope,
you harps of heaven, there is no joy in you, and the
right hand of God shall know no pleasures for evermore.

We have only to sit more continually at the cross-foot
to be less troubled with our doubts and woes.

We have but to see his sorrows, and our
sorrows we shall be ashamed to mention.

We have but to gaze into his wounds and heal our own!

If we would live aright it must be by the contemplation
of his death. If we would rise to dignity, it must be by
considering his humiliation and his sorrow.

That man of sorrows is the Savior of the world!
(The following is by Gardiner Spring)

O! who was it that suffered?
      What did he suffer?
For whom did he suffer?

Think of Him- the Father's fellow,
 and the church's Shepherd.

Think of the Garden and the Cross, and see
how they demonstrate, on the one hand,
the enormity of our guilt, and on the other,
the force of his Almighty love.

Think of the debased and abject character of those
for whom he died- men born in sin, forgetful of
every obligation, and the enemies of God!

That man of sorrows is the Saviour of the world!

That naked, bleeding victim, is the Mighty
Champion and Conqueror of death and hell!

O what triumphs of love, of holiness, of heaven
were there, when the earth trembled; and the sun
grew dark; and the veil of the temple was rent in
twain from the top to the bottom; and the rocks
rent asunder; and the graves gave up their dead;
and hell itself was moved with terror; and the
Great Redeemer exclaimed, "It is finished."

Christ is precious to those that believe!
Abraham "rejoiced to see Christ's day,
  and he saw it and was glad."
Moses esteemed him more precious
  that all the treasures of Egypt.
David esteemed him "fairer than the children of men."
The Church in her divine songs speaks of him as the
"rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys;" as "the
chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely;"
and as the one whom "her soul loves."
The wise men of the East adored him.
Simeon took him up in his arms, and said,
"Now Lord, let you your servant depart in peace,
for my eyes have seen your salvation!"
And to holy men wherever found, Jesus is precious.
"The upright love you."
"Whom having not seen, they love; in whom,
though now they see him not, yet believing, they
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."

In all your duties and trials he will be precious.
When the world loses its charms, he will become
more glorious and lovely than ever. When death
invades, he will become its mighty conqueror.
When you sleep beneath the clods of the valley,
he will be the resurrection and the life. When
the books shall be opened, and small and great
shall stand before God, the precious Saviour shall
come in the clouds of heaven, and you shall go to
be ever with the Lord; he shall be doubly precious,
and more and more precious through interminable ages!

Those vipers die at the sight of Christ!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Seeing Is Not Believing, but Believing Is Seeing"
No. 698. 1 Peter 1:8, 9.

"How shall I ever break the neck of my corruptions?"
You can never do it, but Jesus can!

Do you not remember that when they pierced his
side that blood flowed - that was for pardon.
And also water flowed - what was that for? That was
for cleansing. He will be of sin the double cure!

Is there some sin or some lust that you would
conquer, or an angry disposition? Take it to Jesus!
Those vipers die at the sight of Christ!
There is no form of sinfulness to which you
are addicted which Christ cannot remove.

The dirt-scrapers of this world!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Reward of the Righteous" No. 671. Mt. 25:31-36.

Go about this present world as kings and princes
of a race superior to the dirt-scrapers of this world
who are on their knees, crawling in the mud after
yellow earth.

Remember with joy that your future inheritance
shall be all that your kingly soul pants after in its
most royal moments.

It will be a state of unutterable richness and wealth of soul!

"One of the first lessons in the school of wisdom
 is to know that we are naturally fools. That man
 is growing wise who is growing conscious of his
 own deficiency and ignorance."
The above is from Spurgeon's sermon, "Seeing
 and Not Seeing, or Men as Trees Walking"
 No. 701. Mark 8:22-25.

"The right way for a Christian to live
 is to do what his Master bids him,
 leaving all consequences to the Almighty.
 If I am willing to do what God tells me,
 as he tells me, when he tells me, and
 because he tells me, I shall not turn
 back in the day of battle."

The white devil!
Luther used to say,  "You need to fear a
white devil twice as much as a black one."

The white devil of self-righteousness is more
dangerous to the Christian than even the black
devil of open sin!    -Spurgeon

God's religion is spiritual!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Seeing Is Not Believing, but Believing Is Seeing"
No. 698. 1 Peter 1:8, 9.

We need no altar, or vestments, or other paraphernalia.

We preach the gospel, and exhort men to faith in
Christ, and have no need of robes, and architecture,
and rubrics, and ceremonies. All that may sound very
pretty; I think it shamelessly infantile- to me it looks
like a return to the absurd superstitions of the dark ages.
I have no more reverence for their genuflections,
performances, and theatricals, than for the incantations
of an old hag who pretends to be a witch! There is
nothing manly, much less divine, in the new-fangled

God's religion is spiritual, theirs is carnal and sensuous.

"Oh that I were as in months past."  - Job 29:2
(The following is from Spurgeon)

Numbers of Christians can view the past with pleasure,
but regard the present with dissatisfaction; they look
back upon the days which they have passed in
communing with the Lord as being the sweetest and
the best they have ever known, but as to the present,
it is clad in a sable garb of gloom and dreariness.

Once they lived near to Jesus, but now they feel that
they have wandered from him, and they say, "O that
I were as in months past!" They complain that they
have lost their evidences, or that they have not present
peace of mind, or that they have no enjoyment in the
means of grace, or that conscience is not so tender, or
that they have not so much zeal for God's glory.

The causes of this mournful state of things are manifold-

It may arise through a comparative neglect of prayer, for
a neglected closet is the beginning of all spiritual decline.

Or it may be the result of idolatry. The heart has been
occupied with something else, more than with God; the
affections have been set on the things of earth, instead
of the things of heaven.

A jealous God will not be content with a divided
heart; he must be loved first and best.

He will withdraw the sunshine of his presence from
a cold, wandering heart. Or the cause may be found
in self-confidence and self-righteousness.

Pride is busy in the heart, and self is exalted
instead of lying low at the foot of the cross.

Christian, if you are not now as you "were in months
past," do not rest satisfied with wishing for a return
of former happiness, but go at once to seek your Master,
and tell him your sad state. Ask his grace and strength
to help you to walk more closely with him; humble
yourself before him, and he will lift you up, and give
you yet again to enjoy the light of his countenance.

Do not sit down to sigh and lament. While the
beloved Physician lives there is hope, nay there
is a certainty of recovery for the worst cases!

A base heathenish invention!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Voice of the Cholera" No. 705. Amos 3:3-6.

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

Luck or chance is a base heathenish invention!

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

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

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

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

The insatiable archer of death is not
permitted to shoot his bolts at random.
Every arrow that flies bears this inscription,
"I have a message from God for you."
A purpose, consistent with the love and justice
of God, lies hidden in the harvest of death.

The Plan!

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"A Feast for Faith"  No. 715. Isaiah 28:29.

God does not work without a plan.

God has not left the world to chance.

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

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

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

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

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

God wings the thunderbolt, and shall He
not guide the most passionate spirit?

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

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

Yielding to man his free agency, giving to him his
responsibility, leaving him as free as if there were
no purpose and no decree, yet the eternal Jehovah
works out His plans, and achieves His purpose to
the praise of His glory.

Everything that has moved or shall move in heaven,
and, earth, and hell, has been, is, and shall be,
according to the counsel and foreknowledge of God,
fulfilling a holy, just, wise, and unalterable purpose!

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

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

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

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

Let us trust God where we cannot trace Him.

In the end we shall read the whole of God's
purpose as one grand poem, and there will not
be one verse in it that has a syllable too much,
or a word too little. There will not be one stanza
or letter redundant, much less one that is erased.
But from beginning to end we shall see the master
pen and the master-mind drawing forth the glorious
array of majestic thoughts. And with angels, and
seraphs, and principalities, and powers, shall burst
forth into one mighty song, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!"

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

Hellish sin! 
Stupendous wickedness! 
Monstrous impiety!
The following is from Thomas
Doolittle's book, "Love to Christ"

What!  Not love the Lord!  Hellish sin!
What!  Not love Jesus!  Stupendous wickedness!
What!  Not love Christ!  Monstrous impiety!

Not love Him who is Lord, and Jesus, and Christ?
What name shall we call him by? a man or beast?
One that does not love the Lord Jesus Christ,
   is he a man or a devil?

Can you love sin, and not Jesus?
Can you love the world, and not Jesus?
What cursed wickedness is this?
This may be the astonishment of the heavens,
the amazement of the earth, the wonder of
of angels, and the joy of devils!

The earth groans to bear such as do not love Jesus.
The sun is grieved to give them light.
The air laments its vapors to be sucked into such
  filthy bodies, wherein are more filthy souls.

Sinners should be afraid!
They have . . .
  a angry God above them,
  a guilty conscience in them,
  a yawning hell below them!
     -Matthew Henry

Weep no more!
"The voice of weeping shall be no more heard."
   - Isaiah 65:19

The glorified weep no more, for all outward
causes of grief are gone. There are no broken
friendships, nor blighted prospects in heaven.

Poverty, famine, peril, persecution,
and slander, are unknown there.
No pain distresses, no thought of
death or bereavement saddens.

They weep no more, for they are perfectly
sanctified. No "evil heart of unbelief" prompts
them to depart from the living God; they are
without fault before his throne, and are fully
conformed to his image.

Well may they cease to mourn
  who have ceased to sin.

They weep no more, because all fear of change
is past. They know that they are eternally secure.

Sin is shut out, and they are shut in!

They dwell within a city which shall never be stormed.
They bask in a sun which shall never set.
They drink of a river which shall never dry.
They pluck fruit from a tree which shall never wither.

Countless cycles may revolve, but eternity shall
not be exhausted, and while eternity endures,
their immortality and blessedness shall co-exist with it.
They are forever with the Lord!

They weep no more, because every desire
is fulfilled. They cannot wish for anything
which they have not in possession.

Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination,
hope, desire, will- all the faculties are completely
satisfied. And imperfect as our present ideas are
of the things which God has prepared for those that
love him, yet we know enough, by the revelation of
the Spirit, that the saints above are supremely blessed.

The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight,
is in them. They bathe themselves in the bottomless,
shoreless sea of infinite happiness!

That same joyful rest remains for us.
It may not be far distant.

Before long the weeping-willow shall be exchanged
for the palm-branch of victory, and sorrow's dewdrops
will be transformed into the pearls of everlasting bliss!

"Therefore comfort one another with these words."
     1 Thes. 4:18

The cream of heaven!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Heaven of Heaven" No. 824. Rev. 22:4.

"They shall see his face." Revelation 22:4.

It is the chief blessing of heaven, the
cream of heaven, the heaven of heaven,
that the saints shall there see Jesus.

A sight of Jesus first turned our sorrow into
joy. Renewed communion with him lifts us
above our present cares, and strengthens
us to bear our heavy burdens.
What must heavenly communion be?

When we have Christ with us we are content
with a crust, and satisfied with a cup of water.
But if his face be hidden the whole world cannot
afford a solace- we are widowed of our Beloved,
our sun has set, our moon is eclipsed, our candle
is blown out.

Christ is all in all to us here, and therefore we
pant and long for a heaven in which he shall be
all in all to us forever.

Heavenly Paradise is intense spiritual fellowship
with the Lord Jesus- a place where it is promised
to faithful souls that "they shall see his face."

Spiritually our mental faculties shall be enlarged,
so that we shall be enabled to look into the very
heart, and soul, and character of Christ, so as to
understand him, his work, his love, his all in all,
as we never understood him before.

The babe in Christ admitted to heaven discovers
more of Christ in a single hour, than is known by all
the divines of the assemblies of the church on earth.
We only talk about these things now, we do not
really understand them. Brethren, in heaven we
shall dive into the lowest depths of fellowship with
Jesus. "We shall see his face," that is, we shall
see clearly and plainly all that has to do with our
Lord. This shall be the topmost bliss of heaven.

O how delightful it will be then to understand his
everlasting love; how without beginning, before
the earth was, his thoughts darted forward towards
his dear ones, whom he had chosen in the sovereignty
of his choice, that we should be his for ever!

We will come not to the sea's brink to wade into
it up to the ankles, but we will swim in bliss forever.
In waves of everlasting rest, in richest, closest
fellowship with Jesus, we will bathe in ineffable

Forever we shall lie in the bosom of Jesus, in the
nearest possible place of communion with him who
redeemed us with his blood.

Beholding Christ, his likeness is photographed upon us.
We become in all respects like him as we gaze upon
him world without end.

Can we forget such mighty grace?
The following is from Spurgeon's book,
  "The Saint and His Savior"

Experience of the love, tenderness, and faithfulness
of our Lord Jesus Christ will weld our hearts to him.

The very thought of the love of Jesus towards us is
enough to inflame our holy passions, but experience
of it heats the furnace seven times hotter.

He has been with us in our trials, cheering and
consoling us, sympathizing with every groan, and
regarding every tear with affectionate compassion.
Do we not love him for this?

He has befriended us in every time of need, so
bounteously supplying all our needs out of the
riches of his fullness, that he has not allowed us
to lack any good thing.    Shall we be
unmindful of such unwearying care?

He has helped us in every difficulty, furnishing us
with strength equal to our day; he has leveled the
mountains before us, and filled up the valleys; he has
made rough places plain, and crooked things straight.
Do we not love him for this also?

In all our doubts he has directed us in the path of
wisdom, and led us in the way of knowledge. He
has not allowed us to wander; he has led us by a
right way through the pathless wilderness.
Shall we not praise him for his.

He has repelled our enemies, covered our heads in
the day of baffle, broken the teeth of the oppressor,
and made us more than conquerors.
Can we forget such mighty grace?

In no single instance has he failed us.

He has never been unkind, unmindful, or unwise.

The harshest strokes of his providence have
been as full of love as the softest embraces
of his condescending fellowship.

We cannot, we dare not find fault with him.
He has done all things well.

One perfect sweet!
(The following is by Spurgeon)

"You are fairer than the children of men."  Psalm 45:2

The entire person of Jesus is but as one gem, and
his life is all along but one impression of the seal.

He is altogether complete; not only in his several parts,
but as a gracious all-glorious whole. His character is not
a mass of fair colors mixed confusedly, nor a heap of
precious stones laid carelessly one upon another; he
is a picture of beauty and a breastplate of glory.

In him, all traits are in their proper places, and assist
in adorning each other. Not one feature in his glorious
person attracts attention at the expense of others; but
he is perfectly and altogether lovely.

Oh, Jesus! your power, your grace, your justice, your
tenderness, your truth, your majesty, and your immutability
make up such a man, or rather such a God-man, as neither
heaven nor earth has seen elsewhere!

Your infancy, your eternity, your sufferings, your
triumphs, your death, and your immortality, are all
woven in one gorgeous tapestry, without seam or rent.

You are music without discord.

As all the colors blend into one resplendent rainbow,
so all the glories of heaven and earth meet in you,
and unite so wondrously, that there is none like you
in all things; nay, if all the virtues of the most excellent
were bound in one bundle, they could not rival you!

You are mirror of all perfection.

You have been anointed with the holy oil of myrrh and
cassia, which your God has reserved for you alone.
And as for your fragrance, it is as the holy perfume,
the like of which none other can ever mix, even with
the art of the apothecary. Your every spice is fragrant,
and the compound is divine.

"Oh, sacred symmetry! oh, rare combination,
 Of many perfects, to make one perfection!
 Oh, heavenly music, where all parts do meet
 In one sweet strain, to make one perfect sweet!"

"The MERCY of God." - Psalm 52:8
(The following is by Spurgeon.)

Meditate a little on this MERCY of the Lord.

It is tender mercy!
With gentle, loving touch, he heals the broken
in heart, and binds up their wounds. He is as
gracious in the manner of his mercy as in the
matter of it.

It is great mercy!
There is nothing little in God.
His mercy is like himself- it is infinite!
You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great
that it forgives great sins of great sinners,
after great lengths of time, and then gives
great favors and great privileges, and raises
us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven
of the great God!

It is undeserved mercy!
Indeed all true mercy must be undeserved, for
deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice.
There was no right on the sinner's part to the
kind mercy of the Most High. Had the rebel
been doomed at once to eternal fire he
would have richly merited the doom.
If delivered from wrath, sovereign love
alone has found a cause, for there was
none in the sinner himself.

It is rich mercy!
Some things are great, but have little
efficacy in them. But the mercy of God is--
A cordial to your drooping spirits!
A golden ointment to your bleeding wounds!
A heavenly bandage to your broken bones!
A royal chariot for your weary feet!
A bosom of love for your trembling heart!

It is manifold mercy!
As Bunyan says, "All the flowers in God's
garden are double." There is no single mercy.
You may think you have but one mercy, but you
shall find it to be a whole cluster of mercies!

It is abounding mercy!
Millions have received it, yet far from its
being exhausted! It is as fresh, as full,
and as free as ever!

It is unfailing mercy!
It will never leave you. Mercy will be with you in
temptation to keep you from yielding. Mercy will
be with in trouble to prevent you from sinking.
Mercy will be with you while living to be the
light and life of your countenance. Mercy will be
with you when dying to be the joy of your soul
when earthly comfort is ebbing fast.

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Obedience Better than Sacrifice"
No. 686. 1 Samuel 15:22.

I do not think anything of all your good works.
I would not give a penny for a wagon-load of them.
If you trust in them they will be your ruin!

The whole of them are just what Paul calls them-
RUBBISH!   He says, "I consider them RUBBISH
that I may win Christ, and be found in him."

All your best works are but so much RUBBISH
  to be carted out of the way!

The natural man does not perceive and discern
spiritual things, for he is dead to them.  Speak
to him about the joys of the spiritual life, and
you will soon discover that you are casting your
pearls before swine- he thinks you a fanatic for
talking such nonsense.  He is as dead to spiritual
realities as a mole is blind to astronomy, or a
stone is dead to music.
-Spurgeon, form his sermon, "Death & Life"

Alone with God

"We may lay it down as an elementary
 principle of Christianity, that no large
 growth in holiness was ever gained by
 one who did not take time to be often
 long alone with God."  -Phelps

"Those make the most rapid, consistent,
 and evident growth in Christlikeness are
 those who have developed a daily time of
 being alone with God for Bible meditation,
 prayer, and private worship."  -Whitney

Pride & Humility
(The following is by J. C. Ryle)

Humility may well be called the queen of the
Christian graces. To know our own sinfulness
and weakness and to feel our need of Christ is
the start of saving religion.

Humility is a grace which has always been a
distinguishing feature in the character of the
holiest saints in every age. Abraham and Moses
and Job and David and Daniel and Paul were all
eminently humble men.

Above all, humility is a grace within the reach of
every true Christian. All converted people should
work to adorn with humility the doctrine they profess.
If they can do nothing else, they can strive to be humble.

Do you want to know the root and spring of humility?
One word describes it. The root of humility is right knowledge.

The person who really knows himself and his own heart,
who knows God and his infinite majesty and holiness,
who knows Christ and the price at which he was redeemed,
that person will never be a proud person.

He will count himself, like Jacob, unworthy of the least
of all God's mercies. He will say of himself, like Job,
"I am unworthy." He will cry, like Paul, "I am the worst
of sinners" He will consider others better than himself
 (Philippians 2:3).

Ignorance--nothing but sheer ignorance, ignorance of
self, of God, and of Christ--is the real secret of pride.

From that miserable self-ignorance may we daily pray
to be delivered. The wise person knows himself and
will find nothing within to make him proud.

"I believe that every particle of dust that dances
in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or
less than God wishes; that every particle of spray
that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit
as well as the sun in the heavens; that the chaff
from the hand of the winnower is steered as
surely as the stars in their courses; that the
creeping of an insect over a rosebud is as much
fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence;
and the fall of leaves from the poplar is as fully
ordained as the tumbling avalanche.
He who believes in God must believe this truth.
There is no standing point between this and Atheism.
There is no halfway between an Almighty God, who
works all things according to the good pleasure of
his will, and no God at all!"  -Spurgeon

The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Voice of the Cholera" No. 705.

"When disaster comes to a city,
 has not the Lord caused it?"  Amos 3:6

When cholera comes to a city,
 has not the Lord caused it?

It is not the cholera which has slain these
hundreds, the cholera was but the sword.
The hand which scattered death is the hand
of a greater than mere disease. God himself
is traversing London. God with silent footstep
walks the hospitals, enters the chamber,
strikes the wayfarer in the street.

God, the great Judge of all, at whose girdle
swing the keys of death and hell, the mysterious
one whose voice bids the pillars of heaven's
starry roof to tremble, who made the stars,
and can quench them at his will- it was none
other than he who walked down our crowded
streets, and entering our lanes and alleys
called one after another the souls of men
to their last account!   God is abroad!

It is not the rod of disease that smites,
  but God himself that uses the rod!

The dark ages!

From Spurgeon's sermon, "The Standard Uplifted
 in the Face of the Foe" No. 718. Isaiah 59:19.

In 325, Emperor Constantine, for reasons of state
craft and subtle policy, made Christianity the national
religion, and thus struck the most fearful blow at
the vitals of Christianity. The union of church and
state is a fatal blow to true religion. The king's
hand wherever it falls upon the church of Christ
brings the king's evil with it. There never was a
church whose spirituality survived it yet, and there
never will be.

Christ's kingdom is not of this world, and if we
try to marry the church of Christ to a worldly
kingdom, we engender innumerable mischiefs.

So it happened that when the church became
outwardly glorious she became spiritually debased.
Her communion table glittered with gold and silver plate,
but her communion with Christ was not so golden as
before. Her ministers were enriched, but their doctrine
was impoverished. For every ounce of outward gold which
she gained, she lost a treasure of grace. Her bishops
became lords, and her flocks were famished. Her humble
meeting-places were exchanged for grand basilicas, but
the true glory was departed.

She became like the heathen around her, and began
to set up the images of her saints, until at last, after
years of gradual declension, the Church of Rome
ceased to be the church of Christ, and that which
was once nominally the church of Christ actually
became the Antichrist.

Black darkness covered the lands, and the dark ages set
in. Instead of pardon bought with the blood of Jesus, false
priests made merchandise of souls, and pardons were
hawked in the streets. Instead of deacons and elders
adorned with holiness and purity; monks, and nuns, and
priests, and even popes became monsters of filthiness.
Instead of justification by faith, men proclaimed justification
by pilgrimages and by penances. The crucifix took the place
of Christ Jesus, and a piece of bread was lifted up as a god,
and men bowed before it, and said, "These be your gods, O
Israel, that redeemed you from the wrath to come."

The Mass?   Penance?   Purgatory?
"The death he died, he died to sin once for all..."
    Romans 6:10
"He sacrificed for their sins once for all when
 he offered himself." Hebrews 7:27
"He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his
 own blood, having obtained eternal redemption."
    Hebrews 9:12
"But now he has appeared once for all at the end
 of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice
 of himself." Hebrews 9:26
"so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the
 sins of many people...." Hebrews 9:28
"we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the
 body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:10

(the following is from Spurgeon)
Where, then, did the mass come from, and of what
avail is it?  The Lord's Supper was intended to be
the remembrancer to us of our Lord's sufferings;
instead of which it has been prostituted by the
Church of Rome into the blasphemy of a pretended
continual offering up of the body of the Lord Jesus
Christ, a continual sacrifice. According to the Romish
doctrine the offering upon Calvary is not enough-
the atonement for sin is not finished- it has to be
performed every day, and many times a day, in the
Catholic churches, by certain appointed persons,
so that that sacrifice is always being offered.
Oh! brethren, the mass is a mass of abominations,
a mass of hell's own concocting, a crying insult
against the Lord of glory. It is not to be spoken
of in any terms but those of horror and detestation.
Whenever I think of another sacrifice for sin being
offered, by whoever it may be presented, I can
only regard it as an infamous insult to the
perfection of the Savior's work.
Popery swarms with worshipers of the god
whom the baker bakes in the oven, and whom
they bite with their teeth.

What of the Catholic sacrament of penance?
Is not penance in its essence an offering for sin?
I do not care who it is that prescribes the penance,
nor what it is, whether it is licking the pavement
with your tongues, or wearing a hair-shirt, or laying
on the whip- if it be supposed that by the mortification
of the flesh, men can take away sin, the Scripture
is like a two-edged sword to pierce the inmost heart
of such teaching.  Take off your hair-shirt, poor fool!
Wash the stones with a dish-cloth, and keep your
tongue clean. There is no need for these fooleries!
Christ has completed the atonement, you need not
suffer thus. You need not, like Luther, go up and down
the stone staircase on your knees, and think that
your poor sore knees will find favor with God.
Christ has suffered, God exacts no more. Do not try to
supplement his gold with your dross. Do not try to add
to his matchless robes, the rags of your poor penance.

How these verses shut the gates of purgatory!
It is held that there are some who die who are believers,
but who are not quite purified from sin, and in an after
state they must undergo a purgatorial quarantine to be
purged by fire, so that they may become quite complete.
Beloved, when the thief died on the cross he had but
just believed, and had never done a single good work,
but where did he go to? Well, he ought to have gone to
purgatory by rights, if ever anybody did, but instead of
that the Savior said to him, "Today you shall be with
me in Paradise." Why? Because the ground of the man's
admission into Paradise was perfect. The grounds of
his admission there was Christ's work, and that is how
you and I will get into heaven, because Christ's work
is finished. The thief did not go down to purgatory,
nor, blessed be his name, neither shall you nor I if
we trust in the finished work of the Lord Jesus.

One drop of human merit in a sea of free grace
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Robbers of God" No. 2156.  Malachi 3:8.

Many rob God by rebelling against his sovereignty.

I have known men bite their lip and grind their teeth in
rage whom I have been preaching the sovereignty of God.

"Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy,
 and he hardens whom he wants to harden." Romans 9:18

Men seem to think that God is under obligation to
grant salvation to guilty men; that if he saves one
he must save all.

They talk about rights, as if any man had any right
before the throne of God, except the right to be
punished for his sin.

Mercy can only be shown to the guilty on the
ground of the royal prerogative. It must be the
free act of God's grace, done at his own good
pleasure if any guilty man be saved from death.

The doctrinaires of today will allow a God, but he must
not be King: that is to say, they choose a god who is
no god, and rather the servant than the ruler of men.

We, however, declare on God's behalf, that
"It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire
or effort, but on God's mercy." -and at the sound
of this doctrine they stamp their foot with rage.
They would rob God of his crown, and leave him
neither throne, nor will.

This will not do for me; my heart delights to say,
"It is the Lord: let him do what seems good to him."
Whatsoever is his pleasure shall by my pleasure.

Even if the Lord condemn me, I cannot say that he
is unjust. But if he has mercy upon me, I must
ascribe it wholly to his free and sovereign grace.

Do not rob God of his sovereignty; but rejoice
that the Lord reigns and does as he wills.

God's free grace is one of the brightest jewels of his crown!

God saves not according to merit, but according to mercy!

"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life."
Salvation is  freely given, not because man merits it, but
because Jehovah wills it.

All salvation is of grace, and not of works.

I say it is of free grace- Salvation comes because God
wills to save. Grace is given to the most unworthy of the
sons of men, to show that it is of grace, and not of debt.

One drop of human merit put into
a sea of free grace will spoil it all.

"And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it
 were, grace would no longer be grace." Romans 11:6

Those vipers die at the sight of Christ!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"Seeing Is Not Believing, but Believing Is Seeing"
No. 698. 1 Peter 1:8, 9.

"How shall I ever break the neck of my corruptions?"
You can never do it, but Jesus can!

Do you not remember that when they pierced his
side that blood flowed - that was for pardon.
And also water flowed - what was that for? That was
for cleansing. He will be of sin the double cure!

Is there some sin or some lust that you would
conquer, or an angry disposition? Take it to Jesus!
Those vipers die at the sight of Christ!
There is no form of sinfulness to which you
are addicted which Christ cannot remove.

Indwelling sin
The following is from Jonathan Edwards sermon,
"Safety, Fullness, and Sweet Refreshment in Christ"

The godly man carries his indwelling sin, as his
daily and greatest burden, because he loathes it,
and longs to get rid of it; he would fain be at a
great distance from it, and have nothing more
to do with it; he is ready to cry out as Paul did,
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver
me from the body of this death?"

The unregenerate man has nothing of this
spiritual nature, for sin is yet his delight, he
dearly loves it. His love to sin in general is
not mortified, he loves it as well as ever, he
hides it still as a sweet morsel under his tongue.

Trials, Troubles & Afflictions!
"Man is born to trouble"  He is heir apparent to it;
 he comes into the world with a cry, and goes out
 with a groan. -Thomas Watson

"Affliction may be lasting, but it is not everlasting."
   -Thomas Watson

"There is more evil in a drop of sin, than in a sea of affliction."
   -Thomas Watson

"The Lord does not measure out our afflictions according
 to our faults, but according to our strength, and looks not
 at what we have deserved, but what we are able to bear."
   -George Downame

"Whoever brings an affliction, it is God that sends it."
   -Thomas Watson

"If a sheep stray from the flock, the shepherd sets his
 dog after it, not to devour it, but to bring it in again;
 even so our Heavenly Shepherd."  -Daniel Cawdray

"The vessels of mercy are first seasoned with affliction,
 and then the wine of glory is poured in. Thus we see
 afflictions are but beneficial to the saints."
   -Thomas Watson

"A holy person is like a silver bell, the harder he is
 smitten, the better he sounds."  -George Swinnock

"We often learn more of God under the rod that strikes us,
 than under the staff that comforts us."  -Stephen Charnock

"God's house of correction is His school of instruction."
   -Thomas Brooks

"As the wicked are hurt by the best things, so the godly
 are bettered by the worst things."   -William Jenkyn

"Poverty and affliction take away the fuel that feeds pride."
   -Richard Sibbes

"Let us learn like Christians to kiss the rod, and love it."
   -John Bunyan

"When God lays men upon their backs, then
 they look up to heaven."  -Thomas Watson

"The black foils of trouble shall bring out
 the brighter jewel of divine grace." -Spurgeon

Our idolatrous love of worldly things!
The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"The Heaven of Heaven" No. 824 Rev. 22:4.

Our idolatrous love of worldly things is a chief
cause of our knowing so little of spiritual things.

Because we love this and that so
 much, we love Christ so little.

You can not fill your life-cup from the pools of earth,
and yet have room in it for the crystal streams of heaven.

The insipid frivolities of the world!
(the following is by Spurgeon)

I do not blame ungodly men
for rushing to their pleasures.
Let them have their fill.
That is all they have to enjoy.

It is the sweetness of sin that makes it the more
dangerous. Satan never sells his poisons naked;
he always gilds them before he vends them.

My longing is that the churches may be more holy.
I grieve to see so much of worldly conformity in believers.
How often wealth leads men astray. How many Christians
follow the fashion of this wicked world. We have among
us avowed lovers of Christ, who act too much like "lovers
of pleasure."  I charge you by the living God, do not profess
to be followers of Christ, for He bids you come out from
among them and be separate.

An unholy Church! it is useless to the world, and of
no esteem among men. It is an abomination, hell's
laughter, and heaven's abhorrence. The worst evils
which have ever come upon the world have been
brought upon her by an unholy Church.

There cannot be faith in the heart unless
  there be holiness in the life!

Beware of pleasures!

Many of them are innocent and healthful, but many
are destructive. It is said that where the most
beautiful cacti grow, there the most venomous
serpents lurk.   It is so with sin.
Your fairest pleasures will harbor your grossest sins.

Take care! Cleopatra's asp was introduced in a
basket of flowers. Satan offers to the drunkard
the sweetness of the intoxicating cup. He gives
to each of us the offer of our peculiar joy; he
tickles us with pleasures, that he may lay hold of us.

Surely, believer, from open lusts and sins you are
delivered. But have you also escaped from the more
secret and delusive deceits of the Satanic fowler?
Have you come forth from the lust of pride?
Have you escaped from slothfulness?
Are you seeking day by day to live above worldliness,
the pride of life, and the ensnaring vice of avarice?

Vain pursuits are dangerous to renewed
souls. No Christian enjoys comfort when
his eyes are fixed on vanity.

The happiest state of a Christian is the holiest state.

Christians must seek their delights in a higher
sphere than the insipid frivolities of the world!

Unless we follow Christ, and make our God the
great object of life, we only differ in appearance
from the most frivolous.

As there is most heat nearest to the sun, so
there is most happiness nearest to Christ.

Follow after holiness- it is the Christian's crown and glory.

Remember, O Christian, that you are a son of the King
of kings! Walk worthy of your high calling and dignity!

Therefore keep yourself unspotted from the world.
Soil not the fingers which are soon to sweep celestial
strings. Let not those eyes become the windows of lust
which are soon to see the King in His beauty. Let not
those feet be defiled in miry places, which are soon to
walk the golden streets. Let not those hearts be filled
with pride and bitterness which are before long to be
filled with heaven, and to overflow with ecstatic joy!